Monday, November 29, 2010

...because I hate the cold.

But yay for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Winter 2010 conference!

R.L. Stine is giving the keynote address, which makes me happy... I loved me some Goosebumps books as a kid. I haven't been to a conference before, so while I'm excited by some of the great classes (and agents!) there, I don't know much about what it will be like. Besides cold, of course. Brr.

Is anyone else going? And does anyone want to split a hotel room if so? The Hyatt where the conference is being held is $219 a night, and that's just a bit out of this aspiring writer's budget. If I don't find a roomie, I'll be staying with the family in the Jersey suburbs.

Jersey, guys. Is anyone out there?


And does anyone have any thoughts or insights on the conference experience?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

MJ and I had a fantastic long weekend visiting family and friends. I think I ate my year's quota of pie and cheescake, and probably fulfilled the year's quota for talking politics too (something I will spare you all from on this blog ;)).

But an unexpectedly wonderful part? All the day dreaming on the nine-hour drive back home. I spent most of the trip letting MJ drive, with my feet up on the dash, listening to the radio and thinking about Stories I Would Like To Tell.  I think the next book is going to be a YA mystery novel. Concept, plot and characters all came to me during that painfully long car ride. Hey, I'll take some stiff muscles for a new storyline.

Here's my tentative hook:

Dia and Sam are best friends who share their secrets and support each other unquestioningly – but when Sam attempts suicide, Dia sets out to unravel the secrets her friend hasn’t told before Sam can try again.

More to come. :) I'm very excited and working on an in-depth outline and character sketches now, though I also have lots of work to do on The Goddess of Vengeance so that I can finish up revisions and start querying!

Now, I just wish I had a title...

Where do you guys get your best inspiration?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving to my U.S. readers (and happy Thursday to everyone else!).

(This super image from

What are you thankful for this year? I'm thankful for:
  • Our warm and happy home
  • Family & friends
  • The chance to know and love my adopted kitty, Buffy, and our two foster cats Buster and Bonzai from the SPCA - even though now that Buffy has died and Buster & Bonzai have moved onto their forever home, I miss them so much!
  • Ready access to books through libraries, book stores and the interwebs - so many people live in countries with strict control overs what they can and can't read. Reading Lolita In Tehran has really made me think about how lucky and blessed we are!
I hope you all have a fantastic holiday full of joy, family and appreciation! :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

When I was an incredibly obnoxious and slender twenty-year-old, I remember discussing weight with a friend of mine. We were both diving on the swim team then, which meant that we spent two hours each schoolday practicing our dives - which were videotaped - and then watching playback on the pool-side monitor of our dives (Read: of a side view of ourselves in our swim suits). For two hours a day. Imagine how much that leads to obsessing about your figure... especially when the lighter you are, the easier it is to whip your body around into various crazy positions and aerial cartwheels before smacking into the water.

Anyway, we were talking pounds in the locker room as we dressed after practice. I was 5 foot 7 and 122 lbs at the time; I said, "Man, I can't imagine weighing 140 lbs. I don't know what I'd do. I'd probably have to kill myself!"

Yes, I was a likable young thing. Yes, I want to go back and punch myself in the face, too.

Here's the funny thing. Now that I've gained twenty pounds (without a single suicidal thought) I can look back and see how perfect the body was that I hated then. But my motivation is low to lose those twenty pounds again, since I feel this is also a healthy weight - and since I've realized something odd.

When I was that skinny twenty-year-old, I thought:
  • I look pretty good, so close to perfect, I should stop being lazy and eating junk on occasion and just lose five or ten pounds...
  • My tummy is nice except for this little bump of fat I can't rid of.
  • My thighs are just too thick.
You know what I think twenty pounds (and, erm, a few years) later?
  • I look pretty good, so close to perfect, I should stop being lazy and eating junk on occasion and just lose five or ten pounds...
  • My tummy is nice except for this little bump of fat I can't rid of.
  • My thighs are just too thick.
Hmm. The same things that bothered me then, when I looked damn good, bother me now? Like I can't just glance into a full length mirror and see myself non-critically? If that was how I thought back then, then I probably look great now too and just don't see myself.

It's too bad that I couldn't appreciate the body I had when I was younger. But I can appreciate the one I have now.

