Tunerville Update and Principles of Design

Just a quick dash in to let you know that my friend and first reader Jim Allder finished with his reading of Tunerville.  He liked it!

He said it reminded him of a cross between Michael Crichton and Bruce Joel Rubin (author of the screenplay for Ghost; probably because there are ghosts in it).  High praise indeed.  To be compared to the great Crichton made me squee.

Rest in peace, sir.  You left us too soon.

Rest in peace, sir. You left us too soon.

Image:  michaelcrichton.net

Next, I will incorporate his suggestions (one was something I was thinking about doing anyway, which tells me it was on track) and then print it out for its first hard copy edit.  D’aww!

Although that means I have to haul it around in a binder for a few days.  Ick.  Also I better buy some paper.  And revisit my copymarks, most of which I’ve forgotten by now.  I still have my study sheet.

That’s all I have time for right now, since I’m drowning in homework (the four principles of design are:  Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, and Proximity.  Acronym:  C.R.A.P.  Tee hee!).  But I’ll be back soon, when I get my edit finished, and I might even post a wee bit of text.

‘Til next time, people.  Keep your feet warm.

What do you do when you don’t want to do what you’re doing?

I’m five posts away (four? I lost track) from my 300th post.  I still plan to reveal Tunerville to you then (see end of post for an update)…and do a cookie giveaway.  I want someone to get cookies!  Most likely, it will be a commenter, so comment already!

Shifting to downer status, I haven’t been blogging much lately; I started a technical writing program at a local state university.  You might know I got a job as a departmental admin who edits software assessment reports for a technology services company.

This program has a placement rate of 90+ percent.  It should fit right in with my day job, hey, all is going well, oooh yeah, fabulous and fine and wonderful.  Right?

No.

I hate it.

Don’t get me wrong; my day job is fine.  I like it, the people are nice, and it’s very flexible (in addition to paying a wage I can actually live on).  What I hate is all this pressure.  Bear with me here, because I’m going to unload on you.

  • I hate doing homework that takes up SO much time I have no time to work on Tunerville or the Rose’s Hostage sequel, nor will I have time to work on Rose when I get it back from Brian Keene (arrgghh!)
  • I hate going to class on a campus with 20,000 teenagers when I’m not one.
  • I hate not being a teenager anymore.
  • I hate that I can’t join in any campus life stuff because I’m a non-traditional (read:  old) student.
  • I hate being invisible because I’m old.
  • I hate the stupid bear statue in the middle of campus; I’m afraid of bears.  And everything is bears—bearbucks, bearpass, bearwear.  (Okay, maybe I like all this; when I’m bitching, everything is fair game, okay?)
  • I hate this semester-long project where I have to edit a document for a “client” (I’m doing a work document) and I have do it before I even know what the hell I am doing.
  • I hate online classes where you have to email the teacher to ask a question and then wait for a response.
  • I hate doing all this alone.

What is the point? I really don’t know.  I haven’t figured it out.  Everyone thinks my job is the Holy Grail—“Ooh, you got a job! Yay for you! Ooh aren’t you happy, aren’t you thrilled, you should be so relieeeeeeved!!!”  Well, yes, it’s nice.  And it’s not.

Grumpy-Cat-Le-Miserable

Image:  betanews.com

It isn’t what I wanted.  Again, I feel like I have to settle for something.  I don’t have the energy to keep starting over, and I’m almost out of time for what I really want, which is a family.  Writing is not enough.  Books are not enough.  Being able to make a living isn’t enough.  I can’t share anything I have, which renders it meaningless.  This isn’t living; it’s existing.

And I’m afraid.

I feel like a competent fiction writer, if not exactly as polished and experienced as, say, Brian.  As a technical writer, I fear I’m gonna stink.  I don’t feel smart enough for this.  And, if I have to spend this much time on it, the fiction is going to fall to the wayside.

I busted my ass to get back into novel writing; I don’t really want to ditch it NOW.  I’m so close to getting published, if I could just hit the right mark.  I feel it just out of reach.  This is pushing it down even further.  And I’m neglecting you, dear readers.  I don’t want to do that.  I want to produce something besides this blog for you to read.

