Friday, April 30, 2010

Total ReWrite

Just when you thought it was safe to step away from the computer...

He's ready for a major manuscript smackdown.  He'll rip those unnecessary scenes apart.  He'll beat those secondary characters into shape.   And that necklace he's wearing?  It's made of the teeth he knocked out of any MC who dared to disagree with his suggestions.  He's mean, he's bald, he's as ripped as his clothes.  He's...


I'm looking forward to going head to head with him soon.  Maybe as soon as tomorrow... if I don't wet myself beforehand. ;o)

*Image courtesy of the Marvel Superhero Avatar Creator.

Weekly Update of Sorts

Needless to say, it's been a thoroughly off week here at the Sanderson Creativity Factory.  I got some awesome feedback from my tireless beta readers - and it totally derailed me.  (Through no fault of said readers - so don't feel bad, guys.  This happens to me sometimes.  I kvetch and then I get over it.)

On the other hand, getting derailed means sometimes you get to see things from a different perspective.

Think about it.  You're speeding along on what you think is the right track for you, and WHAM!  You're knocked off the rails, with your chapters scattered alongside the path like a toddler's lincoln logs.  At first you lay there, stunned.  Eventually you realize you have two choices: Lay there and whine about it OR get off your bruised buns and start putting everything back together.  (Or the unthinkable third choice, which is to get up, wander off and leave everything laying where it is.)

Picking everything up is going to take a lot of work, and I'm still standing amidst the chaos wondering how the hell I'm going to do that.  Humpty-Dumpty's crew had it easy compared to this.  (And what the hell was the King thinking sending horses to put Humpty back together again?  Seriously.  They don't even have fingers, let alone opposable thumbs.  Sheesh.)

This beautiful brainchild is trashed and the pieces are scattered through a friggin' forest full of trees I can't see.  (Or is it the forest I can't see?  I can never remember.)

I guess the long and short of it is that I'm not feeling too bad now.  I see the work.  I'll do the work.  Right now, though, I'm taking a little time to assess the damage and see if this train will ever skim the highspeed rails again.  Or if I have to get an entirely different train to carry the load from here on out.  Wish me luck.

How was your week?  Anything interesting to report?  Are you chugging right along or facing a derailment of your own?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Irrationality and Powerlessness and Finally Relief

First off, let me say that I love that quote by L. Sprague deCamp: "There is no mistaking the dismay on the face of a writer who has just heard that his brain child is a deformed idiot."  Been there, done that, nailed it shut and got the t-shirt. And somehow it's nice to know I'm not alone* - especially when even a writer of deCamp's caliber has felt that way, too.

Yesterday I did get out of my bleh attitude.  I even sat down to write some new words - hoping they would jumpstart my muse.  They didn't.  All they did was make me feel like everything I write (or have ever written) is total crap.  Rationally I know my writing is not crap.  Irrationally?  Well, that's why they call it irrational... because it equals NOT rational.

Every once in a while - like maybe twice a year since I started this - I go through a phase where my self-confidence takes a nosedive.  I start questioning every word choice, every plot point, every nuance of every sentence... until I don't feel like I can write another syllable.  Or that I should.

Recently I heard that the electric department would be starting a big project soon and that although it's slim, there's a possibility of losing power briefly during the project.  So, using my massive influence and pull**, I asked if someone could give me a heads-up so I don't lose any work.  The answer was No.  I said 'at least let me know which day you'll be working so I can take the day off writing'.  The answer this time:  May through September.

Would you believe that, for a moment, I considered shutting down for that length of time?  I even joked about it with the Hubster, but somewhere in the back of my head, I wasn't entirely joking.  Not that I'd ever rationally consider any such thing, but like I said, that's why they call it irrational.

So anyway, I guess the point of this post is that I'm in a different kind of stall, but I think I see my way out of it.  This looks like a job for... TOTAL REWRITE!  I'm trying to stave off starting that until I'm in my rational mind again, but this may be the only rational thing to do.  I'll let you all know what I decide.

If nothing else, having stumbled across the idea that I may have to rewrite DLN almost entirely, I'm feeling much more relaxed about the whole thing.  Like I've been fighting the idea for long enough now that I'm relieved to finally have it out in the open.  :shrug:

* And that's the partial point of this type of post - to let other writers know that THEY are not alone either.
** Which is to say NONE.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Ever have one of those days where you don't feel like doing anything?  You know the one - where even sitting and watching TV feels like a chore.  Hell, it's one of those days where just the sitting part is a chore and I'd go back to bed, but it's too much work to stand and walk there from here.

Watching those pharmaceutical commercials would lead me to believe I'm depressed.  Except I don't feel depressed.  I feel happy enough, but unmotivated.  Bleh.

The culprit could be the amount of work I have waiting for me to get motivated.  Sometimes just thinking about everything I have to do makes me too tired to do it.  Work-wise, I've got editing and polishing galore waiting to be done.  Otherwise, I have laundry to do, the office to clean, and I probably should do something about the bathrooms.  Daughter needs drive-time, too. Plus, I have to schedule her ACT, research colleges, order checks, take a shower, sweep the front patio... :yawn:

Needless to say, I'm stalled.  Maybe I'll call Mom.  Usually when I'm in a bleh mood, talking to her shakes me out of it.  Last time this mood hit, I talked to her for an hour and then went right to work.  And we didn't even talk about my mood.  We just BS'd and I felt more motivated.  Yay for Mom.

What do you do to shake yourself out of the blehs?

ETA: Talking to Mom did the trick.  I'm off my proverbial butt and doing stuff now.  

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Picture Pause & a Joke

A while back I talked about the flights of geese headed west for the summer.  (Yes, west.  We have strange birds here.)  Well, I finally got around to downloading the pics I took.  Here's a shot of one westerly flock...

The fourth and fifth from the left are snow geese. The rest are Canada geese. 

And now for a little joke...  Stop me if you've seen this one before...

