Monday, November 28, 2011

Let's Do the Time Warp Again!

Yeeeeaaaahhh. I'm aware that it's been a while, a sort of long while, okay it's been F*#@ing FOREVER since I posted. The truth is, that time is just getting away from me right now. Life outside of the cyber realm has been like juggling chainsaws. And I don't juggle. But I HAVE been getting a lot of writing done. And I've got an ms in the wind, hopefully it will set sail. We'll see. Anyway, I plan to make a serious attempt to try and get back into posting on a semi regular schedule again. Soon. Before too long. Eventually. I hope everyone is doing well!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Okay, I'm sitting in a hotel room with an amazing view of Aspens, and it occurs to me that most of you probably - despite my feeble announcements that I'm still alive - think I'm dead along the road somewhere and that some random person is occasionally posting something on my bog to maintain appearances. I assure you that I do yet live. Aaaaand now I'm on vacation for the next 12 days... BUT that vacation starts off with Sirens 2011! Which means that I should have at least a little time to post on my blog. And since the Vail Cascade has wifi, I can even do it all quick and easy. So no excuses not to. Well, besides late night book discussions. Or the guests of honors' bedtime stories. Or the pool. Or... Okay, so there's a lot going on. But I do have time and I hope to get at least a few blog posts up before I disappear into the Utah desert or Santa Fe next week. Starting with this one.

And I hope to get some editing done on AGMG, thanks to AMAZING feedback from a certain beta reader that I love far more than my luggage (you know who you are :) which has been piling up on me while I got distracted by things like life.

Now, I'm off to get ready for the Sirens Supper. Squee Squee Squee. This is kinda like coming home. That's how much I love these ladies!

Monday, August 29, 2011

This is a Test, This is Only a Test... Okay, Sike, it's Real...

Hey ya'll I'm still kicking! I know I owe you some explanations, and you'll get them... only you won't get them right now because today is my first day back at work from a week long vacation so I've got to, you know, work, and stuff. Oh, how was my vacation? Well, let us see...

I started things off with a trip to the Lady-parts doctor to get final diagnostics on some ongoing issues....

I discovered that my air conditioner had been draining into my bedroom for roughly two months, resulting in a flood so deep that once I'd cleared out multiple stacks of clothing, a desk, a full bookcase, and a box of antique quilts, there was still enough water to come up between my toes through the carpet...

While I was cleaning the mess from the aforementioned flood, we got hit by an earthquake...

Then hurricane Irene dropped in for tea...

And due to the natural disasters, my cat got so disturbed that he made himself sick enough that a vet trip was required...

And I got a rejection from my dream agent...


The Dr. found nothing physically wrong with me, and said I can feel free to blame ALL my problems on my twin sister for getting pregnant. We've fixed things with some birth control.

Although my room was a disaster area, and some of my deceased great aunt's art was ruined, I didn't lose anything I couldn't live without, and I now have a sparkly new arrangement of furniture that includes TWO book cases waiting to be filled with books!

The earthquake was totally disturbing - still is, stupid aftershocks - but let's face it, things could have been a LOT worse, and nothing got broken.

My cat is on the mend, since it turned out his illness was just stress, he's actually pretty darn healthy :)

My dream agent - though she passed on the one project - wrote me a personal response and reiterated multiple times that she loved my writing and that one day I was going to write 'the one' and that she didn't want to miss it so please, please I should keep sending her whatever I write.

So, yeah, vacation was... weird... but kind of pretty darn cool.

Monday, July 18, 2011

I Do Still Exist.

This will be a boring post. It's pretty much just a post to say that I'm still around to post anything at all. I've been busy with both writing/editing and then life's been kicking the old tukkis so that's been keeping me busy as well. Point is, I still exist, and at some point I will actually post something entertaining again... maybe... most likely... :)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Interview and a Contest!

Okay so I'm like in a spaz-life-is-taking-over-my-life-and-I'm-shutting-down-to-write time period here, and I've been remiss in blogging and all other social things. But according to Dan Krokos, I'm doing things right! Because in being a writer, his number 1 piece of advice is to write! You can read all of his other pieces of advice, along with a great interview over at my friend Christi Corbett's place.

And be sure to check out the caption contest! I'm contemplating my own entry as I type this. I'm sure it will be diabolical in nature...

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Shelley Watters First Page Contest!

Here we go! Time to post your entries for critiquing! Here's mine:

Title: Thornbriar
Genre: YA Fantasy Retelling
Word Count: 75,000

The first arrow nearly killed Beauty. If she had not had the good luck to trip over her injured coachman at just that moment, it would have pierced her breast. Instead, the black shaft of the arrow passed through her ruby curls as she staggered sideways. The coachman cried out when she trampled his broken leg in an attempt to regain her balance. Beauty ignored him, turning to look in the direction from whence the arrow had come.

She could see the archer then, facing her, a second arrow aimed at her heart.

Although he stood what seemed a great distance away, his features were inexplicably defined. It was as if some magic brought clarity to what ought to have been impossible to see. His long hair danced in a breeze that touched nothing else, the silver-blond strands sparkling in the few patches of sunlight that broke through the canopy of trees. His ivory skin glowed luminously, eyes solid black. He seemed a spirit, rather than a mortal man.

“Lady Beauty!” The downed coachman pulled on the skirts of her gown, breaking her trance.

Beauty heard the hiss of air and swirled, throwing herself to the ground. Three arrows whistled, following her motion with astonishing speed. All missed their mark by only fractions.

When her coachman pushed himself onto one elbow to shield her, she caught sight of the archer, again with an arrow directed her way. He held this one though, his unearthly face contorted in rage.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Contest Over at Shelley Watters!

Alright, quick post to spread the word about this amazing first page contest (which I nearly missed in all the prednisone/poison ivy/week from the abyss drama) that's being held over at Shelley Watter's. The deets are all listed but I hope to see ya'll over there! I'll post again tomorrow. This is supposed to be my stay at home in my PJs and write all day long weekend. We'll see how that goes...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I'm Here... I Swear I Am...

I'm still alive, still checking out others' blogs, still writing. It's been a very crazy few weeks. I will hopefully get a post or two up soon. Hopefully... O.o* whoa life is moving fast...

Sunday, June 12, 2011

I've Got a Short Story Up At Underneath The Juniper Tree!

Just a short post to say that a short story of mine is up over at Underneath The Juniper Tree!
I'm very excited about it, as the story has grown through several edits since I first wrote it and I'm proud of the final result.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

It Lives... or, at Least, It Struggles to Do So...

Hey y'all! How's that for a Southern greeting? So I'm still around. I've just been uber busy with work, and life in general. The internet was down at work, and I screwed myself by streaming too much video on my own internet stick (anime, Claymore and Last Exile) and so now I'm almost over my internet stick limit, and because I'm not rich, getting charged a bunch of overage charges would pretty much destroy my world. So my internet has been spotty to say the least.

A few things that have gone on:

My little cousin graduated! Ugh, he's the 'last' cousin... the baby... *rends hair and cackles like the Crypt Keeper*

I've written a few more short stories. I CAN NOT tell you how awesome Underneath The Juniper Tree is. I implore you, go check them out. Participate in the weekly challenges. Download their first issue and sit up under the covers with a flashlight (or in this day and age, a flashlight app) and read into the small hours. Then scare yourself silly running to the bathroom before bed.

I sent out one query... I KNOW... probably early... but I've gone over Thornbriar three times now, and that's on top of the initial transcribing edit... so we'll see...

I've worked on The Bonds of Aether, my steampunk-monk-in-an-arranged-marriage-zombie-armies WIP...

I'm frighteningly close to finishing Red Chief... but I'm wondering if it's going to be 'different' enough to stand against the other Faery UF out there... time will tell I guess...

I scuba dived in a flooded horse stall....

Gotcha on that last one didn't I? Well, it's a sort of true story. But that's for another time. For now, I'm off to muck unflooded stalls...

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Made of Awesome Blogfest Contest!

Okay, so I'm participating in the Made of Awesome Blogfest Contest which is being put on by Shelley Watters.

Here's my entry:

Title: Thornbriar
Genre: YA Fantasy Retelling
Word Count: 71,500

The first arrow nearly killed Beauty. If she had not had the good luck to trip over her injured coachman at just that moment, it would have pierced her breast. As it was, the black shaft of the arrow passed through her ruby curls while she was staggering sideways. The coachman cried out when she trampled his broken leg in an attempt to regain her balance, but Beauty ignored him, turning to look in the direction from whence the black arrow had come.

She could see the archer then, facing her directly, a second arrow aimed at her heart. Although he stood in the underbrush a great distance away, he seemed much closer, his features clear and strange. His long hair danced in a breeze that touched nothing else, it’s pale silver blond strands sparkling in a stray beam of sunlight. His ivory skin glowed luminously, eyes solid black. He seemed a spirit, rather than a mortal man.

