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. :)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Shame - The Great Motivator & Contest Link

I was catching up via email with a friend yesterday and had to confess that I'd slacked on my writing. Just admitting it made me feel like a loser, so in an effort to prove to myself that I was working towards my dream and not just lazing around dreaming about it, I actually *gasp* edited some of my novel last night.

Now, the editing probably wasn't very good, because that's one of my weak points, but I sat down and did it. A whole 13 pages. Yippee. One more chapter down - 33 to go. Oh, heavens, kill me now. Does that seem like a mountain to anyone else? An eternity? An endless road? If not, could you do it for me? ;)

As for the contest, a debut novel hit the shelves yesterday and I've had my eye on it. It's Red Hot Fury by Kasey Mackenzie and a copy is being given away over on OddShots. Read the interview with her and you'll be hooked. This is also your chance to name your come-to-life-to-protect-you-tattoos. This one's for you, Bex! It's an urban fantasy, but the heroine isn't a vampire or a werewolf. *alarm! alarm!* She's a Fury, ala Greek Mythology, and I think that's a totally cool idea. I so wish I'd come up with it myself.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Kids - Mildly Funny Things I Overheard

Yeah, I know. Kids say the darndest things, right? I swore to myself that I wouldn't turn my blog into an accounting of my kids and all the funny stuff they do. But the following snippets made me laugh, so I'll share. Then we'll be back to our regularly scheduled book goodness.

  1. We were praying the other night before bed, and E4.2 asked God for new parents. I kid you not. My sister, C, witnessed it and almost snorted herself sick (when she wasn't pointing and laughing at us). Near as we can figure, this came about because we'd been talking that day about the fact that while I have my own parents, I also now have a mom and dad in-law who I didn't have when I was younger, so I got more parents, in a sense. She wants more too.

  2. E4.2 was playing with her prince/princess/horse figurines, and the conversation she created between them at one point, went like this:
    Prince: "Okay. That's it for me."
    Random Princess: "What?!?!? But we just started playing! You can't quit now!"
    Prince: "Yes I can. You see..." *pause for dramatic effect* "I'm the bad guy!" *oh noes!*
    Random Princess who doesn't put up with silly little bad guys: "No you're not," *scoffing* "You're just wearing his costume." And they went back to playing, Prince included. The moral of this story is, you can't just dress like a bad guy. You have to be the bad guy.

  3. At a b-day party for one of J6.11's friends, the birthday boy received some silly bands from his friend. (If you don't know what these demonic items are, go ask any kid from age 4 to 18. They'll look at you like you're an idiot, roll their eyes, and thrust their arm in your face so you can look at the twisted, obscurely colored bands encasing their arms. Enjoy.) After all the congratulations and jealous moaning were past, the gift giver pointed out their superior features in used-car salesman glory. "See! They're tie-dyed AND they glow in the dark!" While all the other kids were oohing and aahing, one kid looked down his nose a the gift-giver and said "Yeah, but do they have smells?" The gift-giver's face fell and he mumbled, "No." And the other kids had a new silly-band hero.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Say Wha-?

My husband and I always laugh at how differently we pronounce words in our heads when reading stuff. We've gone to my mom before to have her settle how to say something, only for her to start laughing at us because she uses a third pronunciation. On a side-note, isn't it weird how you can say something in your head and it seems perfectly normal, but somehow saying it out loud and introducing your tongue and mouth to the equation makes it sound NOT like what was in your head?

Lisa Shearin is helping all her readers out by posting a compendium of pronunciations for the Names, Places and random Words in her Raine Benares novels. It was compiled by Lisa and the audio book reader (voice-over actress) for her first several novels.

I was pronouncing Tamnais wrong. Way wrong. 'tam-NAY-is' was my interpretation. Apparently it's 'tom-NAHS'. So does that mean when they shorted it to Tam, it's not pronounced Tam but Tom? I like Tam better. ANYhoo, it was cool to see the list and compare.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Mmmm, book book book book

What Time Is It? No, it's not summertime on the High School Musical set (sorry, that's a HSM2 reference for those of you without squealy girl offspring or relations). It's almost the end of the month, which means 2 straight weeks of new book releases!!! Commence giddy dancing.

What am I looking forward to? Well, glad you asked. Aaaaaaand, heeeeeeere we go!

June 29th
  • Fatal Circle by Linda Robertson - urban fantasy - book 3 in her series, and I've been eagerly awaiting this one. Great heroine who's destined to balance the paranormal forces of the world, but not a kick-butt confident one. She's worried about the responsibility and doing the right thing with the trust she's been given. Nice amount of emotion, balanced with action, and some intellectual dilemmas without clear-cut right and wrong paths.
  • Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter - young adult - book four in the Gallagher Girls series and I really like these books. The spy stuff woven throughout typical teen girl drama is entertaining. And no angst. Thank you, Ms. Carter.
  • The Brazen Bride by Stephanie Laurens - historical romance - kinda looking forward to this one, mainly because she's just a good writer. I admit that all her heroes are really starting to run together for me, though and the heroines aren't much more distinct. I'm also tired. Tired of the repetition. Of the same thing. Over and over again. And the fragments. Of sentences. At first, it was a unique writing style. Now it annoys me.
    July 6th
    Did I miss anything?

