Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Twenty Years

That's a long time, eh? Today is my (our—but since HWMNOMOTI must not be mentioned on the internet, I will stick with 'my') 20th wedding anniversary.


It is a little strange... HWMNBMOTI had to work yesterday. Today. Tomorrow. When he works, it is 12 hour days (three this week, occasionally he picks up a 4th) so... no romantic dinner. Heck, we will barely pass each other in the hallway. Our money situation is meager... depressing even... so there are no gifts. I did find a perfect card, but having no scanner at home, I can't share it.

HA! (but I sort of found it)  This is the image—Bad to the Bun... when I met him he was all badass—leather jacket, dangling cigarette, sort of tough... but a softie... he was nursing his mom who was dying of cancer, for Pete's sake. So the thumbs up on the bad boy (who doesn't love that?), but I knew there was a good heart in there, no matter how much posturing he did.

And that is what I've got today, other than an addendum to my ineptitude: That accepting changes? NOT what I was supposed to do... was supposed to leave them as changes. *dies* in process of merging the two versions and will end up two days late. MAN, there is a learning curve.

ALSO had some bad news in the last few days on publisher interest... before Thanksgiving I'd gotten one no, then Monday another and Tuesday two more. I am still at 4 more and Amy was wonderful—if we get narrower on our list, we will send to more. Not the end... not remotely. But it is still sort of pout-worthy.


BUT I am doing well on NaNoWriMo. I technically won a week ago. I am at 66.5K. I can finish this week. I wish I could finish today, but my ending is more complicated that I'd thought, initially. I t just may take a little longer. I SHOULD be done in maybe 5000 words.

So I will leave you with my favorite thought for the day and call it good.


Happy Hing Day!!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Bounds of My Ineptitude

Strike that. My ineptitude knows no bounds...

So while I have spent much of the last month giving a careful read to Azalea Assault (as had Helena Soister—THANK YOU!), which had arrived back with copyeditor markings every which way, I only began Friday (and then proceeded to spend all day FOR THREE FREAKING DAYS) carefully accepting, barely tweaking and occasionally adding, explaining or changing things in my manuscript. A slow process... like 10 pages an hour slow.  And I've reached a conclusion.

Say it with me (five times fast) Bumbling Bunch of Belligerent Baboons.


That is obviously who wrote this... or what I am... or something. I lack competence on every level.

Just to share some of the many things I don't know...


Further: I know you use farther for distance, but apparently am unclear on the other distinctions. I seem to call it wrong every time.

Awhile. One word. Who knew?

The FREAKING TOBACCO MUSEUM SHUT DOWN! I was looking for a tacky tourist site and SWEAR I found one. Some time between my first draft (and research) and now: Poof. Bye-bye. All gone.

Peg board: A TRADEMARKED ITEM. Tell me friends. What would YOU call a board with pegs in it? You know... to hang keys or something? Apparently Peggy has trademarked it because I can't think of any other reason they'd allow simple descriptor words to be trademarked. Xerox? Sure. Kleenex? Fine. These words mean nothing but the brands have taken over the items of 'copy' and 'tissue'. But peg board? Come on... I'm pretty sure Peggy was sleeping with somebody in the patent office.

Am I the only one giggling helplessly?
Erica and Christy helped me not feel so alone on the musical hyphen issue:

The book was well written (no hyphen)
It was a well-written book (hyphen)

But what I really feel down on was all the compound words... backyards and backseats and setups. Have I just been padding my word count all this time? Apparently.

I think it may be a disadvantage that I talk slowly and enunciate carefully. I SAY all those as two words. There is a clear break in them when I say them. Back yard. (where the hot tub was) back seat (where the virginity disappeared... erm) Maybe it's just that these words have the IMPORT of two... *cough*  [yeah yeah, excuses excuses]

Commas. Okay. I might as well have just taken a box and tossed 'em up for all the accuracy I had in placing these puppies. I mean, I'm aware I have a comma fetish, and as I said, I speak slowly—so some of my characters speak slowly... and pause now and again... and what the FREAK is wrong with a comma to note a pause!? But then I must over compensate along the way, because I had a lot of missing commas, too. Just for the record, Penguin LIKES the Oxford comma, location-of-Oxford-be-damned.

The Em-Dash-Ellipse Kerfuffle: Oi. Nuff said.


So have any of you had one of these reality checks that passing the grammar test to get into J-school (J for journalism) was NOT adequate knowledge of the English Language for publishing a book?

*sigh *

Monday, November 28, 2011

RaShelle Workman and Exiled!

I'm thrilled to be welcoming RaShelle Workman today. She is one of my long-time blogger buddies, and someone I identify with on a lot of levels—maybe it is being at similar life-stages, or balancing multiple rolls, or liking a lot of the same things. Or most likely, it is wishful thinking on my part. You see, RaShelle seems to have it all together (and she's so pretty! not that I'm shallow... *shifty*). I've gotten along with her well right from the start, but the funny thing about this blogosphere is you can get to know somebody without really having any clue what their writing is like.

Well I got a chance to READ Exiled, and I'll tell you what. I was impressed as all get out. I think the questions I ask RaShelle will make clear the whats and whys of that, so I think without further ado, I will just let you read the interview! (RaShelle in Blue, me in Purple)

Welcome RaShelle!

Hi Hart – Thanks so much for having me today. These questions are AWESOME!

I think one of the tricky parts in Sci Fi is beings who have enough differences from humans that they feel foreign, but enough similarities that we still identify. Your main character, Venus, is a brilliant example of this. Did you have to take special care to achieve this, or did it come fairly naturally? If naturally, why, do you think (reading you've done?)? And if it was planning, what were some of the things you kept in mind?

You’re so sweet. Thank you. When the idea for EXILED happened, I knew I wanted her to appear human even though she wouldn’t be. That was planned, but I had to write the first draft, get into the world and the characters before I discovered exactly what her differences would be. Then, of course, there’s THE BOOTS. That idea was literally a lightning bolt. I knew I wanted something relatable and attainable, something that readers (which are mainly female) could connect with, visualize, and understand. SHOES popped into my mind! And the rest, that her weaknesses are “captive” in the heels of the boots, fell into place.

I loved your trick to explicitly explore teen emotion. Venus, a princess from another planet, has been trained to be rational and put her people before her own emotions, yet on earth, she takes on several human teen features, including the influx of hormones and emotion. This is genius for letting her address them explicitly without seeming too daft (as a human girl might in the same territory). What I want to know is where this idea came from—was there an actual plan to allow for this exploration? I’m a big fan of romance. Love to read it, watch it, experience it… And there’s something special about that first time you feel those feelings of love. When you go from thinking the opposite sex is disgusting to heart-pumpingly fantastic. I knew I wanted that aspect in the story. So I did plan with those thoughts in mind.

