Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Next Big Thing Blogfest

So this little blogfest, The Next Big Thing, is for writers to share our current WIP, whether we are writing it, editing it or promoting it: Your choice.

We are meant to tag five people, and then answer a set of questions, so let me start with Thanking the two people who tagged me: Ia Uaro  (who has a book release technically tomorrow, but as it's Australia, that is almost today)  and Megan Bostic.

And now... the QUESTIONS!

What is the working title of your book?

The one I'm editing right now is called Medium Wrong.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Um... With the idea of a brother and sister taking off on a road trip to run a (series of) cons. The MC and narrator is in high school and her brother gets thrown out for flunking out of college, but she doesn't want to stay home without him.

What genre does your book fall under?

Paranormal YA, I guess. Paranormal mystery? I do sort of a funny waffle where other people want to call it paranormal, but I see it as possible, but never mind... there are dead people communicating.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

See, I'm horrible at this. I am not particularly visual, but I suppose Amanda looks something like this:

Erin Chambers--young like this

She is older now and wouldn't work, but this is sort of the look I have in mind—a longish, lean 'cute' strawberry blonde.

And Asher (her BROTHER, not a love interest... though he GETS a lot of love interest, ifyouknowwhatImean) looks something like this:

Ryan Kwanten from True Blood

He's ALSO older now, but this look that can do both bad boy and sweet innocent is perfect for the brain behind the con.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

It's two sentences, but the second is really short...

Amanda and Asher have watched their dad run cons their whole lives, so when Asher gets thrown out for flunking out of college, they decide to go on the road pretending to bring bereaved messages from the dead. It all works well until the dead start really talking.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I will try for traditional, I think. A little though, depends on the fate of Kahlotus Disposal Site which I keep meaning to query again... This one has a first stop at the Amazon contest in January.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

About six weeks. I do fast first drafts, then it takes about triple that for first rewrite and my version that is ready to SHARE is numbered about 5 (publishable is in the teens).

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I haven't seen anything in YA like it, but the set-up is a little like what Whoopee Goldberg experiences in Ghost... the fraud that suddenly starts having real dead people show up. Only it gets more personal.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

You know... I don't actually remember. I was in the ABNA contest with Kahlotus at the time and that has a ghost narrator, though, so some variation on what I was thinking about there.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

It's a real twist on the road trip book. And there is a mystery about a parent... all that angsty abusive upbringing stuff... And I think the sibling story is a pretty fresh angle—I don't see a lot of THAT as the main relationship in YA. I like the sibling relationship because it runs the full range: moments of intense love to intense hate without having to delve into romantic stereotypes.

And now for my tags. Hopefully I've tagged people not previously tagged. I also tried to choose friends with books they are promoting so they can add a line at the end:

What are you currently PROMOTING?

For me, it is still The Azalea Assault, though I notice The Begonia Bribe is now up for pre-order and to mark as 'to-read' at Goodreads...

For the tags!

Leigh T. Moore
Roland Yeomans
Cherie Reich
RaShelle Workman
Ciara Knight

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

New Boob Fare...

And by boob fare, I mean shows for the boob-tube... Oh, yeah... TV season starts this week for many of my favorite shows...

Now I don't watch much TV... in fact I watch NO TV while the shows are ON TV... but I run a fair bit via Hulu, Netflix, abc.go, Nbc online, CW.... yeah... actually I've probably got 10 or 12 shows I watch on any given week...

I mean my summer wasn't awful without new stuff. I watched all the recent generation of Doctor Who and Torchwood... Crossing Jordan, too... all in all, not a bad trio of serieses (seri?) But there are some shows I've been waiting for and about half of them are back this week, perhaps because I lean toward ABC.


This is especially hot now that I am watching more carefully for Firefly references. I mean I got the costume one—that one was pretty obvious. But having it confirmed the writers and Fillion like to stick 'em in there... I'm also curious to see whether they can maintain the chemistry now that Castle and Beckett have officially hooked up [<--spoiler warning—highlight if you want to see].

I am also a huge fan of whodunnits, though, and I love the pattern of one suspect seems obvious, alibi comes through but gives another clue... I mean in a book you wouldn't want it so linear, but I think this is a good show for me on the mystery writing front... suspects related not just to the victim, but often each other... motives coming from different angles. I just really enjoy it.


Man, I can't WAIT to see this one. Of the seriesesi I follow in real time, this is probably my favorite. I normally don't care about the woes of rich people, but I LOVE this pseudo-Count of Monte Cristo plot—the father framed and young daughter sent to juvy... daughter finally given her share by a young billionaire the father believed in—she uses her wealth to plot the ultimate slow revenge--and by plot... I mean PLOT... taking the time to become a sharpshooter and martial arts specialist... learn languages... get degrees... this girl has DONE IT, and as she sets herself up to do it, gets raveled in the twisted plot herself... it's good stuff.

Once Upon a Time

This one sometimes lives up to its potential and sometimes not so much, but I love some of the characters and when they get it, they get it really good. I like the Rumplestiltskin strand best. That and the parallel stories in Storybook with the fairytales. I wish I could invest a little more in Snow White, but I don't think they invested quite enough in making Charming seem tricked into marrying his wife, so it makes Charming and Snow seem a little rotten. I like Emma and Henry, though, and the Wicked Queen is done well.