    Wednesday, June 23, 2010

    Out of Practice

    Sat down to write the other day. Had an idea for a scene and thought to myself, oh, this will be quick. Yeah. It was quick in the same way my kids are able to occupy themselves for longer than 3.5 minutes - Epic Fail.

    An hour later, I was angry, my scene was done (kinda), and my brain was cramping. Obviously taking several weeks off from writing hadn't done my brain any good. Bad Writer!

    I have done a good bit of plotting though, so that ways on the Nice side of my list. Unfortunately, that's the only responsible writer type thing I've done lately. No editing, no editing, no editing. Sigh. I really need to edit. :(

    Thursday, June 3, 2010

    Links and Contests!!

    Dear Author is doing their usual ACE/ROC giveaway - there's even a new (gasp!) BOY urban fantasy series starting up in there!!! It looks good. The last Weather Warden series book by Rachel Caine is also up for grabs, as well as Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews (but everyone on the planet should already have that one... and if you don't, consider yourself slapped silly.)

    OMG The Hoff in a ninja movie (Dancing Ninja at that) and his character name is... WAIT FOR IT...

    Ansel Ladouche.

    My world is complete. Thanks to Smart Bitches, Trashy Books for the heads-up

    Completely unrelated to the Hoff, B&N is giving you a free $50 gift card to start filling your e-library if you purchase a nook "for a limited time". You may walk out of a B&N with your nook or order one on-line. Either way, now's a good time to pick one up. Not mention the free e-books they give you each week. And the cookies and 7-Layer bars from the cafe when you show them the coupon on your nook. I heart my nook.

    Go forth and enjoy your day!

    Thursday, May 27, 2010

    Edit Me

    No writing progress so far this week, but I did get some editing done. Yay me.

    I was naughty - I spent my time reading Ilona Andrew's new book, Magic Bleeds. It was completely worth the guilt. Loved it!

    What have you guys been reading and what are you looking forward to?

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010

    Roller Coaster O' Writing

    Inconsistent is an understatement when it comes to my writing habits lately. Last week I was a good little writer-monkey. No, that doesn't mean that I threw poo at my characters. I worked on my writing in one form or another every day last week. Whether it was new stuff, editing, plotting or research, I felt like I was moving forward.

    This week?

    Not at all. I need to go back and input my 2nd critique partner's suggestions for my SF novel, modify some scenes in the SF novel based on some other recent feedback, fix up a short story for a contest entry, and countless other things. I just can't seem to make myself DO it. Sigh.

    Instead of whining about this, I think I'll go and actually work on some of those things... if I can make myself do it. I think I need a snack first. And maybe a drink. And I should go over that new recipe I'm going to try for dinner tonight to make sure I have everything. And I need to find some removable stickers to assign yard sale prices. Gotta get a birthday gift for a party this weekend too. Did I ever start that load of laundry this morning? Better go check that. And - Gah! This is how's been lately. I'm pathetic.

    Send strong writing thoughts my way. I need them.

    Wednesday, May 12, 2010

    Magic Bleeds Contests

    Yep - Gordon and Ilona Andrews are running a contest to win 1 of 10 signed copies of Magic Bleeds before you can buy it. Go hit the Magic Bleeds contest. You have until 10 am PST tomorrow I think.

    What are you still doing here? Go.

    If you're still here, you must want another chance. Lurv a la Mode is giving away another copy of Magic Bleeds and has a review here. This one's good until Sat. May 15 midnight.

    Tuesday, May 11, 2010

    Cherry-Picking Much? And Contests Links

    I feel like I've been snatching bits and pieces of particulars for my novels from lots of different sources lately - things I liked from other books, friends, our recent vacation, family, random encounters with strangers, etc. In essence, I've been cherry-picking little things from here and there and hoping I can smash them into a usable whole.

    In the past, I might have been inspired by something, but it would usually be something big. Recently it's just been tons of little things and I've been diligently writing them down in the hopes that they'll be useful later. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

    Friday, May 7, 2010

    TBR app for your iPhone/iTouch

    For those of you who enjoy the romance reviews given by Smart Bitches and Dear Author, it's like Christmas in May! They've joined up to create an app for your iPhone/iTouch called TBR (To Be Read) because so many of us have a TBR stack or want to know what to add to it. What are the latest books out and what kinds of reviews are they getting? This app is designed for that. Oh, and it even includes free reads. Need I say more? I think not.

    Go check out the TBR app here. Now, if only they could get it on the Android platform...

    Thursday, May 6, 2010

    God of Fluffy Clouds?

    I need opinions. I've been working on my religious system for the dark fantasy WIP (work in progress) and am in a quandary: DO I NEED A SKY DEITY?!?!?!?

    I've got the following:
    • Sun God
    • Earth/Nature Deity
    • Goddess of Seas
    Now, the Sun God also covers Weather in his domain (or portfolio for you RPGers), so after that, what's left in the sky? Clouds, Air, and uh, yeah. Everything else (lightning, wind, rain, etc) could all be covered under Weather.

    So my question for you guys is this:

    Do I keep my Weather god, or ditch that and have a Sky deity instead? What are your thoughts on this?

    (Keep in mind that we're not talking Zeus here where my deities are going to be tagging people with lightning bolts. They're not that demonstrative.)

    Now weigh in!

