Monthly Archives: May 2013

Trac Changes: On Coverflipping, Misogyny, and, Oh Yeah—How You and I Are Part of the Problem

Trac Changes: On Coverflipping, Misogyny, and, Oh Yeah—How You and I Are Part of the Problem

An interesting interpretation of the “coverflipping” thing that I agree with, and which is written with more intelligence and self-awareness than I could ever contribute.

“…how about teaching our boys that there’s no shame in female or feminine things?”

EXACTLY.


WIPpet Wednesday, “I’m Running Out of Stuff Again” Edition (and #ROW80 Update)

Wednesday again? Really? Seems like we just did this. It’s so weird how individual days can seem to drag on, but then a week goes by and I have no idea where it went.

For anyone who’s new to this (and hello, welcome!), WIPpet Wednesday is the day when we post a bit of a work in progress that somehow relates to the day’s date: 22 lines, something from page or chapter 22, 22+5 lines (for the 22nd day of the 5th month)… we like to get creative.

As I said in the title, I’m running out of stuff to post on Wednesdays, for a few reasons. One is that I’m going back to editing Bound, and I don’t know whether I can finish this story before I do. I read a post on heroines at There and Draft Again the other day, and it made me miss Rowan so badly I wanted to cry. I need to get back to her story. But I don’t want to disappoint anyone waiting on this one… The other issue is that while I love how this Newfoundland vampire thing is going,* a lot of it might not be appropriate for WIPpet Wednesdays. Some of it is sex, a lot of it is violence. Gory post-murder scenes, tortured bodies of innocent people. Necessary for the story, but kind of only appropriate for a certain audience.

Ugh.

Well, here’s something for today, anyway, 22 paragraphs. This takes place a few days after the training from last Wednesday. After they went to help investigate one of these disturbing scenes, Trixie decided to leave Daniel and Shivva to go train under an experienced rogue hunter. Now Shivva and Daniel are alone in the townhouse. Shivva was pretty shaken up over the way the people died, and by suspicions that Katya, the rogue hunter, had something to do with the murders (she’s keeping that to herself for now). Sorry if some of what they talk about is confusing; it was all explained earlier. :/

Again, this is first draft stuff. You’ve been warned.

I sit on the counter, swinging my feet, banging them against the wood of an empty cupboard door. Daniel leans against the fridge, and kicks it when it starts making that thrumming noise like it does sometimes. We’ll need to replace that, too.

My thoughts are everywhere tonight.

“So,” Daniel says. “This shouldn’t be weird, right?”

“I don’t think so. We’ve been alone in the house before. You and Trixie were here together before I came along, I assume that wasn’t weird.” I assumed a lot of things until he kissed me. Assumed there was nothing more to our relationship than the hard-ass trainer/desperate-to-achieve underling. Sure, I’ve always known he was attractive, but I’ve never really considered dating vampires… or whatever. I have my fun with the humans I feed on, some times more than others, and I’m satisfied with that. To consider a relationship is just crazy. Especially with him. He doesn’t want that, of course. It was a training exercise. Calm down, Shivva.

He’s watching me again. He steps closer. “This morning was hard for you, wasn’t it? Worse than the other one.”

“Um. Well, yeah.” I’m not sure what to say. Katya is an old friend of his, and someone he respects. Who respects him. Who I’m wrong about. Why do I have to keep telling myself that? Best to focus on something else.

God, his eyes are gorgeous.

“Maybe telling you to open yourself up to that whole compassion thing was a bad idea. I’m sorry, Shiv.” He pulls his hair back from his face, then lets it fall forward over his eyes, shadowing them.

“No, it’s fine. I was getting something, but I guess it wasn’t quite there. I think it’s helping, I just need to learn to hide my emotions better.”

“Yeah.” There are a thousand words floating in the air between us, unspoken. I wish I knew what they were. He wants to say more, I can feel it. He steps closer again. “Shiv, about the other night…”

“Oh. I told you it was OK.” I try to laugh, but it falls flat, adding to the weight of the room’s atmosphere. “You were right about a lot of things, you know. About not trying to be a good vampire and just letting it happen, about my enemy perception being flawed when my expectations are too… specific.” He’s locked his eyes onto mine, making me stumble over my words. My mouth is dry.

