Wednesday, October 5, 2016

What is this THING you speak of: Ready?If only

So WELCOME friends to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group first Wednesday meeting! You can find out all about IWSG here, and I encourage you to join if you have not already. Tons of great friends, support and resources. Plus the knowledge we are not on this journey alone.

If only it were this easy...
As a format, the group has been throwing out a question each month. October’s question is this:

When do you know your story is ready?

And the truth is, this is the crux of my problem. I have published 6 books and a short story. All published with DEADLINES. Because you see… I will keep tinkering and thinking “just this one more thing” forever unless somebody kicks me in the back side and says TIME!

Now three of my books (and the short) I had external deadlines imposed--an editor waiting for the book and a date it had to be there by. And that worked out pretty well… well the 2nd book was rough, as they edits they asked for were pretty large. But mostly that all worked out. I had to say “good enough” and because they were going to a professional editor, I could trust somebody else would call me out if they were not ready.

The flu trilogy was different. That was me trying to publish serially and because the first part WAS GOOD I dived, but then I didn’t want to leave people hanging too long waiting for the rest… sort of a forced speed of it that only allowed so many iterations.

Yet here I sit with probably 12 completed books, at least 5 of them pretty near ready, and I keep tinkering… I am calling one DONE. Maybe I will start with that.

Now go visit some people who have their act together, because clearly you aren’t going to learn anything useful here… erm…

Friday, September 30, 2016

Resurrecting Sunshine: Teaser and Cover Reveal

So I got an ARC yesterday, waiting for me when I got home. And I am very excited to read it. Here's why...

Lisa Koosis is MEGA talented. I first met her when I did my first ABNA contest and she was supportive, but also quiet, peaceful. One of those people who just seems very nice. But she is also a bit shy. Slow to jump into shenanigans. Never, in—what is this, 8 years ago? Never loud or aggressive or rude. And also never flashy or showy. I think that may be the trouble. She has been a top runner in several contests over the years, but I think she's been a bit timid about formal querying, and she hasn't gone the self-publishing route because I believe she knows she is to reserved for that sort of promoting.

So here I have in my hot little hands, her first book that is going to be sent out into the world. And I just want to give it a little amplification. I can be noisy. I can shout. I can get excited and tell all of you. For day I am just teasing you, but in a couple weeks we will be back here with an author interview so you can get to know Lisa a little better.

From Goodreads:

At seventeen, Adam Rhodes is famous, living on his own, and in a downward spiral since he lost the girl he loved. Marybeth stage name Sunshine was his best friend from the days they were foster kids; then she was his girlfriend and his band mate. But since her accidental death, he's been drinking to deal with the memories. Until one day, an unexpected visitor, Dr. Elloran, presents Adam with a proposition that just might save him from himself. Using breakthrough cloning and memory-implantation techniques, Dr. Elloran and the scientists at Project Orpheus want to resurrect Marybeth, and they need Adam to "donate" intimate memories of his life with her. The memory retrieval process forces Adam to relive his life with Marybeth and the devastating path that brought them both to fame. Along the way, he must confront not only the circumstances of her death but also his growing relationship with the mysterious Genevieve, daughter of Project Orpheus's founder. As the process sweeps Adam and Marybeth ever closer to reliving the tragedy that destroyed them, Adam must decide how far he'll go to save her."

Comes out Saturday!!!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Culling of the World

So I read a blog piece this week that got me thinking. I know. That's dangerous. But it was about the moments in history where something, natural or man-made, causes a sudden fast drop in human population. Things like the Bubonic plague, typhoid Mary, the Spanish flu. But also World Wars, land wars in Asia, and natural disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis.

Well this article pointed out with the HUMAN variety, there was always an ostrich.

Lemme esplain... No, is too much. Lemme sum up...

First you have to watch this Blackadder sketch about the Ostrich that started WWI.

The point is world conditions can get to a point where ONE LITTLE THING will set off a stack of Dominos. The ostrich. But the more important thing is everything needs to be poised... the Dominos stacked.

And the article noted how we are poised right now... just like that. The xenophobia trickling across the globe, the hike in natural disasters making everyone nervous, the world seen in real time because of cell phones. It isn't just the US. This is the stuff of Brexit and Putin's Imperialism, it is girls disappearing in India because nobody cares to keep them safe, it is rainforests converted to grazing land because profits matter more than air. But in the US is is the hate rhetoric, cops shooting innocent people, corporations buying our government.

It's frightening. When I think about my kids and whether they will ever have kids—what will their world be? Will a natural disaster on the scale of an asteroid or the supervolcano just wipe out everyone? Or will it be the more subtle allowance of companies to poison our water so we all die slowly? Or will there be a revolution because we live in a country divided between nationalism and populism?

So what will be our ostrich? Any ideas?

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Bloodtype, Curls and Balderdash

Erm... In otherwords, an update post, but I am doing some very large-ish new things.

