Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thursday Thoughts: ?????


Who?

What?

When?

Where?

Why?


Have you answered all those questions in your story?

Oh, oh, and don't forget the HOW.

Just some more thoughts I wanted to share!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Recent Reads: Angels, Demons and Clues ... on a Wednesday

Book: Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
Book Count: 32

Nora's new lab partner has the hots for her. Either that or he's a psycho who is stalking her and plotting her death. But Patch is way more than he seems and Nora quickly learns that he may be the only one she can trust. Even if he's fallen from grace.

The only thing I dislike about this? It's the first of a series. I was oh-so trying to not start any new series because I get all anxious about when the next one's coming out.



Book: Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott
Book Count: 33

This is the story of Alice. Ray kidnapped Alice several years ago and is now holding her captive. At 15, Alice is swiftly growing up and out of the little girl shell Ray has tried to keep her in for all these years.

Be forewarned, this book covers a heavy topic and at times (most of the time) is pretty disturbing. But it is a beautifully told story from Alice's perspective. It is a story of survival and love and human nature, the good side and the bad.

If you didn't already know, I am a HUGE Elizabeth Scott fan. I've read almost every single one of her books and have loved all of them. This one included.



Book: Paper Towns by John Green
Book Count: 34

Margo is the girl Quentin's been in love with since they were little kids. As they grow up, they grow apart: he becomes a school band groupie (because his 2 best friends are in the band) and she becomes the girl he'll never get. When Margo suddenly disappears after having spent the night before with Q, exacting revenge, Q begins to question who Margo really was.

Seriously I was laughing out loud. And books like that are always fantastical. Just sayin.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tuesday's Tiny Talkers

Okay, maybe that's a totally lame blog title, but I decided this is the week where the name of the day will be each blog post. Why, you ask?

I have no idea. Just because I decided.

So yesterday I mentioned I'm rewatching Gilmore Girls. The Complete Series. The husband gave the boxed set to me as a gift a couple Christmases ago. I watched the whole thing a couple times through after I received the gift, but a friend borrowed the set this past year and I just got it back. After about 11 months. So yeah, I missed my GGs.

Lorelei and Rory aside, there are some fantastic supporting characters on the show. The loud, sort of obnoxious, but endearingly caring Babette: the next door neighborly gossip. Taylor - the really obnoxious, condescending town magistrate/selectman/mayor guy who is always out for himself. Mrs. Kim, Rory's best friend's mother, owner of an antique shop and psychotically strict. These people do so much with such a tiny part, you know their personalities, how they will react, who they are.

I recently read a book that had the potential to give the supporting characters personality, but it didn't. And I was really disappointed because of it. Although the MCs were pretty well developed, the world didn't seem real to me when the supporting characters, who interact with the MC(s) constantly, are flat, generic and have no personality.

As hard as it is to make sure the characters in your work are real, have you spent the time needed to make sure the Tiny Talkers in the background, the quirky math teacher, the brainy student body president, the loud and nosy neighbor, are just as real?

Just something I've been thinking about. Have you considered it?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Last Monday

I have another week off before heading back to work. Taking advantage of the time off, I've done some reading and some critting and some revising and hoping I'm going to be able to squeeze in some writing this week. We shall see.
A couple things taking up my days off time:

*A really loud pair of small children who have realized that I am not going to work.

*Rewatching the Gilmore Girls complete series. Again. (Just so you can put in perspective how much I adore the Gilmore Girls--
Last night I said: "I really need a cup of coffee."
4-yo kidlet asked: "Why?"
I said: "Because I haven't had my cup of coffee today and I have a headache."
Kidlet: "You need coffee like Lorelei?"
I couldn't help giggling. Just a little. And, yeah, if you haven't seen GG, you really should.)

*Finishing up the first part of our 2nd bathroom renovation

*Critting

*Reading

*Revising

*Writing

As much as I've tried to take advantage of the time off from the day job to get really going on the writerly stuff, yeah. It hasn't worked out as well as I'd like. Mostly because there's these two adorable little chicklets that I can't say no to. I'm betting most of you know what that's like!

So what have you guys been up to this last couple weeks of the year?

Well, Happy last Monday of 2009!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Post-Christmas

I recognize I skipped wishing everyone Merry Christmas, et al.

I figured, most were busy baking and hosting family and eating and last minute gifting that you probably didn't have a chance to read blogs yesterday or the day before.

I didn't.

So now that we're here after the stress of Christmas is over, hope everyone had a great holiday!

Now, it's back to work: crits, revisions, reading, writing.

Have a great day all!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Calls, Cupcakes and Critterbug

No, not that kind of call. Yesterday I made the mistake of saying my vacation was officially beginning. Two hours later I got an urgent text from one of the guys I work with saying there was a problem. Yeah, so vacation on hold until I can get this issue taken care of. Suck for me.

But the kidlets are off to a Christmas party today with their Secret Santa gifts in tow and a whole box of treats:


Yep, we made those in lieu of the planned trip to the zoo, seeing as there was a freaking blizzard here!!

But hey, it's the winter. Snow is to be expected, even when it is inconvenient.

And now I've decided I am finishing up all my past due crits before I am allowed to start working on anything else. So I have been scouring the house for my critter hat and should be all caught up before Christmas. Hooray!

Then on to revisions and new words!

