Archive for 2009
Even though everybody else is reflecting enough to outshine me, I feel the need to add my reflections on the twenty-aughts. Looking over the past decade, it's hard to attach a single word or phrase which will sum it up. I mean, a decade is freakin' forever. When the decade began, my first child was still in diapers, I'd just had the dream which would inspire my first novel, and I bought my very first computer. I had somehow gotten myself a job as a columnist with a large local newspaper and had won 1st honorable mention in a major Oklahoma writing contest. I was living in the country and working in a factory and thinking I'd be better off raising my daughter alone. I was prettier than I thought, with a pixie hair cut and a relatively good figure, but unfortunately just as trapped as I felt. That was fairly early in the most tumultuous period in my life, which only settled down less than two years ago. At least, I think I can call it settled now.
So what about 2009? It felt stagnant, even though I can point to dramatic events from the past year, most likely because of the maddening lack of writing-related business till about September. I think I probably needed a break, but I'm compulsively forward-moving, so sometimes Nature has to force the breaks upon me, at which point I wail and stamp my feet at the unfairness. I learned a lot of stuff in 2009, and thank goodness; a year in which I didn't learn something about the world would be a failure, indeed. This year I learned
- how to be an editor, sorta, and how to write again;
- I can't keep my loved ones from making mistakes, and actually, the mistakes weren't mine to prevent in the first place;
- how to trust my intuition, and how to differentiate a gut feeling from a gas bubble;
- and finally, that I will probably never be comfortable in this world, and knowing that makes me more comfortable.
Also, this is as good a time as any to announce that I will be a step-grandmother in February. At first I kept the secret until my bonus daughter decided how she would handle her pregnancy, seeing as how she's a senior in high school, and then I kept it a secret because I needed my feelings about the situation to settle. Now that I have, I'm proud to announce that we will welcome a baby boy to brighten the bleakest month of the year. I'm trying to think of what the baby will call me. I'm too young to be called grandma! I thought Gary would be funny. You know, Grandma + Sherri = Gary. If I spelled it Gerri everybody would say Jerry. Unfortunately, Z didn't think it was as funny as I did. How about just Mimi?
So tonight we'll make some glitter crowns out of card stock and Maggie Rose will fall asleep on the couch while we all wait for the ball to drop, and at twelve oh one we'll drop into bed. Happy New Year, everybody. Best one yet.
I'm posting a little excerpt, something I wrote today. It's rough and nobody will understand a bit of it, but I'm posting it to make myself feel better. I had to cut 3,000 words last night, and I have some nebulous feeling that showing the world that I actually am writing will heal that wound. *shrugs*
A little set-up: both Caellum and Drina are Ushers who live in the Black Veil, a parallel dimension to ours where souls go when they leave here. In this scene they're sitting on top of a building in our world, pondering things. Caellum's Scottish, and I'm still working on the best way to convey that through dialogue.
At Caellum's favorite bar, Drina sat at the edge of the roof with her legs dangling over, so close to Caellum that their thighs touched. She swung her right foot, hooked behind his left. Caellum didn't seem to mind.
He put his arm around her shoulders and jostled her playfully. "Are ye all right, lass?"
"I'll be fine." The Veil was as thin as they could make it, even though there was no music echoing between the buildings that night and the street was dark. Maybe in Lifeworld a lot of time had passed since they were last here, and this place, obviously in decline before, had finally succumbed. She could find a the date in a newspaper, but it had ceased to matter to her what had gone on in Lifeworld in her absence. Dipping in every few years was just a shock to her still-human thought processes, her expectation of time. Let the Black Veil carry her perception of time. Soon she would be surprised to Usher Abuela Delores to the Light, and soon after that, her mother. "I think I made a difference. Do you think so?"
The sliver of moon reflected off his scales in a halo around his elegant profile, lost when he turned to look at her. "Aye. Ye've set your mother's mind at ease as best ye can. My parents should have had such a dedicated child." He looked out over the street again, and the halo illuminated his peaceful expression once more, the peace of a man who knew he'd done good work.
"I don't think I ever want to do it again. Go into someone's dream, I mean. That was the last time I'll worry about my old life. What matters is here and now." She laid her hand on his thigh. Her heart was bursting with love for him, completely elemental and overwhelming, but she was glad. It pulled a deep sigh from her chest, and she closed her eyes and tilted her face to the sky, perhaps the first time in a long time she was completely unguarded with Caellum. His thigh muscle flexed under her palm, the scales so smooth against her skin, and she knew he felt as strongly as she did when she felt his fingertip on her lips. A soft, breathy hum escaped her throat. She opened her eyes, willing herself to stay in control.
He took her hand from his thigh and lifted it slowly to his mouth. She watched, anticipating the spark his lips would create on her skin. She remembered him saying, once upon a time, When it's your only bit of skin, it becomes extra important. She thought of it every time they'd made love in their strange, celibate way, skin on skin, teasing human hormones until they each collapsed with sweet frustration. The last few times, however, the frustration had simply been frustrating. If his lips touched her palm now, it would only push them apart once again.
She moved her hand at the last moment and lay it along his jaw. He held her hand there and looked into her eyes. She said, "I love you so much, Caellum. You torture me."
"No, lass, you torture me. But your wish is my command." He squeezed her hand before placing it in her lap, disengaging his foot from hers and scooting over. Those two inches felt like an icy mountain river. How could he switch off so quickly? Infuriating.
She'd get over it. He was with her, he loved her, he was still her best friend. They were comfortable together after a time of misunderstandings and hot tempers, so she would deal with the physical distance if it meant his heart would be hers. "When Mom thought you were Orlando I almost pissed my pants."
Caellum erupted into laughter, and with no one below to hear it, Drina didn't shush him.
"Hm," he said once his laughter subsided. "I imagine she picked up some of your intentions. It fit too well, didn't it?" He turned back to her deliberately. Just before his face slipped back into the shadow, he cocked an eyebrow.
Uh oh. Busted.
Update: This snowstorm we were expecting to be over by noon hasn't even really started yet, at 11:13. We're getting a little sleet, but the heavy stuff is taking it's sweet time. That means that the roads may still not be passable by tomorrow evening, when I'm expecting my immediate family to come. So...most of the treats are on hold until I find out if anyone will be here to eat them! Also, my back went out yesterday, so I have to let my husband do the heavy lifting--vacuuming and such--when he gets home from work today.
Since I have the holidays as an excuse, I'm going to let the blog go dark for a week or two. I'd really like to finish up a bunch of things I've started in the past couple of months cough*years*cough cough. Here's a totally uninteresting to-do list. Maybe I'll check them off as I complete each item.
I have three books going, two of them fiction with angels, and one about the sort-of angel within:
I am making three kinds of bourbon-less balls:
- milk chocolate *DONE*
- white chocolate *DONE*
- dark chocolate *on hold until I find out if my family will be able to make it to my house*
In other preparation for my Christmas visitors,
- vacuuming *delegated to hubby*
- clearing clutter *DONE*
- 2 pumpkin pies
- cherry cheesecake
- bending home-bound children to my will *PENDING*
I'm still determined to
- finish this work in progress soon, though I had to push back the due date a month. You folks who volunteered to be my first readers, should be ready for you sometime in January. So I guess I won't be marking this one done until I'm blogging again, but I will be working on it.
