Monday, November 5, 2012

A Post About Posts I Hope To Write Soon...

It's been closing in on two months since I last posted. I know this. I'm struggling to fix the problem. A great deal has transpired in those almost-two-months. Some of it good: Sirens! Some of it bad: The indomitable Mrs. Hitchcock (whom I've worked for for the last 13 years) has departed this realm to raise Paso Finos in the afterlife, and the farm is in flux.

It's all a lot to take in. My writing has been only a flickering candle in the shadows of life. More rewriting that creating. But I'll take every little bit of happiness I can find. Queries are at a standstill right now. I'm working, though, to get some out into the world soon. Contests have been completely forgotten. I'm stalking a few of those now too, but I'm being careful not to get too involved with them because right now doing nothing is much less stressful, in some ways, than trying and failing.

So, in the future, I hope to write some posts about everything that's happened, both the good and the bad. Bear with me. I don't want to lose this form of connection, but sometimes, the cyber world must be supplanted by the more immediate world. I'm still on Facebook, as it's terribly easy to just drop in and throw out a status rather than write an articulate post. But I do intend to reappear here. Until then, take care everyone.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Mormon Diaries Blog Tour!!!


I am happy to be able to participate in this blog tour, though I apologize that this post is more standard issue than my usual blathering silliness. Great deal going on right now, and so I'm running low on steam. So without further ado, I give you some lovely Q&A with the author of the Mormon Diaries, Sophia Stone along with blurbs and publishing information linkies below.

Some Q & A with Sophia Stone:



1)  What does the ornament on the cover stand for?

      As a child I was taught that the only way I could experience true joy was by living the Gospel of Jesus Christ as found in Mormonism. The ornament is symbolic of that joy. Or, more particularly, what I feared I'd lose if I ever stopped believing in The Church.

2) Why did you hid your faith struggles from those closest to you?

     I was afraid my faithful Mormon family and friends would think me either prideful or influenced by Satan if I admitted to doubting The Church. There's a common phrase faithful Latter-day Saints use to explain away uncomfortable issue: "The Church is true. The people are not." Those who leave the church are often labeled as angry, easily offended, prideful, lazy, or deceived. There's no good reason to doubt, no good reason to question, no good reason to stop believing. Faith yields loyalty and obedience.

3)  How do you build relationships with people who think you are broken?

    Oh, man, I wish I knew. Honestly, it depends on how important their Mormonism is to their identity. Those who are capable of accepting my brokenness without trying to fix it are easier to have relationships with than those who work extra hard to fix me.

4)  How has writing about your struggles helped you?

    There's a saying that writing is cheaper than therapy and I can attest to that. There's no time limit on how long I can type away on my keyboard when I'm having a bad day. I don't have to worry about the paper judging me. Plus, it's helped me to put things into prospective.

5)  What kinds of reactions have you had from your Mormon author friends?

    This has been similar to my family response - lots of condemnation, lots of avoidance, lots of judgement, and lots of gratitude. Yes, I know, it seems odd that I'd hear gratitude from LDS author friends who are faithful to the church. But apparently there are people who struggle in silence, unable to tell a soul how they feel without losing those most dear to them. That's the reason the Disaffected Mormon Underground (DAMU) exists. It fills a palpable need.

6) Who should read your book?

    Anyone who wants to understand Mormonism. Please don't misread that to mean my book is factually perfect. It's not. It's based on my experience, and everyone's reality is different. But I stand by my claim that people who leave Mormonism are often in an isolating place. It's hard for an orthodox believer to understand why anyone would leave. It's hard for those who've never been Mormon to understand why leaving is such a big deal. To both these groups, I'd say, "Please read this!" Understanding is vital.




