Sunday, September 29, 2013

Temporal Constipation

I'm stalled.  Nothing seems to be moving forward.  Nothing is sliding back.  There's not even any lateral motion.  I'm just standing here (sitting here, slumping here...)  I can't tell if I'm waiting for something to come along and happen to me.  Or if I'm supposed to try to make things happen and just don't have the inertia right now.

I can see things happening around me.  Certain members of my friends and family are going through things right now.  I'm stalled by that, too.  I want to help, but I can't.  So I stand here.

I know in my heart this is just a pause-point in life.  Later maybe.  Perhaps tomorrow.  Could be next week, I'll move again.  For right now, though, here I am.

Feels like temporal constipation.

Friday, September 27, 2013

This n That - the Insomnia Addition

Well, it's shortly after 4am here and I've been up since 1:30.  yay.  So I thought I'd do a little 'this n that' post.

I've lived here for almost 6 months and I got my first 'you might have to serve on a jury' notice.  Apparently they do things differently here than in any other place I've lived.  You get a notice with a date window when you might be called upon as a juror.  Mine's November through March.  Yippee.  I've got the form sitting here on my desk waiting to be mailed back (I have 10 days before the jury police put me on the list of those who need to be hunted down and terminated).  The only question I'm having a problem with is 'Are you related to anyone in law enforcement?'  They don't specify living or dead.  If living, no.  If either, yes.  Grandpa was a police chief once upon a time.  I think I'm just going to check 'yes' and let them sort it out. 

Some of my plants are supposed to arrive either Saturday or Monday.  I got more good, stinky, dark soil to finish beefing up the beds.  I just need to dump that in and spread it around so my new plants have a lovely place to live when they get here.  Gotta make them feel welcome so they bloom tons.

My desk is a sea of little piles of papers.  Some of them are perfectly valid piles.  The lefthand pile is printed chapters already inked up and ready to enter into the computer.  But I don't know why I don't just file the middle pile and the right pile.  And some of the notes in my yellow sticky pile need to be thrown out.  (We won't talk about the piles on the floor or the printer right now, k?)

Seed ticks are insidious little bastards.  If you don't know what they are, they're the 'fresh out of the egg' version of a regular tick.  Looks like grains of pepper crawling up your legs.  And if you don't catch them all, you wind up with red, itchy bumps every place they bite.  (Not latcher-oners like the bigger ticks - more an eat-and-run kind of thing.)  We still haven't figured out where they go to transform into bigger ticks after they make a meal of us.  Magical tick transformation land, I guess.  Point is, we don't see them - either way.  And they aren't dropping off us and latching onto the cat, either.  I checked.  I hope they're hanging out in the clothes that end up in the dryer - where the heat will kill them dead.

Heh.  Started that and then crashed before I hit send.  So, tell me, folks, what 'this n that' is going on with you right now?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

College Football Disappointment

I don't know how many of my followers here follow football.  I don't know how many of those follow college ball, but I have to get something off my chest.

Yesterday in college football was depressing to say the least.

I'm a University of Michigan fan.  The best thing I can say about their showing versus tiny UConn was 'they won'.  It was an ugly game.  Sure, they got the first touchdown.  Then UConn handed them their asses by getting the next three touchdowns - all unanswered by my beloved Wolverines.  They looked awful out there - and I didn't even get to see the game because the BTN was showing Missouri and apparently here in Missouri when Missouri is playing, no other Big Ten games get shown.  Well, =op.  Anyway, from all reports, Michigan looked like doodoo.

But for me, that wasn't the worst of the weekend. 

I wanted to watch football.  I wanted to see the competition between two teams.  I wanted to see teams fight it out to win.  Instead I saw, again and again as I surfed through the games, a huge school beating the crap out of a small school...

#4 Ohio State played little Florida A&M, whomping them 76 to nothing.  #7 Louisville kicked the crap out of tiny Florida International, scoring 72 to nothing.  #16 Miami slaughtered itty-bitty Savannah State (I don't even know where the hell that is) 77 to 7. 

What in the hell?  If you're scoring 70+ points against your opponent, what in the hell are you even doing playing that opponent?  It's like Arnold Schwarzenegger setting up a steel cage death match against Gilbert Gottfried.  Somebody's gonna get pounded, and it ain't the big guy.

And who really wants to watch that?  Sure, I love it when my teams win, but I want to see a good game.  I want to be able to say my team is 4-0 because they came out ahead of some really awesome other teams.  Not 'my team is unbeaten because it played teams that couldn't possibly beat them'.  If that's satisfying, why not just have the whole season be against teams like Morgan Community College and Goodrich High School and Pawtucket School for Girls?

