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Showing posts from 2011

If The World Ends 12/21/12, At Least I Can Say I Got Something Done In 2011

Good year, bad year. Good year, bad year. Mediocre year?

In review, here are things I set out to do:

In January, I decided to start editing The Treasure Hunter's Lady. And for some crazy reason, add 30,000 words, which I finished (adding, not editing) around the end of June/beginning of July. Worse still, I decided to pitch to a real-live agent in person. And I sent out maybe a dozen query letters. Of which all were rejected. I was sad a lot during the summer. In fact, I almost broke down crying in an automotive store on  a Friday evening when I received a reject. I soldiered on.

I also entered THL in two contests. I did very poorly in one and got an honorable mention in the other. Up and down. I entered a short story in another contest and scraped by with a second runner up people's choice majigger award because my network is awesome. Thank you, network. Without you-all, I'd be in sorry shape indeed.

Need I mention I kind of felt bad about bugging everyone to vote? I thr…

All I Got For Christmas Was...

A totally awesome e-reader, y'all. Okay, that's not all I got for Christmas because I got a super-cute purse, a sweat shirt and new jeans and an impending trip to Arkansas (that hopefully includes cheese because I want to ring in the New Year by eating fancy cheese. I ♥cheese). But I'm obsessed with the e-reader, of course. It's a Pandigital novel e-reader with a 7" screen in black. I need to get a cover or skin for it because I've already go fingerprints all over it.

This is how the cover of THL will look on in the gallery. That's not the cover I'm using for the book, but I just wanted to see how it would look. The verdict is in: amazing. Of course.
The photo isn't much to go by. It makes the top of the cover look sepia and the bottom very blue. It's just the angle. I haven't decided whether my hand is large and the reader is small or if that's the camera. Going with the camera.

So far I've downloaded four books to the ereader. I …

A Different Road Altogether

Doing things I never thought I'd do. I've often avoided writing short stories because I didn't know what to do with them once they were finished. Even after listening to indie authors rave about their self-publishing experiences on Amazon, Nook and elsewhere, I hesitated to join the fun.

There's formatting to consider, editing (which I've been up to my eyeballs in since January), cover images, marketing, on and on. It's whole 'nother barrel of apples compared to trying to make it in the traditional publishing world.

I tentatively stuck my toe in the indie author world by reading Mark Coker's e-book about publishing to Smashwords. I thought, I am tech-challeged, I will never be able to figure this out. But I sat down one evening at home and plunged into his book and I swear, if you plan to self-publish, even if you don't want to put your stuff on Smashwords, read Coker's book. Formatting made easy, even I understood it. Even if you don't wan…

A Little Bit About RETURN

In an effort to boost my sales, which are quite low on this story, I thought I'd share a little bit about it. Obviously as it's short, this won't take long and might even be harmless.

RETURN is the short story I'm most proud of, so I'll tell you about it today.

I wrote this story in... erm, the late nineties. I could probably hunt up a specific year, but let's go with I was in high school. I was on that western kick, where I couldn't get my hands on enough Louis L'Amour. I watched Silverado about 7 million times and Tombstone about 2 million times. No wonder my VCR is worn out. It was western, western, western on top of historical romance, historical romance, historical romance.

One day my English teacher announces that we're hosting the Mark Twain Conference Creative Writing Contest. I was super-thrilled because I loved to write. I entered every category except unrhymed poetry because I didn't write poetry that didn't rhyme. Most angsty tee…

The Friday Five - Christmas Gift!

Back in the swing of things with The Friday Five. Woohoo!

Saying 'Christmas gift' when you walk into the home of a relative on Christmas, by the way, is a Southern thing. The first person who says it gets the first gift. Today I thought I'd talk about five things I wish I had the gall to buy and give away as Christmas presents.

#1) Taxidermied animals that are stuffed and preserved for the purpose of staring at you with lifeless glass eyes. But I never want want to receive, say, my dog. "Well, look at it this way, sweetie, Fluffy doesn't eat, poop, need walks or get fleas. He's the perfect pet!"
Apparently putting dead rodents on hats is all the rage. I'll take the one with the moose, please. Better yet, I can just make the moose head a hat.

