Sunday, October 31, 2010

Zipping It

[Note:  all images are Google images and nobody I know]

Halo fine peoples! Today, in addition to being probably my favorite holiday, is also a WRAP for a couple things.


I technically won here, but I have some hesitation saying so because while I blogged every day (the rules) October was a crazy BLUR and I didn't get around to nearly as many other bloggers as I should have. I had a fair amount of growth in October (follower-wise, I mean), but I think most of that was do to the Blogger Crusade and Guesting stuff... I am behind with the blog tag tit-for-tat thing, and I have some making up to do.

So if you dropped in HERE for the first time in October, and I MISSED IT somehow, PLEASE give a shout. It's my intent to follow back followers and to comment back on commenters... and when things are regular, to get people into my blog roll.

Editing Marathon

I have managed to SUCCEED getting LEGACY edited for this particular draft. I have a fair amount of writing and editing to do in the NEXT draft but I have a very detail list of what needs to go in WHERE—a full plan for how to get it REALLY DONE. So I am pleased there. I will do THAT in December.

The Cozy: all my changes from peer readers are in (and there was much rejoicing), and I have read out loud 250+ pages of it. While I have 50 more pages to read and all the CHANGES from the read left to put in, I think this was pretty darned good work. So feeling good there, too... Though it means today is still SWAMPED.

What that means? Today's blog is SHORT! Just a couple little monsters to share.

I WISH I'd been carrying my camera Friday. I went to the library to return a couple DVDs and they were having a pre-school Halloween parade-- dozens of tiny people in costume. They seemed to be mostly animals and bugs (there might have been a 'no scary costume' rule—I was surprised though at the lack of Disney or Superhero characters. But the BEST? An ARMADILLO!

Everyone have a fabulous Halloween!!!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Y Chromosomes

I thought why not just complete the set, ne?

You know how you are suppose to write what you know? Well this may shock y'all, but I'm not a boy. So this is a topic I need to approach with a lot of RESEARCH.

My early research was severely handicapped. I have no brothers. My dad died when I was young. I DID have boy cousins, but they are BOY cousins... they would give you the idea every boy was... Rambo or something. At least when they were young, they were SUPER aggressive, rough and tumble, guns, war-play, hit-a-lot types... not with me—they knew not to hit girls, but they gave an exaggerated view.

The boys at school occasionally confirmed this—a couple were the same way.

Now I had a boy who was a close friend... his mom baby sat me... but HE was the kind of boy who used to argue with me about who got to be Pebbles... if you know what I mean. (a kid that looking BACK it is east to spot that by age 4, he was solidly gay)

Can you see why I was confused? The extremes and not many in betweens?

So I decided to research the matter thoroughly...

This took as many boys as I could possibly acquire and very careful examination. Here is what I learned:

Some men are hairy: And from talking to girlfriends, some really dig this... you know... the difference between men and women and all... they like to run their fingers through it... Me? I find it gets tangled in the wheels when I pull out the frozen hot wheels...

Other men have bare chests, though I have it on good authority that most of these models, body builders and people getting their pictures taken get these bare chests by shaving at least some portion of it. I think I see stubble here, though I have an active imagination...

Here... let me look up chest hair frequency... Hmph... all I'm seeing is Caucasians have more than black or Asian men, but among Caucasians it is more common with darker skin tones...

And some men get superbuff... over-buff, in my opinion... but maintail the ability to pose like a ten-year-old girl showing off her new dress.

But mostly I learned that there are some truly perfect specimens of men out there...

So there you have it... My knowledge of the Y chromosome...

Friday, October 29, 2010


Whereby I torture the cat. *cough*

I should give my disclaimer first that I know pretty much NOTHING about biological sciences that I hadn't learned by high school graduation. But I like puzzles, see... so I was turning the water on for the cat this morning (she likes to drink from the faucet in the bathroom) and looking at her coloring. She has a tortoise-shell coat, but the white belly and socks that make her technically a calico, but if you look really closely at the orange parts... which means really, her left front leg and shoulder, which are almost completely orange (other than that she has tiny little orange tufts through the black.

I've always said she looked like an orange tabby who got rolled in charcoal, but she missed that one leg.

But THAT got me thinking... see... orange kitties are almost always MALE... Calicos are ALWAYS female. WHY WOULD THAT BE?


(and I swear I've never looked this up... in fact maybe when I get half done, I will look it up and check how my puzzle solving skills are working).

Anyway... my THEORY is that cat fur color is in some way associate with the X chromosome... and that some traits are dominant, some are recessive, and ORANGE is equally strong with the strength of 'black and white' (possibly even just 'black'--no clue what portion of torties are female)... but that CALICO, like hazel eyes, has to result when the two dominant traits come together, and only cats with 2 Xs have two X chromosomes, so they are the only ones that can combine that way.

See? Doesn't my cat look like a cross of the two?

And what does this have to do with anything?

This logical “how could this happen with what I have” is my FAVORITE game in writing. I love finding something that is either a true fact in the universe, or already present in my story that will explain something I need to happen. That puzzle solving gives me a rush.

So there... that is what I have today.

