Friday, May 31, 2013

Boom Boom

I'd like to introduce you to a friend of mine.  Boom Boom is a big fox squirrel.  In a yard overrun with gray squirrels, he is still the king of the yard.  And he does not like his neighbors.  Or maybe it's just that Boom Boom - like Joey from the show Friends - doesn't share food.  He'll run off any gray squirrel that comes anywhere near where he's eating.

Yesterday, we put a big pan of squirrel food in the yard.  In no time, the gray squirrels were there and had been run off by Boom Boom.  Crouched over the plate, he let everyone know it was his food.

Enter Henrietta - our resident hen turkey.  She came strolling into the yard and headed right for the food pan - because, hey, turkeys and squirrels eat pretty much the same stuff.  And a mix of corn and sunflower seeds was on the menu.  Yummers.

As she approached the feed, we were pretty sure she was going to run Boom Boom off.  No matter how big Boom Boom is, Henrietta easily outweighs him.  But when she got close to the pan, Boom Boom lowered himself to the ground and WHAM... he jumped at her.  Scared the shit out of poor Henrietta.  Every time she got close, he attacked.  Until she got to the point where she'd tentatively take a seed and then jump away.  At one point, she wandered away and then came back.  This time we thought for sure she'd screwed on her courage and would give Boom Boom something to think about, but no.

She did get it one good karate kick, but Boom Boom wasn't deterred.  It was his food.  And BOOM BOOM DOESN'T SHARE FOOD.

Eventually, Henrietta wandered away for good - no doubt in search of easier vittles.

Here's an action pic of the bout.  Don't let the image fool you. Even though it looks like Henrietta is the aggressor, Boom Boom struck first and this was snapped in the seconds afterwards when she was trying to get the hell out of the way.

Ah, life in the Ozarks.  Every day, it's something new.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


I think we could all use some chillin'.  These two are obviously showing us how it's done...

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Memorial Weekend Editing Marathon

What's on your agenda this long weekend?  (Or if you're not in the states, what'cha up to?)

I will be spending the weekend editing.  Good thing it's raining and we didn't have any plans otherwise.  The whole weekend stretched out in front of me with nothing to do but edit this damn book...

Ack.  Can't think of it like that or I'll get all squirmy and wind up on Monday with nothing to show for these days but a whole boatload of television viewing.

And when I think of the amount of work ahead of me, a whole weekend of vegging in front of the TV doesn't sound half bad.  But no.  I told myself I would work.  I told numerous other people I would work.  Now I'm telling you I'm working, so if I get to Monday with no work done, feel free to berate me soundly.

With that, I'm off.  I will stop by throughout the next couple days to authorize comments, and maybe take little breaks now and then.  Other than that, though, I will be working.  On the recliner, but working.  With the TV on...  Because I work well that way.  (yeahyeahthat'stheticket)

Oh, and before I forget, I've got a published author scheduled for Monday's guest post at The Guide.  Make sure you stop by and see who it is.  (Bet you'll never guess.)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Picture Pause - Fairy Oak and Baby Bird

When we were in the process of buying this place, I sent some pictures of it out to friends.  Silver James wrote back and told me this was called a Fairy Oak.  (I think... she'll correct me in comments if I'm wrong). 

Anyway, here's a pic of the tree as of yesterday.  It's so nice now that it has it's leaves. 

And because I'm so happy to have seen this, I thought you'd like to see it, too:

This is the third attempt at a nest for my Eastern Phoebe couple, and the second batch of eggs.  At least with this batch, we know at least one hatched.  I think I shall call him Spike.  (Sorry the pic's a bit fuzzy, but the nest is up under the deck, so I had to use the zoom and then hold the camera at a weird angle.)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

No Words

I'm without words today. 

The words I left at Killer Chicks were pre-scheduled sometime last week or they wouldn't be there either.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

More Djinnocide Over at Tabula Rasa

Hello, Everyone! 

