Thursday, March 31, 2011

Giving Myself Nightmares Again

Okay, so I'm back to work again.  Lemme tell ya, after a couple months away, it ain't easy to get back into the groove.  Hell, I'm not even writing new words yet.  At this point, I'm just reading through the 160 pages I wrote back in 2009, catching myself up with where the story's at so I can move forward.  I hope to write new words this weekend sometime.

Anyway, here I am reading along, and I really love what I wrote - except it's a first draft and it's really killing me not to edit the hell out of it yet.  As I'm reading, though, I remember part of the reason why I stopped writing this book.  The villain POV scenes were giving me nightmares.  And guess what?  I've been having nightmares since I diving back into this story. 

Sheesh.  It's not even a horror story.  It's a suspense, and while the subject matter isn't the easiest to deal with, it's not exactly scary (I mean, it shouldn't be scary to me - I know what's going to happen).  Part of it, though, is that the villain has a quality of delicious evilness combined with a perfect certainty he's the hero of his story.  Slipping into his head creeps me out.  :shudder: 

I need to finish this.  I also need to shelve whatever crap is wigging out my subconscious and get some sleep.  If I keep at this, I'll probably be one contented sleep-deprived psycho before long.  So, if you see me start the slow slide into madness, slap me, okay?

Have you ever written anything that gave you nightmares?  How about writing subject matter that makes you uncomfortable in the deep crevices of your psyche? 

Or is it just me?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Time Blurs

I can't believe it's Wednesday.  Where did Monday and Tuesday go?  Seriously.  What did I do with those two days?? 

I remember knocking some things off my to-do list Monday morning.  I spent yesterday morning shoveling the three inches of snow we got - that was gone by late afternoon.  Most of yesterday afternoon was spent having a Serious Discussion with Daughter about life, the universe and everything.  Other than that?  Nada. 

The old cliche is that time flies when you're having fun.  I think time blurs when you're doing nothing.

So, I woke up this morning, opened my browser and saw that the last time I posted was Sunday.  Which is where the general thought of 'where did Monday and Tuesday go' came from. 

Maybe it's because I haven't slept for shit in the past few days.  I'd blame the cat, but I suspect the only reason she jumps on the bed is because she hears me tossing and turning.  In her head, it's like "Mom's already awake, so why can't she pet me?"  The only upshot (depending on your perspective to insomnia) is that my brain turns to writing.  As I lay trying desperately to fall asleep, my brain went into work mode, and reminded me that there's this suspense novel I started that I never finished.

Just before the Serious Discussion (SD) yesterday, I turned off the TV to do some serious work on that unfinished manuscript.  I opened the file and read through the first couple scenes.  They are awe-some.  Then, of course, the minor incident occurred and the SD followed.  (Teenagers.  Can't live with 'em, can't sell 'em on e-Bay.)  And nothing else got done until dinner, which blurred into Biggest Loser.  By the time I got back to the computer, I was too tired to do anything.

Anyway, sorry for the disappearing act.  I'll try to do better.  I had intended for Monday to be the first day of a new attitude.  Instead it turned out to be another day of more of the same.  Tuesday blurred past along with Monday.  TODAY.  Today will be the first day of the rest of my life - not the next day in a long shuffle of days.

How's life treating you?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Busy Work

I spent the morning creating and updating databases with the submission info for my last three finished books.  It was just busy work, but it felt good to do something productive.  (And yes, it was necessary, but anything that's not writing these days is 'busy work'.)

As an aside, you gotta love Access.  Really.  Sure, it's a pain to actually create a new database, but once you have the thing laid out, you can use it for every book you want.  I now have most of the data entered that I lost when I shifted computers last year.  Data entry... funfunfun.

(And there are aspects of Access I'm not using that could make my life even easier, but right now, setting those things up would take more time than I have.)

On the upside, I now can access exactly who I queried for Manhunter and Blink so I don't re-query anyone when as I send those puppies out again.   Yay me.  (I still have to power up the old computer and thumb through data on there, but at least I won't step on my own tongue again - like I did with my lost queries from Spectacle*.) 

Unfortunately now that I've spent 4 hours reading blogs, updating Access and reading the forums at Querytracker, I have computer brain.  It actually feels like it's flat on one side and my eyes are going all squonky.  Time to crochet, I guess.

