Friday, January 31, 2014

So Anyway...

The anger has passed.  I'm quick that way.  Feel the emotion, get it out, get it over with and move on.  Five stages of grief in two days.  Works for me.  I mean, it's not like my cat died or anything. 

Now, there are those of you who probably cringed that I wrote that post at all.  We've all heard that were not supposed to bitch about our rejections online.  It'll kill the deal, or some such nonsense.  :shrug:  I figure letting it out and dealing with it is the best way to move on from it.  That I choose the blogosphere?  Well, this is my outlet.  I don't have people offline that I talk to other than family, and while my daughter, my mother and my husband are all sympathetic, they don't write so they don't get it.  You people here - you get it. 

I say, don't bottle this crap up.  If you're angry, say "I'm angry".  Admit it.  Don't belabor the point.  Don't make a whole big show of it by blowing the whole thing into a shitstorm of epic proportions.  Just admit you're pissed and then move on. I wrote that post and then settled in to work on research so I can start querying again.  Drained that big, puss-filled abscess of anger and then got back to work.

That's my process.  Them what don't like it or understand it?  Well, I can't help them.  I can only do what I do.

Of course, I was in the middle of doing actual work when weird and draining life stuff hit, but there's no help for that.  I did actually get two queries out before the avalanche of crap overwhelmed me and I went to go read.  (Reading = the solution to overwhelming crap avalanches.)

And today?  Well, today will be a better day.  I will do some more research and send some more queries.  I will write more than the piddlin' 400 words I got out yesterday before I sought solace in a book.  And if it all gets overwhelming again, maybe I'll go into the woods and saw some more dead wood.  If and when we ever get a wood stove, the stuff to burn will be cut into nice sections. 

What's on your plate today?  And are you someone who lets the emotions out or are you a bottler? 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Five Stages of Writerly Grief

You all probably know about the stages of grief, but if you don't here's a good article on the typical Five Stages of Grief and Loss. Today, I'm going to use those to illustrate what happens when a writer gets rejected - because hey, we all grieve those losses like any other.  Sure, no one died, but it's a loss and it's painful.

First a little backstory - because I do love me some backstory*...

So anyway, after waiting a little over 16 months for this publisher who shall remain nameless** to make a decision one way or the other about Djinnocide, I received my lovely form rejection in the email yesterday afternoon.  And the rest of the afternoon went something like this:

Stage One: Denial and Isolation.  Okay, so I didn't hit the denial.  I got rejected and that was that.  The isolation part, though, went into full swing.  After shooting off a few emails to those people who've been waiting with me for this, I grabbed my trusty limb saw and headed out into the woods to be by myself.  Hubs later joined me, which didn't help with the isolation, but he got some of the bigger limbs, so it's all good.  And then when he'd had enough, I isolated myself some more.

Stage Two: Anger.  Yeah, I recognized this morning, I'm smack in the middle of this phase.  Honestly, I thought Anger was farther down the ladder, so I would almost be done with this grieving thing, but I'm not.  I'm still just pissed.

Stage Three: Bargaining.  I think I've been jumping around on the stages because I'm pretty sure I hit the whole bargaining thing in my head while I was hacking away at the deadwood.  Mostly, for me, this phase means I'm trying to figure out in my head what I could've done to make my work more publishable.  "I'll rewrite the beginning.  I can change it!  Just give me a chance!"  But no, the bargaining never really works.  If they thought that some minor change would've made the manuscript something they'd buy, they would've suggested it. 

Stage Four: Depression.  Yep, I went through this one last night for a brief period.  (Which is why I thought Anger was farther down the list.)  Know what I did to stop it?  I wrote a thousand words, ate a chocolate-chip peanut butter bar sundae with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce, then wrote another fifteen hundred words.  Fuck the depression phase.  Pointless and unproductive wad of crap that it is.  I got work to do.

Stage Five:  Acceptance.  I accepted as soon as I got the rejection that it was over.  I refuse to accept that Djinnocide will never sell.  Fuck that and fuck them.  (I told you I was still in Anger, didn't I?)  I will not be bowed by this.  It's a setback.  It sucks - hard.  But I will not accept that this book or any others I've written are unpublishable.  I will be published.  Even if I have to do it my own goddamn self.

(Anger is the most fun stage of grief.  Really it is.)