Below is a little bit about Mormon Diaries, and what people are saying about it:

The Book
Brought up in a religious home, Sophia believes the only way to have a forever family is by following church leaders and obediently choosing the right. She goes to the right school, marries the right man in the right place, and does the right thing by staying home to raise her children. But when she starts asking questions about grace, love, and the nature of God, she realizes her spiritual struggles could rip her family apart.
The Blurbs

“Sophia Stone has a fine eye and a searching heart. Her story of growing up in and reaching through her Mormonism for a deeper, more authentic spirituality reflects all the ways that religion can both keep us satisfied with easy answers and push us to more difficult and complicated realizations. We need a hundred more books like this one . . . “ –Joanna Brooks, author of The Book of Mormon Girl

“Sophia Stone captured my attention from the beginning. This collection of personal essays, about questioning the legitimacy of Mormonism after having faith in the religion for the first 30-something years of her life, is not just a controversial quake to a reader’s heart and soul. Stone’s voice is brave, bold and intriguing. And surprisingly relatable to someone who is not religious.”—Jessica Bell, author of String Bridge


And here's a link to the book trailer:




And where you can buy Mormon Diaries:


Barnes and Noble:


Amazon

Monday, September 3, 2012

Questions, questions, and not an answer in sight....

So I've been back from my vacation for two weeks (TWO WEEKS?!?!?!) and I've totally failed to get a post up. There are multiple reasons for this, some of them valid, some not.

Mostly, the reason I haven't managed to post, is because I've been really working hard on a new project (one which, in unusual fashion) doesn't even have a working title yet) and I'm having trouble fracturing myself and my time between writing and anything else. Of course, working on a new project is AWESOME. Except, at the moment, it's sort of not.

See, I've arrived at this strange point in which I find myself questioning EVERY LITTLE THING I write. I'm not talking 'oh, why would they run into the gaping mouth of a dragon, I guess I'd better come up with a good reason for that to happen' sort of questioning, either. I'm talking 'I know where this story is going, what it's going to say, who it's going to follow and what they're going to go through, but does anyone out there want to know what happens? Will anyone anywhere ever care?' sort of questioning things.

It isn't good for moral. I know that the number one piece of advice that everyone is going to give me is 'Push through it.' I KNOW THIS. I should be able to push right through. But it's not always that easy. I've always been able to laugh at myself in my life when things turned out 'differently' for me than they did for other people.

I was never asked to prom. Never really cared if I got asked or not. Went with a friend one year. Went with my dad (yeah, you heard that right, I am SUCH a Daddy's girl, so he walked me down the 'Senior Walk' for my senior prom. And believe it or not, I've had girls tell me since, that they wish they'd gotten their dads to do it too) And both at the time, and looking back, I always laughed. Made jokes that I'd be that I'd be 'that girl' who carried her man over the threshold. Etc and so forth.

I didn't go to college, and I still live at home. When I chose not to go (and instead to work here on the farm) and never moved out, I had to deal with the stigmas that went with having no college education and living with ones parents. I laughed at all the associated jokes and even made up some (when my dad introduces me to a stranger and they ask where I live, he tells them that I'm the loyal daughter who's going to push him around in his wheelchair, to which I always add 'and maybe down the stairs') Fast forward to now, and more than one friend has graduated college, gotten 'good, real' jobs that they've hated and quite and several have moved back home to save money while others have lost parents and wish they'd stayed longer and enjoyed them while they could.

In short, there are a lot of things I've done in life that most people don't consider 'successful' but that I don't regret because I'm happy and those around me are happy. I've never cared about 'almost' making it, or 'almost' winning something or 'almost' being the best because I was always happy with what I accomplished. And, in truth, it never crossed my mind that I COULDN'T make it, or win it, or be the best. Eventually.

Which leads me to now. And my ever-growing list of agents who have told me that my writing is 'almost' good enough for them to offer, 'almost' different enough to be super catchy and marketable 'almost' awesome enough to be snapped up. I understand how great it is to get any personal feedback. I really REALLY do. But it doesn't turn something that's 'almost' good enough into something that 'IS' good enough. I don't want this to come across as a ranty, whiny post. I'm just trying to articulate my very convoluted feelings on where I am in my writing journey at the moment.

When I first started getting 'almost' rejections, I was elated. People liked my writing enough to comment on it. And I squirreled away every single word, analyzed it and utilized it (sometimes getting second opinions to be sure it was sound info, not personal tastes) and my writing improved by leaps and bounds. I kept writing new stuff. Stuff that was better than the first project that garnered so much attention. Aaaand, I got almost (in comparison) no interest. Lots of form rejections. I stopped querying everything, and went to work revising, both projects, entirely rewriting a lot of the first one. I started querying again. Got several requests for the first (dystopian) and several requests for the second (contemporary) all of which ended in rejections.

