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Showing posts from August, 2008

Can I Get A Re-do?

List of Things I Would NOT Do If I Could Restart Yesterday:

1. I would NOT have driven the 9-4 out to Daredevil's school to pick him up for his doctor's appointment.

2. Because then I would NOT have gently driven over the speed bump in the school parking lot (which may or may NOT be the culprit but nothing else comes to mind) which, unbeknownst to me, knocked either a hose loose or a hole in the gas tank, even though I never scraped bottom.

3. Also, I would NOT have blithely assumed the stench of gasoline in the air around the 9-4 belonged to another car.

4. When the 9-4 refused to start on my first attempt to leave the school parking lot, I would NOT have given it another go.

5. When pulling out of the parking space, I would NOT have neglected to peruse the pavement for the GIGANTIC puddle of gasoline lying there, plain as day.

6. Which means I would NOT have attempted to drive thirty-two miles to Nashville to drop Daredevil off with my hubby.

7. Also, I would NOT have simply opened…

Who's With Me?

The entry deadline for The Golden Pen contest is Sept 1st.

This is a fantastic contest for writers who want some solid feedback on their entry. Three judges score your entry. At least one is a published author while the others are Golden Heart finalists. Final round judging includes acquiring editors within your genre. Judges are encouraged to mark your manuscript and give you feedback.

You can enter electronically here and use Paypal. All submissions for the first round are electronic so it's fast and easy.

You must be an RWA member in good standing. If you want to join, go here.

I'm entering SHADOWING FATE (its contest debut!) in the paranormal category. =)

"Read this," she said firmly.

As a writer, you have many tools in your arsenal, not the least of which are the parts of speech. (Hey! Don't knock 'em til you try 'em!) An evocative adjective sets the scene. Deft use of conjunctions weave parts into a whole. Verbs (as long as they aren't passive voice, but that's another post) used well create movement, drama, characterization, tension, and imagery.

Adverbs, though...adverbs are not your friend.

Oh, they pretend to be. They slip into your mind, sneak across your keyboard, and land on your page and you think, "There! That tells the reader what she needs to know!" And you dust off your hands and move on.

The problem is this: adverbs tell. They do not show.

Excellent writing shows, rather than tells.

Ergo, adverbs are not your friend.

Does this mean you can't ever use adverbs in your manuscript? Of course not. But adverbs, like cayenne pepper, must be used sparingly (Look! An adverb!) or they take over the entire thing.

There are better, str…

Monday's List

1. So, I wasn't going to post a Monday update today because I posted the witty and amusing run-down of new blog search terms and then followed that up with a link to my post on S & S.

2. My hubby logged on today and demanded to know where my Monday Update went.

3. When I explained all of #1 to him, he did not care.

4. I started the habit of Monday Updates and so, in his book, I should continue said updates until the day I turn in my stilettos and start fertilizing Venus Fly Traps instead.

5. So I'm posting. For him. And yes, I chose the pic with care.

6. I have nothing lined up to write in this post so you're going to get an assortment of random thoughts that won't have any cohesive element to them other than the fact that they came from me.

7. I really don't like to mop.

8. I am oblivious to flowers, plants, or anything that requires watering but doesn't show the gumption to speak up and tell me it's thirsty.

9. As a child, I had to swallow green beans like pi…

Googled Randomness

Once again, it's time to take a look at how more hapless readers became ensnared by this blog. Here are the latest interesting keyword searches:

1. Trick Up Your Sleeve: Oh yes, my pretty, I have a trick up my sleeve. More than one, actually. And don't you wish you knew what they were.

2. Salivitus: n. The condition of admiring a pair of stilettos to the point of relinquishing control over one's saliva glands.

3. Lifted With Feet Playing Airplane: Listen here. This string of search words doesn't even begin to make sense. Unless this is your convoluted attempt at discovering a way to actually fly while pretending to be an airplane and if that's the case, you've landed at the wrong blog. I barely lift with anything, much less with my feet, and I never, ever, play airplane. I don't need the nightmares.

