Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Whatcha Readin'?

Since I'm not writing this week, I'm taking some time to catch up on my reading.  Lucky me, I got my latest Amazon shipment in short order.  (The last one took almost 3 weeks.)  In it was the second installment of the October Daye series!  Yay.  I inhaled the first book Rosemary and Rue and got totally hooked on Ms. McGuire's world, so as soon as I had a little more in my book budget, I bought the next: A Local Habitation. Received in yesterday morning's mail.  Finished last night.  It was as awesome as the first and now I'm drooling for the third.

The other book in my shipment (Daughter ordered New Moon on DVD, so we got free shipping) was the third book in Anton Strout's Simon Canderous series: Dead Matter.  I read the first two last year after I discovered Strout* cold at Borders.  They had the second book there and after some careful hunting, I managed to pick up the first book at a store called Hastings the same day.  I'm only a chapter in, but this already looks like it's going to be a paranormal romp like the last two were.  Fun fun fun.  If you like Jim Butcher and Seanan McGuire, you'll probably like this series, too.

And then this morning, I saw a cute paranormal at the grocery store: Can't Teach an Old Demon New Tricks by Cara Lockwood.  I've never heard of her, but how could I pass up a title like that?  It even has a baby on the cover with horns and a tail.  Too cute.  Here's hoping it's as good as it sounds because my book budget has been stretched to capacity.  After this, I'll be ordering books from the library and reading old stuff from my store.  (Unless my sales go up so I can afford to buy more new books, that is.)

So, that's my reading for the next few days.  Now for you to answer the question: Whatcha readin'?

*My sincerest apologies to Mr. Strout for continually misspelling his name.  I fixed it in this post and hope to never make the mistake again.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Getting Healthier - Eat, Drink and Be Merry

Okay, so I explained in my last Getting Healthier post that when your body thinks it's going to go a while without food, it stores calories away like a psychotic chipmunk.  This brings me to the next theory in the diet plan I'm following: Eating More Often.

Before I even began reading the Fat to Firm book, I saw a program on Discovery Health about a woman who weighed well over 200 pounds and how she lost weight by eating 5-6 meals a day.  She dropped down to thin and became a body builder, but that's not the point.  The point is, she eats often and by doing that, her body never feels like it has to store away anything.

Of course, this doesn't mean eating anything and everything in sight.  That's how my poundage went up in the first place.  No.  It means eating small and sensible meals and/or snacks throughout the day.  Eat a good breakfast shortly after you wake up.  About two hours after that, eat a healthy snack - yogurt, fruit, low-fat crackers, even nuts as long as you don't overdo it.  Have a good lunch at your usual lunchtime.  Two more hours and another sensible snack.  Dinner at your usual dinnertime.  And a light snack about an hour before bed.

As with any healthy eating plan, watch your fat intake and your calorie intake.  Even sensible foods can be high calorie - like nuts.  Also, watch the 'diet foods' you eat.  They can be deceptive.  For instance, diet mint patties still carry about 30 calories each (depending on the brand).  I could eat a whole package of those things, and trust me, that doesn't help you lose weight.  And remember, sugar free does not mean fat free.  Those candies over there were designed for diabetics, not dieters.

In addition to all that eating you're doing... you know, in between those meals and snacks... drink a lot.  NOT alcoholic beverages.  Not even juices, milk or diet pop - although those are okay.  Drink WATER.  If your body can't flush out what you don't use, it has to put it somewhere.  Wouldn't you rather it ends up at the waste water treatment facility than on your thighs?  I use an old 32 oz Gatorade bottle.  I try to fill it every morning and drink from it whenever I can.  They say you should drink eight 8oz glasses a day.  I'm happy if I empty the water bottle once.  64oz is the goal, though.  We're floating our way to thin.  LOL

As for being merry, I'll be planning a longer post on exercise, but I'll leave you with the one thought that was like an epiphany for me...  You can exercise anywhere, any time, and for any amount of time.  Everything you do above laying on the couch burns calories.  If you don't have time for a planned 30-minute workout, then just find some way to move your body more than you already are.  Skip to the bathroom.  Dance to the mailbox.  Personally, I do leglifts while I'm outside having a smoke.  (Yes, I know... but since I'm not quitting, at least I'm getting exercise.)  I also clean for exercise.  Try washing the kitchen floor by hand - no mops, that's cheating.  Sweep.  Rake.  Wash windows.  Anything to get those muscles moving.

Next time I'm going to post about the one thing that seems to kill every attempt I make at getting healthier - those little oops moments (like the brownie sundaes and the ultimate pepperoni pizzas) and the guilt that follows.

Disclaimer: I am not a health professional.  I don't do this for a living.  I don't have any medical training or experience - except what life has made me experience and what I've learned from being around the dieting world for... god, 27 years now.  (When my older sister first started dieting.)  I'm just talking and passing along what seems to be working for me - at this point in my life.  Please check with a health professional before starting any rigorous diet program.  Knowledge is power.  Get powerful and then get healthy.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Non-Writerly Things

You might've noticed, I finished the third draft of DLN last night.  I've promised myself I'm going to let it simmer for at least a week before I look at it again.  As with every previous book, I'm fighting the urge to scrap the whole thing and start over.  :shrug:  I think that's part of my process.  I never quite feel like it's good enough.  I coulda done better.  I coulda been someone.  I coulda been a contenda...

And now that Marlon Brando is done taking possession of my psyche, I'm off to do some more non-writerly things.  If nothing else, I need to keep my fingers occupied so they don't touch that manuscript.  Last night I had to make myself stop plotting DLN's sequel - affectionately known as DLN2.  (Who says I'm not a whiz with titles?  LOL)  The whole world needs to marinate. 

In honor of that lack of willpower, I attacked some non-writerly things today.  Earlier, I swept the front patio and the driveway.  Yay.  I also ordered some books last week and they arrived today.  So, of course, I put away the old Ray Bradbury I was reading and jumped into A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire.  And now I'm making a pork roast.

Damn, my life is just too exciting sometimes.  ;o)

Of course, I could always start writing that new speculative idea I had last month... or I could go back and edit that manuscript I never quite finished...  :slap:  Snap out of it! 

Anyhoo... What's up with you?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Brain Damaged Writer Strikes Again

Part of the fun of being a brain-damaged writer is the weird disconnect that sometimes occurs between my thoughts and my fingers.  Case in point...

Hell, Zeke’s library was almost as previous as my own.

I found that sentence while I was editing just now.  I know I didn't consciously write that, so what the hell?