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010

    Getting Back Into The Swing of Writing

    Okay, so I took an unplanned hiatus from writing. My critique group has been reading through my SciFi novel, and in the meantime, I did nothing but write a small short story. Bleh. I was plotting some stuff in my head and somehow convinced myself that that was enough - I was still progressing.

    Then I woke up and realized that it's definitely not enough. I wasn't progressing, because not a single new word had been written. Having it in my head wasn't good enough. So now I've gotten back to trying to write some everyday in between my other commitments, even if I'm not writing much or just writing down plot points or notes.

    Anyways, my focus is a dark fantasy I've been considering for a while, but I think I might take the time to get the first chapter or two done on a second SciFi book to follow up the one I just finished. I have plans for a second book, and if I can get the first sold, they might be interested in a second, so it would be good to get a jumping off point written while I've still got their voices strong in my head.

    Have you guys had to jerk yourselves back on track recently?

    Wednesday, April 28, 2010

    Blessings From The Book Gods

    It's been bad for my writing life, but deliciously good for my reading enjoyment level. I have no idea what was in the water across the US last year when my fav authors were writing their books that just hit the shelves, but go back, find more of it and keep drinking it!

    Lately, it's been just one super book after another! Sometimes, series get stale. But I've had the good fortune to read the latest Patricia Briggs' Mercy book, Silver Borne, Jim Butcher's Changes (#12 in the Dresden Files), and now Lisa Shearin's Bewitched & Betrayed, book 4 of Raine Benares. Each one might be my favorite in the series so far and each was absolutely incredible.

    As a teaser for each, let me see what I can come up with:

    • Silver Borne - Remember the book on the fey that Mercy borrowed to get Zee out of trouble when he was framed for murder? Well, she hasn't returned it yet, and if you thought the library was tough, they ain't got nothing on the fey. Oh, and there's the little detail of us being introduced to the woman who is going to be Samuel's love interest. Oh, yeah. Gotcha.
    • Changes - This one is easy. What would Harry do to save the daughter he didn't know he had from Red Court vampires? Read it and find out. My new favorite secondary character is Mouse. I always liked Mouse, but for a little while in the book, we got to hear Mouse 'speak'. Loved it!
    • Bewitched & Betrayed - *read the following in a sing-song voice* Raine picks her boyfriend... Raine picks her boyfriend... *end sing-song*. 'Nuff said. It was supa. Just supa. The actions, the relationships, the humor - it was all a lovely delight. I just finished it and I'm still giddy and squeeeeing. And if Lisa doesn't get the book contracts she's proposing later this year, I'm going to go around pimp-slapping publishing house big-wigs. She MUST keep writing books. And they need to pay her enough that she can quit her full-time job and write more. And faster, because now there's no more Raine fix until next year. Weeping, weeping. :(
    Anyways, all of you, go forth and purchase books. And to my sister, P - if you don't start reading those Shearin books, I'm going to kick your... breadmaker. No more dinner rolls for you. Just see if I don't. READ THEM OR FACE MY WRATH.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010

    New Book Releases and Contests

    Okey-dokey. Until yesterday, I hadn't checked my usual sites for about a week. Talk about out of touch. Here are some things to be aware of:

    • Lisa Shearin's next Raine Benares book, Bewitched & Betrayed, is coming out next week -- Tuesday April 27th. If you see it out in stores before then, DON'T BUY IT!!!! She's going to pitch two new book proposals later in the year and needs good FIRST WEEK sales for Bewitched & Betrayed to help her chances. Buy the book (and an extra as a gift for someone else :) ) next week when it'll do her the most good. Then send her your name and mailing address and she'll send you a free bookmark and other free book "swag". It's a win-win for everyone. If you want some Lisa Shearin book lovin' for free, check out a Lisa Shearin contest being held over at the blog of Rob Thurman (of Cal Leandros and Trick of the Light goodness). The contest ends tomorrow (the 23rd) so get over there!

    Monday, April 5, 2010

    Yes I'm still here...

    I've just been busy lately and haven't been making oodles of progress on the writing front. I finally got back to editing my SF novel today though, and after that I'm going back to see what I can do about beefing up my UF novel.

    If you all haven't been to Agent Kristin's blog lately, stop over there, because she's been posting some Q&A data with some interesting agent/submitting questions in there. The posts so far are here, here and here.

    In other news, I can't win the DABWAHA (Dear Author Bitchery Writing Award for Hellagood Authors) because Nalini Singh's Angel's Blood, which I picked to win the whole thing, got ousted by Larissa Ione's Ecstacy Unveiled. :( For those of you not familiar with it, DABWAHA is the romance reader's version of March Madness where they pit 64 of the best romantic interest novels of the previous year against each other for prizes and bragging rights (for both writers and readers). Now, I'm okay with Larissa Ione doing so well. I love her novels - they're steamy and intricate. I just really wanted Angel's Blood to take it. Next year, I promise that I'll give you all plenty of warning to go make your picks and vote for your favorites. They've got almost a thousand entrants this year, and I'm actually tied for 94th (or was last I checked) with - wait for it - Nalini Singh herself!!!!! Squeeeeee! OMGOMGOMG! Okay, back to the real world. If any of you simply want to see what it's all about, here's the DABWAHA link.

    I hope you had a great weekend, and good luck in the upcoming week.

