Monday, November 28, 2005

My Story Is Up

My short story is available for your reading pleasure at Wax Romantic. You need to be a subscriber to view it, but I hope you'll take the time to read it and let me know what you think.

I have about a dozen more ideas for novels and short stories running around in my brain and one character in particular that is begging to have his story told. I wonder if the more you write, the more you think of things to write about? At first, getting an idea is hard. You have to work at the characters, work at the conflict, don't have a clue how the story will proceed.

Then the next is a bit easier -- not the actual writing, but the planning. And in the midst of writing that one, another idea comes knocking at your door. And another.

Is imagination like a muscle? The more you use it, the stronger it is?

Sunday, November 27, 2005

I Did It!!!

50,158 words. In twenty-seven days. I can't believe I did it!!

Doing the dance of joy, even as we speak. My heart is pounding, my fingers are tingling.

Life is good.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

So Close I Can Taste It

I'm at 47,010 words on my NaNo novel. Only 3,000 more words to go and I want it done now. Most everyone in the group of folks I'm NaNo-ing with already have their "winner" certificate.

These last 3,000 words are the hardest yet. I thought I knew how I wanted this story to end, but Liv is messing with my plans. I thought she was going to get back together with her cheating fiance, but she just laughed in the man's face when he asked her for another chance.

Now what am I going to do? ARGH!

3,000 more words. A pittance.

I. Can. Do. This.


Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

My Thanksgiving wish for you is to discover what you are truly thankful for. Have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

That's Dith-picable...

... but oh, so true:

Donald Result
Donald Duck

Which DISNEY character are you most like?
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All or Nothing?

I love to blog hop. It's probably the one thing, aside from my family, that keeps me from writing.

Lately, I've seen a preponderance of writers who are celebrating their sales. That's awesome for them, and I don't want to take away from their success in any way with what I'm about to say...

I want it all.

When (yes, when, dang it) I finally get a novel published, I want the brass ring, the whole tamale, every inch of the whole nine yards. I want to be published by a well known company. And I want my book in print.

I'm not trying to knock epublishing. I know lots of people who are certain this is the wave of the future... and they may be right. But it's not what I want for me. It feels like, well... settling.

It's hard (okay, next to impossible) to break into the big leagues. I recognize this. But I also know that, until I do, I won't feel like I'm really published.

So, it may take me a decade (and I hope my husband understands this part!), but I don't want to settle. I may feel differently if I accumulate piles of rejections, but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. In the meantime, I'm reaching for that brass ring.

First off, though, I suppose I'd better get writing.

I'm at 41,173 words on my NaNo book! 82% and climbing. I'm shooting for 45,000 today, and I might make it because Liv's life is going into the toilet, and there's nothing more fun than writing about other people's problems.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

One of Those Days

You ever have a day when you can't do or say anything right? When you manage to offend everyone from your spouse and mother to the guy who checks out your groceries?

I'm having one of those days.

So, I've decided to just shut up and not talk to anyone else. And, figuring that it's probably bleeding over into my writing, I'm not going to do that anymore today either.

At least I made it to 39,000. Still, most likely, every word is offensive to someone.

I want a do over.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Ahh... Discoveries

I'm about 3/4 of the way through my NaNo novel and this morning, while writing, I had an epiphany about it.

It's not marketable.

I really believe this. But you know what (and this kinda surprised me) -- I don't particularly care. I'm not sure why it doesn't bother me, but it doesn't. I'm just excited to finish the thing.

Maybe I'll go back and tinker with it, maybe not. All in all, it's been a great learning experience for me. I've learned about adding detail (because I was looking to add word count and ended up with rich descriptions for my effort) and about taking my time with a scene. The entire 36,000 words takes place in less than a week, and the rest of the novel will take place over two days, a first for me. Playing House takes place over several months and Camilla's Critters takes place over about a months time. I'm not writing epic novels here, folks, so take this all with a grain of salt.

I'm quite satisfied with the story and I absolutely LOVE my heroine. Oddly, I've had to struggle to crawl into the hero's head, another first.