So I hope you have a wonderful holiday season, spent any way you like. I'm sure I'll see you on Facebook, and I'm only an email away.
You who follow me on Facebook probably saw my distressing tree situation yesterday. My neighbor's son-in-law approved the removal of a tree on my side of the property line. I stopped it, but after consultation with the tree guys and pressure from the son-in-law, I caved and let them cut it down. I didn't go down easy, but at the time it felt like the only thing I could do. The tree was causing my neighbor electrical problems and cutting to eliminate them would have mangled it. When I gave the go-ahead I cried in front of all those guys and for an hour after I came back in. I felt powerless, coerced into approving the removal of the tree, and it rankles that I gave in even if it was the right thing to do. I'll never know if it was or not. It never occurred to me that I could have asked the tree guys to come back after I'd spoken with my actual neighbor, rather than her son-in-law. I doubt she even knew what he was doing.
The whole situation has solidified a new perspective which has been growing inside me for a couple of years. I used to have trouble believing that someone could willingly and knowingly take advantage of me. I assumed any slight or imposition was a careless mistake, or just a misunderstanding. Everything I've gone through has taught me that is a wrong assumption, thanks to this event, I can finally see it. I'm tired of giving people the benefit of the doubt. I'm tired of letting people be mean to me, just because I may be interpreting their motives incorrectly, or, worse still, because I somehow think I deserve it. I'm tired of being pushed aside, ignored, bulldozed, scorned. I'm tired of being tossed in the wake of other people's desires.
Meet the new Sherri. She is angry. Don't fuck with her.
And that leads me to an interesting coincidence involving my chance meeting with Tim and my editing job at Eternal Press. Here's the chain of events:
- I featured Armageddon Bound here because the book's cover caught my eye on a review blog.
- The author was kind enough to leave a comment on my blog, and subsequently we connected on a couple of social networking sites
- Armageddon Bound is published by Damnation Books.
- The news broke yesterday that Damnation Books is acquiring Eternal Press, my former employer.
So there's a twist ending to my time at Eternal Press. Dun-dun-dunnnnn. Isn't that weird? Apparently the owner of Damnation Books is a former editor at Eternal Press. I had no idea there was a connection between the two companies before today. The coincidence is irrelevant because I finished my final assignment a few days ago, but it's still weird. Actually, the timing makes it weirder. Of course now I'm thinking it's a sign I shouldn't have quit, or a sign I did the right thing, or a sign that... You know me. Though I don't really believe coincidences like these are necessarily a sign to do something, I do think they are God's way of saying, Pay attention! So I will.
Speaking of Maggie's cast, since blogging about it I've gotten a lot of hits from the search term "her cast". It seems a strange term to search on to me, not specific enough to find anything relevant, unless they are looking for the cast of a show called Her, so I did a little digging. When I searched on it, though, all I got were articles which used it the same way I did. The searches have been scattered across the world and through different search engines, so it's perplexing.
I got a Wii Fit Plus so I'll have some kind of physical activity over the winter. I have a treadmill, but it doesn't seem to have much of an impact on my overall health. Plus it's boring as hell. I have Wii Sports as well, but it's a couple of years old, and also boring. So that's where the Wii Fit Plus comes in. New games, a virtual exercise coach, that cool balance board...Right now my concern is keeping myself from melting into the couch, but I'm sure I'll graduate to something more strenuous later. I saw something about Jillian Michaels having a training game for the balance board, and she's tough.
Seems like there was something else to talk about but I can't remember, and I'm out of time, besides. Hope you have a great day.
- Maggie gets her cast off Wednesday. I imagine they'll x-ray her first, but I don't see any reason they'd leave it on. She's felt no pain for a week, at least. She will have to wear the cast for her school Christmas program tomorrow. I'll probably buy a red sock to cover the bright pink, or else I'll buy her a pink Christmas dress to match.
- I finished up my final project for Eternal Press last night and sent it off to my managing editor. I'm absolutely certain the decision to leave is the right one for me at this time. I'll let you know when this vampire erotic fantasy is released in February.
- That post I did about being blocked by a friend? Well just a day or two after, one of my best friends from college reconnected with me on Facebook and salved my soul. He's a world traveler and drifts in and out of my life every few years. I'm pretty easy to find, as I have never lived outside of Central Oklahoma.
- Can't wait to see Avatar! But how come aliens are always shaped like us? Even down to the women having breasts? I'm sure it's a choice between realistic speculative world-building and concessions to characters a human can identify with. You know, because if a creature has boobs our brains supply woman seamlessly, and then they can focus on other aspects of a story. But still, it bugs me.
- So far I haven't had anybody tell me I should be linking to them, so maybe those people don't read me anymore. Thanks to those of you who checked your links.
- I will be making bourbon balls this year, and some other goodies for our Christmas night gathering, only I'll have white, milk AND dark chocolate coating on the bourbon balls, and maybe even actual bourbon if I can talk the hubs into going to the liquor store. Maybe he could also buy a bottle of wine
I feel like there's so much more I could be talking about, but I'm scattered. Anything you'd like to hear more about? Wanna tell me what you've got going on?
So here's what we'll do, if you'll indulge me:
- If any of you would like to be on my sidebar and aren't, please leave a comment and let me know
- If you have a favorite writing or publishing site that isn't on my list, put that in a comment and I'll check it out.
- If you are already on my sidebar, please take a moment and make sure your URL is correct and, if you have more than one, that I'm using the one you prefer.
That is unlikely, so I suppose I will embrace the yearning. Put it in my work, make you feel it, and then maybe I won't be so lonely. That is why I write.
Have you ever been blocked by someone in your social media travels? Isn't it the strangest feeling? When a simple "Please don't contact me anymore" would suffice, being blocked seems like overkill. I don't want to be where I'm not wanted, but I'm sort of dense sometimes, I guess. Of course, I've done it to strangers who make me uncomfortable, so when it happens to me I wonder what I've done wrong. Darcknyt had a similar experience on Twitter, but I think the consensus on his unexplained blockage was that it was a mistake. It's even weirder and more hurtful when it's somebody you care about, even if you know why it happened, but worse when you don't.
Way back in '99, before this world of pseudo-relationships and e-friendships intruded on my daily life, I worked at a Wrangler jeans factory with a girl named Julie. She was Kickapoo Indian and taught me how to say things in Kickapoo, to the amusement of her Indian friends. She told me her stories and I told her mine, and we were, I thought, good friends for a couple of years. You know, not that we called each other outside of work, but a good friend nonetheless. I loved her and would have been open to an outside friendship.
One day, we were laughing and ribbing each other while the other girls on the line wished we would shut up and work. This was long ago so I don't remember how it started, but I joked, "Well then I just won't talk to you for the rest of the day," or , "Don't talk to me anymore," or something like that. So she didn't talk to me the rest of the day. I thought it was a joke. The next morning I said hi to her, and she looked at me and went back to tacking those pockets without a word. I said, "Oh, you're still not talking, huh?" Nothing. I still wasn't sure she wasn't still joking around, so I let her be silent. As the days passed, it was clear she was not going to come around.
