Tuesday, November 30, 2010

How Was Your Cyber Monday?

Currently reading - Heaven's Spite by Lilith Saintcrow

First of all, yes, I know I'm taking a unusual amount of time to finish Saintcrow's latest.  Assuming I sleep, teach, and work, I'm usually done in thirty-six hours.

DH is bugging me since he graciously allowed first dibs, but now he wants to read it, dammit!  This is not a slam on Lilith.  Unfornutantely, my only fun reading time has been during my fifteen-minute break at work.  (We're not counting the two flat-on-my-ass sick days last week.)  So I'll have to finish it tomorrow because I've got a crit partner's proposal to review.

In the meantime. . .

I had to get holiday shopping done, and frankly I love doing it online!  No people, no parking, no poopy attitudes.  Just me, Isabella, and the credit card.  Of course, the one absolute, must-have for the youngest niece-who-must-be-corrupted was Computer Engineer Barbie.  And she's freakin' back-ordered!

WTF?  Are there that many Barbie geeks in the world?

Anybody else get their shopping done online yesterday?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

It's Not the Holiday Season Until. . . Part 2

Still one of my favorite songs EVAH!

(And this guy had wa-a-ay too much time on his hands!)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday

Currently Reading - Wonder Woman comics

There was a time when I loved Black Friday.  My sister and I would be up at 6AM, pick up our grandmother and head into town.  Of course, this was back in the day when a store opening at 7AM was highly unusual.  We'd get a majority of our holiday shopping done, then head to Bob Evans for breakfast.  (Which by the way, still serves cornmeal mush.  I love Bob's!)

This morning, you can't pay me enough to go out shopping, even if I wasn't coughing up a lung.  What started as a fun little tradition has turned into a free-for-all that puts Ultimate Fighting matches to shame.  Last year, a security guard was trampled to death when shoppers stormed the LOCKED DOORS of an East Coast Wal-Mart.  Turns out a riot is stronger than the bolts holding glass doors to a concrete frame.

What is it with the human race?  In the grand scheme of things, does it make a difference if little Johnny is the first kid on the block to get a Wii or whatever is this year's must-have item?

Any of you braving the hordes today?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope everyone has a terrific Thanksgiving, but please remember TURKEY IS DANGEROUS!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

It's a Good Thing I'm Not Writing

Currently reading - Random X-Men and Wonder Woman comics

I woke up this morning with the most Goddess-awful head cold.  Thank Djehuti, I'm not doing NaNo.  I'd be lucky to hit one hundred words with the pressure behind my eyes.

What I'm doing instead is bagging and boxing a huge portion of my comic book collection.  There was a time when I'd properly store my comics as soon as I read them.

Then came law school.  I'd read maybe part of my monthly shipment from Mile High Comics.  Then I'd stack them in the office closet with the promise that I'd take care of them during summer break.  Except internships and DH's frequent international travel meant Wonder Woman and her friends stayed in the closet.

Then came the bar exams.  I'd already pre-registered for the Ohio Bar Exam before DH took the job in Texas, so it seemed like a waste of money not to take it along with the Texas Bar Exam.  And yes, I was insane enough to take them both the same year.  Other than walking the dogs and a week in Hawaii, my nose was glued to books and practice exams for months.  And Wolverine and his buds got stacked in the closet without even a passing glance.

Then I got pregnant, literally three days after the Columbus swearing-in ceremony.  Soon after GK was born, I had to admit to myself that I needed cancel my subscription.  I wasn't giving my comics the attention they deserved.  And Batman and his co-horts still sat in the closet by themselves.

But now we're trying to prepare the house for listing.  That means cleaning out the closets.  I'm ashamed that I let my friends languish in the dark.   They brought me so much joy during a very lonely childhood.

So I gently bag each one, reading the occasional book that has a beautiful cover of Storm or Troia.  700 down, another 1000 to go.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What's the Hardest Part?

Currently reading - Heaven's Spite by Lilith Saintcrow

So what is the hardest thing about writing?

Is it finding the right idea?  Is it the 'butt in chair?'  Is it the editng, the synopsis, the query letter?  What about finding the guts to submit, to make the personal pitch at a conference, to simply press the 'SEND' button?  What about that new proposal to your editor?  Getting swallowed by your promotional plan?  Accepting the critcism and the bad reviews?

The hardest thing is different for everybody.  You've got to tackle the fear that makes that one thing so freaking hard.  It's the only way to succeed.

My hardest thing is dealing with people.  I'd love nothing more than to hide in my office and not deal with the human race for days at a time.  That's the trouble with being an introvert to the Nth degree.  Dealing with people feels like I'm being eaten alive.  And in a way, I am.

But I've got to work on that fear, that energy drain.  Fans expect a lot more out of their favorite authors these days.  And dammit, I want to be someone's favorite author.

Monday, November 22, 2010

And the Point of All This Was . . .