#2) Luncheon loaf. Nothing says 'I couldn't think of anything to get you, so I got you fake Spam' like 3 for $1 luncheon loaf from the dollar store. It also says, 'I'm not terribly fond of you&…

Why I'm In Love With Friends With Benefits

Do you feel like I'm copping out on you? I already did a movie review. But this one is a romantic comedy, so that's different!

I think I saw the preview for Friends With Benefits when I rented Something Borrowed. Husband groaned because he's not a Justin Timberlake fan. Me neither. But I rented this because they highlighted the funny scenes in the movie trailer.

I can't tell if JT is just a bad actor or what is going on with him. His character, Dylan, well... he reminded me of me. A little indecisive. Not alpha male in any way. Let's just say I don't know anything about LA, but his character made me think the people who live there are a little nutty. Very first part of the movie is a scene where the two main characters are shown being dumped by their current love interests.

Anyway, Mila Kunis' character, Jamie, is a headhunter who wants Dylan to interview and take a position with GQ. He gets an offer from them, but isn't sure New York is really his city…

So... I Published With Smashwords

I had these short stories just sitting there, right? And Return even won an award, it deserves to be seen. Actually, back in the day (2009 was so long ago, you know) it was called For Everything A Time, but that's almost as long as the story and kind of awkward. I like the shorter title better. It's about a cowboy who goes to the place where was born and raised, the place he left in a fit of anger and how he tries to redeem himself by dying there. You can get it here.

The other (more cheerful story) is a contemporary romance short story about an event they have at my alma mater, but I modified it to become a charity event: MudFest. It's about two people who know each other and compete every year for the covered MudFest trophy. It's also about good sportsmanship. Learn something, will ya? You can download it here.

Coupla little ninety-nine centers, good for right before bed if you don't need to do anything heavy thinking.

Happy writing!

It's Christmas Time

Like you can't get enough Christmas everywhere else, I'm bringing it too.

I'm kind of torn about holidays. I don't really like them (gasp!) but I do like getting extra time off. The whole Christmas thing seems to start earlier and earlier and that gets old. I do not want to hear Christmas music before Thanksgiving. Ugh. In fact, I don't think radio stations should devote their entire music list to Christmas tunes either. Maybe I'm a Scrooge, but I don't care.

In spite of my anti-holiday feelings, I bring you Christmas wonders from around the stores. This is one of the trees at Bass Pro Shops. Wouldn't every lucky little boy like to wake up with a four-wheeler under his tree? I couldn't care less about four-wheelers, but I thought the lights were pretty. The Christmas Wonderland behind the tree reminds me of what hell is probably like: screaming kids, "elves" on cell phones, and taxidermied caribou surrounded by fake snow. De-light-ful. Not…

The Backburner

I have stuff on the backburner. I'm still working on edits for THL and I haven't done anything except take my NaNo project to my local critique group for some poking and prodding. I'm a little bit burned out. But, heck, it's the holidays and I'm pretty burned out all around. In a past life I must've been a bear because there is nothing I would love more than to sleep through winter.

I have two projects waiting on me to finish writing them. I have three others that need endings and/or edits. But as I look into the next year, I'm wondering what kinds of writing I'll get done in the coming months. I love writing steampunk/adventure romances. But my mind is wandering in the direction of other genres. Like a romance set during/after World War II. I love that time period. The fashion and the mannerisms, the way things were rapidly evolving to shape the world as we know it.

Steampunk romance: 1 finished in edits. One half-finished. One semi-plotted to complete…

Why I'm Not Sure If I Loved Conan Or Not

It's too cold lately to be SIFWIWing, so I'm scouring other venues for something exciting to do. We rented a couple of movies Friday night, so I thought I could talk about a movie instead, as I sometimes do. We got Crazy, Stupid Love (B+), Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (A++) and Conan the Barbarian (A-/B+?)

