Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008 Review

I didn't do so well on this year's goals. Let's review (new comments in blue):

Ongoing endeavors:

  • Read from an inspirational book every day - start by finishing 101 Powerful Promises from Latter-day Prophets by Wayne E. Brickey, then read God wants a Powerful People by Sheri Dew. - read those two books, but didn't start a new one after
  • Blog everyday. I've joined Blog365. - did awesome Jan-March. tapered off starting in April. I simply don't have enough to blog about to be interesting on a daily basis. We'll stick to a couple times a week.
  • work on Trinity Coven weekly - got caught up in EotF edits
  • continue sending out The Blazing Princess until it sells or the year ends - very sporadic
  • exercise 15-30 minutes, 3x week - good at the start of the year, awful in the middle, but back into routine
  • do at least two cities in Rock Band solo tour each week (exercise and stress relief all in one!) - finished solo tour through medium. now have Rock Band 2!
  • have meal plans and shopping list done before Friday - mostly awesome!
  • try two new recipes each month - tried, most didn't turn out well. have a picky husband, and hard to find good recipes
  • resume 2 hour writing sessions on Wednesday - never did get back into this. either I write lots, or I don't. no schedule. 
  • read two books a month, one Fantasy and one outside my genre - wow, forgot about this one. I think I did pretty good, but didn't keep track.

Goals with Deadlines:

  • enter Odyssey Poetry contest (deadline January 15)
  • get new contacts by January 31 - got them, but much later
  • write new Dear Me letter and enter into WDC contest (deadline Jan. 31)
  • participate in Storycrafter's February Workshop on Plot & Structure
    • get book required by Jan. 31 - couldn't find the book
  • Attend Life, the Universe, and Everything SF&F Symposium for at least one day, February 14-16 - was awesome! report here
  • throw a theme party for B's fourth birthday (March 8) - see Birthday Party
    • decide on theme (January 31)
    • ask Mom to make cake and if we can stage event at her house (Feb. 9)
    • send out invites (Feb. 26)
    • buy supplies (March 1)
  • polish EotF by March 31 - took more revisions and time than expected
  • compile list of 20 agents, write query and synopsis for EotF, and have manuscript in standard format by April 30
  • query five agents by June 1
  • finish Trinity Coven by Dec. 1 (so nice having December off)

 

The last three got pushed back due to time spent revising EotF and waiting for feedback so I could revise/edit some more. Now, I think it's finally ready for representation. Or at least no more revisions until valuable feedback from agents. 2009, queries here we come!

 

Regular Tuesday Tally's will resume next week.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Holiday Update

Christmas was wonderful. We had a nice quiet evening at home Christmas Eve, watched "The Flight Before Christmas" together. In the morning, we made sure to get showered and dressed before having pancakes and bacon. Then we tackled the presents.

 

B loves his new Webkinz Hippo from Santa. We named it JoJo. He also got a slumber pack for sleeping in his tent or at grandma's. It has a sleeping bag, pillow, and flashlight. From his parents, he got a Vtech Kidizoom Camera. After two days and 100 pictures later, the cheap batteries we bought are already dead. So, the camera is hiding until it gets some more quality batteries. Some of his other presents this year were board games. He LOVES games: card games (UNO), video games, board games. Christmas day we played all four new board games, most twice. He got Monopoly Jr., Cooties, Playhouse Disney Memory Match, and later Sesame Street Chutes and Ladders.

 

For probably the first Christmas, I did not get a new book. However, I did get a notebook and journal, and then my mom lent me books, and we got some good deals at the library sale. So I have books to read. Not a problem. Got a nice robe, some movies, and other stuff.

 

We went to visit family late Christmas morning, but the predicted storm came early. We intercepted it, saw how bad the roads were, and turned around. Did our visiting in the afternoon instead, after it cleared up.

 

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, and has a Happy New Year! Love you all!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

T.T. and Happy Holidays

EotF Status

total words to date: 97,037

pages: 440

chapters revised: 21/27 (draft 6)

 

T.C. Status

word count: 2,947

 

MiB Status

word count: 791

 

Goals for December

  • write a prompted poem for contest - "If Atlas Had a Tantrum..." 
  • submit a batch of poems  
  • mail off Blazing Princess again 
  • get through EotF draft 6

 

My mom stopped by today, so now we have presents circling the entire Christmas tree rather than one little pile. We're having pot roast for Christmas dinner. It will be my first time making it. Hoping it goes well. With the internet and a crock pot I don't imagine it will be too hard.

 

Slow progress on the potty training front. Just haven't had good timing. Doesn't help that B never volunteers the need to go, for either function. Was hoping that a shower (which B hates) after every soiled underwear would help to motivate him, but after three showers yesterday... Today better not be as bad. It would be a lovely Christmas present for him to be potty trained, but I don't think it's happening that fast.

 

As soon as I finish this draft of EotF, I am sending the first chapter to Firebrand Literary Agency. They are having a Query Holiday, and accepting first chapters through January 15. Worth a shot.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

One Week to Christmas!

Are you ready?

 

Christmas break also means getting serious with potty training. B will be potty trained before school starts again in January. He seems more ready this time. Hoping it goes well...

 

Shrinking Violets is having a 12 Days of Christmas - Introvert Style. Humorous, and quite applicable. They are also having daily give-aways to go along with it. Lots of fun!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Plea for a rewrite

This paragraph has remained fairly unchanged since its conception in draft one. I've been through five more drafts and still can't find a better way to word this. I like the sentiment and attitude, but have to admit that the flow is far from ideal.

 

As Jex left the assembly hall, he realized he had no idea where in Dashevona was this Monderay. However, on no account would he turn around and ask Zalandar. He may be a thief, but that didn't mean he had no pride.

 

It probably doesn't need pointing out, but Monderay is a village in the realm of Dashevona. Any suggestions on rewriting the above paragraph?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tuesday Tally

EotF Status

total words to date: 96,431

pages: 435

chapters revised: 13/27 (draft 6)

 

T.C. Status

word count: 2,947

 

MiB Status

word count: 791

 

Goals for December

  • write a prompted poem for contest - "If Atlas Had a Tantrum..." 
  • submit a batch of poems  
  • mail off Blazing Princess again 
  • get through EotF draft 6

 

EotF keeps getting longer! I have one other chapter that will be inflating, but the rest should be fairly easy editing. A little behind the one-chapter-a-day revisions, but still on track to finish by the end of the month.

 

I worked on MiB some more. Filled out a page of notes and wrote a short scene. Over the weekend, my muse informed me of the main story conflict and antagonist. The early stages of discovering a story are very exciting.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Take pity on the introverts this Christmas

For reference, here is the definition of introvert, and examples of famous ones.

 

In these group happy holidays, remember the Introverts Bill of Rights, particularly #2: Introverts have the right to leave social events "early" as needed.  I enjoy visiting with family, but the more people there are, the faster my energy drains.

 

As of last year, we are no longer going to Christmas Eve festivities. We are starting our small, quiet, family traditions here at home. At least being married to a fellow introvert, we are often on the same wavelength.

 

On an unrelated, writing note, it is much easier removing a secondary character than it is to add one in a later draft. Though I may have believed differently the last time I removed a character... Writing/revising is hard! Don't let anyone tell you different.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tuesday Tally and random stuff

EotF Status

total words to date: 94,435

pages: 423

chapters revised: 11/27 (draft 6)

 

T.C. Status

word count: 2,947

 

MiB Status

word count: 550

 

Goals for December

  • write a prompted poem for contest - "If Atlas Had a Tantrum..." 
  • submit a batch of poems  
  • mail off Blazing Princess again 
  • get through EotF draft 6

 

It's snowing. Very cold, 24 degrees, today. Wishing I was in Phoenix (54 degrees).

 

Recent Distraction: Cake Wrecks

 

Crazy Contest I entered MiB opening into: First Paragraph Challenge

 

Last Book I Read: The Black Tattoo. Was a birthday present from my husband. Enjoyed it a lot.

 

Recent Embarrassment: Wrote the wrong name on an envelope for a Christmas Card. At least the envelope is white, so white-out saves the day... Why did I write the name I did? That is a mystery. I don't even know anyone of the name I wrote. *sigh*

 

Currently behind on: Crits for poetry group.