Mr Ducks
Mr Not Ducks
Mr Ducks

Anyone know how the joke goes?  (Sorry, it's more an out-loud joke.  Think southern accent.)  If no one gets it, I'll share the humor in the comments later.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Yumm Alert

I'm going to be busy doing housewifey things today, but I wanted to stop and show you a new treat I found...

Blue Bunny Pineapple Sherbet

OMG, is it ever delicious.  And it's FAT FREE!  Huzzah, Huzzah.  =o)

Of course, it's not calorie-free, so you still have to watch how much you eat, but it's an almost guilt free treat.  (Even better if you throw some fresh fruit in with it, but that's me.)

Now, I'm not a huge sherbet fan because it's usually too sour - but this is sweet and smooth and it has chunks of pineapple right in it.  I'm thinking about making a smoothie with some later. 

But first, I have to clean the basement...  If I'm not back later, the spiders got me.  (And not the cute ones like from the other day, either.) 

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Picture Pause

This year's first spooky weather system. Those clouds were slowly swirling, and I heard someone east of us saw a funnel.

Welcome to tornado season in eastern Colorado.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Weekly Update

It's a rainy day here and the cat is obviously too bored to look out the window.

This week in my life has been pretty much the usual.  I finished the polishing of DLN and gave it to a couple beta readers.  (Whereupon I learned that I might have some major work to do.)  I also went back to RTL and started re-polishing that manuscript - because... wait for it...

I might have located a publisher to send it to.  Time will tell if I've chosen the right place, but hey, it's progress.  (Thanks again for everyone who commented and nudged... or kicked... my butt into gear on that.) I'm only 38 pages into the reading, but I'm still loving what I wrote.  Only a few tweaks here and there so far.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the publisher will love it, too.

I've also been working on plotting out the sequel to DLN, and I think it's finally coming together.  I know where the first third of the book is going to go, so it's ready when I'm ready to start new writing again.  Additionally this week, I've got the first bones of a query letter on paper for DLN.  I guess all I needed was a swift kick to jumpstart my gumption.

In reading news, I just finished an awesome book by a debut author - Embers by Laura Bickle.  Interesting and sympathetic characters, kick-ass MC, intriguing plot with delicious twists (at one point I thought Ms. Bickle was going to piss me off to no end, but she pulled it out just in time and that made the book all the better).  I'd tell you more, but I hate spoilers - and there's really no way to talk about this book in depth without spoiling some surprise.  Suffice it to say, I can't wait to read the next book in this series. 

How are things in your world?  Read anything interesting lately?  Does anyone else have a special stool set up just so the cat can look out the window, or is it just me?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I Love This But...

My first reader is done.  She inhaled the book in a few two hour sessions and we talked about it afterwards.  Her take on DLN was "I love this, but..."

And all her 'buts' were dead-on.  They were things I was concerned about, but had glossed over in my mind. 

1) There's too much backstory, which she said was understandable considering what I'm trying to do - you know, world building and trying to work this into a series - but really... too much backstory distracts from the main story.
2) There aren't enough bodies.  More people should be dying.  There ought to be more destruction.  (I think her exact words were 'more blood' but even the people who do die in the book aren't really bloody - just dead.)
3) And that part where I strayed from the secondary plot?  Well, it sort of seems like I forgot about it until almost the end and then wrapped it up too quick.  (Of course, she also said she didn't notice this until about pg 313 - out of a 318 pg book - so it's not as tragic as it could be.)

As always, my first reader is none other than Daughter.  LOL, I didn't know when I started homeschooling that I'd be training my own beta reader, but she does a damn good job.  Of course, since she mainlines paranormal, I'm just happy she didn't make up some excuse to get out of reading this book.  She's a member of my target market, after all.  (No, this book isn't YA.  Even though Daughter is 16, she doesn't really read much YA.)

So, what do I do now?  I still have one person beta reading for me (Hi Natalie) and I'm at a point where I'm considering a rewrite to fix the above.  :heavy sigh:  I really don't want to do a total rewrite, but if that's what this book takes, then so be it.  We'll see what Nat has to say and go from there.

Time will tell, but I'm guessing that I won't be ready to query by the end of next month.  :shrug:  C'est la vie.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Lookie what we found...

Lookie what my daughter just found in our basement.   It's a Daring Jumping Spider.  Of course, this pic isn't mine because I don't have a camera that'll take one of something so small.  (If spiders don't gross you out, scroll down... I have to move it below the screen or daughter will freak every time she sees my homepage.)

And she didn't even scream.  Yay her.  Not that she'd touch the jar with him in it, but still... it's progress.

Anyway, I went looking for what this little fellow was because he was so damn pretty.  Ours was slightly different - with yellowish markings on his back instead of white - but the defining characteristic is the nifty metallic green fangs.  I'm not a huge bug fan, but he was too cool to squash.  He entered the Sanderson spider relocation program and is now residing in a vacant building nearby. 

Have a nice life little man. 

You know, he's so awesome, I almost think he deserves a spot in one of my stories. 

And if you haven't seen today's first post, scroll down.  =o)

Dandelion: Noxious Weed or Miracle Plant?

Since I spent part of last evening and part of this morning striving to eradicate said plant, I'm leaning toward the former.  However, when researching this post about dandelions, I stumbled across a herbal site that begs to differ:  The Dandelion: A Miracle Remedy.

Now, dear old dad used to talk about drinking dandelion wine and Daughter's dad - the chef - talked about making dandelion salad.  I've tried neither.  I only remember how painful it was to accidentally step on the remnants of dead dandelion plants littered across our lawn every summer.

On the other hand, I also remember how much fun it was picking dandelions for a pretty bouquet or checking to see if you like butter, or running around the yard blowing the seeds away.  Or even the morbid rhyme wherein you hold a dandelion flower with your thumbnail at the base and chant: "Lucy had a baby, but it's head popped off" - whereupon you'd pop the flower off the dandelion stem.  Gross, I know, but that was my childhood.