I wish I had gotten Crazy, Stupid Love from Redbox, to be honest. It was okay (you'd think I'd be a little more enthusiastic about a romance movie, right?) but I don't know if it was $2.75 good. Tucker & Dale vs. Evil had me laughing so hard I was crying and couldn't breathe. Husband and I agreed that we need to own that movie. Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised that Conan offered us a hairy Ron Perlman. Love me some Ron Perlman. I mean, classic 1987 Beauty and the Beast on TV, what's not to love?

So Conan. With voice-over by Morgan Freeman, I mean, how cool is that? I had trouble getting my mind around the time period. Where were the ancient civilizati…

My Final WriMo Woe (Or Another Swan Song, Or Die, November, Die!)

I gave it my best shot. Okay, I tried. It wasn't anywhere close to "best shot", but it's hard to complain about 38,320 words in 23 days. No, I haven't written another single word on it since the 23rd. Bite me.

To recap: I was extremely excited about the prospect of writing this second version of The Sky Pirate's Wife because I finally figured out the paranormal elements in it. I think the second and third chapters are excellent, much different than I anticipated (because let's face it, I went into this blind and didn't anticipate anything).

Somewhere along the way the FMC and MMC got into this habit of really ripping each other up when they weren't making love (which was just an added bonus because I was out of plot so I substituted sex instead of dialogue). It stopped being fun. Now I'm thinking I might just take some of the stuff from the first version, combine it with the second and stir in those paranormal elements. Eventually.

I'm a l…

Monday Morning Musing

Sorry, I don't have any SIFWIW news. I didn't do anything but sit around all weekend watching movies, looking at pictures of cats with funny captions and trying to turn my brain into gel. It either didn't work or it's already so gelatinous that it didn't matter.

I'm here today because I always post on Monday unless it's a holiday. I don't have to tell you that. Not that I particularly wanted to get up because I worked so hard editing last night that when I finally went to bed, my arms and hands tingled and wouldn't let me sleep and now I'm so tired I might as well be a zombie. Wait--that's unusual how? It's Monday, after all. I just wish I had a donut. I think I could really make it through today if I had a donut.

I forged through a round of edits, highlighted some spots in the MS where I need to add a few details. I'm getting there. I'm a little alarmed at some of the things I did wrong (particularly where I made one word into t…

Swan Song

A woman greeted her husband at the door after he got home from playing golf with his buddies. “How did your golf game go today, honey?” she asked. “It was terrible,” he answered. “Steve died at the ninth hole.” “Oh, no. You that must have been so hard for you.” “It was,” he confirmed. “The next nine holes were hit the ball, drag Steve. Hit the ball, drag Steve.”
I hope you got a little laugh out of that. We can all use a laugh from time and time. You see, I've been the recipient of bad news.
Twenty-six days ago, I got the news that The Treasure Hunter's Lady was coming out as an e-book. Thursday I got an e-mail saying that the publishing house had closed its doors before it ever got a book out there.
Contract signed. Cover designed. Edits in progress. Release date announced. I can't decide what's worse, the dissolution of a dream or that I told everyone I know. Or if all rolled into one, the whole thing is one of the worst experiences of my life. Not the worst, by an…

The Friday Five - Too Bad To Be Real

I have to go visit the in-laws Friday, so you get TFF two days early. It's like Christmas a month early, huh? Maybe you should reserve judgement until the end...

I have a kind of weird obsession with cartoon characters. Particularly male cartoon characters who are badasses. I think watching cartoons is what stimulated the type of heroes I gravitate toward. My favorites are always the ones who jump into a situation without a plan and can pull off snarky dialogue. Let's take a peek.

