Thursday, July 29, 2010

Officially a writer

Yes, that's right - I feel like I'm officially a writer now, because I have received my first rejection.

It came via email, first thing Monday morning.  (Great way to start a week, isn't it?)  I didn't even have the pleasure/torture of staring at the screen debating whether or not I should open it to reveal my fate because the subject line was "Your submission to [name redacted] (sorry)".

On the bright side, there were two editors who commented on the piece, and the comments were NOT along the lines of "you suck" or "you should never try writing anything again, ever."  They were both actually fairly similar - basically, the piece needed to be longer to satisfy them.  The piece, Fog Rolls In, was about 750 words, flash-length. The magazine accepts flash, but they also look for short stories and serials.  I get the feeling that, if I were to submit to a place that was looking at flash exclusively, my chances might be better.

So I'm torn - do I take the piece, as is, and start submitting to flash markets, or do I take the piece and flesh it out more, making it into a full short-story or serial, and submit it to short story markets?

I think I'll sit on it for now.  Really, there's not a rush for me.  It would be nice to have something published, but there's no deadline for me.

In other writing-related news, I've had this romance idea brewing for three years, and it's perking up again.  I've got the female MC fleshed out in my head, and the male MC is coming together really well.  It may actually get onto paper soon... that's exciting!

I'm still not doing much editing for HEA, but I've been thinking about it, and I may have to do major re-writes, so I'm procrastinating.

I'm still reading a lot!  Below is my list of summer reading, started on June 17:

  • Soul of the Fire by Terry Goodkind
  • Faith of the Fallen by Terry Goodkind
  • The Pillars of Creation by Terry Goodkind
  • Naked Empire by Terry Goodkind
  • Chainfire by Terry Goodkind
  • Phantom by Terry Goodkind
  • Confessor by Terry Goodkind
  • Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
  • Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire
  • A Lion Among Men by Gregory Maguire
  • My Life Uncovered by Lynn Isenberg (my favourite book in a long time!)
I've finished the first three already!  Plus, as I'm sure you've noticed in my GoodReads feed --> I've got several others in progress that WEREN'T on the list.  I'm feeling pretty good about my progress.  Summer really is more of a reading season for me than it is a writing season.  There's just something about the heat that feels conducive to laying around with a book, so that's what I do!

What about you, folks?  Is summer a reading season or a writing season for you?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I had a dream last night...

...and it felt real. So real, that for a moment, when I woke up, I was sure that I still felt arms around me.  And some of the details, while ridiculous, were so clear!  There was an elevator, but it was huge - the size of my living room.  It stopped in weird, between-floor sorts of places, but when it reached my floor, it was fine.  There was a pair of tap shoes, in a box, that were for me.  I took them out and looked at them, confused.  They were similar in style to the cheap, patent tap shoes that you get when you first start learning, but they were made of real leather, with TeleTone taps, so they were quality. My sister was suddenly beside me, taking out a pair of her own shoes. As we looked at them, a friend came up behind me, wrapping me in a hug and leaning forward to kiss my cheek.  He couldn't, though, because my cowboy hat got in the way and bumped his face.  Wait, a cowboy hat?  Yes, a black felt cowboy hat, worn over a pair of high pigtails.  It was not my most stylish moment.  I was suddenly aware of my clothes - a pink plaid AE button-down, short-sleeved shirt over top of a navy, long-sleeved shirt, and my favourite jeans.  I was barefoot, getting ready to put on the tap shoes.

It was then that I woke up, the blankets and pillows tangled around my arms in such a way that it felt like I really was being hugged from behind.  It was nice.

And yes, I know that this wasn't true fiction, but I wanted to remember the oddness of this dream.  I'll treat you to some random prose later.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

This week in crafting!

I haven't done nearly as much crafting as I would have liked to do!  But that's okay.  I was social this week, and I spent a lot of time reading.  That's not to say I didn't do ANYTHING, though!

I knit my way through four balls of yarn for Rachel's baby blanket, so I'm 2/3 done.  Now I need to go and pick up two more balls of yarn for the main part of the blanket.  Once she decides on a colour scheme for the nursery, I'll pick up a ball of Heaven yarn to finish off the edge.

I've managed a few more rows on Spencer's blanket, and I'll probably continue on that this afternoon and evening as I watch LOST.  Hey, it's Sunday.  It's a good day to watch TV.

I'll probably make another set of cards this evening, since my sewing machine is still out.  The blogosphere is full of cards with stitching on them, so I'm going to join the trendiness, I think. I was thinking about sewing some scrubs, but I'd rather just finish cleaning off my table so that I can host people for dinner next weekend.

