Thursday, January 31, 2013

Stacy Gail is Nobody's Angel!!!

I mean she WROTE Nobody's Angel... Okay, so both things are true...

DO NOT buy that sweet innocent act.
Stacy is one of my REAL LIFE friends, though we met and bonded online for a long time before actually meeting face-to-face, but we've been friends since 2005, serious mind-meld friends, when she was solidly in the closet as a writer and I was still of the belief that 'author' was one of those things you only DREAMED of becoming. In fact Stacy was one of my earliest encouragers, and to this day remains one of my top three beta buddies (Leigh and Leanne, you rock, too)--I have lots more fabulous friends who help, but these three poor souls get almost EVERYTHING.

Now Stacy is ALSO a special case. (In more ways than one, eh, sister?) *cough* She made her initial publishing contacts and found her first opportunities on Twitter. Now I've been known to say you have to be on crack to follow Twitter. Erm... Maybe I should just leave it there...

Seriously, though, the other people who can Tweet are people with ADHD and Stacy seems to fit THAT profile... she is EVERYWHERE (and has usually take our shared brain with her, leaving me babbling)... she responded to calls for novella submissions, and has managed, in the last 18 books to publish FIVE (6?) novellas (wow, yeah?)... and land herself her first FOUR BOOK Contract for full-length fiction, beginning HERE...

So I will let Stacy tell you about THAT... Without Further Ado, WELCOME STACY!!!
Our friend Rissa's depiction of Stacy

Before we begin, I’d like to give huge thanks to Hart for allowing me to drop in to gab about my latest release and the start of The Earth Angels paranormal romance series, NOBODY’S ANGEL.  Thanks, Your Tartness!

Wow, has it been a wild ride getting NOBODY’S ANGEL out of my scrambled brain and into the world.  It might appear all pretty and shiny with the excellent marketing/artwork Carina Press always puts forth, but things have a way of looking easy-peasy when you see only the finished product. ;)

So, where did it all begin?  Oy.  To be honest, this series didn’t start with NOBODY’S ANGEL, really.  It was just this massive, messy idea about 21st-century descendants of the Nephilim, an ancient race of angel-human hybrids considered to be mistakes, even abominations, in the eyes of heaven.  After that plot bunny parked its fat rear front and center in my mind’s eye, I had no choice but to figure out what sort of personality could live under the pressure of knowing they’re a celestial boo-boo.  Once I had that established, I settled on about half-dozen or so characters I wanted to play with.

Zeke Reece, the hero of NOBODY’S ANGEL, kicks things off in a fast-paced, high-flying adventure that was, in part, inspired by my love of comic books (I read them to this day, though not as religiously as I used to as a kid ;) ).  Considering the material I was working with, that only makes sense.  When you’ve got super-powered people, you HAVE to have at least one of them take up the role of superhero, complete with mask, awesome powers, a secret fortress… and oh, yeah.  The creepiest super-villain I could dream up. O_o

So Zeke is the official superhero of The Earth Angels series, but he’s far from perfect.  Not only does he hate being a member of the Nephilim, he has trouble sharing the burden that comes with it.  When a phantasm called a geist targets Kendall Glynn, a journalist who’s just psychic enough to see its presence as well as Zeke’s supernatural abilities, he does his best to protect her.  But Kendall, who’s terrified of the bizarre element that has slipped into her life, is determined to help herself out of this fix.  She’s no quitter, and when she uses her own researching skills to uncover the true culprit, Zeke has to accept that there are times when he’s the one who needs help.

As of this writing, all four books in The Earth Angels series have been completed, with the first three fully edited and already in Carina Press’s publishing schedule for 2013 (I posted this schedule on my own blog here).  The fourth and final book is now being revised and will be shipped off to my editor this week (I hope), and after completing the series, I have to say it’s been a wild ride.  There will never be another “first” series for me, so The Earth Angels—and Zeke and Kendall, who start the ball rolling—are near and dear to my heart.

Hummina hummina...

“I can’t believe it…”

“There was so much blood.”

“What happened?”

Fragments of conversation hit Kendall Glynn from all sides, but the words were no more than an irrelevant buzzing in her brain. She was just as oblivious to the emergency vehicles scattered outside San Francisco’s top-rated KPOW TV station. Some of her colleagues were crying, while others spoke to police. The sea of people behind the yellow crime-scene tape all looked the same—eager spectators hoping for a glimpse of more blood, more madness.

She’d had enough of both to last a lifetime.

“Miss? Have you been treated?”