Sure, I substitute words all the time.  Most of the time, I can figure out what I was trying to say from the context of the sentence.  For instance, I type the word 'what' when I mean to type 'watch' a lot.  Not hard to figure out what happened there.  But previous

:palm hits forehead with resounding twack:  And just now it occurred to me that I meant to type 'precious' - so this case was more a matter of finger placement than brain damage, but still... how irritating is it when you can't trust your own brain?

What about you?  Do you find yourself substituting words and not realizing it?  What's the strangest sentence you've accidentally come up with?

 *All images deleted to avoid any chance of copyright infringement*

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Favorite Stupid Movies

After yesterday's post I was inspired to list a few of my favorite stupid movies.  While Idiocracy isn't a fav, per se, it does have that whole thing about the generations leading up to the idiocracy. Kristen Painter point out that the t-shirt quote actually came from the movie Zoolander.  Also not a fav, but funny enough that some day I'd like to see it all the way through.

And on to my top stupid movies of all time (or at least the ones I can think of... feel free to add your own).  In no particular order...

  • Caddyshack  (a classic, but seriously stupid.  I mean, a dancing gopher? Come on.)
  • The Blues Brothers  (is it horrible that the nun scene cracks me up?)
  • Happy Gilmore  (nuff said)
  • Spies Like Us (Dan Ackroyd and Chevy Chase as bumbling spies... need I say more?)
  • Animal House  (Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?)
  • Big Trouble in Little China (Like ol' Jack Burton always says...)
  • Revenge of the Nerds  (I admit to being a geek, but these guys give nerds a bad name)
  • Stripes (That's the fact, Jack.)
  • Blazing Saddles (What in the wide, wide world of sports is a goin' on here?)
  • Young Frankenstein  (Marty Feldman kills me)
  • Airplane!  (Watch out for the Auto Pilot)
  • Ace Ventura: Pet Detective  (Any man who loves animals and talks with his butt cheeks is okay in my book.)
  • Army of Darkness  (The guy's hand is a chain saw.  Need I say anything more?)
  • Mars Attacks  (Ack.  Ackackack! - translation: Watch it or I'll play Nelson Eddie until your head explodes)
  • Evolution (Head and Shoulders above the rest of the b-movies)
  • Son in Law (Hey, buddy.  Go ahead.  Watch this while you're munchin' on some grindies.)
  • Scary Movie 3 (I just picked one. They're all good and they're all stupid)
  • High Spirits (ghosts try to save their home by scaring off tourists, except they're inept and the pretty one falls in love with the cute living guy.)
  • Coneheads (SNL is in my blood.  I can't help myself.)
  • Sky High  (superhero kids and a flying high school?  How can you go wrong?)
  • Real Genius (Val Kilmer before he got fat and gross.  "It's a moral imperative.")
  • Any old Japanese monster flick (Go Gamera! How can you not love a flying turtle with flames coming out his armpits?)
  • Vampire in Brooklyn  (Eddie Murphy as a vampire?  Gimme more of that.)
  • Johnny Mnemonic  (like I said, I'm a geek)

Okay, so maybe not all of them are stupid.  Some of them are just b-movies.  It could be worse.  I could be watching all of these.  Got any favorite stupid movies to add?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Funny

I saw this t-shirt the other day at the same place I found my lemon shirt and it cracked me up.  Ever see the movie Idiocracy*?  I imagine this school would be perfect for that future. 

(*Just for the record, the only part of that movie worth watching is the part where they detail how the world got to such a deplorable state.  So funny, and yet so true.)

 *All images deleted to avoid any chance of copyright infringement*

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Trolling Around the Blogosphere

I'm at loose ends this morning.  Since I woke up early, I've already been working on the edits.  I exercised.  I don't have any errands to run this morning.  And I really don't feel like washing the kitchen floor (no matter how much it needs it).  What's a girl to do?  Heh, I decided to troll through some of the blogs I have bookmarked but never get a chance to visit.

Here are a few of the interesting posts I read in my wanderings:

Learning From Mistakes and Progress over at The Adams Zone - wherein Linda Adams talks about her time in the service and how an exercise there helped her identify the positive and the negatives in her writing process.  She's got some really good ideas there that might help other writers.  Like "Make a quick reference list of all the character names".  I know once I started doing this, it was easier to not call one character by another's name.  (Especially helpful if you change names midstream.  I turned a Pat into a Tony once and spent forever trying to keep him straight in my head.)

On March 3rd, Tess Gerritsen talks about something that I'd never heard about before - The Lexile Index - which rates books on ease of comprehension (or some such nonsense).  It's supposed to help teachers and parents identify which books are best for which kids.  Now, I love Ms. Gerritsen, but rating her books under a system created for kids seems a little foolhardy.  I'd think she'd be way too graphic for most of the under-18 set.

At the Romance Divas blog, Victoria Janssen has a wonderful guest post about Being Done.  "I think recognizing when I’m Done is a necessary stage of my writing process. If you’re never Done, you can’t move on to write something new and better."  She's so right, it's scary.  At some point we all have to know when a book is Done.  Heh, but she's also right when she says: "There’s a saying that no novel is ever finished, only abandoned."

This is quite possibly the funniest diet post I've ever seen: In which my hips and inner thighs speak rapture. I and my ever-widening ass feel for you, Amber.

And finally because it's been linked in several of the blogs I regularly and not-so regularly visit, (and because I've frittered away too much time already this morning), here are the Ten Rules for Writing Fiction as posted by The Guardian. (Which has more than ten rules, btw, although no more than ten from each writer they interviewed.)

Seen any good posts lately?  Do you ever get to the bottom of your blogroll?  Or is it just me that has so many bookmarked blogs I can't read them all in less than 8 hours?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Writing's Little Pleasures

You know what I really love?  When I open my manuscript's Word file and watch the page count scroll upwards to 300+ pages.  I don't know about you, but it just tickles me - every single time, for every single manuscript.  No matter what else happens, I wrote those pages.

Neat, huh?  =oD

What's your little writing pleasure?

Permission to Suck? Granted

When I started this writing game (biz? addiction? obsession?), every word had to be the right one before I could move on.  My first novel had about a dozen false starts, and even once I got rolling, I rewrote everything as I wrote.  The damn first draft took me nine months.  Hell, I could've carried a child in that amount of time.

And then I got a piece of advice...  Give yourself permission to suck.

Permission to suck?  "Yeah, right.  But I can't let suckage remain on the page.  I just can't," my former self thought in response to such a wild suggestion.  Except my need for first draft perfection was hampering my productivity.  (And thinking about it just this minute, I think that need for perfection was born out of fear anyway.)