Right now, other than the anger - which is slowly petering out - I'm over it.  Like I said, I got work to do.  I'm smack in the middle of a rewrite, plus, now that my book is unencumbered, I can query with wild abandon again - with a new title and new query letter.  To that end, I renewed my premium subscription to QueryTracker.  

I will not be held down or held back.  I'm going out into the world to kick some ass.  Who's with me?

:Cue scene from Animal House where Bluto gives a thoroughly confusing pep-talk and runs from the frat house:

"Let's do it!!!"

*Which could conceivably be why I'm not published, but screw it.  I like my stories and that's all there is to it.

** Really.  Those of you who know the name, keep it to yourselves.  They're just doing their jobs and shouldn't be berated publicly for not wanting to publish my awesomeness.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

No Bake Cookies

I didn't forget... Okay, I sorta forgot, but then I remembered, so it's all good, right?

So here's the recipe for my no bake cookies.  It's been handed down from generation to generation (as in my mom had it and gave it to me and I'll give it to the Kid if she wants it).

No Bake Cookies

1/2 stick butter (4 T)
1/2 c milk
1/3 c baking cocoa
2 c sugar
3 c oats (quick or old fashioned)
1 T vanilla
1/2 c smooth peanut butter

Put the butter, milk, cocoa and sugar into a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil - stirring constantly.  Keep stirring and boil for 1 minute exactly.  (And I do mean exactly - less means the cookies won't set, more means they'll be dry and brittle.)  Remove from heat.  Stir in peanut butter and vanilla until smooth.  Stir in oats.  (This must be done as quick as you can so the stuff doesn't set in the pan.)  Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto tin foil.  Cool and eat.  (Completely or just enough so you don't burn your mouth if you can't wait for cool cookies.)

Easy peasy, right?

Okay, so when I made these a few days ago, I was short on milk and used evaporated milk that I already had open.  They turned out a little creamier.  You can also add raisins if you like.  Those are pretty good.  Also, if you use old fashioned oats, the longer they sit, the less chewy the oats are, so by the next day or the day after, they're perfect.

Any questions?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sunday Update Week 4

Welcome to the Sunday Update - where I tell you what happened around here in the past week and then you tell me what happened in your world.  (But remember, no matter how much life may have trampled on you in the past week, I'd like for you to try to come up with at least one positive thing that happened.  Even if it's just 'the tides are still coming in'.)

I'm really trying to have these things scheduled, but by the time I finished writing last night, I plum forgot.  So let's see what bleary-eyed, pre-coffee B.E.can come up with.

I saw a red-shouldered hawk off the back deck yesterday.  Hubs was out there and heard a commotion.  When I stepped out, he told me what he heard and we could both hear a grey squirrel shrieking (they make horrible noises sometimes).  So I scanned the woods to see if maybe Mittens had come back and either got a squirrel or scared it sufficiently so that it was now warning every critter within a mile.  That's when I saw the hawk perched low on some dead cedar branches.  I figure it must've missed and what Hubs heard was the bird and the squirrel kicking up leaves.

Also, when I was on my way home from Walmart, I saw an adult bald eagle and an immature bald eagle doing a little aerial acrobatics.  Almost as cool as the other day when I was just starting to cross the nearby bridge when a pair of adult eagles swooped up from the river and over my car.

Other than that, the Walmart trip was uneventful - which is always a good thing.  I even got a super-efficient cashier who zipped through my cartload of stuff in record time.

On the writing front, as of last night I'm over 50K.  In fact I just shy of 51K.  Woohoo.  I told myself yesterday morning that if I put my head down, I could conceivably make 50 by the end of the day, and I did it.  That puts me at almost 17K for the week.  I'm pretty proud of the fact that I cranked out that many words in 22 days.  Puts me at roughly 2350 words a day.  Sure, they aren't exactly new words, but that's quite an accomplishment.  And hey, my fingers haven't fallen off yet!  Yay!

In kitchen news, I made No-bake cookies.  I had to substitute evaporated milk for regular milk in the recipe, but they still turned out okay.  I'll post the recipe later this week.

In reading, I finished Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith, sucked down Beyond by Maureen A. Miller, and read just about half of Kristen Painter's Last Blood.

That's about it for my updates.  How did things go in your week?

Friday, January 24, 2014

Rockin' It Old Style

Like really old style.  As in, here are some rocks I collected...

There they all are... at least there are the ones I haven't cleaned up so they can come inside.

