Thursday, February 26, 2009

600 down, another 88% to go...

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


Started over a year ago (Jan 21, 08). If I keep up the same rate, I won't finish this survey for another 8 years. o.O


581. Is there more to you than anyone knows? Absolutely. I'm hoping there's more to me than even I know.

582. Can you make tonight the night that you do the things you always wanted to do? No. That would require funding I don't have.

583. Would you rather watch life on TV or LIVE it? Some aspects I would certainly rather live, but there are others I am happy simply watching on TV.

584. What keeps you chained down? Lack of money. I would love to travel. *sigh*

585. What is the nagging feeling in the back of your head? my insecurities


586. Do you celebrate yourself? yes, but not as often as I should

587. Does everyone get the same opportunities in life? sadly, no. some opportunities we have to wait and hope for, while others we have to create.

588. What would you consider to be better than sex? cuddling

589. What evil is necessary? phones

590. What's your favorite one hit wonder? Survivor, "Eye of the Tiger"

591. What would you do anything for? the safety of my family

592. Do you celebrate the full moon? no. But the characters in EotF do. Their calendar, magic, and culture all revolve around the moon.

593. Have you ever gone in the water at the beach at night? No.

594. Are you ordinary? yes. I'm no Superman (or woman).

595. What makes people want to hang out with you? I'm loyal, listen, don't judge.

596. Have you ever felt like you've been a little bit too good to someone? no. even if they were "undeserving", I wouldn't be who I am if I didn't follow my instinct.

597. What book did you like that you had to read for school? Two immediately come to mind. "Julie of the Wolves" by Jean Craighead George, and "The Giver" by Lois Lowry. Both were assigned books that I ended up finishing well ahead of our assigned daily chapters.

598. What book should everyone have to read in school? "The Giver". It's a reminder to be grateful for memories, diversity, and the beauty of color.

599. Do you like the store Old Navy? It's okay. I don't seek out brand name clothes. Though I did buy a hat and overalls there when I was on an emotional spending splurge (those are dangerous, by the way. learned to only carry cash when in one).

600. What movie sequels do you like? National Treasure 2, both Shrek sequels, all the Indiana Jones movies, The Dark Knight, Ice Age Meltdown... and I'm sure there are more I like, but we'll stop there.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

End of the month TT

EotF Status

One query out.


T.C. Status

word count: 5,772


FwM Status

word count: 2,387


Color Poems

complete: 8

min needed for chapbook: 20


Previous Goals:

  • work more on synopsis, so I can send out next batch of queries - not ready, but getting whittled down
  • finish color poems in progress (green and violet) 
  • submit a batch of poems
  • get extra rest so I get better (awful sore throat, aching body, etc) 


Goals for this week:

  • more work on synopsis. don't want to rush it, or do too much in one sitting (gives me a headache)
  • write another color poem
  • revise 2 poems
  • write Anti-Ubduk poem 


Why I am getting discouraged with poetry submissions:

147 poems submitted to various markets since 2002.

47 last year alone.

only 3 accepted (from the same submission), and to a non-paying, online publication.

I'm not really surprised that my early poems didn't have success. I was young, and feel my poetry has matured and improved. So if we only count those starting in 2006, that's 119 poems sent. That's not even a 3% success rate. And only a handful of those rejections were personalized, two saying they were on the fence but ended up declining. I don't know how much is my poems, how much finding the right fit (if it even exists). I'm the guru, the experienced one in my poetry submission group (I'm the founder). I have all this experience in submitting poetry. But maybe I'm doing something wrong. Then there's my poetry critique group, where I'm the young one, the unpublished one. Ah well. I'll keep writing, polishing, and submitting. Maybe my numbers will look better in another five years.


((I'm just so afraid my queries will have the same success rate.....))

Thursday, February 19, 2009

My Own Worst Enemy (Me!)

Liana has issued a challenge, a Workout!

List five habits, traits, or vices that are keeping you from being the best. Pick one and set the goal working on eradicating that habit from your routine.


