Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mercy Thompson & Other Reader Goodness

I know, I haven't posted in a while, blah blah blah. I've been getting ready for school to go back, working, writing, and playing PC games. So there!

ANYways, I thought you Briggs fans might enjoy this article with the artist of her covers. It concerns the Mercy covers themselves and the gal who models for them. She's not a professional model, but an architectural draftsperson and part-time bartender. Pretty cool. Anyways, it's a neat read.

AND, the cover for Mercy #6 has been revealed!!! Here is River Marked, coming in Spring 2011. It's too far away!!! Luckily we'll have Masques and Wolfsbane coming in October and November of this year to tide us over.

In other book news, here's the back cover copy for Lisa Shearin's next Raine Benares book, coming out next year. It looks fantastic!

And now, for a contest link. The incomparable Meljean Brook is giving away 3 ARCs of her October steampunk romance release, The Iron Duke. Go enter before tomorrow night, and if you win, give it to me!!! ;) The novella that kicked off the series (and was really good) was in the Burning Up anthology and was titled "Here There Be Monsters."

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Plotting Assist

I had all these ideas for SciFi book 2, but they kept swirling around in my brain, getting all tangled up in each other. Finally, I pulled out a plot points template that I'd made for myself a couple of years ago. It worked for me again (in getting my thoughts sorted out) so I thought I'd post about it here in case it helps anyone else.

It's just a word doc with a series of rectangles on it. Each rectangle is for one event or aspect of an event and it basically just helps me keep things ordered and flowing logically from one event to another. It's also a place to make notes about the character development, not just the action. Here's what's in each rectangle:
Brief description of event/scene/activity
  • Prerequisite -
  • Accomplishes -
A few examples are as follows:
Street kid tries to steal Professor's purse
  • Prerequisite - Professor has put drinking glass for evidence in purse
  • Accomplishes - Showcases Professor's discomfort around kids and how she tends to freeze around violence. Glass gets broken - evidence is gone and they're back to square one.
Brainstorming about bad guy's motives
  • Prerequisite - All other avenues have led to dead-ends. The good guys are revisiting everything, trying to figure out what they're missing, or if there are different ways all the events could fit together.
  • Accomplishes - Jump-starts the investigative process again. Secondary character (Clark) makes mental leap to motive based on similar experiences he had as an MP in the armed forces. We get some more insight into Clark's past and personality.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Vacation - The Abbreviated Review

I had a whole big post planned out for this, but my job keeps getting in the way. Boo! I figured that I'd better get at least a shortened version up here, otherwise I'd never get it done.

To summarize: A great time was had by all. I love my crazy family.

Most Memorable Moments:
  • Playing the Cranium Game for oh, so many reasons. We found out that my dad has been conditioned by his job as a Contracts Manager so that any time he has to read anything aloud, he puts on his 'game face'. This means that he gives away no emotion other than a general aura of disgust/annoyance. Every time he read a clue aloud, we were all convinced that he was pissed at us. I also learned that my husband should always do the humming part of the humdinger clues.
  • Crouching on the floor of my van holding a cut open water bottle so E4.3 could pee into it because we were stuck in a construction zone on the highway. This experience will definitely make it into a book someday because it was so funny/embarrassing once we could all look back on it without shuddering in remembered horror. btw, I had no idea her bladder could hold that much. Amazing.
  • The ice cream cones that tried to eat us (they were delicious but HUGE)
  • Watching the kids run from ride to ride at the amusement park because they were having so much fun. If it spun, dipped, went fast or slung them around, they wanted to ride it.
  • Seeing all the baby animals at the zoo. I've never seen so many animal babies at one zoo before. They were super-cute and funny as they clumsily did their thing.
  • Seeing, talking and playing with all our long-lost cousins on both sides of the family. It was so nice to see everyone. I wish we all lived closer so I could get to know them as individuals.
The other thing from the trip that will make it into a book sometime has to do with a store we saw. I so wish we'd gone inside so I could have seen what it was like on the inside. The sign to lure people in from the highway read "Pepper Spray, Fireworks, Sugar-Free Fudge". Now there's a combination. Then on the windows of the store in 6-ft tall letters were the words "GUNS!", "KNIVES!", "JELLY BELLIES!". We almost collapsed laughing. There's a story there. Gotta be.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Edits Continue

Since I posted last week, I've passed the halfway point for the edits in my SF novel (yay!), and started working on the synopsis (boo!). I'm sure that for-real authors can do a full edit of their novels in like a day or two. Yeah... I'm on week 5 maybe (I'm afraid to go back and count), but this is probably because I only work on it for about a half-hour each day... on the days I actually work on it. Must be more disciplined about this!

