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There and Back Again… to AWESOMETOWN

I am so excited!  The Hobbit trailer was released yesterday and it just looks wonderful

I have heard some people complain about the appearance of the dwarves, especially if you compare them to how Gimli looked in the Lord of the Rings movies.  However, I felt like they really fit into that world and looked like what I imagine dwarves would look like.  If you recall, Gimli was the only dwarf that we really saw (that was alive) in the LotR movies.

Martin Freeman looks just wonderful as Bilbo Baggins.  I loved him in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, as well as in Love Actually, and I ADORE him as John Watson on the BBC’s Sherlock.  I wasn’t sure about him before that, to be honest.  I thought he was funny and cute and sweet in the previous two films but after seeing him in Sherlock, I have seen that he can be a BAMF as well.

John Watson on Sherlock is an Afghan war vet, and took some serious injuries to his shoulder and to his leg.  He’s amazing with a gun, and incredibly brave.  He’s also very smart, not just as a medical doctor but as an investigator.  And let’s be fair, anyone would look less than when paired with Sherlock Holmes.

When they announced that Martin Freeman would be playing Bilbo Baggins, I had recently finished the first season of Sherlock and was still in my initial “fresh and new” fangirl phase, which meant that I was all about anything having to do with the show or anyone in it, so I was doubly excited to hear about the Hobbit casting. 

Because while Bilbo is a hobbit, who tend to be a bit reserved and not particularly brave for the most part, he is also an adventurer.  He is brave.  He leaves his home with no guarantee that he will ever return.  I found that I could connect Bilbo and John Watson fairly easily and suddenly, I could NOT wait to see what Peter Jackson was going to do with Martin Freeman.

I was not disappointed.  I think the trailer captures a number of elements that are necessary for The Hobbit to work as a film.  It shows Bilbo engaged in his community, known around the Shire, and it shows his love and desire to stay at Bag End.

But it also shows his curiosity about the world beyond his home and his desire to get out there and see it.  It comes back to his desire to return home, always, but the trailer keeps pushing at us his interest in going out and seeing the world.

This is very different than Frodo, who leaves less because he wants to and more because he’s been convinced that he HAS to leave.  He needs to get the ring to a safe place (he does not yet know that it will need to be destroyed) and he is willing to take that journey in order to make sure that the evil the ring represents does not come to find him in the home that he loves so much.

I’m not sure who the braver hobbit is.  Frodo is in a bad position.  He must get the ring to someone that can handle it, because if he doesn’t, evil will find it and will find him, and all he loves.  Bilbo leaves because it will be fun.  At least, because it COULD be fun.  There isn’t anything chasing after him, no reason for him to sneak out of town, or to even consider Gandalf’s offer.

And yet he does.  He considers it, and he leaves the Shire.

I think that may be the bravest of acts.  Because there isn’t a repercussion if he stays at home.  No evil creature will come after him and hurt those he cares about.  He won’t lose anything, in fact, he may gain more if he chooses to stay put in his safe little life.

And yet, he decides that he can’t do that.  He can’t stay in his little house in his little community and be a little man.  He decides to leave with the gray wizard and change his life forever.

That takes guts, ladies and gentleman, and Bilbo has them. 

I will confess, I never read The Lord of the Rings books before they came out in theaters.  And I still haven’t read them.  I’ve tried to before, but I always gets stuck in Rivendell and can’t get and farther.  Nor have I read The Hobbit or any of JRR Tolkien’s other works. 

I have, however, fallen deeply and madly in love with the world that he created and the characters that populate it.

I mean, ARAGORN.  How can you not love Aragorn?  And while I didn’t want Eowyn to get Aragorn in the end, I still loved her and respected her and wanted to be her when she gets to her epic moment of “I am NO man!”  Holy shit, man.  That’s the kind of female character that teaches girls to be women and to not take any shit for loving who they are.

The LotR movies gave us a bearded, horse riding Karl Urban, looking fine.  They are also the only films in which I find Viggo Mortensen to be attractive in any way.  Orlando Bloom is so much fun, and Sean Astin just makes me weep with his love and devotion to Elijah Wood’s Frodo.

