Sunday, February 26, 2012

Tagged - I'm It

I got tagged by Alexia Chamberlain to answer 11 questions about myself.  From the looks of this meme, the questions change with each person asking.  Below are Alexia's questions for the people she tagged.  Visit her blog to see the questions she was asked and her answers.

1. What setting best describes you?  A forest in the middle of nowhere.  I seem quiet, but if you stick around long enough, there's lots of noise and plenty of interesting things to see.  Plus, I'm pretty calm - until a storm blows through.  ;o)

2. What was your favorite childhood book?  This is a toughy.  There were so many.  D'Aulaires Book of Greek Myths got checked out from the school library the most.  The Mystical Beast by Alison Farthing was one I owned that got read until it was all soft and warm.  The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia McKillip had a huge impact on me.

3. Besides reading and writing what are at least two of your favorite pastimes?  Besides reading and writing?  There are other pastimes??  I kid.  Two of my other favorites are birdwatching and photography.

4. What is the coolest/strangest thing you've ever done?  Hmmm.  Coolest thing would have to be touring inside one of those airplanes that flies into bad weather so I could see all the monitoring equipment and help them solve an electronic part problem.  (I think they needed something small like a capacitor or a resistor.)

5. If any character from any book could be your best friend, who would it be?  I've always been partial to Eddie Willers from Atlas Shrugged.  He was the heroine's best friend and I envied her that.

6. If you could be invisible for one day, what would you do?  Sneak up on wildlife and photograph it.

7. What famous person (dead or alive) do you consider a role model for your own aspirations? I don't think I have any famous role models for my aspirations.  I take a little bit of inspiration from a lot of different people - famous and not-so famous - but I can't think of any I model myself after.

8. Which Greek or Roman (or other culture's mythological) deity would you be (either who you'd like to be or who you most resemble)?  In my formative years when I was reading about Greek myths to the exclusion of almost everything else, I wanted to be Artemis.  Of course, that was also the time in my youth when I was roaming the countryside around my home with my trusty canine companion by my side.  Nowadays, I'd like to be Hermes, but I'm more like Demeter.

9. Would you like to marry a Vulcan?  Don't even get me started on my big huge crush for Spock (from the original series). 

10. Do you believe in any conspiracy theories?  I make up my own conspiracy theories, so yeah.  My daughter just laughs at me, but she also understands that just because you're paranoid doesn't mean people aren't out to get you.

11. If you were to reincarnate, what would you like to be?  A hawk - preferably a redtail. 

Since I don't really like to tag back, I'm just going to leave it up to you to do this one - answering either the questions Alexia asked me, or the ones her friends asked her - if you want to.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Writing: An Analogy in Pictures

Earlier today I stepped outside for a smoke and saw a hawk drifting lazily through the sky above.  I ran in the house for my camera, because you never can tell when you're going to get a chance to catch a hawk on the wing.  I managed to snap two before his flight took him behind the trees.  They weren't even very good.  C'est la vie.  As I was turning to go, though, I thought I saw a glimpse of orange in the tree limbs below where the hawk had been drifting.  Sure enough, a squirrel was crouched at the end of a cut branch.  I walked around a little bit to get a shot where the twigs weren't in front of his face, but for the most part, the shot, the lighting, the composition - that was luck.

I've been waiting years for this Christmas cactus to bloom.  Every time it gets a bud, something happens and the bud falls off before it blooms.  Recently, I noticed a single bud forming at the top of my plant and I've been babying this thing ever since.  Now it's covered with buds and one by one they're blooming.  The shots I took of that first bud were more like the candid snaps I used to take with my old 110 camera as a child - pretty, but not amazing.  This time, I waited until the light was just right.  I crawled on the floor trying to get just the right angle.  I moved things out of the way to get just the right look. 

I think both pics are amazing.  One was total happenstance.  The other was carefully planned and took weeks of coaxing to get this ornery cactus to make with the blooming already.  Both are professional quality, imnsho, and I'd be happy to offer them for sale.  (Okay, maybe I could still tweak a bit, but like writing, I'm never 100% happy with my pics.)