    Friday, March 19, 2010

    I'm doomed by clever kids

    My husband and I are both smart people. Little doubt our kids would be smart. But they amaze me all the time. I was told that I had to post this story about E3.11, so here it is:

    Recently, E3.11 climbed up on my bed where I was laying, staring at the ceiling. Instead of cuddling in next to me, she stretched out on top of me, so we were both laying there, staring up. Then she farted on me. It was loud, long and stank. The conversation following it went like this:

    Me: "Oh, gross E3.11! You don't climb up here and fart on me! Go fart on daddy!"
    E3.11: "I didn't fart." (in between giggles)
    Me: "Uh, yeah, you did and it was disgusting."
    E3.11: "No I didn't."
    Me: "Yes. You did. Don't lie to me."
    E3.11: "I did not fart. Just ask Sister."
    Then she shifted a little bit to the right, looked back at where she had been and said in a slightly deeper voice: "She's telling the truth. She did not fart."
    She slid back over to her original position and using her normal voice, said: "See. Even Sister agrees. I didn't fart."

    Can you believe that she came up with that?!?!?!? Not even 4 years old, and she's creating eye-witnesses to defend a lie. She's headed for a life of crime. But she's cute and silly and keeps us smiling.

    And she didn't fart. Even Sister agrees, and you can't argue with that.

    Wednesday, March 17, 2010

    Problems with Plotting - Part 2

    Ooookay, lots of progress here on the writing front... NOT. I did figure out that my "ending" isn't really an ending. It's an integral step to the ending but not an ending in and of itself unless the book is already like 750 pages long and I need a quick ending where the reader is left to assume that after this breakthrough, everything works itself out perfectly and the good guys all ride off into the sunset patting their backs after a job well-done. Since right now I'll be lucky to eke out 75 pages for this story, let alone 750, I don't think a quick ending is in the cards. So I still don't have an ending and the rest of the plotting isn't going all that great either.

    One of the things I was trying to do for this story is make it like a snippet of the MC's (main character's) life instead of a whirlwind however many days where the sky is falling and everything else is put on hold while the catastrophe is dealt with. I want to show her dealing with other life difficulties and everyday stuff that either challenge her or provide some much-needed balance. Regardless of what purpose these events serve, they're not going to be cryptically tied into the main event by some weird collection of coincidence and circumstance. They're just other aspects of her life so we can see the fullness of it and her character.

    Why is this important to me for this book? There are a few authors who do this regularly in their writing and I think it really adds something to the reading experience. Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake books are the ones that come to mind first (and no, not only the "Early AB" era as some readers refer to it). Anita will have all this monster drama going on and still be juggling her animator job, bridesmaid's fittings, and friend emergencies. I like that. Also, I've been reading my critique partner's novel recently and the whole thing is like "Everyday Man Experiences Life" but not in a "And then I brushed my teeth. Scrub. Scrub. Scrub." boring way. It's more like seeing everyday events through his eyes - how he sees the situation, what he thinks about the other people involved, how he hides stuff from his parents even when he can't figure out why he's bothering to hide it in the first place. It's a bunch of experiences that we often relate to, even if we're not proud of our showing at the time.

    I don't intend to do this to the same degree that he did, but again, I think it will offer the reader an interesting experience - to be able to relate to some of the mundane aspects of the MC's life even while the MC is battling demons or whatnot in an alternate reality. And that's where I'm stuck - trying to pin down her other interests. She's being cagey. I'm also at a bit of a loss concerning how to move my main plot forward. I'm stuck in the "icky-sticky mud" as E3.11 would say (thanks Dora the Explorer...). Or is it the "icky-gooey mud?"

    Anyways, that's where I am on the writing front.

    Thursday, March 11, 2010

    Random Web Links

    Go check out Lisa Shearin's blog this week - she's doing a mini-workshop on book synopsis and even posting examples, bless her heart. Even if you're not ready to submit to agents yet, I'd recommend going over there and bookmarking this stuff for later reference.

    A very cool idea for a book trailer - the making of the book cover (hours of work condensed down to just under 2 minutes) for Gail Carriger's 3rd book, Blameless. Check it out here:

    I've been meaning to pick up the first novel, Soulless, having heard a great many good things about it - Victorian alternate history/comedy/romance.

    Dear Author is holding an ARC contest for some Putnam and Riverhead books if you all want to go enter by March 13th at noon CST. The new Amanda Quick book in hardcover is up for grabs.

    Finally, The NY Times has an interesting comparison of the cost of publishing a print book as opposed to an e-book and why the publishers aren't really saving all that much by offering the electronic format.

    Problems with Plotting - Part 1

    I've been in a massive writing funk lately. Once I finished my SciFi novel, it seemed that all my writing ambition decided to up and take a walk - to the next state. I can only assume that it's having a grand old time, because it hasn't even bothered to call or drop me a postcard. Stupid ambition...

    Back a while ago, I told you guys that I was going to try to plot out my dark fantasy novel. Many authors have said that they have the whole story planned out before they start writing. I usually have an idea of what kicks off the story, a few main characters defined, and.... that's about it. Sometimes I don't even have a desired ending figured out until halfway through the novel, and that just strikes me as a bad habit to continue. If I don't know where I'm going, I can't be sure that I'll ever get there. Sure the journey is fun, but it's just not orderly enough for my engineer's brain.