Oh, because playing against those teams would be unfair.  Well, duh.

And don't give me the answer that without playing those big teams, the small schools would never get television coverage or their names in front of potential students or players... Does anyone really choose their college because they once saw the place get their asses handed to them by a big name school?  "Oh, Bethune-Cook?  I saw them get whooped by Florida State, so yeah, I definitely want to go there."  Riiight.  As for television coverage?  Yeah, I never get to watch my alma mater, Northern Michigan University's football games on TV - and I don't want to if the only way I could means watching them get creamed. 

Of course, there are also the people who believe these early games are like pre-season NFL.  Just practice for the real games that occur later in the season.  Well, if that's the case, then these games against small school shouldn't count toward the rankings.  They shouldn't count for anything.  They're just scrimmages. 

But no.  The number 1 school in the nation (Alabama) plays an unranked team (Colorado State) - and that game wasn't even a blowout - and they get to stay #1 because they won.  Woo...hoo. 


There are probably those out there who are thinking I wouldn't be all pissy about any of this if Michigan had rolled over UConn yesterday.  Nope.  If Michigan had ended up with a score of 70 something to nothing, I still would be crying foul.  Because Michigan should be better than that.  They should be bigger than a bully kicking sand in the face of a weakling.  (Even if the weakling schools asked for it by setting up this obscene schedule.)

It's just good sportsmanship.  It's just good football.  And hell, it's way more fun to watch.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Die Little Darling

If you've been around this gig for a while, you've heard the phrase 'kill your darlings'.  Personally, I don't like the concept, but I think in this case, I'll allow it. 

I love the title Djinnocide.  To me, it's perfect.  It says what I need it to say about the book - something is killing djinn (basically genocide for genies*).  But it's not obvious about it.  It's witty, but not overly so - like the idea I chucked early on to call this Djinn and Tonic (doesn't fit the story or I would've used it because I'm just that demented).

But I think I have to kill it**. 

It's hard to wrap your brain around if you're not familiar with djinn it's hard to pronounce (djinn = 'gin', btw).  Plus, it's not a real word, which makes wrapping the brain around it harder.  It's an amalgam of two words and will most likely confuse the hell out of people.  (Or already does as the case may be.)

So, I've put up another poll over there.  Go pick the alternate title you like best, if you would. 

*Hey!  Genocide for Genies?  Could that be the title?  I've been staring at this too long when everything looks like a title.

** And with it, kill a page full of titles for subsequent books in this series - Djinnesis, Djinntuition, Djinnuine...  Yeah, I have a few dozen of them.  :headdesk:

PS. I tossed The Third Wish as a title because it didn't fit and I decided I didn't like it.  Sorry for them what voted for it.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Quickie Poll

Hey all.

I just want to run something by you real quick.  Since I've had some comments that the title Djinnocide needs to be changed (one comment from an actual agent), I was wondering what the general concensus is out there.

So, over on the left there you'll see a couple poll questions so you can answer anonymously.  And if you're worried about hurting my feelings - don't.  It's a title.  I think it's catchy, but I'm not married to it.

Anyway, if you could, go over there and answer the poll questions.  I'd be super grateful.  And if you feel like elaborating, you can do that here in the comments. 

Thanks bunches.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fixing What You Didn't Know Was Broken

How do you fix what you didn't know was broken?  Sure, other people can point out it's broken, but until you see it for yourself, you still don't believe it. 

Case in point...

I took some interesting criticism during my Secret Agent Contest entry last week.  For now, we'll dismiss the obviously out there and address the two key points that seemed to be a running theme.

Point 1)  From the first 250 words, it sounds like YA.

I don't see it.  Sure, it starts on Jo's 18th birthday and she's a little immature (naturally), but this is the key focal point upon which rests the book - and the whole series if the other books ever see the light of day.   For me, the reader needs to see where she was to understand where's she's gotten and why she reacts the way she does to the events that unfold. 

Point 2)  I started in the wrong place.

This one, I can kinda see.  I'm notorious for starting in the wrong place anyway, so it's not surprising that I get this criticism again.  How do you know what the right place is?  I'm damned if I know because I've actually started this book in several different places and this one feels the most right.

Of course, it could be that I just need to shuffle a few things around in those 250 words to make it have more impact.  Which I will look into.  But ugh, I hate the thought of touching this manuscript again.  If I had a nickle for every word I've rewritten on this thing, I could afford to self-publish.  LOL

Of course, of course, it also could be that it's fine and those critters just needed to keep reading to see how awesome the beginning was.

But I doubt that's the case.

What about you?  How good are you at recognizing when something is broken?  When someone else points it out, are you all like 'well, duh, why didn't I see that' or are you more like 'what are you talking about... there's nothing wrong there.'?

