Saturday, May 30, 2009

My Many Moves

Several of you have asked why all the moves, so I figured I'd quickly explain our crazy year. :)

Move 1 (Late August '08)
We knew we would be moving from Ohio in December, and given the slow market we decided to put our condo up for sale early. Well, it sold in two weeks. So we had to move all of our stuff into a nearby apartment to live for the remaining three months.

Move 2 (December '08)
Time to move from Ohio to Utah for the first of my husband's Optometry School internships. We loaded our furniture and non-necessities into a storage unit in Columbus and headed cross country. (In spite of having a storage unit full of junk, we still manage to cram both of our cars full of stuff.)

Move 3 (March '09)
We moved from Utah to Boise for Optometry School Internship number two. (Again, with our two jam packed cars.)

Move 4 (This coming Monday)
Back to Utah. My husband has a job lined up, but he does not get his license to practice until late July. So it's to my parent's house we go.

Move 5 (Late July '09)
We will finally, FINALLY move to Grand Junction, Colorado, where my husband's new job will be.

Pretty insane, huh?? I know one day, I'll look back on this year and thank the high heavens that it's over. But for now, I just keep plugging along. :) It's not really that bad. As Sara said in the comments section of the previous post, I've become a total moving pro.

Friday, May 29, 2009

A Post in Three Parts


What's up with starting sentences with the word "But" ??? I'm in love with But. But seriously, I have a problem. But, what makes it worse is my incorrect insertion of commas right after. But, I am very grateful for the search function on Word.


You may wonder where I have been lately.



For the fourth time in nine months.


And this one's a doozy. So stressful in fact, that I have added a new ticker to the sidebar, tallying what I am sure will be many a post whining about how busy/stressed I am. In the meantime, forgive my absences on your blogs and my own.


Aw crap, I can't think of a third part. (See how fried my brain is?)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Photoshop Friday

Today, I would like to elaborate on an analogy that has been forming in my mind. I call it:


Imagine a large castle with vast grounds, surrounded by a large stone wall. Here, let me give you a visual:
That shining castle of beauty and joy and laughter and magnificence is called is called PUBLICATION CASTLE. Ah yes, we all know it well. To enter those hallowed walls is to know success. But how does one get there?

As you can see from the picture, in order to even approach Publication Castle, one must first pass through THE WALL. (Imagine Gustov Holt's Mars playing right now. Open a tab and listen to it on YouTube if you aren't familiar with the tune. It really works so perfectly in this section.)

What is that wall, you ask? Oh, but don't we all know? When I mentioned that wall, didn't a part of you deep inside weep in horror? Yes. THE WALL. Otherwise known as Querying.

When I think of querying, I see people, thousands and thousands of people, throwing themselves against the outer wall, clamoring, stampeding over each other, desperate for that narrow chance to get inside.
Look at them. Can't you hear the sounds of their desperation? (P.S. If you think I sound condescending, just remember that this is where I am right now.)All they can do is gaze up at the top of the wall and hope that someone will throw down a rope. And who is that someone?*No offense intended to all you glorious agents out there. I really do love you. More than you know. (Call me.)

But, say one of those guards does throw you a rope and pull you out of the teeming masses outside the wall, the battle still isn't over. Publication Castle is still a shining, glorious structure in the distance. And you are still on the outside looking in. But, you are closer than ever. A glance around the COURTYARD OF THE AGENTED reveals nervous smiles, impatient fidgeting, and semi-smug mingling. Everyone is happy to be inside, but no one wants to stay there forever. All eyes are on the Castle.

And then one day, it happens. A servant from in the inner court strolls out and magnanimously points to you. You've been chosen. You will enter PUBLICATION CASTLE. Oh the joy! The rapture! You have no idea what sumptuous delights await you within those glittering walls, but you are more than ready to find out. After everything you've been through to get here, anything sounds good. And hey, who knows, you may just end up at the cool kid's table.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


My brain has been hijacked. By a new book idea.

It's bizarre. I've actually never felt anything like it. I literally cannot focus on my edits. I want to focus. I need to focus. I know exactly what I need to do, but I just can't write a single word. Instead, I find myself researching my new book idea. It's crazy. This is the pushiest book idea I've ever had, by a mile.