The thing is, except for one rejection from an editor, which listed several issues concisely, all of the rejections listed things like 'dystopian is a hard sell right now' (right after glowing compliments on my writing) and 'Nineteen is older than I like for YA' (which must be code for something other issue because I could (and would) change a guy from 19 to 18 with only minor tweaking if it meant a possible agent, and that agent didn't offer that suggestion) or 'insert reason that doesn't have anything to do with the quality/marketability of my writing' rather than reasons that I can understand and utilize to continue improving my writing.

Which leaves me where I am. Questioning everything. Again, I know I'm not suppose to do that. But seriously, it's hard not to. And it's getting to be like a worn out joke. That girl who's ALMOST gotten an agent like two dozen times. That girl who writes stories that are ALMOST good enough to get published. So every time I write something, I find myself looking at it and thinking 'But is it worth my time? Will other people care about these characters? Will readers like a girl with red hair? Will they like characters who's name starts with 'R'? Will they think my bad guy is bad enough? Will they be repulsed if he's TOO bad?' because, honestly, some small region in my brain keeps telling me that it has to be something that insignificant that got me rejected, and even though I try to squash such notion, another part of my brain knows it really is possible that some rejections are just that silly. Which is where that infuriating term 'subjective' comes in.

Agents get SO many submissions, I have no doubt that if they read one which is good on all fronts but who has a mc who snorts when they laugh which the agent finds SUPER annoying, and then they read another one which is GREAT in some areas, but needs work in others, but has the BEST SIDEKICK EVER whom the agent adores, and the agent is forced to choose between the two manuscripts, they're going to choose the second one. Because hey, you can fix spelling and word count, but who can pass up a sidekick like that? Clearly the world needs to meet that sidekick. Meanwhile, the first ms is 'right' and likeable, but... well, if you find yourself saying 'but' then obviously, your heart is with that sidekick even though the ms needs work.

Does any of this make sense? I'm not eloquent like Kristin Cashore. She can write a post about something she's struggling with and it's just so damn pretty you want to read it over and over. I blather. In this case, there are so many things flying around my brain about this subject that I if I stood up right now, I'd probably walk into a plate glass window like a bird who's direction has been garbled.

The end result to all of this frustrated questioning and evaluating and hair rending is that I'm afraid now, that if I don't keep writing in every spare moment, I'm going to convince myself that this story is destined to be just 'almost' good enough and I'll stop writing on it. Already I've got several WIPs in varying states which I've temporarily abandoned for this very reason (one dystopian, one contemporary with fantasy elements and one contemporary) and I'm afraid this newest WIP will suffer the same.

Here's some parting questions though: If you got many 'almost' rejections on two vastly different works, with no definitive reason that you can address, how do you change your writing so that it surpasses 'almost'? Do you try to write something entirely different? Do you try to rework those 'almost' stories over and over? Do you push the boundaries of acceptable subjects and go for something way 'out there' in subject matter? Do you just keep writing exactly as you have been and just hope that the two dozen 'almost' rejections were all coincidences and there's no way all of those agents were bothered by something about your writing that they couldn't articulate?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Into the Sunset...

So, I've been lax about posting. Not because I haven't wanted to, but because life has been very busy and somewhat stressful recently, and posting on the blog was one of the things that fell by the wayside.

But there have been good things in amidst the craziness and stress.

I've got two manuscripts with editors. This is both exciting (they might like it!) and terrifying (they might like it!) for me, but I don't expect to hear back for some time, so I can pretend like the manuscripts haven't gone anywhere.

We now have another donkey. She's even smaller than JD was, and is somewhat of a rescue case, as the people who had her loved her, but had neglected to get her feet properly trimmed in over a year. Those of you who know about horses can imagine the 'elf slippers' she had, those who don't know what this looks like will be shocked when I post photos. The donkey has been dubbed Francesca, Fran for short. My niece Walelu is already enamored of her. Her feet were trimmed today, and though we're cautious because of the possible complications involved with such foot neglect, we're optimistic that Fran will be just fine.

And, finally, I'M ABOUT TO GO ON VACATION!!! Yes, that deserved all caps. It really did.