I'm off work today and Monday. I took today to edit my Cozy and LEGACY (to continue over the weekend) so I can send the Cozy to my agent on Monday and put this round of LEGACY to bed until NaNoWriMo is over. My boss, who is fabulously supportive, called yesterday and said she'd also arranged a massage... so after a morning of hard editing, I get to go have a full body massage.

Can I get a Woot Woot!?

So I won't be around much today... hopefully I will make speedy, fabulous progress and can pop in in the afternoon, but Thing 2 is also intent on carving Jack-o-lanterns, so I will have to play it by ear...

I love you guys!

HA!  Just looked it up!  Orange, at least IS X-Chromosome related!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


[erm... posted prematurely... always early to the party, I guess... this is THURSDAY'S blog]

Hallo, fine friends! It's Thursday and you know what that means!!! Everybody get Naked! NOW!

I thought additionally, we could throw a little Thursday party with lots of good news going around! (and there is oodles of it (or at least a few significant pieces...)

Cruella's Going Japanese!!!

Long time friend and fellow Burrower, Cruella, is finishing her Master's thesis within the month, but that's not done, so it isn't my news. BUT, she has had a couple job interviews of late... and she got a DREAM internship for someone wanting a life in international politics. She has been offered (and accepted) an Internship with the Norwegian Embassy in Tokyo, Japan!!! I am SO thrilled for her, and only a little sad that this venture to Japan will not include the teachings of Professor Wedgie.

[Digression in Cruella's honor: When she was in Japan as an exchange student she had an economics professor who talked OFTEN about wages... with his accent, it was wedgies... you can imagine about how equity of wedgies, and unhappiness with wedgies and wedgies satisfaction caused untold giggles for the semester she was in Japan the first time.]

Book Contract for Clarissa!

This one includes a groovy shout out to Karen, too. Karen Gowen hosted her series of 'lettuce' contests, remember? One of them, the Lettuce Write, asked for submissions [I think queries] for a publishing house-- 6 full manuscripts were requested and one, our very own Clarissa Draper [Clarissa Draper] has been offered a contract!

Congratulations, Clarissa!


You heard me. Holly Ruggiero had a Blogiversary and designed this FABULOUS little 'you were there' award for her readers, AND I LOVE IT!!!!

Tart X 2

Pucker up! My sister Tart, Jan, at Tartitude has passed on a specially designed award to MOI! YAY! I get presents at my own party! (love it when that happens!)



Cate Gardner at Strange Men in Pinstripe Suits had a book release contest a while back and I WON package B (seems to me I got to designate which I wanted). They arrived today!

Look at this! House of Fallen Trees is a novel that looks FABULOUS by Gina Ranalli, Glass Coffin Girls is a collection of spooky short stories by Paul Jessup, The Long Way is a standalone short story by Ramsey Campbell, the flowery book is blank, and perfectly sized to carry so I never have to lose ideas to be unprepared... and then finally, a very Halloweenish book of illustrations with 51 Fiendish Ways to Leave Your Lover that include ideas ranging from rude: “Ask her mother out when you are there visiting together,” to morbid: “shoot yourself at his wedding as they say, “I do,” screaming, “I did.” Some are pretty funny: “buying wax lips and lipstick and making kiss marks on your underwear.” Pretty darned amuzing, and as Mr. Tart is still being Underpants, I probably get more chuckle than I should...

Say... somebody else is curious...

This cracked me up. I had no idea the cat preferred certain genres... Apparently she likes horror. Who know!

Voice It!

I've got a double entendre title today, so THERE! HA!

Okay, so maybe I'm trying to make it more exciting than it is... the themes have very little to do with each other, but both can be termed that way, so I thought it was fitting for V.

Voicing it: A Case For Reading Out Loud

So, I got feedback from my first (well, second, actually) readers recently, and one that I got Monday suggested some of my dialog might benefit from reading out loud... actually, I don't think she said THAT exactly, so much that some of it was sort of bland, and I'd just SEEN a suggestion for reading aloud and I put the two together... or something like that. My memory is a chaotic convoluted place, but somehow the idea was planted.

So I've been walking to and from work reading my MS out loud. You heard me. I am WALKING. And Reading. Out loud. Now you may laugh, but do you know what I found that very first stretch of sidewalk? My MC opened a door, and two paragraphs later a different character opened the same one FOR her (hell, both of them THREW the doors open *frowns*)

I've also caught a couple typos that even my super-beta missed, and have done a couple word changes.

And yes, because I know you're wondering, I have a pen in my hand and also write edits while I walk. Did I mention it is dark when I walk to work, so I hurry between streetlights, because it is only there where I can really see?

Certifiable. I'm aware.

My Point, HA! Is that this reading it out loud thing REALLY works! I strongly recommend it when you get to late rounds of polishing!

Voicing it: Political Season

There are a WHOLE LOT of people out there expressing a WHOLE LOT of opinions right now. And so I am going to make all of you a recommendation. Different people approach it very differently, and I think we should perhaps be 'Defensive Readers'. Know how as a driver there are dare devils, super-competents, safe, but cautious, dangerous... People are like that about their politics. And what I am suggesting to YOU is KNOW what you like.