I thought about sharing some of the things I’m learning at school with you.  There is a lot, and it’s not all so esoteric that you can’t understand it.  Maybe I can do that for next year’s A-Z Blogging Challenge.  I am NOT going to bail on that next year; I don’t care how short my posts have to be.  But I’m not sure I’m going to make it.

When I figure out what to do, I’ll let you know.

Tunerville update

In writing my synopsis, I have discovered I need to restructure the novel.  It’s okay; that’s fine, this happens.  As I told the story, I found myself reordering certain parts of it.  That probably means I really need to reorder certain parts of it.

Did you know “derp” made it into the Oxford English Dictionary? Yep, it’s officially a word.  Good thing, since I derp so much.

Did you know “derp” made it into the Oxford English Dictionary? Yep, it’s officially a word. Good thing, since I derp so much.

Research is ongoing; because of the school stuff, I’m not sure when that will be complete.  One of my professors does research in a field that directly relates to something in the book, so I plan to pick her brain extensively.

K, that’s enough for this Saturday.  I’m working on some time management strategies, so hopefully, I’ll be posting more often.  See you then.

 

 

A view on second drafts–article by Moira Allen

I subscribe to the Writing World newsletter via email.  While catching up on issues I haven’t had a chance to read, I came across this article by Moira Allen.  It’s very relevant to my current situation with Tunerville.

The only exception here is that my first draft experience sucked dog doo.  I enjoyed writing Rose’s Hostage; not so with Tunerville.  On everything else, though, Moira nails it.

Coffee on the Deck – by Moira Allen

January 24, 2013:
Do You, Author, Take This Novel….?

It should be fairly evident to anyone who has been following my editorials that I’ve been having just the teensiest bit of difficulty getting to the second draft of my novel.

I’ve found this reluctance a bit of a surprise. While I approached the first draft with a certain amount of trepidation, the experience was actually a delight. I loved writing that first draft. I don’t think I’ve enjoyed writing task quite so much. I couldn’t wait to sit down to the computer and begin the next scene. And much to my amazement, that first draft actually got finished.

And that’s where things came to a screeching halt. Oh, I said, I’ll just give myself a bit of a break, and come back fresh. Maybe a bit longer break. Maybe a sabbatical. Maybe a round-the-world cruise, followed by a lengthy quest for enlightenment at some remote monastery, and then another cruise… Suffice it to say that time has passed, copious amounts of water have flowed under bridges, and the second draft is no closer to being begun.

Now we stand on the brink of yet another New Year, with that first-of-the-year urge to set goals and tackle the important stuff, and I’m asking myself… why? What is it about a Second Draft that makes it such a different, and more intimidating, prospect than the first?

And then it came to me. The first draft was romance. The second draft is marriage.

The first draft was a dance of delight without commitment. Put simply, I could enjoy the relationship without worrying about whether or not I could actually make it work. One of the mind-games I played was the classic “It’s a first draft, it doesn’t have to be good.” The words don’t have to be right. The rhythm doesn’t have to be perfect. Plot holes can be filled in later. Research gaps can be noted and attended to in the future. We’re just having fun together, my novel and I, spending time together and seeing where it goes without worrying obsessively about whether it’s going “in the right direction.”

But now, it’s time to ask harder questions. Tackling a second draft is not just a stroll in the park. It’s a commitment. One can no longer get away with saying, “The little things don’t matter.” In a second draft, they do matter. One can’t say, “Hey, I don’t have to worry about making it work” — because making it work is the whole point of a second draft.

Nor is it just a commitment to “hard work.” If hard work scared us away from writing, we’d never get anything done. There are lots of writing tasks one can undertake that involve every bit as much work as a novel, but nowhere near the amount of commitment. Because the commitment isn’t just about effort. It’s about emotion.