This Sat. I will fly out to Colorado, where dear friends will then haul me through multiple states in a camping, ranching, hiking extravaganza of fun, which will also involve Yellowstone National Park, among other adventures. TWO WEEKS of supreme escapism. I will, of course, be dragging my notebook along to write by campfire-light and in case of rainy days. I'll also have my phone, which sadly seems to be waning (I'm hanging on for the new i-phone 5) and my computer. But I imagine that both the phone and computer will be shoved under a car seat somewhere, mostly forgotten.

So if I'm not around, it's because I've hiked off into the sunset, searching for places other people haven't found. I'll find my way home eventually, not to worry. But I'll enjoy being missing while I'm gone.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Ponderings...

I try not to judge people. I think I do a pretty good job on the matter. I don't care if you went to college, if you're gay, if you're a soldier, or an artist who paints things that, on the inside, I hate, if you're Christian or Muslim or anything in-between, if you're politically opposite me, poor or rich, if you like me or not. I don't care because everyone's entitled to their opinion. Everyone is entitled to live life as they see fit. So long as it doesn't endanger or damage others.

But I've been doing a lot of thinking recently and I don't want to start some sort of horrendous debate where people say awful things and get mad and I end up deleting the post, but I have to get this off my chest.

During the recent tragedy in CO, at least one person who was caught in the line of fire did something horrible. He has admitted what he did to several news stations. In personal interviews.

In the middle of all the shooting, and the killing and dying, this man laid his 4 month old child on the ground, and ran away. HE LAID HIS 4 MONTH OLD CHILD ON THE GROUND AND RAN AWAY. At the same time, he abandoned his girlfriend and his 4 year old daughter.

Obviously people have reacted to this occurrence. Understandably, in a negative way. As much because this man has been interviewed on live television, and during the interviews, he readily admitted that he set the baby down because 'he was crying and I thought 'that gunman is going to hear him and come get me' and then he readily admitted that he got in his car and drove away from the scene, only returning when his girlfriend (who managed to reclaim her 4 month old son, and then escape with both children) called him. Meanwhile, the girlfriend had shrapnel embedded the entire length of her leg.

I have commented on several people's FB posts remarking on the actions of this man. In a negative fashion.

Here's the big kicker where I really get frustrated:

People have commented back on EVERY post, DEFENDING the man. With very high minded and self-important tones, these people snidely pointed out that we have no right to judge this man because we don't know what we would do if put in his situation. Besides the fact that I would like to snidely inform these commenters (although I have mostly refrained, because I don't want to look like an ass) that THEY do not have any right to judge ME because they neither know me, nor what I would do in that situation, I would also like to point out to them, that they are defending a man who pretty much threw a baby into oncoming gunfire. Let's think about this. THREW A BABY INTO ONCOMING GUNFIRE. But hey, it's okay, because, you know, the guy was terrified. And everyone knows it's okay to set your baby on the floor and bolt like a bat out of hell if you're terrified.

I understand that I have never been shot at in a theater. I also understand that I would die, DIE, to protect my niece. Or any other child for that matter. If I'm ever forced to prove this fact, I imagine you'll read about it in the papers. There are a lot of things you can't know for sure in this world. but some, you can. And I know that it is not, under ANY circumstances, okay for you to set a 4 month old baby on the ground in the middle of a shootout and leave it there. Period.

People who think what this guy did was acceptable just because he was terrified and the shit was hitting the fan need to also stand up and announce that they think it was okay for Nazi soldiers to help butcher millions of Jews because, hey, at least a portion of those soldiers were young, and their families were threatened with death if they didn't join the regime.

Right.

HELL. NO. Not 'right'.

Wrong.

On every level. Even if they did what they did to protect their families, that doesn't make it okay. One doesn't balance the other.

I don't go around saying every person who served under Hitler deserves to burn in hell. I wasn't there. I didn't have to choose between watching my family get killed and helping kill other people's families. And I hope to God I never have to. But I don't go around saying it's okay that they did what they did, because it's not.

I'm not saying that this man deserves to burn in hell. I'm not his judge. But I'm not going to smooth over what he did and say it's okay either. Because it's not.

There comes a time when you have to hold people accountable. You are the master of your ship. If you do something horrible, then you did something horrible. Heroes are the people who do what's right, what SHOULD be done, when there's no one there to see. And fiends are the people who, in that moment where they can choose between doing what's right, and doing what best serves themselves, choose the latter. If it's okay for this man to leave his children and his wife behind, why isn't it okay for firefighters to stand outside your burning house instead of saving you? There isn't a lot of wiggle room in this for me.

