Monthly Archives: November 2013

Holiday Shenanigans

Amy Snow will be returning soon! For anyone who missed it the first time (ie last December, when most of you weren’t around), here’s why we don’t have an Elf on the Shelf, and an introduction to the lovely Miss Snow, who does the job for us instead. She was a last-minute project for us, but it’s working out well. The boys are both very excited to see her again!

For the rest of her adventures from last year (a whole half-month’s worth), click here. I have a feeling things are going to get even crazier this time…

Language warning. I know other people love their elf, but I can’t talk about him without cussin’. He scares me.

disregard the prologue

So, Elf on the Shelf. I’m going to be honest here: that tiny bastard scares the bejeezus out of me.

Have you seen him? This little toy elf that you buy (I don’t know where, I assume from Hell’s gift shop) and set up every night in random places because… I think the kids are supposed to think he’s alive and reporting back to Santa.

That’s the theory. I think it’s really an excuse for moms to play with toys. No judgement here- I’m the proud owner of… one or two… *ahem*

If you haven’t seen him, google it. I’ll wait. No, not the cute squishy one, the plastic-headed one that looks like he’s going to consume your soul.

He watches you while you sleep. He thinks it’s romantic.

Look at those eyes. That little fucker KNOWS things.

So anyway, I don’t want one of those, because my dreams are…

View original post 153 more words


…yes, I AM in Third Grade. What’s Your Point?

So, now that NaNoWriMo is drawing to a close, I need a new system to keep me motivated and rewarded.

Because, y’know, bringing characters and stories to life is cool and all, but I really like updating my word count every day and being like, “BOO-YAH!”* Watching the word count bar fill up is fun. Seeing progress is ridiculously encouraging, and being able to look back on what I’ve accomplished every day is even better.

I could just write my word count in my planner every day, but I wanted something more visual, kind of like that word count bar. Soooo I’m giving myself star stickers. Here’s the chart:

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“TO DO: buy white-out”

I don’t plan on getting a lot of gold stars after this month, but it’s there, just in case. You never know, right? Reach for the (gold) stars.

Silver is my actual daily goal, though there will be many days when I don’t reach it, for various reasons. Still, getting a silver star is pretty darn good.

Green star? Hey, words written are words written. No day when I’ve created something is a waste.

Red star= no writing. I got a lot of those last weekend, right after my NaNo win:

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…and the days following 😉

No stars for days I’d planned to take off, I guess. Oh, and blue stars for editing. I expect to need a LOT of blue stars in January, as I prepare a ms to go for professional editing in February. Sending a cleaner ms = cheaper editing for me.

Cue panic attack!

I know, writing should be its own reward, and I’m acting like a toddler who demands stickers on a chart before she’ll use the potty. But it’s fun. I like putting stickers on things, and I like a visual record of what I’ve accomplished. Gold stars aren’t enough motivation for me to write 5,000 words of crap, which is good. But then, neither is winning NaNoWriMo.

I can’t pad my word count with descriptions of what’s in characters’ pockets just to win something. Can’t do it.

So we’ll see how long it takes for the novelty of this to wear off. I suppose if I also noted times of day I worked and conditions, I could eventually figure out how to optimize productivity…

Or I could just put pretty stickers in my planner. Whichever.

So, kindred spirits and others: How do you keep yourself motivated? Or DO you? Do you like stickers? I FRIGGING LOVE STICKERS! 

*Please note: I do not literally say “BOO-YAH.”


Wednesday Stuff: Sniffly-Snuffles Edition

Yep, I have the sniffly-snuffles. The common cold. My nose is running, better go catch it, ha ha, I KILL ME. It could be a lot worse– I don’t have a fever or a cough. But you know how it is:

(I’m not actually that bad. My older son is, though. “I’m SICK! I’m really SICK!” is a common refrain every winter.)

Anyway, tanker-truck loads of mucus aren’t going to stop WIPpet Wednesday, or even a less-than-stellar ROW80 Update. Because book kittens… or something.

And as Kristen Lamb reminded us today (go read it!), in every complaint there is something to be thankful for. I am thankful for these sniffly-snuffles, because they mean I am breathing, and I’m thankful that my health is good enough that I’m not worried about my illness being something much worse.

WIPpet Wednesday

Let’s see… math. The 27th, minus eleven for the month, and… minus sixteen for the chapter number.

That leaves us with one paragraph, the first one to come from a new character.

Because I did that. I can handle three POV characters, but I think that’s my limit for this trilogy. Or possibly ever.