What kind of busy work do you do when you're avoiding writing?  Is there anything you let slide while you're writing only to find yourself totally behind when you really need that stuff? 

*Due to the Great Computer Crash of 2006, I lost all my query data from both Spectacle and Caldera - my first two books.  As a result, I ended up querying agents who already rejected me.  D'oh.  Here's hoping being more organized - and keeping redundant backup copies - will save me in the future.

ETA:  Microsoft Access is the program I use to keep track of all my submission data.  Here's a snapshot of it (click to make it larger):

It ain't pretty and it doesn't do all the nifty stuff my old pre-made contact management software did (like keep a running history for each contact), but it's a pretty good method for keeping track of submissions.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


"Don't you have work to do... somewhere else?"

(Yes, that is my couch.  And yes, Kira really does take up that much space.)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Leaning TBR of Pisa

Hi.  I'm B.E. and I'm addicted to books.

Seriously, though, I think my TBR pile is out of control.  Weeks ago, I separated it into three piles.  Now, those three piles are threatening to topple into a really big cat-burying mess.

Below are the books in the pile:

Vampire Sunrise by Carole Nelson Douglas*
Visions of Magic by Regan Hastings*
The Liar Society by Lisa and Laura Roecker*
The Sum of All Men (Runlords #1) by David Farland*
Brotherhood of the Wolf (Runelords #2) by David Farland*
Wizardborn (Runelords #3) by David Farland*
Right Hand Magic by Nancy A. Collins*
Wither by Laura DeStefano*
Blackout (Cal Leandros #6) by Rob Thurman
Must Love Hellhounds by Various*
The Strain by Guillermo del Toro*
Living Nightmare by Shannon Butcher
Uprising: Vampire Federation by Sean McCabe*
This Side of the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
Hunger Untamed by Pamela Palmer
Red Hot Fury by Kasey MacKenzie*
Pride and Pleasure by Sylvia Day
Dark Oracle by Alayna Williams (aka Laura Bickle)

So that's what I already have to read.  Next Tuesday I need to place a book order for:

Night Magic by Jennifer Lyon (a book which I was unable to find on Tuesday - damn them)
Master and Apprentice by Sonya Bateman
Rogue Oracle by Alayna Williams - didn't end up getting this
The Darkest Secret by Gena Showalter - didn't end up getting this

And I'm currently reading:

Captain's Fury by Jim Butcher

Somebody needs to hold an intervention before the books takeover.  Send help.

What's in your TBR pile?  Do you need an intervention?

*new to me authors

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I'm Back

Yeah, I know.  You didn't even know I was leaving*, but I did and now I'm back.  Tada!

Anyway, yesterday was eleven hours on the road, on my feet, on the road, on my feet, on the road... followed by several hours on the couch trying not to move.

The day started like just about any other trip we take to the city - albeit an hour early.  Daughter and I load into the car and wave at my husband while he stands on the porch.  We turn our wheels west and off we go.  The only really eventful thing on the trip out was the cows.  Some farmer's cows were loose and headed for the highway.  I saw them getting ready to cross, saw the semi headed at them from the other direction and got images of a whole new definition of ground beef.  I started to honk my horn in rapid bleats until we passed the herd- at which point the lead heifer (steer, yearling, feeder) got the shit scared out of him and led a stampede in the other direction.  Yay.

Anyway, we weren't headed off on our usual trip to get books, see the doctor and eat lunch.  Nope, yesterday was the day for Daughter's first trip to CSU since she actually got accepted and junk.  We were signed up for the Admitted Student Information Session and Tour.  My typical two hour trip stretched another 45 minutes to get us up to Ft. Collins.  We sat in the 45 minute info session and then took the walking tour with a cute little blond girl from California leading they way.

Daughter got to see the inside of the College of Business - where they have an actual stock ticker running around the top of this one room designed to mimic an actual trading session.  She was totally jazzed by that.  And then we saw the brand new (or newly refurbished) Rec Center.  The pool alone was jazz-worthy, but all the equipment she'll have free access to sent her into a new level of glee.  And then she saw the Student Center and the library.  She's in heaven and can't wait to head off to school in August.

Me?  I just wanted to sit down.  I haven't walked that far or stood for that long in years.  I'm glad my daughter's happy, and I would've walked another mile if she wanted to see more, but I was so glad when the girl said the tour was over and directed us back to our car.  I almost cried when I finally slid into the seat.