 

Yesterday's accomplishments: Exercised. Rearranged scenes in two chapters of EotF to move an events timetable by two moons, and adjusting all scenes that got affected. Got B's presents wrapped and under the tree.

 

**Update! Even newer embarrassment: Somehow managed to save this post over my December Tally, rather than simply copying the template. *bangs head on wall*

Thursday, December 4, 2008

more q's

5,000 Questions... My answers so far...

 

511. Do you believe your government has a file on you somewhere? Of course. How else do I get a Social Security Card? And a State ID card? All those forms go somewhere.


512. What (not who) do you care about? the written word, high speed internet, my teddy bear, keeping warm, "My Own Worst Enemy"


513. What is the worst thing that could possibly happen to you? tortured by a serial killer. if I'm going to die, I want it to be quick.


514. Who or what is really the absolute root and source of all evil? greed and selfishness


515. What do you want to change about the world? people to want to change. and no allergies, as that's something that doesn't mess with free will.


516. Why did you decide to complete this survey? I needed motivation to blog more regularly, and I promised someone I'd blog more about non-writing topics.


517. Has anyone ever led you on? yes


518. What was the last thing you did against your will? went shopping when I felt sick


519. What are your plans for the rest of today? edit a chapter of EotF, use Wii Fit, come up with some form of nutrition for lunch, and do more stuff this afternoon, dinner, and watch Survivor


520. How can you make tomorrow better than today was? still too early in the day to find something to improve on


521. Would you rather date someone 4 feet tall or 9 feet tall? 4 feet. That's only 1'8" difference, rather than over 3'


522. How often do you get jealous? on occasion. not so much of relationships, but of experiences (such as travel)


523. What is the one thing you do that your friends wish you didn't? have unrealistic expectations


524. Do you do any soul searching? yes


525. Do you believe you have a soul? absolutely


526. Would you rather have a child that is more confident or more curious? confident. curiosity leads to accidents and hospital bills. of course, confident children are more likely to voice their curiosity.


527. Are you a slave to love? no. love is a choice

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

"New" December Tuesday Tally

Mostly-recovered post after blogging snafu:

 

It's December! Time to decorate for Christmas. Only, I haven't decided where or if to put up the tree this year. Once we get a house, I'm leaving the darn thing put together. I can decorate it with the seasons (hearts for Valentine's, and such) or cover it and leave it in the garage. But I'm tired of pulling it out of the box, building, and reshaping each year. Anyway, tree or not, time for some Christmas music. We're almost done with our Christmas shopping - one card to send, and one present left to order. We're keeping it simple this year.


Breakdown of poetry writing last month. One new poem (anywhere from 3 to 42 lines) every day Nov 1 through Nov 21. Then only one more poem the rest of the month, on the 24. That's 22 poems in one month, which is by far a record for me.


PAD final verdict:
gems: 8
have potential: 8
duds: 6

 

With all the injuries and casualties I've been reading about dealing with Black Friday, I fully agree that It is Time to Outlaw Black Friday. Is trading a guy's life for saving $200 on a TV suddenly a small price to pay? What is it about having something NOW, rather than waiting for a still good but not cutthroat deal, or ordering online? And why wait hours in the cold in the wee hours of the morning for the mayhem? There are so many things wrong with this "tradition". And stores still cater to it, moving their sales earlier and earlier. Open at midnight? Or Thanksgiving itself? Just crazy. I really feel sorry for anyone having to work during these shifts, or be the ones to clean up after. *soapbox speech over*

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Birthday Tuesday Tally!

EotF Status

prepped to start draft 6 come Dec

 

T.C. Status

word count: 2,893

 

Poems Written

22/30

 

Goals for November

  • Poem a Week - definitely met this 
  • submit a batch of poetry weekly - on track 
  • mail off Blazing Princess again - delayed again. will have to move to next month 

 

Happy Birthday to me! My mom is coming up to take me to lunch and then Gardner Village. (Followed by a not-so-happy, squeezed in at the last minute, just got a notification yesterday that B needs more immunization shots or can't go to preschool next Mon, visit to the clinic.) Then my husband will be fixing me dinner tonight. Most likely pork chops. Mmm.

 

It's quite interesting that as soon as I gave myself permission to only do one poem a week instead of every day, I wrote one anyway. The only two days I've missed were Saturday and Sunday. I was so involved in creating and launching a new group on Writing.com that writing a new poem didn't even cross my mind. The new group is called Frosted Paths. It's for anyone submitting poetry, that we may support each other through the process and help buffer against the pains of rejection. I made the group because I need it, so figured someone else may benefit as well. I saw a need and filled it. There are so many groups for poetry writing or appreciation, but not the submitting part. Which, for me, is the hard on the psyche part.

 

I got comments on the Zalandar chapters, so on to draft six of EotF. Though with the holidays I'll just mark it up this week and get busy on it in Dec. Hopefully I'll be sending it out sometime early next year.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

At long last, more of the 5k Qs

5,000 Questions... My answers so far...

 

501. If you could rename yourself what would your new name be? as a teenager - I wanted to be Daphne Starlight

 

502. What is your Glam Rock name (the name of your first pet plus your street name)? Sailor Plumtree


503. Have you ever created your own 'what ___ are you' quiz? nope
If you did make one what would it be about? Which Fey are you? (from EotF world: sylph, djinn, dryad, or undine)


504. What is your favorite song from the 70's? Love Story. My husband gave me a dove music box that plays the song.


505. What do you feel like complaining about? the good shows getting cut (current culprit, NBC with "My Own Worst Enemy". I'll be watching up to the last episode they show. Still edge-of-the-seat awesome.)


506. What do you feel like celebrating? life, family. How could I not with my birthday and Thanksgiving coming up.


507. Have you lost touch with anyone you should call? my college sister. but I've tried getting in touch with her to no avail :(


508. Deep in thought do you forgive everyone? forgive them, yes. excuse them, no.


509. Can a person speak out against their government and still support their country? yes. that's what democracy and freedom of speech is all about.


510. What do you have faith in? God, the good in people, my family

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Yet another Tuesday Tally

EotF Status

working myself up for draft 6

 

T.C. Status

word count: 2,893

 

Poems Written

17/30

 

Goals for November

  • Poem a Week - some of my daily poems suck, but I'm getting at least one gem a week 
  • submit a batch of poetry weekly - a little behind on this, need to get back on target 
  • mail off Blazing Princess again - plans to print off this weekend, get sent out next week 

 

I can't believe next week is the fourth week in November! That means poetry chat, birthday, and Thanksgiving. This month sure has gone fast.

 

I've decided to quit debating about the controversial stuff in EotF. It's too much a part of the story to take it out. That wouldn't be fair to the MC or the story. So, I'm going to do another draft to deal with a couple other problems that have cropped up, then I'm going to suck it up and send it out. My husband made the observation that if I would stop whining and looking on blogs for my answers, I might actually be done polishing the book. He has a good point. I'll let the story be itself, and see how it does in the world of agents. I won't know if it's marketable by sitting on it.

 

For the first time, I am seriously considering writing two books at once. Not putting one on the back burner for brainstorming and notes only while I focus on another, but actively working on writing both. I don't want to put aside Trinity Coven, as I finally wrote the prophecy poem this month which helped to define some conflicts, but I'm really excited about Magic is Believing (my tentative title for the crazy lady letters story). Ooh, maybe I should have a contest to come up with a creative salutation for Alexa. Though I don't know what I could give as a prize, other than using it in the book. Hmm.

 

I can't keep up with the poem a day, so we're falling back to the poem a week, which was my "official" goal anyway. I wrote a poem a day for 17 days in a row, but the quality was beginning to drop significantly. I did get some gems, and some with potential, but I'm afraid a lot of the recent poems will be tossed. Need to recharge my muse.

