Monday, June 28, 2010

Zombie Cupcakes and Awards

So, I was dragged kicking and screaming invited to participate in an experiment over the weekend. The outcome is on Mia Hayson's (also My Literary Jam and Toast) new blog Will Blog 4Brainz. The link is here:

Pity me.

I've also received a couple of awards recently, so decided to stop hoarding and go ahead and spread the love post them.

The Versatile Blogger Award

The first is The Versatile Blogger given by:

Lisa Green at Paranormal Point of View
Kelly Dexter at Nerdsville Rhapsody

The rules are thus:

There are steps required for the Versatile Blogger Award:

1) Thank and link back to giver.

Thanks, guys!

2) List seven things about myself:

1) I'm a lot more boring than I seem.
2) My first car was a VW Bug.
3) I hate socks.
4) I cut my own hair.
5) I have less organs than I was born with.
6) Black is my favorite absence of color.
7) I breathe. Most days.

3) Pass the award on to 15 other bloggers you've discovered and think are fantastic.

Seriously? 15 people, pages, links? The next award wants the same thing, so I'm combining instead of posting 30 people's names.

4) Let the bloggers know about their award.

The other award is the Lovely Blog Award

Given by Tessa Conte at Tessa's Blurb

Rules are thus:

1. Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.

2. Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered.

3. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

Okay, fifteen people:

I seriously just spent half an hour trying to find someone I know that doesn't already have these. I had a list only three people long before I deleted and wrote this lame paragraph instead. I get points for trying, dangit. Short attention span, guys. Seriously short... what was I saying? Oh, right. Zombies. They're at Mia's new place. Funny ones.

***And another lame reminder of my 106 Followers Contest which ends this Sunday.

Friday, June 25, 2010

When Inspiration Strikes

I'm going to share something with you that may or may not come as a big surprise to those who know my cat is named Snape. I started writing five years ago, and my inspiration was someone whose name I'll never know. Let me explain.

I was hopping around the internet as I was wont to do with my evenings after work and I had the notion 'Hm. I wonder when book six is due out...' So, like any good fan of Potterverse, I hopped over to to find out. I browsed around some articles, and in the side bar was the line 'a great fan fiction story you should check out.' So, I did.

They weren't lying. It was pretty good. Not great, nothing to make me email everyone I knew, but pretty good.

But it wasn't done. At the site, they updated a chapter at a time and hadn't updated in over a year. This was disappointing. I wanted to know how it ended. Then, I swear, I have NO idea where this randomness came from, but I said to myself 'well, I guess I'll write one and give it my own ending.'

Up until that point, I was a poet. A bad one. I had written little things since I was a wee lass, but never tried to do anything more than five pages long. But something CLICKED in my head. I can't explain it. I started my story and wrote 52,000 words in six weeks. I didn't know how fan fiction websites worked at the time, so I posted the whole dang thing at once. Seven people read it.

At the time, I was all 'wooHOO!!! Seven people read my story and loved it!!!' *Cloud nine euphoria.*

I started a new one, and posted a chapter at a time this time. It became a beast. It was this epic tale of woe and heartbreak that capped at 250,000 before I said to myself, 'self, it's time you tried to write your OWN characters, don't you think?' I probably wouldn't have had the thought if not for my reviewers constantly saying 'why are you writing fanfic? you need to be writing stuff that you can sell.' I was all 'sell? no one would PAY for this tripe.'

Then I decided, 'hey, wth, why not?' So I started the story that became Lesser Evils.

I'm explaining this because I had a rather shocking moment yesterday morning. I saw an author had gotten a bookdeal on her three-part series, and the story line was remarkably similar to my fanfic. At first, I was pissed. I'll admit it. I won't say anything that will give away any of the plot or ANYTHING, because the truth is: it might be coincidence. People say there are no NEW ideas, just rehashes of old ideas, but that's not entirely true. Sometimes there ARE new ideas and when we read them or see them in a movie, it blows our mind. Remember the first time you saw The Sixth Sense?

Not that I'm saying my work is on the same calibre of that, but that's my point. My idea was a little out there, like me. So my first reaction was 'OMG, you hack! You totally stole my idea!!' But I calmed down pretty quick.

The truth is, even if they did read my story and drew inspiration from it, that's actually a good thing. It meant I inspired someone to write, just as someone else had inspired me once upon a time. Even if this person goes on to be a bazillionaire with their trilogy, that's cool. I would not be where I am today if not for the fanfic I posted. I would still be watching television every night or... yeah, I don't know what else I used to do before I wrote. I don't regret posting my work online. I needed the feedback and encouragement and I got it from other writers.

Which is why I'm not afraid to post my little shorts I share with you. Maybe they'll inspire you, maybe they'll just make you laugh. Either way, I did a good job, and that's all I ever wanted. I want to do a good job. Only, yanno, not where I work. I hate that place. :-)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Beauty is in the eye of the guy with the glasses or something like that...