Kendall’s zombielike shuffling halted at the deep melodic voice close to her, and she turned to discover an EMT had appeared at her side. For a long moment she stared at him while his words slipped across the frozen surface of her mind without leaving a mark.

“I’m not hurt.” Her voice came from far off, unrecognizable and rough around the edges. Which made sense. The last time she’d used it had been to scream.
And scream.

And scream.

“You might not be hurt, but you are in shock.” Somehow she was moving again, heading for the back of an empty ambulance. It wasn’t until he helped her into it that she realized he’d pulled her along like a lost two-year-old. “I’m going to check you out, okay?”

“This blood, it’s not mine.” Amazing, how calm she sounded.

“I understand.” After settling her on the side of a gurney, the paramedic lifted her chin with a gloved hand and flashed a penlight across her eyes. “You’ve got lovely eyes, just like emeralds. Do you have a name?”

“Kendall Glynn.”

“My name is Zeke Reece. I’m going to take your vitals now, okay, Kendall?”

“I’m not hurt.” He had to understand she wasn’t the one who needed his attention. “The others, Dave Beamer and Jane Walters, they’re the ones who...” Oh, God.

“They’re being taken care of.” A blood-pressure cuff slipped over her arm. Began to squeeze. “You were close to them when it went down, right? Can you tell me what happened?”

“I don’t know.” Confused, she shook her head. “One second Dave was doing his job—smiling into the camera and reading the copy I wrote about a couple of murder-suicides. It was my first lead story.”


“Maybe he didn’t like how I wrote it.” She couldn’t seem to stop shaking her head.

“The next thing I knew, Dave was choking our anchorwoman so hard I thought he’d snapped her neck, before he took his pen and…”

“Easy.” Zeke moved to sit beside her and pushed her head between her knees. “You’re not allowed to go that white, Kendall. Makes me think you’re going to faint.”

“I don’t know what happened,” she said again, closing her eyes and willing the queasiness to pass. “Everyone was screaming. It wasn’t until I got close to Dave that I realized he was yelling the loudest. It’s like he was possessed, jamming his pen into his own neck while he screamed for someone to stop him. I jumped on top of him, but…” She gulped in air until the ringing in her ears went away. “I think he’s dead. I think Dave is dead.” She trembled on the verge of admitting she’d seen the essence of Dave’s life drain away, just as she’d witnessed her grandfather’s life essence drift from his body in the hospital when she was a child. She’d told her mother about it, and had been reprimanded for letting her imagination run away with her like crazy Aunt Maggie, a woman who read palms and talked to spirits for a living. But deep down Kendall had always suspected what she’d seen that day was real, and Aunt Maggie probably wasn’t as crazy as her family claimed.

After tonight, though, she couldn’t help but think she might not be standing as securely on the stable ground of sanity as she’d once believed.

Book one in The Earth Angels

Investigative journalist Kendall Glynn is horrified when a friend and colleague signs off permanently during a live newscast, jabbing a pen into his jugular. Kendall's no expert, but judging by the strange white veil in the anchorman's eyes, she would swear he was a man possessed.

A descendant of the accursed Nephilim, Zeke Reece prowls San Francisco by night, keeping the city free from paranormal phenomena. But even he is no match for whatever malevolent force is behind a recent rash of murder-suicides. And when a beautiful tenacious reporter becomes the next target, Zeke has no choice but to stay close to her, until he can find the evil spirit and cross it over.

The closer Kendall gets to the truth, the more danger she's in. Fortunately, a sexy and mysterious masked stranger keeps swooping in to the rescue. Kendall's life depends on finding who or what is responsible for the killings, before it finds her.
33,000 words

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Question: With a multitude of paranormal-based movies, graphic novels and books on the market today, what do you think the next “big thing” will be? (Please no mention of sparkly vampires, thanks. The Tart has an allergy. :D)  Leave a comment and you’ll be entered in my giveaway of a $25 Amazon GC!

   [Poor baby can be MY angel...]

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Digressuary: You're Invited

Know how February is the worst month EVER?

You don't?

Well lemme e'splain...

Seems combining holidays would improve them greatly
Stupid Holidays

You know, I could probably forgive Groundhog's Day. Who DOESN'T love a rodent holiday? But it is followed fairly soon by EASTER and that darned bunny reminds us that Groundhogs don't hide candy. Or presents. Or money. They just HIDE. And then there is that sappy St. Valentine's Day, named for a guy who, for all we know, never ONCE got laid (they don't saint people who have sex do they?). Yet we go out and spend money and think WE'RE going to get lucky? What are the odds of THAT? And then there is presidents' day... which I don't even get OFF, but never mind... but it's REAL purpose is to remind us that though there have been 44 presidents, we only get ONE holiday for them.

yeahno.  DONE with this.

