Posts

Showing posts from July, 2008

13 things To Do When The Muse is Stubborn

1. Habit, habit, habit. Pick a place, a chair, a desk where you only work. Start the work day the same way every time. Maybe play the same piece of music, a theme song for your book. Don't do anything else in that chair, ever. Not even check email or pay bills. Except sometimes that habit thing doesn't work. So then . . . .

2. Make up a Change of Habit kit (easy. Take these ideas and a bunch of others, put them on notecards. Then you can pick one at random) Remember to include a timer with an alarm in your kit. You'll need it or you might end up having too much fun and missing the whole day.

3. Take a walk or run or swim. Do not bring your MP3 player. Think about your book as you go.

4. Do ten minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise. Yo, do a version of this every few hours even if the muse is on your side.

5. Take a bath/shower. Instead of singing, talk aloud about one of your troublesome
characters. Or talk to them if you can manage that. (I can't)

6. Rewrite that last scen…

sbd a day late and with navel gazing first.

I just finished another begging letter and am blithely sending it off to a potential donor. No hesitation.

So why is it so easy for me to ask for these romance unleashed prizes and yet so hard to push for my books and my friends' books? It really isn't a matter of rejection. I don't actually mind rejection much and, no, this is not a lie because otherwise I would have given up this job years ago. (Rejection's okay; it's utter silence I loathe.)

I guess I'm trying to avoid the image that I'm pushy for personal gain. And that whole clique thing of supporting fellow authors. It sometimes is an iffy thing to do.

It helps that I'm unambiguous about raising money for this cause. I've met kids with cystic fibrosis (and one of us Unleashed authors has two kids with it). CF is a stupid, horrible condition. Grrr. Go away, CF. Research through CFF isn't just looking for a cure, which would be good enough to win my work, it also has helped make quality of lif…

yay!

Amanda from Renaissance Learning sent me an email to say sure, they'll donate a machine.

That means that someone who takes part in our fund raiser will win an Alphasmart Neo. Yay! Seriously, every writer should have one of those puppies. They are amazing because they're lightweight, easy to use and virtually indestructible. I keep mine under the car seat and pull it out when I have to wait for kids, which is often.

The kids use it, they've dropped it (okay, yes, I have dropped it too) and it keeps on working. I stepped on it once. Didn't seem to bother it at all. I love Alphasmarts and not just because Amanda wrote a nice letter.

Amazon said no to donating a Kindle, the poo-dads. I hate their stinky Kindles. . . .

No, I don't--I love 'em. It's just Amazon I currently hate.

a correction

At some point I said I wasn't crazy about Pamela Clare's books. Turns out that it must have been some other Pamela or Clare. The books (and I immediately got another one) are fine. Nothing flashy or breathtakingly original, yet exactly what the doctor ordered just now. Strong voice, fun take on a news room, snappy dialog. I don't like suspense thriller bushwas but I keep ending caught in them. Linda Winfree's up soon, too.

I want the kids and the sharks on Mythbusters to go away so I can read again.

Terry Writes a Letter

and I reprint it.

Dear Fellow Bloggers--

I'm part of a group of authors who have planned an event we're calling: Unleash Your Story: Make a Difference. This fun event will bring writers and readers together to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF)—the leading organization in the United States devoted to cystic fibrosis. Our goal is to harness the combined energy of writers and readers to raise $10,000 in the month of September 2008.

Cystic Fibrosis is the most common fatal genetic disease in the U.S. Thirty years ago life expectancy for a child born with CF was only five, but through the efforts of the CFF and others, life expectancy and quality of life has increased dramatically. We hope through our fund-raiser to help the CFF continue these efforts and to someday soon find a cure!

Writers or readers can form teams or work individually to set a writing or reading goal for the month. Fans, friends and family donate to CFF in support of the participant's goal. Al…

Butterflies schmutterflies flapping

The Truman show syndrome might be the ultimate expression of the ego but that doesn't mean it's a lot of fun.

Since this tiny spot on the interwebs is actually all about me me memememememememme.....

About twenty years ago, waking up from general anesthesia, I had that delusion. Those visions coming out from the ether are so much stronger than dreams...are they called hallucinations?

Anyway, for however long it took to come all the way to the surface, it was my reality. Seconds, years---didn't matter because it was entirely real, and time doesn't adjust that kind of perception.

I walked through a series of doors and, as I went through each, I knew I was watched by millions of people and, I think, other beings.

It was one of the most terrifying moment of my life--so frightening, I had trouble sleeping for weeks afterwards because I was afraid I'd land back in a universe where I actually had far too much power and influence. My existence fit something too big. I can't …

indulgences

Image
Not the Papal kind. I'm talking brides gussying up their bridal parties: Botox for bridesmaids.