Nowadays, I'd just sit back and enjoy these yellow harbingers of spring - except there's a city ordinance against having them in your lawn.  Leave them be and I'll be subject to a ticket and a fine.  So I kill them.  :shrug:  When we have a place of our own, out in the country where nobody cares whether you have a lawn covered in yellow flowers, I'll leave them alone to reside amongst the white clover flowers and those tiny purple flowers (for which I have no name).

Which side of the fence are you on - noxious weed or miracle plant or just plain pretty?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Hi.  I'm B.E. and I'm addicted to books.  And actually, I'm okay with that.  Other than my budget, no one gets hurt and my addiction actually puts money in other writer's pockets.

Yesterday I made a major score.  I didn't get everything I wanted and I didn't find everything I was looking for, but I did rake in some yummy new titles.

What I did get:

Embers by Laura Bickle (an new-to-me author - recommended by Amazon).  I started this one last night.
Every Demon Has His Day by Cara Lockwood (I read the 2nd book in this series last week, and when I saw this in Borders' sales bin, I snapped it up.)
Mind Games by Carolyn Crane (an impulse buy)
Nightlife (Cal Leandros - Book 1) by Rob Thurman (I've been hearing about Mr. Thurman for a while now and decided to take the plunge)
The Highlander's Sword by Amanda Forester (been on my wishlist for over a month - about time I bought it)
Heart of Darkness - a compilation of shorts by Gena Showalter, Maggie Shayne and Susan Krinard.
Fablehaven: Keys to the Demon Prison - by Brandon Mull (I'm totally hooked on this MG series.  Thank god I made the mistake of thinking I hadn't bought the 4th book - because as I was searching for that one, I found this one.  Yay!)

I'm still needing to buy Silver James's book Faerie Fate.  Neither B&N nor Borders had it in stock, so I'll be ordering it off Amazon, I guess.  I also skipped the latest Dresden Files novel - Changes - because paying $26 for the hardcover made my little miserly heart whimper.  I'll pick it up in softcover eventually.

Oh, and I still have a couple books on my TBR pile to read.  Even though I bought it in February, I still haven't cracked open Academe's Fury by Jim Butcher.  I have to be in the right frame of mind to tackle the Codex Alera books and I'm not there yet.  I also picked up a neat looking title the other day called Lady Dragon by Jewell Mason.

This should provide me with my fix for at least a couple weeks. 

What are you reading?  Find any good new authors to share?  Did I forget to buy something you think I really should be reading?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Caffeine Kitty

Since my morning thus far has involved both a kitty and caffeine, I thought I'd give you...

Too bad in my case, the morning involves a need for caffeine caused by Obnoxi-Kitty - who thought it would be good to turn her purr-engine on high and visit us at 2AM.  I really do love my cat, but since I have to drive two hours this morning for my quarterly day in the city, she's lucky I didn't boot her into the kitchen.

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

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Well, I'm Done

With this draft, that is.  And only 3 days past when I said I wanted to be finished.  Of course, this means it's time for the beta readers to have at it.  I've already got one person reading it chapter by chapter (:waves:), and Daughter is inhaling it (but she's so wrapped up in the story, she's not catching much for me to fix).

As always, I'll put out the call for additional readers here.  If you're interested in beta reading an urban fantasy (paranormal suspense?) with Djinn as the central species, send me an email or leave a note in the comments and I'll contact you.  I was shooting for a similar flavor to The Dresden Files, and since I just read the October Daye series, I think I can safely say it's similar to those, too.  If you like either series, I'm hoping you'll enjoy beta reading this.

Daughter is really enjoying the story and she mainlines paranormal anything, so I must be doing something right.  About halfway through, she stopped and told me that when she heard I was doing a paranormal, she didn't think I could pull it off.  (Thanks for the vote of confidence, kid. =op)  But she also said I surprised her and did it.  Yay me.

Anyway, I'm hoping to be ready to start submitting before the end of May.  So, if you've got the time and the urge to beta, let me know.  

On tap for today?  Well, I really don't know.  I have several possibilities in mind.  1) Work on a general outline for the next book in this series.  2) Start writing a completely different book (already in the works on paper, btw).  3) Work on the blurb for DLN.  4) Go back and edit a previous manuscript.

If you were me, what would you do?  What do you do after you finish a round of edits?

Oh.  Sorry for the double post today.  I already had that one scheduled before I thought about the fact that I'd finish DLN today.  If you're interested in talking about banned books, scroll down.  =o)

Banned Books

I just came across the American Library Association's list of the Top 100 Banned or Challenged Books 2000-2009.  It amazes me - although I suppose it shouldn't - that in this day and age people are still trying to censor other people's ability to choose what books to read.

Sure, there are books on that list I wouldn't want in my house and I sure as hell wouldn't want Daughter to read, but those are my choices in my home.  If someone else wants to put sludge in their head, it's not my place to tell them they can't.  (And I'm not even going to say which books I think are sludge - because I made a promise that I wasn't going to trash other writers' work.)  Everyone has different tastes and the books I hate one of you might love.  And vice versa.

Of course, these are PUBLIC libraries and schools they're talking about, so it opens a whole other can of worms.  Every taxpayer contributes to the whole of the funding, after all.  One would think that each person should have a say in how their tax money is being spent - even if some of the reasoning seems insane.  (Ban To Kill a Mockingbird for racist issues?  Puleeze.)  No matter how you slice it, it's a sticky issue. 

Personally, I think banning books is pointless - you know, like cutting off your nose to spite your face.  Banning a book just makes it seem more attractive to a larger section of the populace than would've read the book otherwise.  Look at The Satanic Verses.  I don't think it would've sold nearly as well without help from the radical Muslims who wanted the book burned and author murdered. 

And in this time of online everything, does banning a book from the library really have any effect anyway?  If I can't get it there, I can order it from Amazon, or Barnes and Noble, or any one of a dozen other sellers. And if it's an old enough book, you can probably find the entirety of it at Project Gutenberg anyway.  (Like Tom Sawyer, maybe.)

What do you think about the whole 'banned book' thing?