Julie and I worked together for a while after that, at least many months, probably a year, maybe two, and she never spoke to me again. I had been blocked.
I moved on, but it still haunts me. Did she think I was serious? Was it a pride thing? I never had the chance to explain myself or apologize, because such words bounced off her. So I guess we weren't friends after all, because wouldn't a friend give another friend a chance to explain? Wouldn't a friend lower the wall of hurt or pride or whatever for a moment, at least entertain the possibility that a misunderstanding had occurred? I don't know. Maybe I don't even know what friendship is. Do you?
And yeah, I do feel sorry for the criminal. I don't think there's such a thing as pure evil. Crimes are committed out of mental illness and desperate circumstances; empathy is squashed by apathy and hopelessness and lingering immaturity. While I believe crime should not be tolerated, and that we are ultimately responsible for our own actions, I always wish I could help these people function happily in society. I think about what happened to make a human being feel it was all right to impose himself on someone in that moment. Maybe I should consider a career in psychotherapy. Definitely not law. Or maybe I should be a writer...
In the above situation, there's just no good outcome. Whatever drove the man to break into Ms. Jackson's home ended one life and forever changed another. It makes me sad, the things we do to each other.
Well I am a little sad, because I resigned from my editing job over the weekend. I have to finish up this book, another week, tops, and then I will no longer hold the title Content Editor. *sniff* It was necessary. I spent a lot of time thinking about what I really wanted to do, got those priorities lined up straight, and finishing this WIP was #1, right up top. Let me tell you folks, it ain't writing itself, and editing simply takes too much of my time and focus. It almost killed me last month when I didn't even have time to open my document for three weeks solid. When I applied for the job in April, time wasn't a concern because I couldn't even type with both hands, and I didn't know if I would ever write again. I'm driving forward now.
My managing editor was sweet about it, saying she about cried when she read my email because she hated to lose such a good editor. My self-deprecating instinct says that's just what people say, but at this point there's really no reason for her to pump sunshine up my skirt, to borrow a phrase from an old friend. So maybe if this writing thing slows down I can pick up the mantle again, because I did so like calling myself an editor.
But for now, I'm just a plain wannabe again.
No, both of the ones I worked on are erotica short stories, and I've just seen the covers for the first time. They are fantastic! Jezebel's Article is a vampire fantasy, and Ink Me is set in a tattoo shop. I edited these at the same time, switching off (hm, reminds me of Jezebel's Article...) and though the protagonists have similar voices, the stories are very different. If you're into such literature, go check 'em out!
Wow. This cover hit me right between the eyes. I haven't even read the blurb for Demon Squad: Armageddon Bound yet, but I already want to buy it. Now I'm off to read about the book.
ETA: Now I'm laughing, because the Fantasy Book Critic described the cover as "sedate". I guess after I've looked at it a while, it's lost its punch, but I still like how that guy is pointing the gun at me. I could do without the obligatory mostly-naked posing chick, but I still like it.
Yesterday's post ended with my description of my favorite symbol of life's journey, the spiral. Sarah linked to a simple yet interesting page about the spiral in nature and in symbolism, and this paragraph struck me:
"Some consider the spiral a symbol of the spiritual journey. It is also considered to represent the evolutionary process of learning and growing. It seems that life doesn't proceed in a straight line. The path of life more closely resemble a spiral. We seem to pass the same point over and over again but from a different perspective each time. To walk and then stand in the center of a spiral or labyrinth has been a psycho-spiritual exercise for centering the consciousness."
The sentence in bold was what I was attempting to convey in my description. We seem to pass the same point over and over again but from a different perspective each time. When drawing a spiral, we start at the inner point and work our way out. Dorothy started her journey to the Wizard in the center of the Yellow Brick Road's spiral. But when contemplating it as the path of a spiritual journey, we seem to start at the outer point and go to the inner, as if by spiraling further into our consciousness we go back to the beginning, before any of the crap that started the need for a journey even happened.
Thanks for the link, Sarah.
Some consider the spiral a symbol of the spiritual journey. It is also considered to represent the evolutionary process of learning and growing. It seems that life doesn't proceed in a straight line. The path of life more closely resemble a spiral. We seem to pass the same point over and over again but from a different perspective each time. To walk and then stand in the center of a spiral or labyrinth has been a psycho-spiritual exercise for centering the consciousness.
The sentence in bold was what I was attempting to convey in my description. We seem to pass the same point over and over again but from a different perspective each time. When drawing a spiral, we start at the inner point and work our way out. Dorothy started her journey to the Wizard in the center of the Yellow Brick Road's spiral. But when contemplating it as the path of a spiritual journey, we seem to start at the outer point and go to the inner, as if by spiraling further into our consciousness we go back to the beginning, before any of the crap that started the need for a journey even happened.
I've been writing regularly this week, now that I'm done with the hard part of the novel I was editing. Funny how I go entire weeks ignoring that urge to write, and then when I actually don't have the time, I can't stand it! I must scratch this itch!
This time around, it seems easier to get a thousand words than it used to be. I may actually be able to make my goal of getting this draft done by Christmas. I cain't hardly believe it. (Yes, I'm thinking in my hick accent today.) I love where this book is taking me. I look over the past year and can't believe all the ups and downs I've had with my writing--some physical, some mental. Okay, most mental.
But really, I've said this every year, haven't I? Two-thousand-blank was a truly crappy year, I say, and next year will be great. Honestly, I've had some major setbacks this year, but I think things are getting easier. I've never looked forward to Christmas as an adult, but here I am, buying gifts on credit and not worrying about it at all. Tired of whining, tired of tripping over hurdles.
It's so easy to think of my circumstances at any given moment as a static state of being, and that's simply not true. I've been sorting out the jumble of thoughts and beliefs and desires in my head, figuring out which ones belong there and which came from someone else. I feel like this is something I've said many times since starting this blog, have I? Well, it's a long process. It's not one a-ha moment, it's a series of them.
My brother and I think of life's lessons as a spiral. You start on the outer edge, and travel around toward the center. Now imagine a straight line crossing, connecting the beginning point with the inner, end point. At each intersection, there's a bump. That bump is an a-ha moment. If you are visualizing what I tried to explain, you'll understand there are many bumps on this spiral, and on each course it takes less time to reach the next a-ha moment. Say, a year on the outer edge, and toward the center only weeks, or even days. You repeat the same realizations, sooner each time, until you get it.
At least, I've noticed that pattern in my own life. How does that fit with how you see your growth?
I'm getting quite good at telling when I'm having normal, pre-sleep thought wanderings, and when they are the steamroller variety, so I don't lie for long. I've been up a couple of hours by myself, watching the gerbil on her wheel, writing stories, and playing computer games till I work out whatever has me agitated. I wish I could talk it out, then maybe I could get to the bottom of it.
