I write like
Jack London

I Write Like. Analyze your writing!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Avatar: The Last Airbender - Part 3

A massive debate still rages over the casting for the movie version, even though it will be released in a couple of weeks. Should M. Night Shamylan and the producers have used solely Asian and Inuit actors in the starring roles?

The debate has extended into our own house. Both DH and I think they should have used Asian and Inuit actors, but we're also old enough to pick up on the TV series cultural clues. GK thinks it shouldn't matter as long the actors capture the true spirit of the characters. And aren't DH and I always telling him he should judge a person by his/her actions, not skin color?

Anyone else want to weigh in on the film controversy?

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Avatar: The Last Airbender - Part 2

Avatar 90210 summarizes the romantic relationships of the series quite nicely.

Though I'd still take dibs on Zuko.

Once he's a little older I mean.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Avatar: The Last Airbender - Part 1

Five years ago, GK hooked DH and me on this series. Wonderful story, fully realized characters, and fantastic world building. Then the creators did these cute little chibi shorts. *grin* These still cheer me up.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Reminder. . .

Currently reading - Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Just a little reminder that Brenda Novak's auction to benefit diabetes research is on its last three days, and some auction items will close tomorrow. Now's the time to get your bids in. There's still a lot of relatively inexpensive items on the block.

Out of the 83 items I'm currently the top bidder on, 75 of them are under $20.

So go bid before the end of the weekend. The money goes to a great cause!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Publishing Sales Tidbit


Currently reading - Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon

For those of you who don't know, publishing is like any other industry. Initial sales figures can make or break a product. And let's face facts, to the PTBs in the publishing world, our babies are just a product.

If there's an author you love out there, help them by buying his/her books the week they come out. Pre-ordering is always good too. Most online bookstores list the street date (aka lay-down date, the date the book's supposed to go on sale).

Here's the two books on my shopping list this week.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Business Plan Part 6 - Who Do You Submit To?

Currently reading - My own novel before I submit it

Before you send out any submissions to agents or editors, did you do your homework?

By this, I mean (1) do you understand what genre your opus falls into (and for the record, I consider literary fiction a genre) and (2) do you know who's looking for the type of work you just created?

If you're reading my blog, then you've got no effing excuse for not entering search criteria in your internet search engine. For those of you who may not have done this yet, look at this as homework: go find sites that list agents and editors and start weeding through them. Yes, it takes work. But you want to send your precious babies to a good home, don't you?

I've got Excel spreadsheets for each manuscript with a list of my dream agents for the genre of that particular novel. Use whatever method works for you, but I've got a quick snapshot of who's repeatedly asking for partials and fulls with a short entry of what he/she liked about my writing. For me, this method narrows the focus on who would fit best with my style.

Your mileage may vary.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Business Plan Part 5 - Sending Your Work Out

Currently reading - Surprisingly nothing. I've been busy doing final checks on requested material and finishing a project for submission.

You've written your opus, your crit partners have ripped it to shreds, and you've re-written and tweaked until the blisters on your fingers burst.

Now comes the first second major hurdle (just finishing a story was the first) -- sending out your baby into the cold, cruel world.

This is the point where another huge chunk of writer wannabes falter and die. Why send out the story when it might be rejected? Or even worse *gasp* ACCEPTED! Then everyone will see it and know what a pathetic and horrible writer you are!

Submissions are part of the game of publishing. If you're having a major problem dropping that envelope in the mail or hitting the SEND button, then you need to do some soul searching. Either you want to be published or you don't. It's that simple. If you do, it means sending out submissions.

Even if you take one of the multitude of new routes to publication, it still means you have to put your work out in the world.

To paraphrase the marketing guys at Nike, if you want to be published, just send it.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

What? You Thought I'd Stop with the Parody Clips?

I was kind of hoping huckbone would do something a little perverted with Wesley, but this one still cracks me up! So worth it for the Geordi credits!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Spock As Templeton Peck?

Since I'm on a title squence parody kick. . .

Friday, May 21, 2010

TGIF

Currently reading - Death in the Family by Charlaine Harris

I'm trying not to happy dance. Lots of good news this week. Some I can share. Some I can't. Yet. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

On the news I can share, I'm so happy my friend Carol's cancer surgery was successful. She's looking at being back to work sometime next week. Unfortunately, she's also still looking at a dose of localized radiation as a precautionary measure, but overall, the docs are pleased!