I've also decided that I adore the pressure of getting a high amount of words written in a short amount of time, and plan on doing this again at some point before next years NaNo. And I fully intend to participate in the NaNo for next year. It's been a fantastic challenge! I highly recommend it.

Now, I need to get back to writing.

I Think I'm Part Chicken....

I worry about the future constantly.

I stumbled across this article on The Discovery Channel website about chickens. They have discovered that chickens can anticipate the future and worry about it. This breaks my heart a little -- when you think about all those chickies crammed in the warehouse worrying about whether they're "next".

First scientists discover that we're genetically closer to mice DNA than monkey's (giving the phrase "Are you a man or a mouse" a whole new meaning). Now studies indicate that "neuron organization in chicken brains is highly structured and suggests that, like humans, chickens evolved an impressive level of intelligence to help improve their survival."

I've been thinking deep thoughts about the ramifications of this, but am opting not to share them as I'm simply not up to politicizing things on this blog.

But, it should make you think deep thoughts, too.

Ethereal. Lyrical. Perceptive.... all ME!


To which race of Middle Earth do you belong?
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Sunday, November 20, 2005

Christmas Wrapping 1, Writing 0

So (don't hate me when I say this, please), I spent the day yesterday wrapping my Christmas presents. Yes -- my shopping is done. Has been for months. Sorry. Well, I'm not really, but I have a valid excuse for my nerosis: My family is spread out all over the country, from coast to coast and in between, so I like to get the packages all mailed early to save on shipping.

My daughter loves to wrap presents and "helped" A LOT, so by the time the day was over I was utterly frazzled and out of steam. I was actually in bed, asleep, by eight o'clock. And, of course, up at 4 a.m. Just one morning I'd like to sleep in.

Anyway...between wrapping and going to the library (hey... I didn't have anything to read, and I can't function that way), I had no time left for writing. After I get this entry done, I'm going to work a bit on playing catch up.

And those are the days of my life.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Quiz Day

Thanks to Charity, I found out that I'm a nerd. At first, I was a bit offended, but then I read the description and realized that... I AM a nerd, and proud of it!

Pure Nerd
65 % Nerd, 17% Geek, 26% Dork

For The Record:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.
A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.
A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.
You scored better than half in Nerd, earning you the title of: Pure Nerd.

The times, they are a-changing. It used to be that being exceptionally smart led to being unpopular, which would ultimately lead to picking up all of the traits and tendences associated with the "dork." No-longer. Being smart isn't as socially crippling as it once was, and even more so as you get older: eventually being a Pure Nerd will likely be replaced with the following label: Purely Successful.



But, I have to say that I am NOT a Tech Support Nightmare... just because I can't program my own friggin' computer doesn't mean I don't know how to use it. Geez...

My computer geek score is greater than 20% of all people in the world! How do you compare? Click here to find out!


I finally broke 30,000 -- those last two or three thousand words were tortuous, but I DID IT!!!

Really, that's all I have to say. And, unfortunately, I still need another thousand words to reach my goal for today.

Still... I'm feeling ebullient!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

On Track!

If you take 50,000 words and divide it by 30 days, it comes out to just under 1667 words per day. That would mean that today, the 17th, I should have at least 28,334 total words written to be on track with my NaNoWriMo novel.

I hit 29,007!! Yay!

So, if you were going to get back at a cheating fiance, what would you do? Send any and all suggestions now, since Liv is over her surprise and is now into revenge mode. Get your own thrill vicariously... nothing too violent or illegal, please. I really don't want to have my heroine taken away in handcuffs (unless it's by

On a side note, I got my hair cut on Tuesday. I *had* long hair, but chopped off about six inches of it AND now have bangs, where I didn't before. Consider that, on top of the cut, I have very curly hair that has a tendency to shrink up, and I think that the difference is quite noticeable.

My husband never said a word.

Today, I colored it. Well, sort of. I have dark hair that had a LOT of gray in it, so -- since I'm only 38 and not ready to look 65 -- I grabbed a box of what is essentially my hair color: Medium reddish brown. Yay! No more gray.