There are other shows... Grimm already started its season... the CW shows I watch start in a few weeks... and the REALLY painful waits: Downton Abbey won't start again until January in the US and Game of Thrones 2nd season isn't on DVD yet (we don't have HBO).

You hooked on any TV that is starting up again?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Our New Baby

So historically we are people who don't buy a car until the situation is desperate and we then scramble for the thing we hope will last longest of the used cars in our price range, right? We've had family help out. We've bought on credit. We just have never had enough income to save for a car. And until about a month ago, the only car we had was a fourteen year old Toyota Sienna Minivan—a very good car at one point, but one we bought with 75,000 miles on it. As of Friday, it had 168,391. It was a good car. It served us well. But in August we put in $500 work and it needed another $800...

This is coupled with the recent passing of my aunt and some money coming my way. Not a lot. But more than we've ever had come to us in a lump sum... so HWMNBOTI and I started talking... Since we so rarely have extra money, we wanted something we were SURE would last a long time. We talked a little about newISH cars... a newer model Toyota or Honda... but Hyundai kept coming up... and the NEW Hyundai's 100,000 warranty... I mean... if we rarely have money for a purchase this size, talk about something that would give us piece of mind!

HWMNBMOTI did most of the shopping and checking out, but each night reported to me what he'd seen... how much... what was included... and finally I went with him to the Hyundai dealership... we wandered and both kept gravitating to the same car, so we test drove it...

And then I came home and signed up for Carwoo to see if we could find the same car in the area for cheaper... looked online a little... We bickered some about what exactly a person needs to collect information-wise to negotiate (having neither one of us been very successful in that domain, historically)...

Then Thursday, when we felt like we had a solid feel for what we MIGHT be able to get away with... we went in and made an offer. And it worked... Oh, not EXACTLY... but a lot closer than we thought it would...

So we are now the thrilled new owners of a 2012 Hyundai Elantra Touring... Titanium Gray... HAWT... it had 57 miles on it when we drove it off the lot... Isn't it gorgeous!?

Anyone else have that much excitement this weekend, or do I win?


Friday, September 21, 2012

Mumbling Strangers

I'm not sure if this happens to everyone, or if it's just me. Maybe I look friendly and approachable. Maybe it's my habit of eye contact, or the slight smile I generally wear. Maybe people look at me and see a kindred spirit... and by kindred, I mean 'nut like me'. But strangers talk to me fairly often. Not the strangers in acceptable situations—like when you are sharing a four hour plane ride... but people walking on the sidewalk near me. Or who see me standing somewhere...

They range from single comment-makers to people trying to engage in full-on conversation. And inevitably, most of what they say is mumbling.

And when they mumble, you are put in the very odd conundrum of deciding between the following options:

1) Ignoring them. (I think I am incapable of doing this.)
2) Agreeing with them to be agreeable.
3) Or asking for clarification about what they just said.

And see that choice between the latter two, because the first seems out of my grasp, causes great difficulties. The FORMER leads to risks like the infamous Seinfeld episode where Jerry agreed to wear the ridiculous shirt because Kramer's girlfriend was a 'quiet talker' and Jerry agreed without knowing...

But the LATTER requires a deeper level engagement—by asking clarification you have expressed INTEREST in knowing what they said... you are now OBLIGATED to listen... and what if they say something really BIZARRE—what do you DO? (or worse, what if you STILL don't understand them and now have to ALSO agree to something you didn't catch?

My two examples this week come in the form of two men.

Example ONE: Walking toward me on the sidewalk. I was editing and walking. This, for me, is not unusual, but when I see movement peripherally, I look up, He said something like:

“ didn't see that bicycle coming...”

I smiled and agreed and kept going, but... There was no bicycle that I could see. The last one I'd passed, this man couldn't have possibly seen me pass—it was a block back... had it nearly run over HIM, so he was just conjecturing? Had he seen me another day when I nearly had to leap out of the way (this happens now and then) or when a bicycle rides into the grass to avoid me as I don't see them coming? (This happens too—I am an Oregonian who believes bikes belong in the road following road rules, but in Michigan, that is a good way for a cyclist to DIE since cars don't look for them even a little—but bikes come too fast for the attention I am giving the sidewalk). Whatever the case... at least my agreement didn't form any commitment...

Example TWO is Slim... On Wednesday, walking home, I got hit on. I think Slim has hit on me before, but I can't be sure, as last time the guy was missing several front teeth... so either two men look similar or Slim has had some dental work. Anyway... I was walking home, minding my own business and a man asks if he can walk with me. That was clear enough.

Hating to be rude, but not wanting to encourage him, I said, it's a public sidewalk, he could walk by me if he wanted to. He proceeds to make suggestions that I THINK were related to my husband's ability to satisfy me... that perhaps he could help out if I wasn't happy... I am not sure enough of what he said to scold him, but I definitely don't want to encourage this. I said I was happily married. He suggested maybe marriages didn't stay happy and I told him you had to stick through the tough stuff or it wasn't a marriage. He suggested--mumbly again... maybe he could be my friend and said something to the effect of 'that's how it starts'...