#1) Raphael from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) - Described in the theme song as "cool but crude". He's highly aggressive and prone to wanting to kill Foot Soldiers. While he doesn't challenge the leadership of his brother Leonardo, he often quips about Leo's decisions and he has a soft spot for the youngest turtle, Michaelangelo. Let's put aside for a moment the very weird fact that he's a turtle. For all his dark emotions, deep down, he really feels loyal to those…

Stuff I Find While I'm Walking - Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

Welcome to November. This month brought some rain and cold with it, not to mention that dratted time change, which makes walking after work an impossibility. Walking before work you say? Ha ha. No. For starters, it's cold and for seconders, it's cold out there. Did I mention it's cold? What am I, an Eskimo? I think not. So I slapped cold in the face and went indoors to find you some awesome pics that we should actually call 'Holy crap, those photos are like nightmares come true'. Okay, one of them was taken outdoors when I went walking yesterday and I brave treacherous rocks and snake pits to get it. You'll see it in a minute.

I want to start off with this one because it is utterly terrifying. Yes, that is a ventriloquist dummy sitting in a chair, patiently waiting for someone to stick his or her hand up its bum so it can possess them for eternity. You think I'm joking, don't you? Well, the risk is yours to take, but when your head is spinning wildly an…

The Friday Five - Romantic Comedies

I love a good laugh. Keeps me going through good times and bad. As much as I love to kick a character when he/she is down, I like to give them good dialogue and witty personalities so that they come across as real to the reader. I know I'm sometimes inspired the romantic comedies I've watched. Let's take a look at my five faves.

#1)  Fool's Gold - Um, I'll just say it. My favorite part of the movie is where Donald Sutherland and that girl who plays his daughter are talking about why the boat is named 'Precious Gem'. She makes a great bimbo. I love this movie because Matt and Kate have beautiful on-screen chemistry. They portray an excellent couple, especially when they're at odds. Props for Finn for never giving up on his dream, boo because it almost cost him the woman he loved. My husband says that Tessa is unforgiving, but I think that's because men's minds and women's minds don't run on the same tracks if you know what I mean. Ah, I l…

Stuff I Find While I'm Walking - More Hats

Hey, it's windy out there, you don't want me to get blown away. So I scoured the shops again and found for you more hats. I don't think I'll ever be able to top that chicken hat/face mask thing though. I did find something of interest while driving through Webb City, Mo. A giant set of praying hands. What in the world? The idea of building them was introduced in 1971 by a young art student. You can learn more about them at The Praying Hands Statue.

The other day my husband and I went to Gordman's, a great department store that brags about having the same brands and designs for less than the higher department stores. I don't know about the same stuff, but they do have some good things. I got a new purse for $9. What a bargain! And I got to try on some really great hats. Like this poofy fake-wool and pseudo-suede one. That could keep you warm on a winter day. It's very jaunty, don't you think?

I'm always a fan of the cloche hat from the '20s and …

The Friday Five - Five Foods I Can't NaNo Without

I know, you hear NaNoWriMo and it translates into blah, blah, blah. Aren't I done with that yet? Well, unfortunately (or maybe fortunately as the holiday season is upon us) it's only the 11th. So, no. There are 19 days left for NaNoing.

Today I'm thinking about foods that inspire me to write. How do they inspire me? It's not like I write big long paragraphs about meals in my stories. But food is fuel for the body like... something something something is fuel for the creative mind (you see, I'm sitting here on an empty stomach right now and can hardly think). There are monks somewhere in the world reading this post, saying that I indulge my sweet tooth far too often to compensate for the amount of work I do, but oh well. You only live once, you might as well enjoy pie.

While I sit and write, I usually have a beverage at hand. This allows me to pick up a cup and do something with my hands while I struggle to think of the next witty thing for a character to say. I act…

Wednesday WriMo Woes

Here we are, middle of week two of NaNoWriMo. It's been going well. I don't feel desperate crazy like I have in the past. That makes me suspicious of next week, as it well should.

