Sunday, July 31, 2011

Book Review: Shadow's Son by Jon Sprunk

I guess I should start actually reviewing the books I read instead of just mentioning that I'm reading them. Any of you on GoodReads?

Anyway, my review is here. If you're not on GoodReads, join up!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Charlie's Fleshy World of Fun: The Place to Be for Local Viruses

I know, I know. I whine a lot. It builds character.

But seriously. I have pink eye AGAIN? Twice in one month? And another cold? This is like Groundhog's Day only with diseases.

But, it's a learning experience. Things I have learned:

1. You can use saline nasal spray as much as you want!
2. Pink eye is actually contagious until the pink is gone. None of this 24 hours crap.
3. My husband has the immune system of a god.
4. You can still look okay as long as you have big hair.
5. Rite Aid has cheaper replacement makeup than Fresh Market.

Oh wait, writing. Writing blog. I did my word count today, whoo~. Still reading Shadow's Son by Jon Sprunk. It's an odd experience--there will be little things in the book that throw me off or bother me, like a weird line of dialogue or an awkwardly timed kiss. But the story has a sort of cocaine quality to it. I keep thinking about it. I want to know what happens. I want to keep reading it. Way to go, Sprunk. (But way to fail since you're not going to WorldCon.)

Plan on going to a Sanderson signing on the 4th before I head to Park City. With my husband. FOR OUR FIRST ANNIVERSARY!

Aw. We're precious.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Yes, I'm aware I End Every Footnote in This Post with Ellipsis

My cold viruses seem to be recycling themselves. I wonder what it feels like to be healthy... but if I've suddenly developed allergies, I'm gonna be ticked. I've been able to eat and roll in whatever I want since birth and I refuse to give that up!*

In the mean time, I've sent Piscis draft 2 out to some alpha readers and am awaiting feedback. I'm planning to enter Q4 of WotF (Thanks, Laura, for that info), so I gotta get crackin'.**

The other day I started to wonder what I'm going to work on after TDSF, and I realized I wasn't sure. I'd played with the idea of turning EH into a novel and going crazy with that, but I've already tried the whole human/centaur romantic fantasy stuff (AKA Prayer of Haradis, which I seriously got 80-90% through and then never finished it). I'm happy to try it again, and it would be a very different story, but yeah.

Then today a random magic system I had thought up once reminded me it was still floating in my head, and I'm thinking it would be neat to run with. Granted, I have zero plot to go with it, but perhaps I can distract myself from my finished TDSF draft with brainstorming.***

I admit "The Day the Sky Fell" as a title is muchly growing on me, despite being the name of another [non-fantasy!] book. Then I wondered, "If this trilogy really happened, what would the whole series be called?" I have no idea. But that's definitely not something I need to worry about anytime soon.

Mmkay, I'll stop talking now. (But HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!)

*I suddenly feel like a very cruel person for giving Kylah so many allergies...

**Though I think I actually have two months before the deadline... I should have TDSF done by then.

***I know you're supposed to let a work sit for a while before going back and editing it, but I want to get these suckers revised and shipped to agents pronto! I can't wait to finish a whole 'nother novel before cracking down on TDSF. Maybe I'll think up another short story? Oh, the woes of impatience...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Piscis Draft 1 is Finished!

Yesterday I finished the first draft of my short story, Piscis, which will be my next WotF entry. It's about 3k shorter than Edradorn's Hammer and I think more to the tastes of WotF (AKA I've actually been reading winning stories from the contest and have a better feel for what the judges like). Not saying that this is placing, but I'm slightly more confident.

I have some story elements I need to tweak, which will help with the problem that slapped me in the face when I wrote the ending. Man, short story endings are not my forte--my EH readers can attest to that. But hopefully draft two will fix the problem for this one.

If I submit this within the next two weeks, what quarter would I be entering in? I really have no idea. I'm not the sharpest crayon in the cookie jar.

ANYWAY, I'm super excited to work on this story, which is a good sign--I just have to find time to work on it! (I also happened to forget my lunch today, therefore I went out to purchase something, which sucked up lunch break time and therefore means no revising. Poop.*)

*Yes, I used what free time I had to blog. Judge away.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I Would Have Included a Picture, But My Computer Sucks.

Chapter 12 is done! I'm glad I sat down a second time to work on writing yesterday, or I wouldn't have finished it. Onto chapter 13. This chapter has required much Google image searching on my part so I can construct a decent looking palace/ballroom. Hoping my "OMG let's go to the ball" scene isn't super contrived, but my writing group will surely tell me, so I'm not worrying about it right now.

