07 December 2013

On to December

Has it truly been over a month since I've posted anything? Apparently.

Well, November was crazy. I can say that much at least. NaNoWriMo didn't quite work out as expected, although I did get 30K done. I know it's not the same as 50K but it's still progress so I'll take it. You know, sometimes life just interrupts everything. All of your well made plans and your intricate scheduling and then BAM! The kid's sick. BAM! You're sick. BAM! It's Thanksgiving. Damn you, November!

Ah, well. On to December. On to Christmas. As if I didn't have enough stress and worry on my plate, let's just add the holiday season. Decorations are still in the attic and not showing signs of coming down anytime soon. The house is a mess. I have a test on Monday and a final on the following Monday. Woo. And I've gotten absolutely NO shopping done whatsoever. But I am looking forward to my 4 week break, starting immediately after my final on the 16th.

I don't know what I'm going to do with all of that extra time. Actually, I do. I have work, naturally. But then on all of my time off I get to write. I get to edit. I get to finish that rough draft I didn't have the chance to finish last month. It's going to be a blast. Seriously, I'm looking forward to it. Fun stuff. And maybe after a couple weeks I'll have a brand-spanking-new Keurig to help me though (*hint hint* to any family members reading this).

So have a wonderful couple of weeks and I'll see you all on the 16th!

04 November 2013

NaNoWriMo!!

Who's participating in NaNoWriMo this year?

Whilst my beta-readers hoard Book 1, I'm taking this chance to dive into NaNoWriMo with the hopes of completing the rough draft of Book 2. And so far, so good. I'm up to 15K words and am keeping my fingers crossed that I can keep up this pace. Because I mean, who doesn't just love NaNoWriMo? One month and 50K words. The coffee, the sleepless nights just pounding away they keyboard. Blood, sweat, tears... what's not to love?

I love the notion of the entire country coming together to sit down and write those pesky novels that have been stewing in their brains for the past who-knows-how-long. It really is an awesome concept. And through the anxiety and the brain farts and the writers block, hanging in there is the best part. We'll see who survives through the end of the month, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it's more writers than not.

So hooray for NaNoWriMo! Keep your chins up and your coffee stocked. Try not to ignore your responsibilities too much while your pursue your dream. Because when you're done you'll be able to say, "been there, done that, bought the t-shirt" (yes, they really have t-shirts) and you'll have 50K words done. Completed. And that's a huge accomplishment.

So keep on keeping on. No looking back... at least until December when you have to sit down and edit the crap out of your manuscript because, hey let's face it, you rip-roared through the rough draft and now have to take a chop ax to large portions of the text.

But it's all in good fun. And they have t-shirts. :)

31 October 2013

Werewolf. Smerewolf. Neither Here nor Therewolf.

Ah, Halloween. This is MY holiday and instead of enjoying the festivities, I'm sitting at home. If you can't see me, I'm over here beneath this gigantic pile of unfinished homework (all due tomorrow) and trying not to have a panic attack. But instead of freaking out and forcing myself to breathe into a paper bag, I decided a blog post may be in order. Just what the doctor recommended.

I could drone on and on about how I'm the Queen of Procrastination, but I'll spare you for the time being. No, what I want to discuss is Halloween. Or, more specifically, werewolves. Because hey, what's Halloween without werewolves?!?! And since I'm in the festive spirit, I'll give you a lesson on the mythology of werewolves in the Netherworld in FAQ mode.

LESSON #1 (and perhaps the most important): What are werewolves?

Werewolves are:

 From Wikipedia: "The word werewolf continues a late Old English wer(e)wulf, a compound of were "adult male human" and wulf "wolf"."

Thus, you get a human/wolf hybrid. I like to change things up a bit by including female werewolves in the Netherworld. You know, just to keep you on your toes. 











Werewolves are not:

This is a wolf. And if they also have a human form, then they are a Shifter. Shifters don't have to change into wolves, although it is the preferred animal shape of some. They are able to shift into any mammal they choose to. If you are in the wild and are approached by a wolf (usually a lone wolf) and you are unsure whether or not he has a human form, look into his eyes. The iris color is the only thing that doesn't change when a shifter is in an animal form. It doesn't change for werewolves either.




LESSON #2: What makes Werewolves different from Shifters in the Netherworld?

First and foremost, Werewolves transform on the full moon. They have no choice in the matter. They can also transform voluntarily any time they choose, but on the night of the full moon they have no control. Shifters do not transform on the full moon unless they choose to.

While Shifters are able to maintain their human thought processes when they change, Werewolves do not. It is a split personality type characteristic. There's the Beast and then there's the Man. They do not intermingle. Shifters in a wolf (or any animal) form, think like humans and have human thought processes. Werewolves do not. They recognize people by smell, especially their mates.

LESSON #3: What about that nasty Werewolf bite?

In the Netherworld, a werewolf bite is intended to either A) kill you or B) claim you. A bite will not turn a human into a werewolf at the next full moon. Werewolves are born, they are not the result of a bad bite and thwarted dinner plans.