And in case you missed it, Silver James wrote an awesome post over at The Unpublished Writers' Guide to Survival yesterday.  Go forth and read - after you comment here, of course.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Query Letter Help?

Anyone got a minute to look over this query letter I've reworked for Djinnocide?  I don't want to send it to a group site for crit.  I just need to know if I've headed in the right direction with this damn thing and I'm too close to see it.

Cuz, like, I hate it and every previous incarnation of it.  Hate it with the flame of a thousand rugburns.

Let me know either in comments or via email.  (If you've already read the book, that would be a big plus, but if not, you can at least tell me if the letter makes you want to read it.)

Friday, September 13, 2013

Bloggery Stuff

Okay, so Google screwed everyone with it's bonehead play of dropping Google Reader.  But the dashboard still worked.

Except not quite.

It won't let me add new blogs for one thing.  And some days it keeps telling me I have no blogs in my list - "would you like to add one?"  :eyeroll:  Why yes, I would like to add one, but you won't let me do that anymore either.  Turds.

So I'm slowly working on moving my blog reading over to Feedly.  So far... meh.  But then again, I'm a creature of habit.  Not hard to see why, when I've been reading blogs in my dashboard for freakin' years, I'm not exactly jumping up and down about a new way to read blogs.  Bleh.

And this morning I discovered that my dashboard has been hiding blogs from me.  (Not that it wasn't doing that before.  For weeks, it was telling me that the last post by Jeffe Kennedy had been posted in May.)  Today, I found out that Rob Thurman hasn't been absent for months.  She's been posting but dashboard hasn't been telling me.  Bastiges.

Anyway, if you haven't seen me for a while, blame the dashboard.  I'm working on getting everything transferred to Feedly, but there doesn't seem to be a way to just transfer all the damn blogs I read over at once, so I have to input them one by one. Not a project I had slotted time for, but I'm getting there.

Right now, I'm still swinging back and forth between the old dashboard and the new feed.  Depends on the day and my mood and the vagaries of technical gremlins where I'm coming at you from.  :shrug: 

How much you wanna bet as soon as I get comfortable with Feedly, they'll change it or cancel it or implode or something?

What do you read blogs on? 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Today I will celebrate my ability to walk the streets of this amazing country with my legs and arms bare, and my face showing.  Hell, I'd run around buck naked if I didn't think I'd gross people out. 

Today I will revel in conversations with my husband - who sees me as his equal and never tries to quiet my words.  Although he does groan from time to time at my off-color jokes.

Today I will tell off-color jokes that make my husband groan (and sometimes laugh while groaning).

Today I will worship at that bastion of capitalism, Wal-Mart, and buy goods - like peanut butter ice cream sandwiches and kitty litter and paperback books - with my hard earned cash just because I can.

Today I will not stand in line for a loaf of bread, or a bag of flour, or a pair of shoes.  Well, except for the checkout line - in which I will happily stand because it means other people are shopping, too.  Retail therapy... Ahhhh.

Today I will not weep for the thousands lost to this insanity.  I will get pissed instead and I will rail against the oppressors of this world for being the fucked-up assholes that they are.

Today I will not ask permission from anyone to think, feel, and express myself in whatever way I see fit.  As if.

Today, I will write.  Because those countries who have sought numerous times to crush us wouldn't want me to do so.  They'd want me to be a good little burka-wearing, eyes-averted, 'yes, sir, may I have another beating', quiet, mousy, little incubator for their future homicide bombers.  Either that, or they'd want me dead.

Well, I don't think I'll accept that today.  Or any other day.  FYVM. 

What will you do today?

Sunday, September 8, 2013


Okay, so it's Sunday.  I'm busy working on polishing Djinnocide again because damned if I didn't find TYPOS in it on my re-through.  I'm also hip-deep in the edits for Nanotechnology.  Basically I'm switching off - working on one and then the other - as I sit in the living room watching football. 

Of course, I have to go back over last night's notes because some numbnuts decided it was a good night to have a party and the whole neighborhood sounded like an '80s version of MTV Dance Party.  So, I know I wasn't concentrating on the work.  (I really need to find out who that was, so I can casually park my car outside their house at 5am and turn up my Wagner CD.  Ride of the Valkyries out to do it.  Nothing like a little opera to wake stupid folks up.)

:pokes the negativity with a pointy stick so it deflates:

Anyway, I'm making what I think is good progress.  If all goes well, I should be shooting queries for Djinnocide back out again this coming week.  And I should have the first 50 pages of Nano edits typed into the computer at least.