Here are mine:


1. Over thinking my first draft.

2. Stopping every few paragraphs to browse the web.

3. Letting my confidence rely too much on outside opinion.

4. Letting doubts crowd out my enjoyment of the writing process.

5. Being intimidated by the synopsis.


My Goal(s):

Looking at that list, 1-3 tie directly to 4. So that's what I'll focus on.

  • I've written a poem about Ubduk, the anti-muse and his mewling doubts that crave attention. I will write a poem reclaiming my power from him.
  • I will listen to music while I write, to help inspire me and keep spirits positive.
  • I will set a timer for 30 minutes for five days a week, and focus on writing and not opening the browser during that time.
  • If I find my thoughts straying, I will type in a separate document any distractions or doubts to get them out before they settle. Then I will close this document without saving, and return to my story.
  • If I itch to browse, or suddenly find a "reason" to research, I will make notes to look it up later, and keep writing.


Summary: Poem, Music, Timer, Delete Doubts, Notes. We'll see how a week of this goes.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Post V-Day TT and another opening evaluation

EotF Status

Assumed rejection from Firebrand.

Another rejection from query; one still out.


T.C. Status

word count: 5,454


FwM Status

word count: 2,387


Previous Goals:

  • another color poem
  • synopsis for EotF - been too sick to focus on this (head fuzzy) but progress made
  • figure out why my copy/paste has suddenly gone on strike... (was working fine just a few minutes ago!)  - fixed, but by magic rather than deduction
  • finish TC chapter four - my goal for today, but if my head won't wrap around it then I won't punish myself for finishing it later this week


Goals for this week:

  • work more on synopsis, so I can send out next batch of queries
  • finish color poems in progress (green and violet) 
  • submit a batch of poems
  • get extra rest so I get better (awful sore throat, aching body, etc) 


Color poems complete: yellow, orange, blue, black, red, brown, and white. I'll probably do a gray. Maybe pink. Can't think of more after that. 11 poems is not enough for a chapbook. Hmm. I have an ART poem that would accompany these well. I'll have to decide what else to add to "My Palette of Color."


Edited to Add: Forgot to mention Valentine's Day! Wrote a Valentine Villanelle for my husband. Saturday we went and saw Push. Awesome show. Lots of action, kept me guessing, and was consistent with the rules it set. Plus, hottie Chris Evans. We'll be buying the movie when it comes out on DVD.


Another Secret Agent contest has come to an end. Here's my new opening (number 41) and results.


The opening (EotF):

Marian knelt by the small stream, watching the puddle jumpers. The blue sparks danced just out of reach as she dipped her hand in. The only sounds were the trickle of the stream and a pair of birds singing courtship.

She stood and wiped her hands on her long tunic. Why were the trees so silent today? The crying in Oak Tears was something that belonged only to her. Since a young age, Marian had heard what no one else could. Now the familiar ache's absence left her feeling strangely alone.

"Marian... Marian." Her sister came into view, cheeks flushed and dark hair loose from its braid.

"Terra, what's wrong?"

Terra stopped to catch her breath. "Mother... needs help... Glenna... baker's wife... having baby."

Marian gasped. "Has it been ten moons already?"

Terra shook her head. "Only eight and a half. Mother is over there now. She needs an ointment made and fresh water."

Marian didn't need to hear more. "You get a bucket from the well. I'll make the ointment and meet you at Glenna's."

Marian knocked on the door as she entered the room. Her mother looked up from her tea preparation at the hearth, sighed in relief, and motioned her daughter over. A ribbon held her dark brown hair out of the way. She handed Marian a ribbon to do the same.

Glenna squatted at the end of a worn bed. Her husband sat directly behind her, ready to brace her during her struggles.


Comments: 18

Hooked?: 12 yes; 3 no; 3 on the fence, would read a bit further to decide. Much better ratios than the last two times (6/8/10 the first time, and 3/6/2 the second). Apparently opening with this scene works much better.


Problems Cited by Readers:

- confusion about ten moons comment
- confusion about crying in Oak Tears/2nd paragraph in general (biggest issue, with 8 comments)
- puddle jumpers reminds of Star Trek
- opening elements seem unrelated (crying, etc then birthing)
- not enough hook (doesn't stand out)


What I can fix from the problems:
- Change name of puddle jumpers (not a Star Trek fan myself, so didn't make a connection.)
- Work on 2nd paragraph to remove confusions
- Make character/story more compelling on first page?? somehow?? Hoping it was more of a taste thing, as I did have many positive comments.