I’m glad that Peter Jackson finally was forced (I believe) to take the helm of both Hobbit films.  I think that he brought something to the original three movies that no other director could recreate or even hope to come close to.  And while other directors could have had great and interesting visions for this film, I kind of want it to feel like it exists in the same universe as the first three films.

That’s something that the Harry Potter films (at least the first two) don’t do as well as they could or should.  Those first two Chris Columbus helmed pictures just don’t have the same feel as the third movie and beyond, much to their detriment.  So, while I would have loved to see Guillermo del Toro’s The Hobbit, I’m really glad that we’re going to Jackson’s Hobbit instead.

There and back again, right?

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You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you. – Ray Bradbury

A few things:

 1) I was in Beverly Hills a while back, to see the doctor, I had to park in one of the public parking structures.  As I was pulling out in The Falcon (my Jeep), I passed Michael T. Weiss in his car.  He was making a turn, and he slowed down to do so, so I got a great view of his face.  He still looks good, which was awesome.  I LOVED him on The Pretender and it makes me sad that he’s been playing bad guys recently.

And not too long after I saw the guy, he shows up on Burn Notice!  It was great to see Michael T. Weiss and Jeffrey Donovan together again.  I was inspired to look up the show and see just how many episodes Donovan was in, as Kyle, Jared’s messed up brother.  I was shocked to see that it was only three TOTAL episodes!  He must have been mentioned more than that, for him to have been as pervasive in my memory as he is.  Or he was just that awesome.


2) A friend forwarded me an e-mail about this writing program called Skyword.  Skyword hooks writers up with different websites that are looking for content and they pay you based on hit counts for each article that you write.

I applied to write for and I was chosen to write for the news and political channels of the site.  I’m really enjoying it- I pick my own topics, do my own research and then submit my articles to be published on the site.  They have editors that read for content and they do edit articles as needed, which is a great service. 

I’ve already started to make money, although it’s a very small amount at this point.  But cash is cash, and it spends.  This is the first time I have ever been paid for my work.  Woo!

If you are interested in writing for the same program, check it out here.

Some of my currently posted articles are here:

a) Black Valedictorian Forced to Share Honor with White Student

b) Married Lesbian Couple Save 40 Teens from Norway Killing Spree

c) Murder of Gay Student Ends in Mistrial

d) After 66 Years, Nazi Secretary Reveals All

e) New Jersey Bullying Legislation Hits Hard

f) West Memphis 3 Released After 18 Years


3) Keep Calm and Finish Your Damn Book

Beth and Deb linked me to this post, via twitter, and it hit so many buttons for me, it isn’t even funny.

First, I love the art.  It reminds me of Hyperbole and a Half, which is awesome, and the actual content just really speaks to me. 

I mean, I am that person.  I freak out about all the people that are better/wittier/funnier/darker than I am and that have great books out there, getting read and possibly sold by a major publisher.

In fandom, I always get sad when my stories don’t get the kinds of comments that other stories do, some that aren’t as good as mine but get a billionty more comments.  And I wonder if people just don’t like me, like you do.  Or if I’m that uncool kid that people just put up with because it’s the internets and you can’t really kick people out until they become REALLY creepy or crazy or dangerous.  Am I that girl that you went to school with that had the terrible hair and smelled like peas? 

And then I wonder if it IS, in fact, the content of my work that just isn’t getting the response that I want.  If my stories are okay but not good, even if they aren’t BAD.

As an aside, I had a story that was due for a fannish challenge and I knew that I had to get it done, as it was for someone else and I would be gifted with a story of my own.  You never want to be that asshat that DOESN’T meet the deadline, okay?  And I thought I had a good story but I asked an amazing friend to beta read the thing for me.  She’s totally awesome and totally honest and she didn’t like it.  Like, at all.  So I had to break it down and really try to find what the story was I was actually trying to tell.  In the end, I had a much better story that I actually really loved.  I still did not get the kinds of comments that I was expected, based on the fandom and the characters involved.  My ego is ridiculous, okay?  I get that.  But man, I just wish I could write a story that not only connected with ME but connected with everyone else.

