May 30, 2011

gauging writing advice

As you all know, I’ve been working on my steampunk project Chroniker City for some time now. I finished the fourth chapter last week, and I aim to finish the fifth in a few days. While perusing the internet and the many blogs I follow, I find that I’m ignoring a lot of posts that I would usually read. Posts on legacy publishing are right out since such does not pertain to me anymore, but I’m ignoring writing related posts as well – posts on how to develop characters, on how to write a gripping plot, on how to revising and editing, and so on so forth.

I have a reason, of course. I don’t have the most confidence in the world when it comes to my writing. I constantly doubt my own words. I have an immeasurable abundance of paranoia about my characters and plot. It takes reassurance from friends and my husband to keep the doubt at bay. So, when I don’t have them at hand to tell me how awesome I am, I tend to turn toward the wisdom of the internet.

May 27, 2011

review: ruby red

Ruby Red – Kerstin Gier
Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!

Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon--the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.

May 25, 2011

writing = work

So far this week, I’ve surpassed my writing goals, getting about 1200 words in each day rather than 1000. It feels great. It feels great just to write, to see my story unfold on the page. It seems that when I get stuck – like I did the past two weeks – I forget how great it is to reach that goal; it’s like I can only think of writing as grueling work. It is work, no doubt. It takes a lot of patience and determination to write a book.

Yesterday, I decided that something was definitely wrong with the scene I wrote on Monday. When I originally wrote the scene, it felt off. But, I couldn’t figure out why. The scene was a part of an important subplot, and I had planned for it to be there, exactly how and where I had written it. So why did it feel wrong? It was in the wrong place. When plotting the story, I put the scene there, thinking that it was the proper place for it. It wasn’t. So, what did I do? I moved it. It’ll probably show up in another two or three chapters.

May 23, 2011

fixing problems in the manuscript

I’ve been a bit quiet over the course of the last two weeks. Starting two Mondays ago, I checked out. I was ready for some Florida sand and sun, and nothing could hold my attention for longer than ten minutes. As a result, I failed to write anything at all, I failed to tweet consistently, and I failed to blog enthusiastically. I apologize for this. Vacation is my ultimate nemesis.

Good things came from this “break” however. I enjoyed the seaweed-infested gulf. There was a lot of swimming, seashell hunting, and lounging. I managed a tan without a sunburn first (score!), and I only gained two pounds from all the eating. But to be honest, I was ready to come home two days early. I missed my dog terribly (to the point of tears, no joke), and I missed the comforts of home, namely, my own bed. Another thing that drove my desire to be home: the urge to work on my manuscript.

May 20, 2011

review: enclave

Enclave – Ann Aguirre


In Deuce's world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed 'brat' has trained into one of three groups - Breeders, Builders, or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember.

As a Huntress, her purpose is clear -- to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She's worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing's going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce's troubles are just beginning.

Down below, deviation from the rules is punished swiftly and harshly, and Fade doesn't like following orders. At first she thinks he's crazy, but as death stalks their sanctuary, and it becomes clear the elders don't always know best, Deuce wonders if Fade might be telling the truth. Her partner confuses her; she's never known a boy like him before, as prone to touching her gently as using his knives with feral grace.

As Deuce's perception shifts, so does the balance in the constant battle for survival. The mindless Freaks, once considered a threat only due to their sheer numbers, show signs of cunning and strategy... but the elders refuse to heed any warnings. Despite imminent disaster, the enclave puts their faith in strictures and sacrifice instead. No matter how she tries, Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carries her far from the only world she's ever known.

May 18, 2011

blog award and vacation update

As you may or may not know, I'm enjoying the lovely sunshine here in the Gulf of Mexico, and as far as productivity is concerned, I'm completely checked out. The inept cable guy came and replaced the modem in our condo, so I now have internet again. I can continue to blog for you wonderful people. I could have taken the week off, but I was convinced that I would still want to do a bit of work while staring at the clear blue ocean. I overestimated myself.

I didn't manage to write even a complete thought on my steampunk work in progress last week, when I still had time to do so. And now that I am here, slathering on copious amounts of sunscreen and exfoliating my toes in the sand, I want to work even less. I feel guilty about it, to be sure, and I'll probably force myself to write double my usual write goal to make up for my inexcusable laziness. I want to work on this book. I mean, I really really want to work on this book, and after this week is over, I'll have had plenty of rest and relaxation to last me for another few months, enough time for me to finish the novel.

In other news, the lovely Darby Karchut shared a blog award with me, the Stylish Blogger Award. In return, here are seven interesting facts about me:

1. I cut my own hair.
2. When I was three years old, I wanted to be a helicopter rescue pilot.
3. Purple is my favorite color to wear.
4. Green is my favorite color to look at.
5. I once visited the set of Spiderman.
6. I have never watched the end of Bambi.
7. The working title of my steampunk project is ... *drumroll* ... Chroniker City.