I was going to do yardwork today, too, but it's supposed to be 95 here today and, well, I don't feel like sweating.  Thank goodness for AC.  Instead, I'll work on writerly things and watch pro-football. 

Hope it's as good as yesterday's college ball.  GO BLUE! 

What are you up to today?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

They're Killing Me

Last week, Debra Webb's latest installment of her Faces of Evil series - RUTHLESS - hit the shelves all over the country.  So I went to Walmart to get my copy.  It wasn't there.

I figured, 'okay, fine - it's only release day and first thing in the morning to boot, so they haven't had a chance to put it on the shelves yet.'  I went back to Walmart on Friday.  It wasn't there.

I went to Walmart to get it because they've been so good about having these books when they come out.  You know, a why wait for delivery when I can drive down, walk to the shelves and choose a copy kind of thing.  (If I had a choice, I'd always pick out my own copy rather than be left to the hands of some shipping dude who may or may not care if he creases the cover corners when he jams my books into a box.)

So, yesterday I went back to Walmart.  I rolled my cart up to the book aisle.  IT WASN'T THERE.  But the book stocking dude was.  I said "You're killing me here."

"What are you looking for?" he says.

I walk to the last book in the series that's still on the shelves - REVENGE - and say "The next book in this series.  RUTHLESS.  Looks just like this one, but I think it's got a yellow cover.  You can't miss it."

He says that he hasn't opened all the boxes yet and he won't know what's in them until he opens them.  He's also got some boxes still in the back he hasn't touched yet.  "How long are you going to be here?" he asks me.

I tell him I just started shopping, so I'll check back when I get everything else.  In the course of our conversation, I also let him know that according to many people on Facebook other Walmarts in America have the damn book on the shelves already - ya know, since it came out LAST WEEK.  His reply, "That's strange."

So, I go do all my shopping - which actually takes longer than usual because I was a scatterbrain yesterday morning and ended up walking all over the store because I didn't group the items on my list.  Way in back for the printer cartridges, then back to the middle for toilet paper, then three rows up for these stick-on scent thingies (like Stick-ups, but not), then all the way over to the other side of the store for suet and all the way back for grocery items.  It was like some weird ballet of "oh shit, I forgot the cat food which is over there" and "crap, where the hell are they hiding the stick butter again?"

When I finally get to the last item on my list - a birthday card for Mom - I head back in that direction.  (The cards are right by the books.)  Even before I pick out the card, I can see the book's not there.  Like I said, it has a very distinctive cover.  Still, after I get the card, I peruse the shelves.  It's not there.

Book dude still is, but now he's talking to the Pepsi dude and there are still like three boxes sitting on the floor unopened.  I bet he never even went in back for the other boxes.  So I stand there, being polite enough to not interrupt what had to be a riveting conversation about their weekend activities or some such.  At one point, the book dude looked right at me, standing there, and then turned back to his chat.  I waited another couple minutes and then left - bookless.  :sniffle:

I would order this one to read on my Kindle, but I have actual copies of the others and they look so nice in a row on my shelf that I know I need to have the next one up there, too.  Argghh.

I guess I'll have to order from Amazon and take whichever creased copy they can shove into an envelope.

These people are killing me.  And now that I think about it, they're probably what's killing the physical copy book industry, too.


Monday, September 2, 2013

Repainting the House... the 21st Century Way

Hey, remember in Total Recall (the original awesome one - not that thing they did to remake it) when the secretary was painting her nails?  She just used a wandy-thingie, touched the tips of her nail, and it changed to a different color. 

Well, I'm not quite using that level of technology, but I am using Microsoft Image Composer to look at different colors on my house so we can get an idea of what color would look the best.  (Yeah, Image Composer - which I've had and used since 2000.  They don't even make it anymore and it's not 100% compatible with Windows7.  But I'm used to it and it is awesomely easy.)

Anyway, I used one of the photos I took of the house:

After several false starts, including one where I turned the whole picture B&W, I got into the 'tools' in the program and chose the 'colorization' function to make the orange part white (for a better canvas):

And since then, I've been trying various shades of wood tones.  Anything to get rid of the orange.  I even tried to match the wood - using the 'color picker' tool (it sucks the color off any other image and puts it into the 'paint') I tried to match our sunroom paneling:

And ended up with:

Way too yellow...

I tried to pull colors off one of the does:

But everything looked flesh toned...

I tried using a fawn's coat:

But the background was making every attempt pull too much green.

Anyway, I'll probably play with it some more today.  I may even go out and take a full frontal pic of the house to get a better canvas to play with.  :shrug: 

Yeah, I probably should be writing...

What are you up to today?  And once you get done answering that question here, please go over to the Killer Chicks and answer it over there.