And that’s what I think this post is really about.  I question my worth as a writer based on the feedback from other people (or the distinct lack thereof).  I also question my worth based on my own comparison of my work/blog/twitter/facebook to that of other people, just like the blog talks about.  I psych myself out, creating all this doubt that doesn’t need to be there. 

What is the answer here?  The answer is just write the damn book.  Just tell the story the way I want to tell it, the way that I see it in my head, and just get it on the page.  Don’t worry about what other people will think about that paragraph or that character turn.  Don’t get caught up in all the peripheral stuff, like blogs and twitter and stuff.  Just focus on the work.  Because in the end, that’s all you have to stand on and it will have to be enough.  Make sure that the focus is on the work and just get it done.

That’s what I’m taking away from the post.


4) Speaking of Keep Calm and Finish Your Damn Book…

I’m trying to get my edits done on The Drake submission so I can send it out.  I’m struggling with too much information.  I’ve been thinking about the problems with the story and how to fix them for months and now that I need to actually sit down and pound out the fixes, I’ve got almost too much information pouring into my brain.

I need to rework the synopsis- crap, I have one, that I can just edit.  Maybe.  Or maybe it would be better to just start from scratch.  Ack!

Add to that, I need to update my first three chapters to incorporate the changes that I am making in the synopsis.  Let’s be clear- the changes are important, if only because they will help make the story not suck.

I feel both empowered, mostly because when I do have ideas hit me, they are pretty good and I am making a lot of fixes, but also like my hands and feet are tied.  When I sit down to actually type out the new words, I freeze up and I don’t know why.

Am I intimated by the amount of work this will require?  Am I afraid of getting it wrong?  I have no idea, I just know that I need to get my act together and get these pages out so that I don’t miss out on this opportunity.


5) My Kindle.

I love my Kindle.  I take it with me almost everywhere and I can read anything I want without anyone commenting on the cover, because I don’t have a cover.  I also am saving myself a ton of paper and ink costs by putting fanfic on my Kindle instead of printing it out to read away from the computer.

In fact, fanfic is what I use the Kindle for more than anything else.

Since my husband has been out of work for 1 year and 9 months (aside:  he was recently hired to work for a great place here in LA and starts on 9/15.  Another post to follow regarding this!) one of the things we’ve cut out is the book buying.  Granted, I do get gift cards and can use those but I am pretty picky about what I pick up, because I know that my budget is so limited.  So, I’ve been very slow to add actual published novels to my device.  I have a lot of free stuff and a lot of samples of what has available, but not a lot of purchases.  To be very clear, I do not pirate e-books.  It never does, as they say, to shit where you eat.

But the fanfic?  Oh, HELL yeah.  Lots of it.  And I’ve been collecting some of my favorite stories for re-reads and getting all the long Big Bang stories downloaded so I can read them at lunch, at work.  It’s the perfect little device for the avid reader of all types.

If you think you are interested in a Kindle but are concerned about the various format issues, be sure to download the program Calibre. 

Calibre is a FREE program that will help you manage your various e-books, files, etc.  Calibre can also convert files to other formats for better reading.  For example, I have a number of pdf files that I have converted to Kindle format (modi).  I have also purchased e-books from sites that only offer pdf or epub formats and have converted those to Kindle as well, using Calibre.  I love it.  

And for all you fanfic readers out there, if you get your fix from An Archive of Our Own (AO3), you can download works in all e-book formats, including Kindle, so you won’t need to convert, just click and save.  Just another reason that the site is so amazing.


6) My short story.

I had submitted a story to an anthology and it was not accepted by that anthology.  Which is okay.  Not everything is for everyone.

But I submitted the piece to my crit group and it didn’t get that great of a response from them, either.

So, that is a sign that the stupid thing needs a lot of work.  On the plus side, now that I’m not writing it to fit into specific parameters, I can increase the word count and make positive changes without worrying if I am working outside the theme of the anthology.

The downside is that my husband really liked the story.  He was my beta reader and he was the one that suggested the current ending.  Apparently, my crit partners felt like it wasn’t a complete story, instead of an ending the implied additional action after the story was technically over.  That is not good.