I really loved the atmosphere on earth poisoning Venus slowly (is that mean?)--the reason is it gave a huge urgency to her task, but I also read it as a pollution warning—that maybe we need to clean up our act here. Was this green message intentional? Or just a device for writing tension? It’s like you’re inside my head, girl. It was both. I wanted the urgency, for sure, but I also wanted to send a small message. Green is good. ;D


This was probably the most original collection of ideas I've seen in a story—I'm impressed as heck with your ability to pull together such a strange and fantastical mix into such a smooth story. What do you credit for this? Where do your ideas usually come from? Thank you! A lot of my aha moments came during rewrites. Inspiration for the story came from The Count of Monte Cristo (his being framed for crimes he didn’t commit) and the poem, Venus and Adonis (her great love for a human and his dismissal of it).


(Two parter) (as if any of my questions are one-parters) Venus had to be rescued a few times, largely because of the Earth's atmosphere making her weak. But it's explicit she's much stronger, better trained, and more coordinated at home. In future books do you have plans to let HER be the hero? And finally, this is part of a series—the first few pages of the next book were included at the end of Exiled. How long a series do you have planned? And was the longer story your original idea, or did you build on? And how many of said series are already written and in the pipeline? As a matter of fact, yes. In book 2, BEGUILED, Venus is the hero. I’m very excited to let the readers see the tough side of her. 

The Connected Series will consist of three novels. In the beginning, I set out with the intention of writing one, but as I wrote the story, I realized it’d be way too long. When I ended EXILED where I ended it, I knew it was the perfect place to stop. It felt right. And it made knowing where to end book 2 much easier as well. EXILED is the first. BEGUILED is the second, and then DOVETAILED is the final installment. 

As for what’s “in the pipeline”, the entire series has been mapped out and planned to “the end.” Book 2 is being written and will be out May 2012 and book 3 will be out November 2012.


Book blurb: (from Goodreads):  Stubborn, sixteen-year-old Princess Venus of Kelari wants one thing, to become immortal, that is, until someone exiles her to Earth, kills her irrihunter, and takes her family.

Now she wants revenge.

First she’s got to get home. But before she can return to Kelari, the Gods have commanded her to help an arrogant boy named Michael find his soul mate. Only she doesn't know the first thing about love.

Rather quickly, her inexperience with human emotion is obscured by other matters—alien-controlled psychotic teens that are out to kill her, and a government group that is set on capturing and dissecting her.

Worst of all, Venus will suffer a painful death-by-poisoning, thanks to Earth’s atmosphere, if she remains on the planet longer than one week. Still, Venus is a Princess and she's got a plan. Surely, with her help, Michael will fall in love with a human.

But time is running out and Michael is falling for the wrong girl—her.


Author Bio: RaShelle Workman lives with her husband, three children, and three dogs. When she gets a quiet moment alone, she enjoys reading about faraway places. And, in case you were wondering, yes, she does believe there is other life out in the Universe.


Links to buy Exiled:

amazon:
barnesandnoble:

smashwords


Thanks so much, RaShelle!  And good luck with your series! You've got a great start here!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Gratitude

Just so you know, I am going to take a few days off this week. Between company coming (and my need to clean) and NaNoWriMo (and my need to write) and my need to finish editing Azalea Assault, I just have enough to do that I thought taking a brief blog break would be a good idea. I will get one in next weekend (Friday or Saturday) and then be back to normal (meaning normal schedule, not actually BEING normal—as that would be abnormal) next Monday.

Today, though, I thought I'd reflect a little on some of the MANY MANY things I'm grateful for.


Health

I have some back pain and am overweight, but all in all, I am pretty darned healthy. I haven't been so sick I had to take off from work since maybe 2004 (only twice in the last decade). I don't get regular headaches or stomach trouble or heartburn. I take no prescriptions. I try to eat some good stuff most days (fresh fruits and veggies) and I get a lot of exercise, but mostly I just feel very fortunate, because a lot of people who work a lot harder have more health trouble than I do.


My Immediate Family

I know I grumble sometimes, but it really is more in humor than anything else. In reality, I have a thoughtful husband who is nurturing and handsome, and two gorgeous kids. My daughter is creative, sweet, beautiful and funny. She is also sensitive, particularly where her soft spot for animals is concerned. My son is smart, hysterical, and embraces my own need to be just a little odd. They are all healthy, they are usually fairly happy, and for the most part, we get along pretty well. I love them (animals included, of course).



My Extended Family

This one is a little bittersweet because they are just too far away. As most people do, I have two branches to my family, and they are pretty darned opposite. The one scattered a little when my grandma died, so they don't get together. At all. Thankfully, I have reconnected with parts of it. The other side was always close... geographically close enough when I was growing up that we got together for every birthday and holiday. The kind of family who walks in with just a 'yoohoo' instead of knocking, who pitch in to help clean up even when it isn't their house. I miss them badly. My generation has scattered a little, but these are still some of my favorite people.


My Job

I know I'd like to make enough writing to not have one, but considering I really NEED one, I am glad to have one I feel does important work, focused on bettering lives. It's interesting and my boss is FABULOUS.


The Chance to Write

I am very aware not everybody is in a place in their life where they have the time. I think people who have to work full time and have younger families have it especially rough. I know this because I was there for a while—a long time, in fact. I am very glad to have reached a place where stealing that time doesn't have drastic consequences, because honestly, the writing is how I most feel like me.


Facebook

Silly as this one sounds, I have reconnected with SO MANY people I thought I'd lost forever (including some of that family)—it is a powerful tool that way. I've also met a number of new friends... meeting friends of friends—engaging in conversations and finding like minds—it really is just a pretty great thing to do!


And Last But Not Least


Our Blogosphere!!!

I am grateful for ALL of you! For those of you who teach me. For those who entertain me. But most especially for the support system we've managed to create. We all have each others backs and lift each other up. We help each other feel less isolated, and help navigate waters we haven't been in before. We share the pain and the victory, the former made less by sharing, the latter made sweeter by lifting other peoples' hopes, that they will get there too.

Speaking of... my buddy Liz is giving away some books as she leads up to the release of Specific Gravity, so if you'd like some great books about sex and beer, head over to her place and enter! http://www.brewingpassion.com/

I know it is only Thanksgiving in the US this week, but I am thankful for all of you! Have an amazing week!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Happy Birthday Babaloo!

No scanner, so I just took pics of pics...
My son turns 13 today. This means all my kids are teens (yes, all two of them). The other one has been a teen since she was 4, so the formal turning wasn't such a big deal. My son, though... has taken on the obnoxious teen boy things very recently.

He was a tidy child. When I would get out a pair of socks and put them on my shoes to put on later, the socks would disappear... he'd put them in the laundry... we're talking age two.

Clean no more... now I can't get him to bring his snack dishes up from the basement for anything. And he's gotten more disagreeable...

