Saturday, March 6, 2010

New Blog, New Website, More Posts!

This will most likely be my last post here. I've completely revamped my website and the premise of my blog. I've moved over to WordPress for both. I'm going to post on a regular schedule (4 days a week) with regular topics. The web address is the same ( but looks totally different. So please stop by and let me know what you think. I'm excited about this new creative venture!

Monday, January 25, 2010

World Literature

I'm taking a world literature class at the local community college this semester. I tend to be a bit narrow in my reading, and I want to expand my horizons. Sure, I could pick a random book from the library and do this, but I do better with a structured class environment, at least as a jumping off point. Now that I am no longer forced to take classes to obtain a piece of paper that says I can finish what I start, I can learn anything. I can pick a subject that interests me, take a class, and when the class is over have basic knowledge with which to run with and learn more. In this class, I foresee myself finding authors from various countries who I enjoy, then finding more of their work to read on my own.

The assignment for this week was to read 2 short stories by Indian authors - "Pigeons at Daybreak by Anita Desai and "Dhowli" by Mahasweta Devi. I was more interested in "Dhowli" than the other, story-wise, though I enjoyed Desai's style of writing. I think I will seek out more writing from both authors to add to my ever growing list of "Books to Read Before I Die." (One of these days I'll type it up and post it on here so you can all make more suggestions.

In other news, I am greatly enjoying the online urban fantasy critique group I started and moderate. I received some extremely helpful feedback from my first submission, and helped me to see things that desperately needed to be changed or cut, but I was unable to see myself. I loved the crazy uncle character too much to realize he was extraneous to the story, and really needed to go. All he did was add confusion. So he has been cut, some things have been simplified, others expanded upon. That's how it goes. Now I need to make time to review the comments I received on my second submission. I should get to that this weekend sometime.

The Zen Writing Group meets Saturday, so if not before, definitely then I'll get to the edits. I am very much looking forward to that.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a safe and fun new year celebration. I spent mine with my sweetie, my best friend and her boyfriend. It was a pretty low key night, but I'm usually not big on going out on New Year Eve. Too many drunk wackos on the roads.

2009 was a year rife with ups and downs, though I must admit the downs seem to have outweighed the ups. It seems to have been this way for many, many people. Not sure what it was about 2009, but I am glad to put it behind me, and am hoping that 2010 will be much better.

The past few weeks have been exhausting for me, and I'm still recovering from it all (more in a later post.) So this post will be short, but I wanted to be sure to get my new year greeting out there to you all.

Monday, November 30, 2009

New Toys and Digital Organization

My printer died a little over a month ago. So I braved the Black Friday crowds to get a new one. Normally $120, on sale at Best Buy for $65. I waiting till the afternoon, and it was a fairly painless process. Surprisingly enough, setting it up was also painless. I hate wires, so it connects to my wireless network. It's a scanner and copier too. One of my projects is scanning all my papers so I can get rid of them all, so I'm back to work on that tonight. I asked my accountant, and he said to keep 5 years of originals of tax documents, and scan the rest. I have my tax papers from my very first minimum wage job when I was 16, working at Lion's Choice. That's 14 years of tax documents. Yikes. Will be nice to get rid of most of them.

I also had all my photographs scanned a while back, and have finally gotten them organized into folder by event. I have a box of stuff from high school, and some old photographs of my family (as in, grandparents and before...I mean old photos) that I need to scan still. But slowly my pile of stuff I never look at it growing smaller. It's a great feeling. One reason is, I just feel better not having so much "stuff" around. Another reason, is it's good planning. What if there was a fire? If I have everything scanned, I can just grab my laptop, and my dogs of course, and run, and not worry about losing important stuff. Sure, there are a few "things" I'd miss, but for the most part, everything is replaceable except photographs and documents.

Another thing that drives me nuts is wires all over my computer desk. I had a wireless keyboard and mouse, but there was still a wire to plug the receiver into a USB port. I finally got a mouse with just a USB plug, no wire, and a bluetooth Apple keyboard. I'm loving my new, wire-free setup. My desk is so much more organized.