Writing a novel is, in many ways, a process of embarking upon and committing to a relationship. A novel is something you’re going to spend time with — a lot of time with. It’s going to consume hours of your waking life. Even when you’re not working on it, you’ll be thinking about it, worrying about it, perhaps even having conversations with your characters in your head. You’ll know more about the lives of your characters than you may know about some of your own relatives. When things are going well, you’ll wonder if they’re really going well, or if you’re just deceiving yourself. When they aren’t — well, stock up on the chocolate ice cream!

It is an emotional commitment. It raises doubts, fears, concerns. Is this the right book to commit to? Is this really something I want to dedicate the next X months or years of my life to? Do I have what it takes to make this work? What if I don’t have what it takes to make it work?

Like any relationship, we come to it with hopes, expectations, and dreams. A novel isn’t just a certain number of words. It’s words into which we have invested our hearts — and we hope that investment will “pay off.” We want that novel to be a success. We want others to read it and fall in love with it, just as we’ve fallen in love. We don’t want it to end up on the remainder shelf, or worse, never make it to the top of the slush pile. And if the relationship doesn’t “work out,” we’ll blame ourselves, and perhaps start to wonder if we have what it takes to make any novel work.

In short, a novel has a unique power: It has the power to fulfill our dreams, or break our hearts. Mere “work” alone does not have that power. Only a relationship has such power.

So if you are finding yourself shying away from a first draft, or a second draft, or a third, take heart. You’re not lazy. You’re not afraid of work. You’re afraid of commitment — and everything that a commitment means. Deep down, we realize that only by giving that relationship our all, and holding nothing back, can we truly “make it work.” It’s no small step to take.

But without taking that step, we fail before we begin. So perhaps, as we look ahead to a New Year, we need to say more than simply “I will.” We need to open our hearts, embrace our fears, and say… “i do.”

Copyright © 2013 Moira Allen


Moira Allen is the editor of Writing-World.com, and has written nearly 400 articles, serving as a columnist and regular contributor for such publications as The Writer, Entrepreneur, Writer’s Digest, and Byline. An award-winning writer, Allen is the author of eight books, including Starting Your Career as a Freelance Writer, The Writer’s Guide to Queries, Pitches and Proposals, and Writing to Win: The Colossal Guide to Writing Contests. In addition to Writing-World.com, Allen hosts Mostly-Victorian.com, a growing archive of articles from Victorian periodicals, and The Pet Loss Support Page, a resource for grieving pet owners. She lives in Maryland with her husband and the obligatory writer’s cat. She can be contacted at editors “at” writing-world.com.

Computer Blues and Book Updates

I have three computers.  All of them suck right now.

One, my primary computer, is a 15” Toshiba Satellite laptop (check out the hilarious old lappy at that link!) with Windows 7, named Littleun.  It’s a fast little bugger and much more portable than its predecessor, a 17” Vista-infested, weighs-a-ton Satellite named Biggun.

Littleun is also broken.

 His fan had been going “WhhhrrrrRRRRRRRrrrrrrWHHHRRRRrrrrrr” for a while.  I knew it was probably the fan, but I was hoping he’d hold on until I can get a little more caught up from a year of unemployment.

Then I turned him on one night last week, thinking he was awfully quiet.  Not noticing his silent distress, I booted up Netflix for a Season 9 Bridezillas extravaganza, and *PTT!*   In the middle of an amusing screamfest, an overheated Littleun shut down.   I rebooted him to make sure the fever hadn’t fried his brain—it hadn’t, but it wasn’t safe to leave him on, so down he went.

My computer-savvy friend and I both agreed that the fan probably up and quit.  He will repair Littleun for me (I’m sure the inside is filthy—I really don’t know how to take him apart and clean him).  It can’t be soon enough.  Biggun drives me crazy, now that I’m used to Win 7 and Office 2013.  Word 2007 and Vista just aren’t happening.

But Biggun has a couple of games on him I need to finish, so perhaps I can get those done finally.  I know that at least one Myst title won’t play on Win 7.  It’s just a pain in the ass to save out documents and links I have to transport from one computer to the other.

