Monday, December 29, 2008

My New Years Resolutions

I suppose everyone of us writers will be posting these within the next couple of days, but I officially made my goals last night, so I might as well post them right now.

At any rate, here are my New Year's Resolutions for the year 2009:

1. To send out 2 queries a week for Miss Midas, until one of two things happen:
a. I get an agent
b. I reach 100 queries sent

2. Finish PAMR, and by finish, I mean finish the first draft and then revise/polish until query ready.
2a. Think up a better title to PAMR.


Well, there they are. Lofty perhaps, but not unrealistic. I feel very good about them, and very excited to get started.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Christmas Quandary

As I have been working away on my current WiP, PAMR (short for post apocalyptic magic realism--a mouthful, hence the acronym,) I have done a lot of thinking.

First of all, PAMR and Midas, the novel that I am querying are . . . different. Very different. So, a scenario comes to my mind: Renee gets an agent with Midas. Woo hoo!!! Joyous day!! Let's be idealistic and say that Midas is published. Requisite celebrations follow. Then, Renee's agent is like, "Next!" Renee delivers her agent a copy of PAMR. Agent's like, "Uh, no. I don't represent Sci fi. Besides, this is nothing like Midas, your many fans (again, I'm being idealistic) won't want to read this."

Now, obviously I am jumping the gun, but not too badly. I need to make a few choices now. (right?) Here is the thing. I love Midas. I really do. But, I am falling very in love with PAMR. And they are so different, that I worry. Agents talk a lot about finding your brand. And while you can stray a bit once you are an established author, a new author needs to establish themselves a bit in their chosen brand. Not totally jump genres from book one to book two.

The quandary is this. I predict being done with PAMR, and by that I mean ready to send out, by the end of February. So, do I keep sending out Midas queries until PAMR is done? Or do I say, I think PAMR will be stronger, and halt querying Midas right now? Thing is, I'm obviously not sure if PAMR is stronger, since I'm not even done yet, but anyway that's beside the point.

None of this is all that pressing, since I have put a hold on querying Midas for the holidays anyway. But, come January, I might need to make a choice. (right?) *sigh* I guess I am just trying to sort out my thoughts.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

If I don't get more time to write, I am going to disown my family.

Or scream.

Or move back to Ohio.


Um . . . just kidding, any of you family that is reading this. I really do love you. . . *shrugs and smiles*

I just want to write. I need it. Badly. And it wouldn't hurt to be able to check my friends blogs more.

Anyway . . . that's all.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The old Tagola

Bookwormed! Out of the blue by Jill

Here are the rules:

1. Open the closest book - not a favorite or most intellectual book, but the closest at the moment - to page 56.

2. Write out the fifth sentence on the page, as well as the two to five sentences following.

3. Then open your ms to page 56 and write out the fifth sentence, as well as two to five additional ones.

4. Tag five (or more) buddies to do this same exercise.

Well, here goes nothing:

1. Animorphs by K.A. Applegate. (I feel the need to say that I am at my inlaws house and they have lots of books for grandkids.)

"No. I don't think it works that way. You have to think at me to hear. Hey, watch this." Suddenly Tobias leapt through the air.

Well, it doesn't make much sense to me, since I haven't read the book. *shrug*

2.My WiP

"You should go back to sleep," Owen said. "You need your rest."
"For what?" Jetta's chest felt tight. She could feel the pressure rising to her throat. "I don't do anything."
"Bored?" Kris asked, contemptuously.
"N--no, that's not what I meant."
"Well, than what did you mean?"

3. Come on, it's fun! I tag:

Kiersten

Natalie

Kasie

Candice

Friday, December 12, 2008

I have reached Querying Nirvana

It's true. After long meditation under the a metaphorical Bodhi tree, I have obtained that state of mind--Nirvana--which is perfect calm.

Okay, maybe that's a touch dramatic, but I have, in point of fact, reached that stage in the whole querying business where the uncontrolled emotions have ceased. I feel very calm about it all. Maybe it's partly due to the fact that I decided to go on a query sending hiatus for the holidays. Or maybe it's because I am too distracted with moving and being around my family again to care. And then, maybe it is because I am absorbed in my new book and have transferred all of my publication hopes onto that.

Whatever the reason, I think it's a good thing. I tend to the melodramatic, and man, those first few weeks of querying nearly wiped me out. I think Nirvana is a much better state of mind in which to approach the whole business.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Goodbye Ohio, Hello Utah

I'M BACK!

Well, it's been one hell of a week. (As you may know, I normally don't swear, but the fact of the matter is, the week has been much more like hell than heck.)

At any rate, I'll spare you all the gory details of moving-driving-cross-country-for-three-days-with-two-kids-in-the-back-seat-plus-one-got-sick.

Needless to say, I'm back and oh so happy to be back. I'm living at my Inlaws house, so I need to set up my computer and get cracking on the blogs again.

But, for now, I just wanted to say that I missed all of your clever and amusing blogs. And I missed, I MISSED being able to work on my stories. Luckily, several very very nice ideas came to my mind on the long drive. I can't wait to get cracking.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Moving . . . again.

Yes, it's true, today is moving day for us. Now, you may ask, "But, Renee, didn't you just move?"

The answer to that is, "Yes, three months ago."

*weary, weary sigh*

At any rate, tomorrow morning we start the three day drive across the country. In two cars. (I know, good times, right?) So, needless to say I won't be posting, or commenting on all of your lovely blogs for a few days, largely due to the fact that I don't have a laptop. *shakes fist at the sky*

And, do you want to know the best part of all? Ben has State Boards today, so I get to pack the entire house all by myself!! Hurray!! Oh, oh, wait! There's one other fun fact. Last night a good friend brought us dinner, and we all got food poisoning!!! *crazed laugh*

Sunday, November 30, 2008

100 posts of pure, unfettered genius

Yes, folks, it has finally come. The 100th post.

100 posts of joy, sadness, angst, frustration, confusion, giddiness, rage, insecurity, hubris, enthusiasm, and (let's face it) quite a bit on nonsense. (Note: I didn't include pure, unfettered genius in this list because, we all know that I was being sarcastic in the post title. :)

Thanks to all of you who come and visit. I really appreciate you, more than you know. You have all helped me through some of my tough times. You are the best!! Now, as for the whole 100th post gala, well, I know I built it up a bit, but the truth is I haven't anything too fantastic planned. Just a little party. *big grin* And what party would be complete without . . .

Balloons!!!


Chocolate cake!!!

And OF COURSE . . .

DP *angelic choirs singing*

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!!

Since we are all a bunch of writers, and our stories are SO much a part of us, I decided to invite EVERYONE to the party. That's right. I am now hosting, in the comments section, the first annual Midnight Meditations Cast Party. And YOUR main character (or any character really,) from whatever story or novel you choose, is cordially invited to come!

So send him or her in. Have them introduce themselves, and if they feel like it, they can answer one of the following questions:

1. What will you be doing at this party?
2. See anybody you like? Anyone you want to avoid?
3. What's up with you? Why are you acting so weird? (heh heh)

Hope to see you all there!

Friday, November 28, 2008

a pointless, filler post

I am just writing this post because the next one is # 100. Nothing really to see here. However I have an idea for the big 100th. It should be fun for everyone. *grin*

Well, since I am wasting space anyway, I might as well post another Farside. Hope this didn't happen at any of your Thanksgiving dinners.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What the . . . ?

So, I just noticed that my Dashboard says that this is post 102. And yet, my archives listed to the right claims this is post 98. ??? I'm not sure which one's right, or what to believe in this crazy world!

And here I was planning a huge gala for my 100th post, the likes of which would make Kiersten's 200th post party blush with shame.

Oh well.

Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving! I tried to find a good, festive picture to put up, but I came across this and found it much more amusing.

For those of you who will be cooking today:

And this one, just because it made me laugh out loud:

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Renewed hope (aka. sisters are the best!)

This week and especially weekend, my mind has been engulfed with thoughts. Page after page of my Moleskine have been filled with frantic scribbling. I've basically been obsessed with figuring out the plot to this new idea (mentioned a few posts ago.)

Without going into the long (kinda humiliating) details, I had the setting and the characters, but I needed a plot. Bear in mind, I have been feeling a little, let's say shaky about my prospects of getting an agent. "So," I said to myself. "If I'm starting from scratch with this plot anyway, why don't I make it a *insert current YA trend* story? Ah, how much more marketable it would be! How the agents would clamor for it!"

So I tried. I tried and I tried and I tried to make it work, but surprise, surprise, IT DIDN'T. Of course, I had to have my two sisters (especially Becca, who is the bomb) gently slap some sense into me.