“Lady Beauty!” The injured coachman pulled on the skirts of her gown, breaking her trance.

Beauty heard the hiss of air and swirled, throwing herself to the ground behind her coachman. Three arrows whistled, following her motion with astonishing speed. All missed their mark by only fractions.

When her coachman pushed himself onto one elbow to shield her, she caught sight of the archer, again with an arrow directed her way. He held this one though, his unearthly face contorted in rage.

Can't wait to read the other entries!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Never Growing Up...

So I'm a very laid back person in many ways. I'm very slow to get angry (beyond seeing violence committed against others, or animals, then watch out) and I'm fine with sudden changes in plan. I'm too lazy to panic over much (besides fire...) even when things look bad. I obsessively love my writing, but I'm pretty flexible about it and I have hobbies I love, but I can drop them to meet with friends or family if need be.

About the only thing I will REALLY lock down on and freeze up over is a great book... or... a great anime series... It's like I'm possessed and cannot function until I've turned the last page/seen the last episode. With a great book, I'll even carry it on the tractor at the farm. And with anime, I'll leave my computer out and if we go in for a water break, I'll hit play, even if I only get a few minutes of watching. Why do I get so obsessed? What is it that locks me in? When I say 'great anime' I don't mean that I'm a connoisseur. I know many folks love Akira, and I hated it. I can't tell you all that much about the history of anime or anything. My cousin, code name Bike Warrior, could tell you more in his sleep than I can. What really nabs me when I flip a new anime on is the characters. Within a few minutes of the first episode, I'll know if I'm going to switch it off, or obsessively watch every single one. I just finished GunxSword. It's one of the only animes I've found where I loved all the main characters, as well as all of the bad guys. Van is SO the sort of guy I adore, and strive to create in my writing. The genuinely-not-perfect-sometimes-down-right-asshole-but-you-love-him-for-himself guy. It's such a hard thing to capture in someone. And Van isn't the only character with flaws. Everyone has a great depth, and I found myself loving and hating them in turn.

Which is also what's so vital in books. And maybe that's why I just can't put a great book down or turn a great anime off. Because they take me somewhere, let me reconnect with that part of myself which think of the characters as real, in their own way. That kid part of me that still takes the escapist routes, if even just once in a while. That part of me that will never grow up, never give in, never abandon those larger than life ideals of honor and bravery and the good guy doing the right thing. When we're a kid it's okay to believe in these things, to read books and watch cartoons that exemplify them in all their melodrama. But when we get older, they're put on the 'how cheesy is that' rack and viewed as a silly, guilty pleasure. Somehow, we're expected to look back and see that the 'real world' doesn't work that way. Which is why I will never grow up.

What about you? Do you have any 'guilty' pleasures? Do you still watch cartoons/read books and find yourself thinking of the characters as people you just met?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

In Which I Fall Out of a Tree in the Name of Awesomeness... and You Vote on Something...

So Shelley over at Is It Hot In Here Or Is It This Book recently posted about author headshots, and it sort of got me thinking... See, I don't take serious pictures. I mean, you'll find dozens of me glowering (apparently, I tend to glower) and hundreds in which I'm making absurd faces (I've actually been told that I have a rubber face, and I agree) but when it comes to 'serious' photos... um, yeah, I'm not so good at taking them. And since I don't have an agent, haven't even gotten passed the 'so close it was ALMOST an offer to rep' stage, I didn't think I needed to bother. After reading Shelley's post, I reconsidered. It was a timely bit of information, especially since I've been competing the the weekly challenges over at Underneath the Juniper Tree. Which, let me just squee and say that you should definitely go check out Underneath the Juniper Tree. They are awesome. And I think it's okay if I announce that a short story of mine will be in their June issue, since they've already posted that information on their blog. *cheers quietly to herself*

Now that I've blathered, I'll get back to the falling out the the tree in the name of awesomeness. After reading Shelley's post about headshots, I knew immediately that I didn't want a 'standard' one. I wouldn't even look like me if I tried to pose for something formal. I mean, really, the pictures of me at Fenris' wedding (where I was the maid of honor, no less) involved body builder poses... and I got all the bridesmaids to do them too... yes, I'm not very good at acting mature. Thankfully, Shelley included some of her favorite author photos in her post. And I saw that I could be me and still make it work. In my little warped mind, an idea was forming. The only requirements were that I had my trusty hat on, my hair was in braids, and that Scrump be involved, because, well, he goes everywhere with me. To these three things, I added a motorcycle jacket, combat boots, a ball gown and a steer skull bolo. And off we went. Into a tree. Because I love trees.

Climbing up was easy. I've had practice. Ma always dressed us in dresses, but then never forbade us from running feral, so I've been climbing trees in dresses since I learned how to walk. Subsequently, changing positions was equally easy. Getting down was the easiest though, because I fell out of the tree. Fenris, who was taking the pictures, got some great shots - both before and after my departure from the tree - so it was well worth it. Below, I've posted my top pics for an 'official' author photo. There's a chance one of my photographer friends will get to take some more photos this Saturday, but for now, these are my favs. Um, I can't post the post-splatter pictures without some editing. They are utterly fracking hysterical... however, my Skully underdrawers are all out there front and center... and seeing as how I'm agent-hunting and 'sposed to be all professional and stuff, they aren't really blog-compatible...

Number 1

Number 2

Number 3

Number 4

Number 5

Number 6

Number 7

I know, 7 pictures isn't exactly 'narrowed down' but I put some up because folks over on FB have commented and said they liked them. Of these, I've got one I'm leaning toward, but I want to hear objective opinions. So let me have it! Leave a comment voting for the one you'd like to see on a book flap (assuming I ever manage to land an agent :) and then go get your hubby, or your wife, or your kids, someone off the street, anyone you like, and have them vote for a picture. Heck, send your followers, and friends over. I'd love opinions from total strangers. Remember, I write YA of all varieties. And you'll have to excuse the strange shape of the layout. I got some serious blog-hate from my template when I was loading photos...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Laughter is the Best Medicine Blogfest...

So I'm totally unprepared for the Laughter blogfest, but I figure the reasons for being unprepared are sort of amusing so I'll just list them, but first a little intro to me:

My name is Artemis, or alternatively, Auntie Waguli... both of these may or may not be preceded by 'Crazy' depending on where I am in writing a first draft/editing finished drafts or submitting...

My Current Job: Biological Reintroduction Specialist with an Emphasis on Equine Maintenance, Reproduction and Behavior Modification (what that means: I shovel poop and work with/train horses from birth to adulthood)

So on with the excuses as to why I have no 'joke' to post...

I've been editing Thornbriar... and with only one hand, because the other one has been tied to the chair to keep me from trying to send out a shoddy query letter too early... you know you've sent them too...

I've also been repeatedly opening this short story I submitting to an online magazine, just so I can look at it... they sent the document back with editors notes... red stuff everywhere... it's AWESOME... like, a REAL editor edited something I wrote... and seemed to like it... *swoons over the red ink*

I've been bottle feeding a baby kitten... and apparently spoiling him rotten... so rotten that you can probably smell him from wherever you are...

I've been manically flipflopping from WIP to WIP... you know what I mean? You're working on one WIP, but you find yourself thinking about another one... or accidentally writing the names of characters from another WIP into the WIP you're working on, and wondering if the WIP you're working on is really worth anything, and maybe you ought to just trash that WIP and start working on the other WIP, although that WIP is a genre that's all over the market and maybe agents/publishers with think it's 'been done' when you go to submit it... and maybe you ought to stick with the WIP you're working on because how many YA zombie-fallen angel-mermaid love triangle books are out there? I mean, the market is BEGGING for something like that. So carry on, by all means. Some day they will hail you as a pioneer in writing...

And that is why I didn't do my homework. Have a great day everyone!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Mommyhood, Artemis Style...

So I've joined the world of mommyhood, in my own strange little way. We've been nursing a very young kitten the last two weeks. When I say 'young' I mean he was about 8 days old when the farm's handyman found him in the bed of his pick-up truck. This after he'd driven fifty miles through thunderstorms, high winds and hail... yeah, the kitten's a tough one all right. Like any good 80's born girls, we immediately name him Mad Max Rockatansky.

My sister, code name Fenris, had Max for the first few days. Fenris has already raised one cat from just a few days old to adult, and I'm terrified of breaking tiny living things with my Ox-like strength, so she took the first shift. Then Fenris's own baby, Walelu, decided she needed more attention, and got sick in an effort to displace Max from his throne of adorableness. So yours truly has taken over motherhood of the kitten road warrior. Even now he's snoozing on my lap, wedged sideways under the computer so that I have to obsessively wiggle it every two minutes 'just to be sure' he can breath okay... yeah, I'd be one of 'those' moms... the kind who goes in at 2 am and pokes the baby just to see it squirm... But it's been fun. And I am utterly in love with the little guy of course. He's impossible not to adore. Here are some pictures, just to prove it.