Betcha hubby doesn't say a word.

Are your significant others this obtuse? Anyone, anyone?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Do I Have Them Fooled!

You Are a Normal Girl

You are 50% Good and 50% Bad
Sure you've pulled some bad girl stunts in your past.
But these days, you're (mostly) a good girl.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

One NaNo Rule to Keep

Chris Baty, the originator of NaNoWriMo says that, during the month of November, when you're reaching for the 50,000 word goal, you shouldn't ask for feedback. He says it messes with your ability to turn off your internal editor.

I discovered something this week. He's right.

Though I haven't been posting my NaNo novel for feedback in my writing groups I have been posting AND I shared quite a bit with a family member who also writes. Two folks made fairly innocuous comments about it that threw me into a tailspin.

One asked "What, in a couple of sentences, is Liv's philosophy toward life?" and the other commented (after I had read a little scene that I'd written), "I suppose there must be some point to that, right?"

Both questions stopped me dead in my tracks. Neither was meant to do that, but I immediately thought: My character lacks credibility and clearly, I'm not getting my point across. This whole novel is garbage.

I've since recovered (sort of), but I lost three days of good writing over something that simple. Are we writers really so sensitive? In any case, I have learned one thing. The best idea is to blast through my first draft with NO input of any kind. When it's finished, then I'll share, or I run the risk of not finishing at all. I think that's what's happened with Camilla. Too many cooks (or critique partners) spoil the broth.

The good news is that I'm almost at my goal. I have just over 25,000 words done. I want to be at 27,000 by the end of the day. We'll see how it goes. The end of the month is looming!

Monday, November 14, 2005

One Word: YUCK

One of my characters is pursuing a Guiness World Record (I'm not saying which one, you'll have to read it when it's published), but in the course of my research, I came across some really disgusting records, and felt the need for you to be as grossed out as I am.

Furthest Marshmallow Nose-Blow
The farthest a marshmallow has been blown out of one nostril and caught in the mouth of a catcher is 4.96 m (16 ft 3.5 in), by launcher Scott Jeckel of Delavan, Illinois, USA, and catcher Ray Perisin of Peoria, Illinois, USA, on the set of Guinness World Records: Primetime in Los Angeles, California, USA on August 13, 1999.

Oh, ick. I don't know what's worse, the thought of how much it must hurt to blow a marshmallow out of your nose, or the thought of being the person on the other end who is, essentially, catching a giant booger.

Now here's some talent:

Farthest Spaghetti Nasal Ejection
Kevin Cole of Carlsbad, New Mexico, USA, holds the record for the longest spaghetti strand blown out of a nostril in a single blow. On December 16, 1998, Kevin successfully achieved a record distance of 19 cm (7.5 in) on the set of Guinness World Records: Primetime in Los Angeles, California, USA. Kevin first started practicing his nasal ejection with Ramon noodles and then progressed onto spaghetti. He has the ability to blow one end of the spaghetti out of one nostril, and the other end out of the other nostril for a "nasal floss" effect.

Gee... nasal floss... the next big marketing trend.

This next record caught my eye, mainly because I had no idea what a winkle was, and after all the nasal ejections, you can imagine where my brain was:

Fastest Winkle Picker
Dean Gould, of Felixstowe, Suffolk, England, picked 50 shells (with a straight pin) in 1 minute, 22.34 seconds at Great Eastern Square, Felixstowe, on October 10, 1997. Each winkle was extracted completely from its shell.

And, lest you think that I'm hung up on "nasal ejections", let me offer this up for your reading pleasure, everyone's ideal date:

Loudest Burp
People say Paul Hunn’s burps are as loud as a pneumatic drill, or an aircraft taking off. Paul, from London, UK, knows one thing’s for sure, his burps can certainly be heard over the music in a nightclub.

On April 5, 2000, to prove he’s the biggest belcher on earth, he competed live on British TV and blew away the opposition with a record-breaking burp measuring 118.1 decibels.