I’ve never liked surprises. I don’t remember much about my first home or my first family. But I remember leaving, being wakened from sweet dreams and taken from my warm bedroom out into the cold night. My mother held me in her lap as we rode in the back of a wagon. I remember the smell of hay, and horses, and the driver’s pipe. My mother cried every day of our journey, until I thought she’d never stop. That was the first surprise I remember, and I haven’t had many pleasant ones since.

Hmm. That last sentence should maybe be its own paragraph, for impact. Maybe the first sentence, too. Well, that’s how early drafts go, right? More for you this way, anyway.

So there you go. There was another scene I just finished that I REALLY wanted to share from, but it would make even less sense out of context than this did. Boo.

Want to see who else is WIPpin’ it good this week? Head on over to the linkie, and be sure to share some comment love! And thanks to K.L. Schwengel for hosting. Speaking of whom…

ROW80

I’m going to stick this down here. On Monday it was my turn in the hot seat for K.L. Schwengel’s WIPpeteer interview series. You can see that here. She was nice, didn’t release her flying monkeys on me, didn’t let them fling poop. I was nervous about that. I DID get turned into an evil, sock-stealing supervillain in the comments, but what can you do? I should have costume designs finalized by next week.

In other news, I’ve hit a post-win slowdown in my word count. Instead of riding the wave of NaNo glee, I’ve kind of not written anything since Thursday. Why? Because weekend, because children, because we had people coming Tuesday to do a walk-through of the house, see what needs repairing, and I assume to spy on us, make sure we’re not screwing the place up too badly. This meant I had to clean the place up AND (more importantly) get the kids to clean up the basement.

It was a DISASTER. There were threats, there were garbage bags, there were angry faces. I’m not proud of that, but there you go.

And after that was done, the kids wanted to do some Christmas decorating. The cats approve of the blanket I put out:

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The big guy there, Charlie, is terrified of Lucy, the smallest cat in the house. He looks uncomfortable because he wants blanket, but he fears her wrath.
Her adorable, fuzzy wrath.

Then on Monday I was going to get back to my regular schedule, only to find that Ike didn’t have school that morning… a fact I discovered only after dropping him off at school.

Oops.

So we had a morning together, and I got nothing else done.

Tuesday was house inspection morning, and I had a short nap in the afternoon, and then kids all evening when AJ was at work, and then I had no mental energy left. And that was that.

Also, the dog ate my homework, and now I’m all out of excuses.

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“Did not.”

I need to get round to more ROW80 blogs this week. I’ve been slacking off since I’ve had NaNoWriMo goals taking up my time, but that’s not an excuse any more. If anyone would like to join me in making the rounds, you’ll find the links here. 🙂


Novel: VALIDATED

 

If only I could find my Kobo, life would be just GRAND. I’m supposed to be finishing a beta read. Anyone seen it? Little thing, flat, white, hair dye stain on the back? Answers to the name of… um… Kobo?

No?

I swear, I’m going to buy one of those car-key finders and stick it on there if I ever find it.

I NEED TO FINISH THIS BOOK!!!


ROW80 Update: Cat Legs Edition

First, the good news:

Image

Harriet’s got her legs back.

I hit 50,000 words on Thursday, thereby winning NaNoWriMo, and celebrated with a delicious box of Count Chocula cereal (thanks, Jae!).

I can’t call it official until I validate my word count, and we can’t do that until tomorrow. Until then, I’ll be on edge, waiting for every computer in the house to simultaneously self-destruct, thus thwarting my victory.

But still… feels good. 🙂

The bad news is that I haven’t got anything done since Friday morning. We have some people coming to look at things that need to be fixed in out house (yay!), but that means that we had to clean the house to make it presentable (boo). Most of it wasn’t too bad, but the kids’ areas (their bedroom and most of the basement) looked like they got hit by a toynado. I had to go into mean mommy mode and spend my days helping them. And then there were little, unimportant things like cooking, dishes, groceries, cleaning everything ELSE…

It’s left me in a REALLY bad mood. As torturous as writing is sometimes (and as good as I am about procrastinating), I do notice a change in my mood when I’m kept away from it for a few days.

If anybody’s going to screw up my writing schedule, it’s going to be me.

In any case, the weekend is almost over. We’re going to go do some Christmas decorating right now, before the boys go to bed (yay!) and watch the Grinch (boo).

What are you all up to this weekend?


ROW, ROW, ROW Your WIPpet: Creeptastic Edition

It’s WEDNESDAY, the greatest day of the week (for me), and hoooo my goodness I forgot to put the garbage out again.