If I've learned one thing from expanding THL, it's that I have often rushed into the really awesome actions scenes. I am plying The Sky Pirate's Wife with lots of excellent detail and dialogue. No, I will not have SPW finished when the end of the month rolls around. It will be shy of about 30k, which I will attempt to add on in December depending on what kind of edits The Treasure Hunter's Lady needs. Should THL need copious amounts of edits that take up a great amount of time (aha! I knew there was a reason I had all those vacation days saved up!), I will attempt to finish SPW in January. If some miracle occurs (i.e. unicorns pooping rainbows that magically turn into words in my document, Dr. Pepper fountains springing up in my living room and give me motivation and the entire story, …

Stuff I Find While I'm--Oh Shoot, I Didn't Go Walking

I had an ORA meeting Saturday and then I spent a couple of hours upping my word count for NaNoWriMo on Saturday. It was a lovely day and we hadn't set our clocks back yet, so it wasn't like I didn't have daylight hours in which to walk, I just didn't.

Yesterday, as we were trying to adjust to the time change, we slept in late and I finished a book I was reading before we decided to take in a movie. Puss In Boots. It was all right. Not the same story quality as Shrek, perhaps, but I had trouble getting my mind around a cat as a hero. Humpty, however, was an eggs-cellent villain. Bad pun? Oh, sorry. No, I'm not.

I should think you would pardon me for not walking as I experienced my first earthquake Saturday night. Actually, I guess it was an aftershock, but it still scared me. I was about to run for a doorway. While I was sitting in my chair and reading, the propane heater started to rattle. Then the floor started to shake. I looked at my husband. He said, "It&#…

The Friday Five - Romance Authors Who Shaped The Way I Write

Today I wanted to take a look at some of the romance writers that inspired me to write romance. 'Course there are a slew of writers who inspired me, but these are special for couple of reasons. Oooo, especially the last one. Just wait.

#1) Rosanne Bittner - In The Shadow of the Mountains
This is the first romance novel I ever read. I was 12 and it was summertime and we were at a used bookstore. It has been many a year since I read it, but I always remember what the poor heroine had to go through to marry the man she loved. First, despite the fact that she looks blonde on the cover, she's part Native American. Second, she was forced to marry a man who was cruel to her while her little sister was perfectly happen to have relations with him. Third, this other guy she might possibly have loved got killed by an arrow and lastly, her step-mother wouldn't allow her to see the man she loved because he was Mexican. It was a story and a half. But it had an HEA. I don't know, but…

Stuff I Find While I'm Walking - My Halloween Oops

A brilliant idea came to me Sunday morning as I was getting dressed. In honor of Halloween, I would do a cemetery hop. Maybe snap a few photos with some orbs or ectoplasm. Wouldn't that be exciting? So I started out at the little cemetery a couple of miles from the house. It's called Short Cemetery and even on a sunny day like yesterday, it is creepy as hell. I don't know why, because it's laid out on a nice little hill with some gorgeous old pines and oaks providing shade. A wide cow pasture behind it is scenic, if you like cows. You can see in the photo the t-posts and concrete posts that provide the outline of the original cemetery before it expanded. There are plenty of old graves here, the writing faded from the elements. As I was walking along toward the right hand side, where the older graves are, I heard footsteps and nearly had an accident. Come to find out, it was a fallen oak limb with leaves still attached, rolling along in the wind. It really did sound lik…

The Friday Five - If You Don't Have Anything Nice to Say

It's hard, being a writer. In some ways, you're awash at sea, like Tom Hanks and Wilson, desperately seeking rescue. In many other ways, you're drowning in a flood of other writers, all fighting for a place at the top. The top is more like a swimming pool in Monte Carlo with endless rays, margaritas and cabana boys fanning your golden locks from your face and rubbing lotion all over your body. For some reason that brought to mind Stephen King. *shudder*

We all want to be petted. It's something that must be ingrained in us. Except for hermits, who prefer to hang out by themselves (I guess. I'm not a hermit... yet). As writers, we're trying to tell a story. We're giving our readers something to believe in. Unless...

Five things people say after reading your book and what they really mean.

#1) They say: It's good. (either said really fast or with hesitancy)
They mean: I read the first page and then decided to clean my house, do the laundry, fix dinner, get …