Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Nearly Finished!

I see some of you have voted in my poll. Three? C'mon! There's more than three of you out there! 4 more days to vote! Were/shiftchangers, witches/sorcerers, and vampires are running neck and neck. Let's here it for the vampires! And really, no one wants to be a demon? Even a sexy demon???

Yes. I'm nearly finished with first draft of Vampire's Trill. I knew that I had a tough scene coming up. Had a lot of terrifying things in it. I don't like to be light footed when I write the more horrific scenes. I hope I did a good job.

And, as always, one of my characters showed his true spots. I didn't even know this about him--although I knew he had to be pretty evil. So, along with my character Sabrina Strong, we discovered this really bad side of him together (she is a touch clairvoyant).

I think this is what I love most about writing. I do know my characters, but some of them just like to break out of that controlled box I have them in and say, "Listen lady, this is the real me, and you'd better write it like that!"

So, yesterday, knowing I had a lot to write, I got down to it. I made some preliminary notes, but decided if I wasted time doing that, I'd never get down to it.

I wrote 21 pages in total. I think it took the better part of the day, because I have other things to do. The words flowed. I loved that.

I need to get an ending on this. Read through what I wrote yesterday.

Still haven't heard from the editor at CMP. I hope she's just busy as hell and simply can't get to me. I'm sure I'm last rung on the ladder, bottom feeder, whatever.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Twilight Creator Sick of Vampires?

Yes. It's true.

I caught this across the vamp blogs I follow today.

Stephanie Meyers fessed up, finally, in an interview saying that she's "really burned out on vampires" also saying that trying to work on the Midnight Sun companion novel which tells the story from Edward's view point, says that she's no longer inspired. She admits that it's more like homework, and she can't work under this sort of pressure.

This sounds like burn out to me.

There's something to be said about a series writer. It takes a lot out of you. J.K. Rowling did the right thing. She wrote her series, did not promise more, but didn't say never again, which left things open. I remember the interview I saw with J.K. Rowling where she said that among all the books she'd written in the series, Goblet of Fire "nearly killed me". That's a 700+ page book. She had a contract to finish it at a certain date. She must have been locked up in her room, allowed to eat and sleep and maybe play with her children, and that's it--that's just me talking, but I'm sure it wasn't fun. Especially when you're so famous you can't even take vacations without cameras in the face.

As a writer, I can fully appreciate the whole needing to be excited about your book, characters, the plot etc. The excitement that makes you get up out of bed in the middle of the night, and either make notes, or sit down at a notebook, or computer and write things down that are in your head. That's when it is fun. Exciting.

When a writer can't get excited, yeah, maybe it's time to shove it onto the back burner and work on something else for a while. Fans will wait. And if it's something different, then, you might find new fans. Pushing yourself to work on a project that has gone flat isn't going to do anyone any good.

So, the lesson here, boys and girls, don't promise more than the moon to publishers, agents, and especially your fans.

I thought Rowling had played it right, not telling us too much at any point of the game. She trickled in spoilers, and as far as I know didn't get hiper when things leaked, because they did. Well, I remember everyone who had ARCs of her last book tried to spoil it for everyone. I think those people are simply evil. I didn't listen to the leaks. I didn't try and read the last book in one sitting, like all the bleary-eyed fans did. I read Rowling for enjoyment, took my time. Loved it.

And I hate to be a poo-poo-er, but when you get something as big as the Harry Potter series, or the Twilight series were, I don't think you can ever have a repeat performance. Not to such magnitudes.

I might be wrong, but the magic wand may have been passed on to another writer.

Monday, June 21, 2010

July/Aug Issue of Writer's Digest Out Now!

Looks like the main theme of this issue of W.D. is memoir--how to write and sell your memoir, with lots of tips, and well written articles, as usual from the good people at W.D. (Okay, a little brown-nosing never hurt no-body)

However, the very first article I went to was the Profile on one of my favorite authors--Charlaine Harris!

