Friday, August 28, 2009

Where is the time going?

Another week pretty much gone. What happened to August?

Here are my writing totals for the week. It's been a roller-coaster.

  1. Monday: 450 words SF novel
  2. Tuesday: 80 words UF novel (gak)
  3. Wednesday: 1285 words UF novel (Chase came through for me :) )
  4. Thursday: 730 words SF novel (I had to grind these out - discipline, discipline)
Overall the week was okay as far as writing goes. It about averaged out. Nothing great, but it didn't suck either.

Did you guys accomplish anything cool this week? I hope some of you did.

Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

How could I have missed it?!?!?!? Obsidian Prey

Another book by a fave author was released yesterday - Obsidian Prey by Jayne Castle (aka Jayne Ann Krentz, Amanda Quick)! My mom & I are first in line to pick up her books, and I didn't even have any idea that this one was coming out until I almost stepped on it at our local B&N. I apologize, OP, for not being aware of your upcoming arrival. I am shamed.

I think her JAK books are my faves (contemporary romances), followed closely by these futuristic Jayne Castle ones - love the predatory dust bunnies. The AQ books are always good regency romance reads, but let's face it, her regency heroines are very similar, and there's a plotting convention that she frequently uses that I'm frankly getting a bit tired of. But you can be assured that if you pick one up, it will be a well-thought out story, with likable characters, a good ending, and it will be an enjoyable read overall. That's nothing to sneeze at.

Go forth and read... whatever it is you all like to read!!! What books are you all looking forward to?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I Lied (Shocker) and Kids Update

Yeah, so I lied about being productive this week. Not going to be a good writing week, I don't believe. Another busy week is starting up, but I did get about 450 words written yesterday on the SF novel. Something is better than nothing I suppose.

As for the kiddos (since Beci asked in comments), J6.1 starts 1st grade today. I just don't get that kid sometimes. We ran to the school yesterday to drop off meds for her allergies, along with the six reams of paperwork it takes to get them to treat her at school in an emergency. We made brownies in the morning and took them with us to butter up the front office staff and get a start on 'extra credit' with her teacher. Really, we made the brownies and immediately started getting flack from my husband because we're 'trying to make him fat' - as if. So we took them with us on errands to get rid of some of them.

The teachers were all in staff meetings, but we found a school employee who has the keys to the city and was able to let us into J's classroom so we could leave the goodies. J6.1 knows the lady who helped us out, Ms. N, and saw her everyday last year in the cafeteria where Ms. N apparently assists with keeping kids in line, opening food packages, cleaning up messes, etc. Ms. N knew J by name on sight. J knows her. Would J talk to her? No. Answer her questions? No. Even look at her? No.

This worried me. So when we got out to the car, I asked J if there's some reason she doesn't like that lady. Is she mean? Does she do stuff that seems wrong? Does she say mean things to the kids? Does she do things that make the kids feel weird? You guys know what I'm getting at. J gives me this 'Mom, you are so bizarre' look and says, "No. I just feel shy today." WTF? You feel shy, so you give this poor woman the 1,000 yard cold hairy eyeball of death? Go figure.

As for E3.4, she's been entertaining us with singing songs, and "reading" books to herself that she's pretty much memorized the words to. It's pretty cute. She also does a super impersonation of Mort from the Madagascar penguins. We sit down to dinner and get, "I liiiiiiike rolls!" Once I had even commented that I hadn't realized she knew about such and such (can't remember what we were talking about) and she said, "I don't have to know, to liiiiiiiike!" which was a quote from one particular episode. She's a trip. Yesterday, I had been working on playing a PC game for J6.1 and accidentally exited without saving!!!! You guys know my pain. All that effort and progress playing a game that I find frustrating in the first place, and it was wasted. I was writhing on the carpet like a salted slug, bemoaning my idiocy, and I felt this little hand patting my cheek. I opened my eyes and E is sagely nodding her head at me. "It's okay mommy. I kiss you. You feel better." I did feel better after that. :)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Happy Release Week!!

This week and next week are release-Christmas for me! Let's see what's in the stocking!