LESSON LEARNED: You really have to write the story you love. Even if it might not seem as marketable. Even if you are scared. Even if you are not sure you can pull it off.

If I had tried to add the *current YA trend* plotline, I would have ruined the very setting and characters that I fell in love with when I came up with the idea.

So, now I proceed forward with renewed hope. Seriously, my heart feels as light as a feather! I love my sisters, Becca and Diana! They are the best. Oh, and Ben helped too. When I told him about the *current YA trend* plotline he said (direct quote) "It's not awful." :) You gotta appreciate his honesty.

***I can't wait to get started on my new idea!! Woo hoo!!****

Friday, November 21, 2008

O.M.G!!!!!!!!!

So, last night I went with this big group to go see the midnight premier of Twilight. It was great--a bunch of moms, with our kids at home, standing in line at midnight and squealing with excitement. (Oh yes, we squealed. You gotta get into the spirit of it all, right?)

As for the movie itself, pretty good. In fact, I think it was an improvement on the book. Edward came off as less jerkish and they wove in the James/rouge coven plot line better. It actually felt related to the whole story, not just tagged on at the end. Also, we didn't have to see the endless grimaces, crooked smiles, and we didn't have to feel Bella's heart stop every time she even looked at Edward.

I thought the acting was surprisingly good and the music was awesome. Overall, I actually rather enjoyed myself. I'd recommend it for those who have read the book, especially if you weren't all that impressed with the books. You'll probably like the movie better.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A case of the Rejection Blues

Rejections make me think.

I think about my story. I think about my query letter. And as I suppose one would expect, I start to question every little dream that I had built over the course of writing my book, revising it, and getting ready for submission.

I know what you're going to say. Don't give up! Never give up! etc. etc. However, when do you think, maybe I do need to give up? Maybe this book just isn't it. I mean, not all books get published, so some books, no matter how resilient and determined the author was, will never get there. It's just simple mathematics.

So, how do you know when to give up?

(sorry about the sad, emo girl post)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

New Ideas

The other day, as I was out driving, an story idea struck me. It was just the kernal of an idea really, a shell. I saw the cast of characters and I saw the setting. But, as I kept chewing it over, I realized that the whole story would revolve around one sinister plot.

And . . . what that plot is, I have no clue.

So, I've been thinking a lot about ideas and how they develop into plots. Because, let's face it, you can have a premise or a theme or a main character in mind and go ahead and start writing, but if you don't have at least the skeleton of a plot, you'll run aground pretty fast. That, or you'll kind of wander for fifty pages until a plot presents itself.

The trouble is, it's not easy to just think up a plot. Unfortunately, I can't just wiggle my nose and have a workable story idea pop out of thin air. I'm no Samantha Stephens. (I've actually tried to wiggle my nose at a sink full of dirty dishes, but much to my disappointment, they just sat there.)

So, I've been curious to ask all of you. Please feel free to share in the comments section. How do you develop your early shreds of an idea into the plot for a novel?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

In which Renee admits her many failings.

1. I'm no good at turning off the inner editor.

2. I constantly second guess my choices because I'm obsessed with making sure that they're not "cliche."

3. Sometimes I wonder why I am in such an all-fired rush. I mean, what's the hurry? They'll still be publishing books in a year.

4. Okay, I'll admit it. I love adverbs, alright? AND adjectives!

5. I drink too much Dr. Pepper.


Well that was fun. I'm sensing a new MeMe here! I tag all of you!

. . . kidding.

Feel free to ignore this entire post. I'm just in a weird mood tonight.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Shout out!!

I want to offer a huge congrats to my fellow writer friend and MoMo, Kiersten. SHE SIGNED WITH AN AGENT TODAY!!! How awesome is that?

Kiersten, I am so happy for you, and I am excited to vicariously experience all the awesome things you are going to experience. :)

CONGRATS!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

So, maybe I'm not cut out for this NaNoWriMo thing . . .

As many of you know, I decided to take the NaNoWriMo challenge and write 50000 words of my current story in a month. Well, as I stated in the title, I am starting to think that this simply isn't compatible with my writing style.

Maybe it is the fact that I am writing the beginning of my book. Maybe I could do it if I were halfway in. However, the beginnings are my biggest challenge in writing. I feel like they have to be spot on, or the whole story will go awry. When I write, I almost always have a rough I idea of what is going to happen in the scene. However, very often--almost always, actually--as I write, new ideas pop into my head and the scene changes a bit. Sometimes these changes play a part in the rest of the story. So, in my mind, if I start off a story wrong, the rest of the book will be wrong too.

I guess I just can't plow forward with a first draft, thinking I'll change that the second go around. Now, I want to make clear that I am not saying that this is a bad way to write at all. On the contrary, I think everyone has a style that works for them. That said, I don't think that my writing style is right for NaNo. Of course, maybe that is the point of NaNo, to work outside your comfort zone.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Rage, rage against the dying of the file

(I thought I'd better quote classy poetry in my title rather than put the very unclassy string of words I wanted to say)

So today, I happend to be given a windfall of two hours to write in the middle of the day. It was great. I made real progress. And then, out of the blue, my computer just ate the almost 2000 WORDS I had just written. Gone. Lost. Destroyed. Don't ask me how it happened, cause I sure don't know. This little screen popped up and it was all over. And this is NOT the first time this has happened. I am so mad right now I'm seriously considering putting a hammer to the thing.

*tries to take a deep breath*

Sorry, I just had to vent. You know, it's time's like these when I think it's a good idea to go back to the old quill and parchment days.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I watched History being made

Normally, I try to keep this blog strictly about my writing journey, but I just have to acknowledge the historic event that have taken place to day in America.

I say, no matter who you wanted to win the Presidential election, this an exciting night for us all. History has been made. If you think about it, not long ago African Americans were given the rank of second class citizens. And now, in just a few decades, we have elected our first black President. It's really very inspiring to me.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Greetings!

In honor of the day, I thought I'd show my current mood via Jack o Lantern.



I'm coming up on week dry spell in the Query Wars. Time to bust out a high powered, mega query blast!! Those agents aren't going to know what hit them.

*laughs maniacally*

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Querying thought of the Day

I used to think I had a kind of sixth sense. I used to feel like I just "knew" things were going to happen.

Well, I was wrong. :)

It seems like the days I wake up thinking, "I have a good feeling about today," are the days that I have an empty inbox. Or a swift rejection.

So, what we've learned today, is that I am clearly not psychic.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

More work (and that's okay)

This weekend I had an epiphany for PAMR. I realized that it really needed to be in first person. I've already written about 6000 words, so changing is going to be no small task. Because, obviously, it's more than just changing every "she" to "I." I've actually gone back tonight and changed the first chapter and it took me several hours. But, I really feel strongly that it's the right choice.

I'm actually kind of excited. As I have been writing it these past few days, there were times when I felt like there was something not quite right. Also, two separate times, I found myself writing in first person without realizing. So, I guess my MC was trying to tell me something. :)

I'm just glad that she told me now, and not after I had written 200 pages or something.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I just got tired of the moon

Not the real moon.

The moon on my blog template. It was getting on my nerves. So I changed it. Moved it up where it was slightly less imposing. I don't know, though. My blog still has a dark, ominous feel to it.

Oh well.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The most accurate test in the world!

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?



Click the picture to take the test. As you can see, I came up as Galadriel. The test describes me as "Possessing a rare combination of wisdom and humility, while serenely dominating your environment you selflessly use your powers to care for others."

Clearly, this test is spot on. :)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Building the wall

So, once again, a post on Natalie's blog got me thinking. I was analyzing today my unexpected emotion when it came to querying Midas.

It's been two weeks to the day since I sent out those first queries. Two weeks, and was already starting to feel like, "Oh well, I guess I failed." I almost feel silly admitting it. I mean, I still have material out with agents! I haven't even sent out twenty queries yet! I haven't even hit the double digits with rejections! And there are several agents that I haven't even heard from yet! And the troubling thing about it is that I tried to tell myself that I was just being "realistic."

No. I was letting the rejections get to me. See, since my initial interest, I have had six rejections in a row over the course of the last eleven days. (I know, poor poor me. But, hey, I'm totally scolding myself here.) So, I was starting to build up a wall. A wall that said, "Oh well, Midas doesn't have it, guess I'll move on." So, I stopped sending out queries. It's been five days since I sent one out. Instead, I've put all my attention on my new story. In short, I was seriously starting to give up under the guise of "being realistic."