I got on the bus. I normally walk home, but I didn't really want him to see my route and there was a bus going to the high school which is close to home, but also has enough connectors that I thought it was vague where I was headed. He doesn't scare me—I believe him to be harmless, but I HATE being in a position where the only option left on the table is rudeness... Especially when I'm not REALLY sure what he said...

Any of you get roped into anything through a mumbler? Had suggestions you weren't sure were suggestions?  Any nut magnets?

And just a teaser—I have exciting personal news for Monday (not publishing news and not HUGE, just fun)

Ih!  And Have a nice Autumnal Equinox!!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Ahoy Mateys!

Be there anything more titillating than pirates? They be charming an naughty an perhaps a bit ROUGH. But they be rogue an they live by a CODE an it's a code fer RULEBREAKERS! Aye! I could be a pirate.

So fer the honor o' Talk Like a Pirate Day, I thought I'd share a thought er two on a few o' me favorite pirates...

Jack Be Nimble

and bendy in all exactly the right ways.... Then I never could resist a man in eyeliner. You know... Jack is dead sexy, but I really love him even more when he is insanely ridiculous—running from cannibals or doing bizarre escape moves.

To Be or Not to Be

Captain Shakespeare has such a hard decision to make... he has the Heart of a Pirate but he feels so PRETTY!!! Neil Gaiman's brainchild, BRILLIANTLY executed by De Niro in Stardust. People who've known me for a while know my soft spot for cross-dressers... especially rulebreaking cross-dressers who are now acting heroic. This character just makes me really happy.

Space Pirates R Us

Oh, Captain Mal... Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of the Serenity. Actually, the whole CAST of Firefly totally rocks, but I love Nathan Fillion and his self-deprecating charm. I've said it before and I will say it again. I could watch Fillion fold socks and be happy, but of all his roles, Mal is the best. (though when he's singing about his penis in Dr. Horrible's Sing-along Blog, that rocks, too) but no... Mal wins, hands down. I actually like his relationship with Kaylee best—it feels sibling like—no sexual tension but the full range of love to annoyance.

So those are me favorite pirates—Be sure to throw in a lot of Arrrrrrrs and Ahoys today!!!

Do you have any favorite pirates?

(Oh, and Happy Birthday, Hermione--we love you!)  

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Leigh Moore and The Truth About Faking

So some of you might know I collect twins.  I have several super-fabulous 4th Thursday in June twins and ALL of us write.  Leigh and I discovered each other a couple years ago and were instantly good friends--similar brain processors will do that for you.  Leigh and I have shared ups and downs, neurotic emails, and done some beta reading for each other (which she is AMAZING at--much more amazing than I am, having true training in the trade, so to speak) but I had the great fortune to have her recent release, The Truth About Faking, among the books I got to read early.  I gave it a little excited review last week, HERE.

Most of you know and love Leigh as I do, so I'm preaching to the choir here, but you really should check out her book (and blog), and here she shares a little about accidentally writing comedy...

How to Write Comedy
By Leigh Talbert Moore

Hi, Nakeds! I’m Leigh *waves*, Hart’s friend, CP, and debut author, and I’m here today to teach you to write comedy.

First, open your wordprocesser. Next, put your fingers on the keyboard. Next…

What in the world is that over there!!! *runs out the room*

Okay, I’ll just put it out here. I don’t know how to write comedy. I’m just a goofy nerd, and occasionally it’ll bleed into my writing. When I planned out The Truth About Faking, it was going to be very serious and sad and deal with heavy topics like losing one’s religion.

A character does almost lose her religion in the book, but it’s in more of an apoplectic fit over the mother of my main character.

How did this happen?

I don’t know.

I blame a strong proclivity toward silliness. I grew up watching shows like The Monkees, I’ve watched Clueless a shocking number of times, when Napoleon Dynamite came out, the first thing my cousin did was call me. “This is your kind of movie,” she said. Now my children make me sit and watch AFV with them every evening. And I laugh.

I suppose shtuff like that’s bound to come out at some point.

The problem with comedy writing is not everyone laughs at the same jokes. I tried to get my older brother to watch Napoleon Dynamite with me once, and he just stared first at the screen, then at me as I laughed.

Finally he said, “Is this supposed to be funny?” I think he was weeping on the inside and wondering if I really was adopted after all.

My hat’s off to people who can write true, universal comedy, the David Sedarises of the world. His funny little voice helps, I think.

If I were to give one piece of advice if you’re going to try it, I’d say relax. Take a deep breath. Everybody’s so serious all the time, so start there. And if all else fails, throw in a pratfall. I always laugh when people fall, so you’ll have one vote right here.

Best to all of you! Keep writing and reading! I hope you like my book. Even if you don’t laugh, maybe you’ll enjoy the little message that managed to sneak in after all. Or just swoon over Jason. (That’s what I do.)

Thanks, Tami Hart for having me! Naked World Domination, out~ <3



Book description:

Jason just wants a date with Harley.
Harley just wants a date with Trent. 
Trent's still getting over Stephanie.

When Harley and Jason decide to fake date, they uncover a school of deceptions. Trent's got a secret, but so does Jason. And the more time Harley spends secretly kissing her fake boyfriend, the further she gets from her dreams with Trent. 