Friday, November 14, 2008

My Own Worst Enemy

This Fall the new show I anticipated most was "My Own Worst Enemy", a drama starring Christian Slater. When I saw the premiere, I wasn't disappointed. This show had intense action, intrigue, and a unique premise. I was on the edge of my seat, riveted to the screen each week. The only exception was last Monday, when (due to bad weather) the channel was freezing so we couldn't watch it. Today I go online and find out the show has been canceled! The website lists it as a People's Choice nominee, yet they're shutting it down after only four episodes?? I hope they show the other nine they have filmed. This was one of the best shows on. Christian Slater really showed his acting talents. I hope NBC changes their mind. If it wasn't for their high expectations of retaining more viewers from the preceding "Heroes", perhaps they wouldn't be judging the ratings so harshly. It's so baffling and frustrating.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Display name

To further identify myself from all the other Mary's out there, I am changing my display name to Feywriter. So, if you start seeing comments from Feywriter, you'll know who that is. It's not some imposter pretending to be me. ;-)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

TT and Life Update

EotF Status

letting it sit before draft 6

 

T.C. Status

word count: 2,893

 

Poems Written

3/30

 

Goals for November

  • Poem a Week - doing good so far. already have one finished, and two more in draft stages
  • submit a batch of poetry weekly - sending some off today
  • mail off Blazing Princess again - need access to a working printer

 

Good thing I started my poem early yesterday. Just before lunch, B was helping me with laundry, and did a not so helpful thing of prematurely slamming the dryer door. Ouchie to three squished fingertips, right hand. No writing or typing for me after that. Fingers no longer throbbing today, merely tender and bruised under the nail. Could be worse. As you can tell, I can type fine, I just avoid using my middle finger on the mouse scroll. Too much pressure.

 

This looks to be an extra busy month. Thursday is Parent Teacher Conference. This weekend my missileer brother is coming down for a week. Don't get to see him much, so I'll be going down a couple different days to visit with mom and him. The reason he's got leave is that my grandma isn't doing well. She had a stroke a while back and is slowly getting worse. Not expecting her to last much longer. Essentially, they told my parents to start planning the funeral. It's sad, but at least we have time to prepare. (Hopefully more time rather than less.)

 

The last week of the month we have my birthday and Thanksgiving. All goals still in place. We'll see how the month goes.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

End of October, Tuesday Tally

EotF Status

letting it sit before draft 6

 

T.C. Status

word count: 2,230 (increase of 759 words)

 

This Month's Goals

  • Finish uploading EotF...
  • poetry chapbook outlined and Muse Conf...
  • make progress on TC...
  • spend at least two hours daily (M-F) on writing related activities

 

Goals for November

  • Poem a Week
  • submit a batch of poetry weekly
  • mail off Blazing Princess again

 

Successful month goal wise. I'm hoping next month will be even more productive.

 

Last night was our first monthly chat for our poetry group from the Muse Conference. As a group goal, we're each writing or polishing one poem a week and going to share and comment on each others poems. My last online poetry group wasn't very active and fell apart. Hopefully this one will last longer, and I'll make some new friends.

On the Poetic Asides blog, Robert Lee Bower suggested an alternative for poets during NaNoWriMo. Rather than write a novel in a month, do a poem a day with the goal of a chapbook of poems by the end of the month. NaNoWriMo scares me. A Poem a Day (PAD) feels more reasonable. So, my official goal is one poem a week, but I'm unofficially going to attempt a poem a day (draft, not polished).

 

Working on my poetry and the other exercises during the Muse Conference resparked my creativity. I finally wrote some new content for Trinity Coven! It felt really good. I've been stuck in editing mode for too long.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tuesday Tally: What I learned last week

EotF Update

total words to date: 94,627

pages: 417

chapters revised: 27/27 (draft 5)

 

T.C. Status

word count: 1471

 

This Months' Goals:

  • Finish uploading the recent version of EotF to WDC at one or two chapters a day, including the elusive chapter 26, by Oct 11
  • have a poetry chapbook outlined and other assignments ready for Muse Conf, which starts Oct 13
  • use latter part of month (20-31) to put all that aside and make progress on TC
  • to accomplish all of the above, spend at least two hours daily (at least M-F) on writing related activities

     

    The Muse Online Writers Conference was a brain-load of information, and a boost in creativity. I didn't keep up with all the workshops I signed up for initially, but the forums will be open for another month so I can go in and copy any information I want to save. The workshops I put the most time in were both poetry related.

     

    The Creative Block Buster for Poetry workshop had a one-hour chat every morning Monday through Friday in addition to the forum. The chats were very enlightening. We brainstormed, discussed, and learned techniques to free our stuck poems. I learned how to listen to my poetry. I workshopped two poems during the week, and am very happy with the end results for both. Lisa Gentile, the presenter, had a power outage and was not able to make the Friday chat. I think it was a blessing in disguise for the rest of us. We talked about what we had learned, and by the end of the hour we had decided to put together an anthology of poems improved by the course, and meet again for future chats. Essentially, we formed a Poetry Group. Yay! We'll be meeting once a month to chat. Very exciting.

     

    The other one I focused on was How to Turn Your Poetry Into a Saleable Chapbook. Yes, a mouthful, but an educating one. With encouragement, I went with the dark theme. Even my husband had once commented that a lot of my writing had the thread of darker emotion. The title I chose is Chiaroscuro. What, exactly, is my chapbook about? Exploring the darkness, bringing the monsters of death and abuse into the light. Thanks to the workshop, I have a completed chapbook, all formatted, and the tools to either submit or self-publish. I traded in-depth critiques with another member. Thanks to her feedback, I'm polishing/tightening the individual poems. My acknowledgements section is rather bare, so here's the plan:

    1. Polish poems (mostly tweaking, no major revamps; I'm not in the same place I was when I wrote them)
    2. Submit the best to various markets.
    3. Once I get some publishing credits, submit the chapbook as a whole to poetry chapbook publishers.

     

    (warning: rambling thoughts ahead)

    Another Authoress Secret Agent contest recently ended. I made changes after the last one, and submitted a revised opening. The general consensus this time - opening much improved. However, my ratio of yes/no hooked didn't really go up. Out of 11 comments, 3 were definitely hooked, 4 definitely not, 2 said it was improved but still not quite hooked, 1 would read on for the genre though not quite hooked, and 1 would need to read the blurb first. Due to the tightened opening, an issue appeared on this first page that used to come up on a later page (see comments on opening, or skip to agent comment below to name that issue). I had received a couple comments prior saying it might turn off readers, or be a tough sell, but now that an agent and a couple more readers have expressed the same thing... and my husband admitted to not liking it as well... Gosh, tough stuff.

     

    The event in question shapes my MC and though nothing is ever shown (trauma occurring before story opens), it does trigger some events and conversations in the first five or so chapters. No one seems to be bothered by the physical abuse, just the other kind. My husband did make the point that the issue is probably more that it appears so soon in the book, before the reader has a chance to really care about the characters. A backfired attempt to create reader sympathy (more a side effect, as the issue isn't there just for reader sympathy, but for character shaping and those aforementioned event triggers). I don't want to narrow my audience too far, or kill my chances to get an agent or publisher, if it really is that big of an Issue. So, in my next read-through and revisions, I will see if it is plausible to take out the problematic content. *sigh* Much work ahead.

     

    Analyzing the agent's comment:

    I do like how this adds some backstory detail in without being obvious, but I'm just not feeling enchanted. I'm not a reader of this kind of YA, but what hooks me regardless is character. Work on making your characters deeper, even on first glance; if you're writing a fairy story, there's a temptation to mimic fairy tale language, and that keeps your characters flat. Add details that make them seem real and full of life. I also balked at the suggestion of sexual abuse ahead, it didn't seem to fit with the tone.

    On a plus note, no one complained that my opening had "telling dialogue", instead I got complimented from the agent. One problem fixed at least. Another issue in that comment. She refers to it as YA. My story is not Young Adult. The MC does start out as a teenager, but that alone doesn't make a YA. Would the confusion be cleared up with merely the introductory query letter or back blurb? Most likely. The question is, does the opening voice imply YA? Any opinions on that matter are welcome.

     

    ... Well, that was quite an entry. Probably could have been broken into three parts. Kudos and thanks to all those who made it this far. Don't be shy about sharing your opinion on anything in this post. I need to hear it straight.

     

    Additional question for any who might help: Today, whilst using Windows Live Writer to compose this post, pressing enter is frequently creating a bullet point rather than simply starting a new paragraph or line break. How do I make it stop?? I'm pretty sure all my list html is closed, yet it keeps spawning new ones... This post is a mess...

  •  

    Going to take a nap while B is still at school.