UPDATE: Still behind on Crits. Working on it! I swear!! The couple extra days I ended up working totally threw my schedule for a loop. had to rejig timeline. Done before 2010 arrives!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

On Vacation

I'm OFFICIALLY on vacation today. Actually, it was official as of end of business last Friday, but *sigh* I found myself (with 1 kidlet in tow) in the office yesterday still trying to closeout my year. But now, I'm done.

YAY!!

The last few weeks have been so busy at day job that I've pretty much come home barely able to function, let alone get any writing/revising/critting/reading done. So that is what I am doing during this vacation, starting TODAY!

To those of you who are waiting on something from me, I apologize profusely. And for everyone else, after much deliberation I've decided not to take a full hiatus from blogging, though with the holidays, it may be sporadic, but beginning in January, I'm totally going to be better about posting more consistently.

Let the creativity flow and the vacationing commence!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Connecting the Dots .. er, Blog Posts

Okay, I know I said I'd be better about posting, but I'm out of town with the day job (yes, again) and I just haven't had a chance to. I've tried the whole, blogging for the week over the weekend, but that doesn't work well for me because, there's usually a bunch of stuff that happens during the week that I end up wanting to talk about and then by the time the next week comes, it's old news or I've just forgotten.

Plus I've been feeling so disconnected from all of you!

Firstly, though, welcome to my new followers! Yay for new friends! Thanks to LT Elliot for the shout out and I'll be getting my thoughts posted on this soon.

And of course, thanks to all my existing followers for, you know, still following even though I've been so random and sporadic lately!

So speaking of disconnected.... I was thinking about how to stay connected to your network.

Holy, that sounds all IT-ish. It's not. I started thinking about this when over the course of the last couple months I've tweeted about specific books by a certain author whom I really like. Said author also tweets. And saw my mention and then replied to me and direct messaged me as well.

As a reader and a pretty big fan of this author, I loved that they took the time to reply to me directly. It just makes me respect this person more that they'd take time out of the day to go through and reply so specifically - it was a personal message that referenced some specific info in my tweet.

There's lots of posts out there on self-marketing and how important it is to sell yourself in trying to sell your book(s). Connecting those dots to the DM I received on Twitter, it made me feel really appreciated as a reader. I try really hard to reply to comments on my blog as I'm able. (Sometimes the darn dj makes things difficult ;D) I've been working really hard on reprioritizing so I can stay more connected - though I can be a bit sporadic. I'm trying!

So as a writer, how do you stay connected to your peeps?

P.S. In case you were wondering ... I was born the year of the monkey. =)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Quantity vs Quality

So, yeah. What Mark Twain said.

The only problem with that is the quality vs quantity conversation. You write a book. Or two. Three. Twelve. However many you need to. Are every single one of those books going to be up to par?

Honestly, probably not. Personally, I know mine aren't. As I've been letting a couple of mss sit for some time before undergoing another round of revisions, I've gone back to read some of the older stuff I've written. Oh my holy ... it is almost unbelievable how much my writing sucked. Of course, I've also discounted these previous works to the realm of my quantity pile. My quality pile is far smaller and much better and was written more recently.

But as each new wip's writing is significantly improved and I fall in love with a whole new cast of characters, I wonder when you determine a project may be destined (at least for the moment) for the quantity pile and not the quality short list.

So as I seriously consider putting aside one of my wips, I wonder, what's caused you to shelve a project? Is it still sitting up there, or have you since dusted it off and started the rework?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Friday, December 11, 2009

Empty Shelves

Firstly - Happy Birthday Elana!! Yay for birthdays! And even more yay for cake!! Hope you have a day made of awesomeness. *Hugs*

Okay, so this has been a CRAZY week around here. DJ stuff has sort of taken over my life. There were some important peeps in town and now that they've returned to their homeland I can finally breathe again.

Except now I'm so freakin' tired I'm not sure my body can take the added pressure of maintaining lung function. Between that and the planning for my last work trip of the year next week, I'm pretty much zapped.

Drained.

Simply put: exhausted!

I'm taking this weekend to do some recoup. Focusing on some editing and aiming to get in some reading. But *sigh* I actually don't have anything new to read. My to-read shelf pretty much looks like this and the book you see on there, yeah, that's not even really a book, just one of the many currently blank notebooks I keep around the house.

I've been mostly re-reading the same books over and over again the last few weeks because there just hasn't been anything recently released I've been hanging on the edge of my seat for.

I did just finish Hush, Hush, keep an eye out for my Recent Reads post on it. But other than that...

My list of BooksIHaveToGoBuyRightThisSecond is looking a bit scant. So you guys have any recommends for me to use a recently acquired giftcard on? I'm pretty open for anything YA...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thursday Thought: Names

Recently on Nathan Bransford's blog he addressed the subject of pen names. He gave a pretty good list of pros and cons around using pen names.

It reminded me of when I was younger and despised my name. I mean, Windy. Seriously? Bring on the weather/breezy/rainy/hurricane jokes. What were my parents thinking?

And forget discussing my maiden name. It's 12-letters long and pretty much a horrific tongue twister.

I always wanted to change my name. I hated it. All of it. Why couldn't I have a full name that was something common and that people could actually say?

Now that I'm no longer 10 years old trying to blend in with everyone else, I've realized how lucky I am. My names were/are different. Maybe not completely easy to say, but not that easily forgotten.


Sort of makes it helpful in the world of networking and moving toward publication. Besides, who doesn't want to be a pirate?

What do you think about the name you've got ready to go on the cover of your first NYT Best Seller?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Seasons Change

Well, it's Wednesday, in case anyone missed the memo.