Actually, I've been a bit agitated all day, because of a very real and poignant dream, in which I lived with one of my children on a tiny island, a utopia of sorts, and my only means of communication, apparently, was messages in bottles thrown out to sea. My "husband" had left me, and I thought, Well I guess I don't have to live on this island anymore. I sang "The Way We Were" while scrubbing the dishwasher in the front yard... woke up halfway through the first verse.
So anyway, this evening, while I waited to get sleepy, I started a story I've been thinking about for quite a while--seems like things have to ferment with me--and I wrote another as an impromptu exercise, but it turned out...interesting. It's not a story so much as a one-sided conversation about a story. But the good part is that the story I was talking about sounded pretty good, so maybe I'll put that in the idea still and let it ferment a while.
I guess I'm sleepy now...or maybe I'll play a little more Dynomite...
We'll be going to the orthopedist today to get a more permanent solution to Maggie's store-bought brace. I was surprised about how unconcerned everybody was with getting her a cast. When making the appointment I grumbled, "What's another day, her arm's been broken for a week and a half." The lady said, "Oh, everybody thinks they should run right in and get a cast as soon as it happens, but it's better to wait till the swelling goes down." Oh. Well that makes sense.
Seeing Maggie's injury makes me realize how truly effed up my hand was. I can't remember if I ever told that story. It was Friday of Spring Break '09. I'd promised the kids I'd take them to the skating rink--they just about died from the anticipation--and this was the last day we could use our coupons. I got everybody ready and sent them out to the car while I locked up the house. I stepped off the porch, like I have thousands of times. This time something went wrong (still not sure what) and I pitched over. My hand went out automatically to steady me, but again something went wrong and I ended up jamming my middle finger on the step. Except I heard something snap.
After that I remember things in snapshots. The blinding sound of pain. Me, bent over at the waist with my hand wedged between my thighs. Saying, "Kids!" multiple times. (My daughter told me later they had no idea what I was saying. First they thought I was playing around, then they thought I was dying.) The thought that I had done something seriously terrible to my hand, followed by denial.
I stood there for a while, letting the pain subside, catching my breath, trying not to cry in front of the kids. And it started to hurt less. In my altered state, I decided that meant it was just a stinger, maybe jammed but okay. I couldn't let the kids down. It was the last day to skate. Now I realize the swelling was probably deadening the pain. I didn't look at my hand. I didn't want to know.
My single-mindedness was unrivaled. My mission was to get the kids their skating, and that's what I would do. I whimpered quietly as I drove us one-handed to the skating rink. I had to stop and ask directions, because it had moved since I'd been there last. When we finally got there, I depended on Abby to get everybody's skates tied. On the skating floor, a teenager skating backwards slammed into me and sent me flying. I landed on my back, hard, and my hand and head bounced off the floor, and when he apologized and tried to help me up, I yelled at him.
In denial, I played Galaga, beating the shoot button with the side of my hand, till I couldn't anymore. I had to hold hands with Maggie, and it had to be the on right so she could stay near the wall. Once the adrenaline started to wear off, I started to think maybe I could have postponed the skating trip.
The next day, the swelling went down enough to show the bruising. Purple bloomed at each joint of my middle finger and ring finger, and at the base of my hand in line with my middle finger. I didn't go to the doctor because we couldn't afford it. It took three months to be able to type at all, six months to type normally. The hand still hurts, it gets tired easily, the finger's still crooked, but I think the breaks have healed. At least I can type.
So that's the story of my broken hand. Happy Thanksgiving, everybody. I know what I'm thankful for.
This fragrance thing is actually getting more manageable. I think I'm healing, as the reactions for the past several months haven't been as strong. Trips to the store are less taxing. I can think while at a school function. It's tempting to start letting my guard down, but I know this is a slow process. I have to let my body heal.
Finally seeing the end of this editing project. It's the first novel I've edited, been editing shorts, so it seemed to go forever. I'm at the point now where I know what it's like to be an editor, and I need to balance it against my own writing. Do I like editing enough to put my book on hold for three weeks? Not sure about that. I'd planned to get BVA done by Christmas, something I could have done if my editing assignment had been another short. I had no idea how much time a novel would take.
Gotta get bananas for Maggie's class . Thanks for everybody's good wishes about her arm, it's not bothering her too much, with the brace.
So...that's me today. What's up with you?
First of all, it's not like a critique. In a critique you can say things like, "I can't follow the action in this scene," and then leave it up to the author to figure out why. That's perfectly acceptable, because as the critic you're doing the author a favor, and they'll take what you have to offer. As an editor, I have to figure out exactly what confuses me about the action, and then say that. Saying it is the hard part. If I do my job right, the solution will be obvious to the author, even if I haven't suggested a solution. Which ties in with my next point.
Editing is a balance of telling the author what to do and letting her decide how to do it. Except in the case of punctuation, where there is a right way and a wrong way, but even then if she feels strongly about leaving out a specific comma, that's ultimately her decision. I have to be very careful about rewriting anything. If I can't move around phrases she's already used to fix it, I leave a suggested fix in a comment, then she can either take my advice as is, change it another way, or tell me to take a flying leap. Although the last one on that list might be counter-productive, since I'm an impartial observer (or at least as impartial as anyone can be), and I'm only here to make her look better. Which leads to...
The editor is there to correct mistakes, no doubt. But among some authors there's this attitude of, "So I don't know how to punctuate a sentence correctly, that's what editors are for." Let me take a moment to point out I've not yet edited an author with this attitude, but I've seen it around in the blogosphere. But let me tell you something, dear authors, this attitude is stupid. STUPID. If my harsh words pull one author away from this abyss, they will be worth it. Not only is it good to know your craft inside and out for your craft's sake, but there's a practical purpose for knowing the nuts and bolts, and then putting them into practice BEFORE sending it to your editor.
If I have your manuscript for 20 days, and I spend the full 20 helping you polish your words, you are going to have one tight, well-written book. A tight, well-written book will increase your reputation, generate better word-of-mouth, ergo selling more books and creating more fans. However, if I have to spend seven of those days correcting hundreds or even thousands of typos which could easily have been found before the ms came to me, then you are getting only 13 days of word polishing. We might only have time for plot and eliminating confusion, and very little time for word choices and flow.
So those are the observations I have so far. I'm sure I'll have more as I go along, and maybe even change my mind about some of those up there. (Except for the last one. Since I basically called everyone who doesn't agree with me an idiot I'll have to stick by it. It's true anyway.) I'm getting the education of a lifetime, being on this side of things.
So the doctor said it was probably a something-or-other kind of break that kids get all the time, sent us for x-rays and prescribed a brace, which nobody had in stock. Finally went to Wal-Mart and picked up a grown-up's wrist stabilizer, long enough to go almost to her elbow but an adjustable width. I thought it would be a good temporary measure to protect her tiny arm at school, but it works so well, we might keep it long-term, if she doesn't need a cast. I don't think she will.