Have a nice day.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

What I'm Reading

Don't have a ton of time for blogging today since I need almost 4,000 words by tomorrow to reach the halfway point in my goal BUT thought I'd share what I'm currently reading so you can see how odd I really am. I never read only one book at a time, so be prepared:

I needed to research why my character, Camilla, would be a vegetarian and have since become fascinated with the frightening culture of death behind our slaughterhouses. I'm not against meat consumption, but I am against outright cruelty. Enough said.

I picked this up because I love Kay Hooper. I realized after I started it, though, that it's part of a series. So... off I trotted to the local library to get all of her "Bishop" series. Great stuff so far -- psychic crime solving and a touch of romance. What more could a girl ask for?

I grabbed this because I've heard so much about it. I'm only a few chapters in and am truly mesmerized by the idea he puts forth. I'd love to write a book about it, but I'm sure a million other people have the same idea, so I won't.

Jude Deveraux is an author who helped introduce me to romance, so when I saw that she had a new book, I had to read it. I'm struggling through it, I have to admit, so am wondering if I've outgrown her. Is that possible?

Okay, enough NaNo-crastination. I need to write!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Regarding Rejection

I got my Writer's Digest magazine a couple of days ago, and flipped it open to read (an odd occurance for me -- I'm typically too busy to get to any magazines in a timely fashion). An ad for self-publishing caught my eye immediately, and in the copy it said:

... I sent query letters to five agents and promptly received five rejections. That was depressing.

She goes on to say that she opted for self-publishing, and gives a number of reasons why she felt it was appropriate for her.

Now, I'm not writing to slam self-publishing. I'm certain that for some people it's exactly the way for them. I just couldn't get over the fact that, after five whole rejections, she gave up the ghost.

Gee. That many?

C'mon... all of you writer type folks out there -- how many of you have accumulated twice that many? Ten times that many? Did you quit?


Rejection is what writing is about. Um, that didn't come out right, but you get my point. If you can't take rejection and keep your head up, you're in the wrong line of work.

In the Amway business they have a saying (or at least they did ten years ago): It takes 100 no's to go Direct. I think you can twist that around for writing as well and say that it takes 100 rejections (or more) to get published.

I'm taking Stephen King's advice from one of the best books on writing of all time, oddly called "On Writing" where he said about his rejections:

When I got the rejection slip from AHMM, I pounded a nail into the wall, wrote "Happy Stamps" on the rejection slip and poked it on the nail... By the time I was fourteen... the nail in my wall would no longer support the weight of the rejection slips impaled upon it. I replaced the nail with a spike and went on writing.

So laugh in the face of rejection, spit in its eye, stick your rejections up on the wall with pride.

And keep writing.

Parking and Testosterone

I don't understand it. A small thing, to be sure, but seemingly crossing all lines: economic, race, education.

It's this: Men back into parking spaces.


Is it preprogrammed into their DNA? Do little boys back their Hot Wheels into the parking spots in the little garage?

I seldom see women backing into a spot at the mall, though I'm sure it happens occasionally. But I'm more inclined to think that, when we see a woman get into a car that appears to have been backed into a spot, she actually got there early enough to pull through - forward - from the other side.

There's no deep, hidden meaning to this post. It's just something that's bugged me for years, and I want an answer. I wonder if the government would give me a couple million dollars to research this question.

Anyone have an answer?

In Writing News:

I'm at just over 21,000 words for my NaNoWriMo novel and need to be at 25,000 words by the end of Monday to stay on track. Things aren't going quite as planned, but I'm really beginning to like my heroine, which surprises me some since she started out as a psychotic boyfriend stalker.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Happy Veteran's Day

Honoring all who served

Formerly called Armistice Day - the anniversary of the Armistice which was signed in the Forest of Compiegne by the Allies and the Germans in 1918, ending World War I, after four years of conflict.

At 5 A.M. on Monday, November 11, 1918 the Germans signed the Armistice, an order was issued for all firing to cease; so the hostilities of the First World War ended. This day began with the laying down of arms, blowing of whistles, impromptu parades, closing of places of business. All over the globe there were many demonstrations; no doubt the world has never before witnessed such rejoicing.