And it is still frigidly cold outside, unseasonably, I'd say. It feels more like January than December. Yes, I know, yet another mention of the freezing cold. I can't help it. It seeps into your bones and you can totally feel it trying to eat you alive!

I'm so not regulated to this temperature, despite living here almost all my life.

But there's something to be said about the cold and the onset of winter: seasons are changing.

In those 3 little words there is so much to interpret in so many different aspects.

For me, I know I've changed as a writer over the years and even more so in the last few months. I approach the craft differently now, I've met amazing people who've made a huge impact on what I do and how I do it. I've gotten better.

How have you changed since you started as a writer? What lessons have you learned?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cold Places and Warm Spaces

I am currently stuck at a lodge in Park City (Utah) working on some meetings. I was supposed to head out today and right now the roads are a bit precarious, so I'm hanging out hoping things clear up a bit before I head back home.
In case you were wondering, it's cold (like, it's pretty and sunny outside now - a balmy 7 degrees). And snowy. But there are worse places to be stranded - just check out this view from my balcony:


It's definitely some inspiring surrounding and it actually got me thinking about my "writing space."

I don't have one. My writing space is basically wherever I happen to be sitting with my laptop, notebook and pen. And it has to be warm. Cold fingers don't type so well. I'm working on a warm writing space though. It has been added to our list of "Things To Do to Make Our House More Awesome." In the meantime, my writing space mobile.

Do you have a certain writing space that helps you keep on track, keeps you from quitting? Somewhere you go to hide? A room, a corner, a basement or maybe a cave? What do you keep around to make it "your" space and help you stay focused?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Stuck.... Yes, Again

I've been in Revision Hell.

Am currently to the point where I've pretty much stopped revising and, as many of you probably noticed, have taken up farming. My 4-yo kidlet is highly supportive of this. She's the one who says (as soon as I walk into the house after work), "Mommy, we need to check our farm! I need to go collect strawberry milk from my pink cow!" And yes, she speaks in exclamations. Much like she only has 1 volume and it is not an inside voice.

Those have become my priorities of late.

And my brain must be fried. I don't even know what to blog about. Maybe I'll just go check on my crops.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

My Thoughts During New Moon


I saw New Moon *cue fantastical vampiric-werewolfian theme music* over the Thanksgiving weekend. I don't see many movies in the theaters. Why? I have a preschooler and a toddler. Enough said.

Now, I've tried to keep out of the ongoing Twilight war. Team Edward-Team Jacob.. eh... I'm one of those middle of the road fans. I enjoyed the books, not as anything deep-thinking and life-altering or anything, but .. yeah. So, I did not fight the crowds for a midnight or before-the-crack of dawn showing. After seeing previews with the cool CGI wolves and how much better the cinematography was (like I didn't think I was going to vomit from the shaky camera) I figured, eh, when I get around to it, I'll go watch it.

I figure this doesn't really warrant a *spoiler alert* as the I'm sure most of you (if not all) have already read the book.

So there I am. Chowing on extra-buttered popcorn mixed with Raisinets (don't knock it 'til you try it). Jacob Black appears on-screen, crossing the parking lot to Bella ... And the first thought to pop into my mind? (Which I promptly whispered to my sister who giggled and got us shhhh'd) .... "Oh my gosh! Shark Boy! You grew up!" .... yeah, that's right. Shark Boy and Lava Girl is one of my preschool kidlet's fave movies.

Promptly, that joke wears out and we continue on our merry way... la-da-da ... So here are a few of my non-Shark Boy random thoughts whilst watching New Moon:

~If I was Charlie and that was my daughter that shirtless dude was carrying out of the woods, I'd have some serious questions for shirtless dude.

~Wow, the normal non-vampire loving humans in this movie are hilarious!

~Jacob Black looks WAY better with the short hair ...

~Dude, the guys who play the werewolves are some new form of hotness ... WOW.


~Oh, jeez, will they stop doing this spinny circulating thing with the camera? I feel like I'm gonna throw up. Clearly, they wanted to remain consistent with the first movie.

~Victoria has really good hair.


~Where are the werewolves?


~Okay, a vampire (whole marble-esque body thing) having chest hair? Especially when werewolves don't? Isn't there something wrong with that?


~Where are the werewolves? - Oh, they're not in this part of the book.


~Aro sort of looks like the guy who played Lucian (the werewolf leader) on Underworld.


~Where are the werewolves?  .... Oh, yeah, they're not in this part of the book either....


~Oh! There's a werewolf! Oh, wait! Come back! ... Oh no!


The End.

I believe lots of you have seen the movie already also, but I haven't seen many thoughts on it. Would love to hear what you guys who have seen the movie have to say. And those who haven't are you just waiting... haven't gotten around to it... or are you one of those who just won't see it?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Darkness with a Dash of New Moon

My apologies to all, I didn't expect to go so long before posting again. Real life, gets you every time.

However, I do hope everyone had a fantabulous Thanksgiving holiday and I am looking forward to a few weeks of semi-normalcy before we kick in to the big December holidays.

But I have to confess something upfront: Nanowrimo and I did not fair well. About halfway into the month, as I was getting ready to leave for a week-long conference for the day job and knew I was already a couple thousand words behind on my pacing, I was reminded that there are 11 other months of the year when I write fairly regularly. November's just not a good Nano month for me. Now March maybe would work. Oh, or August. Yeah, so, there you have it. Nano was a no-go.