I wish we'd gotten the brace from the doctor herself, because as we were walking to the car after our appointment, Maggie tripped and fell on her bad arm. She cried all the way to the hospital for the x-rays, during the x-rays, and all the way home. It's an understatement to say I felt her pain. It's hard to go about your business when your child is hurting, even when that business is the only way to make it stop eventually. The promise of ice cream helped a little, and once she had a cone in her hand she smiled again.
I'll get the results from the x-ray back today.
Even if it turns out to be a standard storyline, I think I'll like it. I do hope they're getting everyone plenty of water off-screen, because they ran all over the desert with nothing to drink. I was thirsty by the end.
Contest Rules: All you have to do to enter is email your name and a shipping address to fangsfurandfey AT yahoo DOT com. Only one entry per person allowed, UNLESS...If you blog about the contest and link back to this post, send a second email with the link showing where you blogged about it. Any double-entry without a link enclosed that shows where you blogged about the contest will be deleted.
Go to this post for all the rules and prizes.
So here's something funny. I've been watching the CBS law drama The Good Wife. Not earth shattering drama, but I keep going back to it. So last night it came on, and DH pulled up the description on the screen. It said something like, "Alicia is attracted to her cocounsel," (hyphen, please!) and DH misread "cocounsel" as "coconut." He said, "That's one attractive coconut."
I launched into a Spanish accent (don't know why I chose Spanish) and said, "Oh, my coco-nut, you are sooo sexy." We laughed. My 11 year old heard and suddenly I had an appreciative audience, so I said some more things. "Oh, coco-nut, let me stroke your hair. Let me rap upon your husk." Et cetera. We giggled for a while in girly silliness about that sexy coconut.
I got her settled into bed, and DH and I settled on the couch. Later on in the show, Alicia got a silly gift from her boss. It was a coconut.
As a writer, you need a place to be bad, so that you can learn to be good. So if your ego is too fragile to allow someone else to read your work, it's time to learn this lesson. Allow yourself to be bad. Give somebody else (preferably not your mom, your spouse, or your best friend) the permission to be honest with you about your writing.
I'm great at taking literary criticism. Other areas of my life, maybe not so great, but about my writing? Yeah, for some reason that's easy. Maybe it's because I don't have an arrogant bone in my body (that sounded a bit arrogant itself, didn't it?) and always assume I'm in the wrong. But really, when a reader tells me a passage didn't make sense, or my character's profanity seemed forced, or to should have been too, how can I argue with that? It's the reader's perception, inarguable. But although accepting a reader's perception comes easily, I did have to learn how to sift through that information and use only what will nudge my book toward my vision of perfection, rather than someone else's. The best critter I ever had was also the biggest meanie. He was the best because he rarely tried to soften the blow, and he was often right. It took a while to realize he wasn't always right.
I really don't understand the over-sensitive, stick-your-head-in-the-sand mentality. If you ask for someone's opinion, by golly listen to that person. Just know there will probably always be more negative comments than positive just because that's how critiques are. However, you do need to know which people are helpful for you. Just because someone is above you on the ladder doesn't mean they have the best advice to perfect your vision.
Chip has a couple of items which go against most of the conventional advice you'll find on the Internet. For instance, he says it's a good idea to get fresh eyes on an early draft, whereas most folks advise writers to polish their manuscripts before handing them over for critique, something which never made much sense to me. I mean, you spend months on your first draft, and at least that much more on subsequent edits and weeks hunting down every typo. You hand it to a trusted meanie, who sees a huge problem with a subplot and advises you to remove it entirely. Of course that means cleaning up all the loose ends left by cutting the scenes in question. What's worse is that you see the meanie is right. Now, you can do a few things with this information:
- You make the necessary changes, which means tacking on another couple of months to your projected submission goal.
- You convince yourself the meanie doesn't know what he's talking about, by any means necessary. The sub-par sub-plot stays.
- You cry and cry, knowing he's right but being unable to face all that extra work when you thought you were done. You quit writing FOREVER!!!
That last one was just for fun, but it's possible. Another thing--what if your crit partner isn't a meanie, but an ol' softie? An ol' softie will know how hard you worked to get the manuscript just right and hold back on his critique of that terrible sub-plot, and then you're screwed and don't know it. The time I find myself most needing a critique is when the first draft is done and I've worked on it so long I can't see it anymore. Where are my plot holes? What motivation is missing? Is this twist as good as I think it is, or am I fooling myself? Those are questions which need to be answered LONG before the finishing touches go on.
So...when can I send you this rough draft?
I'll set the stage. It's a debut novel, pretty standard Urban Fantasy, as in chick lit with vampires, featuring a kickass, hot & sexy lady protag with a lot of sass and a lot of evil to overcome. Overall I enjoyed the read, though it did take a little while for the author to settle into her voice. The writing definitely improved over the course of the book. There's a lot of promise in that voice, and I'd like to see where she takes the story in the second installment.
Actually, the way the author's voice strengthened reminded me of the first novel I wrote, now that I'm far enough in the future to look at it objectively. (btw, I have no idea whether the book which inspired this post is the author's first book ever, only that it was her debut.) In a first novel, you start at the beginning (of course) when you have no idea how to write a novel. The phrasing is clunky, the pacing uncertain, and a lot of the choices you make are based on books you've read in your genre. Then, as you go along, you start to figure it out. It gets easier, but you find yourself stuck with some bad choices you made before you knew what you were doing, so you end up with awkward character motivation, retroactively added to get the character from one plot point to the next. Plus, no matter how many times you edit the first few chapters, that clunkiness stays. You end up with that kind of book, where the ending is telegraphed by page 30 and the characters are way too familiar.
If you're lucky (or unlucky, if publishing a not-quite-there book is a bad thing) your genre is hothothot when you start querying. Maybe your mythology is a bit different from other books in your genre, or maybe the central idea is unique, even if the people and places are not, or vice-versa. Whatever, it's your lucky (or unlucky) day because publishers are actively looking for the kind of book you chose to write. I have to say, it seems like good luck rather than bad anytime somebody wants to publish your work, even if it's a little early in your craft. A writer with real talent will blossom, I imagine, and others will fizzle.
But I always wonder how those authors feel about their situation. Do they see the weaknesses in their own work? And does it really matter, if the readers are happy?
One thing which helps some people is listening to music. I am not one of that group. I think it takes a certain ability to tune out the music itself while still absorbing the feeling it evokes--something I've never been able to do. Music inspires me, no doubt, but I have to turn it off while doing the actual writing. So maybe I could use it after all, as a trigger, like listen to a few songs before I write every day.
But I could easily see that leading to my biggest malady, as Theresa calls it: the lemmejusts. Lemmejust put the clothes in the dryer. Lemmejust write a quick blog post (as if that's even possible for me). Lemmejust research a little on the Web. I'd add a sub-category to that: Lemmejust find the perfect (whatever). That's where the music thing would lead me.
One thing I've had to do that Theresa doesn't mention is to give myself permission to write. I've had to really work on this issue over the past couple of years. That's why the lemmejusts get me so often, there's always something more important. But the writing is just as important as the laundry. Even more important, because laundry can be done anytime, while writing takes solitude and quiet, much harder to come by. I had to establish that writing fulfills me and is a worthy hobby, and then I had to get to a place where my needs were important. I still have to remind myself every day, give myself that permission anew.