I’m wondering if their reaction to it is based on reading preference.  They prefer the romance genre, that demands a HEA, and the husband prefers to read sci-fi and fantasy stories, that can be ambiguous and possibly sad or tragic.  That’s a different audience and one story would create very different reactions from both types of readers.

I am not discounting any feedback on this one- I am taking everything into account, including that it’s currently in present tense but it might work better in past tense.  This is something worth exploring.  I do have some experience in changing the tense, as I did with First Lady and the Dead Presidents.

I need to make the ending really pop, so that even if I don’t write in all the action that I thought I was implying before, than at least the reader would have a better understanding of what actions was supposed to be happening, as opposed to thinking that the story wasn’t even complete.  *sigh*

A lot of work, but worth it.  I love the characters, I love the world, and I want to see this in print somewhere other than my computer screen.  My plan, after I take it apart and rebuild her, is to send it to one of the guys that rejected the story from the anthology and see what they think about it after the overhaul.  If he’s willing. 

I will report back as things happen!

If you’ve heard this story before, don’t stop me, because I’d like to hear it again. – Groucho Marx

Australian Aborigines say that the big stories—the stories worth telling and retelling, the ones in which you may find the meaning of your life—are forever stalking the right teller, sniffing and tracking like predators hunting their prey in the bush. —Robert Moss, Dreamgates

I had an editor request pages from me this weekend, after a pitch.  I am very excited at the prospect of submitting and getting a response, good or bad, from a professional.

I started off pitching my current WIP, First Lady and the Dead Presidents, but that project is not in the traditional mold of romance.  It’s more chick lit/women’s fiction, which wasn’t what the editor was looking for right now.  FLatDP is a first person story, which I don’t usually even like to read, much less write myself, but I’ve got a story that my brain is convinced that I need to write so I am.  And it isn’t this editor’s thing, at least right now, but it could be LATER.

So I threw out The Drake, a wild pitch that I hoped would connect and it totally did!  She was interested in the world, the fact that Jack is a shape shifter, and that it’s written as a traditional romance (third person, balance POV with hero and heroine, etc.).

The only problem here is that I haven’t looked at The Drake in over a year.  When I left the story, it had a beginning, a middle, and an end but there were a number of story points that I wasn’t thrilled with.  I’m hoping that I can figure out how to fix those bits so that I can get out a revised synopsis and the first three chapters that were requested, in a timely manner. 

She asked to have them in July, so I think I have a good stretch of time in which to polish and correct.  And all I really need is for her to want to read the whole thing, right? 

After the OCC meeting this weekend, I am under the impression that every book that gets purchased has editing done.  Nothing goes out on the shelf without at least a little nipping and tucking (or implants) here or there.  What they’re looking for is a solid voice and a story that shines, even if it needs a little buff and polish.

That’s not to say that I’m not planning to make this the best synopsis and three pages she’s ever seen.  No, I understand that.  What I really need to remind myself of here is that there is room to maneuver and that I shouldn’t worry myself sick over the whole thing.

My plan for the next week is to re-read the entire manuscript and try to spot the weakest points.  There is a “highlight and flag” method that my girl Christy Finn has used in the past that I need to get more info on, so I can determine where I’m strong, where I’m weak and where I need to shore up the walls to survive the hurricane.

Once I’ve got that done, I’m going to pull out Carol Hughes’ “Deep Story” class notes and really dive in there.  I think that could really help me re-lay the foundation of The Drake and make sure that I have a strong enough world and characters to support the kind of story that I’m telling.

I’ve really been thinking about my plot and I think some of the problems that I was having when I left the story before have been worked out in my head.  I was playing around with the idea of my hero and heroine as soul mates tied together through time, which is something that has come out in my fan fiction in the past as well.  I think its part of my story, so I’m not surprised to see it come up here.

When I say “my story”, I’m referring to the basic story that every storyteller tells.  Steven Spielberg’s stories are about fathers and sons.  JAWS, E.T.: The Extraterrestrial, the Indiana Jones series, Schindler’s List, even Jurassic Park- they’re all about the relationships (or lack thereof) between fathers and their sons. 