Also, this week has been pretty damn productive. I've got a rough outline for a new novel thanks to a little prodding from Rick Daley. Queries went out a few agents/editors. I entered a contest for the first time in years. And I'm close to finishing a short story for submission to a small, but prestigious, press.

Now that homeschooling is done for this semester, I'll have time to finish those edits on AVT and finish (I hope!) the first draft of the latest wip.

So in celebration, here's some eye candy for the Harrison Ford fans:

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Try It! You'll Like It!

Currently reading - Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris
(Yes, I'm reading very slowly on purpose. It's still a few weeks before True Blood - Season 2 comes out on DVD.)

Rick Daley asked me to give another shout out for his Query Me This Challenge at The Public Query Slushpile. All you have to do is craft a query letter and the first five pages based on the story parameters he's given in any genre your little heart desires. Or you can just send him the query.

The point of this exercise is (a) to see if great query letters actually have a great novel to back them up and (b) to show how different writers can run in different directions with the same idea.

So far only two people besides Rick and me have answered the call.

So my precious little lurkers (yes, I know you're out there), practice your query writing skills and send them over to Rick. He'll probably let you be anonymous if you're concerned. You won't regret it!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Acheron Coat Auction!!

If you're a Kenyon Meynon like me, here's a once-in-a-lifetime opportun-ity!

As Sherrilyn promised during her 2008 book tour for Acheron, the leather coat with Ash's symbol embroidered on the back is now up for auction on Brenda Novak's Auction for Juvenile Diabetes!

The picture here (credit to the marvelous Marianne Mancusi) does not do the coat justice. This coat is beautiful, the stitching unbelievable. And trust me, I was close enough to check the embroidery when the tour was in Houston. *grin*

So go check out the auction!

P.S. Even if you can't afford the coat there's lots of cheaper items available. I still have nearly one hundred of my original bids still active. And the money goes to a great cause.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I'm Hooked

Currently reading - Can't concentrate thanks to stoopid allergies

There hasn't been a show I've scheduled time for since Charmed went off the air.

Until now.

And damn, it was so worth it for Idina Menzel tonight!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Lambs Vs. Sheep


Currently reading - Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris

I've been going to a local cafe' to write in the mornings. At least on mornings that don't involve doctors' appointments, grocery shopping, haircuts, etc.

When I got home for lunch, per usual, DH asked me how I did.

Me: I only got a couple of pages done.

DH: Oh, you're blocked then.

Me: No! The idea isn't fully matured yet.

DH: So you're blocked.

Me: *huff* No, it's like expecting a lamb to produce wool. It ain't gonna happen.

Of course, any time I use a farming metaphor it royally confuses city-bred DH.

Here's the deal. I've had a character fragment runing through my head for a while, a definite picture of a heroine of a western/steampunk story. And for the record, this idea's been floating in my head for a very long time. I love shows like The Wild, Wild West; The Adventures of Briscoe County, Jr.; and Legend.

So when Rick Daley threw out his writing challenge on The Public Query Slushpile, I figured now's the time to flesh out the idea.

But an idea is just a lamb, and a lamb can't produce wool (i.e. actually story) until it grows up to be a sheep (the outline).

Luckily, ideas don't have the biological growth rate of a real lamb. The full outline is almost to my satisfaction. And all I need for Rick's challenge is the query and first five pages.

I've already got a partial I want to finish this summer, but I've got a feeling this may end up being my 2010 NaNo project.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Yes, Beagles Are This Smart

Let's see Jim Phelps and the IM team beat this!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Too Cute!

Currently reading - Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris

My friend sent this link to me this afternoon. Go Ocoee Middle School!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

WINNER!!

This contest was a difficult process. I had to drag GK away from Super Mario Bros. and threaten to withhold his allowance in order to get a totally objective name-drawer.

The winner of the print copy of Going Down? is

*drum roll, please*

VIRGINIA!!

Virginia, since you were kind enough to leave your e-mail address in your comment, I'll contact you later this afternoon about your snail mail address so I can get your prize to you.

Thanks again to everyone who left a comment!

Going Down? by Tea Trelawny is currently available in both e-book and print format.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Grief


Currently reading - Well, I just can't bring myself to read anything right now.

I'd planned on writing a pithy blog for today, but yesterday sucked.