Once I got over myself and got over the panic of leaving a lame scene alone to simmer, I not only increased my output, but I think my writing itself is better for it.  Now I can focus on the story itself throughout the first draft.  Because getting the story on paper is the important thing when you're first drafting.  Leave the editing for subsequent drafts - that's what they're there for.

Now, I don't want you to think I just type away and never look back.  I'm constantly doing small edits as I type.  I can't help it.  While I'm typing this post, I'm rewording and fixing typos as I go - but only a sentence at a time.  (In fact, this blog is a perfect example of first draft-ness.  I rarely deep edit the blog.  It is what it is.)

Giving yourself permission to suck, though, has it's own problems.  Sometimes I'll be typing along, pulling the words out my nose and splatting them on the page (gross imagery, I know).  The whole time I'm doing that, I know what's coming out is horrible.  It's premium, grade-A suckage.  At those times, I have to fight for that permission.  I have to fight against the irresistable urge to stop writing crap and wait until I know I can write something better.  And I have to keep myself from banging my head on the wall, but that's another story.

I've learned that sometimes I have to write through the fertilizer to get to the marigolds on the other side.  Or rather, sometimes it's the crap that allows for the good writing.  Case in point: DLN.  I wrote a big long prologue.  It was all crap, but it helped me see the backstory so I could write a better storyline later.  And now the prologue is deleted - saved into its own file for posterity (or further fertilizer, as the case may be).

So, as far as my own writing is concerned... Permission to suck?  Granted.  What about you?  Do you grant yourself the permission to suck, or does everything have to be perfect before you move on? 

(Top image shamelessly borrowed from SnorgTees.  Here's where you can buy the t-shirt.)  *All images deleted to avoid any chance of copyright infringement*

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Getting Healthier - Breakfast

Before I get to today's post, I'd like to take a second to thank the people who commented on yesterday's post.  Keep those comments coming.

At the beginning of the year, I made a goal for myself to get healthier.  This, of course, meant losing weight and getting more exercise.  Not an easy thing to do when you're sitting on your buns in front of a computer screen for hours at a time.  Still, over the past 12 weeks, I've managed to lose a little weight (7 lbs as of this morning) and not get totally out of breath after a few pushups.

Scattered throughout the next few weeks, I'll be posting about things that are helping me accomplish my goals:

First off... Breakfast.

I know the crux behind any good weight-loss regimen is to eat less - which some people often take to mean 'skip meals'.  Everything I've read says that's a horrible thing to do to your body.  In fact, skipping meals can actually convince your body you're starving - so it kicks into storage mode.  Miss a meal here or there and you become a friggin' chipmunk, storing up fat for the long hard winter.  Except there is no winter - just fat. 

Now, I've never been a breakfast eater.  Actually eating anything before I've been up and around for a few hours makes me nauseous.  Even putting milk in my coffee makes me gag.  How I got over that was to just suck it up.  Sometimes the things we want aren't easy, but we just do them because they need to be done.  (Cleaning the litterbox grosses me out sometimes, but if I don't do it, no one will - and then it'll be even grosser.) 

They say you should be eating a healthy breakfast first thing in the morning.  As in, wake up-brush teeth-eat breakfast.  I admit to still being a bit of a weenie about this.  I wake up and do all my usual morning things, but I don't actually eat for about 60-90 minutes.  It's the best I can do right now.  And hey, it's better than not eating anything until lunch. 

As for the actuall contents of my morning meal, there's where you can run into trouble.  I mean, who doesn't love pancakes or French toast?  Bacon or sausage?  Or gooey, cheesy omelets?  Hell, I could eat that stuff for dinner most nights of the week.  Problem is, pancakes are beaucoup calories and don't get me started on maple syrup.  Sausage and bacon?  Well, their health detriments go without saying.  And I can feel my arteries clogging just thinking about a big fat omelet smothered in Cheddar.  Mmmm.

How to get past that...  Hmm.  Well, first off, if you have to eat the pancakes, waffles and french toast, keep it down to one.  I know, how can anyone eat just one pancake?  They aren't pistachios, folks.  As for sausage and bacon, go with a turkey variety like Jennie-O Breakfast Meats.  And if you're talking omelets, I've found that microwaving one egg with a little sprinkle of cheese will do fine, or if you're in a hurry: Jimmy Dean Omelets.  (We buy the ham and cheese kind.  Daughter and I split one - at 250 calories per omelet that leaves us with 125 calories each.)

The idea here is that breakfast of any kind jump starts your metabolism.  Food in your stomach first thing says to your body "Hey, we've got plenty of fuel, let's burn some."  I started out with Quaker Instant Oatmeal (or an offbrand version).  Personally, I like the Fruit & Cream Variety pack, and at 130 calories per serving, you can't go wrong.  Oatmeal, folks. It's heart-healthy, high in nutrition and makes you feel full so you won't be looking for more food fifteen minutes later.

So, have you had your breakfast today?  Are you like me and can't stand to eat first thing?  If you could eat anything for breakfast what would yours be?

(Personally, if it were up to me and not my diet, I'd be eating at IHOP everyday.  Good thing for me, the nearest one is a couple hours away.)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sneak Peek

Okay.  I'm taking the leap and posting the first page of DLN (my designation only and not the real title - I'm still keeping that somewhat of a secret).  So here goes nothing.  I'm still angsting over it, which means it's not exactly where I want it.  (No angst means it's finished, right?)

My only question is: Does it grab you and make you want to keep reading?  If not, and if you don't mind saying, why?  (I promise not to go all freakazoid on anyone as long as everyone promises to play nice.  As always any rude comments will not be allowed to post.)


DLN - Chapter One, Page One

Something in my gut told me this rescue wasn’t going to be a bundle of fun, even before Basil’s wish went haywire.  Nothing like being plopped on my ass in a mound of kudzu to confirm my suspicions. 
About a hundred yards ahead of me stood the derelict warehouse mentioned in the alert.  After verifying everything was still intact, I pulled my hair back into a ponytail while I made a mental note to chat with my assistant about his aim.  No matter how urgent the circumstances seemed, losing focus in the middle of a job wasn’t kosher.
I took a step toward the building, cursing the plants tangled around my ankles and wondering how any Djinn could get misplaced in this locale.  Maybe the alert was wrong.  I created the alert system to help my brethren.  For the most part, they were dead-on, but every once in a while an alert did come back false.  Even the best system isn’t foolproof.
I didn’t struggle through more than a few feet of noxious vines before I sent a silent apology to Basil for doubting his aim.  If the crackle in the air was any indication, his wish wasn’t the problem.  The power emanating from within was more than enough to mess with any long-range magic.  Hell, it was making the little hairs stand up on my arms.
Whichever one of the Many was inside, his emancipation would be well worth my clumsy landing.  The sooner I released this brethren, the less chance some human could use him for those three little freebies all captive Djinn are required to grant. 
And three wishes created with the power I was feeling would generate more chaos than any of us needed right now.
And now the real angst can begin. Be gentle. ;o)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Pets in Fiction

Isn't he pretty?  Well, he's got a major role in DLN.  (Not exactly him, but a Kuvasz just like him.)