See, I wasn't lying. Cutest. Thing. Ever.

Notice the notebook in the background of the one picture, pen sticking out of it. I'm writing... just slowly... around all the cuteness...

Between feeding and everything else that goes with little tiny taters like Mad Max Rockatansky, I've been working on short stories and editing Thornbriar. It's been really hard to resist jumping right to writing a query letter... but I've been a very good girl, and only just started loosely structuring a letter at the end of last week. I've also been working on a couple of WIPs, and have been feeling like I'm getting some good things done with my writing. That said, I'll feel better once I'm querying again. I always feel like I'm stuck in an epic fantasy novel, preparing for a quest whenever I set out to query. But I get antsy until I'm actually on the query road. I'm happiest in the thick of it, rejections and all.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Writing is an Extreme Sport...

So I created a new sport last week. It's called babygate stairboarding. Seriously. I 'housesat' all last week because the rest of the fam was out of town. Aaaaand an alarm clock which was not MY alarm clock, was left with the alarm set... a sure recipe for utter chaos. I'm upstairs, so at first when I woke up and got out of bed, everything seemed normal. But when I went to the bathroom at the top of the stairs, I heard 'the alarm' which sounded like a horrible 'the world is ending, jump ship now' alarm. It also sounded like the security alarm going off and since I'd JUST woken up, never mind the lack of coffee, I panicked.

Anyone who's read my blog for any length of time knows that I'm terrified of fire too, and that doesn't help when there's random alarms going off. SO, I made to run down the stairs, managed to run directly into the baby gate at the top, rather than getting it out of my way. Because I have long finger-toes, my foot got caught up in the wire of the baby gate and I ended up jerking it out of my hand, flipping it flat, with my big, finger-toed foot square on it. And down the stairs we went. To my credit, I stayed upright, surfing the baby gate (have I mentioned that I was wearing a tank top and underwear, I mean really, could it get more epic?) all the way down to where the stairs turn right. It was at that point that the baby gate called it quits. I, of course, continued onward, rolling out into the living room and splattering Round-Headed Cat (she's, well, very round, and subsequently the last to run/first to suffer during episodes of chaos) before I fetched up against a recliner. I was totally uninjured, beyond a little carpet burn, and so was Round-Headed Cat... although she seemed a little more circular and less spherical for an hour or two. And when my head stopped spinning, I realized that the entire thing was WAY FUN. I mean, yeah, it wasn't so good for the old ticker, not at the top of the stairs headed down anyway. But I actually considered the fact that my sled was sitting on the porch, and I was sorely tempted to try another run using it instead of the baby gate... but I didn't. Really, I'm not sure Round-Headed Cat could stand much more excitement, not before breakfast.

Now that I've blathered, I'll get to the point of how writing is an extreme sport. Of course, if you're a writer, you've already probably recognized the whole babygate stairboarding connection. Writing a book is EXACTLY the same, albeit, you normally intend to write a book, unlike my ill-fated trip down the stairs. But you don't always intend to write a book. In fact (just like in my case with the stairboarding) sometimes you were all involved trying to do something entirely unrelated and apart from writing, but shazaam! Suddenly you're on this wild uncontrolled ride and you're not sure what you're doing or how you're doing it, or just how it's going to turn out. And when it's over with, even though you've got a dozen new grey hairs and you'd sell a kidney for some advil, you just can't help looking back at what happened and thinking 'what if we build a really big wooden badger?' and before you know it, you're at the top of the stairs, looking at a blank page again. And I can promise you, even if the next run ends with busted knees and scraped knuckles, no laughter and gut-wrenching defeat, you're going to show up at the top of those stairs again eventually. Because writing is an extreme sport. If everyone did it, it wouldn't be writing. So carry on fellow extreme writers! Fill the world with your attempts at stairboarding and resolve to never turn away from the precipice of 'what if' but instead, to always get a running start before leaping off of it!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Twitter Pitch Contest!

All right minions! (I think you have to have like hundreds and hundreds of followers to say that for real, but I couldn't resist) There's an epically awesome twitter pitch contest going on over at Sisters in Scribe. There is a truly frawesome prize and guaranteed fun. I implore you to check it out! I've already entered (and am now obsessing over the remote possibility that I might place... *fights urge to start frivolous editing* ) but I expect to see some of ya'll join in too! I've been dashing over to check out the other entries and I have to say it's engrossing to read everyone's pitches.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I'm in a Meme! Yeah, I didn't know what it meant either...

Okay, so the lovely Christi Corbett has tagged me in a meme! Aaaaand she was good enough on her blog to post exactly what a meme was... you can read about it here because I am a lazy slug and she said it better than I could anyway... So to get this thing started, I'm supposed to answer a few questions...

If you could go back in time and relive one moment, what would it be?

Wow, um, that's a hard one... I think - and this will sound strange - that I'd relive any moment that I spent sitting on my grandfather's lap. The thing is, my mom's dad was a Cherokee, and he was just so quiet, so ominously impassive, that as little kids we were sort of afraid of him. I can't really explain it, but there was such a gentle fierceness to him. By the time I understood how much he loved us kids (about age 8) he died of cancer, but I can still remember sitting on his lap, and I cherish that.

My grandfather, grandmother, and mother.

If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be?

Honestly not much... although there are a few Irish boys I wish I'd kissed when I'd had the chance... one Traveler lad in particular... I can still smell him sometimes when I wake up at night... hand-rolled vanilla cigs...

What movie/TV character do you most resemble in personality?

Sgt. Oddball from Kelly's Heroes, hands down!

If you could push one person off a cliff and get away with it, who would it be?

Um... there are probably lots of people who deserve to get pushed off a cliff... but unless one of them is threatening someone with imminent danger right in front of me, I won't be the one doing the shoving...

Name one habit you want to change in yourself.

I'm so impatient with humans... while animals get most of my soft side... I could work on that.

Describe yourself in one word.


Describe the person who named you in this meme in one word.

My West Coast sister! We're bound as only fellow writers can be, I'm a twin, she has twins, I live now in the town where her historical novel begins back then. It's epically frawesome.

Why do you blog? Answer in one sentence.

To write for public consumption on a weekly basis, and to make connections with other writers. She said it perfectly :)

Name at least 3 people to send this meme to, and then inform them.

Justine Dell

Lori M Lee

Lydia Kang

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I Got a Blog Award!

Okay, so the terribly awesome Gina Blechman just gave me a few blog awards! Okay... Okay... she gave them to me LAST WEEK.... and I'm just now returning the shout out... I know... I'm a slug... but I was finishing up on transcribing Thornbriar (squee) so now I can get it to the betas! Um, which, I have two lined up, but if anyone is interested in reading a classically styled retelling of Beauty and the Beast... let me know because at this point since I'm not like an established author who has to keep her next bestseller under wraps, I'm still pretty open to getting new opinions from new readers.

But on to the blog awards! I fear that this will be a shabby hoorah, as I have ponies screaming for food and stalls to be mucked, but at least I'l get a post up to represent...

7 Random Facts about me...

1) I'm almost done a second manuscript and while I actually have a series outlined for it, I never thought I'd actually finish it... and now I feel weird about the fact that it actually exists... @Iamsuchagoober

2) I've already started another WIP (I still blame you Janni... but if it gets published, I'm totally giving you cred) and I love it... even though it's confusing me at the moment... I love it double time because one of the characters could be Temperance Brennan's twin sister... If Tempy existed in a steampunk world... this is going to be a nightmare to write because I constantly have to look up wordy ways of saying 'your pants are on fire' and other important information.

3) My favorite game is Balderdash, and all variations of it... which means that I actually love coming up with wordy ways of saying 'your pants are on fire' and other important stuff...

4) I HATE driving...

5) I'm really wishing that I had more time to write right now... or at least an agent, so I could use them as leverage to argue for more time to write...

6) Um... I model for local artists... nude... and I love it...

7) I'm worried that listing the above will somehow come back to haunt me since I write YA, but I'm not ashamed of modeling and I think it says something profound about a person's sense of self when they do something of that nature... like something good, and something I wish more girls could see in themselves every time someone suggests that they hit the diet aisle at the grocery.

Now to pass on the love!

1) Christi Corbett

2)Heather Kelly

3) Donna Hole

4) Laura Diamond

Monday, April 25, 2011

Crazy Update Post...

Okay, so I'm still here, even though I seem to have fallen off the face of the earth... Here's why I haven't been around:

I finished the first draft of Thornbriar!!!

I've gotten about 30k of Thornbriar transcribed/first overhaul edited.... soon I'm going to need beta readers...