But go on over and check out Theresa's post. Good stuff. When you come back, why don't you tell me some of your personal training tactics?
Other than that, life has been pretty mundane. I've been walking a couple of miles every day while the weather's nice. The van is still down and the hubs seems to be in no hurry to work on it. I am! It'll be nice this weekend, so maybe we can get it running then.
I had a terrible time staying focused on work yesterday. It was turning into one of those days where I just float around and, at the end, wonder what I had done all day, so I decided to nip that in the bud. After a little research I found a couple of online time management tools, the best of which is Work Timer Online.
The Work Timer is going to be very useful for seeing where my time goes. The work I'm doing for others always seems to get done first to my WIP's detriment, so by keeping a log of how much time I've spent on each project I can balance it better. The only problem is my spotty wi-fi connection. If the connection goes down before I've archived my time, it's possible to lose that time. Not a huge problem, since it's not like it's billable hours I'm losing.
I also tried a web-based countdown timer. One reason I have trouble concentrating is because I have this irrational fear of losing track of time. It helped to set the timer and say, "I'm going to do this for 15 minutes, and there's no way I can lose track of time because the timer will buzz me." I kept thinking about the timer so I couldn't completely lose myself in my work, but it was a LOT better, and I feel it will only get better with time. I didn't care for the web-based timer I used, so I'll probably just stick with Spacejock's yTimer, which I've used for years for the kids' Internet time.
I used to let organizing the activities get in the way of the activities. What organizational tools have you found to be most helpful?
Lots of you are doing NaNoWriMo, which I like to think of as NaNoNoMo. I have to maintain this level of don'wanna, lest I be sucked in or feel left out. I wish you guys all the luck in the world, truly, and I hope you win and publish the resulting novel and make a million dollars. Truly. Good luck.
Instead of NaNoNoMo, I will be finishing my seemingly interminable WIP, as well as editing a new project for Eternal Press. I will have to shut down my Facebook cafe and let the farm go to seed (and if you play any of those Zynga games you'll know exactly what I mean) for the month of November. So really, I will probably be doing the same word count as I would if I participated in NaNo, only without the distractions, i.e. cameraderie and tangible goals. Well, that's not exactly true. My goal is to finish WIP by Christmas, and I have only a month to edit the assignment, pretty tangible.
Sometimes I get depressed this time of year, as do many of you, but this year I'm taking steps to sidestep depression. I'll be taking lots of vitamin D, making time for fun stuff, talk to friends whenever I feel isolated. Hit my first speedbump this morning, though: the van may have finally died, which means DH will be taking the car to work, which means I'll have no way of getting out of the house during the day, when I need to most. God, I'm depressed already. Where's that damn vitamin D?
I'm so happy Halloween is here. It used to be my favorite holiday because of my dramatic flair, but that was run out of me a long time ago. Now I love it because it's the end of my craziest, poorest, busiest time of year--school expenses (fundraisers, pictures, clothes, supplies, etc), five family birthdays, and Halloween costumes. It seems pretty silly that the Christmas season seems relaxing in comparison, but that's how it is. Especially this year, because I hit the reset button last Christmas and it unwound me. I can look forward with open eyes instead of squinty, fearful ones. Thinking about making Thanksgiving my main family holiday, and downplaying Christmas.
But that is a concern for a future date. For now it is only Halloween and I shall enjoy it. Though my hips are screaming at me for a looooong walk I took yesterday, I will gamely hobble around town and encourage my children to beg candy from strangers. Hope y'all have fun, too.
So today I'm thankful for Akismet, which controls my spam comments. Even though there's only been one legitimate comment caught in the spam filter in the entire previous year, I still check all spam before I delete it.
However, I'm also grateful for the spam itself, because I always get a good laugh, normally because of the way they sneak the stamina-enhancing drugs into the conversation, or the enormous lists of crazy porn categories. But lately there's been a trend where the spammers include a joke. Here are a few I've received:
- What do you call three rabbits in a row, hopping backwards simultaneously? A receding hareline.
- What do you call bedtime stories for boats? Ferry tales.
- What is a Mummy’s favorite kind of music? RAGtime music! or wRAP!!!
- What do cats like to eat for breakfast? Mice Krispies.
They have the right idea. Spammers should make us smile, then we won't hate 'em so bad.
One opportunity is the Red Dirt Book Festival, happening next weekend right over there, in the next town. As a wannabe writer I usually approach events like this as work so I put a lot of vague pressure on myself, which is silly because I don't have a book to sell. This time I'll go with no expectations. If I feel like leaving after ten minutes I will. If I feel like talking to people I will. My goal will be to have fun and only that.
I have a lot of housekeeping that needs to be done since I was sick, plus I have a lot of writing to do, and I have to pay bills and go to the store...I can feel my jaw start to clench just thinking about it. When I worry about everything I need to do, it gets done...but when I don't worry, it still gets done. My body is telling me to choose the second option today.
I've been thinking about my huge breakthrough yesterday, the realization that sometimes I resist writing because I don't want to feel my characters' emotions. Yet I don't remember having this problem with the previous book, and I was trying to figure out what exactly had changed from the previous book to this one.
For sure, I identify with the current main character in the WIP more, in that she is a contemporary young lady with father issues, so that may be one part. But though I'm more familiar with that situation than, say, a woman who is in love with her dead husband's brother as in my previous book, I'm still drawing from the same well of my experience. Both women were abused at home and fled to foreign lands, and in these foreign lands they are both uneasy, searching for their place. Those are the main feelings to which I must return over and over.
Then there is the difference of contemporary fantasy vs. medieval fantasy. In this book, I'm pretty much using the language that you see here, modern and conversational, and in medieval fantasy I use a bit more formal language. That could create distance that using my "real" voice can't.
Here's another thing, and this might seem weird, but difference might have something to do with the number of POV characters each book uses. While both books are in 3rd person, the medieval fantasy uses several points of view, and the contemporary uses only one. Switching POVs to get the reaction of the other major players in big emotional scenes seems to offer a way to complete the circle, so I don't feel as lost as the characters. I remember one specific example where I was writing an emotional scene, feeling more and more uncomfortable, until it was time to switch POVs, and once I switched it was quite a relief. Even though I know and understand what the non-POV characters are feeling in my WIP, I channel them and work through them.
Anyway, those are my thoughts today. What do you think?
Lately I've realized that's not healthy. Emotions are not a deformed and murderous twin who must be chained to the basement floor. They are part of me. So I've been working on feeling whatever emotion comes to me. Not necessarily letting it manifest outwardly, but looking at it, accepting it.
Well yesterday morning I sat down to write, and got that same old butterfly nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach. Sometimes when I get that feeling, I stand up and do something else without even thinking first, just my instinct telling me I need to run when I feel that dread. But yesterday I looked at it and wondered about it, and opened the document anyway. The next scene to be written was a hugely emotional one. When I finished I was drained and lonely, needed a hug so bad, but there was no one here but me.