I think that one is petrified wood.
No clue what that is, but isn't it cool?
More petrified wood, I think.  I'm a writer, not a geologist, Jim.
That one has a sparkly crystal geode in it.
Might be zebra quartz.
This one has a couple tiny crystal geodes in it.
I'm almost positive that one is petrified wood.  You can see the rings.  (Hubs calls that one the grumpy rock.  See the face?)

I have a bunch more in the house that I haven't photographed yet, but I won't bore you with those.  Well, maybe someday I'll post a pic of this crystal thing I found.  It's pretty wild.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Raisin Apple Bread Pudding

A few weeks ago, I found this recipe for bread pudding that called for apples and raisins.  Let's just say the first try at it didn't work.  But ever-determined, I gave it another whirl yesterday - tweaking it and adjusting it so it wouldn't be the gloppy mess it was the last time.  And yesterday's batch was quite tasty.  So here it is...

Raisin Apple Bread Pudding

4 1/2 cups stale sourdough bread (cubed)
1/2 cup golden raisins
2 cups diced Gala apples (peeled, of course)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup milk
3/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup margarine
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350F (175C).  Grease an 8x10" cake pan. In a large bowl, combine bread, raisins and apples.  Sprinkle in cinnamon and stir until it's combined.  In a medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, milk, cream and margarine.  Heat mixture until margarine is just melted - stirring occasionally to avoid scalding the milk and cream.  (Don't worry if the cream separates.  It still works.)  Pour hot mixture over bread mixture and stir until all the bread is wet.  Pour wet bread and fruit mixture into prepared pan.  In a small bowl, beat eggs until light and frothy.  Add vanilla until combined.    Pour egg mixture over bread in pan.  (Do not stir to combine.  Just let the eggy stuff sit on top.)  Bake for 45-55 minutes or until center is set and the apples can be speared with a fork.  Serve warm with ice cream.

You can, of course, substitute other kinds of stale bread.  Leftover buns, rolls, stuff you find on the day-old rack at the store.  Whatever blows your skirt up.  And I used Gala apples yesterday because I have Galas in the house, but you can use whatever you like best.  Hey, if you want an extra kick, try making it with Granny Smith. 

This recipe originally called for a vanilla glaze, but I screwed that up horribly the first time, so I ditched it this time.  Vanilla ice cream provided enough extra sweetness that it didn't need the glaze.  FYI - this is not a super sweet dessert, but it's quite nice.  If you want extra sweetness, try making a simple glaze of powdered sugar and water, or buy some pre-made frosting in a can. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sunday Update - Week 3

Hello again!  Time for another update on what's going on here and what y'all are doing out there.

As of last night, Wrongful Termination is up to almost 34K words.  That's 13K added for the week, and I took last Sunday off.  I still don't know if I'll have this rewrite done by the end of the month, but there's hope.  Of course, 13 days and a whole half a book might be setting my sights too high this time.  Let's say Valentine's Day and call it good. 

Thinking about it now, I'm pretty sure I'm either sitting at the 10th anniversary of the day I started my first completed novel or I'm pretty damn close.  This is the year for milestone anniversaries, I guess. 

Also as of yesterday, I completed Trail 3 in the trail-making project behind the house.  Three separate trails leading from the yard to the bottom of our property, with two connecting trails through the middle and one across the bottom.  All I need is to finish taking the second auxiliary trail through from Trail Three to Trail One and I'll be done.

While I was out there raking trails, I came across some interesting rocks.  (Our land has a boatload of rocks.)  Looks like petrified rock, which I think is neat.  I also found a few with little geodes in them.  I know it's totally nerdy, but I'm thrilled.  Hubs just laughs when I bring another rock inside, but he indulges me. 

Oh, and I haven't been posting updates on my reading here - they're over there - but according to Goodreads, I'm 3 books ahead of schedule.  Right now, I'm reading an old paperback I got at the thrift store - Gorky Park.  (Anyone remember the movie from the 80s?)

Also, at the thrift store, I got the neatest art pieces for the house.  One is an old etched metal map of the world (the original is from 1655, but the repro I got is from 1982).  Another is a print of a little girl and her dog - but the dog looks a lot like the one we had when I was a kid.  And the third is for our smoking room - pintail ducks in flight.  =o)

Like is good at the Sanderson household.  How are things with you?  Remember, you can talk about any happenings in your life, but try to find one positive thing.  K?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Chocolate-Chip Peanut Butter Bars

You know me, I'm all about easy.  Well, the other day I was looking for something easy to make with the ingredients I had laying around the kitchen.  I found this awesome recipe and then tweaked it to fit.  So, I bring you my most awesome recipe for...