If they choose to claim a female, they are typically in (mostly) human form. Their bite marks are distinct to the werewolf. There are not bad human dental impressions left on the skin. The next morning, the female is left with never fading scars of werewolf teeth usually seen on the shoulder/neck area.

[Just as a side note, a claim cannot be completed unless the female bites back. This doesn't have to occur at the same time as the male bite although it's nearly impossible for it not to. Ultimately, the claiming is a blood exchange of sorts and involves sex 99% of the time.]

If a werewolf's bite is meant to kill, they will usually be completely transformed. Oh, and their intended victim will be dead. They like to go for the throat but will sometimes delay their kill if they're really pissed.

LESSON #4: If I see a werewolf, should I run?

Hell no. If you see a werewolf, the best thing to do would be to stand very still and try not to act like a threat. Werewolves see potential threats as a challenge and they see runners as prey. Werewolves will not attack other werewolves unless there's a challenge made. They will also not attack their family members or mates. Their mate could be a raving lunatic who repeatedly bashes the werewolf over the head with a frying pan and still the werewolf will not attack her. He may growl. He may bite. He may try to have sex. But he will not attack. Ever.

If you made the mistake of running or trying to show dominance to get the werewolf to back down and are now royally screwed, try calling his human name. The only thing that can snap a werewolf back to their human form is hearing their name called. If you're trying to injure or kill them or their mate, this trick will not work.


LESSON #5: So... I accidentally got claimed by this werewolf last night... It wasn't my fault. It was definitely the alcohol. I got carried away, ya know. He was just sooo cute and I couldn't help myself...

Sorry, sweetie, but you're in it for the long haul. There is no divorce for Netherworld creatures, not just werewolves. If you get claimed... well, tough shit.

The best way to think of it is like a dog. He will be happy to see you when you get home. He will cuddle with you at night. He will lick your... face. And he will probably try to hump your leg. He will probably eat the contents of your fridge if you give him the chance. He will also be loyal. He will act as a protector and be outrageously territorial. And he will never voluntarily leave your side. Congratulations. You just got a best friend for life.

There is a downside however, that differs from dogs. Once a mate-claim is made, that's it. And I mean, that's it. One mate cannot survive without the other. If your mate dies, accidentally or otherwise, you will die. The good news: you probably have a couple days to get your affairs in order before it happens. But it will happen. That's a guarantee. Grief will overwhelm you until you can't take it anymore. Your body shuts downs and you join them in death, either naturally or via suicide if you can't stomach living the few days without them.

LESSON #6: Whoops! That pesky condom broke and now I'm knocked up.

Congrats! You are now impregnated with a werewolf baby. First and foremost, that was a very difficult feat that you managed to overcome. Infertility runs rampant with werewolves and even if your werewolf is fertile, reproduction is very difficult. Typically if you never, ever used condoms or any other method of birth control for twenty years and you had sex like rabbits, you may end up with one or two children. If you're lucky, you'll have three. It's very very rare to see a werewolf family with more than three children. If that happens, usually one of the parents is not a werewolf and the non-werewolf partner has been on fertility drugs for a long while.

Werewolf babies are born after the typical 9 month gestation. They are born in their human form, so don't worry about being bitten from the inside or freaking out the doctor when you're precious newborn is covered in hair. They are typically large babies (like 10+ lbs.). The good news about giving birth to a gigantic baby? Your body will heal faster than a normal human's. To date there has never been a maternal death in or just after delivery.

The father will probably know you're pregnant before you do thanks to the werewolf's increased olfactory senses. He can smell the changes in your body and will even be able to tell (based on smell alone) whether or not the child is his. Other males will also be able to distinct who the father is. Since the olfactory senses are stronger in males than they are in females, female werewolves will probably not be able to tell you who the father is with as much certainty as a male can. 

Your wittle bitty werewolf baby will not transform for the first time until puberty, so no need to worry about those terrible twos resulting in a pissed off little werewolf bent on destruction.  I would, however, recommend that you keep him or her close to you during those teenage years. The hormones and the need to reproduce for werewolves is much MUCH worse than for humans, so if you don't want your precious angel out humping everything in sight, I'd recommend keeping them on a very short leash.

Just an FYI, those hormones never fade. They do tend to become more selective about who they sleep with as they age, however.

LESSON #7: WHAT THE HELL DO YOU MEAN I'M GOING TO HAVE A 10lb BABY?!?!

Ah, reproduction. Just for kicks, we'll say that the male in the relationship is the werewolf and the female is human for the sake of simplicity, since it differs slightly than if two werewolves were baby-making.

First, say he knocked you up and he didn't claim you first. Well, now you're preggers with his child, so the chance of escaping a claim is almost nil. Remember that part about werewolves being territorial? That's only part of it. It's ingrained in them to protect their families and if you're human and pregnant with a werewolf baby, you may not survive the delivery (most werewolves have unsupervised home births). To protect you and the young, they will claim you because claiming equals increased strength and healing for the partner and the higher probability that you and the child will survive.