    Thursday, October 16, 2008

    I am a Mermaid

    This one is pretty good! (picture and results, here)

     

    You are a Mermaid, who sits on a rock in the sea, looking and watching all humanity with curiosity in your eyes. You have a two-sided personality - On one hand, you revel in your freedom and often prefer to live in your own private dreams and on the other hand, humanity intrigues you and you love watching on.

    You are actually very kind at heart and, hating to see people hurt, you despise injustice. You probably have one or two special friends, who mean the world to you.

    Also; you are probably quite political, wanting to see justice done in the world.

    You are quite the dreamer, needing your freedom and personal space to dream your little dreams. You love to escape into a book or some good music and just drift away.

    Some of your good points are that you are sensitive, compassionate and a freethinker. Your bad points are that you may come across as cool and aloof to others and probably have a tendency to depression.

    You are the ultimate dreamer with a kind - yet troubled heart.

     

    What are you?

     

    Tuesday, October 14, 2008

    Tuesday Tally - Muse Conf time

    EotF Update

    total words to date: 94,627

    pages: 417

    chapters revised: 27/27 (draft 5)

     

    T.C. Status

    word count: 1471

     

    This Months' Goals:

  • Finish uploading the recent version of EotF to WDC at one or two chapters a day, including the elusive chapter 26, by Oct 11
  • have a poetry chapbook outlined and other assignments ready for Muse Conf, which starts Oct 13
  • use latter part of month (20-31) to put all that aside and make progress on TC
  • to accomplish all of the above, spend at least two hours daily (at least M-F) on writing related activities
  •  

    See that beautiful completed draft five up there? Last Thursday I wasn't feeling well, but I had that deadline, and I got that scene done. Yes, it was hard. Is it any good? I don't know. No one else has read it yet. But it's done. Now I get to ignore it for the rest of the month.

     

    Keeping busy with the Muse Conference this week. Learning some good stuff, writing new stuff for assignments, and getting help with some poetry I'm stuck on. I'll definitely be signing up again next year.

     

    ... P has been here less than five minutes and already the boys are fighting. B wants to play, and P is cranky and tired and just wants to veg. Of course, B doesn't accept that and tries to force P to play with him, which just makes everyone more cranky. Ten minutes until bus time...

     

    Alright, I refuse to end on that negative note. One of the workshops this week is on compiling a chapbook. I shared the many topics I cover in my poetry, and my indecision on choosing a good theme. The presenter replied and essentially gave me permission (encouraged even) me to go with the dark theme. I have a lot of poetry that deals with death/abuse/pain/darker emotion. I have an idea for a title, now the next step is target markets. I can't exactly put a chapbook of dark poetry in a pet store or flower shop. Will have to brainstorm.

    Thursday, October 9, 2008

    Fact or Crap

    5,000 Questions... My answers so far...

     

     

    Let's play fact or crap.
    Is it a fact? Or is it crap?

     

    Don't take my word for these. Just answering my initial theory, not looking up actual answers. If you're curious, look them up yourself.


    481. The greenhouse effect is bad for your health. crap


    482. There are about as many molecules of air in one breath as there are hairs on your head. crap


    483. The Miss America pageant started out as a contest in which people decorated wheel chairs and one chair was judged the prettiest. crap


    484. To remove a tattoo a physician can place a small balloon under the skin, which is inflated so that the tattooed skin gradually stretches. Then they cut the stretched skin away. crap


    485. Cock fighting is a sexual sport. crap


    486. It is the warmest time of the day during the hour that the sun is the highest in the sky. crap


    487. Certain scientists specialize in studying cow farts. fact


    488. The brilliant colors (reds, oranges, yellows) across the sky that we get from sunsets are caused mainly by pollution. crap


    489. In Grimm's original fairy tale, Rapunzel is pregnant. crap


    490. Dracula was the first movie about a vampire. crap


    491. The inventors of Corn Flakes, the Kellogg brothers, ran a school for delinquent youth. crap (it was a sanitarium, actually)


    492. "Kemo Sabe" means "soggy shrub" in Navajo. crap


    493. Sir Thomas Crapper invented the toilet. crap


    494. The Earl of Sandwich invented the Sandwich. fact


    495. Some Chinese alchemists were trying to invent an immortality medicine and accidentally invented gunpowder instead. fact


    496. The human body is made of about 99% water. crap


    497. Bubble gum contains rubber. fact


    498 This survey to the zero power = 0. crap


    499. Most lipstick contains fish scales. crap


    500. There are 86401 seconds in day. crap

    Tuesday, October 7, 2008

    Tuesday Tally

    EotF Update

    total words to date: 93,640

    pages: 413

    chapters revised: 26.5/27 (draft 5)

     

    T.C. Status

    word count: 1471

     

    This Months' Goals:

  • Finish uploading the recent version of EotF to WDC at one or two chapters a day, including the elusive chapter 26, by Oct 11
  • have a poetry chapbook outlined and other assignments ready for Muse Conf, which starts Oct 13
  • print off and submit Blazing Princess to next market on the list *
  • use latter part of month (20-31) to put all that aside and make progress on TC
  • to accomplish all of the above, spend at least two hours daily (at least M-F) on writing related activities
  •  

    * My sense kicked in and I realized I may learn something from the conference to help me improve Blazing Princess, so we're moving that goal to next month.

     

    I'm glad my husband had to go into the office today instead of work from home this morning. Found out a car in the parking lot had been broken into - large rock thrown through the window, radio stolen. This used to be a great complex, high quality. Now the fire, this, and another incident in the news last week. Kids are doing graffiti by the mailboxes, and pulling planks from the fence so they can climb over into the field on the other side. I'm not liking the signs I see, and don't want to be here much longer. And now our rent is going up again, so we're really not saving much being here. We're hoping to negotiate for a six month lease at renewal. I want to move next summer. A few things have changed in our favor, and each year we have more savings for a deposit. Hopefully it will happen this time.

     

    Edit: After thinking about it, the car break-in probably happened during the night, not this morning. But that doesn't make it feel any safer.

    Monday, October 6, 2008

    October Goal Plan

    I finally have a deadline for finishing that scene that's been holding me back from draft five completion. I won an auction item for a full novel review, so I need to get that done and uploaded to WDC in the next week or so.

     

    This month is also The Muse Online Writers Conference, of which I am signed up for. I have some handouts to finish reading, and some assignments and exercises to have ready in advance. So this is a big writing month.

     

    My daily goals are very detailed and organized in Microsoft Excel. My overall goals for the month are as follows:

     

    • Finish uploading the recent version of EotF to WDC at one or two chapters a day, including the elusive chapter 26, by Oct 11
    • have a poetry chapbook outlined and other assignments ready for Muse Conf, which starts Oct 13
    • print off and submit Blazing Princess to next market on the list
    • use latter part of month (20-31) to put all that aside and make progress on TC
    • to accomplish all of the above, spend at least two hours daily (at least M-F) on writing related activities

    Friday, October 3, 2008

    Early Christmas, mistakes, and the future

    5,000 Questions... My answers so far...

     

    471. What is one interesting fact you know? The twelve days of Christmas technically starts on Christmas Day and ends on January 5th. January 6th is Epiphany, the celebration of the Wise Men bringing gifts. For some it is a tradition to give gifts on all of the twelve days. The 12th day of Christmas, the last day of Christmas, is January 5th.

     

    472. Do you talk to yourself? All the time.

    Do you talk to your pets? I'm sure I would if I had one.


    473. Do you believe that humankind has a future in space (will we live there some day)? We are living in space. We are not outside space. I don't know if we'll survive to explore and live on other planets.


    474. Would you rather wear clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty or more delicate outfits? Comfort is more important that dirt or delicacy. Since I'm not one for delicate outfits for that reason (not as comfy), I'll go with the former.


    475. How do you 'live life to the fullest'? Don't let obstacles stop your dreams. Keep striving, be yourself, be happy.


    476. Are you sloppy or a neat freak? sloppy


    477. Would you rather have a trunk full of nickels or half a trunk full of dimes? half a trunk of dimes. dimes are smaller, so it would be more money with less actual coins to put in the coin machine.


    478. What is the worst mistake you've ever made? Basing my self confidence off my relationships. I made plenty of mistakes during the HS/dating/relationships phase. I hurt a lot of people. I was so clueless and selfish.


