Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Flipside

I had a crappy day. Not gonna lie. I'm tired, irritable, and I swear to God that today was THE longest day ever. Work went on forever and forever, and I was just miserable the entire time. Isn't that always the way?

Anywho...let's talk about some positive, happy things.

1) I'm listening to Libba Bray's A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY...and it's FANTASTIC. The narrator does a great job, and I'm putting in a request for REBEL ANGELS tomorrow. ILL rocks!

2) I've created a rather kooky character for the Houseparty over at the forum. Dr. Margaret Stimple is a pistol and I'm having a great time discovering what crazy thing she'll say/do next. My favorite so far is quite possibly the "mysterious" portrait of her husband on the wall... She talks to it, her inner monologue not exactly a secret as she spills her thoughts to him right in front of her patients. Guess what? It's a picture of Fabio! LMAO. (I don't care who you are, that sh*t is funny!) (g)

3. I've been on a mad worshiping spree so far this year. My buys at last count:

The WRINKLE IN TIME Quintet by Madeleine L'Engle. I've only read the first, A WRINKLE IN TIME (what?) -- at least that I can remember. It's one of my favorite books of all time so I thought it was about time I got the rest.

VAMPIRE ACADEMY, FROSTBITE, and SHADOW KISS by Richelle Mead. I thought the first was alright...but LOVED LOVED LOVED the second. I'm dying to read the third, but plan on using it as my reward for finishing FI. Heh. I must hurry. I need me some Dmitri.


CRACKED UP TO BE by Courtney Summers -- LOVED IT!

PRIDE by Rachel Vincent -- Goodness, I still haven't read the second book in the series. I'm very much behind.

SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson -- I've heard SO many good things about this book.

SECRET SOCIETY GIRL by Diana Peterfreund -- Never read her, but I hear so much about her in the blogosphere.

WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL by Donald Maass -- bought it so maybe I could sound somewhat informed while trying to teach craft to people on the forum. (ha!)

AT GRAVE'S END by Jeaniene Frost -- I'm jonesin' for some Bones.

THE SECRET CIRCLE V. 2 by L.J. Smith -- Still haven't read the first volume. (Are you sensing a theme here? My TBR pile is OUT of control.)

BLISS by Lauren Myracle -- I think I bought this one after the 1st...not 100% on that. I couldn't pass this one up--based on the cover alone. It reminded me of the movie CARRIE -- creepy to the max. I enjoyed Lauren's short in LET IT SNOW, so I had to buy it. Simply had to.

Good grief. That's 17 books this year--and we're not out of January yet. *smacks forehead* Needless to say, my GC's are long gone, though I still have a gift VISA from my sister! (whoot whoo!)

4. Don't you dare laugh at this one! One of my favorite TV shows is out on DVD. FRIDAY THE 13th!!! No, it has nothing to do with Jason. It's about this man who inherits this antique store from a guy who sold his soul to the devil. Everything that this former owner sold was cursed by the devil, and it's the new owner's job to reaquire all of these cursed items. The first episode (if I remember correctly) is about a cursed doll!!! *eeeee* There's a reason I didn't like dolls as a kid -- they're freaky. And this show made me an absolute wreck. I can't wait to get it!! It's next in my Netflix queue. If I'm up late at night, blogging, you'll know why.

5. I have very understanding friends who will listen to my crazy ramblings when I'm stuck with my writing. I had a bit of a mini-freakout, what do I do??? moment, trying to decide between two possible ways I should finish off the end of FI (when I say end, I mean the last 1/4 of the book. The end, end is still up in the air. I'm tossing around an idea that could be...interesting. (VBG)). Anywho -- thanks to Carol for responding to my incoherent emails. I think I know what I'm going to do now. (g) Forcing myself to talk out both scenarios was very helpful.

6. I just realized I would love to write a story about an evil doll! I'm the perfect writer to do it...they scare the living shiite out of me. (g)

Hope y'all are having a good week so far!