I'm scary-close to finishing the first draft of Red Chief... it snuck up on me since I was so into Thornbriar and I keep forgetting where Red Chief is going to end, because the story won't be over and I keep smushing book 1 and book 2 together in my head.

Had Easter with the fam... yay for meeting cousin's boyfriend (finally) SUCH a keeper... even got the official thumbs-up from baby Walelu...

Aaaaand... wait for it... I started a new WIP... yeah, and I'm blaming this one all on Janni Lee Simner... because during some discussion on FB I made the remark that someone ought to write a story involving an unwanted arranged marriage that actually 'worked' and was from the guy's POV... and she went and said that I should be that person... so now I am... and there will be aerships... and monks... and deadnauts... which are steampunk zombies... in my world... did I mention that my man who isn't interested in getting married is the aforementioned monk? Yeah... um... epic, I know... but it will be epically awesome...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Why Every Girl Needs a Bowie Knife to go with Her Pajamas...

So, anyone who's been reading my blog for any length of time (wow, writing that made me feel like Julie, from Julie and Julia) knows that I have a propensity for carrying bladed weapons. Now, whether this is a genetic throwback to times when some distant ancestor might well have had to thrash a saber-toothed cat while on the way to drop the Johnsons at the superbowl, or because I watched too many action movies as a kid, or because I hang out with SCA members and Civil War re-enactors and at the Highland games, has never been clear. But suffice to say, that normally, if you see me on any given day, there is a knife somewhere on my person. This includes days in which I never change out of my pajamas. Which turned out to be a really good thing last Saturday.

It rained on Saturday. Like all fricking day. And the wind howled. Like we had a tornado howled. Not joking. Anyway, the parental units went down to Galax, and I opted for staying at home so I could try and finish the first draft of Thornbriar (I did not succeed. It turns out that wrapping up the entire 'I solved the curse on your country now why don't you love me?' paradox isn't a snap thing, even when you know how it's going to turn out) and tape fence boards back on when the wind tore them off and tossed them like pick-up sticks while never changing out of my jammies. (if you don't know what pick-up sticks are don't point that out because you're young enough to fall into the whipper-snapper category and I will be forced to snark you)

Point is, I was home alone, in my pajamas, with a twenty-year old dog and a whole lot of bad weather. You know what happens with ancient dogs and thunderstorms right? I'll clue you in: it lightnings, then it thunders, then the shock waves from the thunder hit the ancient dog and it instantly has to go to the bathroom. Like right at that very moment instantly, not in like ten minutes when the eye of the storm is passing overhead and you have a halcyon interlude. Flash-boom-crack there I was staggering through the backyard with the blind-deaf-unsteady ancient dog as she tried to decided if she should pee by THIS patch of absurdly un-mown grass or THAT patch of absurdly un-mown grass.

While Ancient Mongrel and I were braving the savage winds and flash floods, Mother Nature was busy trying to rip the screen door off it's hinges. She was probably extra annoyed because I'd locked the other screen door completely down, double-latching the inside dutch door. The second entrance is just a simple screen door, and a lot easier to get through with a tottering old dog, so that's the one we'd left by. Well, about the third time Mother slammed the thing, it's little latch (one of those you just hook on an eye-hook) swung around like a pinwheel and voila it was a bulls eye! Aaaaand I'm neatly locked out in the back yard. With no phone. In a thunderstorm that had the Weather Alert station turning on auxiliary generators... and an Ancient Mongrel who had miraculously found just the right spot in which to pee and was ready to flop in front of the fireplace once more. So what's a girl to do?

Well, if you went to the Jones-Macgyver School of Preparedness, you'd do something spectacular. Like use wet mulch from under the picnic table combined with strips of your pajama bottoms to create a small fire via spontaneous combustion achieved through the internal heat of the decomposing mulch while using the Ancient Mongrel as a counterweight on a lever to pry the fire-weakened door from it's hinges so you and the Ancient Mongrel can swing through over the flames. But you happen to be a student of the Conan-Sonja School of Carrying Sharp Objects, you'd just whip out your long-knife and wriggle the blade between the door and door-facing, forcing it upward until you were able to pop that irksome little hook out of it's resting place in the eye-hook.

You can probably guess, based on the title of this post, which process I opted for. Just another use for my handy-dandy Bowie knife. Good thing I happened to strap its belt on over my $4 goodwill yoga pants pjs before I ventured out into the storm. You just never know when random sharp objects might save your patootie. See, everybody thinks I'm this big meany dragging around weapons, like an antiquated version of Hit-Girl from Kick-Ass. Yeah, not so much. I'm more likely to use my weapons for stuff like hacking my way into a can of bean, or breaking into my own screened porch...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Witty Me Not...

I was going to write something all snarky and cute for my first post-funeral blog post... but that ain't happening. Well, I'm sure it'll have a little snark somewhere, since I have next to no filter between my brain and my mouth/fingers. But I'm not putting a lot of effort into it. Anywho, here I sit with rain pounding outside and a bunch of angry ponies milling around their stalls. Of course, if we turned the ponies out, they'd have a stroke over getting their little piddies dirty and would be screaming to get back inside immediately. Yeah, um, no Snowy River brumby-types on this farm...

All of this rain was supposed to hit us last night. Correction, oh-my-God-the-world-is-ending hail storms were supposed to kill us all in our beds last night. I slept with kevlar and a flashlight, prepared to go running out to save my Demon Chickens, should the aforementioned oh-my-God-the-world-is-ending hail storms actually make an appearance. Yeah, no. Sleepytime with the kevlar went undisturbed. Well, except for the incident in which Ari rolled off the foot of the bed and managed to hook the top of my foot with a claw in his desperate bid to avoid falling the outrageous two feet to the floor, which wasn't even a full two feet, since my laundry is, ahem, do to be done and piled up in the floor at the foot of the bed. Point is, hail was a no show. Instead, it's here today, like an unexpected visit from that annoying, gossiping aunt whom you love, but also don't really want lounging at your kitchen table, looking through your bills while you're getting cream out of the fridge, or sorting through your bathroom medicine cabinet while 'powdering her nose'. I don't mind the weather being unpredictable. I just mind weathermen promising that they're 'right on top of it Rose' while really, they have no idea what Mother Nature is up to, nor can they hint at what she might throw at you. Some day, I may actually learn my lesson and not listen to them.

On the writing front, I'm on the last two chapters of Thornbriar, I'm in the last third of Red Chief, and I've started a new WIP, as-of-yet untitled, which is a contemporary sort of Beauty and the Beast retelling. I know, I know. ANOTHER one. What can I say? I'm a sucker for any story about loving yourself for who you are, and in my versions, the Beast never gets shafted for a stuffy 'Prince Charming'...

I also have one query out. One small, lonely query. If this one gets handed an explody device, I'm officially shelving Evernow. Okay, I actually cried a little just then, seeing that written. I won't give up on her, of course, but if I'm going to beat the zombie herds in the foot race that is the route to publication, I can't have dead weight slowing me down. And a story that everyone seems to love, but no one really cares about, is a millstone around my neck. I'm spending time trying to put Evernow in a ball gown to win suitors' approval instead of plucking orphan characters off the streets of my mind and trying to give them their own lives in hopes that they'll succeed at getting crowned a success, rather than just showing up and making a scene like Evernow's done. *sighs mournfully*

Monday, April 4, 2011

Coming and Going...

I'm going to be a little sporadic this week. Hopefully I'll get some sort of post up besides this one, but I make no promises. See, my stepgrandfather died unexpectedly on Friday, April 1. Only in my family can someone manage to drop dead and have everyone asking if they're really dead or if it's an April Fool's joke... only in my family of funeral director-types would anyone even expect that sort of April Fool's joke. Alas, it wasn't a joke, and now we're dealing with the aftermath of such things. Although this is a sad thing - he was a 'step' grandfather, but my birth grandfather died before I was born, and this man married my grandmother when I was only eight, so he's the only grandfather I've ever known on that side of the family - there will be funny stories to follow, I assure you.

I'll hint at them by saying thus far these topics have already been discussed:

The name of my grandfather's father... no one seems to remember it (?? we're leaning toward Lars, for no particular reason)

His sister's full name, no one seems sure of it, or how to list it in the obituary (again ??)

How we can somehow sneak his beloved dog's ashes into his urn, so they're interred together (something he's talked about wanting for years, but there's the small detail that it's apparently illegal to inter an animal on consecrated ground...)

Yeah, I'm definitely going to have a few funny stories to go alongside the sadness.

Friday, April 1, 2011

I Just Realized that Blogger Ate Me...

Okay this will seem like a random post, but I just realized that blogger ate my original post on the matter. I'm participating in the Epic Follower Blogfest over at Shelley Watters and I was supposed to advertise. I did. And then Blogger ate it. And because I've been embroiled in high drama I didn't realize what had happened until now. You can thank Christi that I'm even in the constest/blogfest. She reminded me about it. *face/palm* anyway, I'm putting up an advertising post after the fact to prove that I did it. So there Blogger!