4. Sentence With Sneered: Here you go. "Sassy sesquipedalian C.J. Redwine slid into her sexy stilettos and sneered at the silly sneakers worn by some." …

Why I Oughtta

Currently playing in my ipod: "Enough" by Disturbed
Mood: Calm and focused

1. So, apparently The Half-Blood Prince release date has been pushed back from this November to JULY.

2. Why?

3. Because Warner Bros wants a summer blockbuster and apparently they have so little faith in every other project on deck, they need to disappoint thousands of fans.

4. I envision legions of Potter fans dressing up like Voldemort, or worse, Filch and wreaking havoc on certain executives...

5. This week I wrote over 9000 words and since I'm posting this Thursday evening at 9pm (I still have three writing hours ahead of me tonight plus tomorrow during the day), that number will end up between 11k-12k.

6. I'm seriously proud of that, especially since on a closer read-through, I rarely made stupid mistakes or missed a key character or plot arc.

7. This is all new material I'm interjecting in the front half of the book.

8. Next week is all about the ending.

9. Thank God.

10. Why must boys be inst…

In The Mood?

Get Your Vocab On!

We're running a fun contest over at Swords & Stilettos today. We're looking for the best examples of really bad writing you can give us (yes, it needs to be your original creation!).

The contest: Write a sentence using the most adjectives and adverbs you can possibly fit into the sentence while still having it make sense. =)

The prize: All commenters will be put into a drawing for a free book (title to be determined).

Go wild with your vocab and enter the contest! (I've written a gloriously decadent ode to overly-descriptive writing there myself...)

How Many Brain Cells? Let Me Count Them...

Yesterday's stats:

1. Received an email from an author friend telling me she'd taken the liberty to pitch me to her agent and her agent was interested so please send a partial.

2. Sent the partial along with a warm thank you to my friend. Having other authors believe in my work is an unbelievable gift.

3. Spent much of the day writing. Total word count: 6400

4. Yes. That's right. 6400 words in ONE DAY.

5. I think I have about 24 brain cells left.

6. Nope, make that 23.

How To Change The World

Last year (or maybe the year before, I don't keep track of these things), John Mayer came out with a song called "Waiting On The World To Change." It's a discourse on how powerless his generation feels in the face of all they disagree with on the world stage (war, government etc) and so since they think they're powerless, they're just waiting on the world to change, perhaps waiting until the generations above them have all died off or retired and no one is left to run the world but this one dissatisfied generation of waiters.

The lyrics have always rubbed me the wrong way and I'll tell you why. There are many things that need attention in this world--hunger, war, genocide, child slavery, illiteracy, stupid or selfish people maintaining positions of power, disinformation--you can add to the list all you want, the end result is the same: turn your eyes in any direction and you'll see something that needs to be done.

Mr. Mayer says this:

Now we see everythi…

Writing Update

WRITING PROJECTS:

Shadowing Fate: Synopsis finished (and I'm really happy with it!). Currently adding five chapters into the middle of the book, two into the last third, and then I just need to finish writing the ending and polish it up.

Short stories (one for ezine, one for Paul): Nothing. Nada. Zip. Let me finish SF and then we'll see.

Poetry Blog: Up and running. Starting slow but I won't be posting more than two a week there. I want an outlet, not a stone around my neck.

SUBMISSIONS:

Queries sent this week: 2

Total queries sent for SF: 7

Total requests for partials: 6

Total requests for fulls off of partials: 2 (the others are still reading)

Total rejections: 0

CONTESTS:

Will be entering SF in the Golden Pen by end of August

*If anyone knows of another high-publicity contest that would be a good match for SF (one that is coming up shortly), please let me know. I am woefully out of touch with which contests hold the most weight (beyond Golden Heart, Maggie, and American Title).*

Owning The Place

Last night, I watched Phelps beat an incredibly competitive field of swimmers in the 100m breast stroke by one one-hundredths of a second to win his 7th gold medal at this Olympic games.

It was absolutely incredible to watch. He passed the leader at the last possible second by simply hurling himself into the wall. Most swimmers take one last stroke and then stretch for the wall. This time, Michael tossed stretching for the wall out the window, took an extra stroke and literally slammed his hand into the wall one one-hundredth of a second faster than the guy next to him.

Stunning. Brilliant. Everything we've come to expect from Michael Phelps.