Then I read Natalie's post this morning, and it had me thinking all day. Now, don't get me wrong, being realistic is important, but I was abusing the term. So I gave myself a firm smack on the wrist and said to myself, "If Natalie's not giving up, you sure don't have any right to."

So, thanks to Natalie for being a rock. :) You've helped me re-light the fire. In fact, I think I am going to send off a few new queries right now.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I'm absolutely giddy!

Today, I am thrilled to announce that my twin sister has started to write her first novel! As you can see, all the rumors about twins are true; we really DO do everything exactly the same. :)

Kidding, but truly, my sister and I have always shared a love for all things creative. I have warm memories of the many summer vacations where Diana and I would lay on the bunk beds of our family motor home, writing stories in the crisp white pages of new journals. The stories would, of course, be nothing less than slightly altered and considerably inferior renditions of whatever books we were currently reading, but hey, at least we had a blast writing them.

So, if you like, pop over to her writer blog and say hello at http://horizonsds.blogspot.com. (Though she wanted me to emphasize that inviting you to do so was my idea not hers, and she doesn't want anyone to feel any obligation at all.) Silly sis. So modest. :)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

New Babies

I started thinking about an analogy I made in a comment on Natalie's blog last night. I was musing over the fact that we MoMo's (see side link list) are all starting brand new stories. I compared a new story to a newborn. In many many ways, they are the same. They require so much attention and work, we fuss over them so much, we can hardly stand to put them down. We are so completely in love with them, but so aware of the work ahead.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Post in Two Parts

Part One: Querying is hard.

Today, I came to the end of a Dr. Pepper 12 pack. Inside the box, was a printed code for a contest. 1 in 6 win, it said. I entered the code online and a message came up: Sorry, your code is not a winner.

Imagine that box flying across the room. Then, imagine me tearing it in half and stuffing the remains into the trash can.

I find that I take out my query frustrations on other things.

Part Two: There's nothing like a new story to take the mind off above mentioned frustrations.

I am currently in the midst of plotting out a new story. Here's the thing, it's very different from Midas. Very.

It's still YA, but it's also a post apocalyptic, magic realism story. I haven't written any thing yet, but I've scribbled out nearly a dozen pages of plot and character sketches in my Moleskine.

So, it's fun so far. I plan to start writing soon. Keep an eye out for a story updater on the right side bar.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

How I know I am a writer

About 4 months ago, a tiny flicker of a new story idea came into my mind. I have thought about it on and off since then, scribbling little notes in my Moleskine and such.

Well, now that Midas is out in the world, I find myself craving a new story to write. So naturally, this new idea is getting more and more fleshed out. In fact, it might not be too long before I start writing. And here I thought I was going to get a break. I guess a writer has to write, and that's that.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Churning

So, querying has commenced, and I've already ridden the rollercoster up and down. I am trying not to let consume my mind, but I'm not sure that will be possible for a while.

The one thing I am really ready to see gone is this CONSTANT churning in my stomach. I think I am following Natalie's diet plan well.

Monday, October 6, 2008

It begins!

I just sent out my first queries!!!!!

It's funny because, I knew I was going to be doing this today for a while and didn't feel that nervous about it, but as I was preparing the email, my heart was pounding.

Also, after reading over the email four times, I hit send. But, the message didn't go. I was like, "Is this a sign???" AND IT WAS!

Just in case, I read over the email one more time and noticed that I had my OLD WORD COUNT! 64,000 words! That's like 10,000 words less than my final manuscript!

Sheesh. I nearly had a heart attack. So, I changed it, and sent the emails off to a few of my painstakingly selected agents. I'll be sending off the rest tonight!!

I feel nervous and excited. I just can't believe that I am finally doing it!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Inspired by the Condensanator

So, now that my synopsis is where I want it to be, I have begun work on . . .

**timpanis pounding**

THE FINAL EDIT!

I was actually quite inspired by the exercise of forcing myself to cut down the synopsis. It really stretched by comfort level (in a good way) to have to stare at a sentence, even a word, and say, "Do I really need that?"

I've been trying to look at my manuscript that way. My final word count was 77,500 words. I am giving myself the challenge to cut that down a few thousand words.
*dabs sweat away from forehead*
It won't be easy, but I think my story will be better for it. Oh, and here's the kicker: My goal is to finish that THIS WEEKEND.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Syn-"oh snap"-sis

Well, it's been a productive few days of not tinkering with my story. I've tinkered with the synopsis instead. And it really is as hard as they say. I think my first draft came out at 2000 words, and I thought I was being as spare as I could be.

However, I've finally gotten it down to 850 words. (holla!)So, thanks again to Natalie and others who helped.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Round Two: DONE!!!!

Well, I guess there is nothing like the sight of failure to motivate a person.

Tonight, or should I say early this morning, I finished the second, and most elaborate stage of revisions on Midas. I am PUMPED!! This is a first for me, as significant as finishing my first first draft. As you know, I never made it through the second, deep edits stage with Tristan. So, yes, I am very pleased to be here with Midas.

I am going to let her sit for the week (in the meantime of which, I will be struggling my way through a synopsis). Then, this weekend, I will throw myself into the final stage. This will involve a healthy amount of trimming and a whole lot of polishing. Overall, though I don't see this phase taking much more than a few days. So, that means that querying will commense in less than two weeks! *gulps*

Friday, September 26, 2008

October 1st . . . uh oh.

A couple of weeks ago, I made the enthusiastic goal to be sending out my first batch of queries by October 1st. Well *sigh* I can see now that it would take a miracle to meet that.

I am nearly through with my second round of revisions, which has involved strengthening characters, adjusting the overall cohesion of the story, and filling out the plot where it needed to be filled out. Trouble is, I have added almost 10,000 words! Now, I feel like I should slim it down. And, I also feel like I should go through it one more time to polish up the prose.

*SIIIIIIIIIIGH*

I am getting so impatient. I just want to be done. I want to throw that thing out there. But, at the same time, I know that I want to submit only my best. I just need to tough it out here at the eleventh hour.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Yep, you guess it: a MEME!

1. What are your nicknames?
Ren is the only nickname I've ever had, but I love it.

2. What was the first movie you bought in VHS or DVD?
Fellowship of the Rings, extended version. It was the only video Ben and I had when we were first married, so we watched it again and again and again. We would compulsively quote it and had numerous inside jokes about it. :) Ah, such warm memories.

3. What is your favorite scent?
A freshly opened Dr. Pepper.

4. What one place have you visited that you can't forget and want to go back to?
Hawaii. I grew up there, but haven't been back since High School. I'm desperate to take my family there.

5. Do you trust easily?
Oh yes.

6. Do you generally think before you act, or act before you think?
Depends on the act.

7. Is there anything that has made you unhappy these days?
I'm leaving Ohio in two months. Four years ago, when we came out here, I was sure that I would be thrilled to leave, but now I know I will really miss it and the people we have come to know.

8. Do you have a good body image?
Depends on the body part.

9. What is your favorite fruit?
Cold watermelon. I love to cut off the end and eat out of it with a spoon.

10. What websites do you visit daily?
Hatrack, EE, PubRants, Nathan's blog, NY Times, and all my writer friends' blogs.

11. What have you been seriously addicted to lately?
Only you, Dr. Pepper. Only you.

12. What kind of person do you think the person who tagged you is?
She is extraordinarily clever and funny, a talented writer, and a very nice person.

13. What's the last song that got stuck in your head?
Apple Bottom Jeans--T Pain. . . . don't ask me why.

14. What's your favorite item of clothing?
I have a special place in my heart for my dark jeans. They were the first pair after having my second baby that made me think, "Oh snap."

15. Do you think Rice Krispies are yummy?
Not really. I'm a fan of Frosted Mini Wheats.

16. What would you do if you saw $100 lying on the ground?
If it's any indication, when I was in fourth grade, I found a $50 on the ground. I ran up to grab it, all the while screaming, "A fifty dollar bill! A fifty dollar bill!"

17. What items could you not go without during the day?
Internet, Dr. Pepper, and Benny. :)

18. What should you be doing right now?
Putting the fajitas into the marinade. We're having company over tonight.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Renee's Melodramatic Love Poetry

Inspired by Kiersten and Writtenwyrdd, who both posted some of their older writing on their blogs, I thought, what the heck?
I'll give only one disclaimer: I was in High School when I wrote this poem. I urge you, gentle reader, to remember the passionate emotions of those times. Remember and be merciful.

Untitled

To you, I bring the ripeness
of my everything,
which has hung from the branches of my heart,
heavy with longing.

For you, I give the deserts
in my hourglass of time.
The beginning and the end, as long as you will hold in your hands,
it's simple grayness.