Tom Cruise, if you break down his roles to their simplest form, tells the same story from movie to movie as well.  He plays the talented man who has to prove that he deserves his place in the world.  Top Gun, Far and Away, The Firm, even Magnolia has him fighting to prove to someone other than himself that he deserves what he has.  And maybe that’s a part of it- outwardly he’s trying to prove to others that he has earned his place but really, it’s all about him proving it to himself. 

It’s something about us, as individual people that comes out in the tales that we spin and weaves its way through everything we put down on the page.  We all have something that has shaped us as people and we try to work that out in our art/craft. 

I think the idea of soul mates, of being destined to be with someone, is something that comes out in my work.  I might be wrong- I’m a notoriously bad judge of my own work- but I think that’s at least part of my story.  The rest of my story, I think that’s better saved for a different post but I can already tell that The Drake has the potential to really get all of my stories out and on the page in one text.

I’m excited to see what this editor has to say and the prospect of selling to her and her publishing house is just an amazing opportunity.  Here’s to not screwing it up.

Long Time Gone (no, I ain’t hoed a row since I don’t know when)

It’s been a while since I’ve checked in and sadly, not much has happened for me in the writing world in terms of production.  I am horribly, horribly behind on my word count for the year.

1) Get Your Words Out/Word Count

I am current participating in a program called Get Your Words Out .  You sign up at the end of the year and you pledge a certain number of words for the year.  Every month you log your production and they keep a running tally for you.

There isn’t a prize, much like NaNoWriMo, other than the satisfaction that you have met a goal that you set for yourself.

I set a goal of 350,000 for the year.  As you can see from the wordcount bars on the left, I am not even close to hitting my goal.  I am so far behind that it almost seems crazy stupid to assume that I will ever catch up.

For the month of May, I should be hitting 145,834 words.  As you can see, I am currently at 16,810.  I need to write 129,024 words this month to get caught up. 

This is a bit… crazypants.  But I am putting that as my goal in the wordcount bar anyway.  Because why not?  Why not set a crazy goal?  WHAT HAPPENS IF I ACTUALLY HIT IT?!?!?!?!  Could you imagine how AWESOME that would be?  So, yeah, going for it.

2) 80k in 80 Days.

In related news, I’ve decided to jump in to this additional challenge.  The goal is to write 1000 words a day, for 80 days, and complete an entire novel.  It’s a little less intense than NaNoWriMo  but still accomplishes the same goal- a completed manuscript.  Check out the website- they have articles from writes, encouraging and supporting participants and you can track your word count there in the comments section.  Not as organized as NaNo but I don’t think it’s nearly (hah!) as big of an event. 

I like all the focus on writing that we’re seeing these days.  More and more people are trying to learn the craft and hone their skills.

I know that there are authors out there, esp. published ones, that don’t like all the NaNo-type stuff.  They feel that it takes something away from all the hard work that they do.  But I have to confess, I think that if you can finish a 50k novel in one month, that you’ve shown some pretty serious dedication and hard work, no matter how good or bad the resulting text actually is.

Especially in literary circles, there is this level of pretention, this air of mystery surrounding the writing of a book.  Only super, special people should be authors.  They have special abilities and a different air about them and not just ANYONE can do it.

Which is a bunch of bullshit. 

Yes, it is true.  There are some people who have serious writing skills and anything they put down on paper is pure gold.  Others have to work much hard, polishing and editing to eventually get a product that is good and solid, that people will want to buy and read.  Others are terrible and no matter how much editing they do, a turd is still a turd.  I admit to all of that.

But how does anyone know who has the talent or not, until people start writing?  And who says that only certain people should give it a try? 

And let’s be honest- even when they write shitty books, there are people out there who NEED to write to work out their issues on the page.  I know that I have worked out a lot of things by torturing or killing people on the page.  And I have felt better.  Going abck and looking at the work with years of distance, I can admit that those pages were pretty  bad but at least I was able to get through that tough time and made it to the other side.

That’s worth A LOT  and I can’t stand the idea that some asshole would try to dissuade people from writing because “that’s just not how it’s done”.

Haters to the left, y’all.  TO THE LEFT.

3) Submissions. 

I actually submitted, for the first time ever, to a publisher/magazine.  Now, if you are a long time reader you know that there was a contest that I completed where my manuscript was submitted to an editor.  Well, I have never heard ANYTHING back regarding this and, to be honest and frank, I am SO GLAD. 