Worst of all, Harley's mom is getting cozy with her hot massage therapy student, and even Harley's Reverend Dad can't fake not being bothered by it. But when the masks finally come off, can everyone handle the real truth?
Tart note:  HA!  Believe it or not, my funny stuff never is intentional either... Well, not usually, anyway. I think it is funnier when it is more real. Thanks, Leigh!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Organizational Philosophy: The Chaotic and the Virgo

Battle of Order and Chaos (Talented source)
So today is a crazy busy day for me—two appointments, one legal, one medical, plus ANOTHER legal possessionary matter having to do with inheriting a car... So I am off work and off line. And spent yesterday getting my ducks in a row. A matter that ALWAYS causes battles with my resident Virgo who believes there is a single place for things and if you have not put things in that singular place, then life as we know it will come to a crashing end so you must be lectured the entire time you (which is to say I) organize and find your sh*t.

*rolls eyes *

All sh*t has BEEN found, because... being a NOT organized person ALL the time, I am REALLY good at repeating the steps (of not just me but every member of my family) that might have happened since said paperwork arrived and therefore tracking it down.

I submit that the PROBLEM with the Virgo... and by this I mean the specific Virgo, HWMNBMOTI... is that he has no adaptive capacity for anyone ELSE doing something with it. I am the only person in my household capable of systematically LOOKING FOR anything (and nearly always find what I'm looking for).

Tell me. How helpful is it to sit and lecture said item if it is not where it was meant to be?

Tell me also how many teenagers always put things where they go?

And tell me NOW who is the insane one? The organization freak or the chaotic adaptive-capable of looking for something person.

Opposites attract (source)
On many fronts we compliment each other well. This case though, is the madness of opposites reaching irreconcilable difference in this domain.

Of course afterward, we went to listen to a friend's band at a micro brewery and danced some, so he made up for it... it ended up good, but MAN...

Any of you have grand philosophical differences in your houses that cause you to threaten violence? (which I did, but me being me, I was mostly kidding to get him to lighten up)

I apologize for not being around today and hope you have a good Monday!

I will be back tomorrow!

Friday, September 14, 2012

I Gotz Book Bling!

So in spite of being on the low maintenance side of things, I've ALWAYS been a girlie girl. Not Hannah, yesterday, blogging about her dragon daughter the girlie girl reminded me really how much. Because see... being a GIRL doesn't have to mean you aren't a fierce, brave, strong force in the world. It just means you like sparkles. Or purple. Or pink. Or baby animals. Whatever the case. All of the above and all that.

And when my Azalea Assault book cover came, MAN, was it a girlie girl cover! It's not surprising. Cozy readers are mostly female, and it IS a gardening theme (which I took largely to mean FLORAL). I adore my cover. I don't know HOW many people have told me how much they love it, but it's a lot. It's BEAUTIFUL.

So not long after my book came out I saw a Facebook post by Karen, a friend of mine from high school... it was a picture of a pair of HOT red cowboy boots that she had 'blinged'--rhinestones including a sorority designation... they were AMAZING (and I am not even a cowboy boots girl, really--stiff shoes are almost as bad as pants, but these were so cool) and I told her so... She was starting a business and she asked me to send her artwork for my book cover... so I did...

And OHMYGAWD look what came yesterday! I am lamenting my cheap camera, because this is so much cooler than you can tell.

closer up, though still doesn't get it across.
I'd like to tell you all how to order one, but the note I got with the bag was that she was SWAMPED with just the volume for family and friends (erm... and 4 teenage kids, but never mind). I will be sure to shout loudly if her back-logged project pile gets manageable and she can take on new stuff, because seriously.... I am SO excited about this!

I plan on taking it to Aunt Agatha's birthday bash on October 3rd—Aunt Agatha's is the local mystery bookstore I've bonded with and they are doing a HUGE 20th birthday thing.

Anybody get any super nice surprises recently?

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

JK Coi and Broken Promises

So I'm really excited today. My buddy Stacy's writing career has taken off like a steroid-charged stallion this year, and part of her success is earmarked for being the 'newbie' to make the hot list of a steampunk anthology last Christmas, along with a line of hot, established writers... so Stacy says to me recently... you know my antho-sister is having a book release... would you consider hosting her? And I was like... WELL DUH! It puts me like... in the big time, as bloggers hosting writers go, right?

Besides, JK posts pics of her dog in steampunk gear on facebook which is HOT (as hot as the guy on her cover, who I would totally fall for--looks like my brand of mischief). So Stacy hooked us up and now I am like a squeeing fangirl! (You will be, too--even you guys. Just wait)... so without further ado, I proudly introduce JK Coi!


When Hart agreed to host me today I started scrambling for an insightful idea because her blog is so fantastic and she’s a great friend of my antho-sister, Stacy Gail. I wanted to make a good impression, ya know?

Could I think of something witty? Ha…no. I think we need PG Forte here for that. She’s another of my antho-sisters, and VERY witty.

Could I blog about some altruistic cause? Well, probably, but…no. Jenny Schwartz would be a much better person to do that. My third antho-sister, she is the sweetest thing, and knows exactly how to tug at the heartstrings and get you excited for something worthwhile.