Oh yeah - I decorated a wedding cake.

My friends are getting married in October, and I'm going to make their cakes.  This is a sample of the top layer, so they can see how it tastes, and see how it looks.  After meeting with the caterer yesterday, it's going to change... a lot.  I've got a few more ideas for it, and I'll be Photoshopping different sample details onto it.  I was really happy with how it turned out, even if it's not exactly right - I was terrified of trying fondant for the first time, but it worked out well.  It was much easier than I had expected.  Of course, now I've got leftover fondant hanging out in my fridge... maybe I'll make a little cake and take it to work.

Also, I learned that Red Velvet cake uses A LOT of red food colouring!  Two ounces of the stuff!  Luckily, I've got red silicone spatulas, so I didn't dye any of my utensils while making the cake. :)

And that was what I made this week!

In other news, I was called "smart," "really intelligent," "mighty purty," "adorable," "cute," and "charming" this week - how's that for an ego boost?  And all of those came from different people!  I think my self-esteem is picking up again, and it's only been about a month.  Good for me!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Not going to feel guilty

Aside from my Tuesday piece, I have not written anything this week.  Nothing.  I haven't edited, I haven't prepped for my game on Saturday, I haven't done a thing.

And I'm okay with that.

I read a post today by a guest blogger on the Variety Pages, and realized that it's okay.  Just because there's not a story in my head now, it doesn't mean that there won't be later.  I've been stressed.  REALLY stressed.  It doesn't surprise me that the voices have stopped.  My brain is just crazy with other stuff, so there's not room for much else.

And so I'm reading.  I'm reading like crazy, because that's what I need to do.  It's like my writing brain is taking a break, resetting itself.  I'm learning from what I'm reading, but I'm not worrying yet about putting this all into practice.  I'm re-learning what I like to read, and figuring out why I like to read it.  I'm listening to audiobooks and figuring out the difference between what I like to listen to and what I like to read.

So I will not feel guilty for not writing.

Although I may feel guilty about not preparing for the game come Saturday... I'll probably have to work on that!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fiction, because I said I would.

Carrie was wet. Soggy, dripping, uncomfortably wet. Her shoes squelched. Her sweater clung to her body. Her jeans were plastered to her legs. The single braid of long, dark hair dripped like a faucet. It was awesome.

She grinned, looking over at her friends. They, too, looked like wet dogs, and more than a little pleased with themselves.

"Here you go," said the responsible one, Sarah, as she handed out towels. Carrie took hers and wiped the water from her face, but the smile remained.

"We should totally do that again," Carrie said, kicking off her shoes. "That was amazing."

"Definitely," Aaron agreed. "And it was the perfect weather for it, too."

Sarah rolled her eyes.

"And maybe we can talk Sarah into joining us next time," Carrie added.

"I don't think so," Sarah replied. "Jumping into a pool, fully clothed, is not my idea of a good time."

Aaron looked at Carrie, wiggling his eyebrows. "Maybe we should prove her wrong."

"No way!" Sarah shrieked, running across the yard as the other two started after her. Luckily, she wasn't hindered by wet clothes, and made it into the house before they caught up, locking the door behind her. "Nice try," she said through the glass.

I write like
Stephen King
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Up at FFC

Hi all!

I've got another post up at Flash Fiction Chronicles: What Do I Know? If you get a chance, wander over and check it out. While you're there, take a look at the last few posts - they're doing a series of features on different genres. I've learned a couple of new things about genres that I don't usually read/write, so it's been useful. After all, who doesn't like learning something new?

Shhh... I'm late...

Okay, the Sunday post is showing up late, and I apologize. I was on the phone, and I totally forgot to post before I crawled into bed. *is shamed*

But it was a good week in crafting!

I altered a pair of pants into maternity pants for one of the two pregnant girls at work, which was much easier than I had expected it to be. Even better, that means that I've dragged out the sewing machine, so I'm planning to use it to embellish some cards later this week.

I got a couple more rows of Spencer's blanket done, and I REALLY need to move it up to the top of my list. Wait... it IS at the top of the list!

I finally made it to the yarn store again, and used a gift certificate to pick up most of the yarn I need for a new project - a baby blanket for one of the girls at work. I'll need to pick up the rest of the yarn (for the edging) after she decides on the colours for the nursery. I'll also need to pick up yarn for the other pregnant gal, but I can only knit so many things at once! I'll finish blanket 1 before starting on blanket 2. While I was out gaming on Saturday, I knit my way through one of the balls, then realized that I had made it too wide, and frogged it all. Yesterday, while watching Dexter, I re-knit the whole ball, so it's going pretty quickly.