But we weren't done.  Next stop, B&N where I snagged copies of Wither by Laura DeStefano, The Liar Society by Lisa and Laura Roecker and a paranormal I've been dying to read (whose name escapes me at the moment).   (7:52pm - It was Visions of Magic by Regan Hastings.)

By this time, we've completely missed lunch.  We've gone straight through hunger to that place where you're too hungry to eat.  And we still had to get back to Greeley for my 3:15 doc appt.  Off we went.  Along about 2, we hit the town and slid into TGI Fridays.  Rushed through lunch because we had to hit Borders before we left town - if only to say our last goodbyes.

Borders in Greeley, CO will only exist for a few more weeks.  Right now, it's totally depressing.  And not just for what isn't there anymore.  Sure, the romance section was completely empty and the kids section was gone.  But the fact that SF/F was still mostly full made me want to cry.  I had the sudden urge to rescue all the books by my favorite authors - buy them up and find them good homes where people would love them.  I felt bad leaving them behind, but I just couldn't take them home.  (Gack, I almost feel like I stopped by the animal shelter.  I never want to leave any of them behind either.)  I picked up a few books by authors I'd never heard of, said my loud goodbye at the checkout and left.

Then off to the doc's where I got my quarterly poke.  Going into my doctor's office is like Norm walking into Cheers.  Everyone knows my name and loves me.  The doc herself gave me my shot, complimented me on how great I looked (which was weird because it was incredibly windy yesterday and I was tired to boot), and asked whether I'd lost weight.  (I haven't but it was nice that she asked.)

Next, we turned ourselves east and headed for home.  After in a quick stop at Walmart for printer paper and another hour past that, we slid into the driveway, and I slid onto the couch.

All that and I still didn't get Night Magic by Jen Lyon.  Stupid B&N said they hadn't gotten it in yet.  Stupid Borders was going out of business and therefore didn't have any new titles.  Stupid Walmart?  Well, I don't know what the hell their problem was.  Now I have to order the damn thing.  Thank god for Amazon.

So anyway, I'm back.  I'm bushed.  And today will be spent recuperating from the happy ordeal.  I'll also try to make the rounds to all the blogs I missed yesterday and hit all the Facebook entries I missed. If I miss you or don't comment, please forgive me. 

How was your day yesterday?  Got any big plans or anything coming up you want to share?

* I try not to tell the world when my house is going to be empty for a whole day.  Call me paranoid.  Really, go ahead.  It won't be the first time.  ;o)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Breaking the Rules

Yeah, yeah.  I know you're not supposed to post rejection letters.  I also know you're not supposed to reply back to the agent who sent it.  I just couldn't help myself.

Because it made my day.

Thanks for sending me your query.  I like your premise and your opening pages are certainly exciting and get the story off to a strong start, but as you know, urban fantasy is a crowded genre, and I'm only taking on projects that completely blow me away.  Yours is very good, but when I came to the end of this sample I didn't feel like I just had to know what would happen next.  I'm sure other agents will feel differently, but I'm going to pass.

Best of luck with your agent search,


Yup, that was from Cameron McClure.   I wrote her back and thanked her for this.  Because, really, when the shit is flying thick and deep, it's the little things that keep me afloat.  Nice and encouraging rejection letters, nifty notes from my blog pals, a sweet comment from my niece about my last book.  

So, I hope you'll all forgive me for breaking the rules.  It just gave me a little hope and I wanted to spread it around.

Speaking of hope, I just finished Discord's Apple by Carrie Vaughn.  Awesome book that meshes old myths with edgy dystopian fiction.  If you read it, you'll see how it connects.  After all, hope was the last thing left in Pandora's box and it's the one thing we all need when the world's going to hell around us.  (And damn you, Carrie.  You made me cry.  =op )

Got any good news to share?  Any hope to spread?  Come on, share the love.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

In the Middle and Between

I started out this morning to write a post about being between projects, but that's not exactly true.  I might be between new projects - settled on no one new project and with several started - but I'm in the middle of several different things right now - not all of them writerly.

