October 31, 2011

tricks, treats, news, and surprises

So, a few things today:

First off, Happy Halloween! When I was a kid, this was my favorite holiday of the year, and it still is. Unfortunately for this night of candy, costumes, and fun, I’ve been too distracted by the approaching release date for Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, only eleven days away! If I would have had the focus or time this year, I probably would have made a costume. Even though we don’t go anywhere for Halloween, I like dressing up for handing out candy. I wanted to make a Victorian dress for this year, but obviously that didn’t work out. Time I would have spent sewing the costume was instead spent installing laminate floors throughout our house, which is nearly complete. We still have to put floors in the closets and get transitions for the bedrooms, bathroom, and kitchen, but for all intents and purposes, it’s done. Last year, I went as a pirate lass (which just so happens to be my fallback costume when I fail to make a new one). Guess I’ll be shouting YARRRRR when I hand out candy tonight.

October 28, 2011

happy (or not-so-happy) endings

A lot of industry professionals and other writers can’t seem to stress enough how important a solid beginning is for a novel’s success. I mean, when we submit novels to agents and publishers, most of the time, they require the first ten pages, or the first chapter. There are numerous blog posts that discuss how to hook a reader. And yes, I agree that beginnings are important. We have to make the reader care in a page or less and then keep them caring long enough so they want to know what happens next. It’s a difficult skill to master.

But equally important, if not more important, are endings. The final note of a book can oftentimes make or break a book. I don’t pretend to be an expert on writing good endings. In fact, I think endings might be my weakest skill as far as writing goes. I don’t know how to tie everything into a neat little bow at the end, and it sort of comes out as a tangled knot that needs much reworking before being even close to presentable. I can, however, analyze endings and decide whether or not the ending could have been better.

October 26, 2011

do-it-yourself proofreading

It’s been a while since I’ve actually discussed anything writing related. Reason: I haven’t been doing much writing. I did start writing the sequel to The Clockwork Giant on Friday, but that has officially been put on hold until Monday, at the earliest. For those of you who don’t follow along on Twitter and Google+, my husband and I are doing some major renovations to our house, and if we’re to get it all done in a timely manner, I have to sacrifice my writing time. In fact, I have to go do some drywall right now so that I can paint it this afternoon. …

Now that’s done, I can focus on this blog post.

So, the new novel has about 1300 words, and they may or may not be utter crap. That’s first drafts for you. But, I don’t want to talk about first drafts today. I want to talk about second drafts, third drafts, twelfth drafts, and zomg-worked-on-for-ten-years drafts. I was lucky enough to go through one major revision and several smaller revisions. If I want to be technical, The Clockwork Giant went through half a dozen drafts, but I call the current draft the third draft because it includes me changing material that came about in the major revision that I call the second draft (which was really the fifth draft, but I don’t want to confuse you).

October 24, 2011


My newest obsession.

This weekend, I transformed our old dining table (hand-me-down from my grandmother) into a new one, using about a pint and a half of latex paint, and half a pint of polyurethane. It took hardly any time at all and cost me about $50 total in materials, but there were lots of leftovers to use on later projects. And I went from this:

look at my handsome husband sanding away

To this:

I did a bit of distressing before the last coat of polyurethane to give it that aged look. I like how it turned out. I still have a bit of detailing to do. The little grooves in the legs and around the bottom of the table top will be painted a light, creamy brown.

October 21, 2011

procrastination is procrastination is...

I finished plotting the second novel in my steampunk series, but I haven’t started writing yet. Why? I’m scared. I’m afraid that it won’t be as good as the first book. I’m afraid that the plot is boring. I’m afraid that I’m a terrible writer and this whole writing thing has been a colossal waste of time. I’m afraid no one will read my books when I publish them. I’m afraid that I finished the first novel by some weird mistake, and there’s no way that I could ever write a second book. I’m afraid that everyone I know will think I’m a failure since I’m self-publishing.

That’s a lot of fear to overcome. 