Big time.

DH and I were smacked upside the head with a decision we'd been avoiding for the past few months. We had to put Haley to sleep.

We adopted Haley from the county pound in December of 1995. She had such a friendly, sweet personality, and best of all, she got along great with our beagle, Winona.

The girls working at the pound had named her Haley. She responded to that name, so she'd the only pet in my adult life who wasn't named after a Star Trek character. Lucky dog, huh?

When we got her home, the first thing I did was cut the burrs out of her fur (she been found by Animal Control along one of the highways) and give her a bath. It took three shampooings to get the crud out of her fur, but she suffered through it.

She loved car rides, white cake and cheese, but was never much of a cuddler thanks to the asshole who abused her.

How do we know she was abused? Every time DH picked up the kitchen broom, poor Haley would pee on the spot and start shaking uncontrollably. It took us a couple of incidents before we figured out what the trigger was. And DH was a lot more careful around her after we did.

But she was a friendly dog despite what was done to her. Maybe a little too friendly. We had to warn friends and family about her penchant for French kissing. And she patiently let the little kids in the neighborhood tug on her fur.

But she was sixteen (based on the vet's guesstimate of her age when we brought her home) when last October something happened. We don't know if she had a stroke or seizure that we didn't see happen, but her personality suddenly changed. She didn't want to be touched. She bit me for the first time ever when I picked her up to take her outside to do her business.

A few days later, even though we'd warned GK not to touch her, she brushed against his legs and he automatically reached down to pet her. Thank Goddess, her teeth didn't connect, but it scared the crap out of all of us. My sweet little dog had disappeared.

DH and I had a long talk about what to do. A day later new things started happening. Old age things. We decided to let her die peacefully at home.

Except she didn't. We realize now we were looking for the chicken-shit way out. We didn't want to have to take Haley to the vet for the pink shot the way we had to with Winona.

Yesterday, around four AM, I woke up to the sound of Haley getting sick. Shit was every where. All over her. All over the bedroom carpet. And ironically, my sweet little dog was back. She looked so pathetic and gave a half-hearted wag of the tail.

She didn't fight when DH took her into the bathroom to clean her up while I tackled the carpet, crying. Even our newest addition, Dax whimpered as I worked. After DH dried Haley, he and I petted her for a while. When we all tried to go back to sleep, DH said, "We need to make the call."

So yesterday morning, the five of us bundled into the car for Haley's last ride. Even though we rolled down the windows for her, she couldn't muster the energy to sniff the breeze. Once inside the vet's, we petted our goodbyes. Haley licked hers.

And then it was over. Dr. Price hadn't even finished administering the drug.

Good-bye, Haley Pup. I'm going to miss you.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

CONTEST!!

Currently reading - Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris

Yes, it's contest time again!

This month the book is Going Down by Tea Trelawny, the latest from another one of my fabulous critique partners. How to describe Tea? At first glance, you'd think she's the typical surburban mom, right down to the strand of pearls she wears while cleaning the house. But this gal has a wicked sense of humor and an even more wicked imagination!

This very spicy erotic read from Ellora's Cave concerns a haunted elevator and the hijinks of a ghost who has to unite four couples before she can join her husband in heaven.

To enter, please leave a comment before 11 AM CDT on Thursday, May 13. If you leave an anonymous comment, please put your name in the body of the comment. Per usually, I'll have GK pull a name out of his clone trooper helmet and post the winner at noon.

LEGALESE AND DISCLAIMERS: You MUST be 18 years of age or older to enter this contest. (If I have any suspicions otherwise, I may require proof of age.) Due to legal who-ha and costs, this contest is open only to residents of the U.S. and Canada.

Edit: As Susan Helene Gottfried pointed out, I forgot to say this is the print edition of Going Down? Someday, I'll figure out the efficient process in signing an e-book. I know it exists. LOL

Monday, May 10, 2010

Happy Belated Mother's Day!

Currently reading - Amazon Queen by Lori Devoti

I didn't post to the blog because of my craz-z-zy weekend.

Saturday involved a double feature program at the West Houston RWA chapter meeting. Then it was off to the Day Job, which involved hordes of desperate people buying Mother's Day cards and presents. Let's just say, Carol and I accidentally got locked in the mall because we were there so late cleaning a thoroughly trashed store.

Do you have any idea how late you have to be to get locked inside a mall?