Zachary Petit did a fine job getting the nitty-gritty on Harris. You'll learn what she wrote and how she got her first gig as a writer--a lucky lady, but obviously very talented writer. I'm not going to tell you all exactly what is in this article, you've got to read it yourselves if you are a fan of Harris, or the genre itself.

As usual, W.D. seems to be on my wave length. Whenever I'm having trouble in some certain area of my writing, they seem to be thinking the same thing, and somewhere within the issue is my answer. This time it was in WORKBOOK--my very favorite thing about W.D. This article, "Raising the Stakes" was excellent. I needed this to help me in some area of my book that I hadn't addressed, couldn't figure out what was missing, and boing! There it was!

A must read--I've only had it over the weekend, and am still looking through. I thought the "Reject a Hit" by Donna Cameron of Brier, Wash. was excellent. I happen to know that Seuss was rejected multiple times--which gave me hope. But this rejection letter written for the WD challenge for a humorous rejection for their magazine was funny and well crafted.

Grab your coffee and your WD today!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day; A Remembrance

My father died in November of 1999. He lived to be 80. Mostly from German stock, he was born in South Dakota to a farmer couple who came from Ohio. No two of the six children were born in the same state. My father often teased that he was part Sioux Indian--he got very dark brown in the summer, and had black hair that was wavy, and steel blue eyes. He was considered handsome.

My mother passed away before I turned 12. My father never remarried, but instead raised my brother and I by himself, and along with older siblings, I guess we did okay. I respected my father, rather than feared him. My sisters both feared his anger, and intolerance. Probably why they both left early (one got married, the other just left).

He was an entrepreneur, in that he had his own business of building/selling corn cribs. During the war, he worked in a munitions factory. He graduated from University of Illinois, explaining that he'd had to hitch a ride to get there from Rochelle, where he lived at the time.

He wasn't apposed to hitch hiking, back then it was common. Having grown up during the depression, and worked for an uncle in his brewery--the time of prohibition, so there were speak easies and his job was to siphon the beer into bottles--explaining he'd hated the taste of beer. Then.

Also, he rode the rails, along with another kid he was friends with, trying to find a job out in California--as was what everyone did then. The rails were definitely very dangerous. The men who watched for those who jumped trains were ruthless and would just as well kill you, as beat you for having done so. At one point he hitched a ride with a family Okies (people from Oklahoma), who were driving out in their Model T--or whatever--saying that the boy he was traveling with was rather ugly, and maybe didn't look trustworthy (?) so he was able to go, and the other boy didn't join him. But they did reach the boy's aunt's place in California, only to have to return pretty much on the rails. This is what my father explained his version of camping. He wasn't much for camping.

But he did like to fish, later on when he retired, after ten years of OTR. He retired early, having been able to actually lie about his age when he went with the trucking company, afraid they wouldn't hire a man in his fifties. I get my wonderful youthful appearance from him. I don't look my age, either.

When he died, it was sudden. I miss him even today, for his personality, easy jokes, laugh, and kindness. If someone needed money, he would give it to them. He once taught a woman how to drive, so that she could get her license and be able to drive herself to town--since he was the one giving her lifts to and from the store (something I'd not learned of, until after his death).

I miss him the most during the summer. He always had a grand garden. Once he grew 12 foot tall sweet corn, the ears were so big they wouldn't fit in any pan, except the oval roasting pan. He had a picture of him standing proudly by his giant corn in the seed catalogue where he purchased the seeds.

My dad was my buddy. I got along with him better than my sisters did, I think I had an understanding with him. I happened to enjoy Lawrence Welk and classical music. I think it was because when I was small, and couldn't sleep, he would play a 45 record with a Mozart symphony, and it would put me to sleep. To this day I love classical music.

Happy Father's Day, Dad.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

STORMS & The Purple Finger Syndrome

Yesterday when I got home I might have had an hour to an hour and a half before a storm -- the meteorologists call these "bow echos" was racing across our state line at 50 m.p.h. so I couldn't do much before it hit. I had just enough time to check my first follower at a sister blog, and that was it. Oh, and found new site "All Things Urban Fantasy" (placed the website over at my Urban Fantasy window, for anyone to check out).