But as children go.... he is definitely mine.

He has been making word jokes and using deep sarcasm since he was very small. He is a number guy and can be logicked through most things (like me: the other half of our family, not so much—they are more emotional). He and I have common book tastes.


You know... he was a difficult very small child. He didn't like to be away from home, so he would periodically melt down... badly enough strangers would ask if they could help. He liked things predictable and was anxious and misbehaved if they weren't. He is a lot more flexible now, but in spite of how cute he was, I never worried ANYBODY would be tempted to take him. (Unlike my daughter—I was paranoid about her).

Whatever the case, once he got into school, he calmed down a lot and was extremely pleasant until about 6 months ago. I suppose this just means he is doing that thing that teens do. Hopefully that logic thing holds... at least for the most part.  All that sounds sort of negative, looking at it now... not meant to. I adore him. I love his humor in particular--it makes him fun to spend time with.

So I spent last night baking a birthday cake instead of blogging... so this is what I got...

Samadoo, I wish you a very happy birthday!!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Meeeeee!

Erm.... what I mean by that is, I haven't really given a status update for a while, so I thought maybe I would.


My Absence...

First, deep apology for my day job keeping me too swamped to check blogs during the day and NaNoWriMo keeping me too busy to make up for it in the evening. Normally I do a little of both, but this week I've gotten to a very pathetic few. My work deadline is Monday, so things should then improve.



Couch to Keg

The exercise plan is ROCKING! Monday was a personal (pairsonal?) best. Jackie and I, out 58 minutes, ran 30 of it, with our longest interval at 11 minutes. There are still three of us participating, but our third is not quite so keen on the running, so sometimes we loop back. She is working a second job for the holidays, though, so we also are trying to do our running days when she can't be there. Our practice has been running/walking intervals 3 days a week, then power walking 2-3 more, each time 45-60 minutes. And we really ARE doing great. I'm very proud of all of us (I can say that, yes?) and I am incredibly grateful for having wonderful neighbors who have kept me going when I probably would have given it up as too much effort otherwise.



Weight Watchers

Yesterday was month 2. It was not nearly as big as month 1. In month 1 I lost 12 pounds. In month 2 I love 4.5. So it is the right direction, but I know for a fact I've petered off in effort. I've been REALLY hungry. I think this is the winter compulsion to pack on some body fat. What my body seems to be missing is I already HAVE body fat. I don't NEED to pack it on. I haven't kept my food diary in 2 weeks either (and I definitely need a spanking). I am not giving up—I am still making a point of good choices, and avoiding BAD choices. I just have not been as diligent on volume control.



Edits for Azalea Assault

I am 1/3 through, which I think is pretty good. I feel pretty good. I still like it. I feel proud of much of it. It's not as clumsy as I have sometimes feared in the in-between. So that's good. I am able to edit about 40 pages a day, so I should be in good shape. I ALSO had help offered from three amazing, fabulous friends who I LOVE! And should be in good shape to incorporate their feedback when I get it the 21st.


NaNoWriMo

Last weekend I had an AMAZING run. I wrote 14000 words in 3 days. Do you know what I learned? I really LOVE writing sprints. I had been struggling for a few days (this work deadline was leaving me lackluster when I got home) but the idea of a sprint allowed me to set aside the time and totally BLOCK everything else. Heck, Saturday, all on its own, was almost a 6000 word day (something I've only done twice before). Yet I did that ALL in three one-hour writing sprints. (I hope to hit 40K tonight)

I really like the story so far, though I suspect it will be 70K before done, so while I have no doubts I will win NaNoWriMo, I will probably not be done with the book at that point. Given the rest of the month's challenges, I think I can hit 60K, but that's about it.



Thanksgiving

We're looking at a weird year. Hubby is our cook. I've never made thanksgiving dinner. In fact the only regular Thanksgiving fare I've ever made is pie. Hubby has to work that day. He is a home health aid and his client needs care every day. I tried to convince him to do Thanksgiving another day that weekend but he got really weird about it. I'd about decided the kids and I would have a Harry Potter marathon and eat baked brie, summer sausage, and crackers (these would be our splurge foods). But then I talked to my mom.

My uncle was in the peace corp in Botswana MANY years ago and ended up marrying a woman from there. They've lived back and forth—they are now in the states. But my aunt has a cousin with a daughter who is now on exchange in Kalamazoo—two hours from me and THOUSANDS of miles from anyone she knows. So we are having this distant cousin to our house. I'm excited to meet her—I think it will be a great cultural experience for my kids, and she is indeed family. But it means putting together a Thanksgiving dinner.

Hubby will make the stuffing and cranberry the day before. We will just make a turkey breast. And then I will do the beans and mashed potatoes. (my daughter wants to make the pies). I'm excited, but a little nervous. I don't want to muck up her only US Thanksgiving!


So now you know all about ME! Tell me something about YOU!!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wordplay

Words are funny things, aren't they? I mean... literally that's true... I love a good word joke... but there is also sort of an enigma factor. I mean REALLY, all they are is a series of letters... sounds... and we give them meaning. They hold individual meaning, and they can be put in a sentence that either reinforces or CHANGES the meaning.

I had a couple word thoughts recently...


We'll start with my Twin Leslie. She said she needed words yesterday...

from Little Britain
Being me... I gave her some: Cacophony. Moist. Kerfuffle.

IMMEDIATELY there were protests. Words sitting by themselves and two of these words people love and one they hate. They wanted me to banish it. I bet you know which it is. I bet you hate it a little, too.

Poor, sad Moist.

What IS THAT that makes a word with no context so repugnant? I mean I understand words with horrible connotations... racial slurs are abhorrent. (any in-group/out-group division, really).

But what did moist ever do to anybody besides communicate that the cake was superior? And how is that bad?

Still, I know people I can say it to who physically shiver in response.

This pleases me. I do have my moments of evil.


I would totally call this mauve
One of my FB friends recently asked about puce... why it was underused... This made me giggle. There was a fair few of us with a wrong impression of what color this actually is, strictly because of the name... it just is too close to puke (aka: an unpleasant shade of greenish brown).


And of course my buddy Stacy challenged us to pick a word... any word... and repeat it about 500 times... you will barely make about the thirtieth repetition before said word no longer sounds like an actual word, but gibberish (which is harder to speak than Dumbledore would lead you to believe--but worse than speaking it, is understanding it.)


sex and violence source
And then we get to the lecture by Hugh Laurie on Sex and Violence.

[this image has so much wrong it is almost right again, eh? Maybe it's just me... normally I don't condone chainsaws.  I think the fishnets save it. You might have to magnify it to see them...]


Why is it we can say the following in polite company: war, torture, kill, murder, assault, pummel.

But the word for human coupling, the most intimate act we have, we refer to as the 'f-word'?

We really are a very odd batch of people.