Is it STILL winter? For real? You have GOT to be kidding me. I'm tired of it already, now move along. In all cases I like the beginning of a season much better than later in the season, but winter is my least favorite season. Winter sucks. It makes me cold and I can't abide it. I even felt this way in Oregon where winter was just gray and rain. GO AWAY NOW.

What Am I To Do About It?

I'm replacing February this year with Digressuary. I'm hoping it will bring my Digressionista, Mari, back out of the blogging woodwork, will reconnect me with my faith (I practice Digression religiously) and help us forget DUMB FEBRUARY!!! For a month we will play, be silly and digress. So there. I am empress of the world and dib it so. Or at least empress of my blog... but if anyone wants to join me in PLAYING AWAY the rest of the bloody winter, PLEASE DO!

Note: Very amusing stuff if you 'Google Image' Digressionista... all from Mari, Tara and I, it seems...

And if anyone wanted a REAL blog today, I am over at Burrowers, Books and Balderdash, talking about PLOTTING!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Allow Me To Introduce Myself

I'm a girl of wealth and taste...

Wait, that's not right. Wealth seems to keep elluding me, and as to taste... I can't really condone that. I just don't believe in it, except where food is concerned. So what am I on about?

TODAY is a day where the blogging writing community is hoping to welcome oodles of newerish bloggers by making it easier for all of us to get to know each other. If you want more info, or to sign up, go check it out HERE.

And as usual, I see I've forgotten to follow directions... too many words. Any sticklers on rules, just read the purple part:


Erm... yes, well... that IS what I'm supposed to talk about, yes? Is it wrong I like that?


I am four score blondes and brunettes between the ages of 16 and 19 and a half... wait, that's not right... but it DOES get to the explainer about Watery Tart, my online persona... she sprang from Monty Python in all the absurd silliness I could muster. That is who you will generally meet around here (also fitting because I wrote my first several books in the bathtub--still plot there), even though by day I'm a social scientist of some (unfathomable) respect, and when I write books I like to go very dark places.

I just decided when I started blogging that I had enough things in my life that were serious, and I wanted my blog to be something FUN. Hopefully my readers find it fun, too (I think most do).

I still try to be periodically helpful, and occasionally I am compelled to take on a serious subject, but you will note in my labels that the two most frequent topics are 'writing' and 'pure insanity'.

As for me, the writer... What can I say? I have FOMS (fear of missing something, explained here, mid blog) so I join a fair few writing events (I do WriMos twice a year and always enter the Amazon contest(ABNA)). I've written 14 books, a mix of YA and adult—all toward the darker side—classified as suspense or mystery. I've been writing seriously since 2006 (though I had a lot of false starts before that)... actually mastered plotting with fan fiction (Harry Potter), of all the Bizarro World details.

I published my first book last (actually 7th written, but never mind) year under the pen name Alyse Carlson. It's a cozy mystery and part of a three book contract (2nd comes out in May). I'm actively trying to sell one of my YA books and have another entered in ABNA—And just got a KILLER (that's double entendre, by the way) idea this weekend for one that I'm sure will prod at me until I can find time to write it, though I'm currently editing one of my mysteries (top right corner always has what I'm doing).

And I would be remiss if I didn't invite all of you to join the Naked World Domination Movement... I have a theory that naked people are nicer (because they are more comfortable) so I encourage everyone to give in to their inner nudist... And as the title Watery Tart implies... I don't actually want to be in charge when we take over the world, because that is a lot of WORK WORK WORK, but I do want to pick the leaders.

Oh. And I'm obsessed with llamas. And possibly man-butts.

Me, as portrayed by my friend, Rissa

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Reintroduce Blogfest Monday

I don't normally blog on the weekend, but it occurred to me this morning that I knew a bunch of groovy people (my friends old and new at ABNA) who haven't quite found their blogging groove. And MONDAY, there is a perfect time to dive into the deep end with a lifeguard on duty.

Say what?

I know. I sort of enjoy straining metaphors. Sue me.

What I mean is... the Reintroduce Yourself Blogfest is Monday... there is still time to sign up. And what it offers as a 'blog shopper' (someone looking for new blogs to follow) is you get to come in on a day where you can learn about the blog owner and make a decision on actual 'get to know you' information, rather than stumbling in on the day they need to obsess about slugs, or top 40 hits, or kale. There are lots of topics that might be covered by people we might otherwise like, but if we stumble in on THAT day, we will never know they really are a great fit.