It could be worse—I’m actually happy Biggun is available.  Unfortunately, his wireless thing doesn’t work very well.  It drops the signal all the time.  So I rolled my eyes and went to Best Buy, where I purchased an instant-gratification, overpriced, 50’ Ethernet cable and jammed it up Biggun’s port.  Now he’s online steadily, although without portability.

In the course of this operation, I discovered my long-lost short cable.  Yay!  Now the third computer, a Best Buy Insignia Windows XP Pentium IV named Old Wheezy, who refuses to die, is again online.

Old Wheezy, in his natural habitat in my craft/sewing/whatever room.  Love that CRT.

Old Wheezy, in his natural habitat in my craft/sewing/whatever room. Love that CRT.

Photograph by Elizabeth West

 Why do we have such an attachment to our machines?  We get used to their feel, their operation, and when something changes, we feel all out of kilter.  I have Tunerville on a flash drive, so I can edit at lunch when I’m at work.   That is a different machine than Littleun—a Lenovo Thinkpad—but it has Win 7, so it’s almost familiar.  But it’s not quite the same.  And I don’t get to lounge on the couch while I’m working (but no TV to distract me, hehe).

I suppose it’s better than writing the way I used to, with a pen and a spiral notebook.

———–

TUNERVILLE UPDATE:

Still working on editing.  Two scenes need complete rewrites, as they are clunky and unsatisfactory.  I also need to add a couple of things and complete a bit of research.

ROSE’S HOSTAGE UPDATE:

Apparently, the manuscript is still in the capable critiquing hands of Brian Keene.   He posted on his blog that he still had five for which he was waiting on publishers to see if they would want to take a peek.  Since I haven’t received mine, I’m hoping like mad it was one of the five, although he didn’t actually say (BRIAN, DO NOT MAKE ME COME UP THERE).

The suspense is killing me.  Maybe it sucked, and it’s just lost in the mail.  I must never, ever, tempt fate by getting my hopes up, but I really do wish something would sell so you could read it, dammit.   Right now, I just want to get Rose back and begin a re-edit; I’m sure Brian has lots of excellent suggestions.

If you want to make your writing better, never pass up the chance to have a more experienced person look at your work.  (Make sure they know what the hell they are doing, of course, especially if you’re paying for it.)  Grow a spine, thicken your skin, and learn to take criticism.

Well, I’m off to figure out what to bring to a weenie roast I’m invited to this afternoon.   Everyone have a safe Memorial Day!

Mem day doggie

Image:  Humane Society of Tampa Bay

 

Update and 5 Lies Unpublished Writers Tell Themselves–Matt Mikalatos

I have a final to finish and then I am done with school for the next few months (until the fall semester).  So I get to spend the summer paying off a bunch of old bills to some nasty-ass collection bitches (do they have a special bitch class when they get hired?  I mean, really.) and getting all the loose ends tied up in Tunerville.

It’s nice to finally be able to do it though, and not have it hanging over your head.  That would be the bills AND the book.  For so long, I wasn’t able to put anything in on both of them.  I knew they were there, but at the end of the week, there just wasn’t anything left.

I got an email today with a link to a great guest post on Chuck Sambuchino’s Guide to Literary Agents blog I’d like to share with you.   If you’ve read this blog for a while, you might remember an interview I did with him a few years ago about his humor book How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack.

Guest writer Matt Mikalatos has something to say in this article that might not be so funny.  It’s called 5 Lies Unpublished Writers Tell Themselves (And the Truths That Can Get Them Published).  To paraphrase Pink Floyd, if you’ve ever banged your heart against some mad bugger’s wall by trying to get something published, you need to read this.  You might not want to hear what he has to say, but it’s important.

Once you’re done with that, you can cheer yourself up by watching this hilarious video by gloveandboots about how time travel sucks.

 

 

The Buttersmiths’ Gold and An Unfortunate Announcement

Look, Deirdra A. Eden of A Storybook World sent me this!  A friend of hers, Adam Glendon Sidwell, has a book coming out.  It’s a middle grade novella called The Buttersmiths’ Gold, and it’s coming out May 2.  I love kids’ books, and this looks pretty cool.   Here’s a bit more about it.