Monday, January 26, 2009

I'm Back!

Sort of!

The good news is that I had a great week of writing...

The bad news is that I haven't finished FI yet...

Some more good news is that while I'm not quite there yet, I'm SO SO SO SO close. I literally have maybe 2 more scenes...a few bridging scenes...and various cleanup things to write and I'll be done! Whoo whoo! (Oh, and one major change -- cutting chapter 2 and working the important bits into other chapters. I think that will solve my problems with the opening, but we'll see. It's the last section I'm going to worry about as it's at least complete at this point.)

The book is standing at about 92K right now. Just keeps growing and growing, but that's okay! Plenty of words to play with still.

I've decided to try and maintain my restrictions on TV, etc. until I finish. Erm, well on TV at least, and possibly reading.

Oh, and in case you're wondering on that front, I managed _9_ days without TV. Seriously. Wow, that's a crazy record for me; tv is sort of background noise in my world. Wanna know how I managed that one? Well, remember awhile back when Maureen Johnson did a blog post about how she always deludes herself into thinking Post-It's will save her wip's by helping her to organize, color-code, etc. her pages...therefore being the saving ingredient that will help pull her through to deadline? (And of course, they never quite live up to the imagined hype.)

Well, I love me some Post-it's as well...and thought I'd put them to actual use this past week. I covered my TV with them. Literally. (g) There were so many on the screen that taking them off to watch a few minutes of TV wasn't even an option. And it worked! I only removed them last night and yeah, I fell into TV-veg-state for a couple of hours. Guess what? They're going back on. :)

I failed on the reading front. I read four books over vacation--short, YA's mostly, but still. I'm an utter failure. (g) (BTW -- Courtney Summer's book FINALLY came in. B&N had not one, not two, but THREE copies sitting there for me when I went to pick it up. WTF. I'd complain to someone if I thought it would help. I mean, only took them over a month to receive the dang thing--and then they TRIPLED my order. Oh well! It was a GREAT book. :))

I also failed at the internet thing--partly. Beth and Jenny were running a houseparty over at the forum, and well, they totally sucked me into it. I sent Gabe in for therapy. I found it interesting...though I can't say I learned a lot of new things about him. It was hard to play along without giving away everything that happens in FI, so I couldn't FULLY commit him to the exercise...oh well, still a lot of fun. Other than that, I didn't blog or follow any other blogs. (My googlereader is chock full of goodies! I think I have over 100 posts in there, which was actually a lot less than I'd thought there would be. Quiet week, I guess. (g))

So, yeah...back at work today. I'm way behind on a lot of things, but hope to get caught up. I am HOPING to finish FI in the next week. We'll see -- busy days ahead. If all goes well, though, I should have copies sent out to betas in say...let's give it 10 days -- the 5th of February. (eee)

Oh, and if anyone is interested, I should be kicking off the last leg of the therapy houseparty tonight. The therapist I've envisioned is rather kooky, so it should be fun, though I'm not sure how much "therapy" will actually take place. :)

More soon.

Friday, January 16, 2009

I'm Out! is your one stop for Myspace Graphics
TV Graphics

A Little Delay

The blackout is going to begin a little later than I anticipated. Namely, I have to finish cleaning the house before I can comment on the tension X's at the forum. I simply HAVE to do that before I call lights out, so I'm guessing it'll all happen later tonight...10ish or so.

Why am I posting about this? I have no idea. I just feel this need to speak while I still can. (g)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

My Church Is Failing Me!

Much to my chagrin, my local B&N didn't order any copies of Courtney Summer's new novel, CRACKED UP TO BE. *gasp* WHAT?? I don't get it. Not at all.

So, in hopes of spurring on a few orders, I placed an in-store order for it -- before its release date.

*looks at calendar*

Uh, folks, it STILL isn't in. And every time I call, they tell me they don't know if/when/how it will be arriving. WTF. Seriously, I could've ordered it from amazon and received it a few times by now. I'm irritated beyond rationality. I'm irritated to the point of being reduced to a cave woman mentality.