What Won't Change:
- not going too in detail about Oak Tears crying, as it comes up again at the end of same chapter. Besides, need some intrigue, can't answer all story questions.
- I'll allow readers to discover the connection between the opening threads as they read the rest of the chapter
- mention of ten moons long pregnancy. shows this is otherworld. As reader reads more, will learn their calendar is based off the moon (each month or Moon is 4 weeks or 28 days, one moon cycle). It's not even inaccurate week-wise for a human. 40 week pregnancy is standard, which is 10 of their moons/months, and nine of ours.


Most Helpful Comment:

Tara Maya said...

I think this is really important to the story: Why were the trees so silent today? The crying in Oak Tears was something that belonged only to her. Since a young age, Marian had heard what no one else could. Now the familiar ache's absence left her feeling strangely alone.
Unfortunately, it's confusing. You have be as explicit as possible.
"The crying in Oak Tears" -- Who or what is crying? Are the trees crying? Is there a disembodied sound of weeping and crying?
Since a young age, Marian had heard what no one else could.-- This is perfectly clear. Good.
the familiar ache's absence -- This is less clear. "Ache" sounds like something Marian would be feeling herself, not a description of something outside her, like the sound of crying. When she's in the grove of Oak Tears, does she ache too?


The secret agent (later revealed to be Kristin Nelson) said this about it:

The writing is quite solid in this entry but I can't help but feel that this introduction to the story is very ho-hum in terms of the genre of fantasy.
Over the years, I've read hundreds, maybe even thousands, of fantasy sample pages. This isn't going to stand out.
Now I like the crying in Oak Tears so that is interesting but not necessarily enough so.
The key with fantasy is to nail the character in the opening pages and I rarely see that done in unique way. Most writers rely on the worn familiar in the genre.
So what I'm saying is that this writer probably has possibility but this isn't getting the job done.


On a side note, Kristin form-rejected my query just 10 days before. At least she said my writing is solid and has possibility. Hopefully my opening will stand out more for another agent. If I can get them to read pages, that is...

Thursday, February 12, 2009


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

556. What do you need advice about? writing a synopsis. I'm pulling my hair out on this one. (And obviously procrastinating.)

557. Have you been half-asleep and have you heard voices? yes. it's very odd being awake enough to hear people talking, yet asleep enough that you can't move even a finger. I wonder if that is what being in a coma is like?

558. Do you have a good luck charm? My graduation necklace, a silver '01'. I used to wear a necklace more often. I had forgotten how many I own. They give me a focus for my fiddling. Which reminds me of the downside. My son also likes to fiddle with them... which is why I stopped wearing them regularly.

559. Should animals have the same right to life as people? ooh, this is a toughie. I'd have to say no. there are animals designated (by God and man) for use as food. And at times it is needed to put an animal down because it is a danger to humans. Do they deserve to be tortured, or killed needlessly? Absolutely not. But Man comes first.

560. What is your least favorite body part? My legs. I hate having to shave them. Yet when I don't, they itch and feel ugly. When I do, I tend to nick myself; and next thing you know, they are prickly again. Ick. There is no winning.

561. Do you enjoy British comedy? I haven't seen enough to give a general yes or no. Most of what I've seen I haven't cared for, but I've recently been introduced to Dr. Who. I've only seen one episode so far, so am currently undecided. But it wasn't an immediate 'no'.

562. Are there ever happy endings or does nothing end? there are happy endings, but they do not end a person's life, merely a part of their story. like a book. the characters lives go on after the end, but they can have a "happy ending" for this event or storyline.

563. What is your worst trait? My initial instinctive answer is procrastination. but I think the root trait is deeper than that. Worrying. Worrying what people will think, if I'll get it right, if any of it matters, if anyone is reading, if I'm good enough. Worry, worry, worry. Sometimes my brain won't shut it off.