Dare Devils: Some people LOVE a debate. They don't care if it gets nasty—they just like to argue their opinion. They thrive on it. They want the argument. On the road, these people should go to a race track so they only hurt other like people. I periodically like such a debate, but I want one with... you know... helmets and safety harnesses (aka: rules of conduct). I am happy to debate someone with different politics in a friendly, well-moderated environment. Arleebird has thrown out some topics that I am in the minority on, and I express myself, and it is usually relatively friendly debate. I know myself well enough though, to only go into such a debate when I'm in a MOOD to deal with it. And I NEVER dive in if it looks too nasty. I'm just not interested in the mudslinging.

Competent Roadsters: These folks are driving passionately but not really looking for a fight—however there are occasionally dangerous others, that because they are on the busy roads, driving defensively, will get rammed. I watch NotHannah speak from the heart, passionately and knowledgeably (probably helps that I usually agree with her... okay... so far as I know ALWAYS agree), but I've seen hit and run disasters blast her (usually on Facebook). Lisa is another great one--I think these Georgia liberals have to learn to be articulate because they are surrounded... I always try to lend support if I see it and know about the topic, but you go on the busy roads, it is just gunna happen sometimes...

Cautious Drivers: These people avoid the debates at all costs. They are not interested in politics and don't want to get caught in the traffic. They still are subjected to the run of the mill stuff we all get (ads, facebook messages) but they refuse to engage, not clicking any links or commenting on any statuses that are political. They still might get sideswiped, but the chances are lower.

I tend to change modes, depending on where I am. I don't like any meanness, but I like a good debate, given the right mood. However, in the places I KNOW people, I am very aware that many lifetime friends have different politics, so I try to gauge how calm and rational they can be in debate... there are few topics I will insert in someone elses' conversation. I DO post things that really hit home, but usually humorous, and I try not to be too inflammatory—at least on Facebook. Here I rarely hit anything... but on other people's blogs, I do on occasion.

So get out there and happy debating! And don't be afraid to express your opinions. But be careful to only GO the places you can handle, and WATCH for those timid types who are maybe in over their head—be nice to them. Anybody being a jerk on the other hand? Have attem!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Alex Cavanaugh ROCKS!

It's my turn!!!! Squeeeee! If you don't know that Alex had a book release last week, you maybe should check just how out of touch you've been... Alex has been EVERYWHERE! And you know what that's a sign of? Truly impressive networking that has earned Alex not just FOLLOWERS but FRIENDS, willing to help him out. He's doing this stuff exactly right. Alex's Blog  has gone from 30-400 followers in just seven months—that is BAFFLING growth, but it's because he's done the legwork... and has been a darned nice guy about it.

So today Alex and I have traded places... I am HOPEFULLY at his blog today (if NOT, it was my SNAFU—I sent him stuff on Saturday... or thought I did... last night I spotted it in my drafts *dies* but I might be there...)

As for Alex, he is definitely HERE, speaking of, ironically, SNAFUs...

Welcome Alex!

"Writing Snafus"

Thanks for hosting, Hart! My goal is to give your readers hope and an opportunity to laugh at my expense.

We all make mistakes with our first manuscript. Some we catch, some we wish we’d caught before another human being read our work. So here, without further ado, are some of my writing snafus.

My test readers were the first victims. After reviewing a couple chapters, one pointed out a small issue with the dialogue. “Your characters sound like girls.” To my dismay, I realized he was correct. My all-male cast of characters was over-emoting, like a pack of thirteen-year-old girls at a Justin Bieber concert. (Do I lose man-points for that?) With some assistance, we went back through the manuscript, adjusted the dialogue, and my fighter pilots were jocks (and wore jocks) once more.

These critical readers noticed a few other items. I’d failed to provide the alien race with a concrete reason for attacking the Cassans. Insert new scene to explain and define their motivation for being invading dill weeds. Another reader reached one of the last chapters and asked, “What the hell is a Darten?” I’d mentioned it several times (and no, it’s not one of the Three Musketeers) but failed to mention it was a smaller, one-seater fighter. Insert a couple lines earlier in the story.

Yes, these guys were picky, but that helped me survive the first two round of edits with my publisher. That process involved adding a prologue so my story would start with a bang. I made the required corrections, returned the manuscript, and review copies were printed.

When I received my copy, there was a note – I needed to address a couple more issues. One was in regards to the press plates that activated doors. In half the scenes, the touch of a hand was required to open doors. In the other half? You guessed it! No touching required – just the wave of a hand over the device (and some dancing.) I liked that idea better (minus the dancing) so I changed all the scenes to reflect motion sensitivity. (Just kidding – no dancing ever!)

The last problem was a biggie. My characters use telepathy, and internal dialogue occasionally had the tag ‘he thought.’ I’d been asked to remove the remainder of that line – the dreaded ‘to himself.’ So, I eliminated them. Or so I thought, until I saw the tersely written note - “No, really – remove ALL ‘to himself.” Yikes, I’d missed a bunch! Okay, I missed almost all of them. Oh, the horror… Somewhere out there is a reviewer who thinks I am a total idiot when it comes to proper grammar.

So, to all the writers out there who feel mortified by your mistakes – just try and top my snafus. I dare you!