The Buttersmiths’ Gold

BATTLES. BLUEBERRIES. BOVINES.

TORBJORN AND STORFJELL’S HISTORY UNFOLDS IN AN EPIC EVERTASTER NOVELLA.

Everyone knows the most coveted treasure of the Viking Age was blueberry muffins. Blueberry muffins so succulent that if you sniffed just a whiff, you’d want a whole bite. If you bit a bite, you’d want a batch; if you snatched a batch, you’d stop at nothing short of going to war just to claim them all.

Young Torbjorn Trofastsonn comes from the clan that makes them. He’s a Viking through and through – he’s thirteen winters old, larger than most respectable rocks, and most of all, a Buttersmith. That’s what he thinks anyway, until a charismatic merchant makes Torbjorn question his place among the muffin-makers. When Torbjorn lets the secret of his clan’s muffin recipe slip, he calls doom and destruction down upon his peaceful village and forces his brother Storfjell and his clansmen to do the one thing they are ill-prepared to do: battle for their lives.

About The Buttersmiths’ Gold

The Buttersmiths’ Gold is a spin off novella in the Evertaster series that tells the story of two Viking brothers and their adventurous past. The Evertaster series (Book #1 released June 14, 2012) is about Guster Johnsonville, who goes searching for a legendary taste rumored to be the most delicious in all of history. Along the way he meets a slew of mysterious characters, including two Viking brothers Torbjorn and Storfjell. The Buttersmiths’ Gold is their story. 124 pages. By Adam Glendon Sidwell. Published by Future House Publishing.

If you’re interested in checking out Book 1, here is what it’s all about:

Evertaster, Book #1:

A legendary taste. Sought after for centuries. Shrouded in secrecy.

When eleven-year-old Guster Johnsonville rejects his mother’s casserole for the umpteenth time, she takes him into the city of New Orleans to find him something to eat. There, in a dark, abandoned corner of the city they meet a dying pastry maker. In his last breath he entrusts them with a secret: an ancient recipe that makes the most delicious taste the world will ever know — a taste that will change the fate of humanity forever.

Forced to flee by a cult of murderous chefs, the Johnsonvilles embark on a perilous journey to ancient ruins, faraway jungles and forgotten caves. Along the way they discover the truth: Guster is an Evertaster — a kid so picky that nothing but the legendary taste itself will save him from starvation. With the sinister chefs hot on Guster’s heels and the chefs’ reign of terror spreading, Guster and his family must find the legendary taste before it’s too late.

———-

Those sound awesome, don’t they?  Now that I’ve gotten you all excited about Adam’s book(s), I need to tell you something.

I have to quit the Blogging from A-Z Challenge.

This is the worst thing ever.  I was really looking forward to the Challenge, but I just cannot post every day right now.  I thought I could handle it, but I just can’t.   This class won’t be over until May, and I just cannot do all the assignments and post every day.

This blog is already three A-Z posts behind, and I don’t foresee catching up at all.  You know everything has been pretty crappy for a while.  Well, it’s not getting any better, unfortunately.  If I don’t cut something, I’m not going to make it.

Perhaps next year I’ll be able to do it.  I apologize to anyone who signed up because of the Challenge.  A couple of things:

  • I’m not going to stop posting; it just won’t be every day.  This yearly thing gets me motivated to post at least twice a week, and with the book in development, it’s not like I have nothing to say.
  • The 300th post thing will still happen—just not when I thought it would.  (It involves cookies, so stay tuned, since that’s what you voted for.)
  • The announcement I was going to do on April 30th will still happen, where I tell you more about Tunerville.

Thank you for reading and commenting and for all your support.  Now go check out Adam’s books!

A Professional Critique and NewBook News

I did something ballsy this week.

I sent Rose’s Hostage to horror writer Brian Keene, who is doing critiques for money.

Yes, it’s perfectly fine for published authors to do this.  Writing books doesn’t pay very well—just scroll to the bottom and check out the link to his post on what being a full-time writer is REALLY like.   But we write because we have to, not because we can.