Do you like it? I call it "I Wish I Was Beautiful"

I made it a while back. Every once in a while when the writing doesn't happen, I create stuff in my artsy program. This is my favorite one, and I think it's because it is the most personal to me. On the surface, yes... I wish I was beautiful. But it's more than that. This butterfly is beautiful in his (yeah, it's a him) own way, but he's so wrapped up in being like the others, he fails to see his own worth.

Don't we do that as writers? We see other people's writing and think, 'whoa, I suck compared to that.' Come on. Don't lie. You know you do it.

Well, I'm here to say: KNOCK IT OFF.

We're all gifted. No, that's not the 'everyone is special in their own way' falsity that parents tell their kids when they suck at sports. I mean that we, as writers, are gifted. We're also nuts, but I digress. We write, and that alone sets us apart from those who don't. We each have a different level of skill, but also a different level of imagination. The only thing that will EVER limit us is ourselves. Write that masterpiece. It's in you. All you have to do is type a lot, edit a bunch, fill in the plot holes, rewrite a scene or two, add a character, change the ending, and kill those adverbs and TADA!!! Success. Now get back to work and stop your bitching. You're beautiful.

And don't forget my contest! Deadline is July 4th (this year, for you procrastinators out there who need clarification).

Friday, June 18, 2010

'Tis Friday

I don't have a lot to say lately, as some may have noticed. I'm working on my WIP a lot, and my life is pretty monotonous otherwise. I get up, read blogs, go to work, come home, read blogs, write if I can, then go to bed early. There's rarely any variation to this.

While my mind is on my story, I'm very focused and often tune out all other things. I'm obsessive compulsive so will do one thing until I absolutely HATE it, then find something new to obsess over. This is greatly affected by my short attention span.

So, the only thing I can share regarding writing today is a short little thing that popped into my head. It's a writer's re-write to the opening of Poe's The Raven. Enjoy.

Once upon a midnight query, I did edit 'week' and 'dearie'
Over many a bland sentence until my eyes were sore.
While I plodded, nearly slapping, my forehead for the plot gapping,
As someone twittered they'd be napping, napping at ten 'til four
''Tis unheard if,' I muttered, 'napping at ten 'til four -
The butt in chair, 'tis what writing's for.'

Ridiculously short, yes? Blame my attention span.

It's Friday, so on Twitter I see #FollowFriday for pointing out good followers. On Wednesday they do #WriterWednesday for fellow writers. I'm tempted to do #MoronMonday, but I do not know certain coworker's Twitter names.

Everyone have a great weekend!

PS My contest is still open until July 4th. I hope to get some more entries, of course :-)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Awards Time!

I've received a couple of awards and I'd like to pass them out today. The first one was from John Paul over at Where Sky Meets Ground. It is the Journey Support Award.

It's hard for me to single out specific people for awards because you've all been so fantastic with your comments and support. You help me continue writing, even when I feel like giving up some days, or at least give up sharing my work with others. Without each and every one of you who visit and communicate something back to me, I would feel as though I was making this journey alone.

The second award comes from Anne at Piedmont Writer. This one comes with the following rules:

1) You can only bestow this honor on one fellow writer at a time.

2) You can only pass it on to someone who has shown signs of recent struggle.

3) You do not have to have received it to pass it on.

4) When you pass it on, you must provide a word or two of encouragement to the receiver.

5) As awesome as this award is, you can't write a post with the intention or hope of getting this award. I mean, we struggle, yes, but we aren't needy.

6) When you receive this award, you have to state one positive thing about your writing ability. After all, the best kind of encouragement is the kind that comes from within ourselves.

My recipient is Roland D. Yeomans at Writing in the Crosshairs

For those of you who follow my blog, you may realize how important both these awards are to me just by the mere fact I'm using HTML LINK CODING ZOMG ME HATES IT.

To appease rule 4 (and because I want to say it): To Roland,

Chin up, chest out. The heart is just as worthy an organ to think with as the brain.

To appease rule 6: I'm not half bad at dialogue.


Now, regarding my 106 Followers Contest

I've not had as many entries as I would have liked, which is understandable considering the summer season and possibly short notice. I see on other blogs where more time is given than what I gave, so I thought I might extend it until July 4th. I greatly appreciate my new followers, and welcome aboard! It's great to have you here.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A few things...

First and foremost, I want to speak of how sometimes life just sucks. Last night, Alyssa Smith's house burned down and she has nothing. She's an editor for Sterling Books. A website has been started in which donations are accepted to assist. We did it for Nashville. We can do it for someone in the biz, too. I suck at linkage, so here it is:

In fact, I'd be awesome if they did another auction of agents' assistance. I'm sure thousands would be raised.