Alex J. Cavanaugh


CassaStar by Alex J. Cavanaugh
October 19, 2010 Science fiction/adventure/space opera
ISBN 9780981621067 Dancing Lemur Press LLC

To pilot the fleet’s finest ship…

Few options remain for Byron. A talented but stubborn young man with a troubled past and rebellious attitude, his cockpit skills are his only hope. Slated to train as a Cosbolt fighter pilot, Byron is determined to prove his worth and begin a new life as he sets off for the moon base of Guaard.

Much to Byron’s chagrin, the toughest instructor in the fleet takes notice of the young pilot. Haunted by a past tragedy, Bassa eventually sees through Byron's tough exterior and insolence. When a secret talent is revealed during training, Bassa feels compelled to help Byron achieve his full potential.

As war brews on the edge of space, time is running short. Byron requires a navigator of exceptional quality to survive, and Bassa must make a decision that could well decide the fate of both men. Will their skills be enough as they embark on a mission that may stretch their abilities to the limit?

“…calls to mind the youthful focus of Robert Heinlein’s early military sf, as well as the excitement of space opera epitomized by the many Star Wars novels. Fast-paced military action and a youthful protagonist make this a good choice for both young adult and adult fans of space wars.” - Library Journal


Links to purchase:


Barnes & Noble


Also available in eBook format for Kindle, iPad, Nook, and others


Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design and graphics. He’s experienced in technical editing and worked with an adult literacy program for several years. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Currently he lives in the Carolinas with his wife.

Monday, October 25, 2010


So you've all heard the phrase 'bit off more than you could chew'? But how many of you have LITERALLY done that? Had your mouth SO FULL that you couldn't put your teeth together to break down the parts... worried about breathing in case you asphyxiated on something in your mouth... had to probe with your tongue and wait for aid from your salivation glands to start to break down the mass in your mouth.

When my daughter was about 3, she shoved a whole pancake in her mouth. This is something like that. What I have done is the figurative of the literal, and I know that sounds like nonsense, I just wanted you to be REALLY CLEAR about the sensation... there is so much I am almost incapacitated... yet I am not a person to go to the trash and spit part of it out. Hell, I even forgot to grab a napkin, as usual... This is a stubbornness thing... and also a refusal to buy into 'that's not ladylike', so potentially tied to feminism *shifty*.

Let me e'splain...


One week from today I will dive into NaNoWriMo.

Just so you know, I still plan to blog probably 5 days a week, but they may be shorter, and some of the content may be me flying by the seat of my pantslessness... I've got a file of helpful writing posts I've been collecting... maybe I will share some of THOSE. Whatever the case, I am keen on diving into the writing. Just so you all know where I am in PREP... I am planning on Storyboarding before starting, since I am writing a mystery and that seemed to work well for the Cozy... For MORE on that... what I've done, what I need to do, to get the storyboard written, check out tomorrow's post at Burrowers, Books and Balderdash[].

Under the Wire

What the START date means though, is a DEADLINE for a dozen other things.

1)  The Cozy Deadline... Oh, the REAL deadline is December 31, but I want my AGENT to have some time, and then I want some time, so I figured getting it to HER Nov. 1, and hoping for it BACK from her Dec. 1 was PERFECT... you know... for allowing me to WriMo and all... I have received feedback from several fabulous Burrowers, (plus my Cozy Guru, Elizabeth) and have some changes to get in THIS WEEK.
2)  The LEGACY rewrite... this isn't the FINAL rewrite, of course, but I am committed to THIS rewrite before the WriMo. (December I will incorporate notes, and in January I will clean it—THEN it will be done...
3)  Blogging: Not only have I committed to NaBloWriMo this month... I also joined the Blogging Crusade and have somehow ended up with 6 guest blogs to write... I LOVE having people invite me... the TIMING though, is making this just a little stressful. I have my OWN blog daily, a Burrow Blog once or twice a week, and then these guest blogs... Oi...


Okay, so underpants has nothing to do with this section, but calling my husband underpants at the moment is about the nicest thing I can think of. He's being a toad... he and my daughter are warring, and he was being unreasonable Friday night. He's not happy I took her side *rolls eyes *

So there we have it... the stress that is my life... I am making progress... I will do it all... but somehow I keep feeling on the verge of going under.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Tart Twins

As an only child, it may shock you, but I keep discovering twins... Oh, I hear you Poo Pooing me... twins are sets of TWO after all, and how could I keep accumulating more, but they are each twins in different ways, so today I though I'd honor them...

Tam & Tam

My first twin was a name twin. We met when we were all of about four... that is... those are the first interactions I remember—you see, our moms know each other. And were are not only both Tams but when we met, Tammy Anns... (I rebelled and changed my first name spelling for first grade). We sort of knew each other all the way through and friendly, but we ran in different circles, had different classes... so until we got to high school, we didn't hang out much.

In high school though, we had biology together and sat together... and at a time my OTHER friends went through frequent rounds of bitchiness, it was really NICE to have somebody fresh to hang out with... and by fresh, I mean... like me. Man, we had fun. We had the freedom to be a little ridiculous in ways I know I really couldn't with my other friends, and we laughed A LOT.