We watched as the wind grew and grew. I watched shingles being pitched from the old barn--not much holding them down, believe me--and small branches being blown across the lawn. . . then Dennis called over to me as he looked out a window and said a large limb had fallen--and this was a big limb--and I watched as the hurricane strength winds blew the thing over once. The winds were clocked in the area at 75ph gusts!

We at one point skittered down the steps of the basement--not all the way, because the basement is pretty nasty. I would not wish my worst enemy stuck down there . . . well depends upon what she/he did, of course.

Things eventually calmed down. We went out to assess the damage. Not that much in our yard, save for that big limb out in the grassy area, did no damage--and luckily our power didn't go off completely.

We jumped in the park truck and went out to check on damage to the park. There wasn't a lot of rain--and luckily there was no hail (some places had reported grapefruit-sized hail!!)

We took the bend and saw a tree completely down along the edge of the drive. I mean it was down from the ground! It looked like someone had taken a chainsaw and simply sawed it below ground. Strange. And no other tree in the area of this one was down, or damaged.

We drove further and found two more whole trees down, just like this one These were 40-foot trees! Broken a foot below the ground as if someone sawed them neatly there.

This morning: Lots of damages reported elsewhere, of course. Someone had taken a video of rotation right above their heads. That was a very brave soul who did take that picture. It could have become a tornado any moment and touched down on them. Must have been one of those tornado cowboys.

Anyway, this morning we went out and began cleaning up. I had to pick my raspberries. This is the time of year when my fingers are permanently dyed purple. Aside from sustaining injuries from the sharp thorns of the canes, I love picking these fruits, almost as much as I love devouring them!

Well, I'm able to get back to work today, at least. Once I blog here and at my other site, Archives--continuing with the memoir "The Writer's House".

Heather posted on my last post with her corrections of my ditsy sentence. I think all I did was cut off the last part, because it was so confusing. Not trusting myself to be able to do anything with it other than cauterize the wound.

Well, hopefully we aren't going to get any more storms, as today is a picture perfect day--but hot and humid--and tomorrow we are to get more rain, possible storms.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Watch Your Grammar

I couldn't think of anything clever today for the title of my post, so, this is good enough. Says it all, I guess.

I went to Grammar Girl this morning, again and reviewed what I'd been looking at yesterday. Then, because I'd wanted to check this other site out, I clicked on:
http://sentencesleuth.com {hopefully this works, I went to Grammar Girl and clicked on her link there, if this doesn't work, go there}

This was a very good site too. Hosted by editor/writer, Bonnie Trenga, she has 401 sentences that she has debunked for us. She offers anyone with a sentence that is bugging them to send it to her. Looks like she'll allow people to vote on the sentence, whether or not they think it's okay, or there is a problem with grammar, or word usage error. It's interesting that many of these sentences come from published books! So, looks like I'm not the only one with dyslexia, or SES (sleepy-eye syndrome).

I found it informative, as well as some of the things there a bit funny. I'm always amazed that I actually can catch errors in grammar, spelling and such. What my problem is is mostly just being able to see them. I think it comes down to taking your pages out of context, for me, at least. I'm too used to seeing the words, hearing them, the story, I just get bleary eyed.

So, this morning, I was reading some pages out of the last chapter or just before that, and found this one. I'm inviting any of you who want to comment what you think is wrong with it. Here it is:

We were right on time for our dinner reservations for six, minus one.

I, of course knew what I meant, and taking the sentence and placing it here allows anyone to just look and see something is wrong with it.

You tell me--if you think there's anything wrong with it, and how you'd correct it, and I'll tell you what I did in my next post.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Which or That ???