Feh, says Kate the Curmudgeon, the end of this kind of trend is the second best silver lining of the current financial crisis. First best: Accident rates go way down during gas crunches. and then second: Expensive optional cosmetic surgery might go away and beauty standards will allow women over 35 to raise their eyebrows again.

People I trust not to be goobers get botox treatments and that's usually the gateway for acceptance. If she does it, can't be all bad. WWMFD [mf=my friend) works for me.

But this friend standard isn't changing my mind on botox. In fact, not for most appearance-alterations that involve painful Procedures. It's too much like those National Geographic articles about women putting plates in a hole in their lower lip. Just bizarre.

picture borrowed from here.

Tattoos? Pierced ears? Eh, yeah, okay, WWMFD eventually worked on me and I don't cast a sneer…

is it naptime yet?

why is it so easy to stop the routines of exercise and so hard to start again?

Whilst pleading with Linda to look at a story for me, I invoked the name of Sluggard, the God of laziness. To avoid work, I went googling for a real name for him, and, of course, the Greeks have a much classier personification. I've decided to elevate him? her? to god status. me: He's AERGIA Idleness, Laziness, Do Nothing, Sloth (Latin Socordia, Ignavia)Linda: I'd build a shrine to him, but you know, maybe later... Feeling kind of...lazy right now...
me: Good thing, too. It’s got to be an Affront to Aergia to make any effort or create anything in his name.And thus the truth becomes sadly clear, my move to make Aergianian worship the real deal will never work.

promo, sort of

Summmmmmertiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime when no one reads or returns messages or works very hard, including me. Sorry. I have a revision letter that is scary. It haunts me.

Not the time to start promo, so I'll just do the link for the story, coming out October 7. Expect more jumping up and down and insisting this is a fabulous read when the weather cools a bit.

That's the one new Summer Devon title coming out this year. Two enovellas are showing up in print. One is part of an Ellora's Cave anthology of stories set around a paranormal practice and the other is part of that EC/Simon and Schuster anthology bushwa deal. I'm particularly fond of the first one because it was a collaboration and I love doing those. Bah. I can't find a link for that print book, but here's the story I wrote.

On the other hand, being shoved into a book with Shannon Stacey and Charlene Teglia? That's pretty good too.
I'm over at Samhain today. I seriously had a blog post written about the joys of writing at home, but then, after this afternoon, it seemed like a joke...Much of what I wrote is what James Frey would say is based on Real Life. Let's just say it's condensed.

Joss Whedon is back.

Dr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. With Neil Patrick Harris and Nathan Fillion. Act III will post in two days. Can we say camp? Yes! We Can!

Hurry! Watch! Because this forty minute musical will go away July 20--or so this page claims.

there are people who haven't seen Matt dance?

really? anyone here not seen the video? It's a world fave.

I didn't think so. But here it is again.

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.
One of the videos I'll watch more than once.

hmmm

Why do I have to keep commenting over at Shannon's place? What creates this compulsion? The smilies?

I should go haunt ferfe again.

random stuff

1. There's an article in New York Magazine about Joe Scarborough. and the sub-head is "Where else could a red-meat, right-wing congressman like Joe Scarborough reinvent himself as the liberal’s favorite talk-show host?" whu?

Joe? Liberal? Liberal favorite? Huh? I wonder which liberal they found who said "Morning Joe is my favorite!" so they could write that. I hope he or she actually watches the show. I don't.
Hey but don't get me started on Mika. No, no. Really. Do not.

2. Doug has a good old-fashioned web time waster at his blog: the lol cat translation of the bible.
I thought my discovery of an un-truthy wiki send up page was good.

2a. These are Pinnacles of Civilization. They Are The Best Examples of Art for art's sake. I mean they serve no particular function and required vast amounts of time and effort. Isn't that the basis?

3. Show me more, for I am impressed by this variety of silliness. I will add links to a link repository and maybe start …

on hold

I loathe borders dot com even more than I did before and my hate-level had already gone way past eleven on the hate-dial..

oblivious

Here's what I don't get. How can I gain and lose the equivalent of a really big bag of dog food and not feel that different?

The changes I've noticed are pretty insignificant: clothes fitting differently (but that's the clothes, not me) a chin or two going away. The reemergence of hip bones is the biggest deal and I only notice them because of my sleeping position. Ow, hey.

I've never been big (well, yes, I have, har har) at paying attention to bodily details, but it seems to me that if you lose what equals 9 packages of sugar (or flour) from your body, it shouldn't just be the details that you'd have to look for.