This week (8/25/09):
  • Patricia Briggs - Hunting Ground (next in the Alpha & Omega series)
  • Patricia Briggs - Mercy Thompson: Homecoming (graphic novel)
  • L.L. Foster - Servant: The Kindred (Gaby book #3)
Next week (9/1/09):
  • Christine Feehan - Dark Slayer (Carpathian book #umpteen)
  • Charlaine Harris, Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews, Meljean Brook (holy incredible author lineup, Batman!!! Shazaam!)- Must Love Hellhounds
  • Rob Thurman - Trick of the Light (1st of a new series)
Yes, I will be stalking B&N this week and early next week. :) Can't wait!!!!

As for writing, last week was pretty much a bust. I worked 2.5 days, went hiking/swimming 1 day, and did company picnic/school open house stuff for another half a day. That left one day for serious writing. I did get a little done on those off-days, but it wasn't much. So I wrote a total of maybe 1500 words last week. Blah. I got some history for my SF society figured out, so that's cool. Hopefully this week will work out better.

Happy reading.

    Monday, August 17, 2009

    Writing Withdrawal

    It's been 4, count 'em 4!!!! days since I've written anything. Thurs and Fri were landscaping days that wiped me out and I never write on the weekends (because, hello, kids). Given that, I actually attempted to write both Sat and Sun nights just to get something on the page, but was too mentally fried to get more than 13 words written. That's an actual count, folks. Thirteen entire words. It was... epic.

    So, not really a post today because I need to get a move on with the word count. I was pretty rockin' early last week: 1150 words on Monday, 1100 words on Tuesday and 1150 words on Wednesday, but that was where the word train stalled out. :( It might have been one of my best writing weeks eva if I had just managed to keep it going.

    You might have noticed a lot of slang in the written word this morning on my part. Unfortunately, none of my characters really talks like that, so it's about to get cut off. Except Chase. Chase talks like this . Maybe he has something to say. We'll see.

    Later, everyone! Have a great week!

    Update: What do ya know! It was Chase, but I had a prior commitment to writing something involving Quint that I had worked out over my unanticipated 4-day break. After all the trouble I've had with Quint, I wasn't letting this scene escape unwritten (complete now at 885 words). Chase allowed me to simply take notes about his scene, complete with his voice narrating things. So I'll work on that tomorrow. Now to get a little bit of work done on the SF novel before getting back to (gag) housework and job hunting. I really need to win the lottery.

    Friday, August 14, 2009

    Quint Book 2 Snippet

    Okay, finally, here is something from book 2, Quint's book. Some of you (Penny) have been nagging me to throw something involving Quint up here. I had a hard time finding something that didn't include spoilers from book 1. The following piece is something that not even my critique group has seen yet, so don't be surprised if it could be seriously re-vamped and improved. Thanks to my father-in-law and T at Barnes & Noble for proofing some of this for me since I know NOTHING about surviving out in the wilderness (except for the research I've been doing recently). Enjoy.

    The snuffling of a nearby creature pushed through the pain and pulled Quint to consciousness. His breathing stayed slow and steady and his eyes didn’t so much as flicker. He had no idea what had happened or where he was, but he clearly wasn’t where he should be. It was safer to pretend unconsciousness to any surrounding enemies.

    From the leaves, dirt and twigs poking his limbs and dusting his face, he knew he wasn’t safe with the Guard. Actually, that could be perfectly normal if the Third or Jason were pulling practical jokes again. It was the various aches and pains in conjunction with his surroundings that were the clincher. He hurt all over, in ways that he hadn’t been hurt in decades. His left arm and hand in particular were a mass of agony and the searing pain in his right thigh screamed bullet wound.

    His jaw was sore, as were both cheekbones, but a quick inspection with his tongue assured that all his teeth were still solidly in place. That was good – it was tough enough keeping centuries old teeth healthy without having people knock them loose.

    He laid there for what seemed like hours, but was probably about twenty minutes, just listening to the sounds around him - animals, bugs, but didn’t seem like any people. The wildlife was just doing its thing while he laid there and decided that he wasn’t dying, nor was he bleeding out - plus and plus. Now to figure out what in Hades had happened to him.

    The last thing he remembered was setting down in a clearing near his mission target – a potential slave trafficking holding area.