LOL... I just noticed that Fahrenheit 451 is on the list of banned books.  How ironic is that? 

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Being Good but Dating Bad

The other day, Karin Tabke posted a rant about when good girls have relationships with awful men.  And although I did comment on her post, the phenomenon is still something that's been rattling around my head.

As I said in the comments, I think the problem has two interrelated sources: 1) a low self-esteem combined with 2) the idea that no one can be complete without some significant other in their life. 

Oh, and I'm not just blowing smoke out my ass.  I've thought about this many many MANY times over the years, because I was one of those women who perpetually dated Mr. Wrong - in all his forms and disguises.  I've also known far too many women who've also dated Mr. Wrong and a few who've married Mr. Wrong.  (Not talking about me here.  I married Mr. Perfect-For-Me after a good long stretch of Wrongs.)

If you don't believe you're good enough to deserve a happy, meaningful and healthy relationship, you'll be like me and those other women.  (Or other men - because we girls don't have a corner on being good dating bad.)

Now, of course, I'm not talking about the lure of the 'bad boy' in romance novels.  I'm talking about the kind of guy who makes you feel like shit, or the kind that hits you, or the kind that doesn't trust you, or the kind that treats you nice in public but is an asshole at home, or the kind that sponges off you because he's a lazy ass, or the kind that picks fights because he's empty inside...  You get the picture.  There's nothing romantic about any of those men.  They're not 'bad boys', they're just bad.

We all deserve better.

I know a gal - beautiful, intelligent, witty... but overweight.  Has been for most of her life.  Self-esteem?  Please.  How high can anyone's self-esteem be after years of getting picked on?  She ended up with a guy who smacked her around.  I know another gal - also beautiful, intelligent and witty.  She had a great self-esteem when she got married, but her husband took care of that in short order.  He never hit her, but he spent years telling her how stupid and worthless she was until she was just a shell of her former self. 

Both of those ladies divorced their respective shits and remarried men who make them happy, but not until after 15-20 years of putting up with that crap.  It breaks my heart to think about what they endured... about what all of us endured.

Because I was a gal who put up with crap like that, too.  Why?  Because of the two reasons I put forth above.  Now, I can't speak to why those ladies - or any other ladies, for that matter - end up in a situation where their mate is horrible to them.  I can only speak for me and after years of thought, I figured it out.  I never thought I deserved better, but I always thought I had to be with someone - anyone - to be complete.

And it kept happening to me until I learned that I was good enough to be with someone amazing, and that even if I never found that one amazing person for me, it was okay to live my life alone.  In fact, not long after I came to that realization, I found my husband and we've spent the past six years living happily ever after.

I started dating when I was sixteen... got married for the first and only time at 34... That makes 18 years of failed relationships, horrible experiences and truly bad dating choices.  Ugh.  If I could go back in time and slap my former self, I would spare her all that.  I wish I could spare the former me the guy who hit me and said he was 'just playing'.  Or the guy who was so jealous he thought I spent my business trips sleeping around and even intimated that the reason my brother and I shared a room on those trips was... :shudder:  Or the guy who used my head-injury against me during arguments... "I never said/did that, and you can't prove it because your memory sucks."  Or the guy(s) so incapable of thinking for himself that he wanted me to make all his decisions for him like I was his mother - but then got petulant when I didn't make the decision he wanted.

Ugh... I get tired just thinking about them all.

So, if you're in a relationship like any of the above, please rethink your choices.  You really are worth better and even if Mr. Right isn't out there at the moment, you're worthy of the wait.  Being alone, no matter how hard that may seem, is a better alternative than being with someone horrible to you.  Like they say in the writing business - having no agent is better than having a bad agent.  Well, that applies to romantic relationships, too.  No mate really is better than having a bad mate.

You don't have to put up with crap from the one who's supposed to love you.  You do deserve better.  Don't ever forget it. 

Have you ever been in a good person/ bad person relationship?  Do you know someone in a relationship like that?

And if you're in a bad relationship or know someone you suspect might be in one - especially an abusive one, be it physical, emotional or mental abuse - please seek help.  Here's a place to start: Emotional Abuse - if I'd had that checklist twenty years ago, I could've saved myself a lot of trouble and years of wasted time. Or if you really are being abused go to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

Friday, April 16, 2010

A New Toy!

I'm probably the last person on the net to have found something like this, but I'm like a kid with a new toy.  You see, yesterday I discovered an online music source - Pandora Radio.  I wanted to listen to music while I was editing and I didn't feel like dragging out my CDs or flipping around the three lame stations we have in the middle of nowhere.  Gotta love Google.  The first hit was Pandora and now I'm hooked.

Right now, I'm listening to a station they built for me based on my search for music like Howard Jones.  (Right now, it's Pet Shop Boys - What Have I Done to Deserve This?)  Now I've also got stations based on Bush, Pink, Spirogyra, and Rachmaninov (for those classical needs).  Plus, I let Daughter make a station of her own - something she calls PopPunk.  :shrug:

And it's FREE!  (at least for the first 40 hours a month - if you need more than that you have to pay)  Free always does my miserly heart good.  =oD

With the help of Pandora, I sat here and worked longer than I have since I knocked out those first draft words.  Four chapters edited!  Yay.  If I had to guess, I'd say I was at it for about four hours.  Not quite the eight I was whining over yesterday, but it's an accomplishment anyway.

Oh, and since my fingers were otherwise occupied, I wasn't munching all afternoon.  Bonus!

I love my new toy.

So, if you could build a few radio stations of your own, which bands would they be based on?  (And feel free to let me know if I am, in fact, the last person to play with this new toy.  I can take it.)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

To E or Not to E

Yesterday in the comments to my anti-motivation post, Kristen brought up an interesting question that's been on my mind ever since.  "Why haven't you tried epubs yet?"

"Hmm," I said to myself.  "Why haven't I?"

The first answer my brain came up with is: I haven't tried publishing through the e-market yet because I was holding onto the dream of seeing my books in hardcover - as unrealistic as that is in this economy - or at least in softcover.  I mean, I want to hold my books in my sweaty little hands.  I want to be able to flip through the pages and feel their breeze on my face. 