So I've been writing and revising this weekend, with no committed daily word goals and no committed page counts. And it feels really good to not be so worried about the goal thing. It's too much stress, and life, especially during the holidays, is stressful enough without taking the fun out of writing.

... And I went to see New Moon. More on that later this week.

I know this was sort of a random post, mostly just me rambling. But hey, what's new, right? ;D

How was your holiday weekends? Oh, and did anyone hit up Black Friday and get some kickin' deals? ... I've decided I'm crowd-o-phobic, so not so much for me.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Quote of the Week

"You must write for yourself, above all.
That is [your] only hope
of creating something beautiful."
- Gustave Flaubert

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

WiP Wednesday: Fuzzy Around the Edges

I'm in New Jersey right now and I'm writing this blog post before I go to bed after a REALLY late night (it's 1:21 AM as I speak--er, type). Anywho, forgive me if there are bits of this that may not make sense. My post thoughts came to me as I was sitting in the hotel bar shouting drink orders to the bartender while I monitored the tab that was getting charged to the boss's credit card.

Like a lot of people out there, I do enjoy a drink here or there, socializing with friends, with dinner or what not. But my favorite thing to do when I'm out at a bar (or a party where peeps are drinking) is to watch the people. Based on the number of drinks consumed, you can tell when someone has had a little too much. This would be the point (I speak from experience) where the world gets a little fuzzy around the edges.

That is the current state of my wip. I actually wrote the end of it already. And I'm really happy with it. I have a beginning I like too. And parts of a middle. It's all the inbetween bits that are making the big picture look fuzzy to me. I'm not yet sure how to smooth things out, flatten the edges, and tie them all up to make sense.

What do you do when you're wip gets a little fuzzy around the edges? Any tips you wanna share?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Making Sense


The other night Phephe - the 4-yr-old kidlet - and I were watching The Neverending Story 2 and it got me thinking. While the movie is old and the special effects dated, there is a tremendous amount of world building in there. It was amazing how basic the plot of the entire movie was, but the world building involved was what got us sucked in.

My current wip is a paranormal YA - a first for me. And I've been fortunate enough to work with some great crit buddies who've asked me those questions about my fictional world. As this is my first foray into this genre, I never realized what was involved in making this story work. But when my buddies began to ask me the hows, whys and whats, it got me thinking about how much I needed to put in to make this new world of mine, make sense.

There's a lot of crazy things out there in the world, happening each and everyday, and sometimes we think to ourselves, "Man, that totally doesn't even make any sense!" But guess what? It doesn't have to. It's real life and it will work itself out. But whe you're writing fiction, you can't just let it fix itself. Because sometimes it won't. You need to know how to fix them.

A lot of you out there write paranormal and fantasy, I know. So have you made sure to ask yourselves the whos, whats, whys and hows as you've been going? Have you hit any weird hiccups along the way that maybe changed your perspective on how things work?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Quote of the Week

"The difference betweeen reality and fiction?
Fiction has to make sense."
- Tom Clancy

Friday, November 13, 2009

The One Ring

Husband likes to tell people about our venture into the world of Tolkien via the first Lord of the Rings movie. You see, we went to see it, on opening night. This was not actually a truly planned event, I think the conversation went something like this. . .

Me: you wanna go see a movie tonight?
Him: I guess. What do you wanna watch?
Me: I don't know. I just want movie theater buttered popcorn.
Him: I want Sour Patch Kids.
Me: Okay, let's go.

Then we just picked the movie that had the next soonest starting time. Little did we know we were walking into a cult phenomenon. (At the time, neither of us had read much Tolkien and had purged all experiences from high school.)

Moving on. Can you imagine if the One Ring was actually one of these and not something cast from the depths of Mount Doom or what not?

Evil Dark Lord could’ve just passed these nifty little color coded sheets and yanno, when he was having a bad day, people could just leave him alone.

Or bring him some Super Mario cupcakes or whatever. (Super Mario would've made Middle Earth way cooler.)
I know that’s a bit random for today, but it’s Friday. And although the sun looks like it may be breaking through the clouds outside, it’s supposed to flurry all day. Then SNOW tomorrow. And be frigidly cold.

And we found a leak in our roof last night. Yeah. Sweet, I know.

Anyway, I’ve committed to turning my personal internal mood ring to be a nice shade of light blue and dang it, I’m trying.

Okay, have a great weekend everyone! Good luck to all who are Nano-ing or Reviso-ing or Delete-o-ing or maybe just Reading!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I've Decided

Yesterday was mostly okay, and then I was suddenly feeling very overwhelmed (by real life) and had a bit of a meltdown. But, I'm okay now. I think.

After I got home from a family birthday party last night I got to thinking about how the suck part of my day had ruined all the earlier good parts of my day. And then I decided, you know, it is only really sucking because I'm letting it. I'm letting my mood take over again. Man! Those moods, they're sneaky buggers, aren't they?

Today I've decided my mood can do whatever it pleases, as I AM going to have a good day.

On to other news, since I missed yesterday and didn't post a wip update, just an FYI on the Nano front: I'm behind. Somewhere in the 12,000 range, I think. But I've also decided, guess what? That's totally OK. I'm still writing. That's the part that counts.

And after a hug from my 4-year old, things are good. Because I've decided that so long as the important stuff's taken care of, the rest will work itself out. I'm gonna take a break and go meditate now, feeling like I need a little more Zen in my life.

Have a great Thursday!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

In the Mood

Eww, get your mind out of the gutter! I am so not going there!!