My ms was kind of terrible, including the 13 PAGE sex scene that I had written.  I have NO DESIRE to hear how terrible that editor thought it was.

But I was hoping to at least receive some kind of acknowledgement from the editor so that I could officially join RWA’s PRO group.  Basically, that’s for people who have submitted a full length work, whether it was sold or not.

At this point, while I did send off that ms, I am still not PRO.  And I have stopped counting that submission as a submission because a) no response and b) I hate the story.

Now, the submissions that I made in April will not count for PRO.  Why am I mentioning them?  Because they are the first pieces that I really feel that I can stand behind and not be embarrassed that I wrote them.

They’re two short stories of mine, both less than 1000 words, both weird and kind of creepy.  Bear says that one of them is more poem than short story and that once he figured that out, it was so much easier to read.  Not sure what that meant, for sure, but I’ll take it.  He liked both stories, which was a relief.  My greatest fear is that my husband will not like my work.  Weird, huh?  But so far, so good.

I am waiting to hear back from the magazine I subbed to.  They have a turn around average of 27 days but their cut off for their next issue was May 1st.  So, I’m hoping to hear back from them soon.  *fingers crossed*

And that’s where we stand, friends.  Expect a few posts in the near future on both avoiding Mary Sue’s in your won work and a listing of great writing podcasts that you should check out.

Until then, peace.

You must unlearn what you have learned – Yoda

I was pointed to an article last night, about a little girl named Katie.    Katie is 7 and she loves Star Wars.  Katie has a Star Wars water bottle that she very excitedly chose for the new school year to match her backpack.

Sounds good right?  Normal kid stuff?  Well, the boys at her school told her that Star Wars was only for boys.  They teased her so much that she decided to leave her favorite water bottle at home and take a pink one to school instead.

But Katie’s mom is awesome and she realized that there was a problem.  After asking Katie why she wanted to swap bottles, Katie broke down in tears and told her mom what was going on.  She loved Star Wars and Star Wars is only for boys so she couldn’t use that water bottle ever again.

Katie’s mom, Carrie, is a blogger.  She blogs about life with an adopted child (Katie) on a Chicago blogging site.  She wrote a post about teasing and the slippery slope to bullying and how she was sad that it had already started for Katie, even at age 7.  She wrote about talking to Katie and telling her that she can like whatever she wants- her water bottle is perfect for Katie. 

Carrie asked, almost as an aside, for female Star Wars fans to write to Katie and let her know that she wasn’t alone.  A few readers of Carrie’s blog spread the message to their own blogs and suddenly, Katie was viral. 

Literally thousands of people came out to tell Katie that it’s okay to be a Star Wars fan.  It’s okay to love the things you love and be the person that you were always intended to be.  And the really amazing part was that all of these people began sharing their stories of being different, of being picked on and feeling different because of the things that they were passionate about.

The thing that came out of all of that, at least for me, is how similar all the stories were.  How many people had been picked on, who had been forced to muddle through childhood labeled as “different” because they found something that engaged them so much that they just couldn’t give it up, even to fit into what society had determined was “normal.”


I recover my property wherever I find it. – Moliere

It has been a while since I blogged here!  How totally lame!  Time to change that.

So, lots to talk about but there’s one thing that has been on my mind for the past few days.

The Cooks Source kerfuffle.  *sigh*  

Here’s one of the great articles on the entire situation that sums it up better than I could.  Please click over and read, then head on back.  No worries.  I’ll wait.

I guess this is less a kerfuffle and more of an EPIC FAIL.  This is a disaster for the publishers and editors of the magazine, as they apparently have been stealing articles from other sources, including Martha Stewart Living, Paula Dean and Oprah Magazine.  Silly, silly editors!  No one messes with Oprah and walks away clean.  NO ONE!

The thing to take away from all of this is that the internet in NOT public domain.  Material posted can be (and usually is) copyrighted material.  Do not use stuff that isn’t yours.  Also, the internet is not as amoral and criminal as we all thought and there are people that will fight for your rights as an artist and creator.  This is a good thing.  Judith Griggs may not think so but trust me, this is something that I think all writers wanted to believe but didn’t know for sure and now we do.