    479. Are you in good health? well, I'm not in bad health


    480. Are you patriotic? yes, but not overbearingly so

    Thursday, October 2, 2008

    wordle

     

    The new trend seems to be Wordle. Rather than try to explain it, check out my examples below (click to see enlarged, on Wordle site).

     

    using "The Blazing Princess":

     

    using The Ballad of Eleuteria:

     

    I think the concept would be a great way to showcase a character profile. I may have to try that out. It's almost a form of visual poetry. I love Wordle. Thank you to Authoress and Liana for sharing theirs.

     

    Do you have a Wordle to share?

     

    Upcoming entries: goals for October, more 5k Q, and music in games

    Tuesday, September 30, 2008

    Complex Fire

    As stated on the local Fox News:

    A fire destroyed a Midvale apartment complex Saturday. The fire happened at 8 a.m. at Brighton Place Apartments. The Midvale fire department arrived at the scene quickly, but not fast enough to salvage the complex. Residents first heard an explosion then saw flames ignite from an empty unit. Not all of the units were damaged, but at least two dozen families were displaced because the building is no longer safe. There are no leads as to what caused the fire.

     

    How can something like this happen in the same apartment complex, and I find out the news from my kid's bus driver? Then again, if it happened at 8 AM on a Saturday... high chances are I was sleeping. And it's a big apartment complex. Can't even see that building from where we are. We noticed a couple emergence vehicles that morning, but didn't know what happened. Today I saw a cop car and a news vehicle. The latter gave me the idea to check out the news online. Guess it's been a while since I turned on the news...

     

    Apparently two teenager boys were the heroes here. They woke the rest of the building, making sure everyone got out. Could have been a lot worse.

    Monday, September 29, 2008

    10 Questions, in which I muse about TV and remember the past

    5,000 Questions... My answers so far...

     

    461. Do you have street smarts? no


    462. Do you have a lot of common sense? also no


    463. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? Praline Pecan


    464. What's your favorite movie that involves dancing? I love dancing movies! Picking two for this one. "Strictly Ballroom", which I haven't seen in years; and "Take the Lead", which is so inspiring.


    465. Would you ever want to become a guest on a talk show? If yes what would the show's theme be? No desire to.


    466. Do you like the way you look naked? An unexpected question... Answer: Mostly.


    467. Have you ever dissected an animal? Yes. Biology in junior high. Surprisingly, the worm was worse than the frog.


    468. Who do you know who is brilliant? My older brothers. All brilliant. I've always looked up to them.


    469. Who do you know who is dull? Not going to answer this one. Protecting the innocent and all that.


    470. Do you ever think about time travel? Yes. Gets very complicated. Did you see the premiere of Heroes season 3? Wow.

    Thursday, September 25, 2008

    Mystery of the Missing Discs

    We have a couple spools of discs. Mostly music and anime, a few movies. And we used to have some back up discs. All back up discs (and at least one music) are missing. No where to be found. Both my husband and I have looked everywhere. The only thing I can imagine happened is that when my husband burned all the MP3s onto his new computer that the backups somehow got discarded. I don't know. That, or a whole spool is hiding in this apartment somewhere. Not that there are many places to hide... *sigh* One of the documents on a back up disc was a list of our books (up to that point). All 700 plus of them. That list took a lot of time to create. What's the point of a backup if you lose it? :-(

    Friday, September 19, 2008

    QA time again

    5,000 Questions... My answers so far...

     

    444. Are you better at talking or listening? listening


    445. What will only happen to you once in this lifetime? birth.


    446. Know of any conspiracy theories you think might be credible? not on top of conspiracy theories

     
    447. What are the most beautiful words that have ever been spoken to you? I might have an answer to that if I could delve into my journals (packed away, sadly). I should pay more attention to these things.


    448. If it were legal would you own a human slave (race unimportant)? no. I'd be uncomfortable with a genie slave. I was uncomfortable when in 5th grade our class was split up into slaves and owners. I was the latter. I don't recall having my "slave" do much.


    449. Have you ever read your own writing at a poetry reading? yes. very nerve wracking, yet empowering.


    450. What is one simple thing that gives you the happy shivers? eating chocolate or banana pudding


    451. What do you do for exercise? three days a week I work out 30 minutes with Yourself! Fitness (personal trainer program for Xbox).


    452. Would you rather have a strict teacher with a sense of humor or a lenient teacher that doesn't teach? strict with a sense of humor. those are the ones that make learning fun.


    453. If you ever have a baby what might you want to name it? my pre-married list included the following names: Jonathon Tyler, Caleb Andrew, Matrim Dale, Emma Marie, Alexa Dawn, Sariah Ruth, and Ember Nicole. Names most considered when actually pregnant: Sebastian (was our initial favorite, but my in-laws hated it), Vincent, and Ashlee (would have been B's name if he was a girl).


    454. If you won free tickets to a concert from a radio show and had to choose between Inxs, Poison, Blondie and Moby, which would you choose? One moment while I look those up on YouTube. ... Okay, turns out I've actually heard music from all of them. I'd definitely go with Blondie.


    455. Are you a good cook? no. I am a lousy cook. We stick to time-proven recipes.


    456. Do you prefer when things come with no assembly required, even if they are a bit more expensive? no. I like assembling things with my husband. It's something we've enjoyed together since putting together our first pieces of furniture during our early days as a married couple


    457. Start a sentence with the words: what if. What if magic was merely believing?


    458. Are you more spontaneous and unpredictable or loyal and routine? loyal and routine


    459. What is the highest number you can count to in your head? I remember trying to find out back in the elementary school days. Don't remember how high I got, but I know the numbers weren't accurate higher up (making up words such as a gagillion). Nowadays, I'd probably be likely to get lost after 1 million. I don't care to waste time finding out.


    460. How do you go about losing weight? haven't had a need to. getting rid of that tummy pooch is a different matter...

    Thursday, September 18, 2008

    the morning hour before school

    Last school year, B would wake up, eat breakfast, then watch cartoons until time to get ready for school. This year, all the 7:30 am shows are ones he doesn't like to watch. He doesn't need to get ready for school until 8:15, and gets very wired and attention needy during that 45 minutes. It's beginning to get on my nerves. P usually gets here about 8, which distracts B, so it's really half an hour that's problematic.

     

    I know he'd love to play on my computer for that time, but I prefer his computer time to be after lunch.

     

    Any suggestions for some routine activity I can involve him in during that time? Something that doesn't require much set up or clean up? This would be every morning before school (Monday through Thursday). Any help would be appreciated.

    Tuesday, September 16, 2008

    Tuesday Tally, revitalized

    EotF Update

    total words to date: 93,574

    pages: 412

    chapters revised: 26.5/27 (draft 5)

     

    T.C. Status

    word count: 1471

     

    I've been working on multiple stories today. My creative gear must have kicked back in. I think there are multiple factors that have helped oil it. The query homework challenge from Liana, preparing for an online writing conference next month (picking workshops, reading handouts, etc), and reading. As a self-inflicted punishment for not finishing my current draft, I had been not reading books. I finally realized that was backfiring. I need to read to get inspiration for my own writing.

     

    I found an old note about a couple story ideas and had to add them to my saved list on the computer. I believe one of the ideas will work great combined with two others I merged not long ago. Way down on the street my family lives on, there is (was?) a woman nicknamed "the crazy lady". I admit to calling her that myself at times. She always had odd decorations out in her tree and lawn. Stuffed animals, streamers, holiday decorations in the wrong season. Sometimes she would dance on her lawn. A modern day hippie of sorts. I don't know anything about her other than what we would see walking by. I may have called her crazy, but I secretly admired her and wanted to write a story about her. Without going into the other two story nuggets, here's what I wrote today:

     

    Dear Conner,

    A new school year has started. New teenagers walking by my house, to and from the Junior High down the block. New faces, but nothing has changed. I'm still the crazy lady. I overheard them snickering about it as they walked by today. I'm not crazy. Just different. I'm happy. I can't help but express it. They don't understand me, for they have not experienced my happiness. They won't stop and listen to the music.

     

    Are you still listening? To the music?

     

    Sincerely,

    Alexa Dawn

     

    Letters will be a big factor in the first part of the book. I need to give her a unique letter closer, but there's no rush on that. I still have EotF to polish, and TC to write!