564. Is the world more beautiful because of love? yes. we see so much more when we love and feel loved. our senses are opened to new things. it's easier to be optimistic, and thus everything is beautiful.

565. What is the essence of you? dandelion seeds. I could explain, but I'll let you interpret that. ;-)

566. What really inspires you? music, stories - both the true and the fanciful, soaking in sunlight while lying on the grass listening to the sounds of the world

567. Have you met your soul mate? yes. but I also believe there are multiple soul mates, perfect matches, out there for each person. It's a matter of proximity and timing.

568. Is everyday a special occasion? every day should be, but no. Sunday, when B was sick and threw up in his ramen... not so special an occasion. Unless you look at it in the way that it's special because it doesn't happen frequently. Hmm. Back to point of view.

569. What sound would you rather hear than any sound in the world? rain. it's a soothing backdrop. I could live without hearing my loved ones, as long as I feel them. Relates to my love languages being quality time and physical touch, not words of affirmation.

570. Of the following which word best describes you:
this is me! my hair dries naturally, I only wear make-up on special occasions, and I'm myself - what you see is what you get.
outgoing: definitely not
polite: I try, but sometimes I do or say things without thinking
quick thinking: sadly, no

571. Do any commercials make you want to break your TV? yes!! The Ikea commercial for their sales. Crazy lady, thinking she's getting a steal of a deal, running out to the husband and parked car... "Start the car! Start the car!" Kill the crazy high-pitched lady!

572. Have you ever lost your religion? no. even when I wasn't following it, I never discarded it. make sense?

573. Do you want to share your life with someone? yes! I AM sharing my life with someone (well, two someone's). One of my fears is being alone.

574. Where ARE the wild things? hiding, but their space is slowly being invaded, leaving little undiscovered.

575. Would you rather have a child genetically related to you or an adopted child? either. both deserve unconditional love and welcoming arms. If I hadn't been able to have children, I would definitely have adopted. Though getting a child genetically is cheaper, and the process is a bit more enjoyable. However, I don't want to go through the being pregnant again (see previous question) and would definitely adopt if we decide we want another child (yes, this is something my husband and I have discussed). For now, very happy with just one.

576. If I had a birthday party would you come? "I" being the person who created this list of questions? No, I do not know you. I rarely go to birthday parties of people I do know.

577. What seemingly impossible thing is POSSIBLE? the flight of a bumblebee.

578. What song do you love to sing out loud? The Ballad of Eleuteria. It's one I wrote myself. I'll often sing it in the shower, or while waiting for the bus to drop off my son.

579. Have you ever run through the woods naked and played in a stream (you should)? Nope

580. Have you ever taken long solitary night walks? yes. see number 413 for a specific memory.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Magic and Mentality

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


546. What would you like to protest against? Black Friday

547. What or who do you support? Obama. He looks to be a very promising President.

548. If you found out you were pregnant today, would you have an abortion? No. I really, really, really don't want to be pregnant again, but I would never snuff it out if it was obviously meant to be. Though there would likely be much stress and panicking. (Praying this scenario doesn't actually get played out.)

549. Do you like picking out greeting cards or would you rather write your own? Greeting cards! Just cause I write, doesn't mean I can think of something warm or witty to say every time, and why should I when someone else has already done the work.

550. Do you like to be thought of as mysterious? No. I'm not against the idea, but I certainly don't promote it or get a thrill off it. I don't know that anyone has ever described me as mysterious...

551. What is the most magical thing that has ever happened to you? A mere few days after blogging about a lack of books to read, a package with an ARC magically appeared on my doorstep. So much better than being notified of winning a drawing through email. Just BAM, there when you most need it.

552. How would you tell your friend his or her fly was open in public? I'd whisper "your fly is open." Though I am not the most observant person, and would more likely be on the receiving end.

553. Does a good friend tell you you've got something in your teeth or pretend not to notice it? A good friend would tell me, to prevent further embarrassment.

554. The world has many secrets. Have you learned any? Will you share it? Life is all about belief. Each person has a different reality, tied to their perception of the world. The important thing is recognizing the existence of these realities, and not discounting someone because theirs is very different from your own.