Me. Want. Book. Now.


It's all made worse by the fact that my book/TV/internet blackout starts in about 26 hours. Even if I got the book now, I wouldn't be able to read it. D*MN you, B&N. I refuse to worship with you for at least...well, until after the blackout..AT LEAST!

Monday, January 12, 2009


I've made a pledge to myself to finish FI. Not only have I promised myself that this IS it...that the end is drawing near, but I've also taken measures to insure it all happens.

So, in order to finish FI or die trying, I'm taking vacation from both jobs, starting this Friday, 5PM. I will be off work for--count 'em--NINE days, during which I will do none of the following.

1) Blog

2) Read

3) Post/read/cyber-watch any threads over at compu

4) Watch TV

5) Any stupid "I must clean my room" or "organize my CD's" type procrastination things. If showering starts taking too much time, by God I will put an end to it all and cope with my own stink.

My mission is to do one thing, and one thing only -- write. Write. WRITE. WRITE!!!

No sleeping in -- I will wake at my usual time and get dressed for work. If my dogs or the fam become too much of a nuisance, I will cut-out and head to a coffee house. No IM'ing -- no phone calls -- nothing but FI. Oh, and food and sugar. I'm human.

I feel like I'm heading into bootcamp. (g)

So, when I disappear, at least y'all know what I'm doing. If you're willing, send positive thoughts my way. Help me by envisioning a stack of pages that will be FAKING IT...completed! Ahh...Must keep that picture in mind when I grow weak. (g)

Friday, January 9, 2009

My Goals For 2009

Yeah, I'm a big fan of making resolutions, but hate them at the same time. Sometimes it just feels like by writing them down you're condemning yourself to failure.

Alas, there are some things that I know will happen this year.

1. I will finish FI. I don't care if it takes me until midnight, 12/31/09 to do it. I will finish.

2. Same goes for my revisions of BTPM. That book is so close -- If I could just finish FI, I could probably knock this goal off the block fairly quickly! Gah. (g)

3. I will move on to other projects. I have no idea which one/s. I just know that I have a lot of stories to tell and I can't wait to begin!

Some goals:

1. Make writing a priority -- every day. Too often, I find myself pushing writing to the backburner. The reasons range from other committments to plain laziness. No more. When I write, I feel better about myself. I'm happier, more energetic, and just have a more positive attitude about things. When I don't, I feel like a complete grump. Happy Jen is the goal!

2. Watch less TV. Seriously, I need to chill with the reality shows. Sometimes I watch the same ep 2-3 times a week -- just cuz it's on! (And they're ALWAYS on.) I hereby vow to not allow any TV until I've met my writing goals for the day. EEEK.

3. Make daily, quantifiable goals -- be it word count or pages of revisions to be completed. I've kinda fallen back on the whole "as long as I do something every day" mentality. While, yes, that's great...something is better than nothing...I allow myself to grow lax on making solid progress way too often!

4. Keep up with M:A. It rocks and I love the ladies over there.:)

5. Continue my attempts to learn craft-speak so I can do a better job in exercises.

6. Try to read when I can. My TBR pile has already grown in 2009 (by about 10-12 books!) And the sad thing is that I've only read two books in the past 3-4 months. Seriously. I'm still listening to audio books, tho! I just ordered Libba Bray's A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY through ILL. Whoot! Whoot! (Oh, and the Laurie R. King books are FAB-U-LOUS! Love the narrator.)

7. STOP STOP STOP STOP comparing my writing journey to that of others. Just write, dang it.

8. Keep journaling.

9. Sleep...need more sleep.

Okay, those are probably enough for now. :)

Let's have a great year!

The Highlights Of '08

Well, I have to be honest -- 2008 wasn't the greatest year for me. There were a lot of ups and downs and to go into all of them would take me hours. Therefore, I'm taking a page from Helene and doing a brief, month-by-month look back at my year.