Could I tell you a funny story about myself? Dudes *shaking head* My whole LIFE is a funny story. But not the funny haha kind. More like the funny OMG THAT DOESN’T HAPPEN TO REAL PEOPLE….So funny it’s sad. You’d cry. Then where would we all be? Crying into tissues instead of reading this blog. But Stacy is funny as hell, and a whirlwind cheerleader for other authors.

In fact, I should have asked them to write this blog for me. But geez, I already owe all three of them so much. When I call them my “antho-sisters” (which is a term Stacy actually came up with) I really do see them as sisters. Last year when we heard that we would all be included in a holiday anthology together with our steampunk stories, called A Clockwork Christmas, I wasn’t expecting much. Maybe a few group promotional events and that would be that. But we banded together right from the start, even creating a Facebook page that is still very active (and will have lots of great contests in the next few months). And now we are each other’s most enthusiastic promoters.

I have one MASSIVE regret about Broken Promises, the book that follows the story I wrote for the anthology. When my editor asked me if I was going to write acknowledgements, I KNEW at the time that I was going to miss someone (I even said in the acknowledgements that I hate them because I always miss someone). I thanked my family, and my editor, and my critique partners.

But I didn’t thank my antho-sisters, and this made me cry when I realized what I’d done.

Of course, it was too late to go back and make the change, so I’m going to post my message to them here:

A special thank you to my antho-sisters, Stacy, Jenny and PG. You have been the best Christmas gift I’ve ever received, and I’m grateful to Carina Press and Angela James for bringing us together. I love you all, and I never want to let you down. When the four of us all meet together in person someday soon, there will be many hugs and tears and then lots of girlish squeeing. I CAN’T WAIT!!”

So, maybe we are all crying into our tissues instead of reading this blog, after all. At least I am. But it means a lot to me to be able to show these three fabulous women that I appreciate them.
Thank you for the opportunity to do that, Hart!

JK Coi

J.K. Coi is a multi-published, award winning author of contemporary and paranormal romance and urban fantasy. She makes her home in Ontario, Canada, with her husband and son and a feisty black cat who is the uncontested head of the household. While she spends her days immersed in the litigious world of insurance law, she is very happy to spend her nights writing dark and sexy characters who leap off the page and into readers’ hearts. (

She also writes Dark Fantasy for young adults as Chloe Jacobs (

BROKEN PROMISES (Book 2, Seasons of Invention series), available now!

Former ballerina Callie Carlisle is determined to rebuild her life with her new mechanical limbs. She's just learned to accept the enhancements that saved her from certain death when she experiences uncontrollable twinges and flashes of light that obscure her vision. Terrified of literally falling apart, she resists telling her husband. Jasper's already vowed to keep her out of harm, and she doesn't want to worry him further.

When the War Office's General Black arrives with an urgent mission—rescue the doctor who created Callie's enhancements—she has no choice but to accept. A rogue agent and former patient of the scientist believes the biomechanical modifications he received are killing him, and he's out for revenge.

Callie must reach the doctor before it's too late. But with an overprotective Jasper at her side, and her alarming symptoms getting more frequent, will she be able to hold herself together long enough to save the doctor...and herself?

Tart note:  And so you don't think I'm kidding about the dog pics...

Shamelessly stolen from A Clockwork Christmas's Facebook page. This is Blue.
Say, JK--Ontario?  That's my neck of the woods! (and by neck I mean fatty part where the thumb comes in--right near the wrist, actually... in the mitten of Michigan)--we could probably leverage to get Stacy up to visit--Stacy is one of my sisters, too, so that really makes us related.

Thank you so much for visiting!!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Joy and Pain of Longhand

Only blue. Why do none of these pics use blue ink?
When I was first writing ALL my first drafts were longhand. I wrote about a million words worth of novels (if I count the fan-fiction, and honestly, for this finding my voice thing, I do) longhand before I even TRIED a first draft by computer. That is three novel-length Harry Potter stories and three novels, one of them over 200,000 words...

The first story I tried to type at the computer, Deniability, was a spy story of sorts and sounded pretty darned clinical. It was for my first NaNoWriMo, so I really wanted to be able to OFFICIALLY word-count—something longhand doesn't allow. Now the MC is a psychitrist, so the clinical voice doesn't NOT work, exactly... but it is also not very... ME. I haven't had the heart to get back to it and see if it is salvageable. I still love the first line. "I slept with Bill Clinton."  And it's very fitting... Ah, well.. I digress...

Well HE might have enough supplies...
In that time I had begun blogging (only about 7 months in at the writing of that book)... and I think there was a sort of slow voice transfer... getting my longhand voice to flow through the keys. For BuNoWriMo in 2010 I did my first true COMBO attempt, Kahlotus Disposal Site... some typing, some longhand (a person just can't sit in the bath long enough for 50K in a single month) and it actually worked out beautifully. It has had the most success of my non-cozies—a semi-finalist for ABNA and for a time, anyway, earning me an agent... I theoretically am querying with it now, though I only sent one and it was rejected... My heart isn't quite there yet... (to query-town). And so SINCE then, all my books have been sort of a combo... until this last... number 13 I wrote ENTIRELY by computer...