Dangit.

You all know what that means (she said as readers not interested in this stuff quickly navigated away). WIPpet Wednesday and a ROW80 Update! Yaaaaaay! *partysplosion*

WIPpet Wednesday:

Nine paragraphs from Rowan’s POV in this year’s NaNoWriMo novel (20th, minus 11 for November, so as not to bore you all… wouldn’t want to keep you against your will). Just for fun, no context. Most of you don’t know this guy, anyway.

“Keep those clothes on,” Callum said. He locked the door and released me, then sat to remove his boots. “I don’t have anything for you to wear.”

“You… you’re staying in here, too?” I asked, and he smiled sadly.

“Funny, isn’t it? If things had gone as they were supposed to, we’d be married by now, and you’d have been sharing a bed with me since midwinter. Now you’re with me against your will, and I can’t risk leaving you alone to piss without thinking you’re going to disappear.” He stood and walked barefoot toward me, and I stepped back until I hit the wall. Callum sighed, and reached out to cup my face in his hand. “You should have been mine. Sweet Rowan.” I tried to look away, but he wouldn’t let me. He rubbed his thumb over my cheekbone, tenderly, then pushed me toward the bed. “Get in.”

“No.”

“You’re not in a bargaining position, love. You have nothing to worry about, anyway. I know what you’re thinking. You assume too much about your own appeal if you think I’d defile myself with someone like you. Don’t make me angry, though. You’ll regret it.”

I took my time deciding whether I could believe him. In the end, I sat down and took my own boots off, then slipped under the uppermost blanket and wrapped my skirt tight around my legs.  Callum closed off the oil lamp. There was silence for what seemed like several minutes, and then he climbed into the bed. My muscles twitched as the lumpy mattress shifted under his weight.

“Go to sleep,” he said.

I didn’t think I would, but I must have drifted off. I woke to the feeling of a heavy hand sliding from my waist down over my hip and resting on the outside of my thigh for a moment before retracing its journey back up to my ribs. Callum sighed and shifted in the bed, then rolled away from me.

I lay in the dark, eyes wide open and unseeing, waiting.

Oooooh, how did THAT happen?

Want to see what the other WIPpeteers are up to this week? Check out the link here, and as always, please stop by to pay your respects to K.L. Schwengel, the Godauthor of WIPpet Wednesdays. She just might make you an offer you can’t refuse. Want to join in? Post a snippet of a work in progress on your own blog that relates somehow to today’s date, and link back. Easy-peasy, London squeezy, as my 5-year old says.

ROW80

NaNoWriMo word count: 44,076 as of last night. I’m having a pacing issue in that a character has encountered friends he hasn’t seen since book one and they have a lot to talk about. I mean, it’s interesting stuff, and a horse just got eaten by a dragon in the middle of it… and there’s sexual tension with the wrong damned person… but still. Do I need to throw more dragons at you people? Because I WILL DO IT. -_-

I need to get back to work. There’s a box of Count Chocula calling my name, and I can’t open it until I hit 50,000.

Also, if I get 50,000 likes words, the doctors say they’ll put legs on my cat. That’s a thing that works, right?

"Help... meeeeee!"

“Help… meeeeee!”

Boy, that’s a lot of pressure. I’d better get back to work.

TO THE WRITEATORIUM!

[This post dedicated to Shannon, who was the first person who reminded me to tie up this loose end 🙂 ]


What, Me Worry?

Here I sit… accomplishing nothing at all.

I generally consider worry to be a useless state, a waste of energy and imagination. I’ve had enough to worry about in my life (though by no means as much as some), and I’ve learned that freaking out over what might happen makes absolutely no difference in the outcome.

If you can do something about it, stop worrying and do it.

If you can’t do anything about it, worrying is only making it worse.

…or so the theory goes.

About a month ago, I went to a doctor who specializes in… okay, you know what? Just avert your eyes if you think girl stuff is icky. Walk away. I’m not going to get graphic, but I’m also not going to act like I’m ashamed of having lady bits.

I like my lady bits. This is not really about them.

I went to see an OB/GYN about some issues I was having, and we discussed treatment options. We decided on an outpatient surgical procedure that would allow my condition to be treated without long-term drug use, because I’m sensitive to medications. If it has side-effects, I’ll probably get them.