I'd wish you all a moist Wednesday, but I am a little worried about being on the receiving end of a curse...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Jessica Bell Rocks!

Ha! (I'm serious... literally AND figuratively. I win for double meaning)

So Jessica and I seem to have started the blog circuit at very similar times. She was among my earlyish friends and I've always thought she was wonderful. Perhaps the fact that I have been dubbed an honorary Aussie and HWMNBMOTI and I adopted Greek culture for our marriage table (both being American mutts from places with bad food) contributed, but honestly, my first visit to her blog and her alternative definitions for words had me hooked (arsenic=a cut on the bum).

Jessica is deeply genuine. She is passionate and her emotions run the gamut and always ring true and I love that about her: that there is never any doubt about exactly who she is. Sometimes she is laugh out loud funny, and sometimes she has be crying at my desk. But I never have any doubt that it is truly her spirit coming through her words.

I had the honor of getting an advanced copy of her debut novel Sting Bridge, and I believe that my review will be largely shown in my framing of my questions, though I will sum it up a bit at the end... (well not a bit... a good Aussie knows a BIT is a bit naughty... we won't be doing any rooting either--if you are confused, find an Aussie dictionary, Sheila.)...

So here is how it goes. I am in purple with questions (which are often multi-part) and Jessica is in blue with answers...


WELCOME JESSICA!

1.I found Melody extremely identifiable, in spite of having no musical ability whatsoever (me, I mean). I think the spot she won me was when she spotted herself being quirky, but what she REALLY wanted to be was mysterious (I think you know this about me: I'm a deeply sexy, mysterious woman trapped in a quirky, humorous shell)--YOU, on the other hand, seem truly arty, sexy and sometimes angsty, so I'd love to hear where this concept arose—craving darkness...

Ha! Yes, I am quite angsty, and seem to become over-emotional on occasion, and love to use that as a tool to create, but I’m not always in a dark place. Seeing as you’ve asked, I’m going to let you in on a little secret … I’m a cartoon. :)  Ha! If you were to live with me for a long period of time, I would grow very comfortable around you and totally let loose. I love to misbehave, and that sometimes turns me into a clown. I do the most stupid and annoying things to my partner that he sometimes has to swat me away like a fly. Basically, I get quirky when I get comfortable.

I will never forget what the father of a very good friend of mine said when we were graduating from high school: “You’ll know you have matured when you can act like a child.” I was a very self-conscious girl in high school and tried to hide that by becoming a Goth. Yes, a Goth. I was one of the freaks. But that was okay, because I sort of felt like one inside. It seemed okay to feel abnormal if I looked abnormal. But when my friend’s father said that to us, something clicked, and I thought, “He’s right. Who gives a toss what anyone else thinks of me. Just be yourself.” From that day on I let my inner child loose.

2.I see a lot of you in Melody, but situationally, I also see a lot of your life in Tessa, who is only four. How much of the novel had autobiographical roots, and if you look at those two roles, how much each, for Melody and Tessa.

To be honest, it’s hard to say. I think every writer puts themselves into every character, but the similarities come through in waves which depend on various factors, such as mood, while writing. I could try and give you a percentage, but I think I would always change my mind. Overall, I’m not Melody. I want to primarily write, not have a career in music. I don’t have a daughter. I’m not married. I’m happy with what has become of me in life. I have no regrets. Yes, I live in an apartment in Athens and I work as a writer/editor for English Language Teaching materials, and my parents live on a Greek island, but I used those aspects of my life because I needed to really ‘know’ what I was writing about. Being my first novel, I didn’t want to get caught up in a mist of research, so I figured if the basic details, such as setting and occupation were the same as my own, I wouldn’t stumble into any mind-numbing obstacles along the way. I needed to write what I knew to get that first book out of me.

I think it’s amazing that you see me in Tessa, because there were a few times as I was writing when I thought about a home video my grandmother took of me singing in her garden when I was four or five. You have extraordinary instincts, Hart! *blushes*

On another note, I find it interesting that many readers think that because I live in Greece and it’s set in Greece, that the novel is autobiographical, because I can’t imagine the same reaction if I were living in America and the book was set in America. It becomes pretty far-fetched when you think about it like that, doesn’t it?

3.I think you hit on some very common feelings of disillusionment that occur in a marriage, and you hit them with such painful accuracy, yet, you haven't been married, or a mom (at least so far as I know)—was this all intuitive, or did you talk to friends? There was honestly a stretch in here I felt like I was reading my own journal, it was so freaky-accurate, and it just amazes me you could hit it so spot on without having survived it.

Yep, you’re right. I’m not married (though I am in a long-term relationship) and I’m not a mother. I don’t have any friends who are married with kids who feel disillusioned, so no, I didn’t talk to anyone either. It was all instinctual. There were times though, when I was writing, where I felt my instincts might be wrong. There were so many times I wondered whether what I was writing was too melodramatic. I didn’t want the book to become a soap opera. I really had to sit back during those moments and close my eyes and put myself in Melody’s shoes, and ask myself, “How would you react if your husband did this to you? How would it make you feel? Does this reaction suit Melody’s character?” Sometimes my possible reactions didn’t suit her character and I had to alter them accordingly, but trying to live it in my mind certainly helped. Personally, if I were in Melody’s situation, I wouldn’t have put up with as much as she did. And I’ll let you in on another secret, I think I may have sub-consciously picked a few fights with my partner while I was writing this book. Yikes!

4.I know you have also written a soundtrack to go with this book—this is so conceptually BRILLIANT—I love the combination of your skills you are using. So here is the chicken and egg question—did all the songs come AFTER writing the book? Or did some of the songs inspire the book? Or was this process more circular?

Most definitely circular. The songs that appear in the book started off as poems. Then it occurred to me that I could create and produce an album for Melody. That’s when the idea for my book trailer came about after listening to a few of my mothers songs on YouTube. The poems then turned into lyrics. When I finished the final revisions I sat down and wrote music to the four songs that appear in the book. Once those were done, I wrote six more songs to create Melody’s album.

5.And finally, I'd love to hear where you are in process on your next couple of projects—I know you are WRITING your third... has the second been sold? And can you tell us a little bit about each of them?

My second, Bitter Like Orange Peel, hasn’t yet been sold, but I’m in the process of doing that right now. I was going to look for an agent, but I’ve sort of given up on that. I think my writing is a little too different for the commercial market, so I’m quite happy to stick with Independent Presses for the time being.