I've always had trouble with grammar. Plus I'm a lousy speller. Been that way all my life. But now, with spell check on the computer, and so many sites divoted to helping you, I really have no excuse. Along with, of course, my Writer's Digest, their Questions & Quandaries section has been the best part of the whole magazine. I've ripped these pages out and just placed them into a notebook in a plastic sleeve, so that when I can't remember how to use certain words, I can just grab it and flip to the page.

It isn't just how to use a word like which, but other words as well. It can get rather confusing: Lay or lying; it's or its; who or whom; lead, lead or led? And there's all sorts of sound-alike words. Like compliment or complement. If you don't know what to watch for, you can read right through and not even notice such a minor (or major?) error, and I know I've probably done this with certain other words. Aside from the word "which", my all-time favorite: Affect vs. Effect. It stumps me every time, but thanks to Brian A. Klems of Writer's Digest, dummies like me get help when we need it.

I had to go through the entire manuscrip in order to find every "which", to make sure I hadn't miss-used it. This was easy to do, even in a manuscript that is over 300 pages long. I just used my "find & replace" option on the computer. Of course, being careful not to hit the "replace" button, until I checked it, plus, if I did change it, I would still have to illiminate the comma in the sentence, and probably rewrite the sentence. In some cases I could see that I needed to re-write it, or could simply split the sentence into two.

I discovered a new (to me) site called "Grammar Girl" http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com I found this site where you can read, or listen to explanations of common grammatical conundrums. It is very easy to use, and has all the problem words lined up on about 4 or 5 pages that you can click on which ever one you want--ooo, there's that word again--and it will take you to a separate page for a full explanation and usage.

I liked her "quick and dirty tips" in each section. Mignon Fogarty goes into very detailed usage, hitting anything you might need on the word(s) in question. I placed her site on my desk top. I can't live without it.

With my dyslexia, the find and replace option helps me find words that might have slipped by me several times, not knowing that I'd miss-used or miss-spelled it. Which makes me so darned mad!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Review: Lucinda, Darkly

You know how it is when you read a new author and you don't know how they write, or if you'll even like their book. This is how I approached Lucinda, Darkly. I wasn't certain what I was getting myself into. The promise that I'd "love" Sunny (author) if I were a fan of Laurell K. Hamilton, which I'm not, gave me pause. So, I tread carefully down this dark, dark path.

I was sucked in with the first paragraph merely by the prose. When an author can paint a scene and it grabs you by the ankle and pulls you in and you're there with her characters--that is the sign of an excellent writer. I found moments between my bus runs, hiding somewhere alone, and quiet, so that I could read just a page or two in the 5 or so minutes I had. And during those five or so minutes I was with Lucinda, this blood-drinking, sexy-as-you-please female demon equipped with fangs and deadly claws which she keeps under wraps with her gloves.

I'm not sure when demons became sexy women, or men, but I must have been asleep at my writer's desk. I used to write and read horror fiction, where demons aren't sexy, but if they want sex it's usually pretty graphic, horrific and usually leaves the human dead.

Well, I guess my eyes have been opened. I haven't picked up a book by a horror writer in over a year. Just a bit squeamish, I guess.

Lucinda, Darkly is a tale of a demon-dead, (has no heartbeat, as apposed to one that does). She lives in, of all places, Arizona. Probably because it's hot there, because her actual home is Hell.

Her job is to find a rogue Mone`re warrior and return him to his queen--who will first severely punish him and most likely kill him, and who wants to go through that? Since our demon princess isn't apposed to having sex, she likes it rough, and his blood is more than enticing, there's something about him that brings out the nice in Lucinda.

I enjoyed this tale, and Sunny (no last name), has many other titles in this series to check out. Lucinda is a character from her Mona Lisa novels.

The sex scenes although erotic, flow like absolute, dark poetry. At no time did I feel like I've just walked into something I shouldn't have and wanted to turn around and leave (put down the book merely because it disturbed me), unlike with the Laurell K. Hamilton books. If sex were this way in real life, and men were our sex kittens, I think we'd all be floating on cloud 9.

Sunny's ability to go back and forth from third person to first person with this tale, at first stumped me, but I could see how she used it flawlessly, separating the first person sections from the third person by chapters.