Brian’s one guy, and he doesn’t do this all the time, because you know, he has his own work to do.  He offered it last year, and I was unable to partake.  Thanks, unemployment.   This time, it coincided with my first full paycheck from NewJob.  Yay!

I pulled another 1,000 words out of the sucker and chopped up some of the chapters before I sent it.  Many of them were too long.  I’ve been reading more lately, as per my New Year’s resolution.  While I read, I notice stuff, like word choices (I can’t stop editing in my head, or headiting—it’s really kind of annoying), chapter length, and crap like that.

Anyway, if you’re a writer, horror or not, you could do worse than to read Brian’s stuff.  He’s good.  I respect his opinion, and I’m both elated and terrified as I anticipate receiving my undoubtedly heavily red-inked manuscript back.  Dear Baby Jesus, please let him like it.

You’ve been letting me down lately. Get on the ball, kid.

Image: Jeffrey C. Cann / Wikimedia Commons

I met Brian and fellow horror scribe John Hornor Jacobs at VisionCon (see my post “Geek Heaven”), where they introduced me to the Gross-Out contest.   John’s got a terrific zombie book out called This Dark Earth.  If you like The Walking Dead (I do; I’m totally addicted now.  Thank you, Netflix!), you might want to take a look at it.

Okay, shameless plugs aside, hanging out with other writers and getting them to look at your work, even if they charge for their expertise –WHICH THEY SHOULD!!!—is a valuable thing.  Certainly worth more than the Samsung Galaxy S II I was planning on buying instead.

Want want want…aaaaahhhh….prepaid smartphone *drooool*

Want want want…aaaaahhhh….prepaid smartphone *drooool*

Image:  phandroid.com

No matter what dear Mr. Keene says about my book, there will be lessons I can carry forward.  I’m doing the first rewrite of my new novel right now (well, not right this second—I’m probably going to watch a few episodes of Red Dwarf tonight.  Yeah, I’m into that now.  Thanks again, Netflix.)  First thing would be to shut off the damn streaming and work.  The inner boss is much harsher than the outer one.

Timewaster!

Timewaster!

Image: fotographic1980 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Speaking of it, I promised you a little more information about NewBook, and here it is.  It’s called Tunerville, and it has something to do with the paranormal.  No, there are no vampires.  One of the main characters does something that turns the world upside down.  I hope I can get it up to snuff so you can read it someday.

I’m still not ready to reveal my hook just yet; as I said in an earlier post, a lot of changes could happen, especially in this first rewrite.  I don’t want to get you all excited and then drop you like an old shoe.  That wouldn’t be fair.  By the time the Blogging from A-Z Challenge rolls around, I should be farther along.  So stay tuned.

I will say this:  my first rewrite is reminding me how much I really like this part of writing.  First drafts can be fun if they flow like Rose’s Hostage did, but Tunerville was a real bitch-kitty.  Let’s hope the rest of the process is a bit easier.

And there is some material in there that will, if it gets published, undoubtedly brand me a heretic and a heathen.  Bring it on.  As Robin Williams once said, God has a sense of humor—just look at a platypus.

Okay, I’m going now.  Two hours of skating this morning and two lessons froze my brain as well as my feet.  See you around.

I’ll leave you with a fabulous song from The Hobbit, which I have chosen for my Adult Bronze test program.  Enjoy.

 

2012 in Review- Happy New Year!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.  Yay!  See it below.

A big thank you to everyone who dropped by this year.  I’m hoping to share a bit more of my writing process with you in 2013, because I’m planning not only to start a university writing program in the next couple of weeks, but have my NaNo book to edit and revise.

And not only that, but I want to write a sequel to Rose’s Hostage, even though I can’t seem to sell it yet.   I’ve begun gathering material on that already.   Then there is the Blogging from A-Z Challenge coming up in April.