What I found interesting, though, was his interview directly after the race. The peppy female journalist shoved a mike in his face, congratulated him on yet another win, and then asked the following question: "Did you ever believe, when you first came into these games, that you would be able to dominate all these races and win seven golds?&…

Ask And It Shall Be Given...Err...Spoken...No...Typed! Yes, typed!

The dust has settled from my whirlwind trip to San Fran and the kids are now back in school so I'm entering into my daily routine again and will resume the series of posts on the Writing Process and the art of living a creative life.

Since (as I've pointed out numerous times) this is my blog, I can (and will!) post on any topic that comes to mind.

However, I'm not writing these just to see my own thoughts on a page. =) So, if you have a question or a topic idea you'd like me to cover, please leave a comment (suggest as many items as you like) and I'll intersperse those with whatever else the Muse dictates.

Bring It On, Beauty Queens!

It's time for everyone's favorite post: the What Key Word Search Landed Some Poor, Hapless Fool On C.J.'s Blog post.

Yeah, I know what you want.

Here's the latest:

1. I'll fix your wagon: I certainly will. Really, who googles this? Bet you didn't expect to land on the site of a woman who writes urban fantasy, adores stilettos, and refuses to eat green beans. Serves you right.

2. Murder scene: May I suggest to you that simply googling "murder scene" is perhaps a tad vague? Of course, you probably already realize this since you ended up here, where all murders are of the fictional variety. Or so I want you to believe...

3. Why stay true to an author's writings?: Do you really need someone else's opinion on this? Stay true to your writings because anything less is a cop out. Or because it's tawdry to copy someone else. Or because pandering to what you think the market will love in two years is a really stupid way to start a novel.

4. What would the…

Zooweemama

1. Daredevil is a lover of words. *wipes away a tear of pride* He reads, journals, and types his own stories on the computer, just like his mom.

2. I never thought his ever-expanding vocabulary would rear its locquacious little head and bite me in the posterior (having an extensive repertoire of words myself) but it did.

3. I lost to Daredevil in Scrabble.

4. I never lose at Scrabble.

5. How did I lose? We established that the definition of a usable word was one that could be used in a book.

6. He whipped out the following word: "Zooweemama" and when I protested, he yanked out his Diary of a Wimpy Kid book and sure enough, there it was.

7. In Scrabble, there's no coming back from a word like Zooweemama.

8. I've been watching the Olympics and find myself totally inspired by our men's swim team. Not just Michael Phelps (who is completely amazing), but the whole team.

9. Watching the finish of the men's 400m relay was absolutely incredible. Jason Lezak just flat out re…

Help! My I.Q. Has Fallen And It Can't Get Up!

Last night, because we are good parents and we love our children, we took the boys to see a sneak preview of Star Wars: Clone Wars. My hubby's radio station sponsored the showing so we got in free (and came home with posters and activity books...).

I can't really explain how much I was not looking forward to this movie. I mean, it's bad enough that Lucas mutilated his own story with the cinematic travesties that are Episodes 1-3, but now I had to sit through an animated version? Ugh.

However, I've sat through numerous animated flicks since the birth of my children. I'm good at enduring for the sake of motherhood.

We arrived early and stood in line with other families whose children buzzed with excitement ("It's the video game come to life!") and parents who wore an expression eerily similar to soldiers going into battle ("It's the @#%& video game come to life!"). Before long, actors in costume showed up and began marching around the lin…

Big Brother Is Watching

1. Yesterday, I voted in our local election. School board reps, judges, sheriff, and house of reps were on the ballot.

2. I didn't have to stand in line and was told that there were maybe 200 people who showed up at my precinct to vote that day.

3. I'm ashamed of those who didn't bother to come.

4. Men lost their lives to give us the right to vote. Women fought for decades to be given equal voting rights as men. We see people in countries like Sudan, Afghanistan, Rwanda, Iran...the list goes on...who don't have the right to speak up, the right to effect change, the right to have a different opinion and yet we take our own rights for granted and can't take a few minutes out of day to vote.

5. We took the boys to the county fair Tuesday night.

6. The Scientist wanted nothing to do with any of the rides except the bumper cars so I camped out with him at that particular ride and let the others drag their father to the ferris wheel, the kiddie rides, and anywhere else their …

I'm Going To Insert My Finger...