In November of 1919, President Woodrow Wilson issued his Armistice Day proclamation. The last paragraph set the tone for future observances:

To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nation.

In 1927 Congress issued a resolution requesting President Calvin Coolidge to issue a proclamation calling upon officials to display the Flag of the United States on all government buildings on November 11, and inviting the people to observe the day in schools and churches...But it was not until 1938 that Congress passed a bill that each November 11 "shall be dedicated to the cause of world peace and ...hereafter celebrated and known as Armistice Day."

That same year President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a bill making the day a legal holiday in the District of Columbia. For sixteen years the United States formally observed Armistice Day, with impressive ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where the Chief Executive or his representative placed a wreath. In many other communities, the American Legion was in charge of the observance, which included parades and religious services. At 11 A.M. all traffic stopped, in tribute to the dead, then volleys were fired and taps sounded.

After World War II, there were many new veterans who had little or no association with World War I. The word, "armistice," means simply a truce; therefore as years passed, the significance of the name of this holiday changed. Leaders of Veterans' groups decided to try to correct this and make November 11 the time to honor all who had fought in various American wars, not just in World War I.

In Emporia, Kansas, on November 11, 1953, instead of an Armistice Day program, there was a Veterans' Day observance. Ed Rees, of Emporia, was so impressed that he introduced a bill into the House to change the name to Veterans' Day. After this passed, Mr. Rees wrote to all state governors and asked for their approval and cooperation in observing the changed holiday.

The name was changed to Veterans' Day by Act of Congress on May 24, 1954. In October of that year, President Eisenhower called on all citizens to observe the day by remembering the sacrifices of all those who fought so gallantly, and through rededication to the task of promoting an enduring peace. The President referred to the change of name to Veterans' Day in honor of the servicemen of all America's wars.

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Thursday, November 10, 2005

Will I or Won't I?

Make it to 20,000 words today, that is. I'm on NaNo Day 10 and have a personal goal of at least 2000 words per day (I'd really prefer 2400 per day, but the math is too complicated).

I'm at 19,043 words at this moment and I'm stuck. Maybe you can help...

Liv is on her way to a charity auction. Her fiance, Geoff, has agreed to attend with her and her father, even though he's ended the engagement in order to be with "the floozy", Daisy. He's also agreed to leave Daisy at home this night -- because Liv:

1. Hasn't told her father that the engagement is over yet; and
2. Is hoping to change Geoff's mind.

My conundrum: Should Daisy crash the gates of the private club and make a scene? Or should all go normally, except that Liv -- having been recently exposed to how the other side lives, via Mike, spend the evening making conversation that's just not quite right and annoy the crap out of the society set? Since Geoff is interested in one of the "other side", I'm wondering if this might make him feel attracted to Liv again... at the time when Liv is beginning to feel something for Mike...

The strangest thing about this novel thus far is that I can't seem to write in my hero's POV. Normally, I'm more comfortable in it (I have to struggle to write in Camilla's POV in my other novel, I much prefer Jed's), but out of the 19,043 words only 1495 of them are Mike's.


Wednesday, November 09, 2005

My Favorite NaNo Dare Yet!

The dare was:

Input your character's name into Googlism and then use everything that comes up in your novel.

I put in Liv's name and it said that Google didn't know enough about her yet.

But I hit the jackpot with Mike:

  • mike peck is head of the food safety microbiology group

  • mike peck is a founder

  • mike peck is now back at his original employer

  • mike peck is a professional engineer and has worked with mark hughes for over four years after graduating from tuns in nova scotia with a mechanical degree

  • mike peck is a camera engineer

  • mike peck is not entered in the current competition

  • mike peck is a dear friend who has helped me through a lot of stuff in the past few years

  • mike peck is head of the food safety microbiology group and a scientific programme leader in the food safety science division at the institute of food

  • mike peck is serenading dusty

  • mike peck is no longer undefeated

I think I can use about half. NOT the bit about the microbiology group or the one about being a professional engineer... but the others spark my competitive side and I want to find a way to use them.