This morning I was editing along and thinking about the roles pets play in fiction.  This is only the second pet I've written, and now that I think about it, I wonder why.

I own a cat.  I think most writers have a pet of some kind or other.  They enrich our lives - even if mine doesn't recognize that I'm working and her demands for breakfast are distracting.  Why shouldn't our characters have the same enrichment in their lives?

The first pet I wrote was for a novel I haven't quite finished yet.  I threw Honey in because I thought my MC was the kind of solitary gal who would come home to a cat after a long day of fighting bad guys.  She didn't have anyone else in her life and she didn't really have time for anything more involved than a cat.  (I imagine Honey looks something like this cat.)

As for the other MCs?  Well, they don't even have time for a pet at all.  I mean, if you're never home, it's kind of cruel to have a pet, right?

But I digress...

Off the top of my head, the first fictional pet that comes to mind is Pilot from Jane Eyre.  He didn't even serve a purpose, if memory serves, other than showing a softer edge to Rochester.  I mean any guy who owns a dog can't be all that bad, right?

And the next pets I think of are Harry Dresden's - Mister the cat and Mouse the dog.  They're Harry's companions, but throughout the series they even grow as characters .  (Excellent writing, btw, Mr. Butcher.) I can't imagine The Dresden Files without either animal.  I mean, my folks used to have a cat named Mister - who from all accounts was similar to Harry's cat - and I want a dog just like Mouse.  How cool would that be?

So, who's your favorite fictional pet?  I know I'm missing tons, but unless they really stick out, I tend not to remember pets from the novels I read.  (And I'm not talking about anthropomorphic characters - like in Watership Down or The Wind in the Willows.  Those aren't pets, they're peoples.)

And finally, have you ever written a pet into your stories?  How'd that work out for you?

 *All images deleted to avoid any chance of copyright infringement*

Friday, March 19, 2010

Weekly Update of Sorts

This week was spent mostly editing the same eight chapters over and over.  I can't help myself.  I open the document, planning to move on to the next unedited chapter and I find myself drawn into reading the story.  And then I find little things I could've written better.  I'm in serious danger of tweaking myself and my manuscript to death.  Last night, though, I broke away from the lure and dove into Chapter Nine.

And I have a problem.  Oh, Chapter Nine itself is fine.  Don't worry about that.  The problem is I keep finding myself torn between loving this manuscript and wanting to tear it all apart to rebuild it in a different direction.  I wrote it headed one way, and there's this little niggling part of my creative process that says "Hey, that's great, but what if we do this instead?"

I keep telling it that stuff can go in the next book, but it doesn't listen to me.  Hmmm.  I wonder if it's that French chick in disguise.   

For now, I'm slapping the thought away and forging ahead.  Regardless of the voices in my head, I still think I wrote it right the first time.  (Here's hoping the publishing industry agrees.) 

In other news, yesterday's book review netted me a huge jump in blog visitors - including the author herself.  Turns out Seanan McGuire saw the review and linked back to it.  Thanks again, Ms. McGuire.  You made my morning.

Anyway, it totally rocks because DLN is targeted at the same people who would buy and love McGuire's series. Of course, I've got a lot of polishing to do before this WIP is in her league, but it just makes me want to work that much harder...

"Ah theenk you should stop writeeng before you deesappoint yourself.  You weell never reach Meez Mcguire's league.  She ees so far above you, you are like a speck to her.  A flea.  A gnat."

"Shut up, Mam'selle."

I really hate that French chick.  Anyone got a can of Raid?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Review: Rosemary and Rue

With my book budget slowly tightening, I've drifted away from trying out new authors.  I mean, I don't want to blow limited resources on a book I end up hating.  A few weeks ago, I was screwing around on Amazon - buying a couple of books I really needed - when I came up against the eternal question: "Spend money on shipping or buy one more book to meet the $25 min?"

Of course, I ordered one more.  Heh, I didn't say it was a hard question to answer.  My potential buy list had one small book on it - by an author I'd never heard of, but whose premise looked tasty - which was just enough to get me into the 'free shipping' category: Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire.

So, I figured "what the hell?"

Boy am I glad I took the chance. 

From Amazon's Product Description (because I'm feeling too lazy to write a summary):

"October "Toby" Daye, a changeling who is half human and half fae, has been an outsider from birth. After getting burned by both sides of her heritage, Toby has denied the Faerie world, retreating to a "normal" life. Unfortunately for her, the Faerie world has other ideas...

The murder of Countess Evening Winterrose pulls Toby back into the fae world. Unable to resist Evening's dying curse, which binds her to investigate, Toby must resume her former position as knight errant and renew old alliances. As she steps back into fae society, dealing with a cast of characters not entirely good or evil, she realizes that more than her own life will be forfeited if she cannot find Evening's killer."

Needless to say, I inhaled the book yesterday - to the exclusion of everything else.  I loved McGuire's writing style, which is IMO similar to Jim Butcher's in his Dresden Files series.  I totally fell for Toby Daye.  She's a tough bitch who's struggling against some major crap that's been unloaded on her, but instead of whining, she just puts her head down and gets the job done.  She's gutsy and gritty, and even though she occasionally makes some unwise choices, she still manages to get the badguy and save the day. 

Worth every penny.  The only problem now is: The second book in the series just hit stores and my budget is dry for the rest of this month.  Ack.  Maybe I can tweak a little and order this puppy.  I need to read about Toby some more.