Before you, I will lay my arms
full up with all my dreams.
My dreams, so wild and colored.
Those are dear to me,
For they have stayed with me the longest,
resting in my eyes and on my skin.

But, I will give you this,
and everything.
For in return, you give me
the everything
that swims in the stars
and waltzes on the moon,
that laughs with the wind.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I'm up!

Well, at long last (it's been a whole week) I am up at Evil town.

BTW, I can't help but feel special that my query got the Evil King of Hearts. :)

Monday, September 15, 2008

October 1st

That's my goal date to send out those first queries.

I'm feeling nervous and excited, and every emotion in between. Mainly, I just can't wait to actually do this! I have been seriously pursuing the whole writing thing for three years now. That's three years of hoping, despairing, dreaming, researching, and, of course, working.

I can't believe that I am FINALLY going to send out a real live query letter. It's bizarre. The other day I bought a 24 pack of Dr. Pepper, and I thought to myself, by the time I finish this case of soda, I will have queries out on the market.

And yet, I am getting ahead of myself. I still have work to do on edits, and a synopsis to write, and a query to hammer out. (Look for me on Evil Editor any day now.)As exciting as it is, I just need to focus and work hard. .

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Computer Scare

So, I was typing away, testing out a new version of Chapter 1 with the Great Gatsby theme. I save regularly, and at one point reached up to click save. A little window popped up, telling me in Computerese that I had some error saving. I frowned, and clicked okay. A second window, this time with a serious looking logo, telling me that the document had more problems. Okay. Third window, saying that Word needed to close. At this point I was concerned, but mainly just confused.

Then I reopened Word and the new version was GONE. I searched in every file, in every way I knew how, but the whole thing had suddenly ceased to exist. As you can imagine, I went into freak out mode.

Luckily, I remembered enough to rewrite the whole thing, though it took me over an hour. The whole experience has freaked me out now. What if that had been my novel??? I mean, I save almost every time on a flash drive, but what if it still had problems? What if???

So, now I am all worried about how to save my work. I've heard of internet storage sights, but never looked into it. What do you do? Any tips?

Monday, September 8, 2008

Dilemma # 3284

Well, once again I have found myself wrestling with a thought. Last night I had an epiphany for Miss Midas that, at the time, seemed brilliant. Now, I'm having my usual round of doubts.

To be brief, (and cryptic) I'm wondering if I should take out the Shakespeare/Much Ado about Nothing theme and replace it with a Fitzgerald/The Great Gatsby theme.


Overall, I think that the Gatsby theme works better with Jane's character arc. Much Ado about Nothing bears no comparison to the story. Also, I'm enchanted with the idea of having the Top Strata give Last Blast a Roaring 20's theme. I think the Jazz Age, with it's hedonism and extravagance works so well with everything the Top is about.


That said, what average YA reader is familiar with/would relate to F. Scott Fitzgerald and The Great Gatsby? Not many, but everyone knows Shakespeare. And, Last Blast could have a Shakesperian theme. . . maybe.


Thoughts?

Friday, September 5, 2008

Take Two!

First off let me say that I bow down to Natalie! She's the BOMB. :) With her excellent, excellent help, I shaved 68 words off of the query. And that is no small feat with a one page document. That's 20%! (. . .right? I'm awful at math.)At any rate, it's fantastic. So, now, I present to you the svelte new version of my query:

Sorry . . . it's gone. But, don't fret. Look on Evil Editor any day now. :)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Query!!!!! (I'm excited)

Well, here it is, my first attempt at a query for Miss Midas. I feel pretty good about it, but I have high hopes that, with your help, I can polish her till she shines. Heck, I may even get up enough nerve to submit this to EE . . . maybe . . .after you guys help me first. :)Okay. . . here goes(for a limited time only):

See above for revised version.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I will now give you all a case of the creepy crawlies. . .


This is a picture of a house centipede. They live in humid climates, like Ohio, and are just plain CREEPY!

Honestly, I fear these little buggers more than any spider. Just looking at the picture makes me shudder with terror. Here is why they haunt my dreams:

-They run SO fast. Look at those long legs, those legs move over carpet like nothing you've ever seen.

-They bite. Nuff said there.

-JUST LOOK AT THEM! Creepy! Oh, how I hate them.

Now, you might be wondering what this has to do with writing. That would be a valid question, cause I sure don't know. I am working on edits though . . . it's coming along.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Whew!

I have three little words for y'all: I hate moving.

Oh the joys, the joys of packing up your entire house--three years accumulation of furniture and other junk, loading it into the moving van, cleaning that house, then cleaning up the new place, unloading all your junk, and finally unpacking and distributing your junk throughout the new place. Not to mention simultaneously going through all the rigmarole of closing a house.

BLEH

Remind me never to move again. Oh wait . . . I have to move again in three months. Oy veh.

At any rate, I am back at last. Can't wait to read all the old posts on my favorite blogs. :) I've missed the internet so.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Moving

Well, tonight is my last night in this condo. We signed the papers the morning and the moving truck is coming tomorrow. I feel, well, depressed honestly. I'm going to miss this place. A lot.

At any rate, I will be out of commission on the blog for a while. I'll get back when I can.

TTFN.

Caralina Guerrero


I haven't really searched for any of the characters in my book, but I kept seeing the Covergirl commercial with Ana de la Reguera and saying, "There's Caralina." So, I found a pic of her and thought I'd show you a fairly accurate depiction of Jane's rival. You can see now why she was worried.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Book Chat

Breaking Dawn. I've finished it, so let's discuss.

My initial assessment:
There were a few twists and turns that I didn't see coming, but overall I have to say that it wrapped up too nicely for my tastes. I wanted/expected someone to die or remain suffering in the end. Like Jacob. His whole imprinting on Nessie thing seemed oh so convenient.

But, the biggest "THAT'S convenient" of all went to Bella's power. I mean . . . come on. It felt like a cop out.

Fact of the matter is, at the point where Alice sees the Volturi coming and simultaneously Bella find out about her power, I knew exactly how it was going to end. And I was right.

It's too bad because I felt fairly engrossed by the first three books, but this one kind of felt like a chore. It certainly could have been written at least half the size. There were a few cool moments, no doubt, but overall I was usually frustrated with Breaking Dawn.

P.S. What's with the cover? I still don't get it.

Friday, August 22, 2008

ramblings

I feel all a flutter tonight, and I don't really know why. I'm tired, but I don't want to go to bed. I'm too jittery to read. I can't work on Midas (or I don't want to, not sure which.) I just need to blog.

It all started when Ben and I went to Barnes and Noble. I picked up an issue of Writer's Digest magazine. There was an article called "28 Agents who want to read your story," or something like that. Well . . . that got it all started.

I have spent the last several hours researching agents online, and now I'm all crazy inside.

A part of my is excited. I found several agents that are SO FANTASTIC! Wouldn't it be amazing to be their client? What if they like me? Is it possible? My heart starts racing, my stomach is filled with butterflies. The future seems to be stretching out before me like a glorious ocean sunrise.

Then, I feel suddenly overwhelmed with fear. I feel nervous that Midas isn't good enough, terrified to throw my darling into the scrutinizing den of agents, petrified at the thought that my maybe I'm just a lousy writer who will never succeed.

I don't know what to feel. I guess I should just chill out, seeing as how I haven't even started editing yet. Querying is still a ways off. *sigh* I have a way of getting all worked up over nothing. I guess I should try to sleep . . . if I can.

Maybe I will read Breaking Dawn in bed, that ought to do it. ;)

Boring Dawn

Heh, don't mean to be rude, but it's how I feel right now.

I am reading Breaking Dawn (I know, I know, that is soooo three weeks ago,) and I am slogging my way through Book 2, the one in Jacob's voice. zzzzzzzz I'm sorry to be harsh, but I am getting a little annoyed. NOTHING is happening. I am so ready to get out of Jacob's head. I know it is serving a purpose, and chapter after chapter of "I feel so sick" in Bella's voice would be no better, but still. I kinda feel like Meyer was having fun writing in Jacob's voice and got a little carried away. One or two chapters would have sufficed with the limited plot progression that has occurred.

I guess I need to push through, but honestly, at this point, I feel tempted to chuck it and just Wiki the rest. But . . . I won't. I do want to finish. I am intrigued enough with the story. I guess I just needed to vent.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Josh Groban - February Song

So, this song is one that I listened to a lot as I wrote Midas. I guess you could say it is a theme song. Some of the lines are spot on. Overall, though, it is a fantasic song. Love it.