What's the point?  It doesn't matter whether your work turns out awesome by hard work or by happenstance. Sometimes getting the words on paper is easy and it all comes together without a whole lot of effort on our parts.  Other times, it takes everything we have just to get that one turn of phrase we can be proud of.  In the end, how we get to the awesome doesn't matter - the only thing that matters is that we reach the awesome eventually.

And by the way, to get those two awesome shots above, I took a whole lot of pics that weren't so awesome.  Some were close.  Hell, a few are nearly as great as those two.  But those were the two I chose as the best and offered up for public consumption.  Sound familiar??  ;o)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wicked Awesome Author Wednesday

Wow, the best laid plans of mice and chicks...  It's been a while but here we are again with WAAW (pronounced wow - because I said so).  The last time we were here, I was chatting up my buddy, JB Lynn - who btw is having an awesome Twitter event from 3-5pm today (hashtag #neurotic).

This week, I thought I'd change it up a little and go with an author I have a big huge writer crush on.

I've never met this person.  Hell, we've barely even chatted online.  But I love her like I love the sound of geese flying over the house, the smell of lilacs on a spring morning, and a brilliant sunrise.  She inspires me and makes me want to be a better writer.  I'm talking about Seanan McGuire.

Under the Seanan McGuire name, she's written countless short stories and, of course, the reason I discovered her in the first place, the October 'Toby' Daye urban fantasy series.  From the first few chapters of Rosemary and Rue, I knew I was in deep authorly love.  With every subsequent page I read, I fell deeper.  And then I read FEED published under her pseudonym, Mira Grant - the first in her Newsflesh Trilogy - and knew what I felt before was puppy-love.

I mean, OMFG.  You ever read something that makes you simultaneously a) question why you ever thought you could write anything and b) light a fire under you to get as close as you can to writing with that level of awesomeness.

Aside from being a WAA, Ms. McGuire is also a furparent to some awesome kitty-babies, and she's an accomplished musician.  (Although to be honest, I'd never listened to any of her Wicked Girls stuff until this morning when I found this video.  If you watch the video, I think that's her third from the left.)

ETA: I totally forgot about her brand new series - InCryptid.  The first book - Discount Armageddon - releases on March 6th.  (And I'm not linking to where to buy it because Seanan is having some issues with certain sales outlets shipping early, which kills her first week sales figures.  Please buy her books, but don't buy them early.)  PS.  Isn't that a wicked awesome cover?? 

We may not always have the same viewpoints, but as far as her writing goes, she's Wicked Awesome in my book.

*Disclaimer: I don't know Seanan.  In fact, she doesn't even know I'm doing this post.  She didn't ask me to, she never gave me any goodies, and all of the above is my opinion alone.  (Seriously, though, if you aren't loving her already, why not? She defines 'wicked awesome'.)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


I don't know about the rest of you writers out there, but I have this thing where in order to do a true rewrite, I have to make myself forget everything I wrote before.  Otherwise, I end up falling into the same ruts I was stuck in when I realized I had a problem.  And those turns of phrase I once thought were clever (but later realized were lame) will continue to pop up.  Bleh. 

I wish I had an eraser for my brain.  Or, like the poster said yesterday, I wish I could go back in time and punch myself in the face so I don't make those mistakes in the first place. 

And anyone who ever said that writing was easy?  Yeah, I'd like to punch them in the face, too.  Hard.  Open a vein, my ass.  I got a vein for ya right here, bud. 

In better news, I did manage to get 888 words rewritten on chapter one and they don't suck so far.  So that's something.

How's your work going? 

Monday, February 20, 2012

How Much is Too Much?

Well, I've finally done it.  In all the books I've written up to now, this has never happened.  But it did.  I've finally reached the point where I hate my own book.  Like I told Daughter yesterday, I want to print out a copy just so I can burn it.  I want to shred it page by page - by hand.  I want to crumple it all up in a ball and eat it (like in that episode of Grey's Anatomy, but without the intestinal blockage and mercury poisoning). 

I hit the realization that I hated this (or at least the first chapter of this, after which I was unable to read forward) yesterday morning - after I finished typing in the last of the edits for chapter one and read through what I'd done.  This thing I've created... that I once loved with wild abandon... has become something I don't even recognize.  It's choppy and inconsistent.  My heroine is a blathering moron who throws out quips like like week's leftovers.  The villain is boring and not only is his motivation unclear, but his actions make Snidley Whiplash look like a criminal genius.  The crux of the plot is so convoluted I get nauseous just trying to follow it.  And that's just the first chapter.  :headdesk:

After much gnashing of teeth and tearing of hair, I did what I swore I wouldn't do*.  I sent the chapter off to Daughter at college.  She received it and did something she never does - she was silent all day.  At least all day until I cornered her last night on FB chat and made her tell me what she thought.  Her answer, after several seconds of stalling: "I liked in general but..." 

It took a while to get specifics out of her, but she gave me some choice things to think about.  And I did.  I dwelled on it, in fact.  Hell, I went to bed thinking about it.  Know what I came up with?

I over-edited this thing.  What started out as something I loved like cheesecake turned into something I wouldn't serve to my worst enemy.  (Okay, maybe my WORST enemy, but certainly not to anyone I didn't hate.)  I fiddled with it too much, added too many unnecessary ingredients, over stirred and took out some key spices - all of which left this whole thing chewy and flat and gross.  Basically I took a great thing and turned it into garbage.  Go me.

Unlike the unfortunate cheesecake, though, this thing can be fixed.  I just need to start over, using some of what I already wrote along with some newer better stuff. 

The question of the day is, though, How much is too much?  How do you know when you're still editing to make it better or editing the hell out of something until it's so much worse you want to punch yourself in the face?

*I swore I wouldn't send Daughter pages because she's like in college and junk, and needs to be focusing on her work - not mine.

** Above image shamelessly stolen from Anton Strout's Facebook page.  It was too poignant not to add it to this blog.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sustained Effort

As you may or may not know, my daughter had a rough go of her first semester at college.  She started out fine, but mid-semester it all went to hell.  This semester, she's starting out even better than she did last semester, but I'm trying not to get my hopes up.  Like I told both my husband and my mother, we need to see if she can keep this up.

And thinking about my conversations on this topic made me realize something.  The kid comes by it honestly.  I have a real problem with sustained effort myself.

Take my crocheting for example.  If I can keep my head down and just work, I can knock a blanket out in a month.  But they usually take me far longer.  I start out great, but after a while, the work level drops off.  This one I've got in my work bag was mostly finished back in December, but I haven't touched it in weeks.

It's the same thing with exercising.  I start out with the goal of exercising regularly, and I do that for a week or two.  This time, I've been doing it for three weeks so far.  I'm at the point when I usually get distracted or discouraged or just plain bored and stop.

What about cleaning?  Same thing.  Three years ago, I made a cleaning schedule for this behemoth of a house.  Each weekday had its own chore.  That lasted a couple months.  Now I rush around attacking the things that most need doing when I can no longer stand looking at the gathering dust bunnies.

And my writing?  Okay, so I can put my head down and write a book in two months.  That's awesome.  Yay.  But what happens after?  I sit down to edit and do that in dribs and drabs until it's eventually done.  (Or not, depending on the book and my commitment level.)

That's no way to succeed.  If I want to accomplish these goals of mine, I need to be serious about it.  I need to reach some kind of sustained effort.  Get up to speed and stay there until the work is done, or if the work is never done (like exercising or writing), then I need to maintain that level of effort for the rest of my life.

I believe acknowledging the problem helps defeat it.  So, now that I know I have a problem with sustained effort, I fully expect to conquer it.  I will exercise today.  I will sit my ass down and work through this hard copy edit of chapter one.  Monday, my cleaning schedule will resume.  And when I need a break from all that, I'll finish that damn blanket.  Because hey, I can't expect my daughter to conquer her problem if I'm just sitting here on my ever-widening ass letting my own problem fester.

What about you?  How are you with sustained effort?  What trips you up - distraction, discouragement, boredom...?  If nothing trips you up, how do you manage sustained effort?

Friday, February 17, 2012

This That and an Award

Well, I was AWOL yesterday taking a trip up to Fort Collins to visit the college kid.  Really if you're in that town for any reason, stop by a place called CharcoBroiler.  Awesome food.  And the mashed potatoes are to die for.  Anyway, as usual, I was toast by the time I got home.  On the upside, I think all the exercising I've been doing helped keep me from being a total wreck for the usual 24 hrs or more afterwards.  Today wasn't so bad.  Still tired, but not zombie-like.

Have any of you tried the new Granola Crisp things from Nature Valley?  I got both the peanut butter and the chocolate kinds.  I haven't had the chocolate ones yet, but the peanut butter are pretty good.  Just the right amount of sweetness and crunch with a kiss of salty.  Yummers.

I'm still working on the hard copy edits of the first chapter of Djinnocide.  It's keeping it's basic shape, but a lot of the wording is getting tweaked and unnecessary things are getting snipped.  Too much time spent expounding on things that aren't really crucial at this point in the story (if they ever will be).

And now for the Award.  Silver James graced me with the Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award.  I think Silver is the one who's sweet for giving me the award.  Anyway, the general rules are:

1. Reveal 7 random facts about yourself

2. Pass the Sweet award to up to 10 recipients and no tag-backs!

So here goes nothing...

- I'm a nerd - which should come as no surprise to some of you (especially my daughter - the Geeks shall inherit the Earth, darlin'.)  Which is why I got a total kick out of the following pic... *Image was of the weather forecast for Alderon - which I deleted because I don't own the image*

- I used to have a pet chicken named Raphaela.  She was the last surviving member of the original 18 my father bought as laying hens.  Dad didn't know I got attached to her when he gave her away.

- I cannot eat peas unless they're in something like stew or a pot-pie.  Just the thought of them popping in my mouth makes me gag.

- My hands are so double-jointed, I can lay them flat on the table and raise all my fingers so the back of my hand makes a bowl-like shape.  Not as much now as I could when I was young, but age and injury hits us all in one way or another.

- I'm also one of the populous who can turn her tongue upside down - which made it really great for the ol' bar trick of tying a cherry stem in a knot.  It never won me any drinks, but it did make for one hell of a hilarious office party once.  (And no, nothing untoward happened.  We just had a lot of laughs.)

- Monkeys creep me out.  I don't know what it is.  They just do.  And chimpanzees are the worst.  Nothing can make me change the channel faster than a documentary about chimps. 

- I still have some of my favorite childhood stuffed animals. Marshmallow the polar bear, a Snoopy doll, the polka dot puppy I had as a baby, and an original Steiff elephant direct from Germany.  I let my daughter play with some of them, but the Snoopy and the puppy are over 40 years old and the Steiff is a collector's item.

Hope you enjoyed those.  As usual, I don't follow the rules and name other people to thrust the award upon.  Suffice it to say I think you're all sweet just for stopping by.  :hugs:

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I Needs Me One of These

*Deleted image was of a WTF stamp*

Teachers?  More like a writer's dream tool.  I could totally use that for hard copy edits.  Right now, I just put a big frickin' question mark.  That stamp would be so SO so much better.  And if they made one that said WWYTH? (What Were You Thinking Here?) that would be awesome, too.

How useful would that stamp be for you?  What other kind of stamp could you use in your daily operations?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Trying Not to Rant

Lately it seems like every post I write is a rant about something.  (Yeah, you didn't know that because I delete most of them.)

Like last week, I wrote a whole rant about people who shovel their driveways into the street.

Or the post I had scheduled for yesterday, which I removed before it went up, about people who equate writing fiction to lying.  (As Daughter pointed out, it's a bi-annual rant.)

And this morning, considering how my clothes smell like funked-out wood smoke, I could easily rant about the people around the corner who really don't care what they throw in their fireplace as long as it burns.

But you don't want to hear about that, and I really don't want to become 'that chick who rants' around the blogosphere.  (Although... my comment numbers go up every time I rant, so maybe you do want to hear it.)

Anyway, I'm chalking up to the fact that my hormone shot is due next week.  And I'm usually a raging lunatic the week before shot time.  (Just ask the kid.)  Usually once I realize my problem, the urge to rant evens out, so don't expect any ranting any time soon - even if Saturday was a kind of mini-rant.

And on a happier note, I just heard this morning about a new non-fiction project for Christine Fonseca that I'm totally excited about.  It's called Redefining Normal: A Girl’s Guide to Embracing Her Identity and Realizing Her Potential and it sounds like an incredible avenue to help girls. I probably could've used it when I was young. I know Daughter needed something like that. If it sounds like something you might be interested in, stop by and fill out the form to maybe contribute your experiences.

Have a nice day, Everyone, and try to avoid the ranty places.  All that negativity can't be good for you.  ;o)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Derp? Chime In

Just now on Facebook, ":Redacted: could you please do me a huge favour and if possible write my daughters name into your next book? Her name is :redacted: and if you could do that not only would I continue to be a huge fan and be eternally grateful :)"

That was left as a comment to a general post by a popular MG author.  It wasn't a call for people to help him find names for a character (which I sometimes see).  It wasn't a contest wherein the winner would get their name in the author's next novel. 

I don't know about you, but I think that takes tremendous cajones.  I wonder what they were thinking.  Was it a case of 'it never hurts to try' or what?  Do readers develop such a relationship in their heads with the authors they love that asking a favor like that seems natural?  Or have we reached a place in civilization where common courtesy has gone by the wayside?

Maybe it's just me.  I'd never be so presumptuous as to think any author would grant me that kind of favor.  (I mean, unless it's someone I know really well and I jokingly said 'hey, if you like me so much, name a character after me'.)

Feel free to chime in.  How would you feel if some random person asked you to name a character after their kid?  Would you ever do that with a favorite author of yours?

Funny story: A while back - maybe last year - I was reading a favorite author's latest romantic suspense and saw that one of her secondary characters had my last name.  Since I visit her blog and comment regularly, I jokingly thanked her for the honor and she said something about it being subconscious.  (Okay, maybe not that funny.  Guess you had to be there.)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Picture Pause - Hawk's Eye View

Sorry... up to my ass in hard copy edits...  I hope you enjoy this pic instead of a real post...

This majestic visitor was hanging out in a tree across the street.  Thank goodness for my sharp-eyed husband who spotted him first, and thank goodness for a camera with awesome zoom capabilities.

After some careful research, we determined that it's a Red Tail Hawk - light phase.  (Who knew Red Tails have different phase colors?)  Isn't it gorgeous?

And for a little perspective, here it is a couple feet from a Eurasian Collared Dove (which is half again as big as a Mourning Dove or just slightly smaller than a standard pigeon).  Gorgeous and huge... Lucky for the dove, it didn't seem hungry that morning.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Lizard-palooza: An Interview with God

Today, we have a guest post by none other than JB Lynn's masterful creation, God the lizard.  Take it away, God.

I was pleased when B.E. asked me to do this guest blog post in celebration of CONFESSIONS OF A SLIGHTLY NEUROTIC HITWOMAN being released as a paperback. She is obviously a woman with discerning taste, since she chose to ask me, Godzilla (but you can call me God…Godzilla is just so pretentious, don’t you think?) instead of Maggie, the title character of the book.

I decided to use the 10 questions James Lipton asks his guests on Inside the Actors Studio.

  1. What is your favorite word?
  2. What is your least favorite word?
    Actually it’s a phrase “humanly possible”…it’s just so… limiting
  3. What turns you on?
    WHEEL OF FORTUNE! And true crime shows. And telling Maggie what to do.
  4. What turns you off?
    Dead food….and dogs (their grammar is atrocious)
  5. What sound or noise do you love?
    My own voice.
  6. What sound or noise do you hate?
  7. What is your favorite curse word?
    As a general rule, I don’t approve of cursing. Sentient beings should be able to express themselves without resorting to the use of crude language. I must admit though, that living with Maggie has affected my vocabulary.
  8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
    Profession? I am king of my universe. All my needs are attended to. Why would I want to be anything else?
  9. What profession would you not like to do?
    Anything that would require actual work.
  10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
    “An endless supply of live crickets awaits you.” Or “Are you ready to spin the wheel?”

CONFESSIONS OF A SLIGHTLY NEUROTIC HITWOMAN is now available as an e-book or paperwork through the fine retailers listed at the HarperCollins site.

A lifelong resident of New Jersey (something she hopes you won’t hold against her), JB Lynn doesn’t care if the cup is half full or empty; all she cares about is whether it’s regular or decaf! She writes with a parrot on her shoulder, two dogs at her feet, and a patient husband in the next room. To learn more about JB and her books, please visit

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Guest Post from Novelist Christine Fonseca

Today I have the honor of welcoming Christine Fonseca - the author of the recently released novella Dies Irae and the upcoming novel Lacrimosa (Book 1 in the Requiem series) - for this most recent stop on her blog tour.
Backing Away From The Abyss

As writers, we’ve all been there—ready to throw in the towel and send our laptops flying. Maybe it’s the rejections inherent in any creative endeavor. Or maybe it’s the writer’s block that seems to have overtaken every writing moment. Whatever the reason, we have all found ourselves on the cliff ready to jump off.

For me, it was being uncertain about my abilities to make the transition to fiction, having to shelve the novel that inspired this series, and getting nowhere with the query-game for a different novel. I was done. I really was. But, being ever-stubborn, I decided to dig deep, deeper than I had previously. I talked with friends, did a lot of the things listed below and meditated, searching for some clarity about the path I was on. My answers came quickly. But during the period before, when I was certain this was it for me—it was time to quit—I found a few things that helped me gain perspective and back away from the abyss:

  • Answer this question - Are You a Writer?
This is a critical first step. I’m not asking “Are you published?” or “Are you good enough?” I’m asking whether or not you’re a writer at all. Do you see the world as a series of scenes? Do you look at people in terms of their character traits? Do you remember good lines and think “I really need to use this in a story”? Is writing one of the top things on your mind everyday? And finally, do you still have something to say to the world? If the answer is YES, than you are a writer!

Yea, I AM a writer – whether I am writing or not.

  • Write anything.
If, like me, you decide you ARE a writer – then write. Period.
Write anything you want. Let the creative muse drive your decisions, not your need to be published, or the market, or whatever. Just your muse. Write Anything. And write often.

  • Focus on the positives
There are plenty of things to get frustrated with in this business. The key, I think, is to find the POSITIVE things. Like the growth you’ve made as a writer. Or the connections you’ve made with other writers facing the same struggles. Or the ways your craft has improved. Anything.

  • Face your fears.
Writing is an interesting thing. It has the power to unlock some of your deepest darkest yuck that lurks inside—or maybe that’s just me. Regardless, pursuing your dreams in this business will require you to face some of your doubts and fears sooner or later. So, you need to be prepared. Personally, I think the only way to deal with the scary stuff is to walk straight through it. You have lots of supporters to help you on this path. Grab their hands, close your eyes, and move forward, no matter how hard it feels at times.

  • Take a break.
Yes, you want to cultivate the habit of writing. But, you need to temper that habit with living. If you are like me – an obsessive personality – this can be a daunting task. But, it is so very important to master! After all, if all you do is write, when will you live and find the ideas for your stories?

There you go, a few of the lessons I’ve learned facing the edge of some very high cliffs.

I bet you are curious about the end to that story, aren’t you? The answers I found during my contemplations. Well, Compass Press and I started negotiating the deal for the Requiem Series one day – yes ONE DAY – after I asked for guidance. It was another month or so before things were finalized.  So so thankful I held on! The lesson in this, you really never know what lies around the next corner.

What gets you through the hard? Gets you to back away from the Abyss?

About Christine Fonseca

School psychologist by day, critically acclaimed YA and nonfiction author by night, Christine Fonseca believes that writing is a great way to explore humanity. Her debut YA Gothic series, The Requiem Series, including DIES IRAE and LACRIMOSA, examines the role of redemption, sacrifice and love. When she’s not writing or spending time with her family, she can be sipping too many skinny vanilla lattes at her favorite coffee house or playing around on Facebook and Twitter. Catch her daily thoughts about writing and life onher blog.

For more information about Christine Fonseca or the series, visit her website – or her blog

Thanks to Christina for her guest post and to all of you for stopping by. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

New Things

I love finding new things.  For instance, this week at the grocery store, I found this agave nectar sweetener for coffee.  My store stocks Hazelnut and Vanilla.  I wasn't feeling adventurous, so I just got Vanilla.  Yummers.  And it's an all-natural sweetener without sugar.  Score!

Ever see those commercials for Tide Washing Machine cleaner?  A-ma-zing.  So, I went looking for it.  It sounds awesome, but it's like $7+ a box.  Yeah, I didn't want to clean my washing machine that bad.  But as I was looking for a dishwasher cleaner (cuz my dishwasher is disgusting inside), I found one that also does washing machines and garbage disposals.  It's called LemiShine and cost me $2-something.  Huzzah!  I tried it out on my washing machine yesterday.  Haven't washed a load yet, but as long as my machine no longer has a funk, I'll be happy.

I'm probably one of the last people in America to be without a Swiffer.  They just seem kinda pricey for something I could do myself a lot cheaper.  Ya know?  Well, anyway, I finally broke down and went shopping for a Swiffer Duster.  I didn't get one, but I did get this other similar thing for a buck twenty five.  Dusted the whole house while I was on the phone with CollegeGirl.  Un-freaking-real.

And my dirty rotten grocery store - those bastards - started stocking something called Volcano Lava Cake.  Seriously?  Why would they do that to me?  I don't know if you're familiar with the concept, but a lava cake spurts chocolate at you when you cut into it.  This brand has a ring of cake with chocolate down the center.  Nuke it for 20 seconds and the chocolate gets all gooey.  OMFG.  It was amazing.  And seriously fattening.  From now on, my grocery store is only allowed to stock new product that is low calorie or helps burn fat.

We won't even talk about the Edy's Drumstick ice cream they got in last week.

Have you found any new products to share lately?  Ever had lava cake?  Is your grocery store evil, too?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

What Happens Next

You may or may not have caught my post yesterday.  I'm finished with the first draft of the book I'm calling Djinn 2.  Judging from the comments, there may have been a bit of confusion.  For that, I apologize.  Writers always strive for clarity.  Let's just say that, even though I work very hard to achieve clarity in my fiction, I don't always achieve it in my blog posts.

So, what happens next when I finish a first draft?

I let it sit.  I leave it alone.  I try to forget about it so when I go back I can look at it with fresh eyes.  Sometimes that takes a month or two.  Sometimes it only take a couple weeks.  This time?  Well, we'll see.

In the meantime, I'll be working on the edits for Djinnocide - the first book in the series.  I've been working on this book on and off since i started the thing in September of 2009.  Since then, I've rewritten it twice.  This will be the umpteenth edit of the last and best incarnation.  The one I hope will launch me into the ranks of the agented, and propel my career so that I can actually publish this series.

While I'm working on the edits for Djinnocide, I'll be perfecting my query materials.  When I get done with the edits and the polishing - hopefully by March because I don't think I have any deep editing left (unless my beta readers and crit partners tell me differently) - I will query for Djinnocide and begin the first round of edits on Djinn 2.

Or if I'm still too close to Djinn 2 to see the flaws, I will work on a different unedited manuscript.  (Lord knows I have plenty to choose from.)  And I'll still be sending out submissions.

So, that's the plan.  What do you do when you finish a manuscript?  Do you let it simmer or do you dive right into edits?  If you haven't finished one yet, do you have a plan for what you'll do once yours is done?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Dun duh Dun Dun DONE!

Last night after 80849 words, I finished Djinn 2.  I still don't have a name for it, but the first draft is in the can.  (And hopefully when I go back to edit, I won't want it in the trashcan.)

I said that I would finish it in January and indeed I did.  I started this December 1st.  I wrote the end of it January 31st.  I guess that means it's time for a new goal, eh?

I want to have the edits finished on Djinnocide by February 29th.  I also want to have the submission materials all rewritten by then because I'd really like to start querying in March.  But I'm thinking that might be a little far-reaching, so if I don't hit the query waves until April, I'm okay with that.  I'll just take it one day at a time.

And btw, the pic up there is a totally unretouched photo of the sunrise a few days ago.  Neat, huh?  It doesn't quite look real, does it?

How are your 2012 goals looking after the first month?