I've decided to try and keep with the theme of my Quotes of the Week posts and what a good week for me to decide this!

If it hasn't already been drilled into your brain, November = Nano. Nano = words. Lots of words. For me, that is a lot more words than I am normally accustomed to writing in any given amount of time.

I've discovered I'm a bit of a binge writer. (Or is it purge, because I'm trying to get it all out?) Once I have something in my head, I'll go and go and go until I'm running on empty. Then I just sort of hang out until something else wants to be written. For Nano, this would be such a no no.

I have to write. Or at least make the most valiant attempt I can to get in a few new words every day. I'm not as great at sticking with a set "time to write" because I have 2 small children and as most of you will agree, as a parent, you usually run on their schedule, at least until bed time. So by the time the kids are in bed and the house is cleaned up and I can write, I'm usually not in the mood.

For the last week, I've been trying to balance out my days and my word count hasn't been too bad, but now, after I saw the quote I posted yesterday, I am totally with Pearl S. Buck. I can't wait until I'm in the mood to write. I just have to do it. Sort of like everything else, right?

Seriously, are there people who think to themselves "I'm in the mood to clean the bathroom today?" or "I'm in the mood to vacuum the house with the hand attachments?" I think not.

So in the mood or not, we all have to do it.

With the minor exception of one of my children asking me "Mommy, please could you turn off the computer to come cuddle and sleep?" I am not letting my mood decide for me anymore.

 Though I wonder what helps get you past that moment. Any tips out there? What do you do to help you get in the mood to crank out a few more words? Or clean the bathroom? Or wash the windows?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Quote of the Week

"I don't wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that.
Your mind must know it has got to get down to work."
- Pearl S. Buck

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Safety First

Okay, so the votes are in .... and it seems everyone's pretty supportive of, well, whatever vice I choose to have. Though I'm not sure how much it helped in my whole decision-making process I so appreciate that everyone took the time to weigh in! You guys all rock.

But before I took this morning to really decide if I was going to start the day with a cup of coffee or a cup of tea, the decision, for practicality reasons, was sorta made for me.

Last night, just as I was settling in to begin writing and critting, after the husband went off to work and the kidlets were tucked into bed, our carbon monoxide detector went off. And I don't mean it did it's weekly test, beeping a couple times obnoxiously and then saying "this was only a test" it WENT OFF. Needless to say, I panicked. I mean, my children! Save the children! Save the children!! Call 911!!

But then, it turned off. I had a pretty major What the ----?!?!? moment, seeing as the device had just awoken our 4-year-old on a school night, and had the 18 month old baby screaming with every beep. So I get the kids tucked back into bed. All is well.

False alarm. (You see, we have two other detectors in the house, and neither of them were panicked about anything.)

Then the blasted thing went off AGAIN! Just long enough to wake the kids and irritate the blazes out of me. Then it turned off. We just replaced the batteries. We test it every week. I couldn't figure out what was wrong with it.

Mind you, I realize that there is no really GOOD way to know without the detectors of CO2 as it is odorless, colorless, etc, etc.

With my children in tow, I went and grabbed one of the other detectors we had and put both units side by side. Nothing happened. NOTHING!

So just to be safe, I opened all the upstairs windows (had to shut off the heat) and grabbed both my kidlets to come sleep with me, because more people in the bed = warmer place to sleep, and then proceeded to wake up EVERY 30-45 minutes, just to make sure my kids were still breathing. I'm a mom, what can I say. No more beeping. Kids got to sleep. Life is much better.

This morning Husband stopped and picked up one of those hand held tester units at Home Depot on his way home and proceeded to wander around the entire house testing to make sure that when he went to sleep with the baby today, things were all good. -- Even the detector that is closest to our furnace & water heater (the only gas appliances in the house) had a reading of almost 0.

But I did learn 1 big lesson in all my rampant panicked mom research last night: If you start your car to warm it up before you leave in the morning / at night / whenever .... don't do it if it is parked in the garage, regardless of how much you have the door open.  Back it out first. That is the only thing we can figure out that would have caused the inflated levels of CO2. Our bedrooms are upstairs, above the garage, and husband had started his car to warm it up before leaving for his night shift. The CO2 can collect inside the enclosed space, even with the garage door open all the way.

Lesson learned.

So there is the long winded reason for what is in my cup today. I don't think I'd be able to keep my eyes open ... or function at all this morning without some concentrated form of caffeine... so, yeah. Here's to my first cup back on the wagon.

P.S. If you don't have a CO2 detector in your house - GET 1. Get several. You should have 1 everywhere you have a smoke detector. They sell really affordable combo-smoke detector/CO2 detectors now that you can put in place of existing units. Most new homes come with these, but you might want to double check.

And no, I'm not being commissioned by anyone to promote all this. I just want to make sure your families are safe too!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

WiP Wednesday: Nano and Coffee?

It's been a few weeks since I've done a WiP Wednesday post, not that I haven't been working on anything, but, life, it sorta gets in the way sometimes!

I suppose the big news is NaNoWriMo. As many of you know, I've signed up this year to participate. So far, I'm a little behind, but I'm not too worried yet. I've been doing more writing in the past few days than I have for the last couple of months, so that in and of itself is an improvement. Plus, seeing all my Nano Buddies online and their progress, it's definitely motivating me to want to keep up.