Tam & Toiya

My next twin I met the first day I moved into my freshman dorm... I arrived the first day of move-in and my roommate not until the second, and so I sat with my door open to meet the other girls on my floor and the first two to pop in were Geri and Toiya... and Toiya had the unusual distinction of being AS TALL AS ME! (that is rare to this day, but in my home town it was pretty unheard of)--especially not among hip, fun women. It didn't take long for Toiya and I to begin introducing ourselves as twins. People's expressions were half the fun, as you can probably SEE why we usually surprised them a little with the news... We sure had fun though.

Leslie and her Evil Twin (can you see the Tart influence?)

This one began in an online writing forum where Jason [the third Burrower in this story)--Leslie and I were already friends, but didn't know each other well—but I digress..]. Anyway, Jason said he liked blondes with glasses. And I said (being me), “Say... I'm a blonde with glasses...” And then I clarified about NOT actually being blonde anymore, having the uncolor hair between blonde, brown and red, and that it was rather fluffy... but I identified blonde, from when I was a kid.

Leslie chimed in that she ALSO had fluffy uncolor hair and glasses, and added, “don't tell me you're six foot, too...”

DOH! I'm 5'11”! Leslie and are are indistinguishable!

My Thursday Twin

Natasha, who most of you know as Rayna, and I discovered our twinhood rather slowly. We met discussing Harry Potter theory, writing... and what Natasha and I share largely is PERCEPTION. I've never met someone who looked at things so closely to the way I look at things... who, given the same information, makes the same attributions and comes to the same conclusions... it was only later we learned we were both born on the 4th Thursday in June.

It continues to amaze me how two people who externally seem so different, can look at the world so similarly... Natasha also holds the distinction of being the first person, once I'd come out as a fan fiction writer, to say I needed to write a REAL book, and she invited me to my spot in the Burrow.

Silly Simon

My most recent twin is a man. You heard me. I have a MAN-Twin... That makes him a MAN-TART. (I think he embraces that) Simon seems to share my sassy, devil-may-care approach to... you know... stuff... it just seems what I say, he agrees with and what he says I agree with, and we both are... sort of out there...

Now this list is not to limit all the fabulous like minds and kinship feelings I have for MANY more of you... There are dozens of people I feel particularly close too, and far more than THAT that I really enjoy interacting with often... this is just the set who have some deep way they are REALLY LIKE ME... Twin material...

Saturday, October 23, 2010


So you may not know this about me, but... I'm a big cheater!

Okay, so not usually, but I am killing two birds with one stone with today's blog... You see... Rachael, at Rach Writes has issued a Blogger Crusade Challenge in which we needed to start a blog with that! HA! My CHEATING comes into play because I am using it to link to a post I wrote already... But here... I will use the phrase again to make up for it...

You may not know this about me, but a couple weeks ago I tried out to be a guest blog for Nathan. I'm not that serious a wannabe (really I'd rather just dress him up and make him dance like I like) but the chance to reach a darned big audience tempted me... and I succumbed... I deserve a spanking.

But I promised HERE that if I didn't make it THERE, I would share it with you anyway... you get me better than all those silliness peeps anyway... (okay, maybe WE are the silliness peeps, but we sure seem to have a lot more fun and a fair amount less pretense... not NATHAN—I am thankful for what he does, but I frequently get annoyed with his commentors, even if I sometimes AM one. --is my hypocrisy showing?)

So REALLY rather than being a big cheater, I just am sort of sneaksy as to how I apply the rules...

Now without further ado... my GUEST POST THAT WASN'T!

Bloginality:  The The Type of Bloggers and their Attitudes

I recently had a heated debate with one of my writing peeps.  You see... she doesn't blog.  She thinks we are all a lot of brown-nosing ninnies, blowing smoke up each others' skirts.  And while I am not opposed to a little skirt peeping (provided they are kilts, worn in the traditional 'commando' manner, I mean) I just couldn't take the disrespect, so I decided to assess the VIEW of blogging from the viewpoint of blogger 'types'.

Pre-blogger:  "What a bunch of literary masturbation that is! A bunch of people all writing about themselves and screaming, 'Hey!  Come look at ME!  Read what I have to say!'" *cough*  Masturbation is engaged in by billions... it is ENJOYABLE.  Some people even like to WATCH (can I say that here? Was I supposed to stick to PG?)

Promo-blogger: "My agent and editor said I have to blog... 365 days all about my book, book and more book!  But dang it, why doesn't anybody ever return?" Okay kind friend... because we read about the BOOK the first time.  If you say nothing new, I don't need to come back.  In fact... if I didn't know about the book ALREADY, I probably wouldn't have wandered in.

Eager-Beaver-blogger:  "HEY!  I can get an agent this way!  If I follow all the agent blogs and make really clever comments, they will pick ME!  This is GREAT!" These folks are a little like Jack Russells... real cute until they annoy you to death.  They are NOT however, as smart as Jack Russells.  Getting agents by blog is a 1 in 132,000,000 shot. (yes, I'm a statistician)

Anti-blogger: "It's prostitution!  You are out there begging for comliments and nobody is going to tell you what they really think.  You've sold out!"  Oh, sweetness... ALL business is prostitution.  If you ever want to get published, you are going to have to prostitute yourself a little bit.  If you give in to the FUN part of it, it is much less painful.  If you refuse to engage, then your book will likely never get read. If you get naked, maybe you will be a best seller one day.