I'm still plodding along with the Hufflepuff scarf and the picnic blanket, but the baby blankets have priority right now.

The newest thing on my list? I've got a ball of fluffy purple yarn to make into a dice bag for Illoria, and that will likely be done for this weekend, since she's coming over to play!

Finally, a new store opened close to me - JoAnn's! What does this mean? If I want to make stuff, the store is five minutes away, so I don't have to haul my cookies all the way across town to Michaels! I'll still go to Michaels, of course, since they're the best source around here for all things Wilton, but if I need scrapbooking paper or cheap yarn or stickers, I don't have to go far at all. Yay! Also, they have fabric!!! The sewing machine is totally not getting put away again, ever.

And that, my friends, was my week in crafting.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Love this new meme

Okay, I'll admit it - I love this whole "I Write Like" thing! It's cheesy, and probably not accurate, but it's fun. So what am I doing with this? I'm going back through all of my Tuesday fiction exercises, seeing what the outcome is when I pop them into the box, and adding the badge to the bottom of the page.

So far, James Joyce seems to be the most frequent comparison, followed by Stephen King. Funny, I've never read any Joyce, and the only King I've read was part of "The Bachman Books." I kind of want to read some of their stuff now, to see what I'm being compared to.

In other news, I seem to have a plethora of ideas, and no friggin' time to actually work on them! Let's see...
- There's the group project, TSP, which I really need to work on, since we've got a tentative deadline of Sept 1. I have a basic idea, and two MCs, but I haven't actually written anything down.
- I've got 'Relationships are Hell,' the idea that came to me the other morning, complete with one-line synopsis. I tried a character sketch yesterday, and it's not remotely what I wanted it to be, which proved once again that I shouldn't try writing AFTER my brain has gone to bed for the night.
- I've got the edits for HEA, and I know what I need to do, I just haven't done it yet.
- I've got to finish Partners and get it back out to some crit partners, but I'm stuck with it... I can feel that something's missing, but I can't figure out what. I may have to send it out incomplete, so someone else can help me through it.
- There's an idea growing for another play, but it's still kind of nebulous. It's a Christmas show, complete with carols, but it's just sort of sitting there, not ready to be on paper yet.
- I have the beginnings of a plot for NaNo, which means that I'll be set come November, so that's good. I'll keep jotting down ideas in my orange notebook (complete with Mooseling pin!) until then.
- Finally, the only writing I have managed has been cathartic stuff, things that I had to write to start getting over things that are going on in 'real life.' They haven't been printed, they haven't been shared, and some of them haven't been saved. They've been for me, and it's good, I think...

Wait, 'real life'? What's that? Yes, I do have a real life! A life not consumed with writing, although if I could get away with doing nothing but writing and making things, I'd totally be set for the rest of forever! I'm looking into a new apartment, I'm reaching out and trying to make some new friends, I'm trying to find new ways to connect with old friends, and I'm trying to find ways to be happy on my own. That's not to say I wasn't happy before - quite the contrary, actually. I was incredibly happy. I was amazed that I had somehow managed to get so lucky. Unfortunately, there's that old saying: "All good things must come to an end." Sadly, it seems to be holding true. I've been on my own again for about a month now, although I suppose it's officially less time than that. I'm not going to lie; it's been hard. It's sucked, actually. Not that you could guess from the tone of my fiction!

Anyway, that's what's been up lately, and probably reflected in my blog, even though I wasn't being overtly chatty about it. Just felt like you all might want to know. And hey, if you don't care about my personal life, that's cool - let me know, and I'll keep to the writing and crafting from here on out! Well, that and cute puppies.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Personal Hell

Jake cringed as he heard the music. He didn't recognize the singer, but he recognized the song - barely. Slowly, he opened his eyes to see a young girl, clad in outrageous colours, singing a Spice Girls song. Badly.

The brightness of the girl's outfit made him close his eyes again.

"Open your eyes."

Jake's eyes flew open at the sound of the deep voice. He looked around, but there was no one there but the girl. She had stopped singing, and was staring at him. Jake tried to squint, hoping that might dim the brightness of the colours all around him. Sunny yellows, Barbie pink, seafoam green, and a multitude of other shades were splashed on the walls of the small room that he was laying it. His eyes burned at the sight. It was as if a five-year-old girl had been set loose in a paint store.