Werewolves naturally have increased senses, strength, speed and healing abilities. They can recover from near fatal gunshot wounds within hours if the bleeding is controlled and their airway remains patent. You could push out a 10 to 15 pounder with a lot of destruction to you physically, but you'll heal within a few hours. Although it'll probably hurt like a bitch. If the baby gets stuck, bones will probably get broken or they'll take him by ceasarian. But no worries, you'll heal. Although you'll probably feel most of it. Sorry about that.

Births are attended by close family and friends. Your mate will stay very close, perhaps too close sometimes (within hitting distance) and will usually be the one to catch the child. The females you choose to have with you (no males besides the father allowed in the room - family or not - or there will probably be a fight with the father) will help the father with the delivery by either acting as your emotional support or being another pair of hands if it's required.

You may feel lucky that getting pregnant is so difficult in the first place after reading that.

LESSON #8: I survived the birth, now what?

Now you report the birth to the Netherworld Council. You can send them a nice little letter stating the child's name, the date and time of the birth as well as the parents names and territory they belong to. You will probably not receive a congratulations in the mail, but you will be certain to receive a fine and the father will perhaps receive imprisonment if you do not do this within a fortnight.

If you and your mate are different Netherworld species, be prepared to have someone from the council or working for the council pay you a house call with your district leaders. If the child is deemed unworthy (this is based solely on the parents) be prepared to have your child taken and exterminated. The good news is that this hasn't been done in over two hundred years and it was usually seen when one parent was magical and one was not (i.e. a fairy mother and a shifter father).

Oh, and you can also apply for a birth certificate and social security card so your child can get around in the human world.

IN CONCLUSION...
That was probably way longer than it needed to be, but I hope that you get the point. Those are my werewolves. So now, get off your asses and go celebrate the best holiday EVER and let me get back to my never ending school work so I don't get fussed at tomorrow when I don't have it. ;)

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

27 October 2013

[Insert Title Here]

Pride and Prejudice. Where the Red Fern Grows. 50 Shades of Grey. All are books, some good, some poor, but I'll leave that to the reader to decide. The point is that they are titles and there's something about them that makes the reader either A: pick up the book or B: keep passing by.

Ignore the cover art. Ignore the type face. What I want to know is: What makes a good title?

I am currently facing a dilemma. I'm sure I am not the first one to have this problem, but for the life of me, I can't figure out a title for my book. Between clever puns to random generators to just stupid names, I can't come up with something that ultimately says, "READ ME!".

I'm so tired of calling my book "Netherworld Book 1" (of 7). It doesn't say anything about the contents which are a type of erotic romance, paranormal thriller kind of deal. Lots of sex, lots of blood, lots of mayhem. And the best I can come up with is Book 1? I've produced a novel of 70k words and the last precious few are lost to me.

So instead of banging my head against a wall, how do I come up with a relatively decent title? I've already given up on anything awe-inspiring. Now I'm waiting for an epiphany. May lightening strike (and may it not hurt too much when it does) and may a title come within my grasp. Hopefully it'll happen before the book's ready for release.

For all the writer's out there: How do you produce a title for your books?

20 October 2013

Beta-Reader Extraordinaire(s)

Have I mentioned that I have the best friends ever?

I'm sure I have.

But let me repeat myself, just to make sure I get the message across: I HAVE THE BESTEST GREATEST MOST WONDERFULEST FRIENDS EVER!!

You may be asking why? Or you may not care, but I'll tell you anyway. They are my beta-readers.

Many people dispense advice that includes not giving your WIP to your friends for editing. Although I understand why that may not be an author's first choice, especially if they only tell you what you want to hear, I'll tell you why I disagree.

1. They never tell me what I want to hear. When I ask if I look fat, their answer will be yes, especially if I'm wearing those one pair of pants that look better on the rack at Goodwill than they do on me. When I say I'm sorry that my house is a mess, they say "Sweet Jesus, fold some laundry!"

2. They tell me the honest to goodness truth. I can ask if a scene sucks and they'll tell me yes. But what makes them brilliant is that they'll then go on as to how they think I can improve upon it. Sometimes I take their advice, sometimes I don't, but the point is that they're willing to give me an unbiased opinion.

3. They don't cry when I hand them a 323 page manuscript. Okay, granted it's double spaced and single sided, but anyone receiving 323 pages to tear apart can be daunting task to say the least. Instead they take it, tell me to take a break for a little while and get to work.

4. They know what writing means to me. I've always wanted to write and my friends get it. They don't advise me to throw in the towel even after my first draft is such crap that it's better used as kindling than anything else.