Why am I pointing out music artists I love?  (And that's just a partial list.  Don't forget Sons of Maxwell, Metallica, Queen, Madonna, Beethoven, et. al.)

Because writers need to be reading a little bit of everything.  Don't focus only on the genre you're writing in.  Sample other books.  What elements attract you?  What things drive you crazy?  What disturbs you?  Use your emotions with other works ignite to fuel your creativity.  With the genre-mxing in today's publishing industry, you never know when you might create the hot new subgenre mash-up.

But a caveat--don't fish so broadly your vision becomes blurred.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Latest Obsession

When DH and I took GK to see Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, I couldn't get the tune from the casino scene out of my head. I was suprised to learn this was the infamous Lady Gaga.

(Hey, I work in a mall. The only teen discussions I overheard concerning her didn't involve her music.)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sticks and Stones

I've seen this man in concert five times. Say what you will, but he writes beautiful songs and put on one hell of a show.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Range of Tastes

This weekend I'll give you a taste of the range of my music library. I like what I like, and most people are surprised by the number of different types of songs.

(P.S. Joan Jett is the artist GK downloads the most from my MP3 library. Go figure.)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

How-To Guide on Social Protesting

Jay Lake posted this article on alternative methods of social protest at his blog, via his friend, scarlettina.

WARNING:  Set aside any liquids well away from mouth or computer before clicking on the link!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fearless Writing v. Political Correctness

A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to JENN! of Musetracks and Raven of Raven's Wing.  (Okay, actually I interrupted their conversation.  I was looking for the controls for the overhead fans.  It was freezing in the back of the clubhouse where our writer's group meets.)

JENN! had been asked by a third party of they could reprint one of her blog posts.  She had refused.  Which frankly isn't like JENN! at all because she's one of the most generous people I know.

Then she told me which post had been requested.  It was one she'd written back in April.  The actual post concerned how writers need to write fearlessly.  About how we can't be slaves to other people's opinions.

I totally understod where she was coming from because I'm often criticized for stuff that make other people uncomfortable.  Boys hitting girls (though my girls hit back just as hard), use of four-letter words (well, yeah, that's true), and excessive gore (it's zombies, for crying out loud).

Unfortunately, the comment thread of JENN's post did turn political.  I take part of the blame.  I made a snarky comment about how my sheer existence offends the Republican Party so I don't worry too much about their feelings concerning my writing.  Let's just say the thread got weird from there, so I can see where JENN! doesn't want to let her post take on more of a life than it already has.  In today's climate, intellectual discourse has given way to trollish behavior.

But JENN's inital point is still valid.  A writer needs to write fearlessly.  Sometimes it may result in crap like the pedophile's guide recently pulled from Amazon.  Other times, it may result  in a best seller like The Da Vinci Code.  You never know what's really going to happen with your book.

But I do know one thing as a reader.  I can tell when you're not writing from your gut, and I won't buy your book if you're not.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Bob Mayer's Writer Warrior Weekend

Currently reading - Heaven's Spite by Lilith Saintcrow

Wow!  What a weekend!  WHRWA brought Bob Mayer to town for their annual super special day-long program.   If you have the chance to hear Bob, grab it!  His lectures are worth the money.

Using a lot of techniques he learned in special forces training, Bob forces you to take a good hard look at your own soul.  Then he asks some pretty serious questions of why you write and what you expect out of your writing.

Sounds serious, but he does it with such an amusing touch, it's not as painful as it seems.

I wish I had signed up for his intensive Sunday workshop, but I was originally scheduled to work yesterday (though it got changed at the last minute).  Oh well, I'll have to settle with picking my crit buddy Jody's brain later today.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Query Format That Works

Currently reading - Heaven's Spite by Lilith Saintcrow

If you're not getting requests on your queries and you haven't been reading Janet Reid's Query Shark, then get your butt over there.  Now.

I can honestly say I've used used Janet's query format.  It gets the basics down for your story, and from there, you can pretty up your your query and personalize it.

It's like the difference between showing a pig fresh out of the mud and showing a pig that has been bathed and had its hair trimmed.

And yes, I used to show pigs.

Friday, November 12, 2010

In Which I Join the 21st Century

Currently reading - Heaven's Spite by Lilith Saintcrow

Wednesday, I bought my first digital "album," Lady Gaga's The Fame Monster (Deluxe Version) as a reward for completing a novel synopsis.  I'd been eyeing it for a while at a certain department store when DH asked bluntly, "Don't you still have that $50 iTunes gift card from the Brenda Novak auction?"

He had a point.  So why was I reluctant to buy digital music?  I've bought e-books and digital TV episodes to take with me on business trips and vacations years before such downloads exploded in popularity.  Hell, I've written all of my novels on laptops because my typing can keep up with my thought better than my longhand.