And I know, I know, it's Shiny-New-Ideaitis. I've dealt with it before (though admittedly never with one quite so shiny.)I have no intention of letting this derail my progress. . . er . . any more than it has. I plan on showing that new idea who is boss( . . . tomorrow.)

*sigh* Ever been here? What do you do? Start the new book whilst editing? Or are you a strictly one book at a time kinda writer, meaning I shouldn't even start with this new one until I am querying my WiP?

Friday, May 15, 2009

It's going to be a long summer

I know what you are thinking right now. Tears in your eyes, bottom lip quivering, you are wondering why I haven't posted a Photoshop Friday today. Well my friends, as I've alluded to before, this summer is one of MANY complications. I'm basically stressed out of my mind with it all, but never you fear, I shall overcome.

In the meantime, however, my blog usage is going to become sadly diminished. And the first thing to be hit is Photoshop Friday. Now, before you become hysterical with sorrow, let me say that I am only decreasing it to an every other week event--not doing away with it entirely. So, you can look forward to my borderline ridiculous photo essays next week.

At any rate, I've posted a little song to help you all embrace this new system. If you don't feel like listening to the whole thing, move straight to 0:53.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Photoshop Friday

This weeks episode focuses on a very serious issue, one that has to be taken very seriously. I've titled it:

"Hello, my name is Renee, and I'm a COMMAHOLIC."

It's true. I have an addiction to the comma. Now, it may look innocent, but I assure you, turn your back for one minute, and it takes hold.

Comma abuse is a problem that takes a hold of you, and you don't even realize it. Suddenly, commas just appear in place where they don't belong. You push the comma key like you push the space bar. Every time you pause in your thinking, you push the key! You can't stop! Before you know it, the commas have taken over!

So, it's back to school for me.

In fact, I am hosting an intervention for myself in the comments section. If you feel so inclined, please offer me one rule on the correct or incorrect usage of commas. Or if you'd rather, just tell me where I misused commas in this post. I'm sure there are at least a few instances.

You're vigilance and wisdom is much appreciated. And please, don't let Comma Abuse happen to you.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Hope you're not tired of posts about editing . . .

Because I am nowhere near the end. In fact, for you're viewing enjoyment, I've even added a handy tally on the side bar. :)

Anyway, remember this post, where I mentioned the importance of a great ending?

Yeah . . . looks like it's back to the drawing board.

Kidding aside, I actually feel that this is a classic example of why I like editing. Yes, you heard me correctly. I like editing. I find it an exhilarating challenge to bring my chisel up to the rough shape of my story and perfect those lines.

So, yes, I need to rework my entire ending. But I'm excited for that challenge. It's going to take work. It's going to take lots of thought, but I'm determined to get this right. All I have to say is, bring it on.

Monday, May 4, 2009

For Jared

Sometimes, when we become too fixated on one thing, life has a way of putting us back into focus.

This week, my brother starts chemotherapy. It's a sobering thought, but we're all feeling very positive and hopeful for him. He's strong, an inspiration to me. I'm thinking of him today.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Photoshop Friday

This week, I present a shamless rip off of Lolcats. :) But, it's even cuter! It's Lolkids! And, I've made them all writing related n' stuff.

Today, these adorable little ones are going to illustrate some truths I've been ruminating on as I enjoy my break. And what's that?

The Importance of Taking a Break

I've got to tell you, this is probably one of the most underrated writerly virtues. When we finish that first draft, we are on a high. We think it's about the best thing ever written (come on, you know you do.) So, naturally, our first impulse is to press on. Push ahead! Get this baby ready and out into Query World!! What are you waiting for?! DON'T YOU WANT TO BE PUBLISHED?!?!?!

Go on for too long like that, and you'll end up like this.

That, my friends, is why I have become an advocate of the all important break. Here are three things that you will gain from it. And this is a Renee Collins guarantee.

1. Physical rejuvenation! You simply aren't made to go on like a machine forever. I suggest . . .

2.I swear, your greatest ideas did not all come out in the first draft. There are more, gems, waiting for a little time to ease out.

3.Your family/significant other/NICMO, or whatever ya got will thank you.

4. We're all multifaceted people, right? A break can give us time to focus on our other interests.

So, to all of you out there in Writerland, I say "Relax!" Contrary to popular belief, there is no date in the near future when all publishers will stop accepting new books forever. We've got time. And time is exactly what our amazing stories (and our amazing selves) deserve.