Sunday, we hit the first showing of Iron Man 2. Fabulous, absolutely fabulous! C'mon! Robert Downey, Jr., and Don Cheadle mudwrestling! The only thing to make it better would be if the guys were in speedos instead of armored battle suits.

Then we hit the comic store for more book mylars and the appropriate Starfleet onesie for my friend Ro's brand-new baby girl. She's already getting the Lt. Uhura Barbie and a copy of Neil Gaiman's Bluberry Girl from me. And yes, I try to convert all children to Geekdom! Bwa Ha HA!

We topped off the day with dinner at Outback (because I'm really tired of the white meat diet I'm on) and watching the first Iron Man at home.

So, how'd you folks celebrate?

P.S. Tomorrow, I'll have another contest giving away another crit partner's book.

Oh, and to the idiots at the FTC, the movie tickets and popcorn were part of my Mother's Day present from DH and GK. So there! Thlbt!

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Frankenstein Challenge at PQS

Currently reading - Amazon Queen by Lori Devoti

Here's an interesting challenge if you think other writers will steal your ideas. Rick Daley has a contest over at The Public Query Slushpile with real-live No Prizes stolen from the Marvel Comics vaults!

Seriously though, he's got a nice little exercise/experiment on creativity. Rick has posted a story outline. You just have to write a query letter and the first five pages of a novel based on the outline and e-mail them to Rick by 10PM EDT on May 28, 2010. He'll post each entry on the 31st, then launch a public discussion about the entries on June 4th.

Personally, I think Rick's experiment will show that it's not the idea itself, it's the execution that attracts the agents, editors and readers.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Diabetes Research Auction

Currently reading - Amazon Queen by Lori Devoti

Here's a plug for a great cause. The Benevolent Brenda Novak hosts an online auction every year for the entire month of May that benefits the Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami. Her son was diagnosed with Type I diabetes when he was five.

Hundreds in the publishing industry band together and donate all kinds of cool stuff ranging from signed ARCs to fabulous vacations. If you're a writer, check out the critiques offered by some top name agents.

So please, check out the merchandise and place a bid. There's still plenty of time, and you're doing it for a great cause!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Business Plan Part 4 - Support System

Currently reading - Amazon Queen by Lori Devoti

One thing that'll get you through the recalcitrant characters, stubborn plots, and rejections (besides chocolate) will be your writing support system.

Ideally, our best support system would be our families and loved ones, but let's face facts. Unless family members, spouses, etc. are in the arts world, they'll probably think you're nuts.

DH was the bassist in a rock band for years, so he understands my writing pecadillos to some extent. On the other hand, his by-the-book oldest sister and brother-in-law gave our niece hell about wanting a degree in graphic arts and design. To the extent they threatened to cut her off monetarily if she didn't change her degree to business.

My heart broke when I heard this because my niece (let's call her Elphaba after the heroine in our favorite Broadway musical) is a fabulous artist. Fabulous enough that I want her to do something original for my website (when I can finally put one together). Fabulous enough I'd pitch her as my cover artist to my publisher.

Just like Elphaba, your family may try to sabotage your writing career for your own good. Or because they feel short-changed in the attention department. Or because you need to order in something besides pizza every night.

So what happens if you're not getting the writing love at home? That's when writing groups, live and online, come into play. Writers understand the agony of brainstorming, the ecstasy of typing "The End."

So start putting together your writing family. Trust me, you'll need them.

And while you're reading this, my crit group is out celebrating the success of one of our own with brunch at Panera's. 'Cause like I said, no one else understands this crazy business like your writing family.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Proof I'm a '70's Country Girl

Currently reading - Amazon Queen by Lori Devoti

I totally forgot Ray Stevens did this one too! One of my grandfather's favorites, he'd laugh hysterically and slosh his whiskey every time it came on the radio.

(Ye-e-ep, kids. That's what we had before them new-fangled iPods came out.)


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Can't Get Enough Country Novelty Songs

Currently reading - Amazon Queen by Lori Devoti

Why do I have the strange feeling Ray Stevens based this song on something my friend Faye did as a child?

Have fun with the Mississippi Squirrel Revival!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

More Childhood Stuff

Currently reading - Amazon Queen by Lori Devoti

I grew up in a household with a LOT of country music. Tom T. Hall knew how to speak to kids as well as adults.