I don't understand, in a country where heroes reign in books and on the big screen, why at least some of the public feels the need to defend a man who was willing to sacrifice his 4 month old child to the mercy of a crazed gunman. I just don't understand that mentality. It's our job as human beings to protect each other. But not to make excuses for bad behavior. Boys not old enough to legally drink or even vote have fought and died for this country because it was the right thing to do. Not because they weren't terrified of dying.

Okay, rant over, and feel free to post a comment with your opinion on it. But I won't be debating this in crazy fashion. And if you're hateful, I will delete the comment, or even the entire post. I don't wish death and destruction on this man. I'm not on a hate campaign. I'm glad he and his family survived. And I hope they all have good lives. I just needed to post and this has been on my mind since the tragedy happened.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is that good men should do nothing - Unknown

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Critique My Query!

Okay, so I'm actually putting two query letters up, and I'm hoping it won't bite me in the butt. I'm still dithering between my contemporary YA and the dystopian for Daisy's contest, although the contemp is in the lead with the most votes, so I'm leaning toward it. Anyway, here are my query letters for both manuscripts.

Gone Missing Girl:

Dear Ms. Lawrence,

Ansel Whitetree isn’t the sort of guy to go looking for excitement. Being albino causes him plenty of turmoil as it is. But when he discovers a raggedy runaway hiding in his family’s book shed, he daringly offers to help her. And promptly finds himself tangled in a maelstrom of aftereffects.

Faced with a girl who won’t tell him anything about herself, Ansel gives her the unorthodox, if fitting, nickname of Catskin. Prone to panic attacks and acts of defensive violence, Catskin turns out to be as dangerous as she is fragile but Ansel knows instinctively that he can help her regain her sense of self. And since Catskin is terrified of hospitals, Ansel is her only chance for recovery. Although she remains secretive about her past, Catskin’s outlook begins to brighten and the bond she and Ansel already share blossoms into an attraction neither of them can deny.

Then an accident leaves Catskin hovering between life and death. Ansel is forced to make a hard choice: risk Catskin dying in anonymity or notify the family she’s been running from. Pressured by doctors, Ansel contacts Catskin’s estranged parents. But by doing so, he provokes a violent collision between the world Catskin was born to, and the one she now shares with him. And Catskin is the only one who can save both Ansel and herself from the fallout.

A lyrical Contemporary YA inspired by the fairy tale Catskin, GONE MISSING GIRL is complete at 97,000 words.

I have had five poems published in the anthology Poetry Pact 2011 (Volume 1) and several short stories published in the online magazine Underneath the Juniper Tree. In addition, I have had two non-fiction short stories published in the magazine ‘laJoie.

Thank you for your time and attention. I look forward to hearing from you.



Evernow:

Dear Ms. Lawrence,

Evernow is a girl with more balls than sense, grimly determined to live life on her own terms. For however long she can live in what’s left of the world. In a place where Fey creatures walk the land and humans hide in ramshackle settlements, things like survival are a gamble at best.

But lying low and having babies to repopulate isn’t on Evernow’s to do list. Neither is warring with the mysterious Fey folk. So she treads a deadly line between who she is, and who other survivors think she should be. Until the day she finds the one thing she didn’t know she was missing: a real friend. Clara changes everything for Evernow.

Then tragedy sends Evernow fleeing into the Wild where she would perish if not for the kindness of strangers. Fey strangers, who offer her refuge. A home. Although she misses Clara, Evernow can’t deny the happiness she finds among the Fey, nor the bonds of friendship and love that soon entangle her.

Trouble is, Evernow has never been very good at loving people. When she finds herself in a romantic quandary, she falls on old habits, again fleeing the confines of friendship and family. Her choice to run results in a confrontation between humans and Fey that Evernow could never have imagined. But sometimes within destruction, lies renewal. The chance for a new beginning. That’s if Evernow survives the mess she’s gotten her friends and herself into.

A dystopian YA, EVERNOW is complete at 87,000 words. It is the first book in a trilogy.

I have had five poems published in the anthology Poetry Pact 2011 (Volume 1) and several short stories published in the online magazine Underneath the Juniper Tree. In addition, I have had two non-fiction short stories published in the magazine ‘laJoie.