     

    ... and my personal time is almost up. Soon I must go out and wait for the school bus to drop off B. I will have to make good use of these school hours.

    Friday, September 12, 2008

    360voice

    My Xbox360 has joined the blogging community.

     

    http://www.360voice.com/tag/feywriter

    Thursday, September 11, 2008

    More QA

    5,000 Questions... My answers so far...

     

    429. Are there any animals you flat out refuse to touch? slug (touched one once accidentally. eww, eww, eww!)


    430. Do you care about your weight? I don't monitor it regularly, but I would certainly care if I gained a noticeable amount


    431. Did you/will you go to the prom? yes, I went to prom. though I asked him (he went to a different school). would I have been asked by anyone if I hadn't taken the initiative? probably not.


    432. Have you ever wanted to date twins? no. though there were some cute ones that were friends of a younger sister.


    433. What one thing would you change about high school if you could? more options for the half year electives. I took a fashion class for the sole reason that it was the "best of the worst" of my options.


    434. If you came with a warning label, what would it say? keep away from sharp corners


    435. Are you artistic and creative? as a writer, I'd like to believe so


    436. What were you (probably) doing on this date last year? thanks to blog archives, I can actually look this up. I was blogging and working on writing the first draft of EotF during the 100 days challenge.

     

    437. What are you obsessed with? books


    438. What was the last compliment you received? My query sounds like a great story! Always good to hear what's working. :-)


    439. Do you have any brothers or sisters? yes. 3 brothers and 5 sisters.


    440. Who would you like to be alone with right now? my husband. :-)


    441. Do you push people away when you really want them to come closer? sometimes. when I don't feel worthy of a relationship, I have a tendency to throw at them all my faults, testing them to see if they want "the real me". (not deliberate, mind you, just something I've observed from evaluating past relationships)


    442. Is a prenuptial agreement necessary or does it take the romance and trust out of marriage? I can understand certain situations might lend themselves to a prenup (celebrity weddings as an example), but most marriages don't (or shouldn't) need one.


    443. Do you lie your way out of things? occasionally. don't we all? most commonly with telemarketers.

    Tuesday, September 9, 2008

    Tuesday Update

    I was productive in my procrastinating this past weekend. I've completely reworked my query for EotF (again). It's shorter, but hopefully more clear. Outside eyes would be helpful.

     

    When Marian isn't helping her mother with her herbalist trade, she retreats to the forest. The woods hold a secret for her alone, a crying voice that echoes her own loneliness. When the forest is targeted for lumber, Marian is determined to find a way to stop it. Unbeknownst to her, however, the mythical Fey have their own reason for saving the forest. They take matters into their own hands and burn the village to protect the spirit of their banished goddess. Furious at the loss of her mother and home, Marian unleashes a magic she didn't know she had. Her magic becomes the one way she can have control in her life.

     

    The Fey seek the hope of their race, a woman of mixed blood who can initiate the return of their goddess before their magic dies. The Enchanters fear the Fey goddess and kill every female born with magic in order to prevent her return. Marian fits the description, but only wishes to study her magic in peace. Marian must choose to either save those who killed her mother or lose the magic that has defined her.

     

    Emergence of the Fey is a 95,000 word work of fantasy. I have been a moderator and fantasy newsletter editor for over two years on Writing.com.

     

    Thoughts? Suggestions?

    Thursday, September 4, 2008

    More Thoughts and Memories

    5,000 Questions... My answers so far...

     

    413. What's the bravest or most daring thing you have ever done? I don't know about brave. for daring as in stupid: once walked seven miles from a movie theatre to my parents house, after midnight, stopping once to nap on some grass next to a business sign. though I wasn't stupid enough to accept a ride offered by some guys driving by.


    414. "What's the point of robbery when nothing is worth taking?" (- Adam Ant) Power. To prove that you can break in, or the person isn't as safe as they thought. No, I haven't done it, but I've read plenty of books. :-)


    415. If your man or woman served you breakfast in bed as a treat what would you want? I love French Toast, but I don't think I want to risk that in bed, so we'll go with fruit, cinnamon rolls, and milk.


    416. What do you do only when you are upset? swear


    417. What's the oddest CD in your collection? Mediaeval Baebes: The Rose


    418. What's the best diary name you ever saw? diary's have names? Blogs have names. I suppose a blog can be an online diary I suppose. I always considered diaries to be more private lock and key than journals though. A favorite blog title I've seen: "The Butterfly Effect: The smallest event can change everything."


    419. What would your friends be surprised to learn about you? I was once hospitalized for depression.


    420. Who owes you an apology? nobody owes me anything


    421. Who deserves an apology from you? all my blog readers, for my inconsistent entries. my writing group for not keeping updated.


    422. How would you like to treat your kids differently from the way your parents treated you? more consistent bedtime. But B needs the bedtime routine. I know all children are different, and I was an exception in my family. When I was little my mom let me stay up and play as long as I didn't disturb the rest of the family, then go to bed on my own when I got tired. Of course there were more restrictions once I got into school, but I've always been the night owl. I think my parents did a great job raising me. They did their best. I hope to do the same with my son.


    423. Which do you like best: 60's, 70's or 80's fashion? 80's, as that's what I grew up with. given a choice though, I'd go back further, to the 50's.


    424. What is the worst pick up line ever used on you? online: "Can you teach me how to cyber?"


    425. Of the following, which word best describes you: inventive, kinetic (energetic), light-hearted, mature. inventive


    426. Do you own a record player? no. Do you use it? NA


    427. How easily do you make friends? I am open to friendships, but not very good at initiating them.


    428. What is the difference between having character and being a character? being comfortable with your self, versus projecting a personality that you want others to see

    Friday, August 29, 2008

    Hello Autumn

    + school starts next week

    - will have to wait for the bus

    - allergy season

    +/- lots of awesome games coming out (too many to get all at release)

    + days and nights getting cooler

    + pretty fall colors

    - lots of wind

    - lots of tv interruptions by election updates

    + fall tv season begins, with lots of interesting new and returning series

     

    Haven't heard from B's bus driver yet. Last year they didn't call until the day before school started, so not too worried. B will be going four days a week instead of two, which is exciting. He has the same teacher as last year, so that should be really good for him. He already knows his numbers 1-9. I've told him that school starts soon and that he'll get to ride the bus. He jumped up and down in excitement.

     

    At the end of October, P will be getting a younger sister and I should be getting a couple months off while their mom takes time off work. Yay! That will also mark the beginning of serious potty training take 2.

     

    My birthday is also in autumn. I need to update my wish list.

     

    What do you like and dislike about the season?

    Tuesday, August 26, 2008

    In lieu of a Tuesday Tally...

    5,000 Questions... My answers so far...

     

    401. Some say that high school is the best time of your life. Was that true for you? No. It had it's ups and downs, but the best times came after.


    402. What do you find yourself encouraging others to try? tv series Firefly


    403. Which is better: Mel Brooks or Woody Allen? Mel Brooks


    404. When was the last time you were up all night? earlier this year. don't remember the date, and don't think there was a special occasion other than weekend. we watched two movies and played a game.


    405. __ is life. The rest is just details. Fill in the blank. Relationships.


    406. Are people too complex and different to be categorized? No. There are many ways to categorize people - psychology, profession, race, gender, location, hobbies. The important thing is to not judge based on those categories. Even two people with the exact same psychological profile will not always act the same under the same circumstance. We are unique. Cataloguing simply makes life easier.


    407. Is it good to have pride in your own race or does that separate people from each other because it makes them think of everyone else as 'outsiders'? There are few of pure race anymore, so I think it's pointless. Have pride in your culture and country, but respect others for theirs. Just because their culture is different does not make your better (or worse). Grats to all the Olympic accomplishments! There were amazing moments from many countries. A memorable Olympic year.

     
    408. What fictional story would you like to live through? I don't wish for my life to be as filled with conflict as many of the characters I read about or watch. If I think of one at a later point I'll let you know.


    409. Are cats or dogs smarter? cats

     
    410. Have you ever guessed someone's password and broken into their diary? people have passwords on diaries? I thought they had keys. I must be behind the times...