Follower-frenzied blogger:  "If I follow everyone and their dog, and hold giveaways and contests, and enter every blogfest, I will soon have a thousand followers!"  You might.  You might not.  This is the suck-up from high school who KNEW everybody but nobody liked because they were incapable of true friendship.  The followers WILL probably show up... the readers will go away again because there is no reciprocity.

Networking blogger:  "You know... I can't keep up well, if I try to keep up with everyone, so I am going to pare down my blogroll to the bloggers I really read, and I will follow people I can count on when I really need to work the system."  This smart cookie of a blogger has a ton of helpful links, passes on EVERYBODY'S contests and promos, and is really fighting the good fight.  But she is probably not nurturing HERSELF.  Some people may LOVE this, but it takes a certain personality.

Enlightened blogger: "I do this because I enjoy it.  If people like me, they will come.  If I like them, I will follow them back.  But I'm not too worried about the hype.  I am just processing.  It's all good." I envy this person, not worried at all about the hit counters or the follower numbers... only reading what they have time for, content with a handful of comments a day (because the commenters they have REALLY LOVE THEM.

As for me, I suppose I am a masturbating, networking prostitute.  I've always said, if you want people to keep coming back, you either need to be helpful or entertaining, and I'm not really a utility model.


So there you have it... I think Nathan just may not have wanted to be so naughty... definitely a man in need of lingerie training...

Friday, October 22, 2010


And in case you don't read Norwegian, it says:  "Caesar says we can switch to sandals, but we have to keep the skirts."

This just tickles my cross-dressing fancy to no end, and I will give you three guesses (though chances are you only need one) as to where this came from... Oh, sure, I know three Norwegians, but only one passes me comics on a regular basis

This of course REMINDED me of my very favorite depiction of Romans in EXISTENCE....

This scene is hysterical.  Haiw Caesaw!

And I thought you needed some You Tube Links to my favorite scenes:

The Stoning

Biggus Dickus

And the one all writers should love best: Romans Go Home

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Quirky or Quacked?

This really elegant post of Elizabeth Mueller's yesterday reminded me of an experience I had not so long ago... it is so funny, because Elizabeth's post was touching and warm and fuzzy.  This experience was... not that... in fact I'd venture to say it fit well for Delusional Thursday...

So picture the lovely fall day in Ann Arbor... the sky is blue, the air is brisk for no coat but too warm for a coat... the Tart, always erring on the side of fewer clothes, has her coat hanging from her backpack and is reading a book (Mockingjay, I think).

A little old man who looks marginally professorly says, "Oh, is that a good book?" as she passes.

The Tart, knowing she is overly reclusive, and loving the book, slows to tell him a little about it.

"Oh, I don't really read much."


"I write."

AHA!  So the Tart thinks she has found a kindred spirit and asks him what kind of writing he DOES.

He proceeds to pull a notebook out of his coat pocket. Two by three inches, I swear.  He opens it and pulls out one of those little pencil stubs you can imagine GOING with said notebook.  Then he OPENS the notebook to show me he does indeed WRITE in it... Weather.  Things he bought.  Things he needs.

Can you see me dying a little?  I don't want to OFFEND this little old man, but that was NOT what I was thinking!

So anyway, I hope all of your Thursday delusions are more satisfactory, and if all else fails, you KNOW what Thursday is for! 


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Prose, Plot and Personality

I see things every once in a while about improving prose... I read things from fellow bloggers who ponder every single word. And I LOVE reading a work that holds EXACTLY the right language. But you know what? It's not me.

Oh, don't get me wrong... I PARTICULARLY love a nice double entendre, either to amplify meaning, because innuendo is my favorite thing, or to give double possibility and therefore mystery.

But I can't write literary fiction. I just don't have the personality to think about EVERY WORD... I am more an 'eh, close enough' kind of gal. What I want JUST RIGHT is the STORY.

Now I don't think the two are mutually exclusive, but I think that weaving a plot with a lot of twists and turns is a different animal from choosing really beautiful language, and honestly, with a complicated plot, literary language is just going to stop up and confuse the reader—the mind is already having to jump to keep up with the STORY. Adding language that you have to slow down and savor could easily cause the reader to get LOST.

Pass It On

So I thought maybe I'd share a couple things with you... opportunities, advice, blog recommendations...

Blog Crusade:  nervous as the idea of a crusade makes me, Rachael has a goal of compiling a list of the WRITERS who BLOG to connect us, and that seems an admirable aim.  We have had a ton of it happen around here, organically, but why not add another route, eh?

That in mind, I think I am going to put together a post of all my followers and their blogs... this will take AGES, but then there should be easy reference for my readers to see who else is here and what else they might be interested in.

And the Query Letter Manifesto (and the second part the next day) is a FABULOUS reality check for all you queryers.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Robin Cain: NAKED!

So there is nothing better I like than getting naked, yes? And I ADORE a guest who has done her homework (not to mention one who writes in one of my genres and seems to have a VERY exciting book!), so I am THRILLED today.

I need to give a shout first though, today is the FOR REALS book release for Alex Cavanaugh and CassaStar! I can't imagine I have any readers who don't already know Alex, because he has this blog thing worked to an art form, but today is REALLY the first day you can get his book and don't you want to be his first?