He swallows hard. “I can’t be your trainer anymore.”

“What?” I want to jump down to the floor, but I can’t without crashing into him. “I’m fired?”

“No, you’re not fired.” He’s got that worried look again. No, confused. Uncertain? Why can’t I get a handle on this? “I just can’t do it anymore.”

“But I’m doing better, really! I know I haven’t been making much progress recently, but I think with your new ideas, I could do better. I am doing better, already. Daniel, please—”

He holds up a hand, places a finger on my lips to silence me. My skin prickles, and a shiver like a bucketful of cold water washes across my back. He feels it, and smiles. “Shivva, you’re doing fine. I know I don’t tell you that enough. Or ever, actually. But you’re doing great. Once you get past this last block, you’ll be ready for whatever you want to do. When I found you, I thought you’d be suited for investigations and hunting, but if this isn’t working out for you, the world is yours. I’m proud of you. You’re strong and smart and amazing, and I wish I could say that it hurts me to kick your ass, but it’s actually pretty fun. I like training you.”

“So what’s the problem? I’m not done like Trixie.”

He steps forward again, into my space, his hips between my knees, hands resting on the counter on either side of me. His face is just inches away from mine. “If you feel like you’re not ready, I can find someone else to train you, but it would be unethical for me to be in a position of authority over you.”

“Daniel?” Is he going to kiss me?

“Just say I’m not your trainer anymore.”

“You’re not my trainer anym–”

His mouth cuts me off, pressed against mine. Harder than the other night, forcing my lips back against my teeth. He stops, pulls back so that his lips are a hair’s breadth from mine, not touching. Giving me a chance to pull away.

Think she’ll tell him to shove off? 🙂

Be sure to check out the other WIPpeteers’ contributions here (updated all day long!), and thank you to the splendiferously spectacular K.L. Schwengel for hosting all of this. If you want to join in, post your own work on your blog (relating to the date in some way) and add your link!

And if you have a moment…

ROW80LogocopyNow, I also need to toss in a ROW80 update, don’t I? Not much to say. I’ve had a few days when I’ve got my 1,000 words in, but I’m feeling a little uninspired right now. I know where this story is going and how to get there, but I’m tired. We’ll see if tonight’s write-in with the writing ninjas perks me up at all. I haven’t been waking up early; the tiredness extends to everything, not just writing. I’m reading a bit, but it’s on the Kobo, and I find myself wishing I had a paperback copy. Still adjusting to it. I might hold off on reviewing anything I read on there, because I think it’s affecting my enjoyment of the stories, and that’s not fair to the author or the story. Maybe after I find one I can’t put down, my brain will get the message. 🙂

I really want it to work out, because books are so much cheaper that way, especially stuff that doesn’t come from big publishers. I’m finding myself much more likely to try a book I wouldn’t have otherwise when I can get it for less than $5 (so no, this doesn’t include most traditionally published stuff, but I’m finding some interesting-looking books from other sources).

I hope everyone’s having a great week, whether you’re a WIPpeteer, a #ROW80 participant, or someone who’s actually sane and does neither. If you’re here, I want you to be having an amazing week.

*My kingdom for a title!


Minor Issues, Feeling Tense

I have nothing interesting to say today. You might just want to move along, ignore me.

Everyone gone? OK.

Know what’s weird? Going from writing in present-tense* to editing/rewriting another piece in past-tense. I’m usually very good about keeping my tenses straight; I have one short story that goes back and forth between present action and past memories, but even there I didn’t screw up. Today, though, it’s pretty obvious what’s been added to chapter one of the novel I’m editing because IT’S FREAKING ALL SLIPPING INTO PRESENT TENSE.

1kvsa

I’ll get over it, but I think this answers the question of whether I can write one and edit the other at the same time. That would be a no, unless my mind does some serious ninja-style training and masters these mental gymnastics. If my brain is anything like the rest of my body, this will be impossible. I fall upstairs. Regularly.