It's been a productive weekend of getting my digital files organized. There's still a lot to do, but I've made a dent in it. Not much writing was done this weekend, but sometimes you need a break. Tomorrow is the last day of NaNoWriMo, and I'm going to the final write-in, even though I'm done. I'll work on reading through Ravaged Heart and figure out where I need to go with that one. That will get me back on the writing track. My writing group is also meeting Saturday, so that will be another good writing day.

I'm going to scan 2 more things to get myself to a good stopping point, then head to bed. It's way too late as it is. Good night all!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving, a little late

I didn't get this up Thursday...was too busy sleeping and stuffing myself and putting up my xmas tree. Normally I put my tree up the day after Thanksgiving, but I have to work this year, for the first time ever.

I found this great blog post by Neil Gaiman's personal assistant. Now before you jump on me, I'm not a scrooge. I love spending time with family and friends. But I also love spending time by myself. I thought this post brings a little perspective to how many of us treat the holidays. So I'm sharing the link to it.
So remember that yes, the season is about spending time with loved ones, but it was not intended to be about running yourself ragged, and it was definitely never meant to be about consumerism where you dig yourself a hole so deep to buy the latest greatest thing for your kids/friend/significant other. Spend time with them. But don't kill yourself, and don't go into debt for it. This year, I'm not spending much on anyone. I enjoy buying things for people, so a select few will still get a small item that says "I care about you, I was thinking about you, and thought this was totally awesome for you." Even my little cousins, who I normally spoil rotten, won't get much. They don't need anything, really, but they're kids, and they love getting stuff, so a few small things for them.

So, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, here's what I'm thankful for (in no particular order).
My family
My friends
My dogs
My writing group
Writing 50,000 words during November, even if I don't like the result
Having a steady paycheck
Having a roof over my head
My NaNoWriMo buddies
My Kung Fu classmates (even though I'm currently on hiatus due to lack of money)
My writing ability
Having enough money for food, heat, the essentials
Not having lost my vacant house to the bank (yet)
My parents' generosity, without which the above item would probably not be on this list.
My health
My cake baking/decorating ability
The life lessons I learned in the past year
Learning more about myself in the past year

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Night of Writing Dangerously

Every year NaNoWriMo hosts the Night of Writing Dangerously in San Francisco. ( I dream of going one year in the not too distant future. This year St. Louis decided to host its own NoWD on the same day and time (well, ours was a few hours earlier to make up for the time zone difference.) Sunday night, we invaded MoKaBe's and took up over half of the upper level, consumed vast amounts of coffee, and wrote copious amounts of words. Well, some us wrote copious amounts of words. I hear others didn't write much at all and instead spent 6 hours socializing. I socialized, but also wrote 4112 words while I was there. This was on Ravaged Heart.

Our fabulous Municipal Liaison decided to make this a fund-raising event, but the donation was optional this year. We raised $121 Sunday night alone! How exciting is that?!

So why should you donate to NaNoWriMo? Why is it important to a bunch of crazy adults? Well, it's a non-profit organization. And the people who run it need to pay to keep the website up and running, and the electricity in their offices, and some of them even like to eat and pay rent. But to me, even more important than support us crazy adults who give a month of our lives each year to noveling, is to support the kids who do it. There's a Young Writer's Program ( that encourages kids to write, and NaNoWriMo donates goodies to the classrooms that sign up for this. And, writers are also readers, so it indirectly encourages kids to read as well as right. That in and of itself is a very worthy cause to donate to.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.

So, lots of fun was had by all. I realized, however, that I need to reread Ravaged Heart and make lots of notes in the process. There are parts I inadvertently skipped, and I think I started the novel far too late in the story time line. Where I am now, at somewhere around 50,000 words, is much closer to the end than another 40,000 words will allow me to be. So I need to start sooner, fill in some key plot points I missed. Reading and making notes will make that so much easier to do. So that will be my task for this week.