So if you have a blog but haven't been maximizing that whole NETWORKING thing with it, we'd love you to join!

The information on it is HERE... just sign up at the bottom of the list. Easy peasy. And then on MONDAY post an 'about you' post.

Gratuitous Llama picture

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Embrace Your Inner Freak

As the Sun moves unto Aquarius, the timing seems right, ya know?

I'm a Cancer, five signs away from Aqurarius, and there is no prediction whatsoever about how we should get along. But I've been thinking about it... My fabulous Grandma Alyse was an Aquarius...

And did you know I had three good friends when I was four... the friendships I've held longest in my life... ALL of whom I am still friends with... who strangely, ALL are Aquarians... Shelley was first... she lived across the street... then Peggy, who probably has been my longest close-all-the-way through friend... and Gary, whose Mom babysat me afternoons after nursery school and kindergarten (because school was half days and my parents worked all day) (and whose birthday it is—Happy Birthday!)

So I was indoctrinated early that people who marched to a different drummer really were more fun to hang around with. They had a better sense of self, more creativity of expression... and while Peggy was with me through those core insecure teen years, so I know it wasn't doubt-free, all these people became fabulously individual people.

You know, Aquarius is ruled by Uranus (yes, there is a joke in there... I will wait for Ron Weasley to tell it, but I've thrown in some man-butts to get you in the mood)... which is the planet that rules MYSTERIES and the UNUSUAL. And while AIR, the ruling element of Aquarius, sort of sprawls everywhere... you'd think it would be maximally flexible, eh? Yet Aquarius is 'fixed'

Tangent: each astrological ELEMENT (fire, earth, air, water) has three ways of being: Cardinal adapts the environment to suit IT, Mutable adapts to suit the environment, and FIXED—there is no adapting... anywhere (and now you know why Taurus is so stubborn—immovable element in an immovable mode, but never mind): So ALL signs are a different combo of element and way...

Return to regularly scheduled blog: The way my good old 'The Only Astrology Book You Will Ever Need' puts it is Aquarius has all these far out ideas (Uranus) but holds to them very stubbornly.

The Water Bearer by Richard Bulman
I think there is some wisdom to take from this. I think people who use society standards as their metric are ALL going to fall short, because they know their inner flaws and foibles, even if people looking from the outside can't see them. But people who decide to be their OWN metric, will always succeed. Because who could possibly be more you than you?

So I'd like to ask all of you to dig for those unique nuggets in yourself and embrace them....

[and if you'd like, you can appreciate that I managed a theme where naked men totally fit the topic, rather than being entirely gratuitous... Though it IS Naked Thursday

But I warn you, if you follow the painting link... it goes below where I cropped it and you will be able to tell he is circumcised... only go there if you won't be offended (he is better endowed than any of Michelangelo's models... I'm just sayin...]

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

How Writers Write

Oh, I know... y'all aren't representative annallat... but between responses HERE and responses over at ABNA where I posed the same questions (two blogs ago, if you want to look), I got more than 60 results, so not bad at all, as blog polling goes (at least in my experience).

Who ARE you?

Well, all of you are writers... a couple here hadn't finished a book yet (that's okay, we all start somewhere) but we'd written an average (mean) of 5.9 books in 12.1 years. Keep in mind there were some big numbers that skewed these—the MODE (most commonly mentioned response) was 3 books (8 people of 50 who answered that question)—2 and 2.5 also being fairly common.

I ALSO should let you know a number of you started writing ages ago, but if you gave a 'got serious' answer, that was what I used. Not tons of us have been serious for several decades (though there were a few)

About half of you answered here and half over at ABNA. The blog had more missing data, I think just because the format sort of lends to that.

HOW do you Write?

Almost half said fast (23/53), though slow was the #2 response (medium and in bursts also got a decent number). People who write fast or medium had written more books (shocking, I know; though the fact that I got a p value of .06 for a sample of only 60 is quite impressive *shifty*)--about 7 versus in the 3s. What CAN'T be told from this is whether people get faster as they write more books or whether people write more books because they can do it faster. The things sort of go hand in hand.

More than half claimed you write CLEAN (and so I'm just a bit envious). This was NOT different by number of books or years writing.

About half of you only work on one thing at a time. (followed by rotators). The people who worked on multiple books at once several times, mentioned of their own accord, that they have to be different genres.