I’ve run into another issue this week, this time answering an interview question. It’s a simple enough question: “What is your WIP about?” This wouldn’t be so difficult if it was about what I’m editing, or about the vampire thing, but it’s for JuNoWriMo. Next month, I’m re-tackling Torn, the sequel to Bound.

How the effing eff do you answer that question for a sequel without summarizing what happened in the first book? These are complete stories in themselves, but everything that happens in the second book is directly related to the first one, and they’re not intended to be read out-of-order (horrors!).

It’s not impossible, just awkward and difficult. Just like me! 😀

Imma go look up back cover copy for a few sequels, see what they did.

Imma also stop saying “imma,” because that’s super annoying.

Third thing, kind of random: I just realized why I often don’t like pictures of people’s faces on book covers. This dude on my Kobo won’t stop staring at me, and I’m getting freaked out. I have to go switch to another book now so the “cover” that shows isn’t a freaking stalker.

*It just took me five tries to type the word “tense” properly. I HAVE ISSUES.


One of Unique Engrish for Monday. Collect them All!

I’ve got a bigger Engrish post coming on Thursday (if my scheduling calculations are correct, and they aren’t always), but I thought this one deserved its own post.

IMG_2362

“Let’s own your friends.”

I call shotgun on basing a story on this one.

Also, I’ve added a handy-dandy “Engrish” category over there on the right, in case anyone needs to refer back to these oh-so-important posts. You’re so welcome. 🙂


My Goodreads Review of Divergent

My Goodreads Review of Divergent

Done. Not perfect, but it’s the first book that’s kept me up late in quite a while. That gets bonus points. 🙂


#ROW80 Check-In, WTF Snow edition

Good Sunday, all! Is that a thing? Wishing people a good specific weekday? It is now. Happy Sunday!

Just a quick check-in today. First of all, can I just say that it is SNOWING here? Like, beginning-to-look-a-lot-like-Christmas, oh-wait-it-wasn’t-this-snowy-at-Christmas snow. IT SUCKS. I’m sure the plants in the garden agree. There’s probably a writing metaphor in that, too, but I’m not going to think about that today.

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The view out my front window this morning

Sick, right? I know.

But anyway, writing! I was able to join the Writing Ninjas in a twitter write-in on Wednesday night, which boosted my word count, and writing a few exciting scenes yesterday and on Friday helped, too. Friday was an over-2000 day, which is good for me. I hope those days will become more common when I have no-kids time during the day in September, but who knows?

Some days weren’t so great, but I think I’m still sticking fairly close to the 1,000 word a day goal if you average it out.

I’m not doing so well with getting up early to write, but that’s mostly because of the up-past-midnight writing sessions the night before, so I’ll give myself a pass on that.

I think I need to toss some reading goals in, too, since reading is such an important part of our development as writers. I’m going to say a novel a week; might not happen (depends a LOT on the book), but I have quite a few books waiting for my attention. Divergent kept me up late last night; I have problems with the story and particularly with the concept of the dystopia, but it’s a compelling read, even if so far it seems like a really, really long training montage in a movie. It’s interesting to read a first-person present tense story while I’m writing one, when the voices are so different. I think I’m getting used to reading this style.

So let’s go with that for this week. 1,000 words a day on The Vampire Thing That Refuses To Be Named (which is looking like it’ll settle somewhere in the 30,000 word range), finish reading Divergent and then move on to the next book I need to finish. I think I’ll finish all of the in-progress reads before moving on. Mmm-hmm. Orgainzation! Whee! Also, reasonable bedtimes and up early, except for maybe on Thursday if I’m up late at the write-in again on Wednesday.

Oh, and one more thing: apparently there’s a #ROW80 participant/sponsor/all-around good type named Lauralynn Elliott who’s having some trouble right now. Her husband is very sick, and they need help. She has several books out in the fantasy/paranormal/romance genres; I haven’t read them yet, but if anyone wants to check them out, here’s the link. Book sales can’t hurt! Here’s the most recent post on other ways people are looking to help (with incentives!), if you’re interested. Since I have no money, I can only help spread the word. :/

SERIOUSLY, IT’S STILL SNOWING.