Chocolate-Chip Peanut Butter Bars

1/2 cup margarine (softened)
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar (packed)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 Tablespoons milk
1/2 bag dark chocolate chips
1/2 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375F (190C).  Grease one 9x13" cake pan.

Cream together margarine and brown sugar.  Mix in egg until thoroughly combined.  Add in vanilla.  Stir in peanut butter until smooth.  In a separate bowl, sift together flour, salt, and baking soda.  Add about half the dry mixture to the wet mixture, stir until just combined.  Dribble in about half the milk and stir until combined.  Repeat last two steps with remaining dry mixture and milk.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Press dough into the pan until it's fairly even.  Bake for 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center (but not through a chocolate chip) comes out clean.  Slice into bars of whatever size you like best.  One pan for me made 12 bar cookies.  Serve warm with ice cream or just eat 'em right out of whatever airtight container you keep them in.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Tromping in the Woods

I really do love tromping in the woods.  Thank goodness we had some amazing weather over this past weekend to allow me to do it.  (Warm enough to walk around but still too cold for ticks and snakes.  Yay!)

Anyway, I've been keeping myself busy making trails out in our woods.  Here's Trail One looking up toward the house:

And Trail Two looking down toward the back of the property:

And the Auxiliary Trail connecting them:

The payoff, though, is when you reach the bottom where the spring is
(which turns into a wet-weather stream when there's water aplenty):

Over the weekend, I made a third trail down the north edge of our property and another auxiliary trail connecting Trail Three to Trail Two.  Trail Three doesn't reach all the way to the stream yet, but that's a project for another nice day.  =o)

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sunday Update - Week Two

(Sorry.  This was supposed to go live at 2:30am instead of 10:15 when I wondered why it wasn't up. I must've hit save instead of publish...)

Here we are again.  Week Two 2014 and I'm still here!  That in itself is an accomplishment.

As for what else happened this fine week... I really should write stuff down as it happens so I don't forget.

Speaking of forgetting, Saturday was the 20th anniversary of my surviving a massive car accident.  Every day is a day I wouldn't have had if the dominoes hadn't fallen in the right order, so that's a cause for celebration.

In writerly news, I added 14K words to last week's total of 7K, bringing the total word count for Wrongful Termination up to 21K words.  That's me writing every day since January 3rd.  Haven't missed a day yet.  Woohoo!  I'm not going to make any promises about when this rewrite will be done and it'll be ready to send to beta readers, but at this rate, it could be end of January to mid-February.

On a personal level, the after-Christmas present I ordered for my husband back on the 3rd - which was supposed to be delivered by the 8th - finally arrived.  He was surprised.  Yay!  And he loved it.  Double yay! 

After the freakin' polar vortex thingie, that dropped SW MO temps to single digits with minus teen wind chills, we hit 51F Friday.  There were thunderstorms!  And it poured rain.  On January 10th!  Pretty cool. 

Well, that's about it for last week's accomplishments.  Sound off and tell me how your week went.  Remember, you can talk about anything (within reason), but I'm making it a rule that you have to leave at least one positive thing that happened to you in the past week - even if it's 'I didn't kill anyone last week'.  ;o)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

20th Anniversary

Today is the 20th Anniversary of the day that changed my life. 

I was all set to write a long post about having brain damage and blah blah blah... No one wants to hear that and I don't want to write it anymore.  I decided a long time ago to not let the whole TBI thing define me, so why I keep dwelling on it escapes me.  I am what I am. 

So, instead I want to look back at what I've accomplished in the past 20 years.

I raised my daughter.  She was just shy of 5 months old when the accident happened.  And despite having to cope with some major difficulties, she survived to the age of 20.  She's out on her own, living her life, and from the sounds of it, succeeding quite nicely up there in the frigid wilds of Battle Creek.  I didn't forget her at the store.  I remembered to feed her and change her every day.  And for the first eleven years, I was pretty much a single mom.

I homeschooled her for the last 5.25 years of her education.  And when I was done, she got accepted to a major university.