Then my brain tried the excuse that I haven't yet seen an e-pub who is looking for what I've written.  Umm, duh.  I tossed that lame excuse away.  I know how to look for stuff online, for petesakes. 

In the end, the only rational reason I have for not submitting to e-presses is that I'd feel like a raging hypocrite if I ever got e-published. 

You see, I don't read e-books.  Not that I have any problem with them as a general rule.  They're great for other people.  Me?  Not so much. 

The only time I read a book on my computer is when I'm writing it or when I'm reading for some other writer.  I don't have a problem reading for work on this puppy.  I do have a problem reading for pleasure here.  When I finish working, I want to head off to the comfortable couch, kick back and bury myself in a story.  I don't want to open a new window to read here at the desk.

Yes, if I got a e-reader, that would solve the problem.  I could take it over to the couch and read to my heart's content.  Hell, I might even stop the wrist pain that comes from holding a book too long.  Enter excuse #947... but they cost too much.  And Excuse #948... after the cost of the device, comes the cost of the books to read on it.  When you're pinching pennies so much Lincoln is whimpering, justifying an expenditure like that is problematic.  (Especially when my electronic needs are already not being met - as in my computer is ancient, and my digital camera is pathetic.)

Of course, I realize I'm cutting off my nose to spite my face.  If I could get published in some sort of E version, it could be a stepping stone to a print book.  But I know me.  I know that I couldn't sell something I'm not willing to use.  I'd feel like a shit pimping my e-book when I can't bring myself to buy one. 

What are your thoughts on the e-reading revolution?  Are you an e-reader or will you be one of the last hold-outs in the shift to electronic books? 

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Motivation or Lack Thereof

After six years at this without a payoff, I admit it's hard to stay motivated.  I mean, when I first started this full-time writing thing, it really was closer to full time.  Throughout the day, I worked and paused, worked and paused.  Now?  Not so much.

This morning as I was scanning through the blogosphere, a writer who's sold many books over the years said something that implied if you're only working at this for an hour a day, it's a hobby for you.  This implication was like a slap across the face.  It hurt to think a 'real' novelist would believe I'm just doing this to amuse myself.

Because let's face it, folks, writing isn't always the most fun thing ever.  Especially editing, or wrestling with a difficult scene, or rejection letters... Some days it's like shooting yourself in the forehead with a BB gun - repeatedly.

And then again, I had to admit to myself that I would be working harder at this if I could somehow see a payoff in the near future.  (Or even the not-so distant future, if I had an agent.)  As it says over there in my bio, this is the most effort I've put into anything without some kind of tangible payoff.  Sure, my finished books are a payoff of sorts.  After all, I have learned a lot through writing those books, but I'm thinking more along the lines of cold, hard cash. 

Lately, I seem to lack a strong enough motivation to keep my butt in this chair for the time required to make this a real full-time endeavor.  "Oh look, I've finished another book" just ain't cuttin' it anymore.  I don't even celebrate the accomplishment any more.  I mean, when I finished my first book, I was ready to break out the champagne.  (Didn't - but that was because I was saving it for the soon-to-be agent call that never came.)

So, coming across Mr. Bestseller's comment this morning made me ask myself the questions: Did this become some kind of hobby for me somewhere along the way?  When?  Why? 

I'm still wrestling with the answers.  I do know this is a sort of kick in the pants.  I need to put more effort into my job - even if no one else looks at what I do as a job worthy of a paycheck.  I mean, I've put more effort into minimum wage shit-jobs I hated than I put into this occupation I love (but for which I'm not getting moolah). 

So, the big question today is:  What keeps you motivated? 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Helping Out Debut Author Silver James

This morning, Silver James wrote a post about the work it takes beyond the inspiration, and thereby inspired me to help her out.

Now, before I start, I don't really know Silver.  She's just one of the gals I've seen around the net - especially at Jennifer Lyon's blog.  I haven't even read her debut novel: Faerie Fate - except for a quick snippet or two. 

And I'm still going to suggest you buy her book.  It's already on my To-Buy list - just based on the product description and my contact with her in the blogosphere.

Product Description (kiped off Amazon, of course):  If you could go back, do it over again, would you take a chance to find true love? What if you had no choice? On her fiftieth birthday, the faerie send Rebecca Miller a thousand years into the past to find her happily ever after with Ciaran MacDermot, Chief of Clann MacDermot, the last Fenian warrior in his line. In the twenty-first century, Becca is old enough to be Ciaran's mother. In the tenth, she's young enough to be his bride. The fae forgot to mention one slight stipulation. The lovers must be bound before the Festival of Light, or Becca will forever disappear into Tir Nan Óg, the faerie Land of the Ever Young. Will they discover the binding words before time runs out and they're torn apart forever? Or will their eternal love defeat their Faerie Fate? Without the words, history is doomed to repeat itself.

As for my contact with her, it's only been peripheral, but she seems like a good person, a fun gal, and a hard-working writer.  I can't wait to read her book.  I mean, time-travel plus fae plus hot Clansman?  It's got all the right elements.  How could I not want this book?

And how can I not pitch it?  So, if you've got some extra money in your book budget, give Silver a try.  I'm betting we won't be disappointed.  =o)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Hard at Work

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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Update and Stuff

An odd after-effect of giving my daughter Spring Break was that I ended up taking a break myself.  So, I only got seven chapters polished - and that was only a couple days worth of actual work.  Not what I had envisioned, but there it is.  I guess if I want this round of sand-blasting done by tax day, I'd better get my gumption-hump in gear.  We'll see what I can get accomplished this weekend.