I'm off to work on finding out why Mike isn't entered in the current competition, perhaps he's mad about no longer being undefeated? It sure is great that he's a dear friend, but I have to say that I'm not thrilled that he's serenading Dusty. Dunno how Liv is going to feel about that...

Cutting Open a Vein

Red Smith said, "There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein."

Yesterday I took his words to heart and donated blood. I feel somehow morally obligated to give a pint every eight weeks because I am the proud owner of O+ blood. The only problem is that while my mind and spirit are willing, my body is far more stubborn about giving up the red stuff.

Yesterday, the blood center was actually a torture chamber.

First, the nurse that pricked my finger didn't just prick it. She popped the little needle thingy and then wiggled it -- I suppose she didn't want to have to work for the three drops of blood she needed to test my iron levels. I now have a gash the size of the grand canyon in my left middle finger and it hurts like a son of a gun.

Then, the chick who jabbed me, missed. She called over the RN who dug around for a bit to see if she could find the vein (the one that I told the first lady she shouldn't use because it tended to roll) until my grimacing must have gotten to her and she surrendered. Then she asked me if I wanted to have her try the other arm or come back a different day.

No way was I going through another finger prick. I'd much rather face someone digging around in my arm with one of those big, hollow needles.

I flipped around and offered my right arm as sacrifice. This time it was quick and easy and the blood poured out. I filled the bag in record time and when she pulled out the needle, I offered a bit more to the world at large with a nice spurt of the red stuff. At least it just flowed down my arm instead of on my clothes.

Note to self: Next time wear a red shirt to the blood center.

In any case, it's done. I do have a big pit on my finger and bruises on both arms, but I think I'll survive it. I just wish that writing was as easy as opening a vein.

After staring at the computer all morning (and it was an earlier morning today since hubby got up at 3:30 a.m. to go hunting -- I'm still wondering about the wisdom of sending a man out into the woods with a loaded gun on only four hours sleep...) I only added about 500 words to my story. That was enough to catch up with my goal from yesterday. It did nothing to reach todays goal.

Red Smith was wrong.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

It Came From Beyond the Stars....

Actually, it came from inside my brain: Writer's Block!

I'm STUCK (stuck, stuck, stuck)!

I need to make 17,000 today and I have absolutely nothing to say.

Bangs head on desk



I went to the "dares" page in the NaNoWriMo forums -- the people that think up some of these things are just sick, but that's another story.

Anyway, I like the idea of this one to boost me out of my block:

Use the "random page" on, and somehow include whatever comes up, be it quantum ohysics or a farmer rebellion in China in 1054.

Okay... here goes (hits the button) --

Texas Southern University is a historically black university in Houston, Texas, USA. The university was established on March 3, 1947 by the Texas Legislature and it was initially named Texas State University for Negroes. Prior becoming a state university, Texas Southern University was owned by the Houston Independent School District and had been known as Houston College for Negroes.


That's going to take some thought, considering that my MC went to Wellsley College.


I did it! My MC may have gone to Wellsley College, but her nemesis didn't! She attended (drum roll please) Texas Southern University -- and this fact was talked about briefly in a recent conversation between Liv and Geoff.

Yay! I wrote 1,000 words!


It's 4:15 in the afternoon and I've managed to *almost* hit my daily goal. I'm at 16,544. I want to thank Charity and her "Wingman of Destruction". I also want to thank all the crazy folks at NaNo for their dares forum. I used three of them today, in a way that absolutely works in my novel, and that got my juices flowing.

Thank you, thank you, thank you...

Monday, November 07, 2005

Phew... Made It.

I got up this morning and hit the keyboard... made it up to just over 14,000 words. Phew! Of course, today's goal is to hit 15,000 but I'm practically there! I was thinking last night that a real first draft for me would be along the lines of 70,000 words NOT 50,000 and I calculated how many words per day I'd need to meet that goal by the end of November (as if 50,000 wasn't hard enough). It's roughly 2300 words daily. I'm averaging just about that right now. Hmmm.... wonder if I can make it.