    411. What teacher, if any, has effected you the most in your life? Mrs. Monk, first grade, for giving me and Alexis separate activities during reading hour. We were ahead of the class, and didn't need to go through the basics. No "Go Jane go." Instead, we were assigned to write our own stories or learn new words from the dictionary. I still have that very first story I wrote, and the desire to write never left. Another teacher I'd like to thank is Mrs. Flanigan, my 5th grade teacher. She recommended I read "The Blue Sword," effectively hooking me on Fantasy.


    412. Are you more easily bored or excited? easily both... quite a rollercoaster ride. ;-)

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008

    A (much delayed) Olympic Tuesday Tally

    EotF Update

    total words to date: 93,486

    pages: 411

    chapters revised: 26/27 (draft 5)

     

    T.C. Status

    word count: 1471

     

    Last week's goals:

    • sit butt in chair and write the dastardly chapter that's giving me trouble....
    • read through new chapters before handing entire manuscript over to hubby for second reading
    • work on EotF query letter
    • write at least one new scene for TC

    This month's goals:

    • complete previous goals... 

     

    If this were an Olympic event, I wouldn't be getting past the qualifiers. My writing muscles are probably atrophying... I'm not sure what's holding me back. I feel bad about not writing when it's due to pure procrastination and not "life in the way". But at the same time I don't want to sit down and write solely because I'm feeling guilty. Then again, I'll never get anywhere professionally if I only write when I feel like it. Conundrums. And, yes, more procrastinating.

     

    Have you been watching the Olympics? Wow. So many incredible moments. The opening ceremonies were absolutely mind-blowing. More swimming records have been broken this year than in the past two Olympics combined. All the Phelps moments - coming back to win gold by a hundredth of a second, winning eight gold medals. USA Women's Fencing team sweeping the Sabre Team competition. The incredible gymnastics the Chinese have been showing off, yet USA getting Gold and Silver in the Women's Individual Overall. I could go on! The TV has been on a lot this month. NBC is sure getting our viewing. My husband is grateful to be working from home so often, and actually able to watch a lot of the Olympics that in previous years he was unable. I don't honestly expect to get much done while these are going on. Go Team USA!

    Thursday, August 7, 2008

    Judging, Genetics, and such

    5,000 Questions... My answers so far...

     

    381. Do you sometimes do risky things? Yes.

     
    382. Could just about anyone hold your interest in a conversation for at least ten minutes? Could I listen to someone that long? sure. Would I actually be interested? not necessarily.

    383. Are you self-conscious? About my looks, not much. About my performance, absolutely. This is why I cannot accompany on the piano.


    384. What would be your ideal destination for a Saturday afternoon? On a nice day, the zoo. On a hot or cold day, a nice afternoon at home.


    385. Does anyone have a video tape of you doing something embarrassing? Not that I know of. If anyone else does... give me a call and we'll work something out. ;-)


    386. What is Kevin Smith’s best movie? Do minor acting roles such as the diner clerk in TMNT count? Or the forensic assistant in Daredevil? Cause I am not a fan of his directed movies or main roles. I have seen Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and did not enjoy it at all (unlike my husband, who was still talking about the movie when we went to bed). I admit to not having seen his other movies, but if the humor is the same then I shall gladly pass.


    387. Where do you like to go on Friday or Saturday nights? going out to see a movie is always nice.


    388. Do you like your friends to act the same way all the time or do you accept their moods and changes? I am very accepting. :-)


    389. Do you often feel like other people are judging you? Sometimes. But I think most of it stems from me judging myself.


    390. What do you think other people judge you to be like? I don't know. (Yes, a cop out.) Do you judge others? What are your impressions of me?


    391. Are you quick to judge others? We all judge without thinking, imprint on own experience on others, create first impressions. I may be quick to judge at times, but I take my time in creating a "final verdict". I am always open to be swayed from my judgment.


    392. When you have a fight with someone do you want to talk about it right away or calm down first and then talk? Calm down first. No one wants to hear the initial argument that boils in my head.


    393. Some say love is a river (according to the old song). What do you say love is? Love is a complex equation. It may take proofing to understand, but somehow all the unrelated pieces work together to create wonderful results.


    394. What is the worst fault a person can have? complete selfishness, a disregard for fellow man.


    395. Do you have it? no. if I did, maybe I would understand all the crime, war, abuse.


    396. Which do you think has more impact on a person’s character, genetics or environment? aah, the age old question of nature vs nurture. Genetics is the clay, the base of a person. Environment helps to hone and shape what is already there.


    397. Who was your first best friend? Alexis, back in kindergarten.

     

    398. If you are not best friends anymore, what came between you? She moved after first grade, but we wrote letters for many years, seeing each other occasionally. It wasn't until I moved to a different part of the state in 5th grade that we finally lost touch completely. We hadn't been real close anymore, and I lost her address.


    399. Who have you read a biography about? Mary Queen of Scots.


    400. What would your own autobiography be called? I hate this question! I suppose I could go with my first blog's title: "Discovering Me". Or the planned title of my poetry book, "My Letter to the World". Maybe I would use one of my other poem titles: "More than what you see" or "See This Woman." Not that my life is interesting enough for an autobiography.

    Tuesday, August 5, 2008

    new TT

    EotF Update

    total words to date: 93,486

    pages: 411

    chapters revised: 26/27 (draft 5)

     

    T.C. Status

    word count: 1471

     

    Last month's goals:

    • finish five antagonist chapters for EotF - 4/5 done
    • finish EotF draft 5 
    • submit at least one batch of poetry
    • submit Blazing Princess
    • work on Trinity Coven

    Last week's goals:

    • 250 secondary character submission
    • finish EotF draft 5

    This week's goals:

    • sit butt in chair and write the dastardly chapter that's giving me trouble....
    • read through new chapters before handing entire manuscript over to hubby for second reading 
    • work on EotF query letter
    • write at least one new scene for TC 

     

    The final chapter/scenes I'm adding are an extension of the final battle in EotF. You see, currently it is rather anti-climatic. The POV character it is shown through avoids most of the fighting (my technique to avoid writing about it). Action, particularly battle, scenes are not a strong point for me. Quite the contrary. I am at a loss how to describe the battle and infuse that sense of danger and action. I have some minor skirmishes earlier in the book, some written better than others, but still obviously not my forte. Must be a disappointment to my hubby, who loves action and adventure. Heh. Anyway, yesterday I spent most of my time procrastinating writing the scene. I even skipped it and finished revising the last couple chapters. But now it is the only thing left. A hole in the book. Anyone have advice for writing battle scenes? Particularly ones with magic?

     

    Fantasy book of the week: I recently finished "The Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss. This one was a risk for me to pick up, at over 700 pages for a debut author. It came highly recommended though, and won the Quill Award. I usually don't take stock in the author blurbs on the back cover, but this one also had multiple pages of praise in the front, from so many varied and recognizable sources, that it was hard to ignore. I highly enjoyed this book. Rothfuss is an amazing storyteller. The voice is one I'd read/listen to at any time. Not only is the writing beautiful, but the story is strong. I was immersed in the depths of the world, and honestly care about the main character. I can't wait for the next two books of the trilogy to come out. Maybe someday my writing will be as powerful.

     

    Good deed of the week: While walking home from an emergency 7-Eleven visit, a man came up to me and asked for help. He said he was from out of state, his dayplanner had been stolen, and he was out of gas. No one would take his out-of-state checks, and he'd been trying to get someone to help him all morning. His proposal: he would write a $20 check in exchange for $6 in cash for gas. All I had left on me at this time was a twenty dollar bill, so I simply gave him that without wanting anything in return. He was very surprised, and didn't want to take that much, but I insisted. He needed it more than me. It felt good to make his day a little better. :-)

    Thursday, July 31, 2008

    Dr. Horrible is Awesomeness

    If you are a Joss Whedon, Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, or Felicia Day fan, and haven't yet seen "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog", you are missing out! Even if you're not (yet) a fan, check out the awesomeness of this three act online musical in all its comedic goodness (and evilness). Hulu has it on their free streaming again (reportedly for the next four months). We will be buying the DVD when it becomes available. Go! Watch! Enjoy! I myself will have it playing in the background so I can listen to the awesomeness of the songs until I can sing along. If streaming doesn't go so well for you, it is available on iTunes as well.