    So this time, I decided to start by writing out each plot idea, hitting the high points - characters, what led to this point, what it should accomplish, the emotions that come into play, etc - and then moving on to the next one. It's basically the same process I have done when writing in the past, but I'm not actually writing the scenes as I go now. Occasionally I go ahead and put some actual dialog down if it comes to me, or scene building, but that's it. I move on to figuring out the next point. This was working pretty well for me. I wasn't writing every single day, but when I did sit down to write, it was flowing nicely. Once I had the initial scenes and interplay figured out, I took a look at what this book should accomplish - how it should end (in a very general sense). Amazingly enough, it worked! I came up with an ending and I wasn't even a quarter of the way through planning out the book. Remarkable.

    And then I sat there. And my brain sat there. We twiddled our thumbs. We haven't come up with a single idea since then (it's been a week now, and I'm starting to get antsy). I have no idea what happened to bring everything to a grinding halt. Is it somehow not the right ending and my subconscious knows this but isn't sharing with the rest of the class? Could be. Is the idea for this novel only strong enough for a short story or novella? Maybe, but I don't think so.

    Are any of the rest of you in a work/writing dump right now? I'd like to know that I'm not alone in here...

    Wednesday, February 17, 2010


    Today's post is all about curses and threats. Lately, I've been noticing the various curses/threats that authors put into their books - the characters get frustrated, angry, injured, snarky or whatever, and the bad words start flying. Inventive curses or threats can really add dimension to a story and increase its entertainment value. Two stories really did that for me recently: Street Magic by Caitlin Kittredge and Demon Forged by Meljean Brook.

    In Street Magic, the tone is very gritty - supernatural dregs of humanity sort of stuff. Its threats are accordingly um, colorful. Yeah, colorful... Most of them start out with the threatener's foot going up the unfortunate victim's ass, but what happens from there is where the entertainment kicks in (no pun intended). I was laughing out loud at some of the threats, and coming up with so many unique ones had to be a challenge. When I start the second book in that series, I've decided to make a list of all the curses, just as a writing awareness exercise.

    Irena in Meljean Brook's Demon Forged is a bit barbaric, so her curses and insults focused heavily on animal-involved romantic exploits. Now, I'm not in favor of animal smexxing, but calling someone a 'serpent-f*cking whatever' brings up funny mental images. Irena was also an equal opportunity blasphemer - no animal was subjected to the same humiliation twice, so by the end it was entertaining just to see what animal would be picked on next.

    Can't come up with any good obscenities? Not a problem. Online random generator site, Serendipity, has a Cuss-o-matic to help you out. Some of the curses it generates are pretty silly, but it's a good way to get started. I'm particularly fond of "Flaming mother of a pestilent kangaroo-abusing scorpion!" Ah, good times.

    Have you guys heard or read any good curses or threats recently?

    Tuesday, February 16, 2010

    Smooth Operator

    This morning, J6.7 had some bathroom commitments (Yes - 'some' not 'a') this morning that precluded her catching the bus. That meant that mommy had to brave the school drop-off line. Horrors! I was a bit peeved and a lot nervous, like driving downtown in an unfamiliar city. I really didn't want to do this. It's a school - there would be kids running around, parents in a rush to get to work, a drop-off process that I knew nothing about, and I was sure, about a dozen unwritten rules of drop-off protocol and expectations. I vaguely remembered a notice from last year telling all drop-off parents not to turn left into the parking lot or something like that, so I might end up having to turn around somewhere and backtrack. And what if J6.7 expressed another bathroom commitment on the way? These were just a few of my concerns. But I mom'ed up and got started.

    Traffic was a nightmare and I had to employ some creative merging just to make it to the school on time. Luckily, there wasn't a big fire-breathing dragon waiting at the lot to roast me if I put on my left turn signal, so I darted in before they decided to employ one. I waited in the line, keeping an eye out for subtle signals from other parents that something "just wasn't done". And as we went, I kept up a running commentary to J6.7. "Okay hun, we're almost up there. Now don't unbuckle yet, but when we get up there, I'll stop and open up E3.10's door. You get out her door because it's on the side at the sidewalk. Don't forget your bookbag. Watch out for the blanket on the floor of the van back there - don't want you tripping and falling. Now, you go right to your classroom, just as if you'd gotten off the bus, okay? Unless the teachers tell you to do something different. Then do whatever they say. Got it? Alright, we're almost there. One more group of drop-offs and then it'll be our turn. Don't forget - go out E3.10s door. Not yours. Okay, here we go." Yes, I know - I'm an idiot.

    So we get up there, I braked to a stop at the front of the line, hit the button to open E3.10's door and nothing happened. Right. Can't do that with the van in gear. I jammed the van into Park, and hit the button again. This time it worked. J6.7 fumbled her way out (no, she didn't trip on the blanket, but I'm sure she would have if I hadn't mentioned it... Riiiiiight) and set off for the building. I hit the button again to close the door. But I had gloves on and fat-fingered the back hatch button at the same time. So the side door closes and the trunk opens, complete with warning beeps and everything. I R cool... and even more of an idiot than you all originally thought. Whatever cool points I had (and there weren't many because I'm a mom in a mini-van), jumped out the back and abandoned me right there.

    Thursday, February 11, 2010

    Review - Heist Society by Ally Carter

    Yeah, I've been on a YA (young adult) kick lately - not really sure why. Maybe the snow has been making me feel a bit immature. Dunno.