Thank you very much for your time and attention. I look forward to hearing from you.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Which One Would YOU Read???

Okay, there's an upcoming contest over at Daisy Carter's blog wherein for a window of time you'll be able to post your query and first 250 words of a finished manuscript. After the window of time closes, Daisy's amazing agent Tricia Lawrence will read all of the entries in the comments section and choose whichever she likes the most! So, here's my quandary: which ms to enter? To help me decide, I'm putting up the first 250 (rounded up to the end of the sentence) of each manuscript, along with information about that manuscript. Read both excerpts and then post a comment telling me which you think is the strongest. Other feedback is welcome. And I apologize if there's weird spacing or anything with the excerpts. Blogger is hating on me.


Entry 1)

Gone Missing Girl

YA Contemporary

I have never been that guy. You know, the one surrounded by adventure and covered in awesomesauce. That would be my younger brother, Ethan. But it wasn’t Ethan who found her. It was me.

It’s not like you get to pick and choose life-altering events the way you do socks from the bargain bin.

I went out to the book shed that night for a bottle of spine glue, but I didn’t bother to turn the lights on. So I didn’t immediately notice anything wrong. When I couldn’t find what I was looking for, though, I flipped on the overheads.

And suffered a mild heart attack at the sight of the little shrunken zombie standing just a few feet away.

The garish florescence accentuated the hollows of the its face, bounced off the jutting points of its cheekbones.

*Insert very macho scream here*

Okay, so really, I just yelped. Which I think is acceptable in a zombie situation.

And then the broom slid sideways, hit the light switch and left me stranded in the dim twilight of the Alaskan summer.

Great.

After several deep breaths I convinced myself that I had not, in fact, just seen a zombie in the book shed.

I turned the light back on.

Hello, in fact, zombie.

But it wasn’t.

It was just a girl. Filthy, tangled, rumpled and undersized, but definitely female. Definitely alive. Her mouth hung partway open, eyes wide, yet disturbingly empty. As if her entire body was deserted. Bereft of whatever it is that makes you who you are.







Entry 2)

Evernow

YA Dystopian

Life is so much easier without underwear. That was one of the first things I figured out. Since then, I’ve figured out a lot more. Like how to pee while holding a bow with an arrow nocked and drawn. In the Wild, you have to be able to do that.

That’s what I’m doing now. Crouching over a leafy sprig of creeper so 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 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.

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 is a silent one, trapped inside my mind. I’m too smart to speak aloud. Damn. Damn. Damn!

I stare at the leaf for a moment then toss it aside and pick up another. Same result. The last time I cycled 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.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Platform vs Writing....

So I haven't been around much recently in regards to blogger or facebook or any other social media thing, because life has just been busy this summer and what little time I've managed to corner for 'other stuff' has been devoted to either editing and query work or writing on first drafts (mostly Schneewittchen, but a little on Everlost and Kiss the Devil as well) and I've been feeling guilty about it. Guilty because I can't help but think that I'm losing some sort of position by neglecting the social media outlets, like if I suddenly get an offer to rep (not likely this instant since I only have partials out to a couple of agents, and although I'm sure they're super busy, it's been long enough that I'm going with a 'not interested' tone for them) I'll suddenly need that platform I haven't been building because I've been writing.

Then, randomly, as I was hurriedly scrolling through blogger while inhaling coffee at the barn this am, I saw this post by the lovely Rachelle Gardner about whether or not unpublished authors (in this instant, I am not counting myself as published, because I haven't be successfully commercially published) need a platform and how much time they should be spending on building one. It put me to ease about my lack of focus on blogging. So if I'm not around, or I just drop in and say silly random things, don't worry, I'm around. I'm just writing. And here's a little aaaawww for the day. My niece Walelu kissing Saida, my big nutter thoroughbred. This was the first time that neither one of them has been terrified of the other.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

This Will Be Random...

This will be random because I'm at work and I should be drinking coffee, but I'm writing this... and I'm writing this without having had more than one cup of coffee, so if it makes little or no sense, that's why. And if the font seems strange, well, it LOOKS strange, but I don't have time to bother with it.