Huge breakthrough. Because I'd examined my emotions at every step, I was able to make an important and previously unseen connection. The dread came from subconsciously knowing I would end my writing time feeling lonely and lost. All those emotions swirling around, yet there was no one I could unburden myself to. Even if my husband had been home, I couldn't very well expect him to understand what was bothering me. He would probably just tell me, Get over it, it's not your problem, it's your character. No wonder novelists, actors, and other artistic types seem to have so much trouble with substance abuse. We take on emotions which aren't our own, and which in the context of our lives have no ground. There's no event to pin them to, yet we carry them with us. It can make one feel quite bonkers.
But seriously, now that I've realized this, I can start working around it. How about you? Do you find that your character's emotions affect your life?
I walked with my daughter's kindergarten class this morning on the yearly trip to the Pumpkin Patch. It's not a real pumpkin patch, but an empty lot where the local Methodist church sells their pumpkins, and which over the years has grown to be a bumpkin amusement park. There's a train engine and tractors and a fire truck to climb on, roping and bean bag toss games, and a homemade kiddie train pulled by a lawnmower. It's country fun at its finest, and the kids have a blast. I was happy to have a school activity for which I could actually volunteer--since we were outside the whole time, the fragrance was negligible, especially since I took it upon myself to be the caboose along the way, while the other parents stayed up toward the middle of the line. Not only was I helping myself, but I also provided a needed service, which was keeping the stragglers somewhat with the group.
Maggie Rose was delightful, as usual, and was proud to have me there. I befriended a couple of other kids whose parents couldn't come. I wish I'd had more time to talk to those two boys, because they seemed to have things they wanted to get off their chest, like having an adult willing to listen was an opportunity to be jumped on. I remember what it was like to be a kid without a voice. We all need to be heard.
WE'RE GOING TO BE WRITING HORROR. 500 to 1,000ish words of spec fic horror, poetry or prose, humorous or creepy. (You can go over 1,000 words, but please not by too much.) And no slasher horror pretty pretty please.
SUBMISSIONS. Send your submission to me in the body of an email, single spaced. Addy: writtenwyrdd (at) earthlink.net. Heading should read "Chthulu contest submission." Be sure and include the name you want me to use on the post. I won't be naming individuals during the voting round, but at the announcements round. MORE THAN ONE SUBMISSION IS ALLOWED, BUT SEND THEM SEPARATELY. (Please keep it to two, though. We don't want to stack the deck.)
Writtenwyrdd has announced that if she gets more than 20 entries she'll add a runner-up prize, so get cracking on those stories!
Anyhoo, please excuse the mess around here while I play with things.
Thanks to Darcsfalcon for passing along this award to me. It's always nice to be recognized by your peers. It comes with a requirement to list seven other people with lovely blogs, but some of the blogs I would list are quite personal in nature, so I'm not entirely sure if I should. Aw, what the heck. Perhaps by linking to these blogs I'm leading someone to the inspiration they need. I'm sticking with girls, because the award is pretty girly. Feel free to display the award, ladies, without feeling obligated to tag anyone else. You all deserve it.
I'm working on bringing some maturity and professionalism to the blog. Not a lot, mind you, just enough so when editors come here they don't shriek and click away. I think I need to re-do my "about", including bio and contact info. I came across this post about author websites from the point of view of an unpaid intern, and it reminded me that professionals who visit my site looking for information about me as an author don't want to wade through posts about my sinuses, nor do they want to read my sad attempts at political diatribe. They want to know about my books, my experience, how to contact me, and how to contact my agent (though if they're here it's probably because she contacted them first).
I thought about creating two pages, one for editors and one for regular folks, the thought being that the info relevant to a visiting professional wouldn't be buried within the site, but visible on the front page. Under each page would be sub-pages, the editor page having the professional info--contact, book descriptions, links to relevant posts, etc--and the regular folks page having the talky traditional About Me, and all the social media contact stuff. There may be some overlap.
Another thought is to have one About Me that everyone would visit, and on that page have a link for editors to click if they want. The goal is to make it easy for everybody to find what they want.
What do you think? I haven't seen much besides the single About Me, with a vague outline of the blogger's interests and location. I'd be grateful for a link to examples of other types.
Rachel Naomi Remen:
The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention.... A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well-intentioned words.
via Wisdom Quotes
I'm not very good at the silence, mostly because I got it in my head some time ago that silence was uncomfortable. I've been feeling quiet lately so I've done the minimum amount of social networking, and as a result have felt apart from everyone. Maybe when I'm feeling quiet I shouldn't cut myself off from people, but rather listen without interjection. Maybe there's something I need to hear but which usually gets lost in my noise. Maybe you have something to say that nobody wants to hear. So here's your chance to say what you've been needing to say, about me, about someone else, about public issues, hang-ups, confessions... I declare this an open forum for anything you'd like to get off your chest, about any topic. Be anonymous if you like. I'm listening.
Here's a tip for you: Super Metroid is not conducive to sleepy times. Usually when I can't sleep I'll get online and play some Dynomite or something, but since I'd acquired the thermal visor earlier today, I thought I'd explore a little, no biggie. Except that there are big, bad monsters to kill and much jumping from platform to platform. I'm tense. And I keep thinking monsters are going to jump out of the dark kitchen and start shooting at me. (Oh man, I just got the pee scared out of me. Just as I was typing that, a kid got up to go to the bathroom and knocked something over. Geez!)
Well, I could go on for a long time like this but it won't make me any sleepier. Guess I'll go play some soothing Dynomite after all, and hopefully get in bed before one. Night all, or if you're reading this on Friday, Good morning!
Despite my grogginess yesterday, I did have a pretty good writing day. I'm ready to be finished with this project so I can start on the next. Not sure what that will be yet, but I do have a few ideas which have been inside my head for a while and want to get outside:
- A middle grade or young adult book about orphans who go to live with their hoarding aunt, make a network of tunnels through her mountains of stuff, find treasure and have adventures (tentative title, Catacombia).
- A medieval fantasy about twin girls separated at birth, one of whom is adopted by an innkeeper and learns that her sister has been raised to be the dragon's next sacrificial victim
I'd also like to finish a middle-grade that I started with my daughter several years ago--it's about halfway finished--and I'd really like to revisit the Ea's Gift world. That wouldn't be wise, I guess, since it hasn't sold yet. Better to spend my time on new things.
Have you had any new ideas lately? Care to share? I won't steal them, promise.
My fragrance fog may be why I had trouble keeping my composure while listening to kids doing karaoke. First up was a middle school boy who chose AC/DC's "Highway to Hell." Now mind you, this was a family event with children of all ages running around, and we're smack in the middle of the Bible Belt. I personally have no problem with the song or my children hearing it, or even singing it, but it seemed a bit inappropriate in the middle of that group, with tiny children lined up for balloon animals and the singer punching that word, "Helllll." Funny, but then it was over and I figured they wouldn't let that happen again.
Then I heard the opening strains of "Family Tradition" by Hank Williams Jr., and I knew I had made a wrong assumption. I was watching the balloon animal guy, but when a sweet little voice sang, "Country music singers have always been a real close family," my head snapped around. The singer was a little girl, I'm guessing nine years old, long hair in a French braid, wearing capris and high top sneakers.