    I first picked up Ally Carter's Gallegher Girls series because I was an avid stalker of The Nelson Agency's blog and she's one of Ms. Nelson's clients. I read the first one, I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have To Kill You and thought it was wonderful. It features a group of girls who attend a private school for spies but inadvertently get into some really deadly situations that are way out of even their league. The humor and spy references were greatly entertaining, and the second two books in the series (Cross My Heart and Hope To Spy & Don't Judge a Girl By Her Cover) just kept the fun times rolling. A few weeks ago, I started looking to see when the next one was coming out (Only the Good Spy Young, June 15, 2010 in case you were curious, and MAN do I ever love her titles).

    When I saw Heist Society, I assumed it was the next GG book. Wrong. HS is about a girl who comes from a family of thieves and conmen. She tried to get out of the life by conning her way into an exclusive boarding school but gets pulled back into the game when her father gets framed for a crime he didn't commit and the only way she can keep him alive is by getting the paintings back for the crime lord type guy they'd been pinched from. It was such a good, entertaining read. Yes, it's for teen girls, but I was smiling while reading it, and it was just plain fun.

    Go pick it up for some gal you know, but make sure to read it before you hand it off. :)

    Tuesday, February 9, 2010

    Debut Book Review - Child of Fire by Harry Connolly

    Guy urban fantasy novel for the win! Not a bit of softness to this one and it was great. Did I enjoy Child of Fire? Yep. Will I buy his next one (Game of Cages coming out in August 2010)? Yep. So why, those of you who know my Pollyanna-like reading habits might ask, did you like it, oh champion of romances? Because one cannot live on Marshmallow Fluff alone. Sometimes you need ribs and hot wings. First, let me talk about this one from a reader perspective and then I'll tell you why the writer in me thought it rocked.

    This was a very involved novel featuring a magical thug, Ray Lilly, and his Very Scary Boss Lady with an uber-delicate name - Annalise. She's even more magical than he is. And scary. Very scary. Like Scary McScary. They're on the trail of someone who's welcomed a predator to our world (not like the movie). Predators are supernatural beasties from other worlds who want access to ours to sate their hunger for... something. Whether their dream buffet involves children, plant life, Circus Peanuts, blood, or DeWalt power tools is dependent on the particular monster, but they're all ravenous for something. Mmmm, power tools.... Ray and Annascary end up in Hammer Bay, town of weirdness. You get a whole town of creepy characters as a cast for this novel, but Harry keeps you from getting confused by making sure that no one has really similar names (thanks for that one!) and by leaving you subtle bread crumbs. e.g. You run into a lady and she's still wearing her diner uniform from earlier, so you can remember that, oh yeah, she was our waitress at the diner! What were the pluses of this novel?
    • the plot was engaging if creepy
    • the characters distinct and interesting
    • the dialog made complete sense
    • the emotions were spot-on for the situations
    • there was some good humor (I especially liked Ray's smart-ass comments to attackers)
    • there was a nice mix of mundane, spooky, and action stuff.
    The only disappointment for me was NO EPILOGUE!!! I don't know what the fall-out was. At first I thought we'd have to wait until the next novel to carry on, but from the teaser at the end of this one, it looks like the next book picks up many moons after this one, so any resolution will have to be done by dropping snippets here and there. Very sad. I want to know what happened to the trapped predator - did the society send someone down to take it out once the henchman was out of the way? Was it successful? Did the town recover or dry up and blow away? Did the people regain their memories? How about the surviving members of the Hammer fam - what happened to them? Gah!

    Okay - from a writer perspective, Harry Connolly's novel is an incredible example backstory without the Info Dumptruck. You'll find this out on your own within the first few chapters, and it's not spoiling this story, so let me give you a brief run-down. Ray is a less than sterling character who has a bad history with Scary Boss Lady - he betrayed her for a friend who turned out to be in league with a predator. Ray ended up killing said friend and trying to fix the fall-out, but of course, innocents were hurt and killed, most especially, Annascary's best friend from childhood. He went to prison, and was released for this mission. She HATES Ray now, and wants him D-E-D, dead. In addition, he's sure that someone from the society is going to kill him after this mission anyways because of his past transgressions. He's a dead-man walking with a boss who despises him. It makes for a tense partnership. But never once did you end up with a paragraph like I just had to tell you all this. You get it as the story goes along, in bite-sized doses that kept you waiting for the next helping. Well done, sir! I hope to be able to do that some day.

    Anyways, gentlemen, I highly recommend that you pick this one up. I was very impressed. If you'd like to read an excerpt, try his blog here or click the B&N link to the novel above and catch it there.

    And for the record, I don't really like Marshmallow Fluff anymore. Circus Peanuts, yes. Fluff, no. Hot wings, yes.

    Monday, February 8, 2010

    Writerly Links

    I haven't been snooping at all my usual publishing industry blogs in a couple of weeks, so today I spent some time hitting the intarwebs and have some links for the rest of you who also haven't had the time.