I've been to five national conferences in the last eight years, two for RWA and three for the candle business I used to run. I've learned a few things about packing up and hauling myself out to an unfamiliar city, staying in hotels, finding my way around the sites and shops...but nothing I've learned stands out as clearly as this: DO NOT SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION IN AN UNFAMILIAR CITY.

Yes, that deserves all caps.

When you need medical attention in your own city, you know exactly what to do. Who to call. Which hospitals to avoid.

You have no idea how crucial those bits of knowledge are until you don't have them.

One memorable conference I attended was in the beautiful city of St. Louis. At the completion of the first day of conference, I wasn't feeling great. At all.

My friends and I returned to our hotel suite and changed for dinner. I was struggling with the clasp of a bracelet when the room went dark and I woke up on the floor with the hotel manager bending over …

But You HAVE Heard Of Me

On Danielle's blog, she posted her top ten movies of all time and I thought, "Ha! Another great idea to shamelessly pilfer for my own uses!" Her criteria for choosing her movies was this: What would I want to watch over and over again if I was on a deserted island (albeit one with a flat screen tv, surround sound, and a DVD player).

Using that same criteria, I've chosen my top ten movies (in no particular order):



1. Lord of the Rings: While I love the entire trilogy, the first movie is my clear favorite. I adore the Ring Wraiths. And Gandalf's performance. And of course, the chunk of film devoted to the hilarity that is Merry and Pippin.


2. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Again, I love the whole series but the latest installment captured me the most. I think it was the whole battle scene in the Department of Mysteries. Plus Harry's inner torment. And of course, the visual banquet that is any Harry Potter flick.


3. The Princess Bride: This may just be …

Best If Used By

1. The award ceremony was fun, even though I didn't win.

2. I really loved cheering for my friends as their names were called. It's much more exciting when you personally know the winners.

3. Also, I'm pleased to report that I was not personally responsible for any wardrobe malfunctions.

4. How boring is that??

5. Afterwards, Katy and I went to the Top of the Mark bar to meet up with some friends.

6. The Top of the Mark is located on the corner of Pine and California, which is near the top of Nob Hill.

7. Katy's friends told her to have the taxi drop us at Pine and Mason which is one block lower than the interesection needed, though we didn't know that at the time.

8. I should pause to explain that "hill" in San Fran is a euphemism for "steep as a playground slide".

9. The driver dropped us off, realized we were one block short of our intended destination, but was on one of San Fran's numerous one-way streets and couldn't turn around.

10. "…

Conference Stats

So far:


5 cups of coffee (which is probably 4 1/2 too many)

4 requests from agents for SF

3 sips of champagne

2 requests for my autograph (I quickly recovered from my initial "WHAT??" response to graciously agree to sign my name beneath the pic of me in the program but it definitely felt...weird.)

1 trip to the theater to see The Dark Knight. Again.

Still to come:

The award ceremony, walking in stilettos and a floor length dress without initiating any wardrobe malfunctions, jotting down an acceptance speech in case I need this (yes there are only hours to go and no, I haven't done this), after parties, hanging out in San Fran tomorrow morning with my parents and then it's off to the airport for a truly torturous trip home (arriving in Nashville at 12:50 A.M.).

I'll be working on SF on the plane so that will make up for it a little.

No butterflies about the award's ceremony yet but I am excited. I don't even care if I win (strange, I know, given how competitive I a…

Week In Review

I survived my flights across the continent. Yes, I realize that statement is self-evident but since I agonize over flying, over sitting in a metal tube crammed full of strangers who may or may not bathe and possess basic social etiquette, I felt the need to state that yes, I survived my flights and the two hour lay-over in Phoenix.

By the way, Phoenix has an interesting idea of what constitutes candy. Apparently, if it comes from a cactus, burns like a jalapeno, or contains an honest-to-God worm, it qualifies as a treat.

On my flight from Phoenix to San Fran, I sat next to a woman who was going to RWA as an author groupie rather than as a writer. I found that fascinating (plus she had a Kindle and I was really curious about it) so we struck up a conversation. I told her my name and she said, "That name is really familiar to me. I know you from somewhere!"

I found that gratifying. I've worked hard to establish a web presence, to get my name out there among authors and reader…