About half set the book aside before editing, though about a third edit right away and another portion edits as you go (with the leftovers doing some mix)

About half either move on to the next, or at least wait on the current before submitting or publishing. Those who keep going until it is OUT THERE were split between self publishing and submitting.

We are almost evenly split between pantsers, outliners and people who do some level of planning that isn't quite outlining (notes, timelines)

And we are ALL over the board with genre, though YA was most common, followed by varied, though if I'd marked varied for anybody who had more than one, that would have risen to top—oodles put 2 genres.

Mixing it up

Pantsers write faster than outliners. I wonder if outliners count their time outlining as writing time and that explains some portion of this? Just as likely, it takes some effort to follow a plan. (people who judge their speed as medium are evenly split between pantsers and outliners). How we write seems to have NO effect on how clean we judge our books to be. Interesting. Totally would have thought outliners ended up with cleaner books, but about half of both pantsers and outliners are clean. Clean though, DOES absorb a greater portion of the other planning methods.

People who work on multiple works at once are 70% pantsers... One at a timers are planners (either outline or other systems); rotators are more of a mix.

Outliners edit right away, pantsers set it aside (broadly—there are exceptions—more exceptions in the outliners setting it aside category)

How a person writes doesn't seem to have much impact on what a person does once done in terms of publishing, waiting, etc.

I totally thought some pattern would emerge related to experience or genre, but that really doesn't seem to be the case. It was fun, though, to look at us collectively.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Death by Page Proofs

*falls over*

[Note: TOMORROW is when I will share results from Friday's poll... I have tallied, but at work I have better software for playing around with what I get]

So for the last week I've been microscopically reading The Begonia Bribe... This is not my favorite activity. For starters, page proofs are supposed to be fairly clean, so when I find a mistake I feel guilty. Did I do this? Should I have caught this earlier? (and I actually caught quite a lot—many more than last time)

And reading so carefully has awoken my inner insecure whiny baby. GADS! Is this GOOD ENOUGH to publish!?

See, this book was ALREADY challenging, so maybe that is part of it. It was my second in the series... and while I've written a trilogy, a series is a different animal. Each needs to stand alone... So there is the careful balance of what goes in and what doesn't so that new readers aren't lost, but repeat readers aren't annoyed.... and there were the subplots... I made the mistake in my early draft of front loading one of these and it pushed the body back too far into the story... so then I had to rewrite the darned thing... twice... Strangely, writing the 3rd was a piece of cake by comparison (and my beta readers both independently told me they thought it was the best of the three). But number 2 comes out first...

Another challenge: Penguin changed my editor midway through... which is nobody's fault, not even the Romans... but there are challenges related. I loved Emily, my old editor. I love Michelle, my new editor. But I think changing captains mid-stream just means there are some complications. The new one doesn't know what the old one expected necessarily... and the ship (that's me) has to get a feel for the new driver...

But now it is DONE!!!! And I am FREE! Though working on a bloody holiday, which isn't my favorite thing. See, the U gives us the week between Christmas and New Years in lieu of a number of 3 day weekends and this is one of them. I don't get another 3 day weekend until Memorial day *grumbles*

Friday, January 18, 2013

What Kind of Writer are YOU? (A poll)

Be sure to say that with incredulity and add just a note of disgust on that last word. It's how we all HEAR the question, anyway...

Oh, we're ALL mad here!
But what brings this on?

I've been hanging out over at ABNA... it is what I DO in January after all (besides go hungry). I like to get to know my fellow contestants... there are old friends and new acquaintances... and there are some discussions that cause me to... observe stuff.

Stuff??? You say? What KIND of stuff?

First, before I say anything, I need to shout out the big disqualifier... none of these observations makes one type of writer better or worse. It is ALL just an observation about the different ways we can BE... we are not all alike, much as we are more like each other than we are like non-writer types.

But I notice:

Some writers are so attached to ONE BOOK... Same book entered year after year. And I wonder... do they write other books, or have they just been perfecting THIS book?

This is not unrelated to the 'won't take on the next until this one is published'.

And then there are folks like me, who must seem very short-attention spanned... entering my 4th book in 4 years and year 1 I entered book 1, but this year am entering #10...

What this MEANS, is some writers focus on ONE BOOK until it is totally polished, finished and OUT THERE.

Do you suppose this helps?
OTHERS write a book, set it aside to work on something else, set THAT aside to work on a 3rd thing, then come back to the first thing. Know what I am? I'm a ROTATOR!

Still others work SIMULTANEOUSLY on a couple projects (writing two at once)--now I've done this—back in the day I was writing my first book and still writing fan fiction—but I can't do it anymore, though I CAN write one and polish another.