    No, no, there was another memory, but it was fuzzy, just a snapshot really of a rank room with about a dozen thin, grimy people crammed inside. Then nothing. Just this. He struggled into a sitting position and started cataloging his injuries.

    Gunshot wound in and out through the outer thigh. Check. Two swollen, probably black, eyes and a banged up chin. Check. Knot on the head. Check times two. Cracked rib. Check. That hurt like a mother, and not the nice kind who makes cookies for the whole class either. Masses of bruising on the left arm and hand where it looked like someone went after him with a maul. Check. What the devil were they trying to do? It probably would have been simpler to steamroll the stupid thing. Two-inch long strip of flesh missing. Check. What the fuck was up with that? Finally, he had a broken pinky finger. Wonderful.

    His watch with its GPS tracker had fallen victim to the arm battering. The face was crushed, the clasp mangled and the entire thing crusted in blood from where his scalp bled all over pretty much everything.

    Even more concerning was that he didn’t have a single defensive wound. So what? He’d been unconscious and someone had simply shot and then beaten the hell out of him? Then what? How did he end up here, half buried under tree debris?

    He splinted his pinky and strapped it to the finger next to it. A strip of his shirt got torn in two and folded into pads, one for either side of the bullet wound. Then he tore another strip and wrapped it around the pads and his thigh to hold the makeshift bandage in place and keep dirt out. His cracked rib complained the whole time.

    Finally, he gained his feet, hand on a tree to steady himself. A few tentative steps made it clear that walking was doable but painful. He looked around, view narrowed from eyes almost swollen shut, but still had no idea of where he was. The sky was overcast, but he judged the time to be mid-morning, somewhere kind of forested. He guessed that he was not near his mission destination. The local flora was different, and the climate just a bit off. Of course, it could simply be a change in the weather from whenever he’d set out. He had no idea how much time had passed either.

    Monday, August 10, 2009

    Book Review - What Happens in London

    Guys, stop reading. There's no point in your continuing with today's blog post.

    I'm a BIG Julia Quinn (Regency Romances) fan, so I have no idea why I let What Happens In London sit on my TBR stack for so long. I wish I hadn't. I don't think I've ever been so happy while/after reading a book. It was the strangest thing. I smiled, laughed, grinned, chuckled, chortled gleefully, and any combination thereof that you all can think of. I even snorted out a laugh once. I've read books with humor, subtle or otherwise, and this one had lots of humor, without even really trying. The scene where four society bachelors, one butler and three under-maids are all in the parlor watching one of the bachelors read and act out scenes from a lurid gothic novel that has absolutely horrible prose and plotting, is too funny (mainly because they're all completely enthralled by the hideous thing - I mean, one of its plot mechanics is that a character's mother gets pecked to death by pigeons - no joke). Plus, I've never read a book where the main characters made each other so freaking happy, like this one did. They bubbled over with joy and so did I. Like I said, it was very bizarre.

    What made it so great besides the humor? Well, there was Quinn's usual delightful dialog. It makes sense, it's witty, it flows. Then there are the secondary characters - Olivia's brother Winston, and Harry's cousin Sebastian are uber-entertaining. The real kicker though, and the thing that tickled me every time it happened was that the majority of their romance is carried on via window - they talk to each other through their windows, as they live in neighboring houses. So they go about their day, do their thing and then come home and meet up at their windows to touch base, talk about their day, and read the hideous gothic novel to each other so they can mock it. You get the real idea of their friendship this way. It was cute. And it made me happy.

    If you click the above link to B&, you can read the prologue and first two chapters (just click the "See Inside" graphic over the book cover).

    Anyways, off to grocery shop. Did anyone else enjoy this book like I did?

    Friday, August 7, 2009

    Writing Research

    I'm amazed that I actually got a decent word count in yesterday and the day before despite lots of time spent in research. How to survive under freezing conditions and the types of animals in various cold spots around the world were the majority of my research. The National Geographic Animals site was most helpful, as was How Stuff Works. I think Quint needs to have a run-in with a wild predator. What do you guys think?