Stuff One: I finally got a chance to watch the finale of Shear Genius.  I'm never watching that show again.  How anyone who just put all her models' hair in buns and then decorated their heads with what looked a kindergarten art project could win is beyond me.  Add that to the fact that the winner was the most negative person on the damn show, and well, I'm done with watching it.  In my opinion, Matthew won.  Go Matthew.  I had more to say, but it was all ranty and negative - just like the winner - so I deleted it.  One thing I will say is that I was thoroughly impressed with both Matthew and Janine's professionalism.  Not a negative comment between them - at least not that was televised.  Good for you two.  Congratulations for rising above.  You're both winners in my book.

Stuff Two: Despite the snow we woke up to a few days ago, Spring seems to have officially begun.  Baseball season is here.  The majority of the birds have returned from their winter hiatus.  Even the grass is starting to get greener.  Hell, my landlady took the lawn mower for service a few weeks ago and said she'd have it back to me soon.  (Not that my lawn needs it yet, but the guy on the corner has already mowed his.)  Across the street I can see grape hyacinths coming up and down the street, their daffodils are blooming.  Yesterday I even noticed buds on some of the trees around town.  Winter is over!  Yay!

Stuff Three:  I'm currently out of new books to read, so I'm diving into my store to see what looks interesting.  Right now, I'm midway through a copy of Romancing the Stone.  I've seen the movie a million times, so I thought I'd check out the book.  So far, it's good.  The movie was better.  Maybe because the movie didn't have a ton of backstory.  While it's interesting to know why Joan is a mousy little person who'd never think of having a real adventure, it's just not working for me.  For me, the lure of RTS is the romance and the action, and I'm not feeling it yet.

Which brings up an important point to remember: Make sure the backstory fits in with the rest of the story and that it flows into one cohesive stream.  This WIP has a good amount of backstory, and I need to make sure it all works without weighing down the story or boring the reader to death.

So, what stuff is going on in your world lately?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

GH - Exercise for the Lazy

Sorry I took so long getting to the promised exercise post, but that's what comes from being lazy, I guess.  And that's what I'm going to talk about today.  I'm lazy.  Always have been to a certain extent.  I guess that's what made exercising so damn hard all those years.

Let's back track a little.  Sure, I was lazy, but I was also the kind of person who could burn calories just thinking about exercising.  Oh, I wasn't a skinny teen, but at 135, I was a good weight for my age and height.  Just doing yardwork, or housework, or marching band seemed to keep me fit enough.  As the years went by, though, my metabolism got lazy, too.  I hit 30 and it seemed like all those years of stuffing my face, drinking like a fish and laying around caught up with me.

Now that I'm rapidly approaching 40, it's the opposite.  I just think about food and the calories leap onto my butt.  Stupid aging process.  Add to that the laziness that never went away, and I was stuck.  Until I made the choice to do something about it.

Which is something I've done many times since the age of 30.  I started out great.  I'd get the exercise bug and work out like a crazy woman - only to wind up sore and unmotivated the next day.  I was queen of the one hour/one day exercise system.  And it did nothing for me.

You see, I thought I had to exercise like that to accomplish anything.  I thought I had to sweat and feel the burn and kill myself to lose weight.  In actuality, all I accomplished with that idea was a feeling of failure and another dive at the cheesecake.  Then I had my HUZZAH moment.  Between that Fat to Firm book and some advice on The Biggest Loser, a little light bulb went off over my head.  I didn't have to chunk out 30-60 minutes of grueling exercise to succeed.

The first bit of tinder for my Huzzah bonfire was when Bob from Biggest Loser said something about using the commercial breaks to exercise.  If you figure each hour of TV has about 5 commercial breaks (if you count the one at the beginning and the one at the end), and those are about 3 minutes each, then if you use those breaks to exercise, you will have 15 minutes of burning calories for every hour long program.

Hell, I don't even have to get off the couch for that.  So, I started out doing various leg-lifts and flutter kicks while various companies tried to sell me their stuff.  Then I got off my butt and did some against the wall push-ups.  I even do some exercises during the program, if I'm feeling like it.

Sure, the couch probably isn't the best place to do any kind of exercise, but it's better than nothing.  It's sure as hell better than laying there eating a large bowl of ice cream with chocolate sauce and peanut butter.  (Is it just me, or does anyone else feel like pigging out during Biggest Loser?  :shrug:  Must be me.)

As I started to feel like I had some muscle tone and wasn't breathing like a freight train, I remembered I bought a set of strap on weights fifteen years ago.  I dragged those out and put them on the bookshelf next to the entrance to the living room.  I can't walk to the couch without seeing them.  They're sitting there now--glaring at me.  Whenever I get a chance, I grab them and do a few curls or other exercises.  It's only a couple minutes at a time, but I can already feel myself getting firmer.

Not all writers are lazy like me - and I never meant to imply that - but sitting all day is a function of our existence.  Any time you can fit in any type of motion, you're burning calories and getting healthier.  Even if it's - like I said in my Eat, Drink and be Merry post - just a skip to the mailbox and a dance to the kitchen.

Especially if you're so out of shape that's all you can do without fearing a coronary.  Do a little at a time.  Move your body a little bit more today than you did yesterday.  And don't do so much that you're sore and discouraged.  That way lies madness.

Sure, I won't be buff any time soon, but if I keep it light, I just might keep exercise as a part of my daily life.  And that's got to be good.

(BTW, go Michael!)

Disclaimer:  As always, I'm not a professional.  I don't pretend to be a professional - not even on TV.  I'm just passing along what seems to be working for me.  Check with a doctor so you don't hurt yourself, starve yourself, or just generally do the opposite of getting healthy.  Which is, like you know, getting hurt or getting dead.

And now for the best picture I found when I was looking for a fit feminine body to show as a goal to hope for.  I did a search for 'buff female' in Google...  I hope none of you are offended... She's pretty hot. 

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

It really doesn't get much better than that. If only I were that cute.  LOL

Have a great day, everyone! =o)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Insane External Editor

Aarrgghh.  I'm editing everything lately.  Just now on the news, a guy said something like 'we don't know whether they're alive or not' and my first reaction was to reword his sentence into 'we don't know whether they're alive'.  The 'or not' isn't necessary.