I've ALSO noticed some people write slow and clean and some people write fast and dirty (this would be me) and some people write slow and dirty, and SOME LUCKY BASTARDS write fast and clean.

And some people dive straight into editing, while others let it sit... Some share parts of their book right away, others wait until the book is done (maybe even edited—here is where I raise my hand again) to share.

So how do YOU do it?

Fast or slow?
Dirty or clean?
One at a time, multiple or rotating?
Can you edit right away, or do you need to set it aside?
Publish or die or do you go on to next project and wait to come back to it?

And to put this all in context:

Do you outline/timeline/ or pants?
How many books have you written?
How many YEARS have you been writing since you got serious?
What genre do you write?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

If My Head Weren't Attached...

Lose it, I would.

So do you want to talk about memory?

Look! A Squirrel!

No, but seriously. I used to have one.

I no longer do.

I blame motherhood. Specifically, I blame my son. Child 2. I had one until he was born. Call it a testosterone incompatibility. Call it direct transference (he's a very smart boy). Call it the stress of two children. But it's GONE. Se fue. Finite. Kaput.

What were we talking about?

Oh, right. The trouble of memory insufficiency and writing. (Well, not really, but I forgot my original point, so this one will do).

Did you know I've had scenes turn up three times in the same manuscript? They were REALLY GOOD SCENES. But probably once was enough. I just forgot I did it already. Twice.

So what's a girl to do? (boys, too, though I don't see as many guys with memory issues—I think they tend not to be torn in as many directions... just to stereotype and generalize a bit)

1) Beat Sheet. Now I hear people use these and don't know if mine are the SAME, but what I do with mine is write one line for each scene... what is the MAIN action of that scene. (it helps trigger my memory as I go on, and it helps me FIND something if I need to go in and change.

2) Character list. Just like it sounds. Because the BIGGEST memory snafu I have is forgetting what I've named all my secondary characters. (and plot notes)

3)  Write FAST. Memory is far less an issue in a WriMo, where the novel is finished in a month than it is if the novel takes six months or nine months.

4) RE-read. I do this for revisions. Oh yeah... I can't resist keeping a pen in my hand for simple typo/wording stuff, but before I make plot changes, I read beginning to end so I know what's what.

5) Critter help. TELL your critique partners you could use help spotting inconsistencies. This is easier to spot the first time you ever read a book than when you know the thing inside out. When you KNOW it, then the right way is in your head and you will just think you did it that way.

Any of you have tricks for faulty memories?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Diet Starts with DIE

We haven't had a good whiny baby blog for a while eh? Well it's time.

Two weeks.

I have been SO GOOD for TWO FREAKING WEEKS! Totally on points. Getting back to walking more again. I have done everything I'm supposed to. You all KNOW how hard it is for me to behave!

AND THE BLOODY SCALE IS NOT BUDGING!!! Down ONE pound in two weeks. For pete's sake, at that rate, I won't reach my goal for three years. Who can diet for three years? Gads! I'll probably be menopausal, which will make it all worse! #sorryTMI

Why is it that as we age, not only does everything start to hurt, and we mend slower and get sick easier... and our a FREAKING METABOLISM SLOWS DOWN! Doesn't it seem like if we have all those other problems it should use MORE energy to just... you know... exist?

I know I still need to get some sort of weight routine going. But SHEESH. It just should NOT BE THIS HARD!!!

So I am throwing out a plea to any of YOU—do you know any tricks after 40 for those non-moving scales?

This was interesting infor and I'm going to try some of these:

It ends up an ad, but the beginning info is interesting.

You can stop early. I just liked the info about the real things you could do (sleep more, eat pumpkin seeds. deep breath... apple cider vinegar before a high-carb meal... Don't NEED the pills.)

Update:  Today was weigh-in and it's 2 pounds in two weeks, but that is still SO SLOW!!!

Friday, January 11, 2013

3 Days: Can we Panic NOW?

Yes. Now we panic.

Wait. Have I lost you? The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest opens in 3 days. Between now and then I need to:

Finish 43 pages of my OWN edit.
Incorporate Leigh's feedback
Incorporate Helena's feedback on the excerpt

Clean up the pitch... Thank you SO MUCH everyone who gave feedback! I really think I've got what I need to polish this puppy til it's fluffy! (and by fluffy, I mean fabulous).

FORMAT the excerpt (it is pasted, and so you need to manually add double spacing between paragraphs, not a HUGE ordeal, but with 15 pages or so, it takes time).