And, okay, I also love Josh Groban. He is . . . oh mercy, mercy he is gorgeous.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Home again, home again

Yesterday was one of those days. *shudder* Traveling with kids. *double shudder* Alone. *triple shudder* You can read the details in the comment section on Kiersten's blog, but long story short, it was a nightmare of a long day.

Well, I am finally back. In my own home. In my good old basement. Heck, I'm even happy to see my big, fat desktop. :)

I am eager to get back to work. I didn't get a thing done at my parent's house. It took tremendous effort just to check the blogs. So, yeah, as much as I love them, it's fabulous to be back in my own little groove. I have been chomping at the bit to start revising Midas. I have some good ideas, and unlike Tristan, it shouldn't take forever and a day. Nope, I predict a solid three weeks of work ought to do it.

One minor problem, we have to be out of our house in one week. Yep. Not like I picked a bad time to go on vacation or anything. Oh well. *plants fists on waist* I laugh in the face of a challenge. I wrote a whole novel in the month I was trying to sell my house, didn't I?

Friday, August 8, 2008

To Kiersten and Natalie

You guys were so fast, and so insightful, that I felt like I had to give you gifts. So here they are:


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Done, baby

Well, ladies and gents, tonight I finished Newy, or as I really call it: Miss Midas.

I feel very excited, very nervous to have people read it, and very very very loopy. I need sleep. It is late here. Too late. (hey! now that I am done I can sleep again. sleeeeeeeep . . . sleeeeeep)

Here are the final stats:

Words: 63,627

Chapters: 29

Amazingness: Off the charts, baby. Off the charts.

Told you I was in a loopy mood. A blog is a dangerous thing in the hands of someone who is seriously sleep deprived. I'm off to bed.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I love Brandon

You must forgive me yet another gush post. Right now, seeing as how it's 1:30 in the morning, I feel a lack of impulse control. :)

I just finished a scene with Jane and Brandon, and right now I want to cry. I love Brandon so much! He is just so wonderful! *sniff, sniff*

Also, I wanted to say that there is no doubt I will finish on time. I have three scenes left. Two minor ones. One big one, which is the last scene. *sniffles* It's going to be so beautiful.

Okay . . . I am going to bed now before I reveal what a sentimental schmuck I really am. (Or have I already done that?)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Broken Promises

A dramatic title, I know. Sometimes I struggle. That's my weakness: a tendency to be melodramatic. In life and in my writing.

Anyway, this is a post to say that I will likely not meet my goal of August 5th. :(

However, I am so close. In fact, my new projection is August 7th. That should be about right. I think.

I have written the climax and MAN, it's . . . well, I am not really sure how to describe it. At any rate, I have roughly seven or eight scenes left to write, and some of those are mini scenes. I average two scenes a day, so this is quite possible if I focus and push myself.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Parallels

So, I start with a good news update: we are in contract to sell our house!

It is all so surprising to us, because we were only on the market for two weeks, and also, the buyer agreed to a final sale price of only $1000 off our list price (which we worried might be too high.)So, yeah, we got soooooo lucky for this crazy bad housing market.

I have been thinking a lot about the parallels between selling your house, and trying to sell a novel, and I compiled a list of similarities.

1.You really really need an agent, whether you think you do or not.
2. The better the agent, the better chance you sell, and sell at a good price (to a good publishing house.)
We have a kind of high powered agent (who charged an arm and a leg--therein lies the difference, but anyway) and, in the end he was really worth his exorbitant percentage. We know people in our ward who have been trying to sell for months and months, and have come down in price, sometimes two times. And they live in the same
condo complex as us, so there are only subtle differences. That brings up another parallel.
3. Competition is fierce
4. The process of waiting is nerve wracking to the max.

Anyway, I could go on and on. It just made me kind of laugh at how similar the two processes really are.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Guess what I'm researching?

Prom Dresses. heh heh.

It's, unsurprisingly, a lot of fun. Here is a selection of dresses I'm thinking of for Jane. There are only two requirements: expensive and immodest (for reasons which I cannot disclose.)And, lest you think my research is pointless, I assure you, this dress is important.







Which one do you like?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Trub

And by that I mean, trouble.
That's what's coming for Jane. Mwa ha ha ha ha. *grins* I love writing this story.

In writing Newy, I have actually learned something about trouble. They say that the action should keep building until the climax, and well, I am learning that that is easier said than done. It really is a delicate process. You have to be constantly aware of what's happening and what happened and what is going to happen.

Also, Newy has a tricky climax, in that it is not the end of the book. Well, it's the end, but there are several significant things that have to happen after the climax. Tricky, tricky. I won't say much more. Wouldn't want to give it away.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

So far, so good

I met my goal for today, writing almost exactly 2500 words. Unfortunately, I had was in the middle of writing, and something about the scene felt wrong. I just didn't like it. So, *sigh* I cut 500 words. It's not all bad, though. I ended up working out a way to make the important things that were supposed to happen in that scene happen somewhere else. . . . if that makes any sense.

In other news, I received an amusing letter today in the mail. It was congratulating me on my candidacy in the Cambridge Who's Who Registry Among Executive and Professional Women. Pretty sweet, huh?

I had to laugh. They weren't trying to get money, so I can't fathom what they were thinking. I kind of want to register, though, and have my profile up there, just for laughs.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A goal

I have always had this goal, lurking in the back of my mind: to finish Newy by the time I go to Utah. My family is still asking about Tristan, and that's not gonna happen. I want to be able to give them something.

And now that I know I am going to meet my two writer buddies (YIPPEE!!), I feel even more inspiration. Then we can all gab about each other's books. (Which we will do anyway, but still.)

So here is the break down, I am about 32,000k. An average book is 60,70k. So, I am about half way done. In order to finish in two weeks, (I'd have to give you girls time to read it) I would need to write 2500 words A DAY.

Hmmm . . . can I do it? I wrote 3000 words today. And, I do have it all plotted out to the end.

Double Hmm . . . this should be interesting.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A rose by any other name

Well, as requested, I added an Newy updater to my page. Should be amusing.

I also have a quick question for you. I am thinking of changing the name of my main character. Which do you like better?

A. Jane (the current name)

B. Jae (short for some fancy name)

C. Cay (short for some fancy name)

I am leaning to Jae right now, but . . . not sure. What you you think?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Why I love Chick-fil-A

Had another showing today. Yeah. So much fun. Only, this time, I had just two and a half hours to get the house ready. sheesh. Oh well, we made it. The house looked fantastic when I left. (It's already cluttered. Kids. Gotta love it.)

Anyway, one very good thing came out of it. I had to be out of the house for an hour while they showed it. It was freakin' hot here in Ohio, hot and muggy, so I couldn't take the kids to a park. Instead, we went to Chick-fil-A.

Aside from their good food, and the fact that they have Dr. Pepper on tap, the one near our house is a free standing location with an indoor playplace. So, I got myself a DP, and let the kids run wild and free and oh so contained for an entire hour.

With this lovely, glorious peace of mind, I found myself plotting out Newy to the end. It actually took me by surprise, because when I started writing Newy, I was aware that there were lots of ways the story could go and I planned on just seeing where the story took me.

However, as the story has gone along, I have gotten a pretty good image of how it's going to be. And, now I have a very very good image. In fact, I have a list of 49 scenes and mini scenes that take me to the end.

I am really excited. This book is gonna ROCK!

Sorry, my enthusiasm gets the better of me sometimes. Things are just coming along well. 27, 085k and still going strong.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Tease me

Well, I survived my day of house cleaning horrors. There was a breakdown, and a few tears in the eleventh hour, but I somehow pulled it off and was running out the door at 5:30. Seven and a half hours of cleaning, and they probably spent ten minutes in the place before saying, "Okay, let's see the next one."

*grumbles under breath*

Oh well, onto brighter things. Like my Newy teaser. The first bit of the story doesn't really give away much more than a hint of the premise, so I thought I'd just give you the hook line I have been working on. Well, *gulp* here it is:

Jane Mitchell makes a wish that Brandon Drake will fall in love with her at a single touch, but her life is thrown into chaos when she realizes that not only Brandon, but every guy she touches will love her instantly.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

My Hot Lover

All today, I have been laughing about the post on Natalie's blog that compares novel writing with love. So true, so true.

Newy is definitely my current lover, and we are burning strong. It just feels so good to be with him. Tonight, I hit 23,100k. And then, I emailed the first 120 pages to my twin sister.

I can't emphasize enough what a departure that is from the way I operated with Tristan. With him, I didn't even tell them what the book was about until I was practically done. I am not sure why I was like that.