5. They're grammar nazis. I took Latin in college (even have a degree in it) and enough English courses that you would think I know how to construct a decent sentence. Unfortunately this isn't always the case, especially when I get caught up in the heat of the moment and the words start spewing from my fingertips at an outrageous speed. Luckily one of my gal pals is someone who is more proficient in grammar than I could ever hope to be. She also doesn't have that filter most people have between their brain and their mouth. Bonus.

6. They read the genre. I can't emphasize this enough. They know what I'm going for. They know what readers of my genre expect and they help me deliver. When they read something of mine that sucks, they go tell me to pick up such and such author to see what they did and then try to get back on track.

7. They give me kickass playlists to listen to while I write. 'nough said.

8. They do all of this for free. This includes designing book covers. And no, they're not just proficient enough in Photoshop to slap something together. They make beautiful, inspiring, eye-catching covers that depict exactly what I've been thinking about all along.

9. They inspire me. They tell me what kind of books they want to read. Then they tell me to go write them.

So now that I've handed off edited copies of my manuscript to my beta-readers, all I have to do now is wait. Wait to be handed back shredded pages, mutilated characters, axed scenes and enough red on the pages to make the whole pile look like one big bloody mess. I can't wait.

18 September 2013

The Good Thing About Fiction: You Don't Need A Bibliography

I've been writing papers and discussion responses for days now. My head is ready to explode and if I have to read and comment on one more article regarding the human genome project, I'm going to scream.

I'm not a fan of this type of writing. I do it because I have to, not because I enjoy it. I mean really, who wants to sit down and write a twenty page paper on the drugs that cause birth defects just for fun? The entire process is long and tedious and the creator of migraines.

And writing references is the biggest pain in the ass.

How about I submit a little sheet with my signature promising that I steal or reproduce the work of someone else? I'd be good with that. But no, instead I'm looking up all of these sources and trying to pigeon hole them into some category and just praying that I'm choosing the correct style. And they look good to me, but NO. ("ZERO!! Check references")

I spend more time writing out my references than I do writing the actual paper. Is it really necessary to italicize this and that? Is someone going to die if I put the date of publication at the end instead of the beginning? And what about the author's name? Is the price of oil really going to be impacted if I spell it out instead of just using the first initial?

It's bullshit.

It's necessary bullshit.

Crap.

And so I go at it again. Revise and review, spit and shine, until those references are so pretty and sparkly it makes me want to vomit. But boy, they look good on paper. I must have really done my research. Yup, must have.

Through this entire process, I'm reminded again and again how much I love fiction. Fiction is beautiful and poetic. It requires original thought and a mass amount of creativity. And it doesn't require a damn bibliography (even though, if given half a chance, I can get pretty creative with a bibliography myself).

Could you imagine what a fiction bibliography would look like? It would be longer than the book itself.

See the following examples:
  • "I got this idea from when I was sitting at Starbucks and I ordered a Caramel Macchiato and they gave me a White Chocolate Mocha instead."
  • "This idea came when I was listening to a random album on Spotify and this song came on that made me feel something that I needed to write down."
  • "Yes, this sex scene is related closely (but not completely) to the one my friend Betty Lou told me about that happened to her friend's friend's cousin. Creative license taken. PS: Didn't even know it was possible to stand on your head while giving it. She must do Yoga."
Ah, the many reasons I love penning fiction.

Note: I'm not dogging non-fiction or academic articles. I read them and my life (and research) wouldn't be complete without them. Anyone who wants to write them and enjoys it, I give you props because it certainly isn't my forte.

28 August 2013

I am a writer

Over the past few days I have fallen into a slump. I want to write, but there's little time. I want to study, but again, there's little time. I need a 48 hour day. Minimum.

Unfortunately, I'm blessed with only 24 hours just like everyone else. Some things will have to fall on the back burner, if only for a short while.

It's hard to be glued to my computer for as many hours a day as I am without opening those files and escaping in my projects. And the more stressed I become, the more I find my fingers twitching to start pounding away on the keyboard. The more I work, the more I find my mind wandering, weaving intricate plot lines.

I write because it's my escape. It's my stress relief. It allows me to get away from all the crap in life and create a world all my own. A place where I am in control of all those characters I create. I can make it rain, I can make people laugh or I can make a building fall on a whim. And, hopefully, I have the ability to create an intriguing and entertaining story that people will enjoy. My escape can become your escape.

Sometimes I'll write until my eyes are tearing and my fingers hurt. I may even get to the point where my legs are asleep. Then, when I finally pass out, I dream of my worlds and my characters, finding new situations to put them in the next time I sit down in front of my computer. It never really stops, nor do I want it to.

Of course school and work are important. They're important because I like to have heat in the winter, food to eat, and clothes for my child. They're important because, outside of writing, I want to further my career and become a better, more well-rounded person. But outside of those things, writing is what I do. It's who I am. It's what I'll always be. I write because there are stories dying to get out and my brain won't shut up until they're down on paper. Every person I meet, every place I go, every conversation I have... it's nothing but research for the next novel.