For all you NaNoers who haven't reached 50K yet, keep going! One more week. I know you can do it! For those of you who have reached 50K, congratulations! One more day until we can validate and get our purple bars. (How perfect is it that winners' word count bar turns purple once they're validated?) And for the rest of you who just think I'm insane for this, well, thanks for following me on my journey. I didn't reach my goal of 100K, but I'm starting to come to terms with that. I have words written - perhaps some will even be salvageable - and I have research done that will help on another novel that is in the early stages. A novel I get to be a collaborator on. Very exciting, yes? Yes. This one will be a side project, as I'm going to focus on a final round of edits for Divided Heart, sending out more query letters to find my agent, and finishing up Ravaged Heart. (Is that all?) But it will be there nonetheless.

What's that? You want to know what this collaborative effort is? A few days ago John came to me with an idea for a novel. Keep in mind I hadn't told him anything about my NaNovel, just that I was doing NaNo. So when he told me his idea, and asked if I'd help write it, I was surprised that it was about half of what I was trying to do with NaNo. He's writing it, but I'll help with research, ideas, editing, finessing. It should be a blast.

Oh yes, there's also the little matter of writing more poems and essays for the second volume of In the Moment (release date TBD...we need content first). So my writing plate is very, very full. I need to clone myself so I can send my clone to my day job, while I spend all day writing and editing.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Halfway There and My First Tattoo

It's November 16, and I haven't posted in a while. NaNo, and life, have gotten in the way. Sorry all, but if I have to choose between word count for the day, and a blog, well, word count wins. So how am I doing? On Saturday I hit 50,008 words!! Officially I am a winner, but I'm still only halfway to my personal goal of 100,000. I'm still on track for it, even though I didn't write at all yesterday. That's the nice thing about having a bit of padding. Though that padding is all gone now, so it's back to the grindstone tonight.

Yesterday I had the joy of raking leaves from the yard of my vacant rental house. The front and back yard were covered with 3 inches of leaves. At least I'll only have to rake once this year. Sadly I only got the front raked, so once it stops raining and dries out again I'll have to rake the back. Seriously contemplating paying someone to do it, even though I really shouldn't spend money on something I am physically capable of doing myself right now. Vacant rental house = poor me (poor as in no money, not woe is me)

After raking, I went to the Old School Tattoo Expo ( here in St. Louis. I've been thinking about getting one for quite a while, but honestly didn't intend to get it yesterday. I didn't even think any of the artists would have openings spur of the moment. But they did, so I got the tattoo I've been thinking about for over a year. A quill pen with an ink pot. I was nervous when I asked the artist (Jason from Designs by Dana - they're from Cincinnati, and very good) to draw it up. I came back 20 min later, and it was beautiful! He transferred it to a stencil (I forget exactly what they call the transfer they use...the transfer the outline to your skin so they don't freehand it on your body). Then he transferred it to my left shoulder blade. I went to the bathroom to look at it in the mirror, and I loved it! Then when I sat down I had to take some deep breaths to calm down. I was now very nervous! John said I'd be stupid not to be. After 5 tattoos he said he still gets a little nervous. It's a big decision, after all, permanently etching your body.

The outline was the worst. That hurt like a . There were times when I wondered if he was just slicing into my skin instead of tattooing it. But I took it well. No tears of pain leaked my eyes. I gritted my teeth and took it like a champ. Even Jason said I did very well.

Filling in was easy compared to the outline. Don't get me wrong, it still hurt, especially over particularly bony areas. But a little over an hour later and it was all over. Back to the bathroom to check it out, and it is gorgeous!! The next day and I'm still happy with it. No morning after regrets for me. I'm already thinking about what I'll do next. I have a couple in mind. These will be smaller than my first, and less complex. But they can wait a while.

So, I have my first tattoo. I have 50,000 words for my NaNovel. How is the novel going? Well, obviously the word count is there. Quality? Hmmm. I have my work cut out in editing, and let's leave it at that. I can't decide if I planned too much or too little. I think too little, because I keep finding myself stuck as to where my plot should go next. Another problem is my characters haven't come alive like they did for my NaNovel last year. I think after November I'll stick with that series. The characters are so much more alive to me. But there are still 15 more days. I might have a breakthrough yet. I still like the idea, the execution just needs some work. I must admit, I can't wait to get back to Ravaged Heart though. I never have gone back to the novel I put on hold for NaNo last year, and I was a little worried RH would suffer the same fate. No fear though, I'm even more excited to get back to it than I was when I had to stop writing due to this thing called life getting in the way for a few months.