In other news, my story title and name are up on Wax Romantic. If you haven't already, you should sign up for your free subscription and get a copy of this month's issue so you can read my fantabulous short story... I'm pretty proud of it.

More later. I need another cup of coffee.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

My Secret

A friend and fellow NaNo'er is struggling with meeting her word count goals and asked what the secret was from those of us who are doing okay thus far. This was my response to her:

My secret? Plot the next set of writing (I'm not separating chapters yet, just vomiting it all out in one big mess) at night while I'm dozy. It's the time I'm most creative, but least productive. Then I get up in the morning, set a specific word count and write until I reach it -- even if it's crap: backstory, description, flashbacks, thoughts... all that taboo stuff we're not supposed to put in our books. It may not stay, but it's getting me to know my characters and their motivations. And it's writing. NaNo doesn't care if you write crap. In fact, they encourage it.

It's a bit intimidating to compare word counts, though. About a third of the folks in my WVU NaNoWriMo group have reached almost 20,000 words. In less than a week.

That's a super human effort. I've heard around the NaNo halls that many people have already hit 50,000. Sheesh... when do they sleep? I have to console myself with the thought that those who are already NaNo "winners" must have written absolute garbage, because no one can write quality stuff that quickly.


Okay, enough NaNo-crastination. I'm gonna hit 13,000 today or die trying.


Did you hear my death rattle? I didn't quite make it. I'm at 12,576 and I'm out of steam. So close... but, tah-marah is anothah day.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

One of the Mysteries of the Universe

Why is it that my cat can sleep at the foot of my bed for hours, stay settled during the time I crawl into bed and read, but the moment I shut off the light and snuggle down to sleep she decides it's the perfect time for a bath?

Breeann is not a quiet bather. She snuffles and snorts and licks and squirms. I shoved her with my foot several times, earning a pounce or two and hoped that I'd distracted her from her task.

No such luck.

And, dear readers, this happens every blasted night. I don't suppose it would be so bad if I didn't get up at the crack of dawn, but I need every minute of sleep. And it doesn't matter what time I go to bed.

Maybe she likes the privacy that the darkness gives her?

Cats. (...I say in disgust and head off to the kitchen for another cup of coffee...)

Friday, November 04, 2005

In NaNo News

I'm almost at 10,000 words. I wanted to continue today, but I ran out of steam. I'm pushing for 13,000 by the end of Sunday, but I'm not so sure I can make it. We'll have to see how it goes. I'm having fun, most of the time, so I might just hit that goal.

Keep an eye on the counter -- even when I don't update my blog, I'll update that thing daily.

Okay, off to bed so I can get up at 4:30 again and write MORE!


My mother shared with me that Mindy McReady was on Oprah yesterday. I was interested because I listen to country music and I really liked Mindy McReady back when she actually had a record contract (and was smart enough to be engaged to Dean Cain...but that's another story).

Anyhoo... I saw this article and was utterly horrified. In it, she says:

"Mindy McCready says she still loves the man charged with nearly beating her to death earlier this year..."

Another quote from the article says this:

"During the interview, McCready described the attack and recalled being choked and "gurgling on blood." She broke into tears several times. "That feeling of not being able to breathe is something I'll never forget," she said."

I'll just bet that's a forever kind of memory.

But then I read this:

"But McCready said she still loves McKnight and has been with him since the attack."

And this:

"She blamed the violence on drug use, and said she didn't think he would hit her again."

Uh, honey... he didn't "hit" you. He beat you, choked you to the point you gurgled on blood and nearly killed you. This is not a slap in the face. I have two words for you: Get. Out.


I don't understand. I don't.

I visited my Aunt Julia before I got married and she told me this little story (keeping in mind that her sister was involved in an abusive marriage): Before she married my Uncle Rudy, she told him that if he ever hit her, he'd better kill her, because if he didn't, he'd spend the rest of his assuredly short life sleeping with one eye open, waiting for her to exact her revenge.