So I’ve been sitting, waiting. For what, I have no idea. And the more I wait, the more I worry. It’s a downward spiral of doom.

Yesterday, in an attempt to be productive, I tried coming up with titles, to no avail. I tried writing a blurb. No success there either. I did everything but write. And all this procrastination is killing my brain. I was so utterly unproductive yesterday that I had a brief stint of lying in the floor wondering why the hell I ever decided to be a writer (and I won’t deny, as emotional as I am, there were tears). Luckily, that was remedied by a trip to On the Border and a $10 margarita. Everything’s funny to me when I get a bit tipsy, so my feeling of worthlessness quickly evaporated when I was giggling about how weird it felt to chew black beans. My husband just kept laughing at me.

I feel much better today, but the fear is still there. 

But, as Laura Pauling so eloquently expressed on her blog today:

Just write.

So that’s what I’m going to do today. I’m going to sit at my computer. Butt in chair. Hands on keyboard. And I’m going to write. Maybe it will be terrible, maybe it will be brilliant. Either way, I need to get the words off my chest and start this next book. Worrying, procrastination, and hiding under my desk isn’t going to help me finish it. The only way to write a book is one word at a time. 

If you’re stuck, if you want to start a project but haven’t yet, if you feel inadequate or worthless or talentless, put that all aside and just write. None of that matters today. Just write.


And in other news, I’d like to start interviewing some indie and self-pubbed authors and reviewing some indie and self-pubbed books. So if you self-publish or have a book with a small publisher, or if you know someone who does who wants some blog coverage, send me an email at brookenomicon@gmail.com and let me know if you’d like an interview, book review, or both. And I’m willing to read just about anything as far as book reviews go, though you’ll really have to blow my mind with zombies, werewolves, dystopians, and post-apocalyptic stories.

October 19, 2011

planning a writing career

As you all know, I’m plotting the second novel in the steampunk series while tinkering with revisions on the first. I plan to have ten to twelve months between releases, giving me plenty of time to finish the novels and do a good job of it. Yes, I can write the first drafts in practically no time, but revisions, beta-readers, and critique partners stretch that time out. I want to produce the best book possible, and I’m fine with taking a little extra time to do that. Originally, I wanted to publish The Clockwork Giant by the end of this month, but that’s not a realistic goal. I need to finish revisions, write up the extra bits for the book, formulate a marketing plan, format the eBook, etc. That will take a bit more time. Yes, I could release the book by the end of the month, but it wouldn’t be the best book possible, and that’s a disservice to my prospective readers.

October 17, 2011

imagination required

This weekend, my husband and I went camping on Petit Jean Mountain with my dad and his girlfriend. I’ve been going there every year since before I could walk. Check out my amateur photography!

October 14, 2011

friday stuff

I have a bit of a busy day ahead, so this will be short and random.

Music note: Listening to "Run Run Run" by Phoenix, which is probably my favorite song of theirs.

October 12, 2011


So since I’ve made the decision (again) to self-publish, I would like to take a moment to talk about eBooks, since they’re the primary product of self-publishing.

Now, there’s a lot of debate about what an author should do in regards to creating his or her eBook. Some authors relinquish all control and let a self-publishing company or a vanity press do the work. Some authors rely only on an editor and a cover artist. Other authors rely on less. Me? I rely on myself and my husband. Sometimes, I wonder if that’s such a good idea.

October 10, 2011

self-publishing again?

This weekend, I visited family, read The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan, had a long discussion with my husband about the publishing industry and what path I want to take, and I started plotting the second book in my steampunk series.

I always feel relaxed after leaving our grandparents’ house. They live in the middle of nowhere, northeast Arkansas. No phone service. No 3G. No internet. Just trees, deer, and old people. It was nice. I spent most of Saturday reading, and then while the Razorbacks were owning Auburn, I started working on my next book (shows how interested I am in football). So far, I’ve plotted twenty-odd scenes. I’m still trying to figure out where exactly I want this book to end, and what I want the next book to be about, so it may be another week or two before I finish plotting. That said, I’m excited for what I have so far.