Okay, now back to our regularly scheduled blog.

You remember a while ago I posted (nearly snarky) 'if you want to blog here' rules? My REASON is that I love all of YOU and want people who guest post to be writing for YOU instead of just generically promoting... Robin is a SUPERSTAR... she totally took me seriously, even though I am only a little scary, and she has guest posted EXACTLY for you.

Robin Cain lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with her husband, daughter, three dogs, three horses and donkey. As a novelist and regular contributing writer for an online publication, she spends her days searching for the perfect words to amuse, enlighten and touch her readers. By reading her work, you’ve not only helped make her dreams come true, but others as well.

Welcome Robin!

Naked, nakeder, nakedest?

When offered a guest post on this blog, I have to admit I stumbled a little bit. It’s not easy to get noticed when standing next to someone who has a witty sense of humor and unique writing style, but I’ve found the only way to learn from someone is to emulate their habits for a bit, see how it feels and just see what new ideas come through by osmosis. So now….

I AM NAKED!  (Tart note: warms my heart!)

Sure, you laugh and roll your eyes (what lengths will an author go to get noticed?!?), but I figured there must be something to this. I mean, freeing oneself from restrictions, constrictions, confines or that little-too-tight waistband can’t hurt, right?

Writing isn’t always easy – even on the best day – so why not? We writers get in the habit of our little spaces, our just-so work places, our special pens, and our certain weighted paper. Why not shake it up a bit? Maybe our stories, our characters, our plots could use a little diversion – if not a little laughter (I don’t know about you, but my nakedness isn’t going to warrant a call from a modeling agency any time soon). Maybe freeing ourselves from the ‘normal’ is just what we, oft-stumped writers, need.
Like any ‘routine’, the act of writing can get stagnant.

Ever read an author whose books have become formulaic? Or an author whose endings always seem to be ‘happily ever after’? How about one who can’t seem to get past the overuse of exclamation points or the monotonous boring sex scenes? Dull, duller and DULLEST! Maybe if authors stripped themselves of everything extraneous, they, too, could find something a little out of their typically comfortable box.

My point – and not that one session of nakedness has made me a scholar – is that for an author to stand out, to be noticed, in this ever-expanding crowd of authors, we have to push the edges, maybe go for the not-to-tried and true. We need to stretch ourselves and our writing minds. Readers want to be entertained – not be given the same old story, hashed and re-hashed. Characters who come alive, who speak to them by doing a little something different than what they themselves would do is what every book buyer craves.

You say you can’t seem to get there today? Plot line got you a little bogged down? Your writing brain is a little foggy? You know, Albert Einstein would define that as insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

I’m sitting here naked and, 15 minutes and 432 words later, I’ve had an epiphany. Just imagine what altering your writing routine might just do for you…

@ 2010 Robin Cain
Robin Cain lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with her husband, daughter, three dogs, three horses and donkey. As a novelist and regular contributing writer for The Examiner, she spends her days searching for the perfect words to amuse, enlighten and touch her readers. By reading her work, you’ve not only helped make her dreams come true, but other’s dreams as well.

A percentage of the proceeds of her book, WHEN DREAMS BLEED, will be donated to the American non-profit organization To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA), which aims to present hope and find help for people struggling with problems such as depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide.

To learn more about Robin or read an excerpt from her book, please visit her website:

A software genius with a knack for business, Frank Campelletti’s been living the dream his whole life. He’s amassed money, success, and is now accumulating women, but someone out there thinks he’s gone too far.

Who is seeking revenge and why? His wife? His mistress? Or the shadow who’s been following his every move?

Just when he thinks he has anticipated his opponent’s next move a tragic car accident leaves him paralyzed, his life’s work is being stolen and his wife has disappeared. Just how far will someone go to teach him the correlation between deception and despair?

WHEN DREAMS BLEED examines temptation and the ensuing consequences in a contemporary world. It’s no secret that dreams come at a price, but what happens WHEN DREAMS BLEED?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Movies about Writing

So I am also at
Burrowers, Books & Balderdash today...

So when I ran across Jennee's Blog Hop at Cheap Therapy, a couple movies easily came to mind. Most easily were Throw Mama From the Train and Romancing the Stone came to mind—both movies I saw a long time ago, before my writer's identity had solidified... but I felt like... if the movies I can THINK OF are movies I really love, then this is a sunset of movies that speaks to me. It isn't a giant group.... though I ran across several I'd LIKE to see...

Deathtrap: I love Michael Cain—and as a self-indulgent gay writer taking advantage of 'student' Christopher Reeve, there is a little beauty in this one... The teacher (with little recent success) plans to steal from the clever student, but this plotted murder ends up with aspects of thriller and comedy...

Sideways: I really enjoyed this 'bachelor party' trip to wine country—the 'groom' and his friend the writer. Their adventures are amusing (though the groom is a jerk).

Naked Lunch: William S. Burrows was apparently one TWISTED MoFo... if you know what I mean. This movie was all SORTS of strange, but oddly appealed to me anyway. I still get flashes of the horny attacking type-writer... just... weird. But weird like a train wreck—I couldn't look away.