I feel exactly the same way.

Mindy, honey, get help and then get out. Please.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

I Need a Profiler

I just sat down and watched my favorite show of this season: Criminal Minds.

Aside from the fact that I love Mandy Patinkin (though am having a hard time forgetting him as Inigo Montoya from the Princess Bride) and am beginning to fall madly in love with geeky Matthew Gray Gubler who plays Dr. Spencer Reid on the show, I'm absolutely fascinated by watching the gang dig into people's psyche's. If you haven't watched it, I recommend it.

I also love Super Nanny...but am horrified that people let their children behave the way they do. I was especially shocked by the British couple from a few weeks back whose 9-year-old daughter hit them, bit them, screamed and yelled profanities and pretty much wore the pants in the family. Holy cow. All I could think was - They need to duct tape that girls mouth. Okay, don't call social services, really... I've never duct taped my daughter's mouth shut (though the fantasy does live on those days when she is never, ever quiet -- besides, isn't duct tape the answer to every problem?). <------ Did I do that punctuation correctly? I've never been able to figure out where to put your periods when there are parentheses involved. Anyone? Anyone?

Sheesh, I got way off track ... back to the 9-year-old terror. Jo came and crawled inside that girls mind and figured her all out.

Super Nanny is a psychological thriller of a different sort. Come to think of it, Psychology was the only class I really enjoyed during my brief foray at college.

Does make me wonder why I write romantic comedy.

I need a profiler.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Good News for Me!

I got an email this morning... strangely, I missed it the first time I opened my inbox today which surprises me in retrospect because the title was hardly ambiguous:

Wax Romantic Short Story Acceptance

In the body of the email it said:

Wax Romantic has accepted your submission NOW THAT WE'VE FOUND YOU for publication in our November 2005 issue. Please forward your author bio ASAP...

I'm tickled pink! My goal this year was to get some short stuff published, to build up my writing resume and bolster my confidence. I started of the year with a bang, sending out tons of stuff (all rejected, but then I was aiming high: Womans World Magazine) and then slacked off for about six months. I realized in September that I'd better get a move on if I wanted something actually pubbed in 2005 and started writing more shorts and sending them out.

It's so nice to meet a goal.

I still have six or seven stories out there waiting for either acceptance or rejection, so this could get even better. I'll keep you posted.

Now, back to Liv and NaNo.

Off and Running...

NaNoWriMo started yesterday. I've discovered that I really hate the countdown clock on the front door of their website. It dramatically adds to the pressure when you watch each second tick away, not to mention the writing time I've wasted doing just that.

Day one went okay. I got over 2,000 words written. Today hasn't been so great thus far. My husband decided that he needed to get up at the same time I did (4:30 a.m.) and my daughter arose quite early as well (just after 5:00 a.m.). This time change has skewed everyone's sleeping schedules, and it's messing with my writing time.

This morning I'm up to a word count total of 3,221 - but haven't reached my daily goal yet. I need to hit it hard this first week so that I have a bit of padding if (when?) I hit a wall later on. I'd like to get at least a third of the total writing done this week, which is about how much I have outlined, but we'll see how it goes. The characters are already taking some tangents that I hadn't prepared for - which is a typical occurance for me, but it certainly messes with my plans.

The ferret has just made his dramatic appearance, however, and I'm also working at incorporating some of the NaNo challenges that are appearing in the "dares" section of the forum.

Some of the ones that I've copied to my "scene ideas" document are these (dunno if I'll be using them, we'll have to see how it goes):

Use the word of the day function from your chosen website. -- I actually did this one today. It's a great way to move yourself forward and to generate new ideas.

Have a character insist on always taking shortcuts when driving, even if the "shortcut" involves going far out of the way. -- I love this idea, but haven't a clue how to use it. This is a "we'll see".

Use the quote "Give me all your ducks!" with a character using the "gun" symbol - thumb up, forefinger pointed. -- How can you not want to use this?

Anyhoo, I'd better get back to writing. Oops, the DD has just arrived in the basement office. Guess I'll be making breakfast instead.