Wait, why was he laying down? Jake sat up, looking around again. He was in this small, brightly coloured room, alone except for the little blonde girl.

"Where the hell am I?" he muttered.

"Seems you've answered that question yourself." The deep voice echoed in the room as the girl moved her mouth.

"Excuse me?"

"Welcome to hell," the girl replied, the deep voice clearly coming from her this time.

"Hell?" Jake repeated. In a flash, it came to him - the car wreck, the unspeakable pain, then the numbness. "Wait, I'm dead?"


"Well, shit."

I write like
Stephen King

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Meme... I write like:

I write like
Margaret Atwood

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

I don't know what to say to this...

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Crochet, Cards, and a Puppy Photo

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It's been a slow week, but the temperature has been far too hot to be all that productive. There was also a day off on Monday (spent recovering from eating grilled cheese and watching fireworks on the 4th), which wasn't nearly as productive as one might have expected.

I did get stuff done, though! I made 40 feet and 20 ears, enough to finish off 10 hamster beans. Of course, I only got one hamster bean body done, but the body is probably the easiest part for me. The fiddly little ears and feet are the parts that I don't like. I figured that, by doing those first, I was much more likely to finish the beans. I hope that I should finish the bodies in the next two weeks, then I can make another set of feet and ears. The plan is to have enough hamster beans to give out in goody bags for NaNoWriMo this year. Last year's co-ML has volunteered to help out, too, so I'll be sending her the pattern and recruiting her. If she can make a dozen or so, it'll help out a lot.

I also did another section on my Hufflepuff scarf. My friends and I are talking about going to the Harry Potter theme park in November (hmmm... that's NaNo... I'll have to rethink that!), so I've got a deadline now.

I didn't work on the picnic blanket at all, since I didn't watch LOST this weekend, but I did get another six rows of Spencer's baby blanket done! He's about three weeks old now, so I want to get it done ASAP.

I made some cards, too, for my grandpa and sisters. Overall, not bad for a slow week.

Oh. Crap. I just realized that I was supposed to make maternity pants for one of the girls at work this weekend. Hmmm.......... I guess I know what I'm doing tomorrow!

One last photo - Mia, bathing in a sunbeam. She's just so pretty, isn't she?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Not at all myself!

I woke up early this morning. Like, 30 minutes before my alarm went off. Unfortunately, puppy is very attuned to my state of awakeness, and she didn't let me roll over and doze off again. As I slowly opened my eyes, a story idea came to me. I wanted to doze off, but I got up and fumbled for a notebook and wrote down the idea before my lizard brain could take over.

I got up, took puppy out for a walk, packed my lunch, then went back upstairs and decided that I was going to take the extra time and exercise. I did three sets of ten reps each of wall squats, push-ups, sit-ups, and back thingies, all with my big purple ball. Then I showered, dressed, and looked at the clock. It was 7:10. Normally, I'm done dressing at 7:35.

Somehow, I was 25 minutes ahead! So what did I do? I found a coupon for Chick-Fil-A, and went out for a free chicken biscuit for breakfast. Even with the drive-thru, I was still at work by 7:56! That's not me at all!

And now, it's nearly 2, and I'm still mildly functional. Who's taken over my body???

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Why it's hard to write right now

I was sitting in front of the computer today, trying to figure out how to finish 'Partners,' when I realized what my current block is.

When you write romance novels, or chick lit, or a lot of the other stuff that I write, it's pretty much mandatory that your story ends with a 'happily ever after.' In fact, most romance imprints actually have that requirement in their guidelines. It doesn't necessarily have to be heroine ending up with the gorgeous Prince Charming, but it has to be a happy ending of some sort.

Unfortunately, I had my happy ending pulled out from under me a couple weeks ago. When I'm sitting here, wondering where it went, it's hard to find a happily-ever-after for someone else. I was so sure that I knew how my story would end, yet it turned out to be completely the opposite of what I was expecting. I'm having a hard time moving forward with my WIPs because of that. There's a lot of doubt in my mind now - does the ending that I think I'm going to have really work out? Is it remotely realistic? Why hasn't he dumped her whiny ass by now?

So I don't think I can work on the things I've been working on in the past few months. But that's okay! It is, really. I have proven to myself that I can set things aside, and then come back to them and finish them later. That's what I'm going to do for now. I'm going to put all of the romantic crap off to the side. In the meantime, I'm going to work on a science-based piece. There doesn't have to be a happy ending here - one of the MC's is a murder and rapist, and not at all likable. In fact, I'm pretty sure that he's going to die a miserable death. No happily-ever-after for him! Once I'm done that, maybe I'll be ready to work on happy endings again.