If you're participating, and you haven't yet, buddy me! (windyaphayrath)

On to other news, I came to the realization yesterday that since I gave up coffee - about six months ago - I've been going to bed much earlier. Now I think this was really good when the husband was home and we finally went to sleep around the same time. (He's now working a graveyard shift, so that's a moot point.) But going to bed so early has made me realize, I am losing countless - COUNTLESS, I tell you - hours of writing time.

So because I can totally be swayed by peer pressure in this situation (and because I still oh-so-much enjoy the thought of basking in that first of the morning rich cup of sweet, sweet vanilla French Roast), I'm reaching out to you my fellow blog-o-spherians to help me decide if I should stick to my guns and stay off the stuff, there by eliminating about 3-5 hours of writing time each night, or if I should just succumb to the enticing aroma and have a big ol' cup a joe and hopefully regaining some much needed wordage hours. What say you?

In the meantime, here's a cup of tea to all of you doing #Nanowrimo, #Nononano, #Nanorevismo or, you know, just hanging out reading a good book or watching reality TV or whatever! Hope you're all doing well!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

You're Amazing!

Me: I don't know what to blog about.
My Sister: Blog about me.
Me: What about you?
My Sister: How amazing I am.
Me: **choking on laughter*

The other night I watched Monsters vs. Aliens (**spoiler alert**) with our 4-year-old and there's a scene just after Susan (aka Ginormica) defeats the giant alien robot and proceeds to breakup with Derek (her weatherman fiance pre-ginormousness). It's a big turning point in the movie because it's when she discovers that she did that because she believed in herself to do it. And then she pointed out all the amazing things her monster cohorts have accomplished.

And after my conversation with my sister and her self-affirming amazing comment, I realized, guess what? I'm amazing too!

I've been going through a bit of a "phase," trying to figure things out when it comes to publishing, parenting and life in general. You know, when you don't know if anything's ever going to happen for you and you're not sure if you should do anything about anything. And you're trying to decide if there's any point to keep striving for a goal that, at times, seems unachievable. So today I've decided, it doesn't matter where everyone else is with their careers. It doesn't matter how long it takes.

I am having my Ginormica moment. And I'm sharing it with all of you. I am amazing.

And so are all of you! It doesn't matter if you're agented or not. It doesn't matter if you have kids or not. It doessn't matter if you root for the U or the -- er, sorry. Husband has advised this last one does matter, so I'll omit with a quick GO UTES! ...

Moving on. For everyone who is participating in NaNoWriMo - you're AMAZING! Just for wanting to put in the effort, commit yourself to the goal that we all know will only cause additional work, because we all know that whatever we come out with at the end of Novemer is not an agentable piece of work. It's going to require countless hours of rewriting, editing, revisions, crit groups, beta readers and so on. But you know what? It'll be worth every moment because:

You're amazing!

And sometimes, you just need someone to remind you! Thanks to Sister and Ginormica. Who would've thought you guys had so much in common!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Quote of the Week

"Imagination grows by exercise, and contrary to common belief, is more powerful in the mature than in the young."
--W. Somerset Maugham

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Tricks and Treats and Nano!

Hi Everyone, I'm back now.

Thanks for all the well wishes for Grandma, she's still going through the recovery stages after surgery, but she's doing well and finally home! Just in time for Halloween.

I figured that since things are getting back to normal, I better get back on this blogging wagon and get in gear.
Especially seeing as NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow. Tonight, actually. In about 16 hours and 14 minutes from this very moment. And I'm stoked.

I've been working through my novel outline (the first time I've every planned any book out) and feel really good about this. I'm excited to see what kind of a first draft I'll be able to get together by the end of the month. This is my first year participating and I'm really really hoping I'll be able to do it.  Thanks to a great support network (you guys know who you are) I think I'm all good. Bring on the wordage.

Oh, and it's a good thing it's Halloween, we're going to need some rations to get through November.


Have a safe and Happy Halloween everyone!

XOXO!

P.S. If you're in Utah, well, at least in the Salt Lake Valley, and you (or your children) won't be eating ALL the candy that you've collected, dentists across the state are doing buybacks and swaps. Some are doing a 1 pound of candy for a dollar, others are doing 1 pound of candy for a toothbrush and toothpaste set. All the candy they collect is going to be packed and sent to the troops who are currently on active duty in the Middle East and Afghanistan. So spread the Halloween love if you can!

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Quick Note

So I haven't posted in a while and I couldn't even find a good Quote of the Week to post for today.

Mostly because, well, I'm not really back yet. At least not back to posting 5 days a week.

We've had a pretty serious situation arise with my grandmother and I've barely been able to have time to keep up with the day job, let alone do much writing, either on the blog or on any ms. When I have been able to catch some time, I've been just trying to stay current by reading other blogs and commenting where I can.

Hope everyone is well and hopefully I'll be back sooner rather than later!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Another Wordless Wednesday

Okay, I'm still in Baltimore for these meetings. And when I get home, I still, you know, have a real job to get caught up on too. Along with real life, and making sure my kidlets didn't forget me while I was gone.

So in an effort to try to maintain my semi-Zen-ness and try not to lose my mind trying to get more done than I possibly can in a day, I'll be a little M-I-A for a few days. Will still try to comment on other blogs where I can / when I get a chance.

See you soon!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tuesday: Travel

I'm on the road again this week (Baltimore, MD), traveling with work. Work travel is a good thing and a bad thing, I think. Some of my buddies tell me I travel a lot.