I knew what was coming up in that song. The anticipation nearly did me in, but I looked around at the other parents, and other than a couple of small smirks the faces in the crowd were stone. I controlled myself, just waiting for the chorus, feeling it build, and then finally she sang, "Hank why do you drink? Hank why do you roll smoke?" and I almost lost it! My body shook and tears came out, and I tried really hard to be quiet about it, because I didn't want the girl to see me. There was nothing wrong with her performance. She did a great job singing about the problems associated with being a stoned old country singer.
I think since I was by the wall and I kept my head down, nobody noticed. Well, except for my husband, who didn't think it was as funny as I did. I blame the fragrance fog.
- Writtenwyrdd is having a contest with a Halloween flavor. I know some of my readers write flash horror, so you guys might want to go on over and check her out. The prize is a cute little stuffed Chthulu. Yes, I said cute.
- Ian has a brand new look to his website.
- I've lost a Google Reader subscriber. Why? Why don't you love me anymore?? *sobs, then realizes that person isn't here anymore and soldiers on*
- When I'm home doing whatever I please for 9 hours while during the same time my hubby is busting his tail to bring home the dough, I'm wracked with guilt. Bringing in a little money would help alleviate the guilt, and I've been trying to figure out what jobs I could get. Well I figured it out. I don't need a new job, somebody just needs to start paying me for the one I'm already doing. I'll take that advance now. Thanks.
- Hubs used fingernail polish remover this morning, so I had to open the windows and turn on the fan to suck in fresh air. Fresh, cold air. Can't feel my toes. However, I can feel my brain cells de-fog as I type. (And you're correct if you think that means I have no problem blogging if I'm feeling too stupid to do other things.)
- Went to the bookstore yesterday to spend the last of my birthday money. Well, actually it was to spend my birthday money on some books similar to my WIP. Research, you know. I couldn't find anything even close. All the angel/demon books had a pretty much traditional, Biblical mythology; books with jaunty, tough female protags were written in first person; no alternative Underworlds; no unique non-human creatures (or once-human creatures, for that matter). Either I couldn't find anything like my book because it's never been done before (good), or it's never been done before because it's a dumb premise (bad). Here's what I ended up with: Working for the Devil by Lilith Saintcrow, Red-Headed Stepchild by Jaye Wells, and Scar Night by Alan Campbell. Tried to pick things that might have a similar voice or subject matter to mine. Don't know how well I succeeded.
- My broken finger is still sore, still crooked, but it's getting stronger every day. I snapped my fingers last night, lightly. I'm ecstatic.
'Kay, feeling smart again, so it's time to get to close the windows and get to work on m'book. Later.
I want to try it out before I buy one, but they don't have any for free on the Simon and Schuster website. Here's a trailer for the Jude Devereaux novella Vook, Promises. What do you think?
Just finished my Eternal Press business for the next couple of months. Since I worked on two short stories this round I feel like I just got off the Tilt-a-Whirl. Answering questions for one author while working on another's story was confusing, then there were all the "Didn't I already do the credits document?" moments. I don't know how a full-time editor (or an agent, for that matter) keeps all their clients and all their books straight. It's no wonder things get lost in the shuffle. I guess it just takes practice, and even though I've learned a lot with this little editing job, I haven't edited enough yet for the process to be automatic. I have a feeling, though, that it might never become automatic. Each author has his/her own distinct personality, and each story offers a different challenge. So while the procedure might be easier to remember, cracking open a new story will always feel like improvisation.
My oldest child is home sick today. I find decisions involving the children to be so difficult, whether or not a child should stay home, whether to call the school about mayhem on the bus, how much tv is too much, whether to force the eating of vegetables, and there's always the question of how to pass along a sense of the spiritual when I follow no doctrine. It seems like every decision with the kids is ambiguous, and I'm not good with ambiguity. I like deadlines and rules.
I was just about jumping out of my skin yesterday. Everything I could think to do for entertainment costs money. I'm strongly considering getting a small part-time job during the day, just to keep busy. Requirements: No working with the public; no standing in one place for long periods (though walking around is ok); an ultra-low fragrance environment; 2-4 hours between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. sharp. That's it. That takes out just about every job I've ever done in the past.
But now I'm way behind on housework and editing work, so I doubt I'll be online much if at all today. I wish you all a happy Monday!
And there is why I'm streamlining and culling this blog. When I started it I was a budding writer, rosy-cheeked and wide-eyed, finishing up my first book. I absolutely knew nobody in the world would read my blog. I imagined a cloak of invisibility based on my self-perceived importance in the blogisphere, which was no importance whatsoever. It was fine and dandy for me to shout out my writer's angst, the struggles of finishing a manuscript, and following that, the struggles of form rejections from agents. Then I got an agent, and while I had the feeling things should change, I wasn't sure what, exactly.
And no, I haven't had huge rants about the inanity of any certain industry professional, nor have I given scathing reviews of any books. But I'm starting to get uncomfortable talking about the process at all. I find myself reluctant to mention anything about my writing, yet sometimes I still force myself to, because this is a writer's blog... But I'm going to stop that. I will talk about writing in more general terms, which in the long run will probably snag more readers anyway.
The general idea in the comments yesterday was that a blog represents the road you've walked, and it's nice to have that history for people to peruse. Only thing is, if I look at someone's archives and find in January '07 a rant against stay-at-home moms, that's going to affect how I see that person's present personality, even if they made peace with the SAHM who was giving them problems in January '07 and that rant no longer applies.
I'm not the wide-eyed, over-sharing, timid person I was 3 1/2 years ago. This is my career blog, with my name on it for all the world to see. At this point, I want the blog to reflect what I've learned, not how I learned it.
If you look above the header, you'll see a few buttons with various subscription options. You can either syndicate the content to your favorite RSS reader or get the posts in your email. You can also register as a user of the blog, which is most useful for solving avatar issues, apparently. After you've registered, there's a login button which should (if I've configured it correctly) bring you directly back to the blog once you've logged in.
I've deleted approximately the first half of my posts. My first blog was 3 1/2 years and four URLs ago, and I've just been dragging those old posts around with me. I feel pretty good about leaving them behind on my previous blog site, and soon I'll be cleaning up that template to reflect its abandonment.
I have a strong urge to wrap things up, finish old projects, de-clutter my life. We'll see how long the urge lasts. Meanwhile, wear out that "Subscribe by Email" button, why don'tcha.
I've already raked in more wishes for a happy day than in years past, and it's only 8 a.m. ~~~ oopsie, phone, brb.
Two hours later: I've been talking finance with the bro and metaphysics with the mom, during which I also made myself a ham and cheese scramble for breakfast.
This birthday seems more cleansing than past birthdays. Although it's just another calendar day, I've come to appreciate these markers by which I can measure myself. I think I'll do a tarot reading for the coming year and look at my astrology and clean up old posts on this blog. I feel so different now, those old posts don't even fit me anymore.
I hope you have a great day, too.