    • Lit Agent Nathan Bransford had a whole slew of links on Friday's post, so I'm just copying and pasting here on a few that might help aspiring writers.
    In agent advice news, Janet Reid has an awesome checklist of things you need before you query, divided between fiction/memoir/nonfiction, Jessica Faust at BookEnds writes that unless each book can really truly stand alone, it's probably not a good idea to write a sequel to an unpublihsed first book in a trilogy, and Rachelle Gardner surveys ten query mistakes.
    As a side note, I'm really glad I decided to catch up today, because I saw that the February Secret Agent contest was getting ready to start over at Miss Snark's First Victim and one of my genres was being represented. The contest opened at noon, I hit Send on my submission at 12:03 and I was one of the last entrants to sneak through before she hit the 50 entrants mark. Yippee! I'm looking forward to the input. The last time I entered a writing contest at MSFV, the feedback was painful but helpful. Here's hoping for less pain and more "you're on the right track" this time. :)

    Tuesday, February 2, 2010

    Giddy About Upcoming Releases

    With today's release of Archangel's Kiss by Nalini Singh (which is waiting for me to take a break from work later today and start reading it on my nook), I started looking at what else is coming out soon that I'm looking forward to. Whoa, baby! Good stuff.

    Feb. 2 (TODAY!!!!) Archangel's Kiss by Nalini Singh
    So first, let's cover Archangel's Kiss. This is the next of Elena and Raphael's story. If you haven't read the first one, Angels' Blood, pick it up. Fantastic. She's also written a couple of novellas in the same world - "Angels' Judgement" in the Must Love Hellhounds anthology that covers Sara and Deacon's story and the e-book novella "Angels' Pawn" that gives us some insight into Ashwini - she's crazy fun.

    Feb. 9 - First Drop of Crimson by Jeaniene Frost
    This is written in the same world as Cat and Bones, but it covers Slade (Bones' vamp buddy) and Denise, Cat's best friend. The book cover is... not too appealing. I mean, I wouldn't let that guy anywhere near me until he had some close contact with soap, shampoo, a comb and some nail clippers. Throw a hair cut in there too, come to think of it. But c'mon! This is Ms. Frost - she's a fantastic writer, so I know the story is worth it. Yet another benefit to having a nook - I don't have to look at the cover every time I pick the story back up. :)

    Feb. 23 - Fantasy In Death by J.D. Robb
    Need I say more?

    Mar. 2 - Shalador's Lady by Anne Bishop and Roadkill by Rob Thurman
    These are each the next book in their respective series and I hop Rob is hard at work on the next Trickster book for her adoring audiences while we sate ourselves on this Cal and Niko Leandros novel.

    Mar. 23 - Rebels and Lovers by Linnea Sinclair
    Ms. Sinclair is the master of SciFi romance, and I can't wait for this one. It's even got a hawt, nerdy guy on the cover - complete with glasses! Rrrrrowr.

    Mar. 30 - Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs
    Max out the giddiness for this one. Can't wait, can't wait, can't wait. Mercy and Adam, yay! And all the other fun characters! More yay!

    Apr. 6 - Changes by Jim Butcher
    The next Dresden installment and I won't be able to read it right away because of E3.9's 4th birthday. Maybe I can convince her to have a Harry Dresden birthday party and we can read the novel as part of the festivities. I'm sure a bunch of four year olds won't have nightmares after that...

    Apr. 27 - Bewitched and Betrayed by Lisa Shearin
    More Raine Benares - can't get enough of that! Funny, awesome stuff.

    I'm sure there are some novels that I missed, but these were the highlights. What are you guys looking forward to?

    Wednesday, January 27, 2010

    We are, er, were so proud...

    Like most kids her age, the world revolves around J6.6. Every event or person that brushes her life is assigned an importance ranking based entirely upon how it or they affect her. The husband and I realize that it's just how kids are, and she's a good kid in general - it's not like she's amoral (except where it concerns E3.9) or sociopathic. So we just have an ongoing campaign to make sure that she realizes how things affect other people, even if she really doesn't care about it right now.

    Now, some big things make an impression on her, like the situation in Haiti - that's been on the news and talked about by us and at school enough that she's aware that it's a very tragic occurrence and is causing lots of suffering. But the small stuff? Eh.

    The other day, we were praying before bed, and it was J6.6's turn to pray. She said, "And please watch over Miss Joyce's mom and help her to get better quickly-"

    At this point, my husband and I reared back in surprise. She prayed for someone else - someone not in our family! It was so completely unselfish and we were just amazed. We traded congratulatory smiles at a job well-done on our part as parents. Yeah! We had this parenting stuff down! We were raising a child who would be a good, caring addition to society and we basked in that knowledge. Proudly, we waited for her to finish.

    "- without Miss Joyce having to go up and be with her, because I don't want a temporary bus driver. Amen."

    Commence un-basking.

    Monday, January 25, 2010

    Mages were integral to the Revolutionary War? You betcha.

    My father-in-law is no doubt reading this title (or will be once my mom-in-law hollers to him that he's made another appearance in my blog and needs to come read it...) with one eyebrow raised in disbelief. But no, it's true! Mages had an important role in America's fight for independence.

    My father-in-law and I like to read very different things. As you all know, I'm a fantasy/SF/romance kinda gal, and it had better have a happy ending. He loves non-fiction (shudder), especially military stuff (like there's ever a happy ending with those), and enjoys following up his reading with further research and visits to the towns/places in question (this part is cool). He doesn't do make-believe. I can see where he's coming from even if it makes me break out in hives and he just smiles and shakes his head at my frivolousness. We agree to disagree.