The between projects thing has me sitting at the beginning of a new dystopian project that may or may not be YA.  It also has me at the start of a totally new thing I mentioned the other day - a fantasy project that also might be YA.  (Neither of them has told me what it wants to be, so I'm letting them grow in their own way.  If they want to grow up to be YA, so be it.)  Both projects excited me enough to start writing, but neither one has taken the forefront.  Also being between projects has me thinking about the sequel to Djinnocide - and yeah, I know you shouldn't start writing a sequel until you get interest in the first book, but I can't help myself.  I want to be in that world again.

The in-the-middle projects also have me in a pickle.  I have several outstanding unfinished manuscripts that I really would like to see finished.  Bloodflow being the topmost, but I can't seem to get in the groove.  I'm also inclined to give RTL a read-through because I found the perfect agent to query for it.  I mean, she's looking for dystopian with unique plots and dark themes.  Also, I'm not ready to admit defeat on RTL.  I did get a full request on that one - even if the agent never got back to me.  Maybe with the right agent I can finally see RTL in print.

On the semi-writerly front, I laid in bed last night mentally rebuilding my agent database into a format that would work for multiple manuscripts.

And in the totally non-writerly front, I'm in the middle of crocheting blankets for my sisters. 

Add in the little things life throws at me (like hunting down the shits who threw a rock through my husband's truck window) and I'm a mess.  Ah, I love the late winter malaise.  

So, anyway, I feel like I'm playing Short Attention Span Theatre.  Do a little here.  Do a little there.  SQUIRREL!

I guess this is my way of apologizing for not being on top of my game here on the blog or over at Facebook.  To quote that insurance commercial "Life comes at you fast".  I'm just not that awesome at shifting gears right now.

Thinking about it now, perhaps I'd have an easier time figuring out which project to settle on if I had some idea where my career was headed.  Like if I had an agent bite on one of my projects, then I'd know which project to focus on next.  If the urban fantasy lands me an agent, then I'd work on another one of those.  If one of my dystopians snags me representation, then I'd be more inclined to work on that.  You know what I'm sayin'?

I'll figure it out.  Like I said, it's probably all part of the general malaise I get this time of year.  Once I get past this, I should be fine.

How are things in your little slice of the world?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Where Does Inspiration Come From?

Seriously.  Sometimes I can go for weeks without feeling the least bit inspired and then WHAM, I get a flood of inspiration when I'm trying to fall asleep. 

Like last night.  I was pooped.  I needed to sleep.  But could I?  Oh hell no.  First, my brain went off on a tangent and rewrote my query letter, which I then needed to get up, pad through the dark house in my skivvies and write down because my brain wouldn't let me sleep until I put this on paper.  Afterwards, I fell into a dream-filled snooze for about an hour, awakening to realize the dream itself was an incredible idea for a totally different book than I've ever written (more pure fantasy than urban fantasy - with elves or gnomes or some other small magical species).  One more semi-clothed trip through the house to my desk, so I could write the general premise down.

Don't get me wrong.  I love inspiration.  I'm willing to lose a little sleep to get it.  But where does it come from and why can't it visit during the day when I'm not doing anything of importance? 

I mean, if I knew where it came from, I could potentially tap into it at will.  Bored?  Tap the inspiration and find a short story to while away the time.  Waiting in the doctor's office?  Access the muse and jot down copious notes on how to fix that plot hole.  Seen today's Grey Anatomy a thousand times?  Hit that creativity mother-lode and get a thousand words out. 

But I don't know how to find it.  Not when I need it anyway.  It just comes and goes as it pleases.  Bitch.  Life would be so much easier if I knew when and where it was going to strike.  But even then, I'm screwed.  I know it usually comes while I'm trying to fall asleep but if I anticipate it, it never shows.  If I put a pad of paper by the bed, it sees it and runs away. 

No.  It wants me to have to stumble through the bedroom, across the living room, into the dark dining room we use as an office, turn on a light and scribble hasty notes while my butt slowly freezes and my head longs for the pillow. 

I think I need to build an inspiration trap.  A little box, a stick and some string, so I can catch it and harness its awesomeness.  If only I could figure out the bait. 

Where does your inspiration come from?  Is yours as sneaky as mine is?  What would you use as bait?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Taking the Good Where You Can Find it

I got a rejection today.  I know writers aren't supposed to blog about them, but I can't help myself.  Sure, it was probably just a personalized form rejection, but I'm taking it as a positive.  She said she liked my voice and my general premise.  She just couldn't connect with the overall plot.  She also took way longer to respond to my query than she has with other queriers.  I'm telling myself it took longer because she was agonizing over her decision.