Epic Follower Blogfest!

Okay, here's the deal. I'm part of the Epic Follower Blogfest which is being held by Shelley Watters over at her blog. You can check out the deeds here. So very cool, and with a GREAT prize. Plus you get to cruise around and read everyone's pitches. So very cool. Anyway, I've struggled with my pitch line almost as much as I've struggled with my synopsis... and I don't know how this will even rate. Feel free to give me your opinion on the matter!

Here's mine:

Genre: YA Dystopian
Word Count: 83,200

For 19 yr. old Evernow, surviving a cataclysm turned out to be simple. Falling in love with one of the Fey folk who caused it, not so much.

Thanks and good luck to everyone!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Onward With Life...

Okay, so the work drama has subsided. Mostly it was gossip and conflicting 'stuff' the likes of which you get when you have the sort of job I do. And as my grandmother always said, 'You can lock against a thief but you can't do anything with a liar' so part of the upset just had to be sorted by the big wigs simply going to the source and asking for the facts. Thankfully, the truth is still worth something in a few places. That's all I'm putting up for now, I've got a date with a WIP... one in which I've abandoned my MC to a kelpie... so she'll be pissed off for sure if I don't get back to her soon...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hair Rending Aside...

So, all of my usual rejection drama aside, things are really bad at work right now. REALLY bad. Like... maybe there won't be a work anymore bad... but everything is a giant question mark at the moment... and even when the question mark goes away I don't know what's going to be left behind... I mean, maybe there will just be changes... and then maybe there won't be anything left to change, there'll just be 'wanted' adds... and I've never had to deal with this before. I'm an old prude in the work world. I've had the same job for twelve years. I love my job. And I'm afraid of being a grey-haired thirty year old with no agent, no writing career and no job. And I hate being afraid when there might not be any reason to fear anything. But I am.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Show Me the Voice Blogfest and Contest!

It's here! The Show Me the Voice Blogefest and Contest has officially started! If you don't know about it, head on over to lovely Brenda Drake's Blog and check it out. It's being judged by the droolicious Natalie Fischer of the Bradford Literary Agency. There's still time to enter! You don't HAVE to put up your first 250 for critique, but I figure that you just never know what you might learn that you never realized you didn't know, so I'm going to put my 250 up for today at least, so I can get comments and suggestions on it, and I'll send it to Brenda for the contest tonight or tomorrow morning.

So without further ado, I give you te first 250 of Evernow!

Name: Artemis Grey
Genre: YA Dystopian

Life is so much easier without underwear. That was one of the first things Sal taught me. He taught me a lot of other things too. Like how to pee while holding a bow with an arrow nocked and drawn. In the Wild you have to know such things.
That’s what I’m doing now. Crouching over a leafy sprig of creeper so that my urine makes no sound on its way to the ground. My bow, Donriel, rests across my knees. My left hand holds it steady, my index and middle fingers twisted in order to keep tension on the arrow which is, in turn, applying tension to the string. I can let it fly while still crouched if I need to. But my friend, Brother the raven, is nearby at the moment. He’ll forewarn me of anything approaching.
I couldn’t do this wearing underwear but in just chaps and a loincloth it’s easy, with practice. I’ve practiced a lot.
Eyes constantly scanning the forest around me, I pluck a large leaf of lamb’s ear with my free hand. It’s almost better than toilet paper. Softer but also more substantial. The pale leaf comes away with a smearing of blood.
Damn! The curse rings only within the confines of my mind. I’m too smart to curse aloud. Damn. Damn. Damn!
I stare at the leaf for a moment then drop it aside and pick up another. I get the same result. The last time I cycled while I was in the Wild, I was with Sal.

So, tell me what you think! Good luck everyone!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Matchstick Impaired Irish Girl

I'm supposed to be working on a WIP... any WIP... but I'm at one of 'those' points... you know the ones I mean, where those of us still seeking representation are like 'but what if that OTHER WIP is the one that someone will love... but I'm closer to being finished with THIS WIP... but really, THAT WIP is tighter and will need less revisions'... and since we don't have an agent to smack our bum and tell us which one they think is the hot tamale, we wemble. Any who, instead of working on a WIP, I'm sipping scotch (Balvenie Double Wood 12 Yr, for anyone interested) and writing up this post, which I promise will be pretty funny. At least, I'm still laughing, and if I can laugh about it, you ought to :)

Firstly, Happy St Patrick's Day! Which I celebrate simply out of tradition, since the real history is just a tad terrifying and not something I would really support. But I'll take any excuse to eat cabbage and nip scotch (I hardly drink) so here I am, celebrating the tradition, if not the actual root of the tradition.

That was the 'Irish Girl' part of the post... now for the matchstick impaired part. To start, you have to understand that I'm virtually fearless... except for fire. Now to clarify further, um, I love campfires, roasting marshmallows, fire places, and burning sage. I've even had fires in the teepee. However, 'loose' fire... not so much. I'm pretty much catatonically paralyzed by fear when it comes to like, house fires, forest fires etc. The only genuine faint I've ever managed involved setting the stove on fire. And it took me years to live down the rice cake in the toaster oven incident... but I digress, and you get the picture.

Soooo I decided to light a candle the other night. It was one of those yummy Yankee Candle candles. A vanilla one. This is something I do a lot. I mean, it's a CANDLE. Well, anyway, I went and got the box of matches (Amish handmade ones, no less) and returned to the living room where the candle was sitting atop our nifty fake-fire electric fireplace. First match, strike, strike, strike, nothing. I used up all of the gritty sulfur stuff, no flame. Second match, same deal (so much for 'handmade' being better) so I pulled out match number three. Now by this time, I was annoyed, the cats were lined up staring at me, trying to figure out why I wasn't on the couch any more and the forensics show I was watching was explaining how the butter knife that someone stabbed through some woman's eye didn't actually kill her, so I wasn't paying that much attention to match number three. After all, one and two already gave me the shaft.

Since I wasn't looking, I failed to realize that lucky number three lit up brighter than the Griswold's Christmas tree. Until the flaming tip flew by my face on it's way south, anyway. The entire match head didn't break off. Oh, no, just the sulfur part. It sailed up, then down, smashing into my thigh, because I had my hip all popped out with a little attitude. Yeah, so I was wearing stretch pants (you know you own a pair) that I bought like three years ago at American Eagle for about two dollars. You know, those stretch pants that are made of fake long john material. All the girls were wearing them for a while (mine have never left the house because my momma taught me better than to wear my jammies in public) and since mine are a couple of years old, they've attained that really soft skim of fiber that pants get when they reach that 'perfectly broken in' stage. Well, they HAD that soft skim of fiber. The right leg is bald now.

Yep, as soon as that burning sulfur got in the same zip code as my well-worn stretch pants, my right leg went up like the fourth of July. I made that breakdown Sally Fields had in Steel Magnolias look like a tea party. Seriously. Course, it's sort of hard to run from your own leg. I didn't get all that far. Just far enough to hit the front of my grandmother's ancient yellow recliner. Being, well, ancient, it can't take a great deal, so when I crashed into the thing, it rocked back, and I REALLY crashed. My butt stayed in the seat for about a tenth of a second. Just long enough for the chair to go over backwards and flip my flaming carcass into the stair banister, where I landed in an extinguished pile. You have to love furniture that's smarter than you are. Left to my own wits I would have staggered about squealing like a bad remake of the Towering Inferno. As it is, I came out with nothing but a very smooth pant leg and high blood pressure. And I did get the candle lit, dammit. And it smelled great. Even got rid of the singed stretch pants scent that was lingering in the air. So there you have it. I'm totally matchstick impaired. I mean, some girls have them and freeze to death in doorways. I have them and light my britches on fire. At least I won't freeze to death any time soon.

And with that, I shall leave you. I'm sure there's a WIP I can torture lying around somewhere... Happy writing all!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Contest and Housesitting... and Probably Some Random Blather...

I'm housesitting at the moment. It's just over the weekend, not a big deal. And yet, something about the fact that I left home Thursday morning and haven't gone back yet is having an odd effect on me. I feel like I've never left work or something. It doesn't help that I'm in the last third of the first draft of Thornbriar and that vile-tempered Red Chief keeps trying to run roughshod over the retelling. God help me if the characters could ever actually show up in physical form and have at each other...

One of my temporary fur children. Can you feel her terror over having been left in my charge?