Look--I am sunshine!!!
Eating for my Bloodtype

So in the entirety of my time blogging, any time there is a “start” (year, school year, whatever), I have announced I am starting a diet. I follow Weight Watchers, which is a good one as these things go, but in the entirely of the time I've been blogging, it has done me not one spec of good... Well a spec here and there, but quickly regained specs those were.

I've managed to not gain anything in about 2 years, but prior to that I gained weight rather quickly. As “exercising in my spare time” became “writing in my spare time” my seat got wider and wider (Butt + chair = writing taken too far—more butt does NOT make for more writing)

And the fact is, those Weight Watcher attempts through this—crikey, 7+ years—have not been bad attempts. I mean I really tried. So I needed to shake things up.

Now I am not a person who was thinking about anything extreme. I am particularly averse to low-carb suggestions. I mean I will take the “no processed crap” or the “avoid white stuff” (sugar, flour, rice, bread) as legitimate, but giving up fruit makes no sense at all to me. So I resisted.

And then I found validation.

See... I had seen the Bloodtype diet discussed, most notably from our friend Jessica Bell who happens to share my bloodtype. And types O and B (and to some degree AB) are supposed to be carb-avoiding paleo eaters, my ancestry, as denoted by my genetics and manifested in my bloodtype, has geared me to be a pescatarian—a fish-eating vegetarian... And Jessica felt so good... and I've seen her recently—in May, and she LOOKS so good... And this whole genetics and what we process best rings so true to me—I am fully half Scandenavian—of COURSE fish is what I am geared for. In the mean time I CAN have those carbs (the good ones).

Now there are good and bad foods in all the lists, and I have not remotely begun learning them all. Like all legumes are not equal—I am best with black beans and should avoid chick peas, for instance. But I am trying to make the transition to not eating meat. It says OCCASSIONALLY poultry. But not the mammals. I am reserving that poultry thing for when hubs cooks—we only eat together two nights a week and he is willing to do one night veg or fish, but not both. I bought some frozen ahi steaks so if he has a burger or something, I will have an alternative, but I can eat a little chicken.

I noticed though, this weekend, after nearly 2 weeks of very little, he made it, then wasn't home so I had it both nights, then I had Kerrytown Bookfest so he made Sunday dinner too (turkey tacos) and it was all WAY too much. That quickly my body is reacting negatively.... like it sits heavily in my gut, not wanting to leave...

If anyone else is interested in investigating eating to their blood type, this is where I have been going.

Embracing the Curly

About 18 months ago I noticed the under layer of my hair had ringlets. I was curious, so I gave myself a trim and realized without the weight, the next couple layers up were ALSO sort of curly. So slowly I've been talking to my curly headed friends and learning about how, instead of fighting them, I can actually make them a little awesome.

So this is where it is at the moment... not as fuzzy, bit more curl
So September 1, as with the other change, I committed to REACHING FOR the Curly Girl method. I am not there yet. It is a conditioner-only (conditioners have enough of the washy stuff for anyone with non-oily hair, and curly, by definition, tends to dryness). I've only washed my hair 3 times this month, and this week, for the first time, I am going to try to go all week. I will probably stick to that until I run out of shampoo because I am unbelievably cheap.

The other tricks are leave-in conditioner, and some people use a curl definition product. And then a couple tricks like “plopping”--which is, after putting in the leave in conditioner, turning upside down and letting your hair sort of fold into a t-shirt which you then wrap around your head for a significant part of drying—the idea is it allows the curls to dry without the hairs' own weight pulling the curls out. [Plopping video]

I'm liking it so far—my upper layer has gotten a bit curlier and I am not even doing all the stuff yet. (like with the diet) I'm doing part of it and trying to LEARN.

For instance today I figured out that my hair has 3c curls underneath (tight spirals) and 3a on top (bigger curls) (it was 2b on top before I started—just some wave), and I have low porosity, which means it doesn't absorb stuff (not conditioner, not water) as well, so if I deep condition, I probably need heat to really get it in there. The recommended products are different depending on these things.

So probably 90% of you don't really care about all that, but it has been satisfying to find something about myself that instead of trying to change away from, I can instead dive farther into. If that makes sense.

And Finally, the Writing

So my August short story is mostly done... I need to wind it up. But I HAVE started my September short story. Last month was psycho-thriller. This month is definitely sci-fi—much more so that my Parallels entry. I didn't manage to get Medium Wrong queried because I am a gutless wonder with no self-discipline. Or something. But it is still on my list.

And I am plotting about three different things to see what sticks for my November plan... I haven't written a whole novel this year and it's scaring me. So I want to go in with what is closer to a real outline. Maybe I will even story board it.

So how is everyone else doing? Did you start anything new with the new school year? Do you think it will stick?

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Have You Got The Time?

Hallo, fine peoples! And Welcome to Insecure Writer's Support Groups first Wednesday meeting...

This month the question is How do you make time in your busy schedule for writing?