Heh.  Works for me.  These days I have to take the good where I can find it.  Sometimes this biz threatens to suck the happy right out of me, and a good attitude is all I've got to hold onto, so I'm running with it.

Anything good - or sorta good - happen in your life lately?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Made of Awesome

The purpose of this post - which I hope to make a regular feature - is pimping products I've discovered that I think are made of awesome. So, without further ado...

First off, Sensible Portions Garden Veggie Straws.  OMG, these the things are incredible.  And addictive.  That's okay, though, because they're only 130 calories for 38 straws.  Seriously.  For those of us trying to watch what we eat, these are a healthy alternative to chips - because they're made with good for you ingredients and it takes a lot of them to make a portion.  (More than I can eat at one time unless I'm zoning out and stuffing them in my face.)  Although, they're so snackable, you won't be able to keep yourself from stuffing your face.

Another awesome product to take note of is IdeaPaint - paint you can cover your walls with and write on like its whiteboard, but without the mess whiteboards can make.  I want a whole office painted with this stuff.  In the middle of a scene and get a great idea?  Write it on the wall.  Need to make a chart of plot points?  Draw it big so you can see it from across the room as you type.  Throw out your poster board, people.  Loose yourself from the bonds of sticky notes!  :happy sigh: 

And then there's Starbucks Via - lovely little single serve flavored instant coffees.  I have the ladies at Murder She Writes - and Jennifer Lyon in particular - for my discover of this.  A couple weeks ago, I won a Starbucks gift certificate from them.  So, I ordered me up a pkg of caramel and another of vanilla.  OMG.  Talk about yum.  Of course, they're also REALLY strong.  The first cup I made, I used the whole tube of mix.  Ever since, I just shake a little in my regular morning coffee for an extra kick and a little flavor.  Wicked awesome stuff.

How about you?  Any great new products (or new to you products) to share?  What do you think is made of awesome this week?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Spring Forward

...and fall flat on your face.

As I just posted to Facebook: "Never reset your clock the night before Spring Forward. You might see the clock and think it's a normal time to get up, putting you wide awake at what amounts to 4am. On the upside, I got a lot done in the past 2.5 hours."

On the downside, it's 7:39 and I'm ready for a nap.

Does anyone else think this whole time change thing is stupid?  Or doesn't it effect* you the way it hits me?

(*let me guess, I used the wrong word there.  Forgive me, it's earlier than it seems.)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Not-So Graceful Juggling Act

:cue circus music:

Eh, that just makes everything sound more cheerful than it is.  :shoots person playing circus music:

Like Meredith Grey (Grey's Anatomy), I'm feeling all dark and twisty today.  Which means I'm treading light around family and pets.  Good thing Hubs and Daughts are both still sleeping.  So far only the cats have been treaded lightly around.  It's not their fault I crawled out from under the wrong side of the rock this morning.

But enough about me and my angsty, hormonal, pissy little whining self.

I've got balls...  In the air, I mean.  At least I had them in the air for a short time there.  I was writing, and editing, and revising.  I was cat-mothering, and Daughter-mothering, and housewifing, and crocheting, and reading.  I even worked in a little exercising.  I was juggling like mad.  (Hence the circus music.)

This morning, I woke up to find most of the balls were already scattered around me, and the few I had left in the air I wanted to chuck at someone's head.  (No one's in particular - just the first available head.)  I want to get in the car, leaving my balls behind for someone else to pick up.

'Cept I can't. 

My juggling act may not be pretty, but it's mine.  It may not even be as difficult as most people's.  Lord knows if I was really as jammed as I felt, I wouldn't have time for TV, right? 

So, even as dark and twisty as I feel, I'll juggle one-handed while I use the other hand to pick up whatever balls I've dropped.  I'll drop them again - that's a given.  From time to time, I may even have to use my feet.  I may be as graceful as an elephant on a unicycle for a while, but the balls will get juggled.

If it kills me.  (Or lands me in the loony bin.)