I proof the headlines on CNN, ESPN... I proofread the Weather Channel for petesakes.  We were watching a show the other day - some kind of real life mystery - and the title of the episode was "Till Death Do Us Part".  'TIL!  Unless it was about a farmer offing his wife with farm equipment the word is short for UNTIL. And they showed the title at every commercial break.  I was about tearing my hair out over it.


When I speak, I start sentences and reword them as I go.  It's like a bizarre kind of stutter, but instead of repeating a syllable or sound, I say the same thing three different ways.  "It's a beautiful... It's a lovely... It's a gorgeous day outside."

My husband is a peach, but it's got to be driving him nuts.  My god, it's driving me nuts and I barely have to listen to myself.  He should have me committed and I wouldn't blame him - especially since I've started correcting  him, too.  And he's an intelligent man.  I've gone mad.  They'll be fitting me for a straight jacket any day now. (Not Daughter, btw.  She's used to me correcting her... you know because of the teacher/student thing.) 

Somebody stop me before I edit again.  I've created a monster and her name is internal editor.  The problem is: She's escaped the internal...  She's gone... :gasp: EXTERNAL.

If I somehow disappear, send help.  And make sure whoever you send has a large butterfly net and a big bag of marshmallows.  (Because, as everyone knows, the insane love marshmallows.  They're so squishy.  Squishy squishy squishy.)


Cheap product promotion for which I get SQUAT: For t-shirts that say it all (my favorite was the one that says "Writer: Not Crazy, Just in Rewrites" but unfortunately won't allow me to save a picture of so you can buy): IncognitaShop at  They have cute shirts for writers.  Too bad they're in the UK.  Bleh.

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

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Spring Break 2010

That's right, folks.  This week is officially Spring Break here at the Sanderson HomeSchool.  I didn't announce it before because the silly superintendent (that would be me) completely forgot to build a spring break into this semester.  That is until the local school system's break let all the kids out last week.  So, I checked the schedule and realized we had enough days to take a week off.  Tada!

So...  In this week of no-school, I have plans to get some work done, get the Kid some driving time, and just generally chill out.  On today's agenda: Driving time.  We have to get x-number of hours completed by October, so this is as good a time as any.  Wish me luck.

Did you ever do anything outrageous for Spring Break?  The most exciting break I ever had was a roadtrip from Marquette, MI to New Orleans.  It took most of the week to get there and back - so we only had like two days in the Big Easy - but the trip was a hoot.

(The above picture is from a show called "Total Drama Island" - of which Daughter is a fan.  So this one's for you, Kid.)

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Monday, April 5, 2010

Funny Too

Sorry about the quality of the image, but it was the best I could do. If you can't read it without your eyes buggling out, it says: Wishes - When you wish upon a star, your dreams can come true.  Unless it's really a meteor hurtling to the Earth which will destroy all life.  Then you're pretty much hosed, no matter what you wish for.  Unless it's death by meteor.

Yeah, yeah.  Meteors burn up in the atmosphere, and it's meteorites that crash, but let's not nit pick.  And don't even get me started on comets.  Seriously.  LOL

(Available for purchase - along with other fun demotivational posters - at


'Nuff said.

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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Bunny Day!

Wherever you are and whatever you're doing... 
Have a Happy Bunny Day!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

GH - Less Calories In, More Calories Out

Sorry.  I know I said the next post would be about exercise, but last night it occurred to me that I skipped a step in this whole Getting Healthy epic adventure.  Before the exercise and even before deciding what you're going to eat, you need to know how your body in particular works so you can do this more efficiently.  That was the first step in my adventure.

Last year when I was still trying to lose weight by eating less and sitting on my butt, I found this awesome site: Calorie Count at  They have a tremendous food database where you can find out the nutritional value of just about any food.  They also have a great section where you can figure out how many calories you burn doing just about anything - including chores.  I just hadn't put the two things together to work toward my success.

After I signed up, I got this awesome 'home page' where it showed me how many calories I burn just every day by just existing.  Sedentary me, at my starting weight, burns about 1800 calories a day.  1800 calories a day just lying around breathing.  Add in a little exercise, and I burn 200 more calories.  It wasn't until this past January that the little light went off over my head.  I really do have to exercise if I want to lose weight.


Anyway, if you're putting together a plan to get healthier and losing weight is a part of that, you really need to know where you are when you start and where you need to be to reach your goal.  My goal?  To reach 140 pounds.  According to the personalized goal thingie, if I eat around 1500 calories a day and continue with light exercise, I should be 140 by mid-September.  :shrug:  Works for me.

Less calories in, more calories out.  According to everything I've read - from health professionals - that's the best way to lose weight and keep it off.  And as anyone who's tried dieting knows, keeping it off is the hardest part.

Now, you might think to yourself - "I can't wait that long.  Swimsuit season is coming up."  Well... Sorry.  I look like I'm pregnant in a bathing suit (my niece's baby-bump is smaller than my belly and she's due in July), and I guess this summer isn't going to be any different.  I used to have an hourglass figure, and now it's like my hourglass had angioplasty.  :sigh:  I'd like to fit back into that velvet sheath dress I have without looking like a snake after a large meal - if ya know what I mean.

Sorry to tell you (and almost as sorry to hear it myself), there's no quick way to health.  Sure, you could eat next to nothing, exercise like a freak, and drop the pounds - but they'll come slithering back.  And if you're really unlucky, you'll shoot right past your original weight toward a new high in poundage.  None of us wants that.  Eat less than you burn - but keep it safe.  For us gals, that means eating more than 1200 calories a day.  Personally, I've been trying to keep my intake between 1300-1400 a day and no more than 1500 on a oops day.

Eight pounds lighter as of this morning.  That's since the beginning of the year, but slow and steady does win the race.

Next up on the GH schedule, Exercise.  (Really.  I mean it this time.)

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.