::Irritating but legally necessary disclaimer: I am not affiliated in any way with Seanan McGuire.  I purchased this book and I am not receiving any compensation for recommending that others do the same.  (Although, if Ms. McGuire should want to send me free copies of the second and third books, I won't refuse them.)  I do not give positive reviews unless the book is worth buying - even if someone sent me a copy for free, offered to mow my lawn, bribed me with jewels or told me they'd introduce me to their agent.  (Not that I'd refuse those options either.)  I simply enjoyed this book, and I hope you do too.  Because hey, if she sells lots, the publisher will contract more books in this series and I can keep reading to my heart's content.  Yay.::

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Rude Awakening

Ever have one of those times when you're sleeping soundly and are awakened by an unknown noise?  You aren't quite sure what it is, but you know it's not good.  Well, I woke to something that sounded like a crack and then a scuffy noise and then it sounded like someone slammed a car door really hard.  Talk about a rude awakening.  I was half-tempted - in my semi-comatose state - to yell at my husband for jerking me out of a sound sleep.

Wanna guess what it was?

I'll spare you.  Husband's truck was parked alongside the road last night and at approximately 5:45am this morning, someone ran into it.  Thank goodness for him, he was already awake.  I, on the other hand, was deep in the land of Snoozonia.  I flipped the light on, pulled on some clothes and stumbled outside - sans coffee, pre-bathroom break, and toting a serious case of dogbreath.  (Hey, they're lucky I was alert enough to grab pants.)

Now, for some reason, despite all that, I also grabbed my camera before I shot out the door.  Two things engrained in my subconscious for any emergency: 1) Note the time, 2) Grab the camera.

By the time I got outside, Husband was already on the phone to 9-11.  He'd already checked to make sure the person who caused the accident was okay.  Lord knows why she did it.  Even the responding officer and the translating officer were shaking their heads.  :shrug:

On the upside, there's not much damage to the truck.  Her car?  Well, let's just say she won't be driving it any time soon.  I figure the truck sacrificed itself to protect other cars in the city today.  If she couldn't pay attention to a huge vehicle on the side of the road, who knows what else she could've run into (or over)?  Thank goodness the neighbor kid wasn't playing in the road.  And thank goodness, no one got hurt.  (Except our poor truck.  I expect he'll just need some cosmetic work and a realignment.  We'll see what the mechanic says.)

So, there's my dose of excitement for the day.  Anything happening in your lives?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Picture Pause

Since I spent the day doing yardwork and now I'm too pooped to pop, here's a picture for you to enjoy.  This one is of Elephant Toes Butte in Dinosaur National Monument.  I think we went there in 2003 sometime.  (I really need to date these things.)

Anyway... Enjoy.
I haven't seen this one in a while and let me tell you, I'm amazed at the colors I managed to capture.  Hell, I don't remember it looking that vivid.

First book I sell, I'm buying me that Canon digital camera I was drooling over.  If I can get that with an old HP C200, I wonder what I can do with a camera that acts like a 35mm.  :sigh:

Monday, March 15, 2010

Letting Go of the Guilt

I polished 7 chapters this weekend.  I could've done more.  I could've pushed past my squinky eyes and at least tweaked a couple more.  I didn't.  I read and watched TV instead. 

I should've spent some time attacking those dust bunnies collecting around the hard wood floors.  They're really beginning to pile up and I'm sure they're plotting my demise.  Not that I blame them.  I should've wiped them out days ago.

That ice cream sundae last night was amazing, but all those calories and all that fat... :shudder:

Guilt's almost as big a killer as self-doubt.  Sure, I could've kept editing long after my brain was drained.  Except every time I do that, I miss tons of stuff and end up redoing the process until I can't stand looking at the same chapter again.  (Yesterday I hated Chapter Seven - because I've read it too many times in one week.  Ugh.)

Taking a break isn't fatal - it's necessary to my process.  As long as I don't overdo my breaktime, and I do get back to writing, it's perfectly acceptable. 

Guilt can also make you give up.  It can lead to 'hey, I fucked up already, so why bother' type of thinking.  It can make one innocent ice cream sundae the first of many treats and the beginning of an additional five pounds.  Or it can turn one day off into weeks without writing.  (Been there, done that.)

One sundae does not a failure make.  (Look at me, going all Yoda on you.)  As long as it's only one sundae every once in a while, and you pick up the calorie slack somewhere else, that is.  As long as it's only an occasional day off and you get your words out on another day, you're fine.

The point is, I really have nothing to feel guilty about, but I still feel guilty.  I need to let that go.  It's not a helpful emotion.  It's not spurring me to greater heights or smaller widths, as the case may be.  It's just gumming up the works.  All I can do is the best I can do. 

Can I do better?  Sometimes, yes.  Those are the days I can kick my own butt into gear. 

Are you feeling guilty?  Do you let it drown you or can you rise above?  This morning it's getting a little deep, but once I get off my buns, I'm sure the flood will subside.  How are things in your little corner of the world?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

TimeTimeTime, See What You've Done to Me

First off, let me grouse again about this time-change thing.  Seriously, Mr. Franklin, what were you thinking?  Okay, so maybe this worked in the days when most people were employed in the farming industry, but it ain't necessary now.  Almost makes me want to move to Indiana or Arizona.  (Those lucky bastards don't have to spring forward or fall back.)

Okay enough about that.  Instead, it seems almost apropo this morning to talk about time.  I mean last night we gained an hour (or did we lose one... I always get confused about that).

Everything we do hinges on spurts of time.  Do I have time for this?  We don't have time for that.  Where did the time go?  Making time, taking time, borrowing time, losing time.  No wonder the rabbit up there looks freaked out.

And in all this, we writers scramble for the time to write - when so many other things in our lives demand our minutes.  School, work, family, exercise... just to name a few things in my life using up the precious ticks of my writerly clock.  Fitting it all in can be a harrowing experience.

One thing I picked up from the diet/exercise book I just finished reading, which I feel kind of dim for not realizing on my own, was that exercise is something that can be done throughout the day.  You don't have to limit yourself to one big block of time for the activity to make a difference.  Whatever you do, whenever you do it, you're burning calories.  (I mean, whatever you do that's more active than laying on the couch - unless you exercise while on the couch.)  It might not make you lose weight in a hurry, but every minute spent burning calories creeps you toward your goal.

It's the same with writing.  If life isn't letting you have your big block of writing time, then take little chunks wherever you can.  Ten minutes while the kids are getting dressed for school or an hour when the babies are napping, or fifteen minutes when the Daughter is taking a break between classes.  Even the half-hour when the cake is baking can be used to write - if you put the timer on so it doesn't burn.

Every minute spent hitting the keyboard creeps you closer toward your goal. 

And if you're feeling really spiffy, try to write and exercise at the same time with that nifty little gadget up there.  As soon as I can pull $35 out of my a... budget, I'm getting one.