I bought my own house in 1998.  We lived there for 3 years with nary a late payment - even if there were a few months there where mac & cheese was a mainstay in our diet.

I worked as a manufacturers' representative for five years, selling electronic components.  I had to remember routes and locations and names and faces for hundreds of people throughout southeast Michigan.  Plus, I had to interact with people from presidents of companies to engineers to assembly line workers, selling highly technical things like capacitors and wire and tools and EMI suppression devices.  I even got a cord I was selling designed in on those hot bags for pizza delivery.  I rocked.

For a while there, I did a little side work as a web designer.

Then I left and moved all over the country.  From 2001 to 2004, I lived in Michigan, Florida, Utah and then Colorado.  What a wild ride that was. Then last year, we made what ought to be our final move - to Missouri. 

Of course, almost 10 years ago, I met and married the man I was meant to be with all along.  We totally rock together.

Ten years ago, I also started writing books seriously.  I mean, I'd tried to write a few along the way before that, but I never finished one.  Now I have like 14 in various stages of finished.  Whoda thunk it?

I'm sure there are other accomplishments.  But hey, it's been 20 years, and I do have memory issues.  ;o)  Still, that's a whole lot to do and be proud of for a girl who wasn't expected to live, let alone be able to think and speak and walk correctly ever again.  Hell, I barely even limp anymore. 

So take THAT adversity.  Thought you could kick my ass?  Well, how d'ya like me now?

Friday, January 10, 2014

Squirrely Quandary

Imagine you're walking past your bathroom window, and you see this:

Yes, there's a squirrel in the window well. 

Surprising, no?  Well, imagine that particular window is approximately ten feet off the ground, with no nearby trees, and a two foot overhang complete with gutters from there to the roof.  How'd he get there?

Well, he must've climbed the siding, you say.  Except the siding is painted and kind of slippery on a good day.  Today it's misting and everything is slick with moisture. 

We're kinda of stumped as to how he got up there.  And he was kinda stymied as to how he was going to get down. 

In the end, after several aborted attempts, he went over the side.  It wasn't graceful by any stretch of the imagination.  In fact, he fell most of the way...

No worries, though.  Mr, Grey Squirrel ran to the closest tree and scampered up it, where he was seen cleaning his fur moments later in a whole "I meant to do that" fashion.

Screwy squirrels.

I say he climbed the siding.  Hubs thinks he found a way off the roof to that spot.  Either way, I think we've got a member of the Flying Wallenda family - squirrel edition.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Old People Cake

So Sunday, I was looking for something to bake while Hubs was napping, and I was trying to use up some ingredients I had around the house.  I do that a lot.  This time the ingredient I wanted to get gone was a bag of off-brand prunes.  They were still viable as a food source, but they weren't the soft yummy prunes I like.  They were drier and harder.  Thus, off I went to  None of their recipes for prunes sounded good, so I tried searching recipes for raisins (cuz, hey, prunes are just big raisins anyway, right?) 

I found a recipe that looked good for raisin cake.  :shrug:  Looked simple enough, and I'm all about simple.  So I followed the recipe - substituting a cup of chopped prunes for a cup of the raisins.  Turned out pretty good if you ask me.

When Hubs got up, I told him what I'd made and he said "Oh, Old People Cake".  And that's how the recipe got it's name. 

Old People Cake

2 cups raisins (or 1 cup raisins and 1 cup diced prunes)
4 cups water
1 cup margarine
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup walnuts (optional)

Grease and flour a 9x13" pan.  In a large saucepan, combine dried fruit and water.  Boil for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in butter and sugars.  Stir until butter is melted and sugars are incorporated.  Start preheating oven to 350 degrees F while mixture cools.  Mix dry ingredients in large bowl.  Once oven is preheated - about ten minutes cooling time for the raisin/water/sugar mix - stir wet mixture into dry mixture.  Stir until smooth.  Stir in nuts, if you use them.  Pour batter into pan.  Bake at 350F for 35-45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Cut and eat.  Or serve warm with ice cream.  (Would probably be awesome with cream cheese frosting, too.)

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sunday Update - Week One

Okay, I'm going to try something here.  In the past, I've tried to have a running theme day on this blog and I can never seem to keep up with it.  (I blame my SAST*.)  Anyway, here's me starting a new Sunday thing on the very first Sunday of the new year.

Sunday Update will be where I tell y'all about what happened the previous week - trying to focus on the positives.  It should post bright and early Sunday morning so I start the new week fresh.  Keep your fingers crossed that it works.