Maybe the computer programmer still lives deep inside of me.  Over the years, I've converted everything myself.  (For my own personal use.  Get your hackles down, FBI!)  From records to magnetic tapes to CDs to MP3 files.  So even with an electronic version, I'm used to having a hard copy of everything somewhere in the house.

Maybe I'm reluctant to give up the artwork.  All those iconic images, from Paul McCartney without shoes to Madonna's BDSM Candyland, evoke moods and memories.

Or maybe I don't want to give up the liner notes.  Sometimes the songs make more sense when I actually know what the lyrics are.

And maybe all my worries are for naught.  The Fame Monster even included a .PDF or the CD's liners notes.  So yeah, I understand the folks digging in heels over the e-publishing tsunami a little better.  But I also know I can't stop the change.

Because now I've tasted the future.  "And I'm a free bitch, baby!"**

**Bad Romance - Lady Gaga

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Picking Your Battles

As a parent, you learn to pick your battles.  Unfortunately, yesterday was consumed by a battle I could not avoid.  There are times when GK digs his heels in where school is concerned.  He deliberately acts stupid in order to get out of doing something he doesn't want to do.  In this case, it was writing down each step of an algebra problem.  The scary thing is ninety-nine times out of a hundred he can do this crap in his head.  But that one time he's got the answer wrong, I have no idea where he messed up because no work has been written down.

And I. . . well, I had to be the mega-bitch.

No Xbox, no going over to his buddy's house because he did not get all his work done because he spent three hours fighting me over one stupid algebra problem.

So when you get that publishing contract, remember this one little question:  what's really important to you?  Is it the cover, the edits, the money?  Or is it something else?  Because I can guarantee you one thing--you won't get everything you want.  And if you fight too much over something relatively small, you may end up losing everything.

Welcome to real life.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Another One Bites the Dust

Currently reading - Heaven's Spite by Lilith Saintcrow

As fast as new agents hang their shingles, others leave the profession for greener pastures.  Nathan Bransford notified his blog fans on Friday that he's leaving Curtis Brown for CNET, a tech news website.  He's keeping his blog going though to discuss books, monkeys and other interesting topics.

Nathan's done quite a bit for writers, helping the uninitiated traverse the sea of slush.  See?  Not all agents are evil incarnate.  Thanks, Nathan, and good luck!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Legal Waltzing

Currently reading - Heaven's Spite by Lilith Saintcrow

I posted a link to the Publisher's Weekly article on Wednesday on the trial court's decision concerning the lawsuit by Peter Lampack Agency Inc. against author Martha Grimes.  Yesterday, Scriveners Error has a rough translation from legalese to English on the matters pertaining to the lawsuit.

If you're a writer that's published or hoping to become published, I strongly suggest you follow Scrivenor's Error.  C.E. Petit does a great job of making author's legal rights and responsibilities understandable.

Friday, November 5, 2010

What George Said

Currently reading - Heaven's Spite by Lilith Saintcrow

I was trying to come up with something profound for today's blog, but George Takei's video is so. . .  Well, let's just say I'm so glad I had the chance to shake his hand once upon a time.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

We All Read the Same Language, Don't We?

Currently reading - Heaven's Spite by Lilith Saintcrow 

I'm in the process of making the last pass through a manuscript before releasing it into the wild.  Yes, experience draws the line around how each of us perceives a particular word or phrase.  Yes, I have a tendency to put at  least one little homage to one of my artistic influences in each of my manuscripts.

But there are times though when it's a toss-up of questioning my sanity or a particular crit partner's.


Heroine:  I could have ripped your limbs off.

Hero:  You wouldn't hurt me.  Besides, you're not hairy enough for a Wookie.

Crit Partner:  Huh?

Where's my crickets when I need 'em?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Judge Says Greed Is NOT Good

Currently reading - Heaven's Spite by Lilith Saintcrow

Publisher's Weekly had an interesting piece yesterday on the judge's decision in Peter Lampack Agency Inc v. Martha Grimes, et.al.

I don't have a problem with agents getting their fair share for all the hard work they do, but trying to keep claws in a sale you didn't make two years after your client fired your ass?  To quote the fabulous Amy Poehler:  "REALLY?"

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election Day

Did you vote early?  If not, have you gone to the polls yet?

If you haven't voted yet, then why the hell are you sitting on your butt and reading this?  Go vote.

Go vote NOW!

Monday, November 1, 2010

No NaNoWriMo for Me

Currently reading - Heaven's Spite by Lilith Saintcrow

I'd planned my little butt off for the 2010 National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo or NaNo if you want to go even shorter).  Last year fell through the cracks between day job and homeschooling.  DH and GK were on board with the plan.  Hell, DH even offered to cook/ordered out every night for November.

But. . .

I swear every time I make a plan the gods laugh and plot.  We now have a time-sensitive family task that must be done before December 4th.  There goes my NaNo time.

I think I'll take some time off from work in January and do my own mini-NaNo