Mostly this is just a post to prove that I'm alive, since the last post was a long time ago and very morbid. I. Am. Alice. See, that's a coffee thing. 'Alive.' is what I was going for, but I just ended up being Alice instead. Anyway, Alice or Artemis, either way, I'm also Alive. (Just so you know, I accidentally wrote Alice again, just then, but I corrected it because the amusement has worn off now) And I've been busy. Enough that my posting feel behind again. No surprise.

Here's what I've been up to:

Reading Crit partner's AWESOME stuff.

Working.

Working out (Jillian Michaels baby!)

Trying to write on:

EVERLOST the sequel to EVERNOW
THROUGH A FADING VALE my knewish project which is sort of a period piece with fantasy elements
SCHNEEWITTCHEN my dystopian retelling of Snow White

Waiting on pins and needles for *crosses fingers* more requests pertaining to the two items that I have out with agents right now.

And preparing for horse shows at the farm.

So that's why I've neglected the blog. Just because I was triaging life and the blog got shafted. But I intend to do better from now on. Or *try* to do better...

And on another *squee* note, please go check out the amazing and awesome Jessica Bell! She's an inspiration, an accomplished writer and musician, and someone I have a lot to thank for. In 2011 she started an online group to promote frequent poetry writing, and one of the results of that is an upcoming anthology comprised of poems written by those of us in the group. Now Jessica is offering a chance to win copies of the Poetry Pact Volume 1 on her blog. Trust me, I'm super excited to be involved with this, but I can't say enough about the talent of the other writers involved! Seriously, check them all out! They're fabulous, and caring and they deserve your support! And say congrats to Jessica while you're there because she's got lots great booky things going on right now!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Note About Tragic Things...





Something tragic happened today.

I got a call while at work.

It was my Dad.

HE'D just gotten a call from our neighbor.

Who had just found our donkey, JD, dead in the field.

There was no sign of a struggle, or obvious injury, no indication of illness. We had thunderstorms last night, but there were no close lightning strikes and I laid eyes on all four animals last night at 11:48. This morning when I left for work, I saw all of the horses standing around on one side of the field. It's true that I didn't see JD himself  this morning, because there was very thick fog, and he's small and grey. But our neighbors were around, and the horses were behaving normally.

Everything seemed fine until about 2:40, when they saw JD lying near their side of the fence. He was dead at that time. Thus ensued the phone tree, my terrorized drive home and the grim reality that my little Donkey'otae had crossed the Rainbow Bridge of his own accord and without informing us of his flight plan.

Because he was very small, I was able to thoroughly examine him, even rolling him from side to side in search of an obvious injury or cause of death. I found nothing suspicious. All this time, the three horses remained clustered in the run-in shed, watching from a distance, blatantly disturbed. They came out at one point, lining up to watch and blow in uneasy confusion and then retreating to the shed again. We had JD's grave 3/4 dug before they ventured out into the field and began grazing.

In the very end, the only mark we ever found was a small scrape above JD's left eye. That, and the slightly irregular looseness of his neck, even after several hours when rigor should have been in place, leads us to believe that most likely, the animals were all playing (something that happened on a regular basis) and JD was accidentally kicked in the head. Or, perhaps, the four of them were standing close together and one of the big guys cow kicked (a sideways, outward motion) and clipped JD. Whichever, it was obvious that he died instantly and without suffering. Horses are incredibly powerful, even when they're playing, or acting in an unintentional manner, and sometimes they hurt themselves or others without meaning to.

Life is so funny, so delicate, that way. And always, it's unpredictable. We had JD for many good years, and while I wanted to have him for many many more, we just don't get to choose sometimes. Which is what makes coming full circle so hard. Because it's not our choice. We're just along for the ride, and sometimes it's a fun ride, but sometimes it's not. But it's life. Ebbing and surging.

I'm still rather in shock. Tomorrow will be worse than today, I fear. Because tomorrow, I'll have to get up and look at a field with three horses and no little donkey. Digging the grave today, will seem like a small thing by comparison. But the sun will rise. And I will be there to greet it.