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Friday, April 2, 2010

Weekly Update

Sorry I took so long writing a more positive post.  I didn't spend the whole day steaming.  I didn't even spend the whole morning steaming.  Get it out and then let it go - that's my motto.  (Not that it doesn't irritate me anew every time I look at it.  Hubby bent it back, but it's still squonky.)  Plus, I called Mom.  No matter how bad my mood is, she always seems to cajole me out of it - without even trying.  Almost 40, and yes, I still need my mom.  Always will.  ;o)

Anyway, it's been a slow week for the most part.  After I finished the last round of edits, I took the week off...  Well, kinda.  The day after I finished, I started working on the plot for a sequel.  I made myself put that down, though.  I'm still not quite ready to be back in that world.  Instead, I started work on an old idea.  I started this one last year... or maybe the year before...  (after a while, they all blur together).  A few weeks ago I had an epiphany about this project and now I'm ready to hit it with guns ablazin'. 

You see, I was trying to write this idea as a YA and I was having problems getting into the head of a teenage girl.  Hard to believe since I spend most of my time with one.  LOL  Once I shifted the age of the MC, the plot started to fall into place.  Yesterday I broke my word about taking a week off and started plotting for this.  For those of you who've been around a while, you may remember seeing a word-meter called EQ.  Well, that's the one and I'm getting excited about the story again.  Yay me.

So, it's back into the speculative fiction fray again.  I loved writing the paranormal - DLN - and I can't wait to play in that world some more, but I think my real first love is in speculative.  Maybe one will sell and start a stampede for the others.  Time will tell.  Until then, I'll just keep writing.

Other than that, I've read a few books this week.  I just finished the last book from my Whatcha Readin'? post.  I still have one book left in my TBR pile, but it's an epic fantasy and I'm just not in the mood.  Maybe I'll hit a couple Erle Stanley Gardner mysteries or pick up an old Piers Anthony.  Heh, I could even go totally weird and read a non-fiction - ya know, just for kicks.

What have you been up to lately?

And to everyone who was so supportive this morning...  Your words really helped.  Thanks, guys.


What is it inside certain people that would make them decide that instead of just walking by a car they would stop and bend the antenna sideways?  Seriously.  I suppose I should be glad that they didn't steal it again.  Instead I'm just irritated that I now have a bent antenna.  They probably bent it because they couldn't steal it.  (I had the guys at the car parts place install it really really tight this time.)  :steam:

I'll be back later with a better post.  I just felt the need to vent, and since no one out there seems to care (lord knows the police have better things to do than investigate my antenna troubles), I thought I'd share with my friends in here.

We now return you to your Good Friday festivities. 

(BTW, who's bright idea was it to hold Good Friday the day after April Fools?  And no, this post isn't a belated prank.  I think the prank was my busted antenna.)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Getting Healthier - Oops, I Ate it Again

Anyone who's ever tried to eat right hasn't done it all right every single day.  Life intrudes, stuff happens, the holidays attack.  In a few days time, Easter will hit and along with it the bags of jelly beans and the chocolate bunnies and the :drool: Cadbury Eggs.  I'm guessing we're all going to fall off the 'eating healthy' wagon at least a little bit.

Which bring me around to the topic of today's post - those little 'oops' moments.  Personally, I've had a few of those just this past week alone.  Stupid me bought brownie mix a few weeks ago.  What can I say, I had a chocolate craving.  When I got home, though, I was so guilty about even buying it, it sat in the cupboard - staring at me every time I reached for the canned fruit.

This past weekend I fell off the wagon and had Daughter make the brownies, and I've been noshing on them ever since.  A good sized brownie with a cup of ice cream and a squirt of chocolate sauce is about 560 calories.  :thud:  Yeah, I know.  Bad bad bad girl.

Except you can't think of it that way.  If I start berating myself for eating a brownie, pretty soon I'll just give up on the idea of dieting altogether.  Why bother watching the rest of my food this week, since I already screwed up.  I'll just start over next week.  Right?

Wrong.  If you fall off, get right back on.  Admit you made a mistake, and do the best you can to rectify it.  Eat your brownie and relish every morsel.  Then eat a salad for dinner.  Or, if you're like me and ate the brownie after dinner, eat a big bowl of fruit for breakfast.  Don't whip yourself over your mistake - it never helps anyway.  (Like the time I sent a query but forgot to change the address from the agent I'd sent to last... I screwed up.  Stuff happens.  Get over it and move on.)

This weekend, though, isn't about 'Oops' moments.  It's a holiday.  Give yourself permission to enjoy a little more than usual.  I don't mean stuff yourself until you're uncomfortable.  But for godsakes, have a piece of pie.  No one is going to keel over if you do - including yourself.  Eating a chocolate bunny doesn't make you evil.  It doesn't even really make you bad.  If you spend your whole day worrying about every little calorie, you're not going to enjoy yourself, and then you'll regret your crappy holiday experience - which will make you feel bad.  I don't know about you, but when I feel bad, I eat.  Where's the logic in denying yourself then?

Now, having given myself permission to eat without guilt this Sunday, I'm still going to take it easy.  One piece of ham, instead of three.  A small helping of potatoes.  I'll eat more corn.  I'm even playing with the idea of making a fat-free, sugar-free dream pie.  All the flavor, almost no guilt.  And Monday, I'll be back on track.  (I'll also be exercising more to burn those extra calories.)  Oh, and with regards to the chocolate?  If I only eat a small piece once a day, that stuff should last me a whole lot longer. 

Guilt can be a great motivator.  But it can also be anti-motivating.  Don't let guilt over one mistake ruin your chance at being a healthy, happy person.  Don't be like the t-shirt (image courtesy of Zazzle - buy the t-shirt here).  Don't let overeating make you feel hollow inside.

Enjoy your holiday, everyone.  Personally, I can't wait for that ham.  I love ham... with candied pineapple... and mashed potatoes... and rolls...

Pardon me while I go inhale a cup of fruit and some rice cakes in preparation for the feast.  =o)

Next up for Getting Healthier: Exercise.  (Especially necessary after all that stuff I'm probably going to eat this weekend.)

(Sorry about the irritating Britney Spears reference, but it just seemed to work for today's post.)

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