Wednesday, June 29, 2011

One of those weeks

It's been one of those weeks. My husband burned himself on the lawnmower and I was stung by a wasp. The horrible topper was when my 14 month old son touched the hot grill. He has second degree burns on both his hands. Only his left thumb remained free of blisters. Poor little guy. His hands are wrapped up like mittens. He's been very good considering, but he gets frustrated he can't do anything. Tomorrow morning we'll go in to see the doctor to find out how he's healing. We have to change the bandages twice a day and keep them on for at least a week. Torture for a little boy who wants to get into everything and torture for his mom who has to watch him suffer with it.

I managed to get some time yesterday to start a dark fantasy short story. I'm not sure if it started with enough of a bang, though. I might rewrite the beginning, but we'll see what my critique partners have to say first. I'm my own worst critic sometimes. I know what I want to do with the story and I'll push myself to it. I just have to find the right path to get there. That's the tricky part.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Teaser Tuesday

I nabbed this off The Golden Eagle's blog.

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
I'm reading Blood Wyne by Yasmine Galenorn. I love her Otherworld series. Great paranormal romance. Camille is my favorite of the sisters, but Menolly's and Delilah's perspectives are fun, too. Blood Wyne is written from Menolly's POV.

And Ivana Krask, whatever she might be, held the energy of the Elder Fae in her voice.
"I want to strike a bargain."  (page 175)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Surprise sting

I didn't get much of a chance to do anything in the way of writing over the weekend. I enjoyed an afternoon at a park with my husband and son on Saturday, and we met friends for milkshakes in the evening. Yesterday we bought a dresser and shelf for my son's room. A lot of rearranging needed to be done. Our house is little. I finally removed my last bookshelf from his room. It was a little shelf consisting of mostly Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, and Bill Bryson books. I forgot I had so many Pratchett books, and I still don't have them all. I need a bigger house for more wall space for bookshelves.

I was stung by a gigantic wasp while trimming a bush outside. Okay, gigantic in my head is an inch. When I was growing up, I don't remember seeing that many wasps. Not as many as I see these days, and the ones I remember were small. I remember many more honeybees and bumblebees. A honeybee sting is nothing compared to a wasp viciously attacking you. It came out of nowhere. It felt like a hot needle being jabbed into the back of my hand. I screamed like a girl. Yes, I am a girl, but I'm not a screamer. My husband ran over and slayed the monster for me. My knight in a geek t-shirt and khaki shorts. My hand felt as though it were on fire for about an hour. It hurt for the rest of the night. Now it's swollen up twice its size and it's itchy. Incredibly itchy.

One insect did this to me. One sting by one wasp. I couldn't imagine if I had come across a nest. I'm not over-dramatic at all. From what I've read on the net, this is a normal reaction. Dang wasp.

Now I have it in my head to write a short story about deadly insects.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Titles can be so elusive

I finished my first full edit of my latest WIP. I think the story flows well. It's a fun tale. I don't take myself too seriously and that's exactly how I wanted it to feel. There's things I might need to add or change, but I'll wait until my critique partners have a chance to read it. No one else has read the manuscript yet. I know how I want to make my readers feel, but whether it's accomplished that or not, I won't know until I get someone else's opinion.

I still don't have a title. I need something flirty. Something with a key or curse and lion or sphinx in it. The Key To A Lion's Hunger. How To Make A Lion Roar. I don't know. The few others I've thought of are far too silly and dirty. Yes, those two are the nicer ones! Sometimes stories make it difficult for me to name them. Usually when that happens, I just name them for their protagonists. It won't work for this book. Verena is a lovely name, but it doesn't tell anyone a thing about what the story is about.

I'm going to let the manuscript sit a week. Then I'll go back at it again with fresh eyes. I have a dark fantasy short story and the premiere of True Blood to distract me until I get back to it.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I squeaked like a teenage fangirl

My favorite fantasy series is George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. It's brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. We got HBO for the summer so I could watch Game of Thrones. I love the show. I think it stays true to the books. I'm reading the first book again as I'm watching the show. It's spot on. Okay, yes, there are a few things that are different, but I don't feel they've changed the story itself.

My husband watched the first few episodes with me. He dared to say: "This is like some medieval version of Gossip Girl." He didn't want to watch any more after that. I squeaked my indignation. All the political maneuvering and aristocratic egos are things which make the series great. I wish I could write such a rich and complex world as Martin. Gossip Girl, my behind!

I was lucky enough to meet Martin four years ago at a convention. I waited in line for a long time to get two books signed. Some guy ahead of me had over two dozen books. Martin didn't looked pleased. I practiced in my head what I would say. When I finally walked up to the table, he smiled and said hello. I said hello back and squeaked like a teenage fangirl. I then lost my voice. So embarrassing! Martin said a few more things, and smiled again, waving at me as I walked away. It was my chance to chat with one of my idols and I caught a case of fangirl spaz.

He did a couple of seminars while he was at the convention. One of them was titled "Heroes & Villains." I remember this one specifically because he kept repeating that he didn't know why he was on the panel. He stated that there are no heroes or villains in his novels, only flawed characters. I loved it. And it suits for A Song of Ice and Fire. There are no good guys or bad guys except those we deem as such in our own heads. Characters grow, they falter, they change, and they die. Martin is brilliant. I can't say that enough.

We also got HBO so I could watch True Blood. I'm counting down the hours. Oh, how I've missed you, Eric Northman.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

First day of summer

I had one of my vampire teeth extracted this morning. I was sad the dentist chose that one to take out. I have two canines on the top and two, well, one now, on the bottom which sit higher/lower than the other teeth. I've always joked they were my vampire teeth. The dentist had to wiggle it out to the side and it came out with a loud crack. I prepared myself for it, so I didn't startle or even flinch. The assistant cringed, though!