January -- I'm hit with a major ephiphany. I need to run the "Firsts Workshop" over at compu. I mean, life isn't crazy enough with school and revisions, and just...everything else. I must run a multi-month workshop! Yes. (g)

February -- The Firsts Workshop kicks off. Oh man, it was fun!

March -- The Firsts Workshop is still going...I think we're on first page/first five at this point.

April -- The Firsts Workshop is still kickin'....oh my. My finals are coming up...graduation is approaching! Oh wait...I'm sure as heck not getting a lot accomplished on the revisions front. At about this time, I was made a section leader in Writers Exercises. The girl who doesn't know how to talk craft--at all--is now going to be teaching people craft. Eeek. I think I've been mis-cast. (g)

May -- Finals are over -- I graduate!! Yay for life after school. YAY for sleep!!! Erm, I think the firsts is still going on. Uh, yeah, it is -- but this is the end. *confetti*

June -- I decide to run another workshop -- this time on synopses. WHAT was I thinking? (g) Unfortunately, I kinda poop out at the end because my grandmother passed away. Very difficult time.

July -- Still extremely sad. I start two new jobs. No writing.

Aug -- More of the same.

Sept -- My writer nose peeks out and sniffs the air. Maybe I'll come out and play awhile. A new book bubbles up...STOLEN. Yay -- super excited to be writing again, even though I'm completely ignoring those dang revisions!

Oct -- Oh...good grief! I need to reaaaaally finish FI. WTH am I doing? I need someone to crack the whip. And M:A is born. I lurve it.

Nov -- M:A is doing it's job. I'm writing again. YAY.

Dec -- Still writing, but ack...the holidays! I wanted to finish by the end of the year, but alas, I didn't. *cries* Vows to finish in January.

Yeah... I look back on '08 and wonder what the heck I was doing. I was most unproductive and really let other things take over my time,thus avoiding those pesky revisions. I don't need anyone to tell me why -- fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear that I'll never be good enough. It all played a part.

Anywho -- I refuse to live with regrets. I had a lot going on. I realize this and I forgive myself for not accomplishing all I had hoped to. Nothing I can do but keep moving forward and learn from everything I've gone through. :)

Okay...therapy session over!

Congrats to everyone who kept it real this year -- working towards your goals, finishing an MS, finding an agent, holding your book in your hands. So many of you have done outstanding this year and I couldn't be happier for you! There's nothing like flipping through a friend's book and knowing how hard they've struggled from SFD--to revisions--to final publication. It's a long road and I commend everyone for setting out on that journey.

As someone said -- I can't wait until the day when I can point to a shelf full of books and say, "Oh those? Those are my friends." :) I have a feeling I'm going to need a very large shelf.

Here's to a great 2009!

Monday, January 5, 2009


I just finished THE HISTORIAN by Elizabeth Kostova.

WTF was that?! LOL. I was so into the book and the ending....AARGH. Not good. Nope. Not at all.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


I've got a new scene -- about 1100 words. It's much better than the previous one, though I probably need to tweak it some more before I'm fully satisfied. That said, it's 2 in the morning and I'm heading to bed. Tomorrow I plan on working on revisions the entire day. I've cleared my schedule for it and everything. :)

Hopefully I'll get a lot more accomplished than I did today. LOL.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Circling The Problem Does Not Make It Go Away

I've been staring at my computer screen -- off and on, and in between games of Mahjong -- trying to figure out how to fix one scene, for hours. If I'm honest, I've been in this holding pattern for a very long time when it comes to this particular three pages.

Solution? Cut the scene.

I've been telling myself that I can save bits of it -- I mean, technically, I need this particular scene. The only problem is that the surrounding pages have changed so much that it needs a complete overhaul. Rather than face the inevitable, I've been trying to justify why it can work -- as is.