I am a writer. It's what I do. It's who I am. And, given a thousand other choices, I wouldn't change it for anything.

15 August 2013

May 2014

It's official. I have started work on Book 2 in my Netherworld series.

I must admit, it's an exciting time. The creation of new characters and the development of others. Who was once a secondary character in Book 1 is now the star of her own tale of love and intrigue. If only I could get away from the ever looming presence of Book 1, staring at me from its home in Scrivener. That little icon on the bottom of the screen, forever a reminder of the mountain of work I have left to do.

Speaking of Book 1... I have made two passes (or was it three?) through the novel and am just about burned out from fiddling with it. I'm working on it, as slow as I may be, and will complete one more pass before I hand it off to my handful of beta readers. I'm going to force myself to get through this long and tedious editing process before I get so caught up in the development of Book 2 that it gets pushed back even more.

In other news, I go back to work tonight and am seriously depressed about the end of my seven day vacation. School starts back on Monday, but it's my final year so... can that be excitement I'm feeling? Doubtful. It is most likely only a gradual accumulation of stress that is forever making my eyelids twitch. Ah, if only I could stay home all the time and write.
Wish in one hand...

I digress from my original intention of writing this post, which was to announce that I have set a deadline for myself. (FINALLY!)

Book 1 of the Netherworld Series will be available on Amazon in May 2014

Now let's see if I'm able to write that in stone rather than the sand it's written in now. Oh, and I should probably come up with a working title. One more thing to add to my to-do list.

03 August 2013

For Candace

I'm taking a break from my ramblings today to wish a very Happy (belated) Birthday to one of my besties.

I'm sorry I got you beat up on your birthday.

LOVE YOU! x x x

25 July 2013

TWEETER!

As a friend of mine says, I have learned how to tweet a twit on the Tweeter. I have long resisted the bird song, succumbing only to Facebook until a couple days ago. I did good. I held out for quite a while but now it's official. I have been twitterfied.

In even bigger social media news, I have followers!

And that leads me to a question... WHY? It's not like I've published anything (yet), so the fact that I have followers is kind of interesting. I don't want to believe that people will just follow anyone randomly. I want to be tweeted because I'm liked, not because twitter is just a free avenue for self advertisement and promotion. It makes me feel... used.

I kind of like it.

It also leads me to believe that someone could randomly open up a twitter account and call themselves an author and become *famous* without ever having to write a book. Just goes to show, you can be anyone you want to be on the internet.  

As amusing as I find the whole thing, I do really enjoy the cute little quotes and the funny pictures. Free kindle e-books. Links to obscure blogs that I really enjoy. It's not like I'm obsessively checking it, waiting for additional followers and cyber stalking famous authors. *cough*

I don't get what the big thing is about social media in general. Okay, so I am addicted to it and Google but I still don't get it. Why should I care that you're having pancakes with Grandma Jane at Cracker Barrel? Or that you did 2,284 reps to help sculpt your hideously underdeveloped muscles? I don't care.

And yet, I'm hooked. Twitter is my crack and Facebook, my heroin. I'm a social media junkie.

Just in case you were wondering, I'm the person that "likes" your post saying that you did 2,285 reps today and beat your all time best. Go you!

21 July 2013

Editor's Block?

I'm sure everyone out there has heard of writer's block. But what is it called when you've written your novel and you find yourself blocked to edit it? Editor's block?

Writing is re-writing. And just when you think you're done, re-writing again. So perhaps it is writer's block or some hideous form of it. It's cruel, really. Just when you think you're nearing the finish line (or the second of many smaller finish lines)... BAM!

Nothing.

I'm not fresh out of ideas, but maybe I'm fresh out of motivation. I'm reading a book by Cathy Yardley in her Rock Your Writing series called Write Every Day and she discusses motivation, along with a host of other possible causes of writer's block. Maybe I'm just fresh out of energy. Maybe I need to watch some TV and recharge. Or play some Candy Crush.

Whatever the reason, nothing will come and I'm not about to force it. Unless I want to write awful prose which I'll just need to re-work. Again. It really is a good thing that I'm not writing on a deadline. Or at least not a deadline that's written in stone.

Maybe I'm just tired of staring at my computer screen. Maybe I just need a nap. Oh, a nap sounds good. Yup, I think I'll go do that.


Question: There are a few different viewpoints out there when it comes to writer's block. What's yours? Is it something that you just need to force yourself through? Do you write a more detailed outline to get you past the block? Or do you just go watch an episode of "Game of Thrones" and eat a bag of M&M's while everything sorts itself out in your mind?

18 July 2013

Living the Dream

I'm kind of at a loss about what to write today. I'm tired and my mind is blah, but I didn't want to go to work in the next little bit without putting something down.

In my endless Google searches, I've learned a lot of things. About writing. About time management. About life. I've discovered forums and blogs (most notably terribleminds, a blog by Chuck Wendig). I've discovered links to free e-books on Amazon. There is a lot of information out there - useless, sometimes - but information nonetheless.