Since I am really terrible at passing blog awards along, respond with your own interesting facts in the comments and award yourself the badge.

May your day be blessed with rainbows and unicorns...

May 16, 2011

dead modem

I am without internet today, so there won't be a blog post. I apologize to my faithful readers, and I promise a new post on Wednesday.

May 13, 2011

creature feature: merfolk

I think the most enchanting magical creatures are merfolk, creatures that live in the mysterious underwater world with other equally fantastic creatures. Who is to say that there aren’t merfolk living in the deep darkness of the ocean? It’s a place as unexplored as outer space. It’s a pity that mermaids are overlooked in a lot of fantasy reference type books. They pop up in nearly every fantasy setting.

Merfolk have the upper body, arms, and head of a fair-featured human. Instead of legs, however, it has the scaled tail of a great fish. 

The merfolk are playful, marine-dwelling people. Although wary of surface dwellers, they are not usually hostile: They prefer sunning themselves on rocks to engaging in warfare.
Both male and female merfolk decorate themselves with shells, coral, and other underwater adornments.

Adventurers who encounter merfolk are often the victims of pranks and mischief. The sport of merfolk can be cruel, although they are not actually evil. Should surface dwellers do them harm, however, these creatures can be formidable enemies.
Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual, 3.5 edition

May 11, 2011

flea market junk

In lieu of a writing post (since I haven’t been doing much of it lately), I bring you another form of entertainment.

My friend and I had a particularly epic yard sale this Mother’s Day weekend. It was a lot of work moving boxes and furniture and setting up tables, especially since the husbands wanted nothing to do with the sale. They did build us a closet system for the clothing, but that failed about two hours in. It crashed to the ground in defiance of the sale. So what did the husbands do? They put it back together and reinforced it with… duct tape. Fast forward a few hours later, and the clothing rack falls on a woman. At that point, I furiously dismantled the thing and kicked the parts off the driveway.

May 9, 2011

facing doubt

I think some time during a project, every writer faces that scary monster we like to call doubt. Doubt looks at those meager words the writer has slaved over, mocking the writer’s effort with a baleful laugh. Doubt sits on the writer’s shoulder, whispering words of discouragement and manipulative pessimism. It creeps into the dark recesses of the writer’s mind until they are convinced that they are writing utter crap.

This happens to me with every project. The first few chapters, the first 10,000 words, the characters… they all encourage the writer’s excitement, fueling the desire to keep on writing. But then, the enthusiasm wanes, and the true nature of the project surfaces. It’s work writing a novel. And then Doubt steps in, hissing his malignant words.

May 6, 2011

review: alice-miranda at school

Alice-Miranda at School – Jacqueline Harvey
Alice-Miranda Highton-Smith-Kennigton-Jones can't wait to start boarding school. When she arrives at Winchesterfield-Downsfordvale Academy for Proper Young Ladies, the adventure begins . . . only not quite as Alice-Miranda expects. The minute she sets foot on the school's manicured grounds, she senses that something is wrong: Miss Grimm, the headmistress, is nowhere to be seen, the gardens have no flowers, and a mysterious stranger seems to be hiding out on the premises.

But that's not all. Some girls are mean and spoiled, like Alethea Goldsworthy. Can Alice-Miranda defeat Alethea in one of three difficult tests she must pass to remain at school? Will she discover Winchesterfield-Downsfordvale's big secret—and make things right? Well, if anyone can, it's spunky Alice-Miranda!

May 4, 2011

the publishing battle ends...

I know several writers are sick of the traditional vs. self-published debate, and I have avoided coming to this subject for some time. I don’t have experience in either, and I don’t personally know anyone that knows both sides of the fence. Traditional publishing isn’t dead. It’s changing. Self-publishing isn’t the only way to publish a book. It’s a different way.

Most writers that get on the debate bandwagon sit at one extreme or the other: “The Big Six are dead!” or “Self-publishing is taboo!” Writers have their reasons for choosing a side, and I respect their choices, but how many writers sit in the middle ground?

I’m the one sitting on the fence.

May 2, 2011

renaissance faire 2011

Luckily, Saturday forgot to bring the rain, and we were able to go to Castleton for the Renaissance Faire. This was my first, and I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. My friend Shandi and I dressed up (our husbands would have too, but we didn't have time to make their costumes). We had a blast. I kind of wish we would have stuck around for a few of the shows as we walked around the park, especially the singing pirates, but I wanted to be sure we saw everything, and by that time, we were exhausted (we still didn't see everything; we missed an entire area of the faire). We already have a plan for what we are going to do next year.