My PLAN *Buwahahahahahahaha* is to do the first today, the second two Saturday and the last two Sunday.

In the meantime, let me amuse you...

The ever ellusive Push-me-pull-llama
Not bad advice...
Glad my kids aren't the only ones...

It's true...


And finally...
Funniest thing I saw this week...

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

My Son the Senior Citizen (and a plea for help)

The senior citizen in question (and 1/3 of me)
So somewhere around 2005 the AARP lost an old guy named Samuel Johnson. But never fear. If the AARP loses you, they will find you... or some near approximation. About my son's 9th birthday they started sending us stuff. Offers for magazines, life insurance (really A LOT of life insurance), assist beds and chairs... Never mind that his dad didn't qualify until last September...

When they would call us asking for him, my husband would lecture them on his age. But we've never done anything about the mail. Heck, sometimes they send us discounts. And more often, it is just really funny to think about my teenage son getting these Bizarro World offers.

[Note I am 5'11. You can see in this photo my 14 year old has passed me by more than a wee bit)

So last night I got the mail and there is a letter. It is that weird type that might be type, might be handwritten, but since it's addressed to my son, I do the magnanimous thing and pass it on, explaining it might just be an ad...

Me: So what was it, Bud?
Him: They want to help me with my ear wax.

*dies *

Oh, to be fourteen and treated like 64.

MEDIUM WRONG Pitch for Feedback...

So the Amazon contest starts in 5 days, right? And the first cut is based on the pitch... so here is my current pitch and I would LOVE feedback... 2 things: After reading the pitch would you want to read the book and do you see ways to improve it?


Amanda Harden has anticipated summer break and her brother’s return from college since Christmas. She’s been biding her time, trying to stay under her volatile father’s radar. Within minutes of Asher’s return; however, she learns he’s flunked out of college and their father throws him out of the house.

Worried as much about Asher’s self-destructive response as her own well-being, Amanda insists on tagging along on the road trip he plans as an escape. He resists, but then decides on a plan that can use her. They learned the con young, under their father’s constant example, and Asher believes Amanda can help him run a doozy to pay for their trip. Amanda will bring messages from the dead to their loved ones ‘for peace of mind and profit’.

The plan seems to go well... until the dead decide their stories need more accuracy and detail and start talking to Amanda for real.  Amanda suffers vivid dreams and lurid visions, not to mention the puking and the headaches. But mixed in are messages that are much more personal about a series of lies and cover-ups. There is a wrong that needs to be righted—one that could change everything.

At 75,000 words, MEDIUM WRONG is a young adult novel that combines a road trip, a family mystery and the love-hate struggle siblings do so well.

I would LOVE feedback!!!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Carol Kingore's Soloman's Compass

So I am a day late and feel terrible. MAN, never recruit me to do anything on a Monday... But I am VERY excited to share with you.

Carol is a great friend and she has a book release to shout about!!!  So I'm VERY sorry about forgetting to post yesterday... TODAY, let me just share a little about Soloman's Compass...

A missing belt—her uncle’s prized possession. The lure of buried treasure. And a sexy former SEAL who makes U.S. Coast Guard Commander Taylor Campbell crazy. What more could any woman want. Right?

Taylor is on a quest to unearth her uncle’s buried treasure—a journey so far out of the realm of her real life she can barely fathom it. There’s one other minor glitch. Taylor's certain the buried treasure was all in Uncle Randy's dementia-riddled mind. Now he’s dead.

All the same, Taylor is in Rock Harbor, Texas, to settle her uncle's estate, including following his directions to the treasure—even if doing so means trespassing. When someone tries to kill her, Taylor's quest becomes personal. She tosses Randy's official cause of death—Drowning Due to Accident—out the window and starts looking at his Rock Harbor acquaintances. Could Randy's treasure be real?

Jake Solomon is in Rock Harbor under false pretenses. He loathes the charade, but if he doesn't follow the plan, his dad will make Jake's SEAL training feel like a day on the monkey bars in kindergarten.

The plan is to protect Taylor Campbell from the fate that befell her uncle and the other members of a tight circle of Coast Guardsmen called the Compass Points who served together on Point boats in Vietnam.

Due to the danger involved, Jake’s dad has ordered him not to become involved with Taylor. Disobeying his father was Jake’s first mistake.

Taylor is attracted to Jake as well, but she refuses to wait for Jake to locate the killer when she knows her plan will force her uncle’s murderer into action.

But the killer's actions are just what Jake is afraid of.