And research.

Oh, the infinite possibilities. There is so much I could write about, so much I want to write about. If only time would allow it (note the time management skills I'm attempting to develop). My dream would be writing full time, of course. Actually being able to sit down and pound out a book or two and having the time to devote to the craft. Of learning to write better and actually being able to do it. I can only imagine how much I'd be able to produce. I could probably calculate it if I had the time and the desire to do it.

But isn't that every writers dream?

Perhaps one day. Unfortunately I'll have to put off the dream for one more day. Work, here I come... still have to pay the bills, or most of them anyway.

04 July 2013

The Age of Technology

Last night I decided to explore the world of Twitter. I've never "tweeted" before, so I thought I'd give it a shot. I created my account and started following a few people. I still don't really know what they're saying, but it's interesting nonetheless.

And the symbols? The "@" and the "#"? I kind of get it since Facebook has started using the same symbols, but if it weren't for that I'd be completely lost.

Technology just amazes me. Whether it's Twitter or Facebook or Blogspot, it's all interesting to me. I may not completely understand it, but I am fascinated. When I was younger, I used to think that in order to write, I needed a typewriter. I had this ancient blue monstrosity that was loud and vibrated (and made my fingers numb on occasion). Now I get to type of my touch screen laptop, which - thanks to my father's wallet - is a wonderful piece of equipment that I can use for both school and work. I love it.

In fact, I don't even need to use Microsoft Word anymore to write my stories. I have invested in Scrivener (which, if you've never heard of it, I highly recommend looking into - it's WONDERFUL). I can jump from scene to scene without the single click. I can edit, rearrange, trash (and yet not delete it), and keep all of my research in one place in one easy location.

There are all kinds of tools out there to help us struggling authors. There's programs out there that allow you to speak into a microphone and it'll write everything out in Word for you. I don't even have to sit down anymore to write. There's no excuse anymore for my fat ass to sit in a chair all day and slowly develop blood clots in my legs over time. I can exercise and get work done at the same time (not that I would, but you know). Maybe before long I'll just be able to wear a headband that transmits my thoughts into a computer program so that I don't even have to speak out loud.

Technology really is an amazing thing.

Question for fellow authors: What is your favorite piece of technology that helps you with your writing?

26 June 2013

Must. Write. Now.

I just came up with the best book idea EVER!  Anything to keep myself from editing the book I've already written, right?

No, but seriously, it's the best idea ever. I have it plotted and everything after only 2 hours of fiddling with it. I need to clone myself.  That's all there is to it.

20 June 2013

Anything you can do, I can do better

Today is all about procrastinating.  Have I worked on my manuscript? No. Have I started getting ready to go into work tonight? No. Have I started folding those clothes that are piled mountain high on my bed? Ha! No.

I could tell you what I have done today. I submitted homework online (phew) and I have played on Google.

In my eternal quest to be the best erotic romance writer ever, I have googled all sorts of things that I have little to no understanding of. For example:

- Do I need an agent?
- What do I need to do in order to get published?
- How do I beef up my writing resume?
- Are there any writing contests out there?

I found answers that I expected. Do I need an agent? The answer is no, but I will probably want one. What do I need to do in order to get published? This question had an easy answer - finish the damn manuscript (like I didn't know that already). How do I beef up my writing resume? Publish shit. Are there any writing contests out there? Bunches.

What I was most intrigued by was the contests. Maybe it's just because I'm naturally a competitive person and have been accused of being a perfectionist by *cough* a few people. I compete with myself and with other people - other writers, in this case.

And here comes the trip down memory lane...

When I was young (I can't remember how old, but I think around the ripe old age of twelve) and wanted desperately to write for Harlequin, I submitted an entry into one of their romance competitions.

Was it a finished work? No. Was it good? It was laughable, honestly. But the point was, I did it. I found the call for submissions by doing what I always do - surfing the net. And I thought, if someone else can do this, then so can I. If a person can sit down and string words together and somehow manage to produce a publishable work, then why shouldn't I be able to do the same thing? After all, isn't that what a story is essentially? Words?

It wasn't until I was much older and slightly wiser that I realized that writing was a bit more than that.  Just because I was able to read at that age, didn't mean that I was able to write, but I did it anyway. Not because I was good, but because I enjoyed it.

I can't remember exactly what I produced, but it was terrible. I wrote exactly what was required for the submission and tried to even put in a sexual punch (like I said before, laughable). I printed it out, shoved it into an envelope and dropped it in the mailbox, my mind humming with delusions of grandeur. They were going to love what I had written. I was going to be offered a huge book deal. I was going to make millions and everyone was going to be impressed that a twelve year old was able to produce such a masterful piece of literary genius.

Six to eight weeks later, I got a response.

"Thank you for your submission. The winners are as follows." Was my name on that list? Um, no. Did I let it get me down? Nah. I went right back inside, sat down at that old POS computer and wrote something else. That one sucked too, but that's not the point. I was going to be better eventually. One day Harlequin would be begging me to write for them and I had better start practicing now so I could have an edge later.