So, do you find yourself trying to squeeze in a little writing between other things?  When do you have some spare minutes to write? 

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sprang Too Soon

I woke up this morning and thought I'd be on the ball if I started changing all the clocks...  I even changed the date on my computer - because I thought my computer was off its rocker telling me it was only the thirteenth.  Silly thing.  I remember yesterday.  It was Saturday.

Except it wasn't.  And I didn't even realize until after I'd been up for almost an hour.  Ack.

I refuse to believe it's going to be one of those days.  No day should start out so early with such a weight of negativity on its shoulders.

Here's to a better rest of the day.  I've got work to do.  (Although, since it's not Sunday like I thought, I'm not nearly as behind as I believed when I woke up.)

(Clock Available for Sale Here)

Friday, March 12, 2010


Howdy.  I decided instead of a weekly update, I'd just use today to chat about things.

First off, thank you to all the people who follow me.  I just noticed I have a few new members to 'my posse'.  Welcome to the gang.  I'll try to follow you back as time allows.  (And please note:  Sorry, but I probably won't follow you if your emails contain questionable links or if your profile looks like spam.  Just sayin'.)

Oh, and to anyone reading this blog: I don't necessarily endorse the ideas or missions of those people following me.  Click through at your own risk.

Secondly, I've been really concentrating on my lifestyle change this week (i.e. my plan to lose weight and eat healthier).  I was over poking around the library's used book sale and I snatched up a copy of something called Fat to Firm: Lose Weight at Any Age.  I started reading it almost immediately, and you know what?  It's pretty much what I was trying to do on my own - but with purpose and direction.  Eat less, exercise more, cut down fatty foods, etc.  This might be a change I can live with and continue for the rest of my life.  (I mean, rather than the yo-yo plans I've done in the past.)

And hey, any plan that tells me I don't have to forego everything I love - just cut back - is okay in my book.  It's also helpful that they tell you to give yourself permission to fail* - as long as you don't use that single fail as an excuse to go back to your old ways.  Which means that Cadbury Creme Egg I ate yesterday isn't fatal.

Another point that bears mentioning is the tendency I have to eat when I'm upset, frustrated, irritated, bored, sad...  You know, emotional eating.  (Which explains the Cadbury yesterday.)  I just have to recognize when those stumbling blocks are upon me and find better ways to deal.  Like exercising instead of eating.  (I did both yesterday.)  Here's hoping this works and my 44/41/42 measurements start heading in a more 36/24/36 direction.  For now I just want to get back into my blue jeans without squooshing my innards.

Finally, the census chick was here earlier this week with our packet of stuff to fill out.  Back in 2000, they just mailed it.  :shrug:  I need to fill that sucker out and get it back before they send goons to badger the info out of me.  (Just kidding.  My brother was one of those census goons in 1990.)  Of course, in 1990, I was the supervisor for the first ever Animal Census - in the city of Marquette, MI.  Yep, folks, my team went door to door collecting info on the city's pet residents.  We said it was so we could return animals to their homes more easily, but the real reason was to locate people who didn't license their pets.  The returning pet thing was just a side benefit.

Your turn: How's life treating you these days?  Has the census reached you yet?

*Reminds me of an important writing tenet: Give yourself permission to suck - especially on the first draft.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Voices in My Head

So, I'm editing along and like, my characters are having a three-way discussion of some important matters.  Not easy to write considering that in a multiple character conversation, pronouns are problematic, but that's not really the issue here.  The issue is that I've got my MC talking to a Cossack and an Englishman.  All three have their own speech patterns and two are very distinctive.

Last night went sorta like this: "Okay. who's talking here?" and then once I had that settled, I proceeded to talk out loud like whichever character I was writing.  My husband had to think I was nuts - especially when I was doing the Russian accent.

And for some reason the blasted Cossack was taking over every time I tried to write the Englishman.  Today I have to make sure I didn't have B talking with D's speech patterns.  (And no, I'm not getting insane typing out the accents - except for the occasional dropped H on the Brit's part.)

Anyway, these different people are driving me crazy.  I don't even want to think about the meeting scene where there are characters from all over the globe talking over the top of each other.  Ack.  I mean, I guess I could wimp out and have some of them keep their mouths shut, but it wouldn't be real.  These aren't the type of folks to just hold their tongues - about anything. 

:shrug:  I'll figure it out when I get there. 

How do you handle scenes where multiple characters are talking?  Do the voices in your head ever have an argument?  If so, who wins?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


I've been dragging my feet on editing.  I mean, I'm chugging along on the little things - change a word here, delete a phrase there - but I've been skimming over parts I know need some major remodeling.  Case in point: Chapter Five.  I did the superficial edits and Mam'selle Doubt kept whispering in my ear.  She can really be a bitch sometimes, and more often than not, she's wrong.

This time?

As much as I hate to admit it, her snotty comments do occasionally turn out to be right.  Something was off with the flow, and the writing felt stilted, and...  let's just say this is the reason I keep her around.

Anyway, I tackled Chapter Five - determined to fix it once and for all.  Within moments, everything was falling into place.  Huzzah!  Take that you snooty French trollop. 

"You sheet.  Ah steell theenk you're a hack.  Go ahead, spend your day wasteeng time on your seelee storees.  Ah have shoppeeng to do."


Have any huzzah moments lately?  How are things in your world?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Stupidity Alert

This afternoon I heard a snippet of news that really deserves a Stupity Alert.

A certain celeb - who's already gotten more press than she deserves - has started a lawsuit against e-Trade.  She believes one of the babies was modeled after her, and wants blood.  (Or the 100million dollar equivalent.)  According to the actress's complaint, the online brokerage firm is guilty of using her "likeness, name, characterization, and personality". 

The really stupid thing is...

By suing this company, the actress is basically admitting she thinks she's a ditzy, man-snatching, chemical-dependent bimbo.  Either that or she thinks she's just a big baby.  :shrug:

Personally, I never saw the resemblance.  I don't see one even now.  Too bad this actress has such a low self-esteem that she does. 

Ever seen the commercial?  I love the e-Trade babies, and this one just kills me.

"Duh... Milk-a-what?"

Jack of All Trades - Master of Some

Strolling through the blogosphere this morning, I noticed a bit of a trend.  Several authors were mentioning the jobs they used to have before they made the leap to writing.  Add to that the arrival of my yearly Social Security thing-a-ma-bob (if I die today, my daughter gets some walking around money - whoopee for her), and I got to thinking...