If you were reading the blog last year, you know how I feel about "The Synopsis", but it has to be done for those persnickety agents and publishers. Something about making sure the story holds together and that you're eloquent enough to condense and convey it. Grrrr. And here's a news flash - I'm not good at writing a synopsis. There's just so much STUFF, that it's hard to figure out what needs to be in, what can be left out and how to make it not sound like a train that's afraid to slow down.

Later this week, The Vacation. I promise.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Writing Progress Update & B&N Offer

Business first - writing info. Then tomorrow or next week I'll cover our recent vacation
(and its affect on my writing, because this is after all, a blog about writing and books).

Final Edits on the SciFi novel before sending it around to agents are going slowly. But I am working on it instead of just staring at it, so progress is being made. I planned to take the manuscript on vacation, but it got left at home along with the kids' bathing suits and our sweatshirts for the cooler evenings. I had to play games on the Nintendo DS instead (and the kids each got a new bathing suit). :( Tragic... I'm on Chapter 16 out of 35 with the edits, so almost halfway.

Big breakthrough with plotting for SciFi book #2. I'd been worrying about this one for a while, because while I knew how book #2 started out and a bit about the personal conflicts, I had not a single plan for the overall conflict of the story. No ending. No plot. Nothing. Then I got a massive brainstorm and it all started to become more clear. Of course, the first thing I did was start trying to punch holes in the idea - figure out where and how it couldn't possibly work. Instead of realizing that it couldn't be done, I found a place where I could seamlessly tie in an event from book #1. It was like they'd been meant for each other all along. That was promising and scary all at once, because things don't just fall into place like that for me. I'm all kinds of suspicious. I hope the idea works out in actuality, because it's a pretty good one. I've been working on writing all the bits and pieces of the idea down so that I don't forget it. Hopefully I'll sell book #1 and there will be a reason to write book #2. :)

As for the B&N offer, they're running a Romance Sale until July 30th where you buy 2 and get a 3rd free on select (BIG selection) of romance titles. WHY are they not offering this for nook e-books?!?!?!?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Birthday Brouhaha

Outside water party. 28 kids. Assorted parents. 85 degree heat. Thunderstorms threatening to send everyone inside.

That was our Saturday. Luckily, the rain held off, the kids had fun, and we got to show off our finished landscaping. J7.0's joint birthday party with two of her friends was a big success. She also received a bunch of gifts that were completely baffling to her uncool parents. The pic to the left is a Liv doll. I'd never heard of them, but they're 4 dolls who are BFFs. They're also able to be posed in lots of crazy ways. This entertains my husband - when he's not freaked out because they're looking at him. ANYways, it took like 6 hours to get the stupid thing out of its packaging. It had all the security that airports only wish they had. Twist ties, rubber bands, clips, tape, string - this thing had it all. Eventually, we coaxed it to emerge into the big, open world.

J has obviously seen and played with these dolls before. The first thing she did was rip its hair off. I freaked out, first because hey, she ripped its hair off. Then I got a closer look at the doll and was like,"Mom?!". But anyone else who's seen my mom would know that my mom would never leave the house with hair that flat. The resemblance was uncanny other than that though.

Needless to say, after half an hour, we were missing one of the doll's earrings, the scarf was under the couch, and the wigs were stacked one on top of the other. It was a great look for the doll. Really.

I'm sure that this whole experience will be great fodder for my writing... when I can look back at it and not shudder in remembered horror. It was a successful event, but just a bit traumatizing all in all.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Happy Half Year

Half of 2010 is gone. Are you happy with what you've done with the year so far? Are you working to achieve something you'd promised yourself you'd do this year?

I can't say that I'm exactly thrilled with my progress towards my goal, but I can say I'm still working slowly but surely towards it. At this half-year point I'm re-evaluating my approach and trying to analyze what is and isn't working for me.

Have you set some goals for the rest of the year? Here are my writing goals:
  • Finish editing SF novel
  • Write synopsis for SF novel
  • Begin submitting SF novel to agents
  • Submit more completed short stories to magazines/contests
  • Finish first few chapters of SF novel #2 so I've got that started in case #1 sells & pin down ending of SF #2 so I can write a proposal for it if needed
  • Finish plotting dark fantasy novel
  • Write another short story related to most recent UF short story (maybe - I'd rather work on writing a novel, but I'll work on this as the novels stump me)
  • Revamp beginning of UF novel I began submitting last year
I think this list will keep me plenty busy this year. :)