Next order of business... a CONTEST!!! My friend Christi (remember Christi? Smart gal I'm always stealing smart ideas from? That's the one :) sent me a link to a contest over at Brenda Drake's Head over and check it out. I'm uber stoked. Even more because as you'll remember, I'm nearing the point in which Evernow will be given a SPOT ON THE SHELF *cue high drama music* In fact, as soon as I've gotten Thornbriar finished, I'm going to take a break from querying, more like than not, and focus on editing Thornbriar as well as AGMG which I haven't forgotten about although it's been a while since I worked on it. But I digress. Check out the contest, join in if you've got something eligible. It'll be the first time that I've ever put that much of Evernow up on my own blog (I have been part of a few other contests involving openings and such) and I'm a little nervous about what everyone is going to think. Even if you aren't in the contest, swing by and give me your opinion!

And for the blather... am I the only, ahem, mature girl out there who still watches anime? I've got a number of friends who read manga (I'm still getting the hang of it) and I love light novels like D Vampire Hunter and Trinity Blood. But more and more, I'm dabbling in anime. It can get mighty weird, mighty quick, so I'm picky, but I just found Black Blood Brothers and spent all night with one episode after another playing while I was writing. Now I'm drooling for the light novels on which the anime was based.
Pretty soon I'm going to have a room full of light novels and their subsequent animes...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Bloggy-Type Awards!

So I just got a comment from Kristina over at KayKay's Corner letting me know that she was awarding me two blog awards! *takes a moment to feel special* I'm not the only one either. So head over there and check out the other winners. Blog-hop and take a gander (you're not the only one to use that word Kristina :) at everyone's entries in the Catch Me If You Can Blogfest! Officially, it's over, but hey, everyone loves feedback, even after the fact. Thanks so much Kristina!

So, to accept these awards, I must:

Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award.
Share 7 things about yourself.
Award 15 or so recently discovered great bloggers.
Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award.

Here goes!

7 Things about me:

1: I am an identical twin. I know, one of me is almost too much for reality, but hey, the other girl is virtually normal, so that helps.

2: I have a very high tolerance for physical pain. In fact, I have 9 hours worth of tattooing on my back, and I both ate a cheeseburger and fell asleep during the various sittings. I wish I could handle the near-misses with agents in a similar fashion, as opposed the Sicilian hair-rending that seems to overtake me every time I get a request for a full, and really encouraging feedback, followed by a 'not quite for me'... *rends hair*

3: I never had an imaginary friend, but I went imaginary places... I still go to imaginary places... I just write down the trips now and try to sell them...

4: I have spent hours asleep on my horse. No joking. My father was a sailor who could sleep on a rock in the middle of the ocean. I got his genes.

5: I also got my dad's 'can't spell sheat' genes... this hinders me greatly in my writing endeavors...

6: I hated school so much that when I randomly said once (in about fourth grade) that 'I'd quite school except that I know you'll go to jail and I don't want you in jail' to my mother, she LET ME BELIEVE THAT IT WAS ILLEGAL TO QUITE SCHOOL. Seriously, I was out of high school before I realized I was wrong! But I'm glad she did it.

7: I have dyscalculia, which is like dyslexia for numbers. To this day, I transpose them and anything numeric is an utter nightmare to deal with.

Who I'm awarding! Um, there's a lot of great new bloggers I've met, but I don't have time to award everyone because horses are screaming at me...

Trisha Leaver

Angela Scott

Kristina Fugate

Nicole Ducleroir

Gina Blechman

Okay, I know it's not fifteen but it's all I can manage right now... horses are still screaming and I'm a dork on the computer...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Beer for Lunch and a Recounting of the Infamous Air Freshener Incident...

I'm having beer for lunch today. Not beer WITH lunch. Beer FOR lunch. Don't judge. It's been one of those days. One of those weeks. Hell, one of those MONTHS. No, nothing really 'bad' has happened. I'm just still moping over my near-misses with agents... I know, I should get over it, but if I could just 'get over it', I wouldn't care, and if I didn't care, I wouldn't be putting myself through this torture chamber that passes for the road to publication.

But I digress, and I have promised that I will put up some funny posts since I've been moping so much. And as KLo requested that I tell of the 'air freshener incident' I will now do so. Hopefully, you will enjoy. If I happen to get a little goofy by the end, we'll know I'm running out of beer... just joking, it's just one beer, and I'm not even driving the tractor later... :)

To begin this story, you must understand the entire situation of that day. Things have been very busy and very crazy recently, as only the life of aspiring writers who are also mothers or into horses can get crazy and busy. On the day of the aforementioned incident, we were shorthanded, had a lame horse, had a client who was supposed to buy a horse drop off the face of the earth, a man coming to take samples of all of the fields for seeding/fertilizing, a flat tire on the tractor, a sick kid, and an elderly cat who had lain against the electric heater and literally slow roasted a section of his own back... and that's just what I can remember offhand. Serious shifizzle was going down. Anyway, that was the sort of energy circulating. On top of all that, I'd just gotten one of THOSE rejections. The sort where you're 'almost' cool enough to work on the school newspaper, but not quite. So I was totally useless, beyond saving everyone else from any loose chocolate calories.
Lunch that day wasn't really lunch either. I mean, we sat down and started watching A Nightmare on Elm Street (the new one) but we had to get up for a hundred different little things that interrupted lunch. That combined with the AWFUL writing of the movie (although I ADORE Jackie Earl Haley's portrayal of Freddie) which only made me groan over how someone got the movie made while I can't even land an agent, sort of ruined lunch. The result was that lunch blurred into the afternoon chores and while we normally would have been outside doing something specific, we were, instead, doing random things inside. Like cleaning the cat litter boxes.
Now I work on a horse farm, but really the lady collects cats. Seriously. We have cats off the street, rescued from dumpsters, taken from hoarders and saved from the roadside. A few have wondered up of their own accord and one was thrown from the window of a moving van. The point is, where there are many cats, there is much cat poop. So cleaning the litter boxes is a daily thing. I was the one cleaning boxes. My coworker, code name Momma Chiquita was emptying the trash cans. My sister Fenris was yelling at her cell phone as it randomly dropped calls. While I filled up the trash cans Momma Chiquita was emptying with fresh dirty cat litter, we were arguing about how mean our boss Jefe, should be to both the woman who no longer seems to be in residence on planet earth (leaving us with a horrid pain-in-the-ass horse) and some random man who had done something stupid. The thing about Jefe is, she's a good boss, but sometimes she's TOO nice. And then we all get mad on her behalf. Also, Jefe had some other personal troubles at the time, and did not need extra stress.
While Momma Chiquita and I were arguing, Jefe came through the lounge from her office announcing that she now had to deal with an entirely new matter that involved her ex-husband (I will leave it at that) and went into the laundry room beyond us. As Jefe entered the room, Fenris exited, now yelling at the farm phone, which wasn't letting her dial a regular number. Meanwhile, Fenris' cell phone was ringing off the hook as our mother called for about the third time in a row, trying desperately to make contact. Over our conversation, Momma Chiquita and I could hear Jefe's cell phone start ringing out in the wash room, with, what we were sure, would be the most recently discovered catastrophe. Throwing out random snarks and bets as to what that catastrophe might be, neither of us saw Jefe come back into the room, although we heard her because she was still talking on the phone.
Wending her way between the two of us, she was passed and nearly to the office door before we noticed the smile on her face and the fact that her hand was raised into the air above her head. Really, it was the suffocating scent of 'tropical forest' that got our attention. A fine layer of mist was issuing forth from Jefe's raised hand as she doused everything in three rooms with an entire can of air freshener, including Fenris who was still screaming at the phone. The smile on Jefe's face was as enigmatic as the Mona Lisa's but said clearly that 'Everything might be going to shit, but it can still smell like a rose, dammit.'
Well, we got so damned tickled about being hosed in air freshener that we laughed until our sides hurt, and afterwards, none of it seemed half so bad. The moral of the story? Anything can smell better with the right attitude, even if you're still dealing with genuine shit. It's all in how you tackle it.
So when the going gets tough, get a little air freshener and get to work!

*I know that's bee spray, but what are the chances I had a photo of someone holding air freshener that way?

Catch Me if You Can Blogfest!

Ok, this seemed like fun, so I thought, what the hey! Here are the first 500 of Evernow, my YA dystopian for the Catch Me if You Can Blogfest.