I started working for real in the early '80s.  Like most girls my age, I took my first step into the workaday world by babysitting...  Pause.  Scratch that.  I remember now...  I earned my first income picking garbage out of the neighbor's field for a dollar an hour.  (Or was that a dollar a bag?  I forget.  I mean it's been like thirty years.)  Around the same time, I got paid to do some data entry work in my mother's office.  Oh, and I made a little scratch sticking labels on electronics literature for Dad's company.

I've held so many paying jobs over the years, it's a wonder I can keep any of them straight.  By the time I was thirty, I'd held thirty jobs*.  (I know. I did the math - and even then, I know I forgot about the garbage detail and the label application.)  Of course, in college I held a couple jobs at the same time.  PBS in the morning and telemarketing at night with class time in between.  Yay.

Even now, when writing is my day job, I still have a second job - because it's the only one making moolah - and that's running my online bookstore. 

Anyway, over the years I've held a lot of jobs in a lot of different fields--sales, clerical, management, farm/agriculture, manufacturing, technology, training...  Jack of all trades, master of some of each.  Heh, I guess I do know Jack.  ;o)

What's this got to do with writing?  Well, I guess I'd say it's got a lot to do with writing because: every single experience we have contributes to our knowledge base.  Write what you know... and the more you know, the more you have to write about.  Right? 

If I ever need to write about telemarketing, mucking stalls, computer training/consulting, sticking little widgets on the ends of alligator clips, picking jalapeno peppers, assisting the president of a company, sales training, dog washing, selling capacitors, handling irate customers...  Well, I'll be ready to do it.  Not that you have to work your way through every job in the Occupational Outlook Handbook to be a better writer, but I'm trying to put a positive spin on a negative looking resume.

And if nothing else, I'll always have something to fall back on, if this writing thing doesn't work out.  And I can still do better than to work for the stinking cow place.

What about you?  Do you find your experiences helping your writing or are you making it all up from scratch?  What's the weirdest job you ever held? 

*Doing a count just now, I'm at 37 different jobs over my 26 years in the workforce.  Ack.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Satan Works at Keebler

I discovered an insidious plot today at the grocery store.  Satan works at Keebler.  He has to be the frigging president of the company.  (Or at least middle management.)  Otherwise, I wouldn't have bought a package of these today...


Those bastard elves have to be working for the King of All Darkness.  And to prove it, just try to find those cookies at  They aren't there.  Satan snuck them into my store (and at Amazon - where you can buy them in bulk for petesakes).  They are Evil Evil satanic snacks.

And so damn good. 

Satan just knew I lost another pound.  He wants me fat and sluggish.  Bastard.  I hope he burns in... Ummm... Never mind.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Mademoiselle S. Doubt

Self doubt.  What a bitch.  And a sneaky French one at that.  Here I am, writing along and happy as a lark when Mademoiselle S. Doubt whispers in my ear...

"Ah do not like thees.  Eet's too choppy.  Eet does not flow.  Feex eet."

"Shut up," I say, swatting at her like the gnat she is.

"And thees part, where you... how you say... insert thee backstoree? Thees whole part is merde."

"Go away," I mutter.  "I like that part, you Parisian floozie."

"Ah am only tryeeng to help," she says as she flounces off to pout.  "I do not want thees storee to fail like zee last dozen."

"It wasn't a dozen and it's not going to fail."

"Such hope you Americans have.  So noble and yet so seelee.  That agent... Zhree yeers ago?  You zhould av leestened to eem.  Write non-feection.  Much more suiteed to a clerque typeest like you.  No?"

"No.  And that guy didn't know what he was talking about.  Hell, he misspelled 'plausible' in his rejection letter."

"Ah beleeve that was 'implauseeble', because that is what your chanceez of getting published are.  Seelee girl."

"Bitch.  Other agents have loved my writing."

She smiles so politely, but behind her eyes I can tell she knows she's winning.  A lilting giggle bubbles out from between her perfect lips.  "Zey were just beeing kind.  Eef zey loved your writeeng, you would be working weeth zem, no?"

"The time wasn't right for those books.  This one will be the one."

"Whatever you must tell yourself to geet to sleep at night, monchere.  Eef you want my advice..."

"I don't, you silly French tart."

"...Ah theenk you zhould erase thees meestake and start over.  Your characters?  They are flat. Your premeese?  Eet is seelee.  And your voice?  Eet keeps changing from scene to scene.  Give up on thees eell-advised writing theeng.  Go back to being a secretaree.  Maybe the steenkeeng cow place is hireeng.  You zhould feet right een there."

I bang my head on the desk a few times, hoping to knock the bitch out of my subconscious.  All I end up with is a headache and the growing suspicion she's not going anywhere until after I finish this book and get someone else's opinion.  Because you know, when Mam'selle Doubt shows up, your own opinion doesn't seem to matter anymore.

Now, if you'll pardon me, I have to kick some French ass so I can get back to work.  It's a never-ending battle, but I'm still winning.  And if I ever lose, I can still do better than the stinking cow place.  ;o)

Do you battle self-doubt?  How's your skirmish going?  Ever think you'll win?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Meme, Anyone?

Thursday I was tagged by Natalie Murphy for a meme.  The rules are merely to fill in the blanks after what were bolded words, but are now after the colon.  (That's me: Dare to be different.  LOL)

So here goes... (in no particular order)

I like: hard copy books
I like: puppies
I like: the way the forest smells after it rains
I like: standing on the coast of Lake Superior before a storm
I like: emeralds
I like: kittens
I like: springtime
I like: Dilbert cartoons
I like: learning new things
I like: ice cream - especially Choco-Malt Chip which I don't think they even make anymore.
I like: bird watching
I like: crocheting

I love: my family
Today was: filled with potential

I hate: stupid people (ignorance is fixable, stupidity is when you know you're ignorant and don't care to fix it)
I hate: Pizza flavored combos
I hate: ironing
I hate: people who pretend to be one thing when they're another
I hate: keeping my mouth shut when something really really ticks me off
I hate: insincerity
I hate: the games politicians (or people with political aspirations) play
I hate: when I'm afraid I'll never be published

I (secretly) like: South Park
I love: my husband (I know I already said 'my family' but I love him so much, he deserves his own space.)

While I enjoy being tagged for a meme, I'm not a person who passes along these things.  I figure, if you're interested in participating, you'll do it.  And if you do decide to, please leave a note in the comments.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Weekly Update Plus the Story of a Funk

This past week I finished the rewrite of DLN (which stands for Djinn Liberation Network and is not the real title, btw - the real title is better, trust me).  I ended up just short of 90K on this second draft.  Just about right for a paranormal suspense/urban fantasy.  I still have some weaving left to do, mind you, but I don't expect the sum total to move much.  Maybe a few thousand up or down max. 