So...  This past week:

I closed out 2013 with a resounding slam of the door.  If you want a blow by blow of last year, go to this post on Killer Chicks where I break down the events by month (in super short fashion).

I also made a decision to get off my ass and get to work.  Enough with the angst and the whining already.  Sheesh.  You can read about that here.  I chose to work on a book I'm calling Wrongful Termination.  It's a mystery/suspense about a series of accidental deaths in a small town and the big city detective who doesn't think they're so accidental after all.

To that end, as of last night, I've written 7034 words this past week.  Actually, what I'm doing is taking this already fully written draft and rewriting it page by page.  I printed out the first three chapters to start.  They sit beside my keyboard and I'm retyping the whole thing in while making some major changes along the way.  So, it's editing and writing.  Yay.

In personal news, I weighed myself Wednesday and shuddered at the added Christmas pounds.  Then I decided I just don't care.  I'm coming to terms with the fact that I'm 43 years old and I will never be 135 pounds again.  I weigh what I weigh, and as long as I feel good physically, screw angsting over those extra 5 pounds I just regained or the 45 I've put on in the past 10 years.  Hubs loves me the way I am - I just need to follow his example.

Speaking of feeling good physically, I was at Walmart on Friday, deciding which suet cakes the birdies would like best, when this older woman asked for my help getting a bag of birdseed off the bottom shelf.  I walked over snagged the bag - which felt a little heavy for a 25 lb bag - and hefted it into her cart.  No prob.  Except it was a 50 lb bag.  All that yard work must be paying off. 

In other news, my Kindle hiccuped and I thought she was dead.  Turned out she just needed a hard reboot (where you hold down the power button for 20 seconds).  She seems fine now, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Okay, your turn.  What happened with you this past week?  You can talk about the bad things (because we all have to deal with that shit), but pick at least one good thing to share.  Ya know, if you can find one good thing about your week, you'll be happier for it - even if it's something as simple as 'I didn't burn dinner for five days straight.'  ;o)

* SAST = short-attention-span theater.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Good Things Come to Those Who...

This morning on FB, I saw the perfect sentiment to start off this blog post - and the whole new year, if you ask me. 

"Good things come to those who wait.  Good things come to those who work their asses off and never give up." - Unknown

What does this have to do with the price of beans in chili?  Well, last week I said I was taking time off to think.  And thinking I did do.  Much thinking and many thoughts. 

You see, I was at a place where I had to decide if I was going to keep writing. 

Backing the truck up for a moment...  I've been doing this for going on 10 years.  I started what would become my first finished book near the end of January 2004.  I finished that book in the fall and began submitting receiving rejections shortly thereafter.  And it's been a log ride down the mountain ever since.

So there I sat at the crevasse of wondering what in the hell I was doing this for if all I ever get is rejections.  I've got over a dozen books in various stages of completion - over half of which have gone through the submission process.  (I'm not hardy enough to go back and get the exact numbers this morning.)

"Insanity is doing the same things the same way and expecting different results." - Unknown

That quote has been running through my head lately.  I thought I was doing things differently.  I mean, I've tried every genre I can.  I've tried all different types of queries.  But whether I was actually doing things differently?  :shrug:  I don't know.  There are other things I could've done - some things I'm not quite sure I'm willing to do, other things I'm not quite sure I have the funds to do, certain things I'm not sure I have the drive to do.

So here I sit.  The crevasse is still there.  I'm still not sure exactly why the hell I'm doing any of this.  But I have decided I will continue to do this. 

"Why do you keep hitting yourself in the head with a rock?" "Because when I stop, it feels sooo good." - paraphrased from Meredith Grey (Grey's Anatomy)

Or rather, it's like shooting yourself in the forehead with a bee-bee gun.  It's not productive, but after a while, you get used to the pain.

I don't know what 2014 will bring - insanity, hard work and success, or a constant barrage of bee-bees.  For now, though, I'm still here and I'm still writing.  I guess that's a good thing.  Time will tell.

As for the blogs?  I will continue to post here and at Killer Chicks on a regular basis.  The Guide will be posted to when and if there's something pertinent to put there rather than here.  A Pound of B.S. will probably sit there, marking a space for when and if I ever get published. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014 - Books Read

It's a new year and so... time for a new Books Read list.  In 2013, I read 111 books.  This year I'll set the goal at 100 and adjust it if need be.