Before I left, he had to do a test. Take a sample. A biopsy, but not a scary “we think you have cancer, let’s check” biopsy, just a test to make sure everything is okay. He said to remind him the day of the surgery to check on the test results, because I wouldn’t hear any more about them otherwise. I got into the least-dignified position imaginable in front of a complete stranger, he made me cry*, it was all good.

A week and a half later, my family doctor’s office called. “She wants to see you for an appointment. I’m going to book you in for Tuesday.”

What?

Um… okay.

That didn’t work out (my husband has to be off work to be home with the kids when I do the 45 minute drive to the doctor), and today was the soonest I could get in.

I told myself not to worry, because that’s useless, and I figured out reasons I shouldn’t worry. She probably just wants to see me about the test results because…

Hmm, I don’t know. She doesn’t book appointments when PAP test results come back negative (though I take some comfort in the fact that THAT was all normal last time).

But she probably just wants to talk about the treatment I decided on, right? And the fact that it was okay to add 2 weeks to the appointment wait time means it’s not an emergency.

I’ve hardly thought about it since I booked the appointment. Still, I HATE this. I hate not knowing. I’m distracted, I should be working right now, but I just keep looking at the damned clock.

I understand why doctors can’t give test results over the phone, even when everything is fine, but there has to be a better way to do things than “she wants to see you, imma book you in like, right nao, mmmkay? Kewl?”**

My fault for having to wait, I know.

So anyway, I’m sure everything’s fine. I’m not worried.

I just want to get this over with.

UPDATE: I tried to beta read to distract myself, since I might as well use this time for something productive. Kobo died, can’t find the charge cord. Not amused.

FURTHER UPDATE: The Chief Risk Officer and Executive Director of China Gungfua Bank in Hong Kong wants to present me as owner of $49.5 million dollars US. Now it’s the BEST DAY EVAR!

*For the record, not everyone finds getting their innards scraped as painful as I did, and if your doctor says the words “endometrial biopsy,” you should not freak out… Unless you’re a man. Then you can smile, nod, and back right out of that quack’s office, ’cause you don’t have a uterus. Unless you do, in which case, good for you! (PS: I am not a medical professional, never listen to me. Ever.)

**Also for the record, this is not how my doctor’s receptionist talks. I have nothing but respect for that poor, overworked woman.


ROW80 Update: Quickie Edition

My right arm is currently trapped under a pile of dog face, so I’m going to have to keep this brief.

Specifically, this face.

Specifically, this face.

I passed the 40,000 word mark for NaNoWriMo this morning, and there was much celebration… mostly because this means I’m only 10,000 words away from breaking open a box of count Chocula, which I haven’t had since I was a kid.

YESSSSSSS!

Holy carp, this dog’s head is heavy.


Disregard That Last Post

That thing asking for thoughts on piracy? Forget it. Other people have written better posts on the topic, and when I disagree with them it’s all my own opinion, which at this point counts for very little.

So in a way that was a waste of 3,000 words today, but I feel like by drafting the posts, I understand my own feelings on the subject better. And words are words. Experience. Not a total loss. I needed a break from fiction, anyway 🙂

(But seriously, why can’t my fiction output be as efficient as my blog output?)

Melinda Atlas pointed out that it’s a topic that’s everywhere right now, and she’s right. Though I wanted to look at why people do it (and why I agree/disagree, and alternative approaches) rather than why OMG IT’S BAD STOP IT or SOMEBODY DO SOMETHING, there’s already enough of that out there. Instead, I’d like to compile a list of interesting reads on the topic, with your help.

First, Chuck Wendig (a post which Melinda also reminded me about). Why does he get to be first? Because I adore his blog. The man is brilliant. He has turned crass language into an art form, but he’s actually incredibly encouraging and far less of a hard-ass than some people on publishing topics. And HAVE YOU SEEN THAT MAGNIFICENT BEARD?!

Also, he covers a lot of issues I wanted to discuss with y’all, more succinctly and humorously than I could. So go read this. I agree completely that people have reasons for illegally downloading books, though I was going to add a few to the list. I also agree that artists deserve to get paid for their work, consistently, even if that’s a dream that just ain’t gonna come true.

Check out the comments, too, in which people address other arguments like the “it’s no worse than a library/borrowing a book” issue, and his Why I Hope You Don’t Pirate My Book post, which is beautiful.