The Shining: Oh, I hope my writing never finds me writing hundreds of pages of 'all work and no play makes the Tart a dull girl'... no matter HOW true the statement. This is a tough movie for me because I liked the book SO MUCH better, but it is still a darned good movie.

The Big Chill: I had forgotten this, but ran across it in my quest for writing movies. Jeff Goldblum plays a Tabloid Journalist in this exquisite movie about college friends brought back together for the funeral of a friend.

Body Heat: This twisted tale of betrayal and hot sex is pretty darned good. It's pretty messed up, but I like it that way.

Romancing the Stone: This came out when I was in... what, Jr. High? And is an early one where I realized how delighted I was by a writer's story. The MC has writer's block and gets a package from her sister leading on a treasure hunt... and then writes the romance... it's fabulous stuff, in that very over-the-top adventure way.

Throw Mama From the Train: I ADORE this one—this is on my favorite list of MOVIES let alone movies about writers. The night was hot and wet. The night was moist... *snort* OH the search for the perfect word...

Leaving Las Vegas: I am a major Nicholas Cage fan ANYWAY, but this compelling, dark story about a writer who decides to drink himself to death is one of those that just leaves you stunned. How can life go SO WRONG? Though the alcoholism, the family that has left, and the writing career rejecting his latest stuff gives some 'too close to home' hints.

Shakespeare in Love: I am not normally a 'romance' lover, but this historical setting, ironic set-up (the background of performing Romeo and Juliet when so much of the play APPLIED) and cross dressing won me over. It was just VERY well done.

And there are a couple writing movies I need to see now that I've LOOKED at writing movies... I definitely want to see Henry and June, In a Lonely Place (Classic with Humphrey Boggart), Iris (about Iris Murdoch), My Favorite Year and Adaptation with Nicholas Cage...

Added on recommendation:  The Hours, Finding Forrester, To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar, Stranger than Fiction, Adaptation,

So there you have it... my writing movies...

And just as a heads up...

Tomorrow Robin Cain gets NAKED! (she has given in to the tart effect) and Alex Cavanaugh releases his BOOK!!! Wahoo!!! So tomorrow is a can't miss day around here!

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Okay, so my son was invited to a movie night Friday with both girls and boys... he's a 7th grade boy... At the same time my daughter had a swim meet (which she couldn't swim at, as she'd been sick that day, but I'd committed to selling concessions and the hubby was signed up for timing), PLUS, it was picture night, so daughter went for those and to cheer, even if she couldn't swim after missing school.

On a side note, daughter came in first in her heat last week—it was the 'other heat' so not the state-bound superstars, but it has lit a fire under her and she is excited about swimming again, where before it was only a 'means to waterpolo'. But I digress (and there was much rejoicing)

So anyway... drove son to this GIRL'S house (heard girls a couple houses away shrieking about him by name—my GAWD how embarrassing to have a stereotypically POPULAR child), and walked him to the door, through much balking and embarrassment on his part, and asked for the 'responsible adult'--just to ensure there WAS one, and to ensure this 'party of sorts' wasn't a surprise to the parents.

The dad? *fans self* (not at ALL unlike the man to the right) He was a darling man... cute in a sort of precious way (and by precious I mean had a nice smile and a dimple)... but... OHMYGAWD... the Irish accent gets me... BAD... especially when saying things like 'rules' and 'I'll be checking'. It's possible there was drooling involved.


And because I am really nice, I am going to share a little of my favorite state...

Mt. Hood and Portland, from the West.

Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach--my favorite vacation spot as a teen.

Windsurfing at Hood River--a world famous place for it because the Columbia River provides a constant current and the wind never stops.

And then we have my favorite place in the whole wide world... The Columbia River Gorge...

(isn't it fabulous?!)

 And its prize feature, Multnomah Falls...

So there you have it... two of my weaknesses... I am trusting you not to use them to undermine the Naked World Domination mission.

And finally,...

Orangutan Love

This is an old story, but it is one of my favorites. We decided in late 1999 that we would leave Portland. Our family loved it and it was hard to go, but Oregon followed California into the property tax limitation folly that stopped schools from really PLANNING—taxes being more predictable than allocations of state funds... and Thing One was approaching kindergarten. Besides that, I have an MS in psychology, which in most places means low level jobs, as the high level ones require PhDs and there ARE NO mid-level jobs... except at the Institute for Social Research in Ann Arbor MI... So I started applying for mid-level jobs.

We did a few things before leaving though... spend a long weekend in Lincoln City (the Oregon Coast)... and we went to the ZOO...

Thing 2 was in a stroller at the time (he was less than 2) and we got to the orangutan pen... strolled up... and the big daddy spotted 'the baby'... He is huge. Probably 5'5” but THICK—I bet he weighs 250 or more. He approached the glass and put his hands up in the air and pressed his face against the glass and just STARED. He watched and watched... People started gathering around saying, 'look! He's watching the baby!” (MY baby!) I bet we all stayed locked like that for 10 minutes before big daddy made a kissy face at Thing Two and strolled away. It really is not that mysterious to me how babies end up cared for in the wild—we all love the babies of each others' species. (look what a good dad he is!)

And this just in:  The Burrow needs YOUR HELP to tweak our Weekly Drabble Dare.  Please come give your opinion!