Honestly, I don't travel as much as some of the people I work with, but it is enough for my kidlets to notice how often I'm gone. That part makes me sad, but sometimes you have a sacrifice a little for the experiences you gain out of it. Aside from the interesting people I finally get to meet for the day job, people I spend hours / days / weeks working with via phone & email, I've also had the opportunity to go to some really interesting places.

Over the course of the last 10 months I've been everywhere from California to New Jersey, Puerto Rico to Mexico. And from all these places, I've been able to gain some insight into the way things work in the regions, find inspirations in the locales. Everywhere I go I take my camera with me, you just never know when you'll need to snap a picture of something to take home as a reminder of somewhere inspiring.

With that in mind, I've decided that when I get home from this trip, I'm starting a new little snapshot book, of sorts. One that will contain all the random locations that I want to use eventually. A Settings Diary if you will. I'm hoping this will also help me with learning how to outline and finding another way to organize my thoughts.

My experience traveling with the day job has allowed me an opportunity to visit many places I wouldn't otherwise go and find inspirations where I would never have known it was.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

WiP Wednesday: That's Gr-r-reat!

So here's the deal: a few weeks back, I got together with a couple other writer buddies and we formed an online crit group. Sweet, right? Yes. It is, actually. My crit buddies ROCK!

Anyway, thanks to the feedback I've received and much ongoing editing in my current wip, I've been able to add more depth and clarity to characters and definition to situations. I'm one of those writers where in my head, I see all this stuff happening, so sometimes I forget to write it down. If someone asks me about what happened in a particular scene, I can give very specific details, but I realized I wasn't including all of this when I needed to.

So while I have felt a bit like I have made no progress writing at all, I've actually written over 4,000 new words! I think that deserves a "GR-R-REAT" and some Frosted Flakes.

I'm still working through more revisions and I'll have the ms out to some betas to take a look at for me later this month, so hopefully that will let me leave it alone for a while.

With that in mind, I'm looking forward to NaNoWriMo and have slowly been trying to find a good strategy to outline the novel I have in my head. I am really trying to take what I learned from Brandon Sanderson a couple weeks ago to heart.

So now that I'm sending that off, I'm going to focus on outlining. I keep bringing this up, but it's because I don't do it! I don't know how! I don't know where to begin!

But I think as much time as I have been taking to think this novel through and consider all my options and try something new is going to be a great opportunity to expand my skills and see what I really can accomplish. Plus, it is doing a pretty good job of keeping me motivated and looking forward to November for reasons other than fabulous turkey dinners.

What new things are you considering trying to keep yourself going? How's it going?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Greatness: NaNoWriMo

This week's quote is one of my favorites. The reason? Well, other than the fact that it is pure genius and goes to show how wicked awesome Mark Twain was, it's just sound advice.

Surround yourself with great people and they will bring out the greatness in you. I've been really lucky to meet some great, supportive writer friends, both online and in person. They've been there to root for me, console me, offer encouragement and above all, remind me that I have greatness in me.

With this in mind, I've finally made a huge commitment, thanks to some encouragement from a few great people. It's a huge commitment to me, anyway. I have signed up for Nanowrimo this year.



For anyone who isn't familiar with this, Nanowrimo is National Novel Writing Month and the goal is to write a 50,000 word novel between 12:01 AM November 1 through Midnight November 30. That's roughly 1,667 words a day.

With the emphasis of this little game being purely on quantity, I'm hoping this will help me try a couple new writing techniques out. So the greatness we're looking for here? Some great numbers. It's all about the word count.

Here's my tentative game plan. Tell me what you think, 'kay? I'm all up for any suggestions to help me spit this novel out!

#1) Stop Pre-editing: Make myself lots of little notes about how it doesn't matter if my characters sound dopey right now or if I have them saving the world before the aliens who are supposed to destroy it arrive. (P.S. there are no aliens in my nanowrimo novel). Remind self of the following--Write, write, write through Thanksgiving. Rewriting will be its own Christmas gift. Hahaha!

#2) Outlining/Plotting: This is way harder for me than the pre-editing thing. I've never truly outlined before. I'm just a pantser when it comes to getting everything on paper. I'm trying to decide what might work better for me, the actual outlines or doing little plot cards. The principle is the same for me either way. Totally need help here from any outlining/plotting believers. Because, uh, November's just around the corner and I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE TO BEGIN!! So we'll have to see where this one goes.


Okay, kids, help me out if you can!

And if you're playing Nanowrimo this year, buddy me! My ID on Nanowrimo is windyaphayrath. (You know, because I'm totally creative like that!)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Quote of the Week

"Keep away from people who would belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great."
--Mark Twain

Friday, October 2, 2009

Detours


As of 9:51 P.M. Thursday night I didn't have a blog post. I had no idea what to write about. I know I could've just skipped , but something in me wouldn't let me slack off. Not sure what it was, probably the "don't let her sleep-EVER" monster, but that is another post entirely.

So now that I've rambled my way into your Friday, let me just say TGIF! Holy cow, this felt like one of the longest weeks ever!

Okay, so this whole week I've been running with my driving / car / road construction theme. And today is no different. As I sit here and write this post I wonder about all the routes writers have taken to get to the beautiful land of the published. Did they just hop in the story car, pull out onto the road and drive on their merry way? You know, one of those boring trips where it's two points, straight line, yada, yada.


My road is not straight. Or flat. It's uphill, both ways, in the snow. . . oops, I am digressing again. In thinking about how long it has taken me to get to where I am today, I know I've hit a few detours along the way. I mean, I took a nearly 10-year break from writing! And detours aren't necessarily a bad thing. I think about all the other "stuff" I've accomplished in my life and, you know, I'm happy with it.