Joe Konrath has some interesting thoughts on piracy, which basically boil down to “It’s not hurting you, you can’t stop it, quit bitching.” That’s what I mean about Chuck Wendig being less of a hard-ass. Mr Konrath says it better than that, but that’s the message I get. If you get angry when people speak plainly on topics you might disagree with, I’d skip that one. Really interesting if you don’t mind the attitude, though. I like him, myself, even if I disagree on some points. I do completely agree with him on why hard-ass laws and things like DRM do more harm than good, and the fact that piracy would be less of an issue if e-books were affordable* ($5.99 and under seems reasonable to me as both a reader and an author; if I won’t spend that on a book, I probably didn’t want it that badly. More than that, and I feel cheated).

There are more. Link away in the comments (I’ll spring you from spam jail if you’re legit), or share your own stories or thoughts on the topic (though you might also want to comment on the original posts, if applicable).

I want to know. I want to learn.

*Side note: the price-and-availability issue is one of the top reasons I’m self-publishing.


Wednesday Stuff: So Many Question Marks

ROW80:

I think my twitter feed says a lot about how writing went for me this week.

*Wrote. Ugh.

But…

I count this as proof that BICFOK (butt in chair, fingers on keys) works, even when distractions abound and motivation seems to be at a standstill. And the words, they are not all crap. True, I did have to write circles in that one scene with an uncooperative character, and ended up skipping it for now, but this is how the story gets written.

It also gets written with a lot of typos. I blame the excessive amounts of caffeine I’m consuming.

So there you go. Closing in on 30,ooo words now out of a 50,000 word month and a 100,000 word draft goal.

And speaking of those words that I hope are not all crap…

WIPpet Wednesday

For the thirteenth of NOVEMBER (jeez, I wrote October again!) I offer the last 13 paragraphs I wrote, as of right now (this being Tuesday at 11:10 am, because I’m on the ball this week). Aren’s hubris (that should be his middle name, I swear) has got him into trouble, and he’s getting schooled by a secretive warrior-monk-wise man type. We’ve all been there, right?

He released me, and I dropped to the floor, gasping.

“Who are you?” I whispered.

“I think a better question might be who you think you are, Aren. Powerful? Undoubtedly. Intelligent, though inexperienced, and blinded by pride. But what else? You’re not a prince anymore, or your brother’s tool. What will you use your magic for now? What would you be without it? Is there more to you?”

I ignored his questions. “How did you block me without magic?”

“Our potions master is quite good, isn’t he?” Phelun crouched on the floor in front of me. “You don’t understand as much about this world as you think you do. You have been given great gifts, and you squander them. You use them for selfish reasons, to harm and kill and destroy. Do you think this is what the Goddess intended when she blessed you so?”

He offered a hand, and I ignored it, instead pushing myself up from the floor by pressing my back against the door and forcing my legs to straighten.

“I don’t know. Was it her plan for my father and his father before him to plan their marriages to produce the strongest children? Was she at work in his bedroom when I was conceived, or Severn? And where was she when my father and my oldest brother turned me into what I am? It seems she was absent when my mother died, when my caretakers were killed, when I lost the only friends I’d ever had. Did she expect me to rise from the cesspool of hate and mistrust I was born into, to turn my back on the advantages of belonging to the wealthiest and most influential family in the world? To betray them for a deity who’s never given a shit about me?”

“You did betray your family, in the end.”

“Not for her. You said yourself that the magic I use is dark, and not her will. And yet you also say it’s a gift from her. Which is it?”

He stayed where he was, crouched at my feet. “I don’t know,” he said. “But I don’t believe she would have sent you to us if you were beyond redemption, or if I couldn’t help you.”

“So you believe you’ve done good here?”

“Perhaps. The results of our actions are often not immediately apparent. I trust in the Goddess, in my experiences and what my brothers have learned over the centuries.”

“Do you? I trust in myself.”

Oh, my beloved character. You are going to get cut down like a friggin’ Christmas tree.

So there you go, my contrubution in all of its NaNo draft glory. FEEL THE GLORY, HUMANS!

Sorry. Too much coffee again this morning. *tweeks*

If you’d like more WIPpet Wednesday fun, click on over here to see what the other WIPpeteers are up to this week, and as always, feel free to join in! Just post an excerpt on your own blog from a work in progress that somehow relates to today’s date (chapter, number of lines, whatever). We’re a good bunch, I promise. We probably won’t bite… Except for maybe our host, K.L. Schwengel. *flips through notes* Wait. No, she’s bright, not “she’ll bite.” Sorry.

Curious about ROW80, the flexible writing challenge that’s not as insane as NaNoWriMo*? Here’s the link to the site and the blog, from which you can find links to see what everyone else is up to this week. It’s never too late to join in!

*You know I love you, NaNo. gimme a kiss.

 


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