Other people are far more aware of the difference. Mostly women, or they're the ones who'll exclaim about it. "omiGOD, you look good!" in an astonished voice. I've done that too, in my life, to other people.

Henceforth, I will never do it again. Because what happens if I gain it all back? I will hear the "you used to look …

shaking a fist at McAbee

K. G. McAbee is one of those writers I found by accident. For some reason when I stumble across a writer's work on my own (like Bonnie Dee, and A.M. Riley and Elaine Corvidae**), I turn into a bigger fan girl than when someone sends or recommends great stories. The serendipity is thrilling and that makes me more possessive, I guess. Those are the writers I will google every now and then just because I might have missed something. Don't want to miss anything.

Yessiree, It's the found-on-my-own factor that makes me more possessive because it holds true for the bigger names too. MyLayton, Farr and MacAvoy. My precioussess. I will find you all when you publish. I will track you down. [crazed cackling goes here]

So I found McAbee a few years ago and promptly did a glom. I think I even wrote a fan-letter--I think a real letter, not an email--and she wrote back. That's how long ago it was. Then I waited for her new book(s). And waited. And googled. Nothing.

Anyway. I gave up. So…

my life.

Yay! I have revisions for my October 7 book.
Boo! My stomach hurts.

Yay! It's a Monk marathon.
Boo! My stomach hurts so I keep missing big chunks

Yay! The boyz are being funny and silly together.
B...um....nope, nothing bad about that.

Yay! the recording of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is excellent. FUN book.
Boo! Damn, that thing is long. On the other hand, that's hours of entertainment, eh?

Yay! Boy3 is Honk in the play in Honk Jr
Boo! He's having trouble thinking or talking about anything else. Ever. Nervous and excited. And nervous. He's singing a lot.

Yay! Honk be over in a couple of weeks.
Boo! It'll be over in a couple of weeks and then what?

Yay! Boy2 is in a play, too. Laugh-In.
Boo! Do you have any clue how out-dated that thing is? Jokes about LBJ and hippies and Ann-Margret.

Boo! My stomach hurts. I'm boring when my stomach hurts. Life is boring then.

Now I will do revisions and I will like it.

Also

This is a good site. I like today's featured picture. I could use a serving of that flavor.

FYI

The person who doctors taglines and blurbs for Samhain? She's very, very good. A genius and I wish I could have a few of her neurons. I'd just borrow them now and then, seriously.

You'd think someone who can recognize the difference between effective and lame taglines would be capable of writing the first kind. You'd be wrong.

the day after I loved writing.

I chugged along on a story. 60 pages in five days, moving along beautifully. The story, the characters poured out of my fingers.

And then I got a rejection. It's a great rejection, considerate, thoughtful--complimentary even. But still, when I sit down today, the steam for the other story is gone.

I'm 13,000 words into this dreck, and there' s no sex, not even tension. Yo, you write smut, get to work on something that'll sell. This is barely a romance and it's nothing else, either. Who cares about these people? It starts out with such a whiner. Jeeeez louise, It's never going to sell. What's the point. Omigod, just go get another job.

Today I hate writing.

Tomorrow I think I'll go back to the standard operating middle and just work.

Back to the formerly rapidly-arriving story. It's one I started about two years ago. Starts out with a self pitying passive heroine--kind of like me today--but she does improve after this bit which I posted once upon a tim…

pruning face book

Image
Apparently you're not supposed to use Facebook as a promo tool. No pictures of book covers as profile pictures---or that's the yahoo writer groups rumor that's zipping around. I'm too lazy to read the actual posting agreement so I put up my standard promo picture.

Other face book activity?


The Boy Who Won't let his mother be his facebook friend.




The Boy Who Will.





In other news, Happy Birthday Brian Dennehy. (He's my facebook friend, too.)

The Fame continues

Mike's moment of noteriety isn't over yet.

He showed up in the New York Times, or so someone told him. I can't find him and, to avoid work, I've looked hard. Oh, here's a reference to it, maybe. And what is this? A detractor? Tchah. Not that anyone asked me--and he'd roll his eyes (If he read the blog)--but Mike picked something fairly benign to work on because he's got a couple of dozen kids wandering around his lab so he doesn't want anything too horrible smeared on those petri dishes. He used to do Shigella.

Back to his fame: someone from CosmoGIRL! interviewed him on Monday. Now that's pimply stardom. He protests that I can't possibly want to blog about this, but little does he know that I have absolutely nothing else to say. And really--CosmoGIRL!. But nothing might come of it, he warns. He suspects they won't quote him at all. Yet still--CosmoGIRL!.

Hey, I found this one though. Old news.