Secondly, and on a lighter note, I gave forced my daughter my first 10 chapters of my WIP for her input on the YA-ness of it. She left me a note on my desk that I got when I got home from work. It reads:

Started Around: 7:50 - 8:07

Finished: 1:01 pm

...I loves it...

LOL! In your face!!

That's exactly what it said. It made me giggle, so I thought I'd share.

Also, don't forget about my contest, folks!

The link is thus:

Everyone have a great Wednesday!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Digging out the oldies...

Happy Saturday, folks. I've managed about 1,000 words of my WIP, which is way under my goal, but the day's not over yet so maybe I'll get to my goal before the day is out.

During one of many episodes of procrastination, I found a scene I'd written well over a year ago. It's funny how far my writing has come in just one year. So, bearing my amateurocity (new word), I've attached it to the end of this post. You will find adverbs galore, I promise. It's also much longer than what I usually post, so no worries if it daunts.

I hope everyone's having a good weekend. Here in Texas it is HOT, and if not for A/C I'd be curled up in a ball somewhere weeping. I hate heat. I lived in Colorado too many years, for one. I used to have an old Ford with no A/C and that was just miserable down here. The heat distracts me when I'm writing. I don't have good airflow so I periodically go to the cooler side of the house. I should just move my computer there.

Another reminder about my contest. No pressure, of course, but the more the merrier.


Though he probably ran this colloquialism into the ground the last few months, Gus couldn’t help but thoroughly feel his life now really sucked. Not just a little, not ‘we need to cut corners’ sucked, not ‘you’re grounded’ sucked, not even ‘we’re moving’ sucked. No, this was a pure and overwhelming sort of suck that left a person in need of a bigger but no less accurate word to define it. As such, this whole new level easily qualified as Sucktacular.

Maybe it would have been better had his family been the sort to be able to vocalize their pain when Mom had left them forever, but his family just didn’t work that way. Dad was… well. Sarah was just too little to really understand or comprehend what they had lost. Mary was no longer a conversation partner at all, and Jesse spent far too much time holed up in his room now that they were back from school. He rather suspected his brother had been in Sarah’s bed far more than his own at night, however, which was good for him, maybe, but it still left Gus with no one to help him release the anguish which seemed to be building by the day, by the hour.

He and his eldest brother, Jake… just didn’t work that way. Besides, Jake was busy trying to be their pseudo parent and past history told Gus a Jake with a frayed thread was not a Jake he should strike up a heart-to-heart talk with. Or any sort of conversation, really. In fact, he avoided him as much as possible just to keep the eerily quiet house from erupting in cross words or the echo of slammed doors that would distress the others. Gus did try to be considerate, after all. Sometimes.

This summer was especially stifling, or maybe it just felt that way. His last term at school had been unusually difficult after they had buried Mom. Gus no longer had Jake there as his ‘just in case’ touchstone, Mary had not returned to finish the year, Jesse was withdrawn and had done poorly in his classes, and somehow football just didn’t mean a damn thing to him anymore and he had surrendered his position. In fact, Gus lost interest in just about everything, and he had been in the principal’s office more times that term than the total of the previous three years due to the alternative ways he had found to pass the time. He was no longer the same boy he had been. He didn’t care for fun, didn’t search out entertainment. If nothing else, he was impulsive, more so now than ever. His decisions were quick and rarely thought through to the end.

Decisions like this one. Really, Gus didn’t see the harm. He had been swimming these waters the whole of his life and it was one of the few things he engaged in that never resulted in an injury. In fact, as far as pastimes went, this one was pretty tame. Without a word to anyone he wandered out to the beach, eager to cool his body and maybe just relax his mind a bit in the salty waves. It wasn’t long, however, before swimming alone got downright boring. With a quick glance to the cliffs it took only half a moment to consider diving off the cliffs might be a spot of fun in an otherwise dismal existence.

He swam to shore and strode up the beach, then climbed up to the top of the cliff, then stood there dripping and looking out over the edge. Well… as long as he aimed it right, he would easily avoid the rocks, he supposed. True, Gus’d never swam beneath the cliffs before, but if it got too much, he’d just swim back to the beach, no worries.

Mindful not to take his deep breath until he actually neared the water, Gus merely jumped, angling himself to where he would effortlessly avoid the rocks, a small smile gracing his face in satisfaction as he inhaled deeply before plunging beneath the water’s surface.

Glancing up towards the sunlight as his velocity slowed, he was trying to determine just how deep he had gone when he came to an abrupt and very painful stop. His attention swiftly dropped to his chest, then his eyes went wide with horror as he realized he had gotten himself rather impaled on a small (and decidedly sharp) crag of coral.