I know this is not a writing related post, but I think and write a lot about finding the unique beauty in ourselves, and I wanted to share my thoughts.  It's hard to be a woman in this world, where we are constantly bombarded with images of airbrushed perfection that we are going to fall short of - but we can learn to be kind to ourselves anyway. And hopefully, we can even forgive ourselves for saying positively ludicrous things in locker rooms in our foolish youth! :)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

It's giveaway time!

My first giveaway is this fantastic perfect-for-the-writer's-office art print, Unblocked from Citrus Tree:
Doesn't that just inspire you to sit down and write yourself?  And the winner is:

PerilousLYNDSEY of Dangerous With a Pen!

My second giveaway was a $10 gift certificate for Amazon for learning a little more about the fantastic Tamara Hart Heiner and her new novel, Perilous.

And my winner thanks to is... Rachelle!

Thanks to all who entered!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I seriously suck at blogging lately, you guys. Let me just tell you a little bit of what's up with me:
  • My foster kitties are being adopted! I am going to miss them so much (and I don't know how I'll deal with the loneliness of a catless house until we get new kitties to foster after the holidays), but I am so happy for them. Their new parents are wonderful. I'm just going to miss these sweet faces so much:

  • I am 5 days away from finishing this last class for my M.S. I still have my capstone project to do after this in the spring, and then I'm done!  Once the final exam is done on Tuesday, I'll return to the blogging world a bit more regularly (both posting and commenting! Sorry I haven't visited much lately!).
  • I really do miss you all terribly! Just let me get out of this class with an A (*crosses fingers*), and I'll be blogging and visiting much more regularly... until,  that is, the spring and my capstone.  Oh god. Have I mentioned that I'm booking a trip to Ireland, and maybe London too, to celebrate being done with my M.S.? Because some days, I don't think I'm going to make it.
  • The NaNo novel, Bodie's Men? The NaNo is a trainwreck. I'm so behind. I need to write something like 2800 words a day to finish. We have a lot of driving to do this month, though, so I think I'm going to make MJ drive and kick back with my laptop... and then I need to make a New Year's resolution for 2011 to stop overscheduling myself. Something is seriously wrong with me!
  • Blog contests are almost up! I'm giving away an awesome free art print from Citrus Tree! Enter here. Open to US and Canada. Ore enter to win $10 Amazon gift card AND support debut author Tamara Hart Heiner! Enter here.  But hurry, they both end tomorrow at midnight!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thanks for all the kind comments on my last post! I am back after a long, long week...

My NaNo is a mess. Honestly, I spent  last weekend  laying on my couch watching Real Housewives of Orange County and missing my cat. There's a line in Shards of Glass where someone tells me MC that grief is something that you can multitask. But I found it pretty time consuming, despite having written that snarky little quote.

So my NaNo is about 10k behind. Oh, and I can’t pick what tense I’m writing in – which is not something that normally happens in my writing. So this rough draft is far more hideous than normal for me, but hey…  check out the first page:

    Despite all the drunken promises we’ve made to always be there for each other, it is days before I find out that Riley has lost his legs.
    I was on watch, in the early hours of the morning. I returned from midrats, the neither-breakfast-nor-dinner meal served from 11pm to 1am for those of us who worked overnight. The night sky over Fallujah had been strangely light, hung with a blood-red moon of the type I’d never seen stateside.  I punched in the combo on the door, went from the marble passageway to the cement floor of the converted kitchen that was our offices.
    Jacks was sitting in one of the chairs around the conference table, leaning back with his boots propped up on the pile of assault pack, flak and Kevlar.  He rocked forward when he saw me, his feet thudding into the floor.  There was a quick flicker of emotions across his face – happiness to see me, I thought, and surprise, and relief, and misery all at once.
    “Jacks,” I said. I looked at the assistant watch-o, the Gunny, then back at Jacks. “What are you doing here?”
    “I had to tell you in person,” he said. The emotions had settled. Jack’s mouth was turned down. There were dark smudges beneath his eyes to match the smudged look of his chin. It wasn’t like him not to shave, to be out of regs.
    Gunny Richard said, “You can go, ma’am. I’ve got this the rest of the night.”
    “Oh, no,” I said. “No.”
    Jacks slid an arm around my shoulders, pulled me into a hug. I should have hugged him when I saw him. “Riley is alive, Bodie.  I’m sorry. I should have gotten that out right away.”
    I wrapped my fingers around the edge of his desert-patterned sleeve and dragged him behind me from the room.  Back out into the marble hallway. “We’ll have privacy in here,” I said, opening up the door to the General’s conference room. It had spare plywood walls, but thickly leathered desk chairs and a very new VTC system.  I turn around once I’m in, and Jacks shuts the door behind him.
    “What brought you all the way to Fallujah?” I said.
    “Riley’s convoy was hit by a vehicle-born IED.” He spoke quickly. Ripping the band-aid off. “I don’t have a lot of details. But I know he has a concussion, and that his legs were pinned – they already got him back to the states. So he’s going to be okay.”
    I reach back and feel for the smooth arm of one of the desk chairs, sit carefully.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

"When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart, and you will see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight."
 My precious kitty, Buffy, died in my arms today.  I came home from work early in the morning and found her sleeping; she was hard to rouse. I picked her up in my arms and she curled up into a fetal position, her little head down on her chest. As I carried her upstairs, she had a small seizure.  I knew she ws probably gone after that, but I placed her in the passenger seat of my car and tried to talk to her and pet her until we got to the emergency vet. They did CPR and tried everything they could, but she was gone. It looks like she had a stroke. She was only eleven, and I was not ready to say goodbye at all.

(The picture is from a few months ago - sleeping next to where I was usually work on the couch. Isn't she precious?).

Farewell, little cat, until we meet again. 

I'll be on hiatus for a little while, friends.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

How's NaNo going for those of you who are doing it? I'm just over 5k but haven't started writing yet today... I'm about to get going, I promise!

I've been flip-flopping back and forth on whether I made the right decision on Bodie's Men.

Perspective 1: This book is HARD for me. It feels strange to write about the Marine Corps, and stranger still to write Bodie's perspective, which on her bad days really involves the uglier side of my emotions - a fair amount of jealousy, insecurity, and bitterness. So it's great that I'm just dumping this out on the page for NaNo, because otherwise, I'd probably never write the damn thing!

Perspective 2: I shouldn't have tackled this without a detailed outline. Especially not with the crazy dual plotline structure of the novel which I probably don't have the writing skizzles to pull off yet. Bound would have been a MUCH more straightforward story to write for NaNo, and straightfoward is probably good when you're trying to write 2k a day. OMG, this writing is terrible. TERRIBLE! Am I possessed? BY A DEMON THAT CAN'T EVEN SPELL?

Perspective 3: Well, I'm already 5k in, so terrible or not, I'm going to keep writing.


No, but really, I'm having fun.

On a side note, I didn't get a lot of responses to the two contests I'm running. :( So, I am blatantly cheating and extending their dates.  What? It's my blog, I can do that, right? My apologies to those of you who have already entered and are waiting on me, I just want to give lots of attention to Citrus Tree and Tamara Hart Heiner for participating on the blog, and I think maybe I didn't do enough promoting.

So, I'm giving away a $10 gift certificate to Amazon if you go here (before November 19!)

And I'm giving away an awesome free art print from Citrus Tree if you go here (also before November 19!)

Monday, November 1, 2010

I love the idea of Summer's Share Your Workspace blogfest - go here to check it out! I wanted to participate, but I'm traveling for work again and while I was home, forgot to snap a photo of the space where I write at home. Which, is nothing fancy either - it's a TV tray with my laptop in front of the couch, with random textbooks, writing books and novels piled up on the coffee table in front of me. And usually, some form of dark chocolate and a few cups to round out the picture.

But then I thought - well, I do a lot of my writing not there anyway. I'm on travel 50% of the time for work. Most of the The Goddess of Vengeance Wore Pink Galoshes was written in various Starbucks, Atlanta Bread Companies and indie coffee shops in Augusta, GA during the month I spent there. Today I wrote aboard a 747, sitting on the floor in the airport terminal waiting for my connecting flight, and in my hotel room. So here's a photo of one of today's workspaces:

MJ and I are remodeling a room in the basement to be our office, a place where we can be ourselves (read: where geekery can reign). I dream of Legos, framed comic books, an espresso station, orange paint, a giant whiteboard wall, and maybe an air hockey table (if it will fit). But that's just a nice to have. We make it work whatever we have in terms of our writing space, right?

Because we have to write.

Because we're nuts. :)

Go join Summer's blogfest and show us where you write!