Of all the questions that have come up because of this recent volcano of FAIL, the one that really speaks to me is the idea of fair use and sharing intellectual properties via the web.  We all know that copying someone else’s work and claiming it as yours is a big, fat FAIL.  We also know that posting someone else’s work on YOUR blog without their permission, even if you leave their name attached it also FAIL.

Which leads me into a discussion about linking to other blogs in your blog.  I guess some people get finicky about that.  I have to say, I have a hard time understanding that.  You have a blog because you want people to read it.  You put text on the page because you need to get it out there and YOU WANT PEOPLE TO READ IT.  Why, then, would you get upset because someone else links to your page?


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Procrastination Station

Oy vey.  I am behind.  Anyone surprised?  If you know me, not so much.

Deadline is this Saturday.  Eek! 

I’m struggling to concentrate here at work- lots going on, not enough time to dig into my manuscript and it’s not really fair to write here on company time anyway.  I am conveniently ignoring that I am blogging on company time.   Shut up.  No, seriously, let it go.

Anywho, we’ve had a lot of excitement over the past week.  I wanted to pull together a list of interesting articles, writing related and otherwise, to start the week off right.

D.B. Grady throws rocks at “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” –  I’m linking his blog because I may have started a kerfuffle in his comments.  Maybe.  Check it out and see! 

We lost JD SalingerA bunch of phonies mourn his loss.

Nathan Bransford talks about the Amazon vs. Macmillian situation and breaks it down to its parts.  Excellent article.  Contains TONS of links regarding the matter, saving me a lot of time and google searches.

Another article on the Amazon kerfuffle from Writer Beware. 

Long and EXCELLENT post regarding submissions at the FF&P blog.  Written by the editors at Ellora’s Cave, they have a ton of great suggestions about submitting, some of which you’d think were common sense but apparently not as they had to write a blog post about it to let us all know.

The Oscar nominations are up.  Heh.  Up.  Dear Lord, please don’t let Avatar win best picture.  There are 9 nominees WAY more qualified for the job.  We don’t want a Titanic repeat, here.  Just saying.  Amen.

I finished reading my first Fill-in-the-Gaps book last week.  I read The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett (goodreads review to come shortly) and enjoyed it quite a bit.  I could see how much Hammett influenced Robert B. Parker in style and character, which might have helped in regards to how much I liked the book.  I wish there had been more Nora, as there was in the movie version, but I still adored Nick. 

First book down, only 109 more to go. 

Back to the grind.  *sigh*  I have a ton of editing and actual writing left to do. 

Time clock?  4 days.  That’s right, 4 days.   The plus side is that I am producing what I think is excellent stuff.  Just need to make sure that it’s worth the effort that others have gone to to get me this opportunity.  Pray for me, people.  I’m going to need it.

ETA: Was sent this link today- JK Rowling at Harvard.  It may be old news to some of you but I thought it was wonderful.  Every writer and every reader needs to check this out.


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RIP Robert B. Parker

I just read that Robert B. Parker died today.  What a loss.

I adore the Spenser novels. I love Spenser and Hawk and Susan and all the supporting cast.  I just got the latest book today at the library after a long (months) wait on the hold list.

Spenser was the kind of character that I could spend hours with and still long for more.  He was a man’s man and I mean that in the best possible way.  Well read, well educated, a fighter and a lover and the kind of person who accepted everyone for who they were.

My impression was that Robert B. Parker was the same way.  I met him once, at a book reading in Ann Arbor, MI.  He was funny, he was sharp witted and he had the kind of writer’s work ethic that I could only dream of.  And he wrote great books.

I talk about how he wrote dialogue all the time.  His characters only ever “said” things.  They never “asked” or “exclaimed”- they just “said.”  And you forgot that you were reading a book and you heard the voices in your head.  that’s so hard to do and he did it so easily.

I recommend the Spenser series completely- they’re all good reads and they are all pretty easy to get in to.  Even if you aren’t familiar with the world, you can figure it out pretty easily.

“Rest in Peace, sir,” I said.  “You deserve it.”