Bitter Like Orange Peel, is about a twenty-five year old Australian archaeology undergraduate named Kit, who doesn’t like to get her hands dirty. She feels misplaced and comes to the conclusion that meeting her father, Roger, will make some sense of her life, despite him being worth the rotting orange rind in her backyard. Well, at least that’s what she’s been conditioned to think of him by the three women in her life: Ailish, her mother—an English literature professor who communicates in quotes and clichés, and who still hasn’t learned how to express emotion on her face; Ivy, her half-sister—a depressed professional archaeologist, with a slight case of nymphomania, who fled to America after a divorce to become a waitress; and Eleanor, Ivy’s mother—a pediatric surgeon who embellishes her feelings with medical jargon, and who named her daughter after intravenous. Against all three women’s wishes, Kit decides to find Roger, but in doing so, discovers he is not the only rotten fruit.

For my third, Muted, I’m applying for a writing fellowship in order to fund all the research I want to do for it. So fingers crossed for that!

Muted is set in Arles, France, in a totalitarian society where it is illegal to wear clothes. In some streets, it's also illegal to sing without accompanying instruments. Concetta, a famous Italian a cappella singer from before “the change,” breaks these laws. As punishment, her vocal chords are brutally slashed and her eardrums surgically perforated. Unable to cope with living a life without song, she resolves to drown herself in the river, clothed in a dress stained with performance memories from her hometown, Milan. But Concetta's suicide attempt is cut short as someone grabs her by the throat and pulls her to the surface. Is it the busking harpist, who encouraged her to feel music through vibration, acting as saviour? Or a street warden on the prowl for another offender to detain? From this moment, the reader will discover how Concetta came to be in this position, and what will happen to her after the suicide attempt.

Muted will explore a variety of themes such as overcoming loss, coping with mental illness and disability, dealing with discrimination, loss of freedom, inhibited self-expression, motivation to succeed, escaping oppression, expression through art and music, self-sacrifice, channelling the thoughts of the deceased, and challenging moral views and values.

Thank you so much for having me, Hart!

*bows * No, thank YOU!!! I'm very excited about your new stuff, though you know me... I have a very hard time thinking nudity would be repressive... still, it sounds fascinating!

I guess my final summary of the book is it was moving and real. I loved living a life in Greece that was unfamiliar in the head of a person who still felt so entirely real. She went through some very hard emotions and events, but her actions and reactions all were palpable--I felt for her and identified with her. I really enjoyed the read.

Here's a little more about Jessica: Jessica Bell is a literary women's fiction author, poet and singer/songwriter who grew up in Melbourne, Australia, to two gothic rock musicians who had successful independent careers during the '80s and early '90s.

She spent much of her childhood traveling to and from Australia to Europe, experiencing two entirely different worlds, yet feeling equally at home in both environments. She currently lives in Athens, Greece and works as a freelance writer/editor for English Language Teaching publishers worldwide, such as HarperCollins, Pearson Education and Macmillan Education.

In addition to String Bridge, Jessica has published a book of poetry called Twisted Velvet Chains. A full list of poems and short stories published in various anthologies and literary magazines can be found under Published Works & Awards, on her website.

From September 2012 Jessica will be hosting the Homeric Writers' Retreat & Workshop on the Greek island of Ithaca, home of Odysseus.

Now if you want to find Jessica's book, soundtrack, or Jessica herself, these are the places you ought to look:


Purchase links:
eBook
Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/String-Bridge-ebook/dp/B005Y48DF6/ref=sr_1_1_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1319369262&sr=1-1
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/String-Bridge-ebook/dp/B005Y48DF6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1319370801&sr=8-1

Paperback:
Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/String-Bridge-Jessica-Bell/dp/0984631747/
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/String-Bridge-Jessica-Bell/dp/0984631747/
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/string-bridge-jessica-bell/1030101696

Soundtrack:
iTunes: http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?playlistId=465313522
Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Melody-Hill-Other-Side/dp/B005P7ARNS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1317118328&sr=8-1
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Melody-Hill-Other-Side/dp/B005P7G02A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1317118484&sr=8-1

My links: (Meaning Jessica's)
String Bridge Website: http://www.stringbridge.com/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11502954-string-bridge
String Bridge Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rv-hRMA0kqQ
String Bridge Merchandise: http://www.cafepress.com/janicephelps/8155170
website: http://www.jessicacbell.com/
blog: http://thealliterativeallomorph.blogspot.com/
facebook: http://www.facebook.com/author.jessica.bell
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/MsBessieBell
retreat & workshop site: http://hwrw.blogspot.com/

So what are you waiting for!?  Go take a peek, have a listen... you will be glad you did!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Monsters Made and Born

[and an oops!  Totally forgot about Dave's noughties blogfest!  I'm very sorry and hope you will stay... I just had a big reaction to some weekend news and forgot former commitments].

So the tawdry sports news in the US this weekend has got me thinking... we are really SICK people.


To give you some perspective, I have a couple degrees in psychology. This is not just uninformed opinion, though neither is it my specialization (that would be where psychology and health behaviors interact). But there is some required content for any psych degree, and a lot of it applies here.


The Pedophile Rapist

Yuck. (that isn't a psychology term). I think people drawn to kids have a deep sickness. I think a person with this sickness raised in a healthy way recognizes it and addresses it and works against it. But I think historically, these people were channeled... I think this is the plight of the Catholic Church—men who KNEW what they felt was wrong, so they tried to hide from it by entering the clergy.

This is NOT meant to claim all people who enter the clergy have a problem. Most people are sincere and devout. It is saying an environment that lacks means to help sick people will draw them into places like this... they are TRYING to fight it. But this is not going to help somebody get better. In fact a learning environment where they are surrounded by a lot of young men is likely to make it worse.

Now I don't know how this translates to a sports environment, except maybe the machismo testosterone infused spot made Sandusky feel like he was going to be a real man and not need all that anymore... but then it became a shield. A curtain to hide behind.

I have a high school friend who played football in college, and he says this behavior would have led to a 'to the pulp pounding' in the environment he was in. I'd like to believe that's true. And maybe it is. But he was also at a smallish school in a small league, so the stakes weren't quite the same. I don't know enough about the Penn State system to understand the power structure... I don't know who Sandusky might have hurt. Though it seems to me getting caught at this cancels anybody's clout.. but who knows what goes into the mental processing?

And in all these cases, though, once protected behind the veil, the illness accelerates. Their behavior is enabled.

Pedophilia, as I understand it, it a result of biological or very early trauma... The brain is BAD and it needs to have active treatment to keep the actions from following suit. This isn't something just anybody can fall into. It isn't that a normal person finds this appealing. It is psychopathology. Path meaning SICK.


The Blind Eye

THIS, on the other hand, has been shown to be quite a 'normal', if abhorrent reaction. Bystander effect is well documented.

The first case taught in psychology classes is from 1964, a woman named Kitty Genovese in Queens, New York was killed in an alley, stabbed multiple times, screaming 'help me'. The police later determined more than a dozen neighbors had heard but nobody so much as called the police. All of them figured somebody else would call. Their responsibility was diffused (in their minds) by their numbers.

Now in a crowded city, this is a little understandable. There ARE other people who could call. But in fact... if everybody thinks that, nobody calls. There is a natural impulse we have to actively fight to do the right thing.