    As for word count, here's how I rounded out the week:
    Monday: Gladiator - 200, SciFi - 200 (boo)
    Tuesday: Gladiator - 775, SciFi - 450 (yay)
    Wednesday: Gladiator - 450, SciFi - zippo (meh)
    Thursday: Gladiator - 450, SciFi - 800 (yay)

    At this rate, I might actually finish Gladiator sometime in the next couple of years. :( Sigh. On the other hand, I just hit the halfway point on the SciFi novel (which is currently titled The Sunlands, btw).

    Have a great weekend, everyone!

    Wednesday, August 5, 2009

    Writing, writing, writing

    Brace yourselves, fearless readers. I actually made progress on Quint's story yesterday. GASP! I know. I was shocked too. 775 words on it and about 450 on the SF novel. Quint has made it back onto the page in a new scene. Prior to this, the secondary characters were taking advantage of the lack of anything going on with Quint to make their own demands known. Jace had to have his scene that turned into a long stretch because Reaper wanted to get in on the action. Then Jayna had it with all the mouthy men and took AJ with her on a quick errand. Thank the gods that he's actually a quiet one! Jayna also made a disturbing discovery and went to Steele with it, who called the mousekateers together for a club meeting, er planning session. But Quint is back! Yay.

    Thanks to the Stardoc SciFi series of books I won from S.L. Viehl's Left Behind and Loving It on-line writing workshops a couple of weeks ago, I realized a few things I could do to spruce up the SF work. Most of my word count yesterday for the SF book was going back and adding necessary details to existing scenes but I did get the next scene started too. I'm still juggling the particulars of some stuff later in the scene, but at least the groundwork is laid.

    Speaking of her Stardoc books, I'm LOVING them and can't believe I missed them before. They're heavy on plot intricacies, truly distinct characters with their own motivations, and fully realized alien species. The main is a doctor, which makes for a very interesting read. She's a unique personality who's always elbow deep in some poor alien's innards trying to save their life, limb, tentacle, claw, third liver, or something. That's in between all the craziness that surrounds this chick and anyone who encounters her. The best part is that Viehl autographed each book for me, and has been super-encouraging about my writing quest. If you're looking for good SciFi, look no further. The first book is Stardoc.

    Monday, August 3, 2009

    When Characters Think They Know Better...

    Psssst. Uh, hi everyone. This is Jayna. I um, probably shouldn't be telling you all this, but, well, I'm feeling a bit guilty and I need to confess to someone. And you guys all know what's been happening with Quint's book anyways, so it might as well be you, right? Yeah, so, Amelie's been complaining that she can't get Quint doing anything, that she can't seem to move him forward, and therefore can't get the story moving. She's got this whole theory about how he doesn't want anything to change and stuff. It's a good theory. Really. But let's face it: Quint isn't the 'look away and hope someone else handles it' type. If something needs to be done, even if he doesn't like it, he does it. He wants to get out of this situation he's in so he can get back to us where he feels the real danger is going to present itself.

    In case you haven't figured it out already, the reason his story is dragging tail is my fault. Just mine. I thought I was doing really great with getting over my aversion to violence. I don't freeze up anymore, I can actually contribute in a fight, and I don't even spend the hour after a fight battling the shakes. Yay me. And then Amelie put Quint in this ridiculous situation where he keeps getting captured and tortured and then released and then captured again, and... you get the picture. I can't stand it!!!! I was completely unable to save myself when I was younger and now I can' t save him either! Right now his situation is okay. He's healing up, thinks he's free and isn't being physically tortured. I don't want to watch him get captured and put under the knife again. So every time Amelie sits down to figure out what to do to him next and how to progress him to the next point, I've been sending her these tempting thoughts about her SciFi novel. I think I really ought to apologize to Loranya too, while I'm at it, because I think Amelie is taking her frustration with Quint out on Lora. Poor Lora is getting in some really tight jams. Oh, geeze. There Amelie goes with poisoning Lora. Sorry, girlfriend.

    Yeah, so, um confession is good for the soul, right? Even a fictional soul? I guess I've got to let Amelie get on with Quint's story soon, and just trust that things will work out okay. I just want him to be able to relax a little bit longer. Then I'll ease off. Maybe.