Also, I have more of this book left than I thought. But I've figured out a good role for my Turkey Lurky character! Actually, I'll get to use him very soon...

Meanwhile, I get to do one of the biggest reveals of the story this chapter, so I'm excited for that. But first, awkward dancing. Whoo~

WorldCon grows closer and closer. I did the expense calculations today, and the hotel/driving won't cost as much as I had previously assumed, thank goodness. Might even be able to borrow a mini fridge, which would help food costs immensely. Just hoping my roommates don't get tired of my "I MISS MY LOVER"* whining, which will beging commencement the night of the 16th, methinks.

*This is where I would have posted a picture of said lover so you could all see how dashing he is, but I'm having technical difficulties. :/

Friday, July 22, 2011

Eddie and Jessie of JABberwocky Open to E-queries!

Head's up guys, this is a big deal!

JABberwocky has always, always done snail mail only (thus my frequent trips to FedEx), but now two of their three agents are doing email! It's now THAT MUCH EASIER to get rejected!

I love this. Check them out here.

Moscow and Imitation Crab

For some reason I keep picturing the capital in this story looking like sunny Moscow. I don't know if I should go with that or not...

Decided to make a pitch for TDSF despite it being unfinished, just so I have something prepared for that rare chance someone important asks me about it at WorldCon. My one-liner is easy. "Oh, it's Chicken Little fantasy style! Har!" (But not really, it will be slightly better than that.)

In other news, I have the 25th off for Pioneer Day (Utahn FTW), plus an anniversary trip coming up (time off), plus WorldCon (time off). That in addition to my Midway adventure will pretty much make me look like a terrible employee. But hey, I have the PTO to cover it, so I'm good.

Making sushi tonight. Three cheers for imitation crab.

P.S. My reading of Jon Sprunk is going super slow because instead of cracking open a book on lunch break I end up chatting with my new office BFF for the entire hour...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

TDSF: End in Sight?

My eye started going bloodshot last night. Cue me freaking out. I'm supposed to be off antibiotics. ALL I WANT IS TO WEAR MY MASCARA IN PEACE!

In happier news, I'm done with chapter 11--got my groove back and have pulled double word count the last two days. Chapter 12 marks the start of climaxing and "resolutions"* of the book, which really is like a "part 3" that will take several chapters to complete. Not sure how many. I just know chapter 13 has a ball and I get to make my protagonist pretty/feel stupid. Woo.

As for Piscis, there's been lots of research about ocean zones and lanternfish going down. Man, I don't think I've ever written a short story that requires so much Wikipedia. ;)

*Who am I kidding, it ends on a cliffhanger. Huzzah for trilogies.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Wheels are Turning...

I'm gaining some ground on my short story, Piscis, to where the ending is definitely in sight. This story is different from what I usually do, almost in the realm of science fiction, but I really like it thus far. Here's hoping that's a good sign. I've been a Wikipedia-junkie for two weeks; seems I can't write a scene without looking up something about egg colors or the temperature of the Caribbean.

Getting back into my TDSF mode, which is good--I've gotten more positive feedback thus far with this novel than any of my others, which of course makes me feel warm and fuzzy. My husband actually asks to read it instead of me asking him to read it, ha. Need to stay on top of the ball, though. I still have a ways to go, then revise revise revise. There are some parts I need to redo completely, and a lot of cultural aspects I want to insert. But those will have to wait.

Found out this weekend FedEx isn't as expensive for printing as I thought. Thank you, Amy, for guiding me through the process. :D (And for being my cupcake buddy.)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Disease = Boredom = Motivation

So I've been home sick from work pretty much all week.* So I sit on my couch for eight hours, watch TV, eat food, and sit some more. And have the computer open on my lap. This has been my entire week. I can't go outside (cuz I'm contagious and look like Quasimodo), and I can't invite people over for those same reasons.** So I'm either on the computer or watching TV. Or sleeping.

So yesterday I'm in my stilt of post-work boredom and I think, "I should be writing." Then I think, "I don't feel like writing. I can't write in the afternoon."

"But you don't even have brainmushitis. No excuse."

"But I don't feel like it."

"That's the attitude, Charlie. That's how you become a professional. Way to be serious about this."

"I'm sick! Give me a break!"

"You're full of crap."


...Anyway, despite the fact that I didn't feel inspired, I sat down and opened up Piscis. And lo and behold, I wrote. A lot. I made some really good progress on that story, and I was super happy about it. I managed to get word count done for TDSF (which I hand-wrote) too, so yesterday turned out to be a fairly productive day.

Moral of the story: Excuses = fail.

SO, I'm much more motivated now. Everyone cheer.