And you know what? I'm not sure. So let me tell you a story about what WORKED initially—the FIRST time I made time. I was so clever...

See, as my kids reached middle school, first one, then the other, fired me from their nighttime routine. More specifically, they were more interested in reading on their own than together. The first time it hit was right about the time I started writing fan fiction (the end of 2005). I took a bath each night, and began taking a notebook... but suddenly I had an extra 45 minutes for my bath in the fall of 2006... And three years later it happened again... I'll tell you what. Ninety minutes you never had before is a GENEROUS amount of time to write in when it has no other earmarks as to what it is for...

Sadly, a couple years ago I had the steam knocked out of me... I tried to do too much and got tired... and had a few letdowns and felt disheartened. I took up a few TV shows I love. And I decided I needed to read more... and I do more puzzles in the bath... and my writing time has been gobbled away. I write some, but I need to pick that time again to write DAILY. Because this is NOT working.

So sorry I have lost the answer... Maybe you should go read what some OTHER people are doing to find a better solution!!!

Also... The Memory of Things is out... This beautiful book was written by my good friend Gae Polisner. It is set in the immediate aftermath of the twin towers falling and has totally rave reviews from very impressive people. Gae's books are literary YA--the sort that make it into classrooms for thoughtful discussion. I received mine yesterday, so if you need me, I'll be reading.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Mind Those Teeth!!!

I bet this is the only blog you see about teeth today, but I have an excuse.

So I just got a deep cleaning. For those of you unaware, this is what happens when you neglect your every six month check-ups and fall back on flossing. You end up needing then to dig in there and do a little cleaning UNDER the gumline.

My mouth hurts.

So don't do that. Floss at least 3 or 4 times a week. Go to the dentist every six months. It may not be your favorite activity, but it is better than the other thing...

And it's got me thinking... Teeth can be a really striking part of a person's appearance. I remember falling for a guy named Wendell in college because he had the same wonky teeth as David Bowie. He also had the two tone eye thing, but both were blue with brown specs, rather that one of each eye, but never mind. The mouth... that the crooked could appeal to me so much because it reminded me of Bowie...

Some people really love straight, white teeth, and don't we all want them, but that filed eye teeth thing movie stars do? Not for me. Gimme natural edges. I also prefer bigger teeth to smaller teeth, but it's not a deal breaker.

But OTHER than that straight, white teeth thing... how often are teeth mentioned in fiction? I mean grody teeth are shorthand for meth-heads, so there is a genre or two that get into that domain...

There is a Zadie Smith novel actually called white teeth... about a heroine with NO front teeth at the start... I remember liking the book but it's been ages, so I don't remember much about it, though I know white teeth were something associated with class and self confidence.

So how do YOU feel about teeth? Do you include them in your descriptions? What are your favorite tooth mentions in books? Unusual teeth on characters in movies or TV?

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Writing First

Hallo, fine peoples! And Welcome to the Insecure Writer's Support Group's August Meeting!

I'm Hart! And I'm Insecure!

(Hi Hart)


But anyway, the IWSG is running with a question these, which is a relief, to be honest. I only have so many blogable events related to my insecurity or anti-insecurity, so this makes things much easier. The question for August is this:

What was your very first piece of writing as an aspiring writer? Where is it now? Collecting dust or has it been published? 

But see... The answer depends on emphasis and interpretation...

Because I was an aspiring writer even as a teen. I had half a dozen story starts... and I was an aspiring writer in grad school when I wrote 200 single spaced pages of a horror novel that petered out.

And I was REALLY a writer when I wrote fan fiction. These were the first novel-length works I actually finished and I shared them as I went. The first of THOSE is this:

Baby Snape and his mum by Sir Aristocrat

The Other Prince: Eileen Snape's Story. It was a terrific dark tale about the sister of a man who got entangled in Voldemort's charm and it was his undoing. So Eileen vows revenge and uses all sorts of illicit magic to create and raise the boy who would be Voldemort's downfall. It was written before Deathly Hallows came out. I started because I had a theory: That to prove themselves to Voldemort, Death Eaters had to kill their own fathers... but by the time I got into it, I loved the writing for writing, remembered what I wanted to do, and woke up the tale that this blog is really about.

The first book I wrote thinking I was going to publish it and be an author was Confluence.

204,000 words at first draft. This tale was about a family that moved to a college town because the father takes a position at the University. The five-year old daughter makes friends with a homeless man who lives in the woods behind their house, unbeknownst to her parents, and the teenaged daughter gets tangled in some teenage stuff. I still love parts of this story, but I tried to do too much. It could be three books. The teenager, Jessie, trapped me. See, her voice was so fun that I started adding to the story and it just got way too complicated. I think Jessie's story, and Trish (the mom) and Hannah's stories are separate. I'd like to get back to them, but as of now, they are behind several “less to do to ready them” tales.

So go check out what other aspiring authors did first...