How do you keep all your balls in the air?  Ever want to just chuck them at someone?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I Don't Wanna

Ever have one of those days when your to-do list is staring you in the face, taunting you?  Yeah, that's where I've been off and on for the past couple weeks.  The longer the list gets, the less I want to tackle anything on it.  And frankly my to-do list makes me nauseous.  I mean, some of the things on it aren't exactly conducive to good abdominal health.

But I did them.

I signed us up for college orientation and paid the fees for Hubs and I to attend.  (HURL)  I sent out some queries - complete with shiny new letter and retweaked pages.  (GACK)  We got the kid's housing application sent in and she now knows what dorm she'll be residing in.  (BARF) 

I get queasy just thinking about the money we'll have to pay for college.  I also get barfy thinking about the placement exams she'll have to take before she'll be allowed to register for classes (and whether I've done a good enough job teaching her what she needs to know to succeed in college).  And of course, I always want to lose my lunch wondering whether my writing is good enough to attract anyone's attention.

Urp Urp Urp

But after some procrastination, I did what I needed to do. The nauseating parts of my list aren't totally finished, but I'm still plugging away. 

What do you have on your list that makes you feel gross?  How do you get past the nausea and accomplish those items?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award - Part Two

Hi All.  Over the weekend, the wonderful Debs Carr of Daydreams in the Shed, one of my lovely UK blogging buddies, honored me with the Stylish Blogger Award.  I didn't realize at the time, but I've had this award before.  Still, Debs' gifting is no less important than the last time, so consider this a Part Two.

The rules are to post seven things about me and then pass it along to seven other people.  As always, I'm happy to post the seven things, and I'll let you all decide whether you feel like a Stylish Blogger enough to gift this to yourself.

And now for the seven things:

1.  I'm a Taurus.  And for the most part, the traits of that sign really do mirror my own traits.  (As an aside, I love the Ford Taurus and have owned two over the years.)

2. I'm also a Dog in the Chinese zodiac.  Also mirrors many of my traits, but less so.

3. I don't actually believe in astrology, but I get a kick out of reading about my signs and seeing if my horoscope actually gets it right.   

4.  Every test I've ever done - up to and including the Myers-Briggs - says I'm an introvert, but I don't feel like one.  Sure, I enjoy being alone, but I like to think I'm equal parts introvert and extrovert.  I can schmooze with the best of them.  I just choose not to.  ;o)

5. I have this weird quirk where every time someone tells me how much they like something I own, I have to tell them how little I paid for it.  "Great shoes" turns into "Payless - $3.99 after the BOGO discount."  It's a sickness and I'm working on it.  I do love a great deal, though, and I want to pass it along.

6. I collect rocks.

7. In high school, I was captain of the High School Challenge team (formerly know as Quiz Bowl).  It was students competing in rounds of PBS televised trivia for fun and prizes.  (Okay, so we never saw a prize, but it was fun.)  My senior year we made it as far as quarter finals.  Yep, I competed in the Nerd Olympics.  It was a blast.

I hope you enjoyed reading my answers.  If you decide to play along, let me know so I can visit your blog, too.  (And you really should, because you are a Stylish Blogger.)


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Who Am I?

I was thinking about my author bio this morning and I came to a realization.  On paper, I'm boring. 

Seriously.  I'm a housewife, living in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere.  I spend most of my time in my house, dorking around on the internet, reading, crocheting and teaching my kid what few things I have left to impart on her High School Senior person.  And, of course, doing writerly things.

Want to see what my bio paragraph looks like right now?

When I’m not writing full time, maintaining my blog, or doing other writerly things, I’m a housewife and homeschooler, who reads everything she can get her hands on and watches too much TV.  Before I dropped into this semi-hermit existence, I spent the majority of my time in corporate America—schmoozing, consulting and administrating wherever my unfinished degree in Speech and Psychology would suit me best.

Yup.  That's it.  Total snooze-fest.  It's also totally accurate.  Sentence one tells what I do now.  Sentence two tells what I used to do (and imparts a bit of what I'm still capable of, despite the fact that I am now boring).  :yawn:  That's me in a nutshell.  Snooze-a-rama. 

People I know don't find me boring - I hope.  My Facebook and blog friends haven't given any indication that I'm a yawner to be around.  Hell, I have more fun inside my head and around the house than anyone can imagine.  I don't think I'm boring, but I can see how it might appear that way.

The problem is I have one paragraph to boil who I am into a rich and meaty stew any agent would be delighted to enjoy. 