100. The Darkest Touch by Gena Showalter (12/28/14) - Paranormal Romance
99. Mujahid by Quent Cordair (12/20/14) - Screenplay*
98. Shit Doesn't Just Happen II by Bob Mayer (12/16/14) - Nonfiction
97. Queen of Hearts by Kristen Painter (12/15/14) - Paranormal Romance*
96. Late for the Wedding by Barbara Edwards (12/14/14) - Romance*
95. Big on Christmas by Jan Romes (12/13/14) - Romance*
94. The Big Ship and the Wise Old Owl by Sarah A. Hoyt (12/12/14) - SF*
93. Bite Me by Shelly Laurenston (12/12/14) - Paranormal Romance
92. The Baen Big Book of Monsters by various (12/5/14) - SF/F Anthology
91. The Winter Long by Seanan McGuire (12/1/14) - Urban Fantasy
90. Depraved (Faces of Evil #10) by Debra Webb (11/26/14) - Suspense
89. Against the Odds by Mara Jacobs (11/26/14) - Mystery*
88. Reborn in Fire by Kasey Mackenzie (11/22/14) - Paranormal Romance*
87. Three Days with Molly by Jan Romes (11/15/14) - Romance*
86. The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern by Lillian Jackson Braun (11/15/14) - Mystery
85. Faerie Faith by Silver James (11/10/14) - Paranormal Romance*
84. Let's Get Digital (2nd Edition) by David Gaughran (11/9/14) - Non-fiction*
83. Rock and Roll is Undead by Rose Pressey (11/8/14) - Urban Fantasy*
82. The Viscount's Christmas Temptation by Erica Ridley (11/6/14) Historical Romance*
81. The Hitwoman and the Poisoned Apple by JB Lynn (11/3/14) - Mystery*
80. Collide by Christine Fonseca (11/1/14) - YA Paranormal*
79. Shit Doesn't Just Happen: The Gift of Failure by Bob Mayer (10/31/14) - Non-fiction
78. Shades of Earth by Beth Revis (10/27/14) - SF
77. Let's Get Digital (1st edition) by David Gaughran (10/25/14) - Non-fiction
76. Galactic Dreams by Harry Harrison (10/21/14) - SF
75. Blue Moon (Moonstruck Book 8) by Silver James (10/17/14) - Paranormal Romantic Suspense*
74. A Match Made in Mystery by JB Lynn (10/17/14) - Romantic Mystery*
73. Off the Grid by Karyn Good (10/15/14) - Romantic Suspense*
72. The Labours of Hercules by Agatha Christie (10/15/14) - Mystery
71. Day of the Guns by Mickey Spillane (10/11/14) - Spy Thriller
70. Chasing Mercy by Stacy Claflin (10/10/14) - YA/Paranormal*
69. The Look of Love by Bella Andre (10/10/14) - Romance*
68. A Hell Hound's Fire by Siobhan Muir (10/9/14) - Paranormal Romance*
67. Silent Partner by Stan Schatt (9/22/14) - Paranormal Mystery
66. Tears of the Rose by Jeffe Kennedy (9/21/14) - Fantasy
65. Far Gone by Laura Griffin (9/6/14) - Romantic Suspense
64. Tucker (The Family Simon Book 1) by Juliana Stone (9/1/14) - Romance*
63. Genesis (Idolatry: Part 1) by Quent Cordair (8/30/14) - Literature*
62. Taken In by Elizabeth Lynn Casey (8/18/14) - Cozy Mystery
61. The Knight by Monica McCarty (8/9/10) - Historical Romance*
60. License to Date by Susan Hatler (7/27/14) - Romance*
59. Heinous by Debra Webb (7/26/14) - Suspense
58. Eyes of the Hammer by Bob Mayer (7/23/14) - Political Thriller*
57. Her Temporary Hero by Jennifer Apodaca (7/18/14) - Romance*
56. Silence by Debra Webb (7/13/14) - Suspense*
55. Sex on the Beach Book Club by Jennifer Apodaca (7/4/14) - Romance*
54. Godhead by Ken Mooney (6/14/14) - Urban Fantasy*
53. Dead Heat by Allison Brennan (6/9/14) - Romantic Suspense
52. The Hitwoman and the 7 Cops by JB Lynn (6/4/14) - Mystery*
51. Losing Lisa by Deanne Acuna (6/1/14) - Paranormal(?) Suspense*