I'm not in any pain. I'm usually very good with pain, anyway. I'm glad I don't have to take any pain killers because my son behaved at the dentist and then took a nap when we got home. I was able to get in an hour of editing my WIP. To top the day off, my son ate his green beans at dinner along with everything else. That alone makes it a good day.

Happy First Day of Summer, everyone!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

My first writer's group experience

Well, I guess I can't say it's my first time. I did meet with writers doing NaNoWriMo for a few years every November. Yet most of them weren't serious writers and, as the month progressed, it turned more into a knitting circle. I don't knit.

I have a bunch of writer friends online and two great critique partners, but it's not the same as meeting face-to-face. I've been to conventions and attended workshops. Yet a regular writer's group is invaluable if you can find a good one.

Only three other people showed up to the meeting. Summers are slow. I was greeted warmly. They are super nice people. That helped put me more at ease. I wasn't as nervous as I thought I'd be. We critiqued two other short stories before we got to mine. These folks are experienced at story critiques. Wow. My critiquing skills pale in comparison. There's a lot I can learn from them in that aspect. Being able to critique someone else's story well helps you to better do so to your own.

They didn't hold back. They gave me the truth about my story. I wanted an honest and unbiased opinion, and I got it. If I were the same person I was ten years ago, I wouldn't have been able to take the criticism. It could have been seen as brutal. As I've gotten older, my skin has thickened. I hope I took the criticisms with grace. I listened to everything they had to say and asked for advice. My story will be much improved because of this.

Here are the basics:
- I was trying to be more show than tell in the story and it made the story fall flat. (I was experimenting with this story because I've been accused of too much telling in the past.) I have to do a little telling: get into my protagonist's head so her motivations are clearer, add in some background, and display more emotions to make her more likable.
- The change in the protagonist needs to be bigger at the end or else it doesn't seem like she's changed at all. She has to earn her happy ending.
- The blocking wasn't clear in the climatic scene.
- A few parts are overwritten and a few others are cliche.

Friday, June 17, 2011

I'll just keep trying

Two more rejections. One short story and one manuscript. The short story is not good enough for a SFWA certified publication. I will write another story. It will be a better story. I will craft it with all my skill and polish it until it shines. I have a great idea for a dark fantasy story. I only need to think of a twist for the ending. Something no one expects.

As for the manuscript, it has gotten some love, but it hasn't managed to find a home. It's mainstream paranormal romance (on the erotic side). I received a simple form rejection letter this time. I think I will put the manuscript aside for the time being and concentrate on my newest WIP. This new one was written for a particular publisher. I believe it has great potential. It really needs to be polished, though. And a title. I still haven't manged to think of a title.

I did some editing for my WIP yesterday. I chuckled as I read it. It's a fun story. Nothing heavy or too dark. A wonderful paranormal romantica getaway for readers.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Number 59

The cold is sticking around. It dug itself a trench and is defending its territory. My son has been throwing up again. My nose is red. Ruby red. It's embarrassing, really. I hope I don't feel this horrible when I go to my first writer's group meeting on Saturday.

I've edited and submitted two short stories this week. One to a zombie anthology and a second to a fantasy magazine. I'm trying to get my story published in a SFWA certified publication. It's hard. Incredibly hard. I was rejected for the fantasy story this morning. I submitted it to another magazine. I love the submission status checker. I can be obsessive checking it. I'm 59 in the queue. It will likely be a longer wait with this one.

I want to start editing my latest manuscript, but it seems my son doesn't want to nap. I need to go blow my nose again, too.

Monday, June 13, 2011

One of those Mondays

I knew it wasn't going to be a great day today when my son started to get stuffed up on the weekend. He's thrown up twice today and is fighting taking a nap. It's nearly dinnertime. Please, take a nap! How people with children and a full-time job manage to find time to write amazes me. That's dedication.

I received a short story rejection this morning. I was short-listed, but I got the basic email rejection. I've gotten a lot of rejections over the years, but it's a little harder to take the ones when you've been short-listed first. I really like this little story, too, because it's my only hard boiled detective story true to the noir style. I hope to find a home for it some time soon.

This coming Saturday, I'm attending my first meeting of the South Central Indiana Fiction Interface (S.C.I.F.I.). I'm excited I was invited to join. The two writers I've met through email so far are highly experienced. I'm sure I'll learn a lot from the group. I submitted a short story to be critiqued during the meeting. There are only two other stories being critiqued. That makes me nervous. I'm a shy person and I have social anxiety. I'm terrified of speaking in front of groups. Yet I know it's important to do these things if I want to become a professional writer. I have done read and critiques at conventions before. I've gotten faint, blushed a deep red, almost lost my voice, and trembled so that my hands were shaking as I held the paper. I don't know how to chase away the anxiety. I just have to do it. It isn't the end of the world no matter how much it might feel like it. Are there any tricks that you use to help when you're speaking in front of a group? I welcome any tips and advice.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Starting fresh

I've moved here from my old Blogger blog. Some of you might wonder why you have two people of the same name following you, but it's just me subscribing to your blogs again. I'll keep up my old one for a little while longer until everyone has a chance to get the news.

I know Blogger has some issues with commenting. Please let me know if you discover any bugs on here. I also had problems with people trying to follow me on my old one and not being able to do so. I hope that is no longer an issue. Again, please email me or leave a comment if you find anything wrong or if you think I need to add something. There's so many gadgets here. I don't know what's useful and what's just a waste of space.

I also double post on my LJ blog.