With Newy, I am basically cramming my book down my sister's throats.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Newy

So, Sunday night I was talking to my sister Rebecca about Newy. Somehow, on impulse I told her I would send her what I have, which is about 100 pages, 19,300k.

Well, tonight she called me and said that she read it in one sitting and loved it. In fact, she gave it very high praise. *sigh* Becca is a dear, sweet sister.

Now, I know I should take her words with a heavy grain of salt. She is family, after all, and families are notorious for lavishing praise on a story because they love the person who wrote it. I don't discredit my sister's sincerity, but I do think her enthusiasm is enhanced by her sisterly affection to me.

And yet . . . I must admit that I did a giddy dance when I got off the phone. I think I will allow myself to be pumped by her assessment.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A quick survey

So, Newy is a contemporary YA, set in good old Columbus, Ohio. Here is the thing I am pondering. Right now, I have invented a High School and set it in an invented suburb on the West side. That's about as specific as I get.

However, I am wondering if I should set the story in an actual suburb, and actual High School. The location really isn't a big part of the story. I'm going for: every day American suburb.

So, what do you think? Real or invented?

BTW, in case the picture isn't clear, this is supposed to be a typical high school hallway.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Mean Wife

Tonight, right as I was about to go write, my twin sister called, somewhat unexpectedly. Well, I can't have a quick conversation with the girl, so we ended up chatting for over an hour and a half. We said goodbye at 10:30.

Ben was like, "Yay, now we can spend some time together." So, then we had an evening of stimulating conversation, sweet cuddles, and positive affirmations of our love to each other. Right?

Wrong.

I hemmed and hawed about how I really wanted to write tonight. Ben graciously encouraged me to do so. And, now, two hours later, he is asleep and I feel rotten.

*sigh* Sorry Benny, if you read this. I do love you, contrary to how it may appear.

Monday, July 7, 2008

I'm alive!

Hi folks, I'm back.

Well, it was quite a weekend for me. The relatives came in on Wednesday for 4th of July fun. And then, on Saturday morning we all drove up to Cleveland for a few days of extended family visitations.

It was all fun, though tiring. Let me put it this way, Ben's relatives all have really nice houses with lots of expensive trinkets, large, fenceless yards with swimming pools, and dogs. So, yeah, you can imagine me chasing around my little energizer bunny boy, and that's pretty much my weekend. :)

Hope you all had a good one. I am so happy to be back!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

It begins

My relatives are in town. *sigh* Hope to check in on everybody while they're here, but they are staying in our basement, which is where the computer is.

Wish me luck. And I promise to make multiple comments when I can, just to make up for my lack of web presence.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

New name, new template

*says in evil voice* I hate color! Color must be destroyed!

So, I've been wanting to change my blog name for some time. Books of my numberless dreams is so . . . grandiose. I figured I should go for something a bit more modest.

As for the template, meh, I'm not sure if I'll keep it. It's a bit dark. A bit colorless. You know me, I will probably change it in like three minutes. Oh well.

Impending Doom

Actually, it's not that dramatic. My In-Laws are coming into town for the 4th of July weekend. Don't get me wrong, I love them to death, but their arrival will mark several days in which I might not be able to write. THAT sucks.

I really really want to write too. I am still going strong on Newy. See, there is a large amount of guilt that I struggle with, since I haven't worked on, or even thought about Tristan. All I think about is Newy. Or Zombies. (Way to get your story in my head, Natalie :)

I told my sister that I was working on a new story, and she was like, "Oh, Renee." I think they think that I am just the impulsive type who will never finish a story. I mean, I did finish Tristan. But I haven't finish finished. Oh well. There is only one way to prove them wrong.

**QUICK DISCLAIMER** Becca: If you are reading this, I don't mean that you are the person who thinks I am "the impulsive type who will never finish a story." I think I might have phrased that wrong. Ben's the only one who referenced my "impulsive nature," however I worry that everyone is thinking it inside, even if they don't say it. Insecurities. Insecurities. You've always beleived in me, though, Becca. :) A fact for which I am always grateful.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Holy smokes

Tonight, I decided to start Newy, to just see how I like it. 2,500 words later, I am burning to keep on writing, but it's 1 am, and I seriously have to sleep.

Man. I am totally wired right now. I don't want to stop.

This is exciting.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Super Big Gulp

No, I am not ordering a large Dr Pepper from 7-11. (I wish) That is the sound I am making, due to the fact that, today, I started to write my synopsis for Tristan.

I figured I needed a little break from editing, and my hope was that writing the synopsis would help me feel better about Tristan. Well, so far so good. It's really not so bad. The only problem I am running into is keeping it short. As of yet, I am just writing it out in as succinct a way possible, but I am not watching the page count. Well, let's just say I have covered 150 pages of story in 2 pages of synopsis. So, at this rate, I could have to trim down an eight page synopsis to a three page one. Insert the super big gulp here.

Oh well, it's all kind of fun, in a masochistic kind of way.

P.S. Doesn't that picture just make your mouth water?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Pause


So, have any of you seen the movie Click? It is pretty lame, but the concept was way sweet. Basically, the guy gets a remote control for his life. I have often found myself wishing for such a thing. Mainly the pause button. Think of how great it would be to be able to pause life! Dude, that would be so nice.

I guess I have been thinking alot about that lately, because I just want to freakin' finish Tristan. I love him, but I mean COME. ON. It is taking so long. I know that this is largely because I have some big sections that I am totally rewriting. But, still. I long to be done.

If I could just pause life, then I would finally have some time to write for crying out loud. See, it takes me a while to get in "the zone." Lame, I know, but I often find that I am just starting to get going, when it is time to go to bed. Like tonight . . . of course, I had to vent on my blog before I went to sleep, but my writing time is up nonetheless.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Judy strikes again!

Last night, all of the stars aligned. My kids were both in bed by 8:15. Ben and I had a little quality time just after dinner, and now he wanted to go work on the remodeling our bathroom, and I had already done most of the Net stuff that I wanted to do. So, I was faced with almost four hours to write. Huzzah!

Well, I did. I made a lot of progress on edits. But, then, this morning, Judy attacked.

It was partially inspired by the recent post on Nathan's blog. Reading it, I started to question whether my plot was strong enough. Then, with that little opening, Judy squeezed in and began to list off the same old doubts. All day, my mind has been lost in a storm of uncertainty.

*siiiiiiiiigh* I'm neurotic. I know. I just wish that I could feel 100 percent excited about Tristan 100 percent of the time.

And all the while, Newy is chomping at the bit . . .

Thursday, June 19, 2008

My workspace

Here is where I build my novel, one word at a time

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

And Ben . . .

82

As a 1930s husband, I am
Very Superior

Take the test!

I have long suspected . . .

35

As a 1930s wife, I am
Poor

Take'>http://www.magatsu.net/maritaltest/">Take the test!


Whew

Sorry, I seriously had to delete that post. Thanks for the input, but after seeing them again today, I'll probably scrap them all. I didn't hate them that much, but they just didn't show any personality. (Taking the pictures by the flowers was Ben's idea. I'm not that glamorous.)

*relaxed sigh* I feel better now. Now, here is a picture that I find much more enjoyable to look at. :)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Great Expectations


One Sunday, Father's Day, I was assigned to speak at my church. It's not the first time, but it was certainly the most scary.

I felt this enormous amount of pressure to be brilliant. Three reasons why:
1, It's Father's Day and you have to have an epic meeting on Father's Day, right?
2, I had this feeling that everyone expected brilliance because, "well, she is a writer."
3, I expected to be able to at least write a good 15 minute talk because, "well, I am a writer."

Well, after hours of stressing, everything went fine. My talk certainly wasn't epic or brilliant, but I at least spoke coherently. And I didn't trip on my way up. Anyway, now its over, and I won't have to speak for a nice, long time.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Writer's Intuition

I figure that if Kiersten can keep up with her blog when she is in Mexico, I should probably throw up a post. I thought I'd give a brief update about my dilemma of Jody vs. Judy.

I pondered recently on the nature of the elusive writer's intuition. Lots of authors talk about it. Apparently, following it is the only way to write your best. So, as Judy and Jody have battled it out in my head, I wondered which one was my true voice. I think I've discovered that it is neither.

My answer was standing right in front of my all along. When I sit down to the computer, I open up Tristan. I don't find myself starting to work on Newy. In fact, I tried once and couldn't write a word. It didn't feel right. It's just not the Newy's time yet. My impulse is to work on Tristan.