555. Are there any bands you like so much that you want to get their music video collection on DVD? no. even when using YouTube for music purposes, I usually have it in the background, listening but not watching. I'd much rather have the CD.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tuesday Tally and Biting Nails

EotF Status

one chapter still out on submission (Firebrand Literary's Query Holiday).

Sent 4 queries. 2 rejections back already. Entered newest opening in Secret Agent contest.


T.C. Status

word count: 5,454


FwM Status

word count: 2,387


Previous Goals:

  • personalize query and send it out!
  • another color poem
  • finish catching up on crits - at this point it's not happening. starting with clean slate
  • write synopsis for EotF - goal slid under my radar somehow


Goals for this week:

  • another color poem
  • synopsis for EotF
  • figure out why my copy/paste has suddenly gone on strike... (was working fine just a few minutes ago!) 
  • finish TC chapter four


Feb 14 - poetry contest winners announced. though the site says first cut notifications in January... I'm assuming that means finalists were notified. Which I guess is not me.

Feb 15 - deadline for requests from Firebrand's Query Holiday. If I haven't heard by then, then I'm not going to.


And that copy/paste issue is too distracting to remember anything else I was going to write about. Must fix problem...


Update: of course, as soon as I post this, it starts working again! Computers are so quirky....

Monday, February 9, 2009

First Bling!

Premio_Dardos_Award[1] My very first blog award! Thank you, Jenn.


So here are the rules of the blingage.


Premio-Dardas: "This award 'acknowledges the values that every Blogger displays in their effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values with each message they write. Awards like this have been created with the intention of promoting community among Bloggers. It's a way to show appreciation and gratitude for work that adds value to the Web."

1. Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who granted it to you, along with his/her blog link.

2. Pass the award to (15) other blogs that you feel are worthy of this recognition. Remember to contact each of them to let them know they have been chosen as recipients.


So, in no particular order, I present this award to...


1. Inkygirl - her comics remind me of the humor and universal truths in our profession


2. Liana - for an motivating blog, and reminding me that randomness can be a good thing


3. Authoress - for encouraging participation and communication between writers, creating a community within her blog, and all the wonderful challenges and contests.


4. Nikki - for always managing to write an entertaining blog, and sharing her wealth of household tips, despite the craziness that is her life


5. Alan Campbell - for sharing his writing life, and Scottish wit


6. Writer Unboxed - for a great group of writers, at all stages of publication,

sharing their journey


7. Poetic Asides - for celebrating and motivating poets


8. Lynn - for sharing her query process, complete with successes and failures. it makes me want to get busy sending my own out.


9. Cake Wrecks - for making me laugh during the week, and ooh in awe on Sundays, at the unbelievable cakes out there. my preschooler and I enjoy looking at the blog together.


10. Fantasy Book Critic - for a wealth of knowledge about new SFF books, and providing an opportunity to win some!


11. Shrinking Violets - for celebrating the introverts!


12. Patrick Rothfuss - for being the most generous writer I know


13. Diana - for proving that writers can genre hop, just write a book that you love, whether it's secret societies or killer unicorns


14. Justine - for taking the time to answer questions on her view of the writing and publishing world


15. Fangs, Fur, & Fey - for an amazing community of fantasy authors, of which I hope to be a part of someday.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tuesday Tally

EotF Status

one chapter still out on submission (Firebrand Literary's Query Holiday)

Query revised and ready to send out this week. Changed opening to new scene, reordered first couple chapters. Much improved (I hope). Will enter new opening in SA contest next week.


T.C. Status

word count: 4,654


FwM Status

word count: 1412


Previous Goals:

  • write another color poem
  • catch up on critiques I owe - mostly caught up
  • at least one revision to query letter
  • submit more poems


Goals for this week:

  • personalize query and send it out!
  • another color poem
  • finish catching up on crits
  • write synopsis for EotF


Joined a new crit group. Looks very organized. Got feedback on my query, seems ready to go. *crosses fingers*


Got a meeting Thursday with B's teacher, speech therapist, and other involved personnel to discuss recent evaluations and upcoming kindergarten.