The same response is responsible for much greater atrocities... the holocaust comes to mind. But what we don't want to think about is this particular effect occurs among normal people. This could be US. In fact, absent awareness and effort, this WOULD be us.

That isn't to say we shouldn't be better. We should. But it IS to say perhaps we need a heavy hand to MAKE us be better.

When I lived in Oregon I was a state employee for a while. I had to sign a form committing to being a 'mandatory reporter' for crimes I witnessed, first and foremost, if I witnessed anything where a child was at risk. This was not only for when I was on the job. This was in my day-to-day life. I was criminally responsible if I saw something and didn't report it. If my neighbor was beating her child in their own home, I had to call. (not that my neighbors were abusive—this was hypothetical)

Now I wasn't a social worker or a care provider, or even a teacher. I was a researcher. But the state of Oregon felt this level of 'eyes' in the community would protect children. I believe that's true.

Joe Paterno didn't directly witness these crimes (that we know) but he DID have them reported, and in turn reported them... but to his supervisor. NOT the police. Somewhere buried in the MUCK of policy, there was a decision that PR was more important than not only ethics, but safety and humanity. How many lives were ruined forever because some uppity University officials didn't want to deal with the dirt? I'm sure this was all in the name of avoiding a scandal, but holy SHEESH did they call it wrong. An abuse quickly caught and rectified dies quickly. Something like this, allowed to go on for over a decade? Not so much.



And then the BIZARRO World Fan Reaction, which I hear isn't so uncommon...

Fans are distressed on Joe's behalf... Are you kidding me? Rather than these CHILDREN?  But not so unusual... apparently in Ancient Rome there was a Charioteer who sodomized a young boy. He was sacked by the (governor?--old titles are unclear to me). The 'fans' were so angry they MURDERED the governor over the matter. People will be STUPID about their sports. But it doesn't mean we should settle for that. We should strive for better.


I urge ALL OF YOU to seek out the regulations governing the institutions you care about. Find out what the LAW is and what the RULES are, and URGE THEM to deputize their employees. Make everybody responsible. Because sadly, I have my doubts anything else will force good behavior in some environments, but policy just may.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Eleven

So FIRST on 11-11-11, I want to thank the veterans... All veterans. All wars. I have disagreed with our foreign policy more often than not, but that never takes away from the valiance, courage, and love of country these men and women have and THEM, I will always honor. THANK YOU!


And now for my blog...

What does one CALL a collection of Elevens? If a group of geese is a flock, and a group of crows is a murder, and a group of buffalo is an Obstinancy (I'm serious)... A memory of elephants? (nice!) What is a group of Elevens?

Because I have one.


Stay with me here... we are getting deep into the most amateur of numerology... erm.

My birthday is 6-23. 6+2+3=11.
HWMNBMOYI was born 9-2. 9+2=11.

Well and good. Nice coincidence. (the middle two numbers of our social security cards are the same, too, even though all the stuff on the ends is different).

But no...

DAUGHTER was born 4-25. 4+2+5=11.

By the time son was coming, I had an inkling what might happen, though I don't think it put me into labor...

11-18. 1+1+1+8=11.


Wanna know something wacky? My mom's birthday? 8-21. 8+2+1=11.


I had a friend find some prophecy about the evil number eleven, but somehow I am having a hard time believing my little... what should we call them... a FAMILY of Elevens... is so bad. I mean SURE, we are all NAUGHTY in our own way, but evil? Not so much.

Though there IS the megalomania that goes into my Naked World Domination Tour... but you know.. I DESERVE to rule the world on THAT one!


Any of you keep track of number coincidences? Do you BELIEVE they are coincidences?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Take Your Child To A Bookstore Day!!!


So one of my good friends has started a NATIONAL event that is coming up on its third year... a GREAT event—designed to keep the magic of brick and mortar bookstores alive... to share it with our kids and pass it down. To instill the love that makes so many of us GIDDY faced with wall upon wall of books.

When Jenny Milchman began this quest, I loved the idea. Independent bookstores were dying and with them, the personality infused stores that felt like home to so many of us. Her idea grew to include all bookstores—because heck—what's not to love about a day immersed in books with the people we love.

The landscape has changed since last year. Borders gasped its last breath, which is a sad thing. But there is a glimmer of hope to be had—the Indie stores may be in a position to take on some of that business. I'm not saying don't participate at a Barnes and Noble—by all means, books are wonderful wherever we find them, but IF you have a local Indie, I encourage you to take your child.

Here is a cool, interactive site showing some of the past (and future) participants and there are flyers, posters and such, so if you want to encourage your local bookstore to participate, you can take them some tools! And take the time to look at the bookstores page—I wish I was more savvy and could share the map—I can't believe how hard Jenny has worked at this. YES she's had help, but she also blogged her cross country trip last summer to enlist bookstores from coast to coast, so she really had worked her butt off. (I requested she work MY butt off, but apparently there was a line, as my butt is still there)


Here is the scoop:

DATE:    December 3rd, 2011

WHERE:    You can enlist whatever bookstore you want, but take a look at the stores already involved-- 150 of them.

WHAT TO DO:    If you want to invite a bookstore to do this, DO IT. But plan to do it before Thanksgiving, as they are likely to get swamped (plus, it will be more successful if they have a chance to publicize).

Nicola's is home of the one of the book fairy families.
WHAT ELSE to DO:    Take your child to the bookstore on December 3rd—if they've planned, there may be an event—but if not, Christmas shop, read, browse.


My own plan: I have a visit to make to Nicola's, our last Ann Arbor Indie. I want to build a relationship ANYWAY (heck, I have a book release next summer) so what a great place to begin a dialog with Nicola herself.

I encourage you all to spread the word—both in your communities and on the web! Because a love of reading is definitely a legacy we want to pass on!


NOTE:  No Thursday blog... I have a class and can't visit, plus was behind on WriMo... Back Friday...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Dogs and BEES!

So just before Halloween, my friend Tina posted a link to a website that was cuter than cute...


http://www.beedogs.com/

Doesn't Joel make a good bee?
You need to go look at them. They are cuter than cute. And Tina, in her enthusiasm, said she wanted the dogs in her life to have bee costumes... and look who got one!!!

When it arrived, my daughter called me at work and said, “Mom? There's a package here for Joel...” teehee. Love that...

So in celebration of dogs and bees and dogs who dress like bees, I thought I'd suggest to any of you doing any fall planting to choose some flowers and shrubs that BEES like. After all, they are what keep us all eating. They are the major pollinators of the foods we buy and without them, we'd have to go through a lot of very complicated fake stuff or our food supply would not form fruit. Also, along those lines, avoid pesticides... Our bee population is actual in danger, and then we'll be in trouble.