In unrelated news, I discovered GoodReads today! It is wonderful! I spent most of the evening inputting the books that are in my bookshelves (although I'm quite certain that there are other books around here that have been missed). I appear to have 255 books (fiction only - non-fiction are currently in boxes in the closet), and of those, 124 are on my 'to-read' list. Seriously? I have that many unread books??? But then I thought about it a bit... I bought a lot of books at a Friends of the Library book sale last year, and haven't gotten around to them yet. And there are four series that I've been collecting, but haven't started yet because they looked like the type that I would want to read all at once - I hate it when I have to wait a year for the next book to come out! On the bright side, that means that I don't have to buy anything at all for summer reading!

And speaking of summer reading, I've finished Soul of Fire and moved on to Faith of the Fallen. If you look at the widget to the right, you'll see that I've got three books on the go: Faith of the Fallen is the primary, Murder List is from the kitchen at work (for the days when I forget Faith at home), and Anne of Green Gables is actually an audiobook (for the ride to and from work, and to and from D&D games).

Have I mentioned that I love GoodReads?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Not feeling fictional tonight

I had always thought that it was just a TV thing. On all of these TV shows, people would hang up the phone at the end of their conversations without saying 'goodbye.' I really thought it was just a television thing.

I think I was wrong.

I think it's an American thing. That would be why it always happens on TV.

At work today, I had to make phone calls. It felt like a million phone calls, but it was actually only about 50. In any case, I talked to a lot of people. And only about a half-dozen of them said 'goodbye' at the end of the conversation! Seriously, people? It's a standardized social format, meant to indicate the conclusion of a telephone conversation! Saying 'goodbye' lets the person on the other end of the phone know that you are finished, that you have no other questions or comments, and that you're about to hang up the phone!

'Goodbye' shouldn't be reserved for friends and family, it should be for any phone call, whether it's your doctor's office, a telemarketer, or your grandma. Saying 'goodbye' is just good manners.

*end rant*

In other news, my puppy's ear seems to have recovered - it's back to being perky, and she's not scratching at it any more. Yay! No vet required, although I will continue to keep an eye on her.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Crafty Holidays

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Between Canada Day on Tuesday, and today being the Fourth of July, I got far less crafting done this week than usual. Because I'm barely getting in under the wire on this post, here's a short list of what I got done:

- baked and frosted 7 dozen cupcakes
- a few more picnic blanket squares
- T's MadHatter dice bag
- half a round on the blue baby blanket

And that's it. Yeesh. I feel [relatively] unproductive. I think that, with tomorrow off, I'll spend some time making hamsterbean ears (so that they're ready as the hamsterbeans get made). I'll probably also make some more squares.

Then on Tuesday, I'll be seeing about taking Mia to the vet - I think she's got an ear infection, the poor thing.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I swear, I'm not totally slacking, really.

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I have written considerably less this month than I had intended. I have edited considerably less than intended. Life got in the way, and honestly, I don't write all that well when I'm depressed. What? you ask. A writer who doesn't write when depressed? That makes no sense at all!

Okay, so I do write some when I'm depressed. But if you've looked at my recent Tuesday fiction pieces, you may have noticed that they're all, well, down. And that's not what I like to read or write. I don't mind when characters have problems, of course. That's what makes them human. However, I prefer to have an overall upbeat view. When I'm not upbeat, it's hard for me to write things that I like.

I did manage to do some good editing on HEA this weekend. I'm barely finished chapter one, but there's been a lot of red pen used.


And I was gentle with this chapter, because I was essentially happy with it. I've already realized that the ending is going to have to change - I put in all of these little hints for the end, then totally forgot about them. So I've got to go back and write the ending I meant to write when I started. *sigh*

I still haven't heard back on my submission, but that's to be expected. I think it'll be September before the e-zine starts sending responses for the edition that my story is being considered for. Have I mentioned that I hate waiting?

I have got a few story ideas floating around in my mind, though, and I'm hoping that they'll work out... two of them are novel-length, one is novella-length, so it'll be a big commitment. And I've also got plans for this year's NaNo. I've decided to write the next Thurman G Woodfin adventure. I've realized that NaNo is going to have to be light and fun and off-the-wall, so that I can dedicate my brainpower to herding Mooselings in November. I don't want to stress about the writing - I want to ease everyone else's stress.

Finally, I have been working on a few other pieces for FFC, though they still need polishing. I should have more up there in the next few weeks, so keep your eyes open!