So now I have gone back to Medium Wrong, Book #11, as I hope to enter it in the ABNA contest this year, and what do you know... I'd forGOTTEN about all the bloody TYPING I would have to do! I was SURE I only wrote a teeny tiny bit longhand, but NOOOOOOO...

Like this, only with less pink and more angst...
You see, initially I really NEEDED longhand. I journaled for many years, laying my emotions raw onto the page, via medium blue ballpoint... Where by DAY (on the computer) I am a statistician (I know, right? Who wants to read THAT?) And my early first drafts were messier. I could justify the typing round as a first edit because there were so many changes. NOW, there are still changes, but I tend to do BIG changes first and it all has to be typed before doing the BIG changes. Did I mention the bloody TYPING? GAH!

But I still turn to longhand if I'm stumped... or if I have a really emotional scene to do. I make myself cry regularly when I'm writing longhand and I think I've only managed it twice typing. So there will always be a role to be played for me, but right now I am mostly grumbling about the darn habit.

Any of you write longhand? Anybody change over time?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Good Stuff

So people are DOING good things and I've had a few good things HAPPEN, so I thought I'd share a little.

FIRST: My Buddy Leigh Moore has self Published The Truth About Faking!!!

Leigh has ALL KINDS of stuff going on. She has a book coming up through traditional publishing in December, called Rouge which I'm very excited about. But she also has a book that had made the rounds via agent subbing. It had positive feedback, but no full-out bites. Her agent, when they got through that process, recommended she self-publish it, so Leigh decided to take on that MAMMOTH task.

This is a book I had the honor to read in one of its middle iterations. It's a great contemporary young adult tale, focused on romance, but with more real-life issues at the heart of it—questions about how we see ourselves and others... and how others may come across to us when we don't know the whole story. It is a coming of age of sorts, as Harley believes with her whole heart she wants one thing, and finds out over the course of the book just how little she understands about what matters. We grow with her and can appreciate her change in perspective.

I definitely recommend it and wish Leigh a ton of luck! She is doing a guest post here next week, but I thought I'd give a shout before that.

Buy Link:

The poster he did combining three of his covers
ALSO WIK: My Buddy Joris Ammerlaan has put out his shingle for Bookcovers and Promotional Materials!

Joris is super talented and has done several covers for me. And now he is wanting to actively get into the book cover, promotional materials market, so if you are shopping for a book cover designer, be sure to go over to his site and give his stuff a look. I've known him since he was a wee lad and can totally vouch for his work ethic, professionalism, reliability, and character.

ALSO ALSO WIK: Michigan's Season Opener

Saturday my friend and Couch to Keg buddy Jackie invited me to go to Michigan's first home game with her. It was PERFECT early season football weather—65 with a breeze. And the game was against Air Force Academy, and there was a military appreciation theme throughout, which was AWESOME. During the National Anthem a bald eagle was released from the top of a press box and circled the field a few times to land down on his handler on the field. I got teary. Bald eagles are so amazing... it reminded me that my daughter and I had seen one just perched on a dead tree by the side of the freeway in Montana. Very cool. Then, as the National Anthem was ending, a stealth bomber did a fly-over—WOW those things are weird.

Looks like a Sci Fi movie, eh?
And of course the writer in me imagines how PERFECT this set-up is... 112,000 people all in one place, easy to block the entrants... some alien space ship could just beam us all up to populate a whole new planet... or something. But whatever the case, it was a GREAT event. I really enjoyed it. Thank you, Jackie!

FINITE: Kerrytown Bookfest (first 'event' as a published author)

And finally, yesterday was the Kerrytown Bookfest in Ann Arbor. Ann Arbor has a Farmer's market on the weekend in a section that might be thought of as oldtown—it is the original town square area with brick streets and what NOW are very trendy, high-end shops. The farmer's market occurs outdoors (though the strips of wide sidewalk are covered)--anyway, after the farmers packed up and went, the bookstores and publishers in the region unloaded.

I was really pleased with the high number of little bookstores there really still is in the area. Manymore than I'd thought. Most of them are for niche markets, including the one I was there to sign for, Aunt Agatha's (a mystery bookshop). I was signing with three other authors in my slot, all of them more famous and successful than me (I was the only one with only a single book, and all the others had hard covers). It was nice to really see how it was done, though. Hank Phillipi Ryan was next to me and a real pro. (she is actually Harriet and I LOVE that she is called Hank—she said it was from a college friend that that originated)

My favorite surprise was when I arrived, I found February Grace waiting to meet in person! It was a complete surprise and was wonderful! I love meeting author friends in person, but I think this was the first totally unexpected meeting like that.

So here is hoping the good stuff keeps going for all of us! Have a great week!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Christopher Allen and Conversations With S. Teri O'Type (Sneak Peek)

So Chris and I've been friends a few years now and I've always enjoyed his humor and enlightening meanderings—he is an ex-pat living in Germany, but does a lot of other traveling, too, so he sees interesting things and offers an enlightening (usually entertaining) perspective. But I don't think until he sent me a copy of Conversations with S. Teri O'Type that I'd read his fiction. It is satire and I am about a third through, my reading pile being larger than my time allotment... but it is HYSTERICAL!