When I was a kid, I was terrified of bees. I think it is because people use the term bee for a number of pesky stinging evil things that don't do ANY of the good stuff, and do a whole bunch of mean, rotten things, like stinging small children. Wasps, hornets, yellow jackets... let's make a pact and NOT call any of those things bees anymore. Bees are the good guys.

Glad this was empty before I noticed it.
THIS thing, is NOT from a good guy... Best as I can tell, it is a hornet's nest. It is huge—about the size of a basketball. It was hanging from a tree about halfway down our block and my husband asked them if he could have it after they died (the first frost kills them) so he brought it home last week. Pretty freaky, in my opinion. My neighbor has yellow jackets in the rock wall around the base of some trees. Poor Joel has been stung in the lip a few times... here is some useful advice—you probably shouldn't eat yellow jackets. But it is the wasps that cling their paper mache homes on the side of our house that really bug me.

Yet... NONE OF THESE is bees... repeat after me, we LIKE BEES. It's those poser, bee-wannabes we don't like.


Side note: It is elections in the US today, but odd years tend to not have much important on the ballot. I am debating voting, as I know none of the names one way or the other for such jobs as 'school board' and to my knowledge, there aren't big bonds or levies... should probably look into that before the day is out. If you DO live in a district with anything important going on, though, be sure to get out there and vote!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Real Deal

So I got the email Friday with the 'copy edited' version of Azalea Assault attached. This is my last chance to reasonably make sure it is CLEAN. The professionals have had a go, but I get another chance. And I've seen enough typos in books to take this seriously. EVERYBODY misses stuff... the professionals will have missed stuff (not a lot—it is what they do after all, but a thing here and there). The professionals MAY have made some decisions I don't care for. I mean, they are the pros, so I don't want to second guess them on 99% of stuff, but I also don't want to MISS it if they changed something I feel strongly about.

This feels real. There is a book that I WROTE that is going to be on shelves one day soon. And I feel a strong responsibility to make it the best I can. At the same time... THE PRESSURE!!!

My plan is to read it out loud. It takes a while, but my experience is it is harder for the eye to overlook errors if you are SAYING them. And it is easier to spot 'not said like I'd say' that way. I am also debating asking one of my friends who is so GREAT at this to give it a read... I wish I were in a position to pay. Whatever the case, I am a little intimidated, but I will give it my best.


NaNoWriMo Update

On this front, I am coming along pretty well. I have perhaps taken a little to long to get to it, but I like what I have so far, and tightening is always part of the revision process in my world. As of this writing (last night) I was at 14,867 with my bathtub stretch still in front of me, so hopefully past 15K.

I work ahead like this intentionally. I frequently run up against a wall at about the 2/3 mark where I can have several days of forcing a mere 200-500 words before I get my footing again. I am best off if I plan for it.

Additionally, if I am reading Azalea Assault early in the month, I need to enter any changes later in the month, so I need to have time to do so.

For the last few days in this story, I've been in Grants Pass Oregon running a con. It's been great fun. I have a college friend from Grants Pass and Lisa gave me a primer on where people hang out and what the hip things are to do. I've been there, but not since I was 18, so this was very helpful. It actually sounds like a pretty great community. “On the verge of hip” is how she put it—a river community with lots of rafting and water recreation that has recently added wineries to the local commerce mix. It is still hung back in time a little bit—not so unusual for cities under 40K people, but with lots of great stuff. It's actually really fun to add some of these details--a fun excuse to have a chat with an old friend and find out more about where she's from. I think I may try to do this in other places my characters plan to visit.


So how is everybody else doing with writing goals? Are you making progress? Conflicts arising you need to work around?

Friday, November 4, 2011

HPANA

Otherwise known as the Harry Potter Automatic News Aggregator

I'm not sure if I am mourning, or waiting for a resurrection, but a website that literally changed my life, seems to at the very least have lapsed into a coma. It's not there. It isn't clear whether it might return or not.

So I'm going to tell you its amazing tale, or rather, the amazing way it changed my life.


In 2005, while eagerly waiting for Half Blood Prince to come out, I came up with a couple theories about what might come next. See... I'd read the first five books several times... alone, and with each child... and then all those AGAIN as Order of the Phoenix came out... (so six times...) In fact I think I was started on a seventh run with my son...

So these ideas kept flying around... you know... those MIRRORS... the matched set... that one of them broke when Harry found the package and was so mad at himself he hadn't used it...

Well... I think I thought Sirius had taken the other with him through the veil... or something. And it was bugging me enough that I ventured out to find someone to TALK TO about it.

Now there were a bunch of websites with Harry Potter stuff, but THAT one was more user friendly to get onto, and FAR easier to find conversations than the sites that have a lot more stuff going on (HPANA had a news page, but is completely member generated stuff otherwise)

Anyway, when I started browsing topics, one really struck me as having the most potential... The Wizard War... it was anticipating... you know... the WAR that was started, whether Fudge wanted to admit it or not.

Joris, of book cover fame, and I on the London Eye 2008
And THERE, I made lifetime friends. Seriously. MANY. We had some courtesy rules... greeting new people. No name calling... politeness in arguing. Honestly, it was mostly a bunch of teenage boys and middle age women. But the conversations were FABULOUS. There were deep, thought out theories. There were a ton of laughs. There was even delusional Thursday (my own baby) where we tried to use canon to support joke theories (thus things like cross-dressing death eaters)

I've had the honor of MEETING several in person... JelE (NY, yes, I know someone named Jel E. Bean), Stacy (TX, twice), Holly (DC), Holly (MO) (yes, two Hollys), Courtney (PA), Colette (IL, twice), BrioNI (AUST), Andrea (AUST), Bill (PA), Leanne (MA), Mari (NORW, twice), Jessica (UT), Tara (WALES), Joris (Netherlands), Sarah (DC), Marissa (FL), Sally (FL)... I'm lucky work sends me places, and most places I go, someone I want to meet up with is near. Colette is the only one within driving distance, though both BrioNI and Mari came to visit me HERE (from Australia and Norway, respectively—man, I want so bad to return the favor!) (WW friends in RED, writing friends in blue—purple is both--Marissa's purple is more red than the others because she doesn't believe me yet, that she needs to write, but she does and Tara's blue is a little less blue because she occasionally dropped in on the WW) but I digress (see, the site even changed my religion. I didn't KNOW about Digressionism until I met Mari!)

And lo and behold... several of these theories in... was the formation of a bigger idea that encompassed several of these, and I wrote my first long work of fiction—about 180 pages, completed in six months... a writer was born.

I tried a few styles. I made more friends, several of them OTHER writers... in fact that WRITING set, was the origins of the Burrow.

It was where first my Thursday Twin, Natasha, then my Spazdik friend Stacy said not only 'I love your writing' but, 'you need to write real books'.