Life is so much easier without underwear. That was one of the first things Sal taught me. He taught me a lot of other things too. Like how to pee while holding a bow with an arrow nocked and drawn. In the Wild you have to know such things.
That’s what I’m doing now. Crouching over a leafy sprig of creeper so that my urine makes no sound on its way to the ground. My bow, Donriel, rests across my knees. My left hand holds it steady, my index and middle fingers twisted in order to keep tension on the arrow which is, in turn, applying tension to the string. I can let it fly while still crouched if I need to. But my friend, Brother the raven, is nearby at the moment. He’ll forewarn me of anything approaching.
I couldn’t do this wearing underwear. But in just chaps and a loincloth it’s easy, with practice. I’ve practiced a lot.
Eyes constantly scanning the forest around me, I pluck a large leaf of lambs ear with my free hand. It’s almost better than toilet paper. Softer but also more substantial. The pale leaf comes away with a smearing of blood.
Damn! The curse rings only within the confines of my mind. I’m too smart to curse aloud. Damn. Damn. Damn!
I stare at the leaf for a moment then drop it aside and pick up another. I get the same result. The last time I cycled while I was in the Wild, I was with Sal. Now I’m alone, with no one to keep watch or hunt while I lie in miserable discomfort. And bleed. And attract anything with half a sense of smell.
Brother startles me from my cringing thoughts, dropping from the air to strut around me in a circle. He lowers his thick-beaked head and snatches the soiled leaf of cows tongue from my hand. Skittering a step sideways, he grabs up the first one too, ratting them like a terrier with a toy.
“Yes, yes take them!” I murmur, shooing the black bird aloft. Sal taught him to carry dirty bandages, anything with blood on it far away and drop them where they won’t betray their source.
With the bird winging overhead I quickly set Donriel aside, rummaging for the cloths I carry in my rucksack. They never work like in the stories and books but they’re all I have nowadays. Three years after surviving the cataclysm that killed most of humanity, I’m used to going without what was once considered modern comforts.
I don’t have much time to debate what to do. It won’t take long for me to attract unwanted attention.
I skirted a small settlement yesterday morning. I might make it back there by nightfall if I rush. But if I go back to the settlement while I’m bleeding, they’ll know that I can still bear children while so many women nowadays inexplicably can’t. That will make it harder on me when I try to leave. And I will leave. I always do.
I decide to go it alone instead, find a defensible hiding spot and hope that I go unnoticed by anything roaming.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Why Being a Nun Has Left Me Ill-Equipped For the Process of Getting Published...

I have been a nun my entire life. Sister Dreama of the Order of the Written Soul*

Being as I'm a nun, and utterly devoted to my Order, I miraculously avoided certain things that most other kids suffered when they were kids. Things they lived through and learned from. The biggest, possibly most profound of these 'missed life lessons' was dating.

Simply put, I didn't care to ever have a significant other. I had a lot of friends in school (hey, there were other Goonies around) and every single one of them dated. Girls and boys alike. They flirted. They held hands. They loved each other. Then things changed and they broke up (most of the time) and there was fallout. Or maybe they never even got together. I've comforted my friends (boy and girl) as they cried because they 'weren't good enough' for whoever it was that they so desperately wanted to be 'good enough' for. I was not given to any desire to share my life with a boyfriend anyway, and watching my friends go through all of that trauma and self-doubt and in some cases, worse, self-hatred and self-destructive relationships, I avoided the rats nest of dating and stuck with the Order of the Written Soul, where there was safety.

I had the same experience with cliques and friends. Having been blessed with a twin sister, I was never alone no matter what. So I didn't care if I ever had any other friends. In plain truth, I cannot ever remember trying to be anyone's friend. All of the friends I have, I either simply met and was effortlessly friends with, or they were people who met me through my sister and liked me. Thusly, I never went through that awful phase where you're willing to do almost anything just to fit in with a group. But I watched friends suffer. I watched them go for days without eating because the other cheerleaders never had to worry about 'that fat bubble' popping over the waistband of their skirt when they bent over during a routine. I watched really talented guys drop out of band because band was for geeks, and the same with drama (um you manly guys, remember how Chris Daughtry was always hanging in the drama room with us geeks? Yeah, not bad for a guy who participated in skits that included tying two-by-fours to your feet as skis) I saw horrible things done in the name of 'fitting in' with a certain crowd. And I was really glad that I didn't care. Again, the Order of the Written word was a safe haven for a little reclusive nun like myself.

The only problem is that now this little nun has left her Order behind and is trying to make her way in the world. And while she never had to care about anyone else's opinion while she was sequestered in the sheltered, loving embrace of her Order of the Written Word, surrounded by books written by others, and books of her own writing, now, she's obliged to care. Turns out that trying to fit in with pre-established groups IS JUST AS MISERABLE AS IT LOOKED LIKE. It hurts! Like hell. And I'm ill-equipped for the process. Totally ill-equipped.

I know my posts have been sort of drab of late. I can't defend them because they've been reflective of my mood. I think perhaps if the rejections had stayed simple form rejections, I wouldn't be as confused emotionally. I mean, if you meet a cute guy and he smiles and walks off, obviously he's not that into you. But if you meet a guy at the coffee bar, banter with him for an hour and he takes your number, then you wonder why he never called you. I mean you spend time thinking about it. Did you do something wrong? Was there a tissue comet on your nose ring? Did you have coffee grinds in your teeth? Was he just playing you? Did you totally read into things?

I'm aware that an agent isn't your significant other. I'm oversimplifying. But the analogy totally works for me personally. As much as you might love someone, you aren't going to be celebrating any fifty-year anniversaries if your relationship isn't a working one too. It's the same for an agent. You might like each other, but if you work in totally different ways, the match isn't going to fit. And if you work great together but don't like each other at all, well, that's going to make appearances awkward and stain the work part of things. I also know that an agent requesting material is not the same as making goo goo eyes at some guy at a coffee bar. But the nicer rejections can be... upsetting... in a weird way.

Every agent who's ever rejected me has been very nice. I really am not complaining about the agents. They have a job to do. Problem is, for them it's a job (although they love what they do) and for me, it's the rest of my life. Writer is a job I'm applying for, in a way, and every time a door shuts on me, I feel it. And sometimes getting handed a piece of paper that says "No thanks" is easier than getting one that says "You're an engaging person with a lot to offer, but we don't want you in our office." Again, I'm oversimplifying, I know. There are many reasons that agents reject. But as a writer, your emotional response is not something based off of logical thinking. No more than you're drive to write is based off of a mild interest in the craft. Most of us write because we NEED to. Likewise, we feel the impact of a rejection with that part of ourselves, rather than the logical side. Unless one of us is Spock... Anyway, this is something I'm working through. This strange catharses of 'You're a nice girl but I don't want to actually date you' associated with the 'one step closer to success' rejections where I get told that I'm a good writer who will succeed, just not now and just not with Agent X who's sending the rejection.

I apologize for my melancholy posting, and I promise earnestly to get some funny ones together. Maybe I'll tell you about getting stuck between the bed and the wall when I fell out the other morning (I had to crawl under the bed to finally get free) or I could recount the recent air freshener incident... or the trapdoor desk chair... I promise I'll organize one of them. Until then, I'm off to pony wrestle... Happy writing all!

*I just want to disclose that I in no way mean to disrespect true nuns who live in devotion to God. I grew up Catholic, and my mother was close friends with several members of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Some of my best memories are of sledding on cafeteria trays with the younger Sisters. They are very cool people.

Monday, February 28, 2011


This is one of those times (writing-wise) that people keep helpfully telling me I will live through, even though it doesn't seem that way right now... The problem is that life can be so unexpectedly short... and it could be years before anything I've written sees daylight... and that's assuming that some day soon one single agent, somewhere, miraculously says 'Yep, this is TOTALLY for me' as opposed to 'Great, but just NOT for me'... and because several people I know are looking at vastly shortened lifespans (one of them is in her early forties, the other is only EIGHT) I'm feeling a little melodramatic. LK's sudden loss does not help matters. I look at LK, and how hard she worked, and for how long, and at how new all of her writing success was, and all I can hear in my head is the 'you'll make it eventually' my loving friends tell me all the time. But maybe I won't. I mean, maybe there won't BE an 'eventually' for me. You just never know. And right now I feel like I'm wandering around at the head of a road, but I'm not allowed to even start walking down that road until someone shows up and says 'Go!' and nobody is showing up.

Okay, whew. Sorry. I just had to get that out of my system. And for the record... I'll be sending out more queries this week... *bares chest for the inevitable bullets of failure, while hoping at the same time, there won't be any failure* and *continues working to make Evernow irresistible*

And, btw, I stayed up until 1 am last night (er, this morning?) and got OODLES written on Red Chief. And I'm all set to keep writing... as soon as I can get done with this pesky thing called 'work'... so yay for that.

Oh, and everybody please pray/send good juju to the sick people I know... too young is too young period, but eight years old is a travesty.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Five Question Friday...

I totally stole this from Must Read Faster It looked like fun and I needed a not-so-serious post just to put something up. So here goes!

1. Can you drive a stick shift?
Yes. At like 5 mph... well, maybe faster, but let's say I'm not proficient, just passable. Now a stick shift tractor? Totally!

2. What are two foods you just can't eat?
Anything still breathing, and anything associated with feces. I'll try most anything, and I HAVE had haggis, but beyond haggis, nothing rear-end oriented.