This morning I thought I'd resume posting snippets of stuff over at Tabula Rasa - just not the whole Lucky Sevens thing.  (That was fun, but kind of restrictive.)  Anyway, go over there are read some more of the beginning of the book. 

I hope you have as much fun reading it as I had writing it.

Friday, May 17, 2013

There's Successful and then There's Me

There are several places on the web where you can find examples of successful queries.  Over the years, I've studied these.  I pour over them and then compare what these successful authors are writing in their queries versus what I'm writing in mine - you know to try and figure out why these people are getting agents' attention and I'm not.

Personally, I can't see any difference.

Oh sure, back when I was a wet-behind-the-ears newbie, there was a huge difference.  My early queries blew chunks in a major way.  But these days, with 9 years of working at this under my belt, my queries pretty much follow the same general course as these successful queries.  The only differences are in the subject matter.

The subject matter....

Yeah.  I thought about that, too.  This, of course, leads to comparing my writing to actual published books I'm reading.  Again, I'm not really seeing the difference.  Some of my stuff seems better than some published stuff I've read.  Some published stuff seems better.  Most of the time, my stuff is about on par with the stuff publishing houses are putting on the shelves.

Okay, so maybe my urban fantasies aren't quite as gritty or as spicy.  Maybe there's something cerebral mine have that others don't.  Maybe there's something cerebral they have that I don't.  And yeah, my suspense isn't quite 'romantic'.  I don't bill it as romantic suspense, though, so I don't think that's the problem.  Suspense with romantic elements - if the agent says they're looking for it - and straight suspense if they aren't. 

My daughter once told me that there weren't enough bodies in my urban fantasy.  I added more, but not too many more because the book isn't really meant to be a gore fest. 

Over the years, I've had an untold number of writers look at my queries and my books.  I get a few suggestions, but usually they're nothing major, and I do get kudos. 

I guess this morning I'm just running that hamster wheel in my head of why I'm not garnering interest.  True, I've only been back to querying for a short time, but it's less about what's happening now than what's been happening for years.  And yeah, I know the hamster wheel never does anyone any good.  It's just got me stymied.  I've tried to do everything the way I'm supposed to do it.

:shrug:  Maybe that's the problem.

No questions to ask here.  And not looking for suggestions.  Just blowing off some steam and getting my mental exercise running on the wheel.  If you want to blow off your own steam in the comments, feel free.

PS.  I'm not feeling down about any of this.  I'm just curious and trying to think things out.  I do this from time to time.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Warning Labels

Have we gotten to such a point in this country that everyone is stupid, or is it just that everyone  assumes everyone else is stupid?

I've been thinking about this for a while.  As you all know, we recently moved and bought a shit-ton of furniture and appliances for the new place.  The warning labels on all of that was ridiculous.  But this morning was the last prompt for this post.

My coffee carafe says "Do Not Hold Over People" (among other various warnings).  Umm, yeah.  Well, that screws up my plans for the weekend.  I was hoping to walk around holding a pot of hot coffee over people's heads and threatening them until they did my bidding.

When assembling the bookcases - all five of them - I was faced time and again with the warning to make sure I affixed the shelves TO THE WALL.  (How are you supposed to move your furniture around if it's all tacked to the wall?)  You know because children can climb on them and pull them over.  Someone could get hurt.  If I still had little kids and caught them so much as thinking about climbing on my bookcases, they would get hurt. I think if my daughter stops by she can attest to the truth of that.

The stove had the same warning - with big ass brackets.  Gotta screw the stove to the wall, because ya know, if you climb on the door when it's open, the stove could tip over.  (Or like if you were roasting a fifty pound turkey and pulled the tray out too far...  Rii-iight.)

Seriously, people? 

Shit happens in the world.  Usually shit happens to people doing something they know better then to be doing.  Or to kids whose parents are too stupid* to watch them like hawks - because kids need to be watched the way a Red Tail would scope out a mouse.  Of course, there were still times when we were kids we did stupid things - specifically when our parents weren't looking because, hey, we knew if we did it while the folks were around, they'd stop us and we'd get in trouble.