This book does stand alone in the series, and I may have to check out others in the demon princess chronicles series. Very well written for this dark genre. I recommend it, if you like a fantasy that will pull you along with every aspect of surprise an author can pack into a tale of dark fantasy.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Visualizing Your Success!

As I lay in bed at around two in the morning—the witching hours—I turned over, and the moon's glowing face peered in at me through the curtain, anointing me with its silvery magic. I did not hide from it. I basked in it. Unlike other nights when it kept me awake—because I am a moon goddess—I welcomed it.

I fell back asleep and didn't wake until I heard my husband get up.

When I bumbled to the bathroom while said husband got the coffee brewing, a strong vision was in my head: I was sitting outside on a nice patio, I'm writing on a laptop. I'm wearing a straw summer hat—looks like a cowgirl hat, because that's what I prefer—and there's birdsong around me, a small breeze keeping me comfortable and some trees in the backyard. Ah, but this is not where I live now. It isn't anywhere I've ever lived. Plus, I don't have a laptop, or a nice patio.

I want to be there, doing what I saw myself doing, in some future moment. I see myself working on some writing project, on a laptop I don't own—yet—can't afford one—yet. And this is a house I don't live in, or can afford to live in—yet. This is a wish of where I want to be, someday. Hopefully soon, but we can't dictate the how or why, or when, just the what.

These visualizations are part of how I try to stay focused on a goal—no matter what it is. A lot of actors, writers, and other professional people use some form of positive mind power to attract what they want in life—whether it's money, a house, car, things—or just the right sort of job that would give you these things. Even the small things. It need not be an object. It can be a great vacation, or a raise, or if you are a writer, some event will bring you closer to what you ultimately desire. A book deal, or contract with a publishing house, or even a great agent, if you don't have one.

For me, the above visualization was a wish. I wish to be in that situation at some point. I'm not giving it any time limit when it should happen. I don't think we have that sort of control.

No matter what you want to call it, Positive Power, Mind Power, Positive Magic, anything you want to call it, bookshelves are filled with these type of self-help books. Mind Power & Money by James Goi Jr. has a lot of practical and useful information on how to help you gain money. His suggestion that you focus on the feeling you get when you see yourself in these situations is part of the secret.

I'm a firm believer that it works. Visualizing what you want will help attract those things you want, no matter if you're a writer, or working a 9 to 5 job, or in a textile mill.

No matter what you call it, they all have one thing in common in order to achieve these things, and that is visualization. Using your imagination which is a form of visualization, even during your day, doing whatever job you're at, you can imagine a better job, or being payed better wages, but also the feeling of gratification is important to make it feel as though you've already got it.

As a writer, I admit trying to imagine myself as a successful writer has been a bit hard. We all strive everyday to write better, and work very hard at the writing, whether it's a book, or a short story, or an article. We take big risks every time we send something out. So we're vulnerable. That's why it's so important to stay focused on our goals, and try to stay positive.

We need to concentrate on the smaller goals too. Keeping a mental image of your goals is important, but how do you do it?

Jordan E. Rosenfeld and Rebecca Lawton of Write Free Newsletter, have this suggestion:

“Try this: Choose ONE wildest dream to focus on today. When you have two minutes free to envision, hold it in your mind and heart in all its splendor: the cover of your next chapbook, the size of a healthy bank account, the face of your loved one as happy as you've ever seen him. Give this dream two minutes of vision time for several days in a row and see what comes. Note the results in your journal, if you wish. Watch the progress. . .”
—Copyright 2010 Jordan E. Rosenfeld and Rebecca Lawton, Write Free www.writefree.us

Note especially how that vision makes you feel. Happy? Content? Estatic?

Then, when that wish comes true, you'll know that something wonderful has happened.

Finally, a thought from Paramahansa Yogananda:
“So long as you are trying, so long as you pick yourself up when you fall, you will succeed.”

Chickens lay eggs, and so do Turtles

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