3. Do you buy Girl Scout Cookies? What is your favorite kind?
Peanut butter patties!!!

4. How do you pamper yourself?
Do nothing all day but write/writing associated activities and/or reading

5. What is your nickname and how did you get it?
The funniest is Cow-Hips. I got it back in high school because while I wasn't scrawny at all, I did/still have very prominent hipbones. Like, REALLY prominent. When we would rough house and stuff, I was renown for hip-checking. I could send people sailing and they usually got bruised by my boney hip. So Cow-Hips became my nickname. It's a weird one, but the people who gave it to me loved (still love) me. The other is Artemis, which is now my pseudonym. I got that one because of my aversion to boys, and dating and my propensity for running wild.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

LK Madigan

I did not know LK Madigan. But still I knew her. I knew her because she was a writer, like me. I knew her because she had the same dreams I had. And she DID touch those dreams. She created things. Those things affected other people. She put herself into everything she wrote, and by reading what she wrote you met her, even if you never actually met her. So I knew LK Madigan without ever knowing her. And I miss her laughter without ever having heard it. Her laughter, her voice, her presence will live on in her writing for me. So many people who did actually meet her have put up things in remembrance. At first, I didn't think it was my place to put up something, since my memories were just ersatz glimpses of a wonderful and much loved person. Now I think it's a good thing so say that I will miss a woman who impacted me simply by following her own dreams, by indomitably existing in the world while she was among us.

These are the lyrics to a song called 'When I Go' by Dave Carter - another soul whose time was too short among mortals. It is how I want people to remember me when I have gone, and I hope that those who did know LK in life will think it a fitting eulogy to her. It's my little eulogy, from one writer to another.

Come, lonely hunter, chieftain and king
I will fly like the falcon when I go
Bear me my brother under your wing
I will strike fell like lightning when I go

I will bellow like the thunder drum, invoke the storm of war
A twisting pillar spun of dust and blood up from the prairie floor
I will sweep the foe before me like a gale out on the snow
And the wind will long recount the story, reverence and glory, when I go

Spring, spirit dancer, nimble and thin
I will leap like coyote when I go
Tireless entrancer, lend me your skin
I will run like the gray wolf when I go

I will climb the rise at daybreak, I will kiss the sky at noon
Raise my yearning voice at midnight to my mother in the moon
I will make the lay of long defeat and draw the chorus slow
I'll send this message down the wire and hope that someone wise is listening when I go

And when the sun comes, trumpets from his red house in the east
He will find a standing stone where long I chanted my release
He will send his morning messenger to strike the hammer blow
And I will crumble down uncountable in showers of crimson rubies when I go

Sigh, mournful sister, whisper and turn
I will rattle like dry leaves when I go
Stand in the mist where my fire used to burn
I will camp on the night breeze when I go

And should you glimpse my wandering form out on the borderline
Between death and resurrection and the council of the pines
Do not worry for my comfort, do not sorrow for me so
All your diamond tears will rise up and adorn the sky beside me when I go

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

del Toro Dreams, and Monstrous Things...

So I had this random dream last night wherein Guillermo del Toro was making a movie out of Evernow. *pauses to catch breath, even though it was just a dream* Either you will think that del Toro turning my book into a movie is the most utterly amazing thing ever in the existence of my little monster-loving brain, or you will not get it at all. Suffice to say that IF del Toro ever even READ (and liked) Evernow, I would go into paroxysms of ecstasy. Much less if he ever made a movie out of the book.

Truthfully, childlike adoration and gaganess aside, Guillermo del Toro is, for me, what the Great Masters were for the art world. He is a Master in his own right, able to transform the world around him with a mere word or touch. His mind is a doorway into as-of-yet unseen dimensions. But he creates these amazing windows for us so that we can glimpse those places. And he has this unreasonable gift for reaching inside you and grabbing emotions you didn't know you had. All of this while surrounding you with gloriously magnificently rendered monsters. Monsters that both horrify and entrance. My kind of monsters...

Aaaaanyway... the whole dreaming about del Toro turning Evernow into a movie really sort of got to me. I'm not at all the sort of person who imagines her books up on the big screen. I have no secret desires to be an actress (although stunt riding would be totally fun, and I do think it would be awesome to sit for like five hours and get turned into some sort of beastie) and I rarely ever think along the lines of 'what actor would play which character' in my stories. However, some actors were already in my del Toro dream, playing various roles. Who knows where dreams come from. Maybe in some alternate dimension, an alternate del Toro IS making an Evernow movie, and I managed to somehow glimpse it. Maybe I ate some rotten cheese before bed. Or maybe I'm just harboring secret desires even from myself. The point is, I've been up for hours and I'm still getting the shivers when I recall the del Toro dream and the movie based off a book that hasn't even landed me an agent yet. And I've sort of gotten this list together of what actors would play what characters. And at this moment, I don't care how silly it is. I don't care that it'll never happen. I don't care that it's all fantasy. I'm embracing it. So without further ado, here's a little line-up of my own casting, along with a little blurby on why I think each actor/actress would be great for the part.

First off we have Sarah Polley in the role of Evernow. I have loved her since Avonlea, and frankly I adore her to no end. There has never been anyone else in my mind who could capture Evernow's manners, strength and vulnerability. Although Sarah looks like the girl next door, she can certainly kick serious ass and yet easily captures the nuances of emotion and heart that elude many actresses.

Next up would be Evernow's counterpart, partner in crime and devoted best friend, Clara. Although she's smothered in self-doubt and insecurity when they first meet, Evernow immediately sees a strength within Clara that will not be denied. Kristin Stewart is SO much more than vampire candy. She has the scope and depth to portray a girl who feels that her own identity is a burden to others, but who over time grows into herself and realizes that life is to be seized by the gonads.

What else can I say about Kevin Durand besides YUM? I mean, really, that's all there is to it. But if I have to, I can add that it's going to take a big guy all around to stand up to Evernow when she's pissed off and Kevin Durand is a guy who could look decent doing it. Good-hearted but dominating Tank is the warrior who first decides to take Evernow into the settlement where she meets Clara. Although Tank and Evernow never do see eye to eye, their relationship is a hippo-dance of respect, intimidation, and trust, with neither willing to give over to the other.

If I didn't have a character that was perfect for Doug Jones, I'd write one in just for him. That's how much I love him. He is the most gracious and gently mannered celebrity I've ever had the good fortune to met. This picture was taken at Dragon Con (yeah I'm wearing lingerie. And horns. What can I say? I mean, it WAS Dragon Con) Anyway, I'm sure that Doug doesn't remember me (unless he has a thing for horned 50's pin-ups...) because he meets hundreds of fans every year. He knew he wouldn't remember me the moment he met me. But he acted like he'd known me for years. He thanked me for wanting to see him, for waiting to see him, for supporting him as an actor. He told me that people like him wouldn't exist without people like me. I even got a hug. A really good hug. Doug understates his own abilities, citing good writing, good directing, good co-stars. But the truth is that Doug is an utterly amazing actor, and he is unquestionably my number one pick if I could choose anyone in the world to portray the Fey character of Shade in Evernow. It's hard to describe Shade's character without giving away too much, but suffice to say, that if you want someone to play a pivotal, vital, inhuman character, you need an inhumanly gifted actor. Doug Jones is the man for the job.

Uriah Amberton is an irrepressible charmer. You can never be sure if his cocky demeanor is a put-on or a warning of what lies in store for anyone who crosses him. As different from Tank as day and night, easy-going Uri usually lets his Tank lead the way. But there are shocking secrets in Uri's past. Luke Goss stole my heart the moment I saw him in Blade 2. Then he won my undying adoration as Prince Nuada. He's played many other roles and done a wonderful job in them all. But Nomak and Nuada have always stayed with me because in both cases, Goss portrayed honestly bad bad guys but they were bad guys that weren't JUST bad. They were characters that did awful things, but did them because of deep underlying reasons. In Nomak's case it was revenge for a life of agony, a life that had been created solely for someone else's benefit. In Nuada's case, it was out of love and the desperate devotion to his dying people. They were bad guys who had suffered bad things at the hands of others, not just mindless thugs. I need someone pretty and completely confident for Uri's part, and Goss fits the bill perfectly.

Michael Christian is maybe one of the most complex and chameleon-like characters in the story. Again, without giving any spoilers it's hard to articulate the entirety of Michael Christian's character, but Paul Bettany could nail him, and that's all you need to know. He's the sort of actor that can convince you to love him in one sentence and loathe him in one glance.

Elliaer is a young Fey boy who becomes Evernow's confidant and devoted companion. Although he and Evernow met under violent circumstances, Elliaer sees the goodness within her and readily offers his friendship to her. Just as she has never cared that humans are supposed to hate Fey folk, Elliaer has never cared that he should hate humans. Alex Pettyfer is a rising star who has both the looks and the skill to make it in any costume or character. I can't wait to see him in Beastly!