For instance, when I was like 6 or 7, I tried to stick a piece of wire into an electrical socket.  I didn't think anyone was around.  Thought I could do this little experiment without consequence.  WRONG.  Dad freaked.  Yelled at me.  Threatened a spanking if I ever pulled that shit again.  In my defense, I thought I was safe because the wire was insulated.  (Comes from being the daughter of an electronics salesman.)  But it was a stoopid thing to even try.

Our parents were trying to protect us, as much as they could without keeping us in a bubble.  That's kind of the parents' job until the kid is old enough to know better.  Once they're old enough to know better, they're on their own.  It's really not anyone else's job to make sure we don't do something stupid and get ourselves killed after that.

It is not the job of the bookshelf manufacturer.  It is not the job of Mr. Coffee.  It certainly isn't Kenmore's job.

Okay, now it's your turn.  What's something totally stupid you did as a child?  Did you get away with it or did your parents or life teach you a lesson from it?


*Yeah, pretty sure I'm gonna take heat over that.  Not every parent whose kid gets hurt doing something stupid is also stupid, but you have to admit the probability is higher than it used to be.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

Or should I say Mooo-thers Day?

I was stumped on what to get you all...

I mean, I've obviously been a little slow...

So I hope you'll accept these daisies.  I picked 'em out myself.

(And I hope you enjoyed the pictures, despite the puns.  Happy Mothers Day to you all!)

*All these pictures were taken by me, yesterday on my walk.

Friday, May 10, 2013

On the Trail Again


I'm on the submission trail again.  Over on QueryTracker*, I'm working through the list of agents that represent suspense - prioritizing who gets queries in what order, and who I'm not going to query because they're not a good fit.  200 agents.  Tonight I got through page 4, which means 160 down and 40 to go.  I had planned on not querying any of them until Monday, but I found two today that seemed like such a good fit, I couldn't help but shoot queries right off to them. 

I'll get those other 4 done tomorrow morning and then set it all aside so I can get some re-writing done on RTL.

And maybe talk the husband into a drive somewhere or a walk or something. 

Monday, I'll pare down the top half of the agents and send out queries to a select group of those.  More a day or two after that, and so on, until I get a nibble or I feel like I need to re-adjust my query.  (Not again, please for the sake of all that's holy, not again.) 

What am I querying?  Dying Embers.  It's gotten some positive nibbles in the past, but I always just wimped out after too-few rejections.  This time I'm gonna ride that horse until she drops, and then I'm going to drag the carcass across the finish line.  This sucker will be published if I have to do it my own goddamned self.  So there.  Everyone who's read it loved it - and they weren't even family.  Some of them were even published authors.  Double so there.  =op

Yeah, I'm feeling a little immature and bratty tonight.  You wanna make somethin' of it**? 


Have a great weekend, if I don't see ya around the webs.

*If you don't use QueryTracker, you really should try it.  And if you try it and like it, it's worth paying for the premium membership.  Seriously worth it.

** All in jest, I assure you.  Which just underscores the fact that I am full of piss and vinegar... vim and vigor tonight.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Things I Miss About Colorado

Nothing!  Hehe... Not seriously.  (Okay, a little seriously.  Colorado was NOT my favorite state to live in.)

1) Prairie Dogs.  I know they're a pain in the ass for a lot of people, but they're so damn cute.  And the only time I really got to see them was driving through the countryside.  They'd be standing on their little hind legs, staring off into the horizon.  So cute!

2) Western Kingbirds - or as we liked to call them "Giggle Birds".  The sound they make is like giggling.  I could never help but smile when I heard them.  Plus, they're aerial acrobats.  Watching them swoop and dive chasing after bugs was always a treat.

3) The few friends I made there. 

Right now, that's about it.  I'd miss the mountains, but we never really spent much time up there.  The only time I'd really see them was if I drove two hours, and then they were out on the horizon.  They were neat to see, but... eh.  The hills here are better. 

I might, somewhere down the road, miss the wide open vistas.  You really could see forever out there on the plains.  For now, though, I'm still immersed in being back amongst the trees again.  I LOVE trees.  Always have.  Always will.

Before we moved here, someone said something like "Why would you move to Missouri?  With the fire ants and all that humidity."  So far, no fire ants.  (I'm not even sure they have those here.)  As for the humidity?  I'm loving it.  I sure don't miss the dryness of the Eastern Plains.  I don't miss the dust.  I don't miss the wind. 

And if I turn this into a litany of the things I DON'T miss, we'll be here all day.

Colorado.  It's a nice place to visit.  Living there?  Meh.

What do you miss about the last place you lived?  How do you feel about where you live now?

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Dystopian Fiction

Hey All!

I wanted to do a little informal poll - not the blogger-type polls because they're too constrictive, but a little question and answer thingie-ma-bob.

So, in the comments, if you would be so kind, tell me:

Do you read dystopian fiction?  And by that I mean, anything futuristic (but not hard science SF) that shows the world's culture in some negative light.  Classic examples would be - Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, Anthem by Ayn Rand, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, 1984 by George Orwell.

Which leads me to another part of the question - since the majority of the most recently published and popular dystopian fiction is for the Young Adult market, how would you feel about seeing adult dystopian start hitting the shelves? 

I know the great majority of my followers here are over 18 - in fact, I'd venture a guess that most of you are over 30.  So, I'll put a little poll over there in the sidebar - totally anonymous - where you could tell me what age range you fall into, so I get a better idea of who's visiting. I had to take the poll down, since it wasn't working.

The reason I'm asking this is that I have several manuscripts that are adult dystopian.  I'd really like to see them sell, but I think the industry is under the assumption that adult dystopian won't sell - and YA dystopian is on the decline.  Not that the information here will stop me from trying to sell my work one way or the other, but I'd like to know (if only in this totally non-scientific way), if they're right.

So, chime in.  I'd sure appreciate it.

Oh, and if you're in the neighborhood tomorrow, stop by The Unpublished Writers' Guide to Survival.  Debra Webb is guest posting.  SQUEE!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The New Office - First Draft

So, my daughter was asking for pics of the new house, so she could squee over it.  We're nowhere near finished, but I did take pics of the new office.  It's totally in what I'm calling the 'first draft' phase.  The basics are in, but it needs some editing before I can call it finished.

And here it is:


These are all views from my desk.  Mine's in the corner, facing east.  Hubs' is in the corner next to me, facing south.  (I got the window.)  When it's not such a disaster area in this corner, I'll post pics of this side, too.

Now understand that this room was built to be the master bedroom of this house.  So in that last pic, the door on the right leads into the closet (our new storage room) and the door on the left is the en suite bathroom (which is my bathroom - because it's the biggest and the prettiest).  The door on the green wall, however, leads into the kitchen.  It suited our purposes better to make this the office.  I mean, who wants a bedroom off the kitchen?  Plus, it's the only way to access the sun room and the deck - unless you want to traipse through the garage. This totally works better for us.

By the way, if you're needing a big table to spread your work out on, I totally recommend the one we have there in the middle of the room.  It was inexpensive (as conference tables go) and super easy to assemble.  Those bookshelves are pretty inexpensive and kinda easy to assemble, too.  Walmart all the way, baby.

Anyway, we're settling in.  Having all my books out where I can see them and pet them helps. 

What's your office look like?  Truth be told, this is the first I've had a real home office.  Before, my desk was always stuffed into a corner in the dining room. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Go to The Guide Today and Monday

Hi all!  Head on over to The Unpublished Writers' Guide to Survival this morning and get a lovely surprise!

Awesome author, Lynn Viehl is guest posting today with her take on Finding Balance.  I can't believe I was lucky enough to snag a guest post from her.  She's one of my favorite writers, and one hell of a gal.  Plus, her next book in the Lords of the Darkyn series - Nightbound - comes out next week!

Also, stop by The Guide on Monday for a guest post from romantic suspense author Debra Webb.  (Whose novel RAGE hit the shelves yesterday!)