I've been places and done things way beyond the confines of this dinky place on the eastern plains of Colorado.  I've driven the mean streets of Detroit and Flint.  (Okay, yeah, I was too chicken to get out of the car, but wouldn't you be?)  I've weathered the edge of a hurricane in my apartment in Tallahassee.  I've explored the back roads - sometimes at the risk of great bodily harm - of the Wasatch Mountains.  I've hung out with artists in their gallery in Salt Lake City.  I've dined with the CEOs of multi-million dollar companies - once on a yacht on Lake Michigan under the glow of Chicago.  I've driven through wildfire smoke so thick I could hardly see and tornado force winds where the tumbleweeds were blowing sideways as the car shook around me.  I've endured frostbite and heat stroke and brain damage and physical therapy that would make a grown man cry (and judging from the other patients, it often did).

How do you take all the rich experiences of a life and turn them into a paragraph?  Especially one that relates to writing?  All the things I've done go into who I am and what I write.  Those words up there in italics are totally accurate and at the same time, wholly insufficient. 

Who am I?  I'm a former road-warrior who's often gotten herself into scrapes she almost didn't get herself out of, who is willing to break herself into tiny pieces if it means getting the job done, who married a man she spent a total of six days in the physical presence of before the wedding and then moved 600 miles to the middle of nowhere to be with that man, who dropped everything to homeschool a child who was failing in the public education system.  Sure, I live most of my life now in my head, but I have 40 years of life experiences that go way beyond what it says in that one little paragraph.

Who am I?  I'm a writer. 

Do anyone really need to know anything else?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Drought is Over

I have good news...

But I don't want to jinx it.

And no, it's not agent related or publication related or family related.

Okay, fine.  I'll talk.  But if typing this jinxes me, I'm going to scream.

You may recall me mentioned that I was dry.  Every time I went to dip into the well of creativity, my bucket came up empty.  Nothing sparked me.  I was out of new ideas.  Hell, I couldn't even get a few good paragraphs to replace the lame beginning of Nano.  I tried everything I could think of (and a few things you people suggested) to get the juices flowing again, and nada.

Well, earlier today a kinda creepy thought came to me as I stared into the pregnant clouds*.  A 'what if' that I really hope never comes to pass.  Tonight I sat down with an unused steno pad and started writing the beginning of what I'm currently calling "Untitled Post-Apocalyptic".  I only got a couple pages down and they're godawful, but the point is: I had an IDEA!  I actually started something new!  Not only that, but starting the new story something gave me the spark I needed to hit the beginning of Nano again. 

Now, I'm not a huge believer that I need inspiration before I can write, but when the flow becomes a trickle and the trickle turns into a drip that quickly dries up, I know I'm screwed.  Frankly, it's been driving me frickin' crazy. 

Here's hoping the tap doesn't dry up again any time soon.

Do you need inspiration to write?  Has your muse ever deserted you? 

*And oddly enough those clouds poured rain here in the high desert this evening.  Sure, it probably didn't stop the drought** we've had for years, but how's that for a freaky coincidence?

** Is it just me or does the word 'drought' seem silly for a place called 'the high desert'?  Doesn't a drought in the desert seem a smidgen redundant?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Aimlessly Driving Around in the Dark

Last night I took Daughter out for an hour of the 'night driving' she has to complete to get her drivers license.  Usually I give her directions on the path to take because I know what skills I want her to glean out of each driving session.  Since last night the only skill she needed to learn was how to drive in the dark, I gave her the keys and said "Go where you want to go - but stay in the city limits".

It's kinda like writing.  We all have the skills to head off into the night.  We all know the basic parameters of our journey.  Sometimes we have a destination in mind, and sometimes we're aimlessly driving around in the dark.  On occasion, we pick up new skills along the way and every once in a while, the aimless driving is simply practice for the real test.

Some days this whole business of writing and querying feels like aimless driving - destination in mind or not.  Sometimes I know where I want to go and have no idea how to get there.  Other times, I'm sure I'm on the right road only to stall or crash or get sideswiped by some other driver.

But I'm still driving ahead.  Regardless of the potholes and road construction.  Regardless of how jammed the highway may be.  I'm driving ahead and hoping that maybe someday I'll get where I'm going.  Until then I just need to sit tight and enjoy the journey.