*cries*

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To see all of the other #ROW80 updates, click here. To join the fun, check it out here!


What Not To Do (link)

*YAWN*

Good morning, everyone. I hope last night treated you well. I was up way too late writing, but I have no regrets. My characters might, but I don’t.

Just wanted to share a quick link to something I found interesting. Nothing I hadn’t read before, but I like the way it’s presented, and the writer’s personal experience really fills out the information. Not information that all of you need, but I’m going to leave it care in case anyone wants to take a peek. 🙂

How Not to Publish a Novel in Seven Complicated Screw-Ups

What do you think? Would you debate any of these points? I can at least see the wisdom in all of them, though I know many writers do leave a lot of time between their first and second publications because of marketing pressures and stuff. I might try to have a second book almost ready before I publish the first one… if I decide to go that way, yadda yadda.

I’m going to leave you with this. Writing is fun, isn’t it?

1jveg


FRIDAY!

…means nothing to me, really. It’s a long weekend, but AJ is working, and the weather’s crappy.

Still, it’s going to be a good weekend. I have at least one evening to myself, which is good. I have a couple of characters I left in a fun-but-awkward position and haven’t had time to get back to them. I always feel terrible when that happens. I’m hoping for a few thousand words this weekend, at least, but we’ll see.

I don’t have much else to tell you, except that I hope you all have an amazing weekend, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, and I hope your weather is better than mine. 🙂

I’m going to leave you with a song I’ve discovered I can’t listen to in the shower, because I’m clumsy. Singing in the shower is one thing (and I do), but dancing is quite another, and I can’t help wiggling my butt to this one.

(Give ‘er at least a minute, but the end is the best part. And how fun is this lyric video?)


The Liebster Award (and boy, did I get some fantastic questions to answer!)

liebster-blog-award

OK, I said I was going to get to this, and I am!

The Liebster Award    (<– click there for an interesting post on origins)

I was nominated for this award by two fantastic bloggers: L. Marie, one of my favourite commenters around here and writer on her fantastic blog “El Space”, where she posts insightful and thought-provoking articles on writing (seriously, go check it out), and Briana Vedsted, author of YA and Westerns and one of those bloggers who’s always helping out everyone else, reblogging blogs on “When I Became an Author”, promoting promotions, interviewing authors who could use the exposure, and sharing awesome bits of herself and her writing in the process. Thank you both!

Two nominations means two sets of questions to answer, and one set for me to make up for my own nominees. Hmm…

From L. Marie:

1. What is one thing you want to do to help change the world? Jeez, start with an easy one why don’t you… I want to make the world a better place by making myself a better example for my boys to look up to, so that they can grow up to be curious, intelligent, respectful, loving, creative versions of whoever it is they want to be. The world needs more people like that. Also, I want to spread happiness and kindness where I can.
2. What is your favorite adaptation of a book to a movie?  Ooh, tough one. I’m usually hard on movie adaptations. The Shipping News was really well done, and the Shawshank Redemption.
3. Why did you start your blog? I wanted a place to share all of the fun, weird stuff in my head and to talk about writing. I didn’t think anyone would actually read it…
4. When did you first discover that you wanted to write? Probably in first grade. My school “published” our books by laminating and binding them after they were written and illustrated. It was so fun!
5. Most inspiring outdoor place? Why? Too many! My grandparents’ cottage is one; it’s a peaceful spot on a wooded island in a lake in Northern Ontario, and it inspired a lot of adventures in my mind when I was younger. Cape Spear (the Easternmost point in North America) is fantastically inspiring on foggy days. You wouldn’t believe the atmosphere.
6. Do you have a life slogan? If so, what is it?  I don’t. I collect quotes, but I don’t have one slogan. I should get one.
7. Name one person who has influenced the way you see life right now. Why? STOP MAKING ME THINK. OK, Tina Fey. She’s funny and entertaining, but she’s more than that. She’s very smart and says a lot of insightful things about achieving goals, being yourself, and why women today can’t think of feminism as something we don’t need anymore.
8. Who is one of your favorite authors? Why?  Just one? Stephen King. A lot of people think he writes pulp for shock value, but there’s more depth to his stories (especially recent ones) than a lot of people give him credit for. He’s talented, he writes genre fiction, and he doesn’t apologize for “wasting” his talent. I don’t love all of his books, but when they hook me I can’t put them down. Also, his book “On Writing” changed my life.
9. One piece of advice you would give to a middle schooler or an older teen is . . .  Take time to figure things out on your own before you jump into relationships. You feel like you’re all grown up now, but there’s time for that stuff later. “You complete me” is a terrible philosophy when it comes to love. Figure out who you are, complete yourself, then find someone who appreciates the things that make you you and who brings out the best of that. This takes time; respect yourself enough to know that, and before you make big decisions on who your friends are, boyfriends/girlfriends, sex (or jobs, religion, anything), think about whether it’s helping you move toward being the person you want to be. This is so huge that it’s easy to ignore.
10. A goal you have now is to . . .  Self-publish something to see if I can do it.