    But here's a novel that might actually appeal to both of us - if he can get past the whole 'mages' bit because ya know, it's pretty critical. C.C. Finlay's Traitor to the Crown series features Proctor Brown, a patriot minuteman farmer who is also a mage and involved with the dire opening acts of the Revolutionary War. This first book, The Patriot Witch, covers the 'shot heard round the world', the battle at Lexington and Concord and the events through Bunker Hill. It gives a magic-wielding explanation for why that first shot happened, why so many British officers died at Bunker Hill and how the patriot forces sustained so few losses at the same time. It was great, and it made me go look events up afterward to see how closely it followed the actual historical data (pretty closely as a matter of fact). Before, the Rev War was a blur of which I knew dates, a couple of key historical people and mostly whatever I'd picked up from Disney's The Swamp Fox series from when I was growing up. Now I'm more aware of it, and the particulars of these specific battles will stay with me. Anything that makes people read and become more aware of our history is fabulous, and even if Finlay's reasoning behind the events is completely made-up, the results are not. Also, this is a great guy kind of book that chicks can enjoy too. It has a 'happy for now' ending, because you know they're in the start of a desperate war, and a bunch of good folks have already died with more to come, but it ends on a note of hope, and that's good enough for me.

    Anyways, I'll be handing this one off to my father-in-law, and he'll read it because of the guilt trip he'll suffer if he doesn't. I really hope that he likes it, but even if he doesn't, we'll still have a good time talking about it, I'm sure. I'll let you guys know how this reading experiment works out. Meanwhile, I'll go buy the other two books in the series. :)

    As a side-note, I think my father-in-law had a hand in the creation of Blogger's spell-checker. The only words it didn't recognize were 'mage' and 'mages'...

    Tuesday, January 19, 2010

    It's been... forever...

    ... or at least 2 weeks since I've posted. You know the drill - busy life, no time, kids, work, writing, blah blah blah.

    I've been doing more editing than writing lately, and will probably continue that trend for the next couple of weeks. I'm still writing off and on, but not daily like I was before. I did come up with a cool social thing for my dark fantasy that I'm planning out though. I'm still working out the kinks in the idea, but I think it's pretty neat, and it's something that I haven't seen in a story before. Of course, that really means absolutely nothing. If I run it by my friend Mike and he hasn't seen it elsewhere, then we can consider it unique. :)

    Have you guys been reading anything good lately?

    I finished Jim C. Hines' The Stepsister Scheme (on my nook), recommended frequently by Lisa Shearin. I enjoyed it immensely. It's not a grab-and-won't-let-you-go-action-every-page kind of novel, but it was definitely a good fantasy read. I'll probably pick up The Mermaid's Madness at some point soon. Both stories feature Cinderella (aka Danielle, the clever, determined underdog), Snow White (aka Snow, a lusty, curvaceous mirror mage), and Sleeping Beauty (aka Talia, a deadly fighter) and how their "true" stories differ from the traditional fairy tales we know and get tired of our kids watching. The fairy tales only get some of it right, and these girls' actual lives are not all sunshine, true love and roses. In TSS the girls set out to rescue Cinderella's prince when he gets kidnapped by her evil stepsisters.

    Before that I read Rachel Vincent's young adult
    Soul Screamers series (also on my nook). If you liked Twilight, you should like this, and as a bonus... less teenager angst!!! Yippee! The first book in the series, My Soul to Lose, is currently available as a FREE e-book from B&N. It's not a super long story, so if you can stand to read from your PC for a couple of hours, it's might be worth it to you to download B&N's e-reader app and read this one at no charge. The first one was decent, and gets you knowing the main char Kaylee, although you don't find out what causes the weird screaming until book #2. It was actually the book 2 teaser at the end of the first book that kept me going with this series and I'm glad I did. It's a great series, and I'm looking forward to more of it.

    Thursday, January 7, 2010

    What New Year?

    Feels like the same old year to me. I've never been one for New Year's Resolutions, and this year is no different. I'm not resolving to write more. I'm simply determined to keep doing the solid effort at writing that I've been doing. I'm not making a goal to exercise more, because I know that will fail miserably. I think I'm a New Year's Scrooge.

    Anyways, I haven't blogged much lately because my free time is limited now, and I've been trying to squeeze in writing on my novels as opposed to writing on the blog. I think I'm done with the SciFi novel now. The ending is passable, but seems anti-climactic to me. We'll see what the critique crew thinks. Hopefully my mom will like the novel also. This is the one she's been nagging me to work on. Hi Mom! Love ya! Now we'll see if she's actually keeping up with my blog... How long will it be before she demands that I send the novel to her?

    Next on my menu is to go back and edit the SciFi novel, and Historian's Calling, my UF novel so I can start sending it back out to agents. After that, I'll try to get back into Gladiator's Legacy, book 2 in the UF series. When I left off to concentrate on the SciFi novel, I think I was 20-some-thousand words into it. I'll also keep working on my side projects - the dark fantasy I'm world-building right now and the paranormal romance/urban fantasy I've been contemplating.

    What are you all working on right now in your outside-of-work lives? Getting your warrior to level 75 or something in World of Warcraft? A new photography technique? A sewing project? Building a new computer? Landscaping? And yes, I'll ask: did you make a New Year's Resolution? :)