Other than that, not a whole lot has been going on around here.  I spent yesterday in a total funk.  And I thought it was going to be such a good day.  Hell, I saw the first robins of Spring first thing.  Two of them were chasing each other around the neighbor's tree.  If that isn't a harbinger of good things, I don't know what is.

And then I made the mistake of talking a walk down memory lane.  Wouldn't you know it, the damn path had uneven cobbles and I fell on my face. 

First off, my post yesterday reminded me that I hadn't searched the web for my missing CP in a while.  Now that might sound a little stalker-ish, but when someone just drops off the face of the earth, I kinda feel the need to at least find out whether they're still alive.  Ya know?  Sure, it'd be nice to know why she just up and stopped responding to my emails - without so much as a 'I realized I don't like you, your politics, your philosophy, your writing...'  Seems like a more honest way to end a partnership than sudden disappearance.  Anyway, I found her.  She's still alive, has a new blog and seems to be doing very well.  I'm happy for her.  Seriously.  But finding out she wasn't dead or horribly crippled or deported, just made me understand that it wasn't her, it was me.  And reading one of her early posts at the new blog made me understand why our friendship was probably ill-fated to begin with. 

Which of course, started a cascading downward spiral of my normally okay self-esteem.  Suddenly I needed to find other lost friends and see what they were up to.  An hour of googling and facebooking later, I found the girl who first got me drunk, the first boy I had a crush on and the guy who was in almost every one of my classes from K-12.  I also found out the man who was my best friend for about ten years finally got his pilot's license - go Larry. 

Still, I wasn't satisfied.  I still felt a burning desire to connect with my past for some reason.  Back to facebook and a new college search...

Lo and behold, I found my group of college friends.   They seem to have kept in contact with each other, but not with me.  (Of course, one of those people was an ex-boyfriend and our breakup was less than stellar, so I can't really bitch about them leaving me out.)  This, of course, did wonders for my funk.  (Note sarcasm.)

I finally came out of it after a total diet-fail (a Moolatte and a cheeseburger), a trip to the thrift store (18 paperbacks and two hardcovers = $2.75), and driving around listening to crappy music at as loud as my ears could stand.  Pathetic.  Because I was feeling bad about myself, I tortured myself with things that were bad for me.  Umm, right. 

Now that I'm back in my right head this morning, I wonder what the hell I was thinking.  I mean, it's not like I chased my CP away.  Whatever her problem was, it was her problem. And if her problem was with me, dropping off the face of the earth wasn't the most mature way to handle it.  :shrug:  As for my old friends, I'm reminded of a line from All Dogs Go to Heaven:  "You can never go back." 

And you know something, even if I could go back, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't fit in.  We had a lot of fun together, but none of are the same people we were.  I know I'm not the same.  Hell, since I left college I lived through being a single mom and getting brain damage.  If that doesn't change a person, I don't know what does.

Like I said, the funk is over.  I go through this whining for my past every once in a while.  I try to find my HS best friend - who doesn't facebook, apparently - and I look for old relationships.  And then I realize that even if I did find them, it wouldn't be the same.  You really can't go back in time.  And trying just leads to a funk. 

Not that I won't do this again.  I will, and with the same results.  Stupid self-perpetuating cycle.  Bleh.

Have you ever tried to connect with your past?  How'd that go for you?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Editing Fun

Ummm, where did Wednesday go? 

Okay, enough about missing days and silly cats.  Let's talk about something really exciting... EDITING!  Yay.  (Would you believe 'whoopee'?)

As you might be aware, I'm not a huge fan of editing.  Oh, don't get me wrong - especially if you're a potential agent - I have no problem doing the work to make my story shine.  I'd just rather be writing something new.  I finish a project and my brain says something to the effect of 'that one's done, what's next?'  Maybe that's why I have a few fully written but totally unpolished manuscripts laying around my harddrive.  I always want to drive on to the next project.

Anyway, I think I'm past any of the really deep edits.  What I'm doing now is:

- Proofing (I know I meant to type its, so why does the sentence say it's?)
- haggling over word choice (did that rat scuttle or skitter along the wall?)
- checking for clarity (in a conversation between more than two people, who the hell is talking at any given moment?)
- making sure every bit of world building, characterization and interpersonal relationships jives throughout.

So, this 4th day of a 31 day month, I've got a good start.  I already edited the first chapter, sent it off to a beta reader (against my previous promise to never send a part when the whole isn't done), and entered her suggestions.  (Thanks again, Nat.)  Chapter two is going a little slower - maybe because Chapter One has already been rewritten a bazillion times. 

Part of what's helping me with the edits - other than beta help, that is - is a series of posts over at Literary Rambles wherein Casey McCormick talks about omitting needless words and tightening your writing: Part One, Part Two, and Part Three.  Other things that help are pieces of advice I've gotten over the years from my blog friends, writerly buddies and internet research. 

Like when Kristen Painter pointed out I was using the word 'it' too much.  Or how my old CP (may she rest wherever she disappeared to) had a penchant for highlighting every single adverb - most of which were totally unnecessary.  (Although the one time I used peremptorily gave us both a hearty laugh.)  Or how the gals over at edittorent continually post about how to make writing tighter and cleaner.

Needless to say, there's a lot of thoughts going on up there in my swiss-cheese head.  Add to all that the need to keep my own voice, and let's just say it makes editing fun.  Wheee.  It's definitely a tight-rope I'm walking.  But it's worth the work if I come out the other side with a manuscript that will finally snag me an agent.

Having said that, here's hoping I have a clean, tight, exciting manuscript at the end of this month.  Keep your fingers crossed for me.  ;o)

What's on your plate lately?  Any editing tips, hints or links to share?  How about your own editing stories? 

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Picture Pause

"I believe the whole 'no news is good news' thing is erroneous.  I dare say, if my human hadn't left this particular piece of news lying around, my posterior would be cold."  - Kira Kitty

Monday, March 1, 2010

March? Still Feels Like February

Happy March 1st.  According to my Maxine of the day calander, it's time to return the neighbor's snowblower and borrow his lawn mower.  Umm, right.  I woke up to two inches of fresh snow today.  I blame the groundhog.  Stupid rodent.

How's the weather where you're at?  Sunny and warm?  Please share stories of sun and warmth.  If I can't experience it, I have to settle for living vicariously.  ;o)