I've been a bad HPANA member of late. I've been too deeply immersed in all the other things I do. But I will be so sad if HPANA is gone for good. It's like the burning down of a family home. I still am in touch with the vast majority of the friends I made there—facebook is great that way. But really... I just feel sad.

In its heyday it was easily supported by advertisements. Members could donate. I only did a couple times because you KNOW how my money situation is. I think with dropping participation and REALLY dropped ad revenue, Cheeser just couldn't keep up.


So anyway... even though I don't know if it's a Rest in Peace, or a 'Get Well Soon', I am feeling pretty sad about it.


I love you HPANA! You really DID change my life!


And so you know. I've got a computer-free obligation that may very well take all day. I'm sorry I can't get around to visit and it may be late before I can respond. Believe me. I'd rather be here.


This just in:  Jeff (Cheeser) came across this this morning and thanked me and updated me. If the site can come up with the money it owes (about $2400) it will go back up. In case anyone sees who loves the place.  I don't know how to get to the donation spot at the moment, but if you are able, you can reach Jeff at cheeser@mugglepost.com.

AND:  The Paypal Link (thanks, Tara!)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

STOP RESPONDING!!!

Hallo, my friends. I'm annoyed. Know why?

It bugs the heck out of me that people who are famous for NO REASON except being born to someone who is rich or famous, or because they are willing to go on some reality TV show and be an ass keep being talked about.

IGNORE THEM!!!

Reality TV Parody (which is acceptable)
They are not worth your energy, attention, or interest. If we stop looking, they will go away! Leave them to their stupid-ass selves. Never speak of them. Never watch them. Never bother to know who they are. They are NOT WORTH YOUR BRAIN CELLS!


I don't watch Dancing with Stars or … what's that singing one... American Idol, but at LEAST those are TALENT contests. It may not interest me, but have atter... what we should NOT be attending to is ANY reality TV that is just peeping, or eaves dropping, or encouraging bad behavior. If there is no skill involved besides social manipulation, those people DO NOT merit your time.

THIS IS NOT INTERESTING! THIS IS NOT REALITY, NO MATTER WHAT THEY CALL IT! YOUR BRAIN DIES A LITTLE EVERY TIME YOU WATCH!

And more importantly, MY brain dies a little every time I hear the name of one of these people.

I'M NOT INTERESTED!!!

and for PETE'S SAKE! If someone has them write a book, they are NOT PART OF WHAT WE DO!

Never call what they wrote a 'book' (you KNOW they probably didn't even WRITE it).
Never buy it.
Don't borrow it from the library.
But DO go to book stores and stick notes in that say things like 'don't you feel dirty now?' or 'I wiped poo in this book somewhere.' (you don't really have to wipe the poo... this is just a joke.)



Sorry. Just had to get that off my chest.

And because it's Thursday...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Reading Myself Insecure

I am also over at Burrowers, Books and Balderdash today, talking about writing at NaNo-Speed.

But here...


Know when you read a REALLY GREAT BOOK? You sit in AWWWWW... I used to love that... I would rejoice at the beauty of it... or the elegance... or the perfection.

Now? I'M NOT WORTHY!!!

How DARE I try to classify myself with THIS... What kind of poser am I that I think I can write books? Now THIS... THIS is a book!!!


And you know how when you read a sort of embarrassingly bad book... a book that uses words like embarrassingly and starts with pages of description or pulls a deus ex machina ending? You know how you used to wonder 'how the heck did this get published?'

NOW I fear, WHAT IF MY BOOK MAKES PEOPLE THINK THIS?


I've become a far more critical reader since I really got my writing legs under me, which in a lot of ways is too bad. I still enjoy books, but anymore there is such a pile of FEELINGS with it.

*sigh*

Do you ever read things that make you feel insecure?

(and don't forget to give some love to some OTHER insecure people--the link to the write for insecure writers has the list)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I Survived! Here I Go Again! And AGAIN (this time capitalized)

Only that second AGAIN isn't AGAIN, but the first time... but youknowwhatImean...


So NaBloWriMo is over... and I succeeded in blogging daily, but probably only get about a C- on getting to my fellow bloggers' blogs. I tried to get around... I really did. But my list of regulars is big enough now that just getting to THAT group is about all the time I have.

Before I dive into NaNoWriMo (because I am writing this last night), I thought I would give a few shout outs...


Elizabeth Mueller's Darkspell came out yesterday! Congratulations Elizabeth!

Jessica Bell's String Bridge comes out today! Congratulations, Jessica! (and Jessica is going to be a guest on the 15th, so you will get to see an interview and review)

Roland Yeomans is having a GREAT giveaway in relation to his book release The Legend of Victor Standish, which I just finished—a very fun read. Roland combines such a creative set of forces, it's like nothing I've read. I really enjoyed it! So go check out MORE and figure out how to win some great stuff!


So What is this Again?

NaNoWriMo, of Course!

I made my layered outline. I have my notes. I have a fair few details for the first few chapters. And I am READY! (so ready, I will probably start at 6:30 in the morning and try to get a few hundred words in before work!)

My Story? Gads, I almost don't want to jinx it. It is high concept... probably my first of those since Kahlotus... I figure a writer only gets a handful of these. Like I feel confident it will be easy to sell once it is written and cleaned up.

But here goes:

Amanda Harden is biding her time, trying to stay under her volatile father’s radar.  She is going to school, getting good grades, working a little. But all she really wants is for her brother to get home from college and balance out the tension in the house.

Unfortunately, his return coincides with the arrival of the letter expelling him from college and he is unceremoniously kicked out of the house.

Amanda decides to leave with him. They’ve learned from a master and figure they can get by running cons. Asher’s idea seems cruel at first—research the recently deceased and bring messages to their loved ones, but Amanda justifies it by thinking they can bring peace in addition to a little income.

The plan works pretty well for the most part, until the dead realize Amanda is open for business and the messages they bid her to carry are not the kind that will bring anyone peace.


Reactions? I'm really excited.



And the AGAIN!!!! (that isn't actually an again, but a first?)

It's official. Kahlotus Disposal Site is in the hands of six REAL Publishers... (big names—like panicky, heart-racing names). Harper Collins. Delecourt. FREAKING DISNEY. *falls over* Sorry. That just awakens dreams of 'movie deal'. I KNOW they are pipe dreams... long shots... but SO BAD, I would love to just be able to WRITE!

You don't think Disney gives you demerits for calling them FREAKING DISNEY do you?  Because ohmygawd, they are FREAKING DISNEY! Seriously... I know some of these are bigger names in publishing. I will be THRILLED if any of them love it (though not as thrilled as if they go to battle and have an auction about me *sigh*  (a girl can dream, yes?)) That was just the name that I hear 'cha ching' with...

Oh, man... I am possibly punch drunk and giddy thinking about this, but I will be panicking again soon. Stick around. It should be amusing.... for you.