In other news, it's interesting to see the comments I'm getting on Miss Snark's First Victim--some are really nice, others are really... honest, ha. And helpful. I'm glad I entered!

*I got pink eye [first time ever] on top of the cold. Let me tell you, it has scarred me for life.
**Except for my husband, who as of today, also has pink eye.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


CONTENT WARNING: This post contains heavy whining. Not recommended for the cheery or the unsympathetic.

Man, there are all sorts of things going on that are hindering my motivation to write (slash do anything productive, like cooking dinner and cleaning my apartment). Vacation with in-laws was not nearly as productive on the writing front as I wanted it to be, even when I planned a whole day to dedicate to drafting. (Part of this is Alison Goodman's fault, because her Eona book was driving me mad and I knew normalcy could not be achieved until I finished it.)

Now I'm struck with another cold (remember the last one I had? Yeah, the one I just got over? Kill me), and despite how I've doped up on airborne in mean attempts to fight it, my swollen throat and glands are making me look like a football player. Are colds supposed to be this bad?*

I'm getting my word count done, but only the minimum, and that's pretty sad. I need a self-proclaimed bootcamp so I can get things done. But right now, I think I need some more IB Profen....

*Maybe it's Karma. I fought off about four colds my junior year of college with Airborne and Emergen-C. I think they've all been lurking in my body, waiting to strike...and what better time than the summer before WorldCon?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Blame the Vacation

Hurray for gaps in posting! I was on vacation this last week and didn't want to pay for Internet, so there you go.

Also: I'm getting ANOTHER cold. What is with this? It's summer and I can't seem to go a whole month without being sick. (I bought two tubes of airborne this morning. I'm not going down without a fight.)

Word count suffered on vacation, so I have to make up for that. Still searching for a good title that hasn't been taken. Fun fun.

Managed to enter a secret agent contest over on Miss Snark's blog--first time I've been able to participate. We'll see what happens. :D

In other news, I haven't worked on my short story as of late. Again, I blame vacation. Hopefully I don't end up shafting it until TDSF is done.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Current Works: Piscis

Random note: This apple sucks.

So I was reading volume 24 of Writers of the Future and suddenly got an idea for a short story--much better than the other idea I had (which I had zero motivation to work on). I'd been playing with a small portion of an idea for a while, but suddenly it just . . . bloomed.

This is good, because I think this idea is more to the taste of WotF. Regardless, I'm excited about it and have already started, though I'm 85% writing by the seat of my pants.* Unfortunately, my rule still stands that I can't work on short stories until my TDSF word count is done, and since weekends** make it super hard to do word count, I'm going to have to put extra effort into getting this done.

*Comment that will offend you if you're super weird like that: Let it be known that I don't like the term "panster." They are called "discovery writers." When I first heard "panster" I thought the person had made it up, but apparently it's a general term!

**Especially weekends that involve zoos that have DINOSAURS.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Plateau

This morning my friend Kristy texted me and told me she was indeed coming to WorldCon, and thus shall be carpooling with me and bumming on my floor. SO EXCITED. She's going as an editor and not an author, which will be interesting to watch. I remember Brandon Sanderson mentioning he and his friend always got to talk to agents because their other friend, Peter, wanted to be an editor. The three of them would approach and push Peter forward, who immediately got an editor's attention since he was interested in the trade, not in selling his book. Once the editor got comfortable, Sanderson pounced.

Anyway, I might take up that tactic. You don't mind me using you to my own end, right, Kristy? :D

On another note, I feel like my writing has plateaued lately. Like I'm no longer progressing in actual skill. Sanderson, as a teacher, once told me I was really close, and getting over that last hill was the hardest part. Man, it really is. He made that comment on CSH--I'm on my second novel since that (third if you count The Raimos), and I don't think I've actually gotten much better. I'm missing something.

I'd really like to sit down with some Sanderson, Farland, and Martin novels, and just study them, see what makes them work and why they're so great (this is recommended by many authors, after all), but I feel a little suffocated by time restraints. Excuses, I know, but what free time I have outside of work and other responsibilities I spend writing, not studying. Writing = practice and practice = better writing, but this plateau nonsense is hindering that, methinks.

Mostly I find myself really wanting to enroll in one of these week-long workshops different authors offer. David Farland's, as I've mentioned, is my workshop of choice. He doesn't have any more until next year, but that works out for me, as I wouldn't be able to afford one until next year anyway. I've heard good things about his workshops; I'm hoping maybe it will help me finally get over that plateau.

Then again, I could have the next best NY Times best seller and no one would know because for the life of me I can't get past the query letter. ;)