Carol's Bio: 
Carol Kilgore has always had stories and characters in her head, but she didn’t know she should write them down until about a dozen years ago. Once she started, she couldn’t stop.
Her first published short story won the Derringer Award for Best Short-Short Mystery. She continued to write short fiction for a few years and also enjoyed a small success as a freelancer before giving it all up for her true love—novels.
Carol writes a blend of mystery, suspense, and romance she calls Crime Fiction with a Kiss. Always at least one crime; always a love story. Solomon’s Compass is her second published novel.
As the wife of a Coast Guard officer, Carol has lived in locations across the U.S. She and her husband now live in a San Antonio suburb and share their home and patio with two active herding dogs that keep them free from all danger, real or imagined.
You can find Carol here:

Monday, January 7, 2013

In Praise of Beta Readers

Know what makes us better? FEEDBACK.

I've had and am getting some great help lately and I just want to express THANKS to some fabulous friends. They happen to all be women at the moment, but it can come from all kinds of people.

THANK YOU, Stacy and Leigh for developmental feedback on MEDIUM WRONG. It is about 40% through what will be final revisions for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest which opens January 14, and I KNOW will be better for the help.

THANK YOU Helena, for beta reading the excerpt with a microscope! The contest is such that the pitch is read first, then the excerpt, then the whole book, so that excerpt really needs to be highly polished. I trust the STORY when someone is reading the whole book, but if they only get three chapters, then any mistakes will hit harder.

THANK YOU Erica and Johanna for feedback on my STUPID BLOODY SYNOPSIS for KAHLOTUS DISPOSAL SITE. I am querying and some agents want a synopsis... and synopses are HARD to write!

SO THANK YOU!!! (if you have time, you should go visit them all, they are AMAZING!)

And I have a little excitement to share... apparently my next book cover is up! I didn't get the okay to share it, but since Amazon took liberties, I figure I am okay... So here is The Begonia Bribe! To be released May 7, 2013 (one day before Hurray Hurray the 8th of May!)

It has got me guessing what color the third will be... Maybe light blue? I love the begonias inlaid into the yellow here, though. And this version of Elmwood Park in Roanoke is fantastic! If you wanted to go like it on Amazon, that would be really amazing. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

IWSG: Baby Steps

So going through successes and failures from last year and writing goals for this year got me thinking. There is something I am pretty good at that I don’t think comes naturally for everyone. And I believe it is the REASON I am able to be so persistent for so long on projects that can seem ENDLESS. So that is good help for others, ne? (and be sure to visit the other Insecure Writers today, too)

I am good at taking a huge, pie-in-the-sky goal and breaking it into manageable pieces. Not only does this help to DO the thing, it also gives you dozens of mini-successes along the way that reinforce you really CAN get there from here.

So in writing, there are a couple GIANT goals, each as intimidating as the next… WRITING THE BOOK (the first is always hardest) and PUBLISHING THE BOOK… So I thought I’d break down some of the steps a person might break out, though keep in mind everyone has a different process for both of these things.


If you like to plan ahead…
* Outline
* Character sketch
* Research (though beware of the black hole this can become—limit this to what is absolutely necessary for the story—DETAILS can be researched after)
* Get a few books you think fit the genre and get familiar with what DOES and DOES NOT belong in stories like the one you have planned.
* Write the pitch that will go with your book
* Write the synopsis if you are a superstar

Or if you are a pantser…
* Figure out the time of day that works for you and schedule it…
* Remember a page a day is a book in a year.
* Set reasonable wordcount goals

Or if you are in between like me…
* Make your timeline

NOW just write regularly… set your goal… a chapter a week? A scene a day? 1000 words a day? (or 500?)

And let yourself be proud for each thing you get done…

And then there is PUBLISHING
* Read blogs!!!! (I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned about this business from reading the experience of others)
* Go to The Writer’s Knowledge Base[] and look up the latest on the process including wordcount guidelines by genre if you are publishing traditionally
* Find someone to READ your book and give you feedback (edit, repeat, ad nauseum)—some people write relatively clean first drafts… like one in a thousand. Most of us THINK we write clean first drafts at that first book and learn we DO NOT.
* Look up the agents who represent your genre and read more specifically what they like OR find the small publishers who publish what you have
* (if you’d prefer to self publish, on about your 10th draft, hire a professional editor and shop cover artists—we have several of both of these within our blogging circle)
* As you research your process make your OWN list of baby steps. Because as I said, we all have different preferences, but know that networking can teach you of alternative routes, so keep that piece in the loop.

So there you have it… Baby steps + Just keep swimming = success.

Good luck to all of you trying to bit off something new and HUGE!