Happy New Year, everyone.  Let’s hope like hell it’s better than this year.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 9,800 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 16 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

4 Ways I’m Relaxing after NaNoWriMo

I’ve been quiet since NaNoWriMo.  The only writing I’ve done is a blog post over on Clerical Chick, some chatting, a few tweets, and cover letters.   Yes, I’m still job hunting *GROAN*.

While I feel a bit lazy right now, after finishing a project that huge I definitely think some relaxation is in order.   You may be compelled to continue, but I am going to take this time before I actually get a job to enjoy my lack of responsibilities.

In no particular order, here are some ways I have relaxed after NaNoWriMo.

#1 – Watching TV series I never saw

I’m working my way through The X-Files on Netflix right now.  I’m up to Season 5, and just watched the one where Scully finds the little girl she thinks is her sister’s daughter.  This show is hilarious.  I don’t believe in alien abduction, so I have to really work to suspend disbelief, but the intentional humor is excellent.

Netflix is awesome too.  I love being able to watch back-to-back episodes of TV shows, except it backfires with How I Met Your Mother, since that show is still airing and I’m behind.  I’m watching faster than they’re posting.

Digital content is much more entertaining when you pause it than videotape ever was.  Check out this ridiculous Mulderface shot:

AAACHOOO!

AAACHOOO!

#2 – Reading

I’ve hauled out some old favorites, but in the next couple of weeks I’m going to tackle the two remaining novels in Robert J. Sawyer‘s Neanderthal Parallax series.  I read Hominid and loved it, but I haven’t gotten around to the other ones.  Sawyer is an excellent writer, and a nice guy too.  I emailed him once and got a very gracious reply.

Last year, when I had two jobs, I wrote way more than I read.  I would like to remedy that.  I’ve missed reading.  So an early New Year’s resolution:  to read more books in 2013, as well as write more.

#3 – Attempting to create handmade Christmas presents since I’m broke

The less said about this, the better.

#4 – Reorganizing the house

Good luck with this one, self.  No one wants the furniture I put on craigslist, and I have TOO MUCH STUFF.

Not quite, but getting there.

Not quite, but getting there.

Image:  Bill Longshaw / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I watch Hoarders to remind myself of what can happen when I’m too lazy to do this (yes, I know it’s a severe anxiety disorder, and I have anxiety issues, so yes, I watch it to scare myself also).  Plus, there’s the added what-if-I-can’t-find-a-job-and-have-to-move motivation.  I actually donated eight boxes of books to the library sale recently, so I’m doing pretty well.

None of these activities takes the place of the job hunt, or getting my ducks in a row for a possible return to school in the spring.   Things are changing little by little.  Let’s hope next year they’re for the best, because this year sucks.

Whatever you’re doing to celebrate the end of NaNoWriMo, I hope you enjoy your holiday.  We’ll all gear up for a visit the Ghost of Editing Yet to Come.

 

 

Happy Halloween and NaNoWriMo 2012

Happy Halloween!

Here’s my first attempt at shaving a pumpkin design.  I used a free template I found online.  I think it turned out rather well for a first try.  For those who aren’t Doctor Who fans, it’s the head of an evil robot called a Cyberman.

“You will be upgraded.”

Photograph by Elizabeth West

No matter what you’re doing this year, please remember to stay safe.  Watch those candles around costumes, and never leave them unattended.  If your kids find the stash of candy you saved for yourself, don’t kill them.  Just steal some from their bags.

From last year, but damn funny:

Tomorrow is the beginning of NaNoWriMoI told you earlier that I would be participating this year.  I’m not formally signing up, because technically, you’re not supposed to use NaNo for something you’ve already started.  But I have to do something drastic, or I’ll never finish.  This has been unequivocally one of the worst years of my life.

Because, you know, chaos.

Image:  US Navy- Aaron Peterson / Wikimedia Commons

I’m creating a category—NaNoWriMo 2012—and I’ll probably only be posting updates this month, especially if I find a job.   I’m not restricting myself from publishing any other posts if I think of one, but all NaNo materials will be under that heading for easy reference.  If you’d like to follow me on Twitter, I may be tweeting things there as well during this time.

Good luck to all other writers who are NaNo-ing this year!