So, THAT'S my writer's intuition. It's not a voice in my head. It is my actions, what I do. I don't know if this will means that Tristan will be any more marketable, in fact, probably not. But, I know that I am writing what I am supposed to be writing. And that's enough for me.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Schizophrenia

Long post here, but I need to work this out. I need help. Be my shrink.

My mind is being torn apart by two separate thought processes. As you all know, I have been working on revising a YA epic fantasy novel that has yet to be named, but I refer to it as Tristan. Anyway, I love Tristan, he's my baby. He's the first novel I ever completed. However, I still have a ways to go on the editing. *sigh* It's taking longer than I thought. And, lately, I have been reading about how the market for epic fantasy is shrinking.
I have also been questioning myself as to whether or not Tristan is just a little cliche in it's concept. In a nut shell: A boy discovers that he is one of four special guardians who protect the borders of the lone magical nation.
I really tried to shake things up a bit. There are many things that are unique, but sometimes I have this nagging thought that an agent will only see the somewhat familiar concept and deem it cliche. And then send a form rejection letter.

Here's the shake up. In recent weeks I have been cooking an idea for a new novel. This idea is, if I do say so myself, dynamite. YA still, but contemporary and much more light hearted. I'll call her Newy. I LOVE the concept. It's pretty unique. I don't think I've seen anything like it.
And, here's the big thing: Newy is much more marketable than Tristan. I have a pretty good idea of where I am going with it, so I think I could write her pretty fast. Obviously, however, she is still just an idea scribbled out on several pages of my Moleskine. Not a single word actually written. Not even a plot outline.

So, there are two different people in my head, and they are constantly battling over control of my thoughts.

Judy: Ditch Tristan. It's good, but just not marketable right now. You are wasting time editing a novel that will never get published. Look, we all love him. He taught us a lot. So, let's consider him as your practise novel. The novel that taught you how to write a novel.
Work on Newy. She's really good, and so much more marketable. Also, now that you've worked through the process of writing, you could get her out fast. Strike now, while the iron is hot. Use your precious little writing time to work on something that could really be published.

Jody: Hey, hey, calm down here. You are just letting your nerves get to you. Tristan is a really good story. True, you have work to do, but not that much. If you focus your efforts, you can finish edits by July, send it to your readers, revise again in August, and have queries out by September.
If you start Newy, you won't even have the first draft done by September. Just wait. You can start Newy as soon as you begin querying Tristan. Newy will still be just as marketable, and just as good in a few months.
Don't throw away all of the work you have done. Don't give up. You're so close. You are just freaking out right now. Even if Tristan is not as marketable, even if he doesn't get published, it will still be a really good experience for you to complete the editing process and send out queries. You will learn a lot. So, just stay the course, and you will be glad that you did.

The trouble is, a different times, each one of them seems to ring true, as my "writer's intuition" speaking to me. Moments when Judy is in control, I feel really strongly that I should put Tristan in a drawer for now. But, when Jody is in control, I am equally passionate about finishing Tristan and getting him out onto the market.

WHO IS RIGHT????? I don't know. I don't know what to do. All I know is this: my writing time is very limited. I don't think I can work on both simultaneously. But, maybe I can. I just don't know anything. I feel so confused. HELP!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Mish Mash

Well, the short story is coming along great. It's kind of weird to think that I will actually be done soon. You mean, it won't take me a year? I'm glad though. It's been a great study on how to move a story along, and how to integrate exposition, because you only have 20-30 pages in which to do it. Also, I think this can be a good practise try at submitting a story to places/getting used to rejection.

In the meantime, here is a cute new pic of my nephew/son. :)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

New Story

So, at Natalie's great suggestion, I put aside my Tristan novel for a little while, and started work on a new story. The short story I mentioned earlier. It's really nice to put my energy into something else.

I mean, I love my Tristan story, but I don't want to put my whole life into it, only to have it rejected across the board. Obviously, I shouldn't doom it to utter rejection yet. I haven't even submitted a single query. But, I just want to make sure that I have other things that I am working on, so that in the event that things never pan out with Tristan, I'll move right onto the next project.

I think this story is a good one to ease myself into. It's just a short story . . . for now. Anyway, I thought I'd give a little taste. It's SciFi. Post Apocalyptic to be exact.

Since it's a short, I know it's got to hook you right off the bat. Any critiques of this opening? Oh, and please, don't feel like you have to be nice.

*The lights in the side corridors of Constancy Wing always flickered, and sometimes didn’t work at all—a fact that Sparrow found rather ironic. Today, as she followed Cadre786 to her self-criticism chamber, a single bulb sputtered yellow light down on them. The rest were dark.

Sparrow grimaced. A bad sign. That probably meant the air channels weren’t working right either, and on a summer day like this, those chambers get to be like ovens. Sparrow could already feel sweat beading on her temples and above her top lip. She rubbed a hand over her swollen belly. The child shifted with her touch. You aren’t going to make it any better, you know.

Cadre786 stopped in front of the chamber door and pressed his palm against the control pad.
"The Committee has decided to give you an extra three hours this session, Technician305." The corner of his mouth curled up in a smirk as he waited for the print to process.
"We have hopes that, perhaps with a bit more time, you will find within yourself genuine submission to the Truth."*

Friday, May 30, 2008

It's official

Well, my little quiz has ended, and the votes have been counted (hanging chads included.)

I guess I am not the only writer in the world not to own a laptop, but pretty close. 1 out of 5 shared my predicament.
*sigh* I suppose I shouldn't complain. Our big, clunky Dell works fine. True, Microsoft Word has unremovable adware that makes it impossible to start it without a time consuming, complex series of steps. And true, our internet creeps at a snails pace. But, still, it all works.

Don't ask me why I think a laptop will be so amazing. I guess it's mainly because I imagine that I could get a little writing done upstairs while the kids played. They hate the basement. It's really not baby proofed, and there are no toys, no TV. Yet, if I go downstairs and leave them alone, they whine. So, ideally, I could be logging an hour of writing during the day in addition to my nightly two-three hours. Ideally, of course.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I'm an Aunt/Mom!

I know this is not writing related, but I am just so excited. Early this morning, my twin sister had her first baby. A boy named Karl. Isn't he a cutie pie?


I say that I am an Aunt/Mom, because, as twins, my sister and I have the same DNA. So, technically I am his genetic mother.


Seriously, though, I already love that little guy like I was his mom. I just wish I was there to see him. I could cry. Oh well, I'm flying out there this summer. So, all is well.


A happy day for me.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Musings on my family

I think one thing that every writer needs is a supportive family. I feel lucky enough to have one.

My husband, Ben, is great because I can always ALWAYS talk with him about my story. And I do, constantly. I'm glad he isn't sick of it yet. I really have come to rely on his opinion. He is absolutely not a sugar coater. If there is something that he doesn't think works, he'll tell me flat out. I do get defensive sometimes, but when he praises an idea, I know he really means it. It's actually very lucky to have such a person living under the same roof.

Then, there's my daughter. She knows all about my book. Sometimes hear her playing it out with her dolls. *heart melts* She also always wants to write her own story. She'll draw the pictures, and write the few words she knows, then she writes the rest of the letters of the alphabet that she knows. I finish it off by transcribing the tale on the back. They are adorable. I've kept every one.

Today, she was particularly excited about a story that she wrote (with the same main characters as mine.) She ran up to me to show me, and said, "Mom, it's just like your story. Only prettier, and nicer, and better."

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A nice, healthy splash of cold water

Wow. Nathan's contest has been a real dose of reality for me. I guess I always intrinsically assumed that there were a lot of writers out there, but seeing it in real form was a bit of a shock. I read through many of the entries, and almost all of them were really good. Some were outstanding. I made me really think about the competition that I am facing.

And when I say competition, I mean to be published, not to win the dialogue contest. I've written that off long ago. In fact, I never actually thought I had a chance, I just wanted to give it a try for fun. Publication, on the other hand, will be a long, grueling march, but I plan to stick with it for the long haul.
It's hard not to get a little discouraged though, but I think that's okay sometimes. Better to know what you are facing, then to be blindsided in the actual moment.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Nathan's Dialogue Contest

Last night, after spending the entire time I had alotted to revise my manuscript picking out a bit of dialogue, I thought I might as well follow suit and post it to my blog. I realized this is the first sample of my writing I've ever posted. *gulp*

Anyway, with not the slightest hopes of winning, here is my entry:

"We should go right now," Iloria said. "Maybe we can catch Garett at the crossroads." She stood. "Come on."

Filled with self-loathing, Tristan shook his head.
"I’m not going."

She frowned. "What?"

"We have to bring him back, Iloria. We have to."