I blame it on a basic laziness at this point. I don't want to rewrite yet another scene from the original MS. There's so little of it the way it is. Arrrgh. It's stupid and I just need to let it go. So as soon as I post this, I'm highlighting that sucker and hitting delete. It must be done.

*closes eyes*

ETA: Okay, I did it. It's gone, gone, gone. 1500 words...could've been worse, I guess. My goal for the night is to pound out a replacement scene. Ready, set, go!

Friday, January 2, 2009

It's Been An Audio Year

For the past few months, I haven't had any time to read. I can probably count the number of books I've finished on one hand. Wow. That's just nuts when my TBR pile continues to grow to monstrous proportions!

Anywho -- I've been listening to a ton of books on audio, so I thought I'd do a brief rundown of the ones I've listened to -- and would recommend.

The Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling -- all seven. Jim Dale narrates and does a FANTASTIC job. I became completely enchanted with the series all over again. Even if you've read them, go out and get the discs. I promise you'll enjoy them.

The Twilight books by Stephenie Meyer -- all four. I have to admit, it was a real struggle to get through the first two books. Not sure why. I think it's a combination of the story dragging a bit and the narrator. She doesn't do voices, so everyone sounds the same. After 10-15 hours of it, it tended to get a bit old. For whatever reason, it wasn't a problem in the second two books -- which also added a male narrator for Jacob. His voice was pretty cool and I tended to think of Jacob as more of an adult because of it.

The Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich -- all fourteen. I can't even begin to tell you how much I enjoyed these books. The voices, while a bit spotty at times(there are two different narrators for this series -- at least at my library) are HILARIOUS -- especially some of the secondary characters. I laughed out loud a gazillion times, making my co-workers raise a few brows in my direction. I will tell you this -- the voices get better the further into the series you go. I didn't know if I could listen to these based on the first book, but I gutted my way through and really enjoyed them. The comic timing when they're read is just 'em.

The Host by Stephenie Meyers -- I thought this book was great on audio. The narrator has this airy, clipped tone that sounds how you'd think an alien would sound. (g) I greatly enjoyed it.

The Outlander Books by Diana Gabaldon -- the first three (Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, and Voyager). The narrator of these books is fantastic -- and of course, the story is great. I haven't continued in the series yet -- mostly because it's quite a time committment when you listen to one. I think Drums runs over 40 yeah, I'm working my way up to it again. :) Very enjoyable, tho.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak -- I blogged about this a couple of weeks ago. Go. Get it. Now. It's fantastic. The narrator is one of the best I've listened to.

The Firm by John Grisham -- I've never read a Grisham. Shocker, I know. I've seen several movies -- including this one -- and even own at least a half dozen of his novels. Alas, this was my first read/listen. It was good -- not great, but a solid listen. I thought the ending to the movie was much better. :)

A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton -- This was an okay book. It was hard to follow in parts, but I blame that on the media and my tendency to lose track of what's going on in a book I haven't read before. All in all, I would probably listen to another, though they probably wouldn't be first on my list.

Sam's Letters to Jennifer by James Patterson -- Anne Heche narrated this book, and she's got a great voice for it. I found the book a little sickly sweet, but he always manages to get a few tears out of me -- no matter how hard I fight them. (g) It's a short book -- 4-5 hours tops, so if you want a little sentimental listen, this is the book for you.

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova -- I started this book a while back and got sidetracked mid-way through it. I'm about 4/5ths of the way through it right now and I'm thoroughly enjoying it. It has a male and a female narrator. The man is solid, but the female narrator is EXCELLENT. She does fantastic accents. I will say it's a little hard to follow in this format, but I'm still managing to get the gist of what's going on.

So yeah....34 books in the past 4 months or so. I'd say I'm getting my fill of literature despite cracking only a handful of "actual" books. (g)

Next in the queue:

The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King
Along Came a Spider by James Patterson
1st to Die by James Patterson
The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King
Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon