Friday, February 22, 2013

I'll be blogging over at from now on.  I've loved writing THIS IS NOT MY DAY JOB and it's crazy to see the almost 300 posts (and over 2k comments!) from the last few years. But I want to begin blogging about some different things. Writing exclusively about, well, writing has become too constraining. And I hope that soon writing will be my day job, so how about that title becoming extinct?

Meanwhile, I do all my writing, both freelance and commercial, during nap times and after baby bedtime -- hence the new title. Nap times really are sacred to me!

I hope I'll see you over there!


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

I'm a mom now.

She's the smooshy-mouthed, kissable-cheeked, red-haired (where did that come from?) little light of my life.
I am very happy. 

It's hard to type with one hand, though. Someone needs to be held at all times. But we're figuring things out, and I'll be back to it soon. :)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

One of the benefits I've found of being pregnant? Everyone has thoughts on pregnancy and children they're eager to share with you. There's always something to talk about.

One of the worst things? Everyone has thoughts... 

For the most part, I love being pregnant. I even love being "huge", as one of my coworkers often points out I am. I so many horror stories about the terrible, insensitive things people say to pregnant women, but I am either surrounded by thoughtful people or blissfully immune to insensitivity (except for the huge thing. That can stop anytime...). There was one conversation that was kind of funny, though. 

Me: "It's going to be a busy year. Leaving the Marines, having a baby, starting a new job..."

Friendly but random person with opinions: "No, that sounds like too much. You don't want to change three major things in one year."

Me: "Erm...."

The baby thing is pretty much a done deal now.

It's time for me to leave the Marine Corps, much as I love it. We aren't moving yet again (if I stay in, we'd move again this summer). Most of all, I'm not dropping my munchkin off in her dad's arm and getting on a plane to Afghanistan, so it's definitely time.

If I leave the Marine Corps, I sort of have to do something else with my life. 
So what exactly am I supposed to drop off the list?

Besides, I'm okay with a hectic, crazy year.  I'm pretty much okay with anything that isn't 2011 all over again! 

So bring it on, 2012. You're looking pretty good so far. Maybe I should be stressed about changing everything about my life, my finances and our family... but I can't focus on my worries with a baby kicking away in my belly, the cat snoozing alongside me, and spring blooming outside. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Like so many writers, the ultimate dream I'm chasing revolves around the novel. The agent, the book deal, a long-running multi-book career. But I also love short story writing, for two reasons:

1. It's a great way to try out a technique without committing to a book's worth of that technique. I've re-written novels to change POV and tense, because if it has to be done, it has to be done, but I'd rather do my experimentation on something under 5000 words, please.

2. It's a great way to try out submission and rejection. I don't say this to sound pessimistic, but the short story markets are very, very crowded, especially in the professional and semi-pro pay scales. I've had some poems and short stories published in pro-paying markets I'm very proud of, but I've also received my fair share of rejections*. It's all served a purpose in thickening my skin, though, in my opinion.

I know there are those rare writers who receive offers of representation from their first set of carefully-targeted queries, and whose agents then sell their book their first week. That's not me. I've collected some rejections on my first novel and, as I'm preparing to query my second, I'm grateful I've learned not to take rejection personally. I want the agent I eventually sign with to love my work, and I'm okay with all the rejections along the way from agents who aren't going to love it (as long as I can be proud of my product and secure that I've done my homework before querying, of course!).

Of course, there's a third reason I write short stories, which has nothing to do with the practical, which disregards the thin markets and the probabilities, and whatever career benefits short stories may carry, and even the bittersweet feelings of a "close, but not quite" rejection, and the joys of an acceptance.

They make me happy.

Sometimes, it's nice to just go back to that.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Someone told me that the nine (and a half!) months of pregnancy drag by.

I do not understand this, not one bit. I'm almost five months pregnant now, so half way through. These are the glory days of pregnancy, and they're fleeting. 

I finally look pregnant, not fat (for a while there, I seriously considered having t-shirts made that said that very thing).  

I am past the morning sickness, but not yet into the huge-and-uncomfortable phase.

I've passed the scary bits early in one's pregnancy, and am not yet facing the imminence of the scary bits at the end.

Pregnant shopping is fun. I still love my maternity clothes - will I ever want to wear jeans with a real waistband again? MJ and I are buying cute crib bedding and adorable gender-neutral onesies, trying to pick out a crib (we've narrowed it down to 5 styles that are essentially the same, but right now this seems SO IMPORTANT), and arguing bickering discussing whether or not to cloth diaper (spoiler alert: we are going to cloth diaper). 

Everyone is excited for us and not yet able to criticize our parenting choices. 

Even labor and delivery still seems like an exciting prospect. 

Everything right now is so much fun. And it's going by too fast. 2012 is a big year for us: we have some major home renovations under way, there's that baby en route, I'm leaving the Marines in November, and I have to find a new job. It's a lot of upheaval all at once, especially for someone like me who doesn't exactly appreciate uncertainty.  

Don't get me wrong, I'm beyond excited for all these big changes in my life. But I remember when nine months seemed like a long time, and now it seems like the end of this pregnancy will be here in the blink of an eye. Baby, you'd better stay in there for the full 38 weeks. I've got things to do, and I'm going to need all the time I can get!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

I'm always fascinated by book to movie adaptations. They so often feel wrong, of course, to the reader. But they're so much fun, too. And I usually feel like half the fun is analyzing where the movie altered the story (the other half of the fun for me is popcorn, Cherry Coke and Sno-Caps).

MJ and I recently went with friends to see The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Now, I loved that book, even parts that others hated -- the in-depth explanations of financial fraud, the descriptions of sandwich combinations that don't commonly appear in the U.S., even the laundry list of items that Lisbeth bought at IKEA.  I know it wasn't perfect writing, that perhaps the novel could have done with some good editing, but it made me feel like I was there in Sweden, a place I've never been to, and I valued that.  And it was also just a heck of a story; there was no way I could have stopped reading. So I had very low expectations for the film; how does a movie adaptation ever compete with a book you thoroughly enjoyed?

The movie is brilliant. 

It's a long film, but it does a great job of compressing the book: simplifying a storyline here, changing a location here to reduce the timeline of Blomkvist's investigation, wrapping up all that financial fraud into a few quickly explained sentences. Sure, the latter is a huge simplification, but no one but me and a few other financial geeks cared anyway. The acting was spot-on, and the cinematography striking (though there is a James Bond reminiscent series of opening credits that didn't jive with the movie at all, but that's quickly enough forgotten).  

There were some funny little differences from the book, one of them being the substitution of Lisbeth's beloved pan pizzas for McDonald's happy meals. However, given that Stiegg Larsson based her character on a dark Pippi Longstocking grown-up, I thought this was sort of a fun nod to Lisbeth's child-like side: the dangerous, brilliant hacker with a little red-and-yellow kid's meal.  

All in all, I'm glad I read the book. I'm glad I saw the movie. And rarely do I appreciate both at once.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

My world just changed again.

For the better.

(and for those of you who followed my whole miscarriage saga... we saw (and heard!) the heartbeat at the ultrasound. Which, besides making me cry in relief, means that my chance of miscarriage is now down to 1%.  I'm leaning on the statistics for my peace of mind).

Hang in there, sweetheart. We can't wait to meet you.