So today I'm pleased to be Chris's FIRST!!! I mean, erm... be his first blog hop stop to kick off his release and offer a sneak peek... (does that make you feel naughty, you peepers, you? *cough* Sorry, just trying to enhance the mood). Seriously, the PREMISE is divine... Poor Curt is a gay man, sorely lacking in gay shiek—so lacking people keep confusing him for straight and he can't get a date... so this is the story of his mentoring at the hands of college roommate S. Teri O'Type... seriously funny stuff. Just give it a look:

In the Beginning was the Icon

I’m Curt Child, and this story is a conversation with Teri, my oldest and—according to Teri—my gayest friend. And that’s why I’ve come back to him after all these years. For help. I’m hopelessly dysfagtional as Teri puts it. I’m a gay man who just can’t seem to get gay. Not in the attracted-to-men-with-great-asses way, but in all the other ways that make a gay man so fab—Teri’s word again—which I reckon is short for fabulous, but I’m never sure about these things.

Life was hard for me as a child. I wasn’t graced with impeccable taste or beautiful skin or even those large searching eyes. I wasn’t even born with the . . . what’d you call it again? The . . . the—

Oh, Curt. Again? You know I don’t like repeating myself.” Teri sighs and puffs, as only he can. “CurtCurtCurt. The innate knowledge of the importance of moisturizing, honey. Are you writing this down?” He’s repeated it four or five times today, but I just can’t seem to absorb it. “Exactement!” Teri giggles.

It took me forever to understand why we look better in low-rise jeans. OK, I still don’t fully understand, but I’ve taken Teri’s word for it: we look thinner. But how does it work?

Anyway, this is the story of my journey toward . . . toward—

Great and gracious pop princess, Curt! Greater gayness, greater gayness, greater gayness. Breathe it in, breathe it out.”

OK, so Teri, my gayru, as he likes to call himself, is going to give me lessons in . . . in—

“How to remember who you are? Where you fit in?”

“Could we call it something simpler?”

Teri bows his head in prayer. “Oh Prominent Female Pop-Music Goddess, help Curt narrate his journey more gayly. Help him, Oh PFP-MG, to connect with that one teensy-weensy gay cell in his rolly-poly body. Amen.” He raises his head and gives me the thumbs-up to continue narrating.

Right. See, Teri has this sexosophy. He tells me that just because I’m into men—mainly tall men with blond hair—this does not mean I’m necessarily gay per se; and when I ask him to define what he means by per se, he winces and sighs and puffs, as only he can.

Oh, CurtCurtCurt, you have such a long, long, LONG road ahead.”

We,” I correct. “We have such a long, long, LONG road ahead.”

This redefinition of gayness, as I call it—Teri adamantly refuses to call it a “re” definition—has kind of taken over my whole life. Yesterday everything was so clear: I liked guys, therefore I was gay. But then along comes Teri, and there’s a whole world of greater gayness out there that I’ve somehow missed.

Totally missed,” Teri gushes. “Like you were never even close! Over the rainbow? You’ve never even seen the rainbow. You wouldn’t know a rainbow if it bonked you on your balding head! Follow the yellow-brick road? You’re a million miles away from the road. There’s like a jungle of flesh-eating zombies between you and The Road.”

Lost me.” What does being gay have to do with rainbows and roads? And zombies? It’s like the first day of school and I’m the only kid who can’t read. Beginnings are always hard, but I’m beginning to think I’ve missed the gay cruise entirely, if you know what I mean. And I guess you know what I mean better than I do myself. I guess I just lack—

Style?” Teri barks. “Gaytuition, gaygiene, the truth of homocabulary? The mien of haughty intelligence? Did I mention style?” Teri taps his right temple with an imaginary pencil.

“That was the first thing you barked.”

And where’s your dog?” Teri asks.

I don’t have one? Where’s yours?”

“Cary Grant’s getting his nails done.”

This isn’t fair. Do I really have to have a dog? All I want is a guy to come home to, one who’ll have a silly nickname for me and rub my back without me having to beg. A one-plus-one-is-one situation like Dear Old Dad and Dear Old Mom have back in North Carolina. That’s all I’ve ever wanted. It’s just so hard to find a guy when all the guys I know are straight, and I think they think I’m straight too. I guess I could just tell them, but I never seem to find the right time. It’s not like I go around saying, “Hi, I’m Curt Child. Nice to meet you. I’m gay.” Right? Who does that?

First, Curt, we in the O’Type family don’t think in equations; and fifth, we don’t have straight friends; and second, you have to have a Jack Russell or a mutt you saved from the animal shelter—like when a famous pop-music goddess adopts an impoverished toddler—preferably black.”

I fold my arms: the universal sign of disbelief and defensiveness, which Teri immediately deflects by holding forth for an hour and twenty minutes on the “generally accepted fact: Cute little girlfriend does not a straight boy make.” It seems like a tangent from the dog discussion, but I have to concur. I used to be one, with one, though wasn’t one. Like a one-plus-one-is-zero situation, I reckon.

Someone’s talking in numbers again, Curt. Here’s the point, Mr. Bland Banana: You weren’t one.” Teri gives me a big, sappy smile. 

But you know what I mean.”

“I do . . . but do you?”

“Stop it.”