11. A favorite statement a family member or friend has said to you recently about your writing is . . . From one friend/beta reader on Bound:

  • “I may neglect my children for a few days while I read this. Does talking to them without looking up from the page constitute neglect? “
  • “Decent amount of sexual tension, I must say! I’m pretty ready for her to jump Aren.”
  • “ok back to reading. you have me hooked. I was reading before bed last night and dreamed about magical lands all night.”
  • “You need to publish this. You’re a natural.”
  • (When I tried to talk about something else) “Shhh! Aren is flying into Rowan’s stormy mind! DON’T INTERRUPT!!!!”
  • “ummm… what??? Story over?? I need MORE! Come on.”

HOLY CRAP THE WARM FUZZIES.

And Briana’s questions:

  1. What is your pet peeve?  People tossing garbage out of their car windows (I have several, this is actually a minor one)
  2. Where would you like to go on vacation? Ontario, to visit my family
  3. Who is your favorite singer?  Um… I don’t have one favourite. Let’s say Harry Chapin for now, since I’m going to do a blog post on him some day. 🙂
  4. Do you have a nickname?  My husband calls me Kitty. Kate is actually a nickname; most people call me Kathleen in real life
  5. Is there something you collect, i.e. stamps, rocks, dried flowers? My Little Ponies, moose and chicken-related items, old magazine ads featuring mounties
  6. If you could go back in time for a  day, what year would you go to?  I can’t even answer this one. Too many variables!
  7. What is your favorite color? Green
  8. What smell reminds you of home? the ocean
  9. What was your first pet? A kitten named Tiffany. She got hit by a car. 😦
  10. What is your most prized possession? Right now, my first Canadian edition copy of Animal Farm that I found in my great-grandmother’s things after she died. It changes, though.
  11. Name your favorite book off the top of your head.  East of Eden (see random facts)

OK, let’s check the rules…

  • Rule number 1 is to list 11 random facts about me.  (see post here)
  • Rule number 2 is to nominate 11 other bloggers for the  Liebster Award and list their blogsites. (see below)
  • Rule number 3 is to notify the bloggers of their award.  (I’ll get to it)
  • Rule number 4 is to ask the award winners 11 questions to  answer when they accept their Liebster Award. (below, again)
  • Rule number 5 is I answer the questions left for me by the  blogger who gave me the award. (Done. Twice)

NOMINEES (drumroll, please):

Budget Bliss (a friend of mine blogs about planning her dream wedding on a tight time-and-money budget, and offers tips to others aiming to do the same)

Deciphering Kim (another friend’s personal blog. She’s a fantastic teacher and a beautiful person, and she posts updates on her favourite music, what she’s doing with her students, and various ponderings and pictures)

RDUS Customizers’ Paradise (Shannon sells doll hair and posts interviews with pony/doll/toy customizers to show off their amazing work)

Michelle Proulx- The Blog  (Michelle wrote the first Sci-Fi book I’ve ever really loved, and her blog is both informative and ridiculously entertaining)

Lit and Scribbles (I’m sure Jae has been nominated plenty of times, but she’s one of the first WordPress bloggers I really connected with, and her blog on writing is fantastic, so get your butt on over there if you haven’t been)

Trainer Trish (a gentle and informative philosophy on training dogs, insightful posts, sweet pictures. I wish I could take Jack to her classes, they sound like so much fun!)