Well, sixteen years later and Harlequin still doesn't know my name. My tastes have changed slightly and now I lean more towards the erotic rather than the old school virginal love stories and have started to replace things like "quivering member" with "stiff cock". But one thing remains - the quest to be better.

So, today while I was googling and stumbled upon a site that listed dozens of active competitions, by brain started humming again. Maybe I've reached the point in my life - and my manuscript - where I can try again and submit to another competition.

Why the hell not?

What I want to know: Has there ever been a point in your life where you have finally decided to try again? Were you successful? And if you weren't, what did you do next?

13 June 2013

Ready to Edit - FINALLY!

It took me longer than I wanted, but I finally finished the rough copy of the first book in my series.  And what followed was a long sigh of relief...

I write in Scrivener, so I went ahead and compiled the document into Word to see what I was dealing with.  It ended up being 286 pages that still need to be edited (yikes!).  So any relief I was feeling before is now gone.  How am I supposed to find the time and the energy to sit down and go through page after page after page...?

Writers have done it before with much larger works than mine.  Poor Tolstoy managed to find the energy to edit "War and Peace", so why can't I?  After all my book shouldn't put me into a comatose state like "War and Peace" and "Anna Karenina" did.  Where there's a will, there's a way.  (Go Tolstoy for rocking it out!)

I also have the most amazing friends who have been pushing me to finish this since I began brain storming last summer.  They sat there and didn't strangle me when I went on for hours and hours and hours, trying to figure out the most minute details of my plot and story world.  And when I started going on and on about the genetic code of warlocks, they didn't unfriend me from Facebook or set my computer on fire.  That's love and support right there. 

Now is the point in time where I will use their input more than ever before.  There are a bunch of people willing to help me edit (once I go through it myself once or a dozen times) and all of whom bring something unique to the table.  Some people have even read the rough copy several times, gave me all sorts of ideas, and then didn't kill me when I trashed what they had just read.  Some are avid readers of the genre I write who have unwavering opinions about how these types of books need to be written.  Others are sticklers for grammar and are able to identify the passive voice is an instant (and will yell at me about it).

So, now that you've read all of my mumbo jumbo, the SparkNotes version is this:  With the right friends, anything is possible and with my friends, editing shouldn't send me into full on panic mode because they have my back.  It will be a breeze.  ;)

04 June 2013

Racing Toward the Finish

Hey all,

Today I find myself racing toward the finish line.  Another 10k words or so and I'll be completed with the first draft of my first book.  Awesome, right?  I think so.

Getting through 7k words in a day has never been an issue for me as long as I have the time, the right playlist and minimal distractions (I'm sorry Facebook, but you're going to have to go away today).  Pushing it to 10k+ is doable as long as I'm chugging away at full speed over the next 10-12 hours.

So, here's the problem(s).  Tomorrow is the first day of the summer semester.  Yay!  And on day one, we have our first test which is double the fun.  Over the past few weeks I've basked in the glory of having all of this free time to work and write.  Now I get to add school to the list of stuff I have to do yet again.  Hooray...

Since this is the last day of my summer vacation, I feel like finishing the book is even more important (not worried about the test - I know my shit).  With that in mind, I sit down in front of my computer screen, crack my knuckles and prepare for many hours of writing.  And I'm blocked.  F*cking fantastic.

The way I see it, I have two (maybe three) options.

Option 1:  I could walk away and give the book a rest until the summer semester ends because, let's face it, writing when I'm supposed to be studying is never a good idea.  But do I really want to put off finishing my story for another 8 weeks?  Um, no.  Not to mention that's just difficult.  I have the feel of the story now and to put it off only means that it's going to be that much more difficult to get back into it.

Option 2:  I could sit here and try to figure out what's blocking me.  Is it that I don't know where the scene is supposed to go?  Yes and no.  Am I sad because I've invested so much time and energy into this story and these characters that now as I approach the end, it's just going to be hard to say goodbye?  Maybe.  But really, what choice do I have?  I have to finish or I'll just be repeating the same thing I've done countless times before.  Starting and stopping.  And everyone knows how far that's taken me.

Option 2.5:  In addition to figuring out what's blocking me, I could sit here and just pound out something.  ANYTHING.  After all, editing is done for a reason.  I know how the book is going to end, but as of right now, it is getting there that is the problem.  Perhaps bullshitting my way through for now is what I'm going to have to do and then fix it later.  Fingers crossed, maybe in doing that I'll figure out what works and what doesn't and thus break through the block.

Wish me luck.

01 June 2013

The Birds and the Bees

I was lurking on the internet this morning and reading various threads on different websites, including one that was asking the age old question: How do you feel about your parents reading your sex scenes?

And in all honesty, I shudder to think about it.