50. Poison Me by Cami Checketts (5/29/14) - Romantic Suspense?*
49. Crash and Burn by Allison Brennan and Laura Griffin (5/27/14) - Suspense*
48. Bewitched, Bothered, and Biscotti by Bailey Cates (5/25/14) - Paranormal Mystery*
47. The Bone Garden by Tess Gerritsen (5/24/14) - Historical Suspense
46. The Mutt and the Matchmaker (5/18/14) - Romance*
45. The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks (5/17/14) - Fantasy*
44. Casino Royale by Ian Fleming (05/09/14) - Spy Novel
43. Tales of the Djinn: The Guardian by Emma Holly (5/4/14) - Paranormal Romance/Erotic Fiction*
42. Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler (4/29/14) - Paranormal Romance
41. VILE by Debra Webb (4/23/14) - Suspense
40. The Hunter by Monica McCarty (4/22/14) - Historical Romance
39. Kismet by Carly Phillips (4/19/14) - Romance*
38. Executive Power by Vince Flynn (4/18/14) - Political Thriller
37. Joe by H.D. Gordon (4/14/14) - Paranormal Suspense*
36. Secrets on the Sand by Roxanne St. Claire (4/13/14) - Romance*
35. Disenchanted & Co. by Lynn Viehl (4/12/14) - Steampunk*
34. Constantine: A novelization by John Shirley (4/9/14) - Horror
33. Jaws by Peter Benchly (4/7/14) - Adventure
32. Deadly Pursuit by Misty Evans (3/28/14) - Romantic Suspense*
31. Kris Longknife: Resolute by Mike Shepherd (3/26/14) - SF*
30. The Dream Wars by Kerry Schafer (3/23/14) - Urban Fantasy*
29. The Dream Thief by Kerry Schafer (3/22/14) - Urban Fantasy*
28. The Dream Runner by Kerry Schafer (3/22/14) - Urban Fantasy*
27. Maggie for Hire by Kate Danley (3/12/14) - Urban Fantasy*
26. Notorious by Allison Brennan (3/8/14) - Suspense (ARC)
25. The Tilian Virus by Tom Calen (3/7/14) - Dystopian*
24. Sword and Drum by Karl Lassiter (3/5/14) - Historical Narrative NF
23. Ringworld by Larry Niven (2/24/14) - SF
22. Lazy B: Growing up on a Cattle Ranch in the American Southwest by Sandra Day O'Connor and H. Alan Day (2/16/14) - Memoir
21. Up From the Grave by Jeanine Frost (2/15/14) - Urban Fantasy
20. The Hitwoman Hunts a Ghost by JB Lynn (2/13/14) - Mystery*
19. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (2/13/14) - Literature*
18. The Way You Look Tonight by Bella Andre (2/11/14) - Romance*
17. A Dangerous Fortune by Ken Follett (2/9/14) - Historical Fiction
16. Dirty Little Secrets by Liliana Hart (2/7/14) - Romantic suspense*
15. How to Drive a Dragon Crazy by G.A. Aiken (2/6/14) - Fantasy
14. Fatal Affair by Marie Force (2/3/14) - Romantic Suspense*
13. What Dead Women Want by Linda Schmalz (2/1/14) - Paranormal Romance*
12. Forecast (Shakespeare Sisters #1) by Jane Tara (1/31/14) - Paranormal Romance*
11. The Poseidon Adventure by Paul Gallico (11/28/14) - Adventure
10. Last Blood by Kristen Painter (11/26/14) - Urban Fantasy
9. Beyond by Maureen A. Miller (11/23/14) - YA SF*
8. Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith (11/22/14) - Suspense
7. Play Hard by Sykes, Stone and Lyon (1/16/14) - Romance*
6. The Bad Luck Wedding Dress by Geralyn Dawson (1/12/14) - Historical Romance*
5. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (1/11/14) - Literature*
4. Genesis (Return to Eden) by John G. Hartness (1/9/14) - YA Dystopian/Paranormal*
3. Haunted on Bourbon Street by Deanna Chase (1/8/14) - Paranormal Romance*
2. Swords of Exodus by Mike Kupari and Larry Correia (1/6/14) - Military Thriller
1. Chasing Amanda by Melissa Foster (1/1/14) - Suspense*