     

    Here be preview:

     

    Tuesday, July 29, 2008

    last Tuesday Tally of July

    EotF Update

    total words to date: 92,701

    pages: 412

    chapters revised: 14/27 (draft 5)

     

    T.C. Status

    word count: 1471

     

    This month's goals:

    • finish five antagonist chapters for EotF - 3/5 done
    • finish EotF draft 5 
    • submit at least one batch of poetry
    • submit Blazing Princess
    • work on Trinity Coven

    Last week's goals:

    • submit poetry
    • write another new poem
    • write 3rd and 4th antagonist chapters

    This week's goals:

    • 250 secondary character submission
    • finish EotF draft 5

     

    Authoress has another event going on. This time the challenge is to share 250 words from your manuscript showcasing a secondary character. I was going to use Cail, but I'm now leaning toward Lamaric. I already know the reaction Cail causes. I need to dig through and find a good excerpt to submit tonight (deadline 9am EDT on Wed).

    Thursday, July 24, 2008

    Varied musings, plus PC rant

    5,000 Questions... My answers so far...

     

    359. What are you the most sensitive about? relationships


    360. What can you talk about for hours? books and writing. :-)


    361. Do you talk about yourself, other people, or ideas the most? I talk about myself and ideas. I tend to keep any gossip urging between my husband and I.


    362. Do you believe that spell casting can work? yes, if you open yourself to the wrong powers, but it's not a can of worms you want to open.


    363. Are you a fan of The Legend of Zelda games? absolutely :)


    364. What old movie would you go see if it were re-released in the movie theaters? I'm not sure I'd pay to see any movie I can rent or buy and watch on my widescreen TV at home.


    365. Is there a celebrity that you would be too starstruck to talk to if you met them? any celebrity! I'm shy enough talking to normal people. I would have no idea what to say to a celebrity face to face.


    366. Have you ever left a mean unsigned note? no


    367. Do you think it's cheesy to paste things you didn't write into your diary? If I claim it as my own, yes. If it means something to me, and I show that importance, then no it's not cheesy. It's showing another side of myself. And sometimes a quote or lyrics will express my feelings better than I can at the time.


    368. What are three things that you try not to think about? I'm avoiding thinking about them, thus do not want to post them here. Thinking about them long enough to pinpoint them would give them power.


    369. Is casual sex acceptable for you? no. it's not worth it


    370. What form of sexual protection do you use? pill


    371. What is expected of you that you feel is unnatural or not right? shaved legs. who started that, anyway?


    372. Do you sometimes place your own expectations on other people? yes. don't we all, sometimes unknowingly?


    373. Do you sometimes act overeager to make friends when you are around strangers? no


    374. Do you take everything that is said literally? no, but sometimes it's hard to tell if someone is being sarcastic or teasing or if they really believe what they are saying.


    375. Do you take most things others say seriously? probably too seriously. I am a sensitive soul.


    376. Do you have a quick wit? absolutely not. my husband is the one with the wit.


    377. Do you believe in the need for political correctness? I think the idea got taken way overboard by some people. Some PC is good, as in Native American vs Indian (as true Indians are from India), but saying that 'brainstorm' is offensive to those with epilepsy or other brain disorders, and 'thought-shower' is more politically correct??? How can the term for a group coming up with ideas be offensive to anyone? Shouldn't the "affected parties" be ones to decide if something is offensive, rather than a board of people who can't brainstorm a better term than thought shower? Besides, thought shower just sounds so... weak; whereas brainstorm sounds like ideas are storming and coming together, much more productive! I think imagery and metaphor are fine replacements for political correctness as long as no one is offended and the labeling is not based on assumptions (see Indian issue above). I also believe it's messed up that some terms a group will use for themselves are suddenly offensive if used by anyone outside that group. As to PC in general, it's not all needed - language needs shorthand. That's why we have slang, imagery, metaphor, and not fully correct terms. Wow, long answer. Moving on.


    378. Do you have strong opinions and beliefs? about select issues


    379. If yes, can you still hang out with and be friends with people who disagree with you? absolutely. just don't use the term 'thought shower' around me. ;-)


    380. Are you uptight? no

    Wednesday, July 23, 2008

    What I Learned from the contest

    The opening (EotF):

    "You did it again! Quit rambling about your tinker and concentrate. That's the second time you got soap in my eyes."

     

    "I'm sorry. I'm just so excited." Terra's hands resumed lathering Marian's hair.

     

    "He'll be here soon enough. At least stop waving your hands around." Thankfully, she did, and finished much quicker for it.

     

    Marian perched on the edge of the bed. Terra, brown hair already washed and braided, knelt behind and ran a brush through her sister's tangled blonde curls. Marian looked out the small window, soothed by the familiar tugging on her scalp. The faint light of dawn beckoned her to the forest beyond.

     

    A door crashed, shaking the whole house. Marian cringed as the brush yanked her head back. She barely heard the door slam shut again, overshadowed as it was by the accompanying rough voice. "Where's my hot breakfast, you useless women?"

     

    Terra moaned. "Why couldn't business delays keep Hayden away until after Courtship?"

     

    Marian's eyes widened in shock and she turned to face her sister. "Don't let Father hear you use his given name. You don't want another one of his talks."

     

    "He's not my father. Besides, it won't be long before Kerr rescues me from this brothel."

     

    "Then wait until you're gone to disrespect Father. You don't want your tinker showing up while you're nursing a black eye."

     

    Terra scurried off the bed to pull a long tunic over her head before replying. "You're right. I'm sorry. I'm just so..."

     

    Glaring Errors: Thankfully caught by my husband before actually submitting ('quite' instead of 'quit').


    Comments: 24 not counting 3 posts


    Hooked?: 6 straight yes; 8 straight no; 10 are either wavering, would read more despite not fully hooked, or were "close, but not quite"


    Problems Cited by Readers:

    - the brothel issue. (surprised by how much spawned from that one word.)
    - unclear POV
    - still too many characters/too much going on
    - too melodramatic/overwrought
    - lack of physical description.
    - too much hair

    - too much telling in dialogue


    What I can fix from the problems:
    - I can edit for clarity and have removed the word brothel altogether. poor word choice. after contemplating, I realized Terra (who uses the comparison) probably doesn't even know what a brothel is. Small village and all.
    - I can add some internal stuff from Marian, especially in the first paragraph, to denote her as the POV character
    - read more to learn how to recognize melodramatic/overwrought writing
    - remove Kerr's name altogether from the first scene.

    - take out DL about "not my father", show sister's reactions more outside of DL, and add a bit with Marian's thoughts on why her sister is not fearing Hayden as usual.

    - scrutinize and edit the dialogue in general

    - shorten the brushing paragraph?

     

    What Won't Change:
    - the hair. I can't come up with a better opening that has them doing something other than getting ready in the morning before being interrupted. and I don't want to start with the door slam (tried it, didn't work). though an alternate could be moving it to later in the day, interrupting chores. but then I wouldn't have an excuse to show any physical description until later in the book when the reader will have a set picture in their head. (plus, would take away Hayden's excuse for a one-on-one with Marian)
    - amount of physical description. I can't change this on every comment. There will always be unhappy people - too much description, not enough description. "I don't care what eye, hair color they have" vs "I want to be able to visualize every physical aspect".
    - the tinker. I'm going to take out the reference to his name, but he is the reason for Terra's attitude. I am also not going to explain it on the first page. Most fantasy readers will have an idea what a tinker is, and those that don't can keep reading and find out. Really, if it was 'Chandrian' or some other capitalized fantasy term then the question wouldn't come up. Readers would accept and read on to learn more.


    Most Helpful Comments:

    Lori's point-by-point breakdown:

    As it is right now, no.
    1) The POV, to me, wasn't clearly discernable until several lines into the section, so I had no idea which character's head I was supposed to get in to.
    2) Lots of dialogue, with no interjections of gestures or vocal intonations, make an interchange like this rather dry and lifeless.
    3) Too many characters mentioned or introduced in oly 250 words.
    4) There's a distinct lack of physical descriptions that would help ground your reader in this world and help them visualize the characters than inhabit it.
    BUT, there's definite potential and conflict to be had. Just needs some tightening up, IMHO.

     

    The secret agent (later revealed to be Holly Root) said this about it:

    Hmm, this is a close but not quite. It took me two reads--a minus--but there's something interesting here. I'd watch the telling in dialogue.

     

    I appreciate those who read the previous opening, letting me know that this one is much improved despite needing tweaking.