October 7, 2011


I have officially had my blog for a year now!


I started this blog not really knowing what I wanted to get out of it. I didn't really know what to talk about, and I kind of fumbled around for topics for a little while. Now that I've been at it a year, I still have trouble coming up with topics sometimes, but that's okay. When I write a post, I do it that morning, when I'm still a little sleepy, eating my cheerios, and rocking out to some techno. That's why they're a bit scatter-brained and rambling. But that's who I am: scatter-brained and rambling. Just ask my husband.

For those of you that have been reading since the beginning, I thank you for your continued readership and support. You made me feel like this blogging thing was worth doing. I know that my posts may not be entirely original or helpful sometimes, but I do my best. I write about what is important to me and what I happen to be experiencing at that time, whether it be revision trouble or writing craft or a particularly awesome Dungeons&Dragons campaign. For those of you that have joined me along the way, you've given me reason to keep blogging, keep writing, and keep making friends on the internet. I don't feel like I'm shouting to the clouds, knowing (hoping) you semi-consistently read my posts. And for those select few of you that comment nearly every week, you are the awesomest of the bunch.

This blog spawned with few enough followers, I could count them on one hand, and they were all people I knew in real life. In a year, I've gained nearly ninety followers. Eighty-eight people who make me feel important.

In hindsight, I'm glad I did this blog. I probably shouldn't have started out with five posts per week, but it's a learning process. I've met some great people, and I've learned a lot about myself and my writing, just by putting my journey out there for the world to see.

Here's to another year of blogging and making friends!

To celebrate, eat some of this fudge. This is my recipe, so it may not be proper fudge, but it tastes good all the same. It's awesome. I promise.


1     stick unsalted butter
1     5 oz. can evaporated milk
1½  cups sugar
1     tsp. vanilla
3     cups semi-sweet chocolate chips


Line a 8x8x2 baking pan with foil, wrapping it over the sides. Butter a 2-quart saucepan and the foil in the baking pan so that the fudge doesn't stick.

Mix the butter, evaporated milk, and sugar in the saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until it boils. About ten minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, and continue stirring for six minutes.

Remove from heat. Stir in the chocolate pieces and vanilla until melted and smooth. About a minute or two. Pour the fudge mixture into the foil-lined pan. Spread it evenly.

Cover and put it into the fridge to cool for 2-3 hours.

Cut into squares and devour.

Have a great weekend everyone!

October 5, 2011

growing as a writer

Over the course of my writing career, I’ve learned a lot, mostly how not to do things. And that’s been a hard journey in itself. Once a writer gets past that point, when they understand what not to do and what to avoid, then the learning becomes even more difficult. We know the rules by heart, but no matter how many books on craft we read or how many writing classes we take, no one can teach us how to do things right.

A lot of the time, to write a good book, you either got it, or you don’t. And most of us don’t. That’s something we have to earn. We have to work for it, book after book after book. I think I’m finally getting there. I’m at a level of competence, but I still have a lot to learn. Hardly anyone writes perfect first drafts, and those that do, well, they aren’t human. Biowriters. That’s what they are.

October 3, 2011

revision party-time

Well, I’m in the middle of revisions, and they’re going a lot better than I thought they would. If you remember, I posted a comprehensive revision checklist about three weeks ago, and well, it turns out that I don’t follow it very well. Rather than do several readings for each section, focusing on one thing at a time, I’m just going through fixing things as I see fit, following my gut instincts. I just happen to examine and change several things at once. I think I work better that way.

I’ve already finished the first eight chapters, and my changes have ranged from word choice changes to sentence deletions and rewordings, from moving passages around to deleting entire scenes, and even rewriting of certain passages. I’ve changed plot points and descriptions, but mostly, I’ve deleted stuff. I’m a very repetitive writer, and most of the time, that comes across as me beating the reader over the head. The remedy is simple. Select. Delete. Moving on.