We both sigh in unison, which Teri says is a good omen, and make an appointment for our first lesson in Greater Gayness next Tuesday.
It’s a start,” Teri whispers in my ear, which is creepy and wet.

Christopher Allen is an American author living in Germany. His fiction and creative non-fiction have appeared in numerous and various places, from A-minor magazine to Chicken Soup for the Soul. In 2011 Allen was a finalist at Glimmer Train and also nominated for a Pushcart Prize. The official online launch of Conversations with S. Teri O'Type is on Facebook Here. He blogs about his obsession with seeing every inch of the earth at I Must Be Off!  

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

My Missing Mojo

Blue-footed boobies
Halo friends! And welcome to another month of the Insecure Writer's Support Network (did I get that name right?) D'oh! Network. Group... it's all good.

WHY is it good you ask? Because we NEED each other.... and networks and groups are pretty much interchangeable that way... Maybe we should call it a gaggle or a posse or a MURDER... A murder of insecure writers? No! WAIT! Here it is! A CONGRESS of insecure writers! What is it that travels in congresses anyway? Boobies? A congress of boobies? *cough* And there it is! BABOONS! I was close. Sort of. Alliteratively speaking anyway...

So Back to the Insecurity Theme

Do you ever get to feeling like your wheels are spinning? You have intentions, ideas.... maybe even a few lucid dreams that would make fabulous plot elements... but you just can't seem to make your traction catch so you can fly?

A Congress of Baboons (the guy in the middle is filibustering)
That is me right now.

I got knocked for a loop and I am somehow now stuck on my back with my legs waggling in the air. It isn't that this has never happened before, but it has been quite a while. I'd sort of just gotten used to being on a role and changing hats... writing to editing and back... but then this... LIFE tossed me a lemon tree and I've been so busy making lemonade that the writing just hasn't happened.

Me.  Anyone want to topple me back to rights?
I only wrote about 8000 words in August when I am used to maybe 1500 a day on average. I just need to get my traction again—halt my inertia. It will happen... second blog today... got one of my reading projects done and started the next... sent myself my next 'to edit' project to print out at work (but shhhh... it is just a lot cheaper to print with the mega cartridge than at home and I only use the back of already used paper)... so it will happen.

Any of you have fabulous tricks for getting going again when you've been thrown off track?

Don't forget to get around to the other insecure folks out there!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Back To It

Thank you friends, for being so amazingly patient with me and my summer of maladies. I really needed that time, especially my August time with my aunt and sorting her estate. It was good, as processes go. I feel like I know her better now for the time I spent with her friends. And it was a few days of time travel as I ran into things from my grandparents' house that I hadn't seen for decades. There is still the probate piece, but I have a lawyer who I've given everything, so I will follow her lead... mostly it is just a long waiting process, I think.

But now... Low and Behold... my life NEEDS me again. My writing has been neglected. My job has been neglected. A few tasks for friends have been neglected. My family... well, mostly I've been on top of that, except the school shopping piece, but they knew that would drag into football season anyway (whereby we earn parking money to dress the childings). And the REALLY big neglect... I haven't managed to take care of myself physically since my husband's health problems started last January. So I've got some stuff to get back on top of.


I am leaving the last few scenes of A Shot in the Light for the rewrite. I just really am not yet in a writing frame of mind. But I DO want to be in an EDITING frame of mind and think I can. I have a week worth of READING to do first, then I plan to start first edit on Medium Wrong. Remember for me first edit comes in three rounds—a read and comment, fixing small stuff, a BIG FIX (based on comment) then a polish. I figure that puts me into mid-October and I will send it to first readers.

Then I will finish TYPING What Ales Me and planning for NaNoWriMo.

In December and January I will take my next crack at Medium Wrong and submit it for ABNA.

MEANWHILE: September I will research agents, make my list and prioritize. October I will query.

During this, I will blog 3-4 days a week, I think...

The Organization Plan

My home is a disaster. I have a couple new (to me) computers from my aunt, so a process needs to occur of getting them checked and rearranging the office space. In the end, it will be good. The new computer is much smaller than the old.

I also have some special family things so our storage needs to be rearranged and I'd like to find some space to have some things out.

I dread this part. I hate cleaning and organizing.


I desperately need to do this. Yet each time I hear an option, part of me cringes at the idea. It just is so TIME-consuming to obsess about eating and exercise all the time.

Finally, though, my Couch-to-Keg buddy Jackie started talking about nutrient rich foods and this plan she wants to do. Now she is going to be paying attention to some index that rates foods (and you saw the work work work, bit, yes?) but the GIST of it is LOTS of fruits and vegetables. And when I've been really successful with Weight Watchers in the past, this is part of it. I'm a volume eater—I just feel really unsatisfied on miniscule portions, but a big plate that is mostly veggies and just a little caloric other stuff—THAT works.

So I am going to follow Weight Watchers, but using that super-dose of fruits and veggies and call it good.

I ALSO am going to add in some stretching and muscle work on top of the tons of walking I do (that is clearly not enough).

The Bad News...

I am going to make a serious effort at getting around to blog friends, but my day job is on high pace right now, so I am TRYING, but there are only so many hours in a day. I will keep a list though, and make sure I get to folks at least somewhat regularly.