Writing is something I'm very passionate about. It's my vehicle to destress and leave behind a bad day, or the craziness of chasing after a preschooler and toddler. As much as I think about and worry over the process of getting published, I've decided that in the grand scheme of things, it's just another detour along my road of self-construction.

Way easier said than done.

So lay it on me, how do you feel about the road to publishing? How have you handled the stress of queries, waiting and (if you're one of the luckies!) THE CALL?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Under Construction

Firstly, HAPPY OCTOBER!! It was freezing outside this morning, which means winter's coming! I'm excited because now I won't look like such a weirdo wearing turtleneck sweaters to work. I swear they keep the office at a nice toasty 50 degrees F year round. People look at you funny when you wear a turtleneck in July around here. Anyway, I digress (yes, already).

So in Utah, we have 2 seasons—Winter and Construction. So honestly, when the road isn't covered in snow, it looks sort of like this:


So I trudged through traffic and construction cones to attend a writers' conference last week. And when I got to the conference, one of our keynote speakers (Brandon Sanderson) said something that was so obvious, I didn’t even think about it. He said something along the lines of "try something new."

Well, as soon as I heard that, I thought to myself this is something new for me. A year ago, I probably wouldn't have known anything about the writers' conference, much less make the effort to register, try to coordinate with the only other person I knew who would be there (though we ended up running into each other by chance), and drive nearly an hour to get there.

Without even planning on it, I realized I’ve been trying a lot of new things recently, so as I work through my wips, I discovered, I am also a wip—a writer, still under construction.

Here are a few of my “new” things. I joined with a couple other fantabulous writers to form an online crit group. I’ve stepped up and forced myself “out there” to meet more people, both online and in-person, to expand my network. I’m trying to branch out in my writing techniques—a pantser trying to outline (if you have any tips, PLEASE let me know!). And I’ve been working on being more Zen about the whole querying process.

What sort of “new” things are you trying out? Are they working? Any tips to share?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

WiP Wednesday: Field Trip!



I don't think I've done a decent WiP Wednesday update for a while. It could be due to my not having written anything new in weeks so I didn't actually have anything to update you on. But now I've decided to turn a new leaf.

Instead of sitting around, waiting for the words to come to me, as I've been doing, I'm going to go out and look for them! Can't be that hard, right? I mean, seriously . . . I don't have to drive around in the middle of the night with no lights on. I can search during the day (well, daylight hours after I'm done being a responsible adult anyway). I can even have my lights on during the day!

So in honor of my newest work in progress (and thanks to my uber-awesome oldest friend Joanna - of Joanna Taylor Photography - go check her out), here are some pics I snapped while we were out "scouting" locations for my book. If this isn't inspiring, I don't know what is.




Tuesday, September 29, 2009

One of the Best Housecleaning Contests EVER!!!

Go check out Princess Bookie's blog HERE and you'll find one of the BEST HOUSE CLEANING CONTESTS EVER!!

Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!



Turn On Your Brights!

I'm going to try to keep up with my theme for this week based on the Quote of the Week.


When I first had this whole epiphany that I could be published someday I didn't think too hard about it. Wrote my book. Wrote a query. Sent it all on it's merry way. Lotsa rejections later, I realized I was probably going about this the wrong way. I think at the time, the best way I could put what I was doing was flying blind. Or driving at night with no headlights.


Unless you're a Transformer with excellent night vision or something, I don't advise this.


So I started researching.
  • Publishing
  • Queries
  • Agents
  • Synopses
  • Trends
  • Genres

My biggest lesson is that publishing is about 10% talent and all the stuff above and 90% luck. My ratios may be slightly off, but I don't think you'll find many people who will argue that there is much more on the talent / stuff side than what I'm estimating.


So with only around 10% of things in your control, wouldn't you want to turn on the brights of your car and light up anything along the road that might help you increase your odds?


Below I've gathered a few links I've found helpful through all my research. If you guys know of any that aren't on my list, please let me know! Knowledge is power. Even if my brain is at capacity and I'll have to purge some of the old stuff to take in the new stuff. . . I don't really know how to tie shoes, right? That's what velcro is for. . .


Anyway, here you go! These are just a few that I've used, so by no means think that is a complete list.


QueryTracker.net – This is a great database to track your queries and do agent and agency research. They also have a great blog they publish daily and a forum where you can meet other writers slugging through the slush.

AgentQuery.com – Another website where you can research agents and literary agencies.


Preditors & Editors – A good website to double check on agent reputations before you query and/or sign with one.


JacketFlap.com – This site is a huge resource for those who write for the children’s & YA markets.


WritersMarket.com – This is a subscription required site that is updated monthly with information about agents, literary agencies, publishers and other industry stuff. The writers on the staff also have blogs that provide you with a whole slew of helpful tips.


Publishers Marketplace – Much like the other sites listed above, this is yet another resource to research agents and publishers.


Here are a few agents who blog who I've found to be awesomely insightful and helpful:.

Nathan Bransford – Curtis Brown Literary Agency

Rachelle Gardner – Wordserve Literary Agency
Janet Reid – FinePrint Literary Management runs Query Shark
Jessica Faust – BookEnds, LLC


Also, don't be afraid to reach out to other writers in the vast blog-o-sphere. Start commenting. Join discussions. You never know who you'll meet and it's amazing how many great friends you may end up finding along the way!