Tricia Drammeh (another of my new favourite writing blogs, with insights into small, independent publishing’s advantages and pitfalls)

tracycembor (great blog for writers. Her updates on publishing are my favourites)

Walk a Mile in my Shoes  (amazing mom of a special needs child offers insights and hopes her story will help others in similar situations)

Opinionated, Baby (another amazing mom who writes. Her Mother’s Day post was incredible, and said things I can never manage to. Lovely person and a talented photographer, too!)

Tales From the Red House (another amazing mom and blogger who I’m proud to say is my cousin. Awesomeness runs in my family, guys.)

There are so many other blogs I love, but I thought I’d mix it up here, throw in a bunch of non-writing blogs and random new favourites. There are other awards to nominate for…

So, did I nominate you? Here are the eleven questions you need to answer in your own post (follow the rules listed above for other requirements, and don’t feel obligated to participate! I’m just trying to show your fantastic blogs some love)

  1. If our knees bent the other way, what would a chair look like? (describe, or better yet, draw)
  2. What is your favourite flower? Favourite tree?
  3. What did you dream about last night (or the last one you can remember)?
  4. What do you hope people will gain by reading your blog?
  5. Of the books you’ve read recently (say, 6 months or a year), what was your favourite? Why?
  6. Sweet or salty?
  7. What is your favourite genre for reading? Movies? If they’re different, why do you think that is?
  8. Imagine your perfect morning. What’s the best way you can think of to wake up?
  9. Summer Olympics, or winter? Favourite sport?
  10. What’s the nicest compliment you’ve received recently (writing-related for writers, otherwise for all others)?
  11. Did you read through this whole post, or just skip to the nominations, rules, and these questions? Be honest, we’ve all done it…

So there we go! Here are the rules again, in case any nominees missed them:

  • Rule number 1 is to list 11 random facts about me.  (see post here)
  • Rule number 2 is to nominate 11 other bloggers for the  Liebster Award and list their blogsites. (see below)
  • Rule number 3 is to notify the bloggers of their award.  (I’ll get to it)
  • Rule number 4 is to ask the award winners 11 questions to  answer when they accept their Liebster Award. (below, again)
  • Rule number 5 is I answer the questions left for me by the  blogger who gave me the award. (Done. Twice)

If you nominated me for this and I missed your questions, let me know! WordPress won’t let me search comments, so if you nominated me somewhere other than my “about me” page, I might have lost it. This goes for the other awards, too.


How Far?

Good morning, Friends, Romans, and/or Countrymen!

I don’t need your ears, but your eyes and your thoughts. You can have both back when I’m done with them.

I have a quick question, which is mostly for my writerly friends, but those of you who are strictly readerly can jump in with your thoughts, too, please and thank you.

The question is about sex. Yes, I know where babies come from. My question is, how do you decide how much is too much?

Not that I’m dealing with this right now in anything that I’m writing. Nope, no sir. Just a question. There is nothing happening in anyone’s kitchen and/or bedroom right now.

I’ve pretty much settled this for myself, both in my YA and adult writing. I’m just wondering how you decide for your work. Do yo write what you’re comfortable with, and if your readers feel like you teased them for X number of pages (or books in a series, heaven help us), that’s just too bad? Do you let your intended audience’s age dictate, or expectations based on your genre? Or is it entirely dictated by the story and characters, and you adjust your own wants or comfort level to that?

Are you more comfortable with the chaste kiss and fade to black, a little more before we cut to a montage of trains entering tunnels, volcanoes erupting, etc.? A tasteful description of the whole she-bang, or full-on “insert tab A into slot B” descriptions?

Readers, what forms your expectations for what you’ll get in a story? Do books usually live up to expectations, or have you ever been shocked by too much or extremely disappointed with not enough?

We’ll talk more about this another day, and I’ll share my own theories, but I want your thoughts first.  🙂


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