Planting both hands on the reef, Gus tried to pull himself off of it, but what he got for his trouble was the end of it snapping off, having lodged at an angle and apparently snagged inside him behind his rib.


Yeah, that about summed it up.

Breaking the surface with a gasp, Gus rolled onto his back and futilely pressed his skin to the branch of calcium protruding out of his… lung. Godsdammit, yes, his fucking lung. That would explain the difficulty in breathing.

Suddenly thrown down by a powerful wave, Gus found himself doing an underwater summersault before scrambling for the surface again, horrified to discover he was further from shore. The beach now looked miles away to his panicked mind.

Well, staring at it wasn’t going to get it any closer. With great effort and greater pain, Gus began to swim towards his home, praying someone would be looking out a window and see him since he seriously doubted he’d be able to trek up to the house once his sorry ass washed up on the beach.

He was not aiming for the shore itself, but more the waves so they could carry him in and save him some effort. Scared there were sharks nearby, he swam as fast as he could. Hopefully if they were drawn at all, they would head to the waters beneath the cliffs which he was trying desperately to remove himself from.

Catching a break at last, he found himself being taken up in a large wave, doing his very best to angle himself so he could body surf his way towards the shore and he managed it for the most part. Once his feet were able to touch the bottom, he stumbled out of the water in a hunch, clutching futilely at his chest in instinct to paw at the source of pain.

“Jake!” he called as best he could, but his lung capacity was cut in half and he was gurgling up blood and water from the punctured one, coughing it out in a pink spray on the sand. Falling to his knees he tried again, this time in a scared sob, “Jake!” as he fell onto his side, slowly rolling over onto his back. Oh, fuck. This was bad. Really, really bad.

His little brother, Jesse, arrived from out of nowhere, it seemed, and he sank to his knees beside Gus, terrified eyes taking in the coral that protruded from his slender chest.

“Gus?” Jesse asked worriedly, turning his head towards his older brother to get his eye, his heart dropping into his stomach when Gus gave him a small smile with eyes that were far too glossy and lips stained red with the trickles of blood which flowed at each corner.

“I’ll get Jake. Don’t die. Oh, please Gus, don’t die,” Jesse begged, tears streaming down his face, then turned and ran back towards the house to fetch their eldest brother.

Gus had so much he’d wanted to say to his little brother when he found him, but he just didn’t have it in him to speak. In fact, he barely had it in him to do anything. Much against Jesse’s wishes, he was quite sure he was dying. He wasn’t particularly happy about it, certainly wasn’t ready for it, but at the same time he knew there wasn’t anything he could do about it.

As his brother disappeared from view, Gus was certain he had just seen his brother for the last time. With the last ounce of strength he had, he rolled back to his side and shakily scribbled in the sand.

He was still on his side when his brothers returned, his gaze quick to look up to Jake, eyes wide with a terror which was firmly taking hold of him. But in a heartbeat it was gone, washing away with the last breath he expelled as his body rolled again to its back.

Written in the wet sand, a message was scrawled with crude penmanship. Gus had taken a moment to decide what the most important words would ever be that he could say to his brothers. Impish to the last, he decided to leave the world with a joke in his heart to keep the coral in his lung company. Near his head were the unmistakable words, Mom liked me best.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Feeling Funk-tabulous

I've noticed a trend on the bloggosphere and around about. The funks are setting in. At first I thought it was just me and I felt bad for being such a bad blogging friend, but I'm starting to notice a trend. I think many of us have hit a spot in our lives/writing/blogging/working/whatever where we're just kinda blah.

I fought it over the weekend and got a few thousand words done on my WIP, but I'm not really happy with it. My CPs have no complaints, but it's missing something to me. Maybe it's part of my funk. Maybe even if it was better than Austen (nope) I'd still think it sucked.

I'm at 55 rejections and 16 no replies. Not a single partial. I think I only had one personal rejection. It's this and other things that are going on in my life that make me question my worth. If I'm even any good. I wonder if I'm an idiot. A dreamer. Nuts.

Okay, I know I'm nuts. Let's leave that one alone for now.

I want to keep going on and on about all the things in my life that are going wrong, but that'd just be a pity party and I hate that. I'm just venting, I guess.

So, this is me checking in on Wednesday. I know my posts are inconsistent, but I blog when the mood strikes. You people with schedules boggle my mind. I'm never good at keeping a schedule or having plans. My plans always fall apart, so I quit bothering.

Side note: Don't forget about my contest. If you don't have time, that's cool. I'm using it also as a way to get myself in gear. I want to finish my WIP by the contest deadline so I can devote all my time to the contestants.

I hope everyone's summer is not as hot as mine has been lately. The electric company is going to LOVE me. I can't wait to see the bill.

Anyone else feeling funk-tabulous? Maybe we're a hive psyche. One starts to feel down and it spreads across the blog hive.