Let me make myself perfectly clear here.  I'm not embarrassed by the sex scenes I write.  I'm good with anyone and everyone reading them and knowing that I put them out there - except my parents. 

I'm in my late twenties and have a child, yet I still like to sometimes pretend that I have no idea what sex is.  (Q: "What do you mean you're pregnant?", A: "Sorry Dad but I have no idea how that happened.  My boyfriend must have just sneezed in my direction.  I should have picked up some more tissues when we were out..."  You get the point.) 

Obviously my parents know I'm full of shit and choose to love me anyway, but maybe I'm not giving them enough credit.  Do I think my dad would brag to the neighborhood gossip about my book, letting them know what awesome sex I write?  Doubtful.  But do I think he would brag to that same person that his amazing, smart and beautiful daughter just published her first novel?  Absolutely.  And do I think he'd care what she thought when she opened up said novel and read those explicit scenes?  Hell no.

And my mom's response?  She'd probably tell all her girlfriends to go pick up a copy and want to know when I plan on taking her out for a celebratory pedicure.

So maybe my hangups on letting them read those scenes are my own. 

Because when it comes down to it, my parents are my parents and they love me regardless of what I do and sometimes because of it.  If I were lucky enough one day to get published, they'd celebrate it not hide in shame because their only child sells love and sex for a living.  And that's why I have the best parents in the world.

And to hell with what the old bat down the road thinks.

26 May 2013

Getting Jiggy With It

So, it's 4am and I just finished writing my first sex scene.

I lied.  It's not really my first, but it's the first I'm using in this story and the first time I've sat down to write it while simultaneously pretending to know what I was doing.

I sat down at my computer at about 1am with a full bottle of white wine and wrote the entire 5th chapter, ending it with a bang.  Literally and figuratively speaking, of course.

Somehow I was able to drunkenly stumble through the scene and I think i did a pretty decent job of it.  I hope so anyway.  I instantly sent it off via e-mail to a friend of mine who was sitting at work, bored and looking for more of my story to read (LOVE my friends).

So now I'm sitting here, desperately awaiting her input on my erotic love scene.  But now I face embarrassing questions that I'm going to have to ask her.  The most important being: "How did it affect your lady bits?"  Because, after all, you can't have a good sex scene without it affecting the reader in one way or another.  And hopefully their response, like sex in real life, isn't one of giggles or vomiting.  Now THAT would be embarrassing.

Now, as she instructed me when I talked to her a couple minutes ago, I'll put the alcohol down (if there was any left) and start focusing on chapter 6 instead of boring y'all to death.

24 May 2013

The Joys of Texting

So, I have stumbled upon a small problem.  Texting.

I have come to a part in my story where I need to write a scene that includes text messages.  Actually, the entire dialogue of the scene is nothing but text messages.

Problem number 1:  How does one write text messages? 

For example,
"Hi." vs. Hi.

The first implies speech, which texts are not and I certainly don't want to confuse anyone.

Problem number 2: Do people really want to read things like "LOL" or :) ?  Is it possible to write a conversation that's happening through text messages without including those things?  I've never done it before when I've texted people, although I'm sure there are people out there who do.  Old people who don't understand emoticons.  (Although I'm one to talk since I didn't understand the concept of Instagram until a couple weeks ago)

Perhaps I'm way over thinking this.  After all, it's my story and I can do whatever the hell I want to in it.  I've just never read a book that included text messages.  E-mails, yes.  But never text messages.  Surely in this day and age there have to be a few works out there that include this type of conversation.  You'd think anyway.

Interesting.

22 May 2013

Keep on keeping on

Dear All (or None),

First, let me say a big Thank You for dropping by and reading my nonsense.  You're probably wondering why you should waste your time with me.  Well, let me be the first to tell you that there's really no good reason for it.  I tend to run my mouth and occasionally choke on my foot.  Hopefully I won't have to issue any apologies but I always want to hear your thoughts and opinions, so please, feel free to comment on anything or everything.

Second, let me tell you a little bit about myself.  I'm sure you're just dying of curiosity to know who I am.  Probably not, but I'll divulge anyway.  I'm a writer.  Or at least I like to pretend that I'm a writer.  What are the total number or works I have, you ask?  That's easy.  None.

It's not that I haven't tried, it's quite the opposite in fact.  Rather, I like to write and write and write and essentially produce nothing.  Actually let me rephrase that.  It's not something that I "like" to do as much as something that I find myself always doing.

At this moment in time I have seven - seriously, seven - works in progress.  It's a series of books so I'll continue to delude myself by saying that since they're all tightly related, it's really just one big project that I'm undertaking.  There, I feel better about that now.

In addition to writing, I'm also a full time mom, student, and employee.  Busy doesn't begin to describe it, but writing is something that I LOVE to do and not something that I'm willing to sacrifice.  So I'll keep on keeping on - writing down ideas and plot lines or scrambling out a scene or two - whenever I get the chance.  And maybe, just maybe, one day I'll have something to show for it.

Until then, happy writing!