"I know . . . so, we’ll go and—"

"No."

She stared at him, confused, and yet aware of the tone in his voice.
"What are you saying, Tristan?"

"We’ve fallen behind. We still have to get to Woodmere in three days."

"And Garett?"

Tristan couldn’t look at her as he spoke "You are going to get him."

"Alone?"

"There is an outpost a mile from here. We’ll pay for an escort to—"

"That’s not what I meant."

Tristan sighed. "It’s the only way."

"No. It’s not. We could go together."

"That would only make things worse. He has to have a reason to come back. It has to be just you."

Iloria’s breath was tight. "What do you mean, reason?"

"You know."

"I don’t," she snapped. "Tell me what you meant."

Tristan pushed his fingers into his temples, trying to somehow shut out the pain that coiling was inside him.
"Don’t make me say it."

"Say it."

"You know why."

"Say it." Her eyes were fierce, but glistening with tears.

Tristan looked away.
"Iloria, the only reason he was willing to be a part of this in he first place was you. And . . . if he has you again, maybe he’ll come back."

Friday, May 16, 2008

Inquisition Meme

First off, let me state that I am an inquisition virgin. So, if I do anything wrong, I have an excuse.

1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5-6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read the player’s blog.
4. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.


Inquisition Meme

What were you doing ten years ago?
I, like Kiersten (who tagged me), was finishing up my freshmen year of High School in lovely Kahuku, Hawaii. And I too performed in the Spring Musical. Our extremely low budget Drama program put on West Side Story. It was my first and only cross dressing moment. I played a Jet. And I was madly in love with another Jet. He was an actual boy (I swear), but alas, a Senior. So, he toyed with my heart, graduated, and I never saw him again.

What are five things on your to-do list for today?
Since it's night, I'll list some things on my to do list for tommorow.
1. Paint the kitchen cupboards. We're selling our house. *weary sigh*
2. Buy the stuff for dinner on Saturday and Sunday.
3. Make a big mark in my revisions.
4. Play with husband and kids.
5. Nap?

What are some snacks you enjoy?
I have one true love: Dr. Pepper. Oh, my sweet, sweet, DP. I can resist ice cream, candy, chocolate, and baked goods without much effort. But, Dr. Pepper I must have every day. I usually restrict myself to only one can. And I always have that can when I write. I thought, deserved a picture. Ben took this candid shot as I was working on my manuscript. There is Dr. Pepper in the cup, and here you also see my other ritualistic writing snack: air popped popcorn. Those two go together like peas and carrots. Only they taste much better.


What would you do if you were a billionaire?
Aside from all of the obvious ones, the best part would be that I would buy a house right next to my twin sister. No more worries about living in the place where the "good opportunites" are. I would buy Diana and I each nice homes with a huge shared backyard.
Oh . . . and I'd buy a laptop. How I yearn for a laptop.

What are three of your bad habits?
1. Procrastinator. Big time.
2. Scatter brained/Daydreamer.
3. Poor housekeeper. (I am a good cook, though. I'm not a complete failure of a housewife.)


What are five places where you have lived?
1. Claremont, California. That's where I was born.
2. Laie, Hawaii. Lived there from 4th grade to 11th grade.
3. Orem, Utah. Moved there oh-so-cruelly for my Senior year. Then I went to college there.
4. Columbus, Ohio. Current locale.
5. Moterhome USA. My family spent 2 months every single summer traveling around in one.

What are five jobs you have had?
1. Sbarro's Pizza Girl.
2. Cinnabon Girl. I was promoted to Supervisor. I know, the real big leagues.
3. BYU Grounds Crew
4. Research Assistant.
5. Teacher's Assistant.

What were the last five books you read?
1. Game of Thrones by. G.R.R. Martin. (Excellent)
2. The Sun also Rises by. Ernest Hemingway. (Interesting . . . but good)
3. Ever by. Gail Carson Levine. (Pretty lame, actually)
4. Goose Girl by. Shannon Hale. (Good. I liked it)
5. Biography of F. Scott Fitzgerald. (Facinating


What’s playing on your iPod right now?
Don't have an iPpod *grumbles under breath* I listen to the internet radio. Film Scores station.

What five people do you want to tag?
Brady, Shell, Lisa, Mom. . . . I can't think of anyone else. Sorry.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Tempted by the Fruit of Another

Yesterday, I got this flash image of the opening scene to a story. It really knocked me out. So vivid and so dramatic. I could see the main character so clearly.

All today, I've been thinking about the story, jotting down little notes and such. I have, what I feel, is the ground work for a pretty smashing story. And here's the kicker: it's a short story.

I have a rocky past with short stories. Nine times out of ten, people who read mine say "I think this would make a better novel." For a long time I just thought, I can't write short stories. And I hated that, because I'd love to have some publishing creds to my name before I submit my novel. But, up until now it was a big "oh well."

Well, I think I've got something pretty good here. Now the only question is, when do I start? Should I succumb to the temptation to write this story? I'm pretty fired up about it. We'll just have to see. It very well might be impossible to keep this one on a back burner. I might just HAVE to write it.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Quer-o-matic 2000

This weekend, I made my first attempt at writing out my query letter. Well, technically it wasn't my very first attempt. I have been scribbling--and I mean scribbling--down sentences in my notebook. I even wrote one draft there. But, until this weekend, I had yet to get on down on Word. Well, now I do, with some thanks to my husband, Ben. He and I have been talking about my query for a long time. And today, Ben wanted to take a crack at it. So, I let him write a pitch paragraph for my story. I even let him write it in my beloved Moleskine. I must say, he did a pretty awesome job. I definitely used some of his ideas.


It has been a very eye opening experience, overall. I have learned one very important thing about query letters. You just have to write it all out . . . a thousand times. The pages in my notebook look like chicken scratch. But, I learned that you have to write every wisp of thought that enters your mind. Phase a certain sentence as many ways as possible, until it sounds okay. Yes, it was quite messy, though very productive. I know feel like I have a pretty decent working query letter.


Sometimes I get quite stressed about the quagmire that is the query. So so so SO much rides on that one little sheet of paper. Especially for me, a writer with no publication credits. My query letter alone has to knock the agents' socks off. I wish there was a foolproof method, or a magical machine. Yeah, that would be better. The Quer-o-matic 2000. Just insert a sheet of paper, and a mind-blowing query letter flies out.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

. . . never mind

Upon second glance, a day later, I realized that the ocean template was too busy and made it a bit hard to read. So, I changed it back.
*shrugs*
My blog is still in a transition stage.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The New Template

Pretty sweet, huh?

I went with an ocean theme, because the main character in my book, Tristan, has a very unique connection with the sea. It's a major theme of the story.

I'm also thinking of changing my url and title. Heads up to my numerous readers. ;)

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sleep

It is almost one in the morning, and I am still here, on my computer. *sigh*

I seriously wish I could work out a better time to write. But, with two kids, a "to do" list two pages long, and a husband who does still desire my companionship, I just don't know when that would be. I usually don't even get started writing until 10:00 p.m. I'll get in the zone, and when I look up at the clock next, it's after midnight.

When I first started seriously writing my novel, I decided that sleep would be one of those things that I would just write off. I don't want it to be the kids, or my husband, so sleep had to be the thing to suffer.

Oh well. I don't feel too bad, and time and time again I feel very strongly that it's worth it. I love writing so much. I can't imagine my life without it. And, if I have to feel a little sleepy, so be it.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Soap and Inspiration

So, I have noticed a pattern in the way I think about my novel. Aside from the fact that I think about it ALL the time (that kind of goes without saying,) I've noticed that a significant portion of my key inspirations have come when I am in the shower.

I've wondered, why is that the case? Is it perhaps the hot water and relaxation? Or is it the lovely white noise of water drowning out the chaotic symphony of my two sweet children? I think it might be a bit of both.

In either case, I'm just glad that it keeps coming. It seems that this stage of the revision process could be an area in which many writers drop out of the race. I can't blame them. This is a tough stage. There is so much work ahead of me, so much that I see I need to do, and thus far, the process of going in and typing out those revisions is surprisingly more time consuming than I thought it would be. But, as if that were not hard enough, there is this lingering sense of resolution that makes it hard to hit the computer. Because, after all, I did finish the whole first draft. That's a real accomplishment. But, I can't think that way. I absolutely have to see my novel as being far from completed.

And so, I journey on.

I work on my novel and try to push myself to finish these revisions just as hard as I pushed myself to finish the first draft. And whenever I feel myself lacking the vision, I just run the hot water, grab my loofah, and scrub my way to inspiration.