One thing I know, this one (The Future is Past) will most likely get a new title. It changed so much from the original plan that this title just doesn't quite fit as well.

What's that? You want to see a pic of my tattoo? Oh, alright. Here it is. I'll post another one in a month or so when it's all healed and not so red and angry looking.

and PS...I hope my parents don't read this or my Facebook page before I get a chance to tell them. They're going to flip out anyway, and hearing it from me might make it a little easier. But they're away on vacation, and I'm too excited about this to wait to share it with all of you. Mom and Dad, in case you see this before I talk to you, I love you! Please don't be too mad. I thought about it really really hard. Promise. Look at it this least I didn't get another motorcycle.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


Sorry all, I had to change comments so they're not open to everyone. You'll have to enter your name now. Got my first bit of spam commenting...definitely not something I want showing up here. Stupid spam bots.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Day 5

20,464 words. That was 460 ahead of where I needed to be. Now I'm behind, because I haven't written a single word yet today. I'm getting to it. Really, I am. It's not even 8:00 yet. Plenty time. Technically I only need 3000 words to keep up, though I'd like to get more. It really shouldn't be a problem once I start writing. I'm just procrastinating right now. In my defense, I had a busy afternoon. Re-inspection of the house (it passed, yay!), grocery store, eat dinner, 20 minute power nap, feed the dogs, then procrastination started. So I figure, why not post a blog entry, then I'll have no more excuses to procrastinate. Except getting more coffee. :)

Last night was a write-in at a new place for us. Wired Coffee. It was great! Not freezing, like Barnes and Noble, great food, and fabulous coffee. Tonight I'm at home. Hopefully cute puppies won't distract me too much. Headphones will go on so the TV in the other room won't distract me (darn NCIS, I love that show. In fact, darn USA Network in general. They have too many good shows.)

Tomorrow I'm off to Chicago to see Emilie Autumn (have I mentioned how excited I am? And the other awesome thing about the trip - besides that it will be made with my best friend - is there are Dunkin Donuts in Chicago!!! I will be bringing home a bunch of donuts and a box full of Munchkins.) We're driving back after the show, so it will be a late night. Saturday taking my cousin out for her 11th bday to see the new Christmas Carol movie. Ugh. I don't want to see anything xmas related until after Thanksgiving, so sitting through a 2plus hour xmas movie, in 3D, with Jim Carey of all people, well, let's just say I REALLY love my cousin. Though after the late night, I might just take a nap during the movie. It might be better that way. When you have a version of A Christmas Carol with Patrick Stewart, do you really need any other? I thought not.

Now I'm really procrastinating by boring you with my babble. So I'm off to refill my coffee mug, then to start pounding out my words for the day.

Monday, November 2, 2009

NaNoWriMo Day 2

Current Word Count: 13,731

I am 2 days ahead. Which is good, because I won't get much, if any, writing done Friday or Saturday this week. Friday I'm driving to Chicago and back with my best friend to see Emilie Autumn. Saturday is my 11 year old cousin's birthday outing, the only completely unavoidable obligation of the month. So I need 2 days padding to make up for the weekend. Missing the time writing will suck, but seeing Emilie Autumn will be so worth it. One of the most talented musicians I've discovered in a while.

Yesterday was filled with writing. Two separate write-ins, but unfortunately all the Bread Companies in the city closed an hour early, so we got kicked out at 7:00. I had 10,632 words by then, and planned to write more when I got home, but that didn't end up happening. But I have met my goal of being 2 days ahead. So I'm allowing myself a break to write this blog. I may try to write more tonight. I said I was going to write 4000 words tonight. That's because I'm not good at math and guessed that's how much I needed to get 2 days ahead. But more padding won't hurt. We'll see how long I can stay awake after taking a break.

Tomorrow will be another write-in. I do pretty well writing from home, but my super cute puppies can be a bit of a distraction. Tiberius sticks his head in my lap, begging me to pet him, and Emmy wags her tail at me looking super cute. It's impossible to resist. Just means I get my word count a little slower than I would otherwise. But they're totally worth it.