In other news, I'm 8K words into a new story…

ten books to read before you.....

here's the AOL list of ten books to read before you die:
10) The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
9) Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
8) Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
7) Angels & Demons by Dan Brown
6) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
5) The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown
4) The Stand by Stephen King
3) Harry Potter (the series) by JK Rowling
2) Lord of the Rings (the series) by JRR Tolkien
1) Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Dan Brown? ...and twice???? Why, why, WHY these books?

I don't like their list, but I can't seem to compose my own. For one thing, the"before you die" gets me, like a kid that recites the "if I should die before I wake" prayer and gets stuck on that bit instead of the message of "god bless me."

But really, if I'm dying, I think I'd reach for a certain type of book. When other people in my life commence dying, I go for escapism and romance. I can't imagine that when I get my sentence I'm goi…

Thursday Thirteen -- getting specific in your romance preferences

.....VERY specific.

Thirteen special interest group romance blogs. For some reason a lot of group blogs with writers fail to flourish. Any theories why that is? (Mine: I suspect people think writers only use them for promo-type articles and that gets dull fast. I expect the ones like romancing the blog--which have readers as well as writers and that don't shy away from controversial topics-- do better.)

I don't read all of the blogs I listed. I comment on the ones I know, or sorta know.

1. Slip Into Something Victorian Blog: 12 Writers Unmask Victorian Romance and Adventure Definitely not just the promo. Some good stuff here.

2. Animal lovers: A group blog for romance authors who love animals and incorporate them as characters in their own right or use them as inspiration for male protagonists (or antagonists) in their book .... Seriously, that is the full name.

3. Seekerville. A group of contest junkies. Not exactly about romance reading, but definitely a niche and a fun blog…

counter-intuitive

I'm a better writer when I'm happy.

I went looking for a particular blog entry in my old blog and the entries I wrote during my high times were more fun to read. Although maybe I'm not a particularly good judge. no doubt I'm not the person to decide what constitutes good in that case because I'm not just reading about my life, I'm reliving it.

Never did find the entry. Bummer. It was so full of good advice, too.

Aww

Image
I just got a nice note about Somebody Wonderful. The writer said it was one of the best books she's read this year (she added that she meant from July to July, not the year 2008 so far.) Thanks, J.E.

The note made my day and reminded me I should keep writing drooly fan-girl letters to other rioters.

Maybe Bettie Sharpe would git off her butt and write another book if I did.

P.S. what he said

the last bits apply to any particular internet subject, and not just web-comic.

Don't watch if you don't like bad language or references to wanking. (I don't remember if there is any wankage mentioned in this one, but with yahtzee there usually is.)

time for some real life

shorter comments on political** blogs everywhere:

OMG, did you hear what he just said?!?

Wait, listen. You're quoting it outta context.

I've been watching X for X years and know that this is exactly the sort of thing he always says. If you were as wise as I am, you would have known he'd go there. I'll spend a day researching, and dig up this old statement..

What he said was just wrong! And now, infuriated and frustrated, I'm going to say something even more outrageous and stupid.

OMG! Did you just say that? Did you go there? I'm never reading this blog again.

Now everyone, just take a deep breath and --

SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP

FUCK YOU

............ten minutes pass. Nothing actually happens. However, someone somewhere says something stupid.

OMG, did you hear what she just said?!?
etc

_____
** or gossip blogs, or writer blogs, or fan blogs or . . . . It's just that political blogs are so very serious because they do run the world, or close enough.

PS I hate borders dot com

I spent way too long trying entering the gift card numbers and getting a "buzz off" message. And then way too long on hold to find out the system is down. The site was down a couple of weeks ago right after the new independent site went up. Makes one wish for the return of the amazon/borders connection, or for a life, whichever is easier to acquire.

Hi. I'm Kate and I DO pay attention to reviews

God knows I try not to. As a writer, I usually manage to almost ignore the reviews of my own books. It takes effort, but I've learned to just skim and see if there's anything I can use as a quote.

But as a reader?

It's just one person's opinion, I tell myself. Don't base choices on someone's disappointment in a wimpy heroine. I sometimes LIKE wimpy heroines.

Despite the self-talk, it seems like I'm avoiding books that get bad reviews and am buying books that get good ones.

I realized this just now as I was about to check out of an online store.

Edith Layton has been an autobuy for me forever. But was her latest in my virtual shopping cart? No. It got a couple of meh reviews. However I was buying Stephanie Rowe (mrs giggles likes her latest book. And what do we say about mrsgiggles? hmmm. . . . mrsgiggles.com hates Balogh because of wimpy heroines----see above. I love Balogh.) Karen loves Pamela Clare's latest (I tried a Clare and wasn't crazy about it)

So…