Thursday, May 10, 2012



I've been awarded the Versatile Blogger Award! 
The basics of the award are as follows…I have to tell you seven things about myself. Here goes!
1. I have never truly cut my hair in my entire life. It's only been trimmed (like an inch or so) every few months.
2. Despite never having cut my hair, I did lose a bunch of it once when I fell while playing on a treadmill (I was 9 and invincible, okay?) Upon being shot off the treadmill, the wheel turning the belt sucked all of my hair into it. In honest truth, I would have been scalped if not for my 13 year old cousin Ian, who immediately (while all the other kids screamed in terror) ran to the wall and unplugged the machine. He's thirty-something years old now, and a viciously cool terror on the bike polo asphalt. And he's still my first hero.
3. I'm attending the Sirens Conference in October this year! Check them out and come see me! 
4. I've copied Christi's blog post she wrote when SHE got the Versatile Blogger Award (since she's the one who gave it to me) and I'm just altering the facts for me *laughs evilly* Now, go forth and witness the awesomeness that is Christi's Blog!
5. I carry a doll almost everywhere with me. His name is Scrump and he's a zombie doll given to me by a very good friend many years ago. You can see him in my profile picture. Come to Sirens and you can meet him in person. Seriously, Tamora Pierce thought he was cute enough to have a picture taken with him. Okay, really, we buried her under ALL the stuffed animals people brought to the Con (did I mention that Sirens is an awesome place to go for your first con? :) but Scrump was front and center. 
6. I broke our riding mower once by doing nothing at all besides steering it. The guy who came out to fix it said that the main belt had split right down the center, all the way around, and that in 27 years of business, he'd never seen that happen. I've never touched the mower since.
7. I work on a horse farm with four other girls. But since we're always covered in dirt, we have this absurd love of dressing up glamorously with high heels and taking pictures of each other. Like this one:






Here’s some more specifics about the Versatile Blogger award. If you are nominated you need to do the following…
  •  Thank the person who gave you this award.
  •  Include a link to their blog.
  •  Next, select blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly.
  •  Nominate those bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award
  •  Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.
So, I nominate the following blogs for this award…


Thursday, May 3, 2012

It Is What It Is, And It Ain't What It's Not






That title is actually a favorite saying of the main characters in my retelling of Snow White. I like the saying. A lot. Mostly because it's true, but also because although my grandmother (mother's mom) never said it, it's something I can *hear* her saying in my mind. She was hollow-born, up in the mountains, in a place where they said things like pohickery and neighbors helped neighbors because if they didn't no one else would, where five kids rode a borrowed mule to the neighbor's house to stay over when their own family ran out of food. That sort of thing. She came from rough stock. Practical stock. The kind of people who didn't waste time worrying about things that might be, or could be. They were people that left possibilities lying until they matured into something real, and meanwhile focused on what they had in front of them.

But I digress. The point is, some things are not about pondering what could be but dealing with what is. But dealing with what is, doesn't mean standing there staring at it, lamenting the fact that it is what it is, and not what you wanted or expected. Dealing with it means making the best of it. Like sneaking a read of Bitterblue while waiting for a vet who's late (can you tell what it did today:) or relishing the goosebumps a thunderstorm gives you, not because goosebumps are sexy, but because it's the thrill of something primeval out there, connecting with something primeval inside you that causes the goosebumps.

Of course, it isn't easy to simplify things like that when you're already upset, or had your hopes up, or are on your period (hey, you know I'm right. When else are you ready to run into traffic just because you dropped a glob of butter on the floor or burnt the toast?) but I think it's permissible to have an occasional whineburger and frenchcries so long as you remember the big picture, and that within that big picture, this one disappointing moment (or hour, or day, even) is just a very small fraction things.

So deal with that moment and go on. Because it is what it is, and it ain't what it's not.

And because I couldn't resist, I'll put up one of my favorite poems ever, one that I've loved even before it became so well known because of G.I. Jane.

Self Pity      By D.H. Lawrence



I never saw a wild thing
sorry for itself.
A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough
without ever having felt sorry for itself.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Zombie Days and Wide-Eyed Nights...

I'm drinking a CocaCola (does anyone beside me actually still call it that?) as I type this. And I had two Mountain Dews during the week, which is like, a soft drink record for me. Seriously, I do not drink sodas. Partly for health reasons, but also because doing so most usually results in window-shattering belches and that seems to appall everyone around me and often provokes references to my age and supposed maturity. I mean, better out than in, right? Shrek would understand. But I digress.

There was a reason for the mass consumption of soda. And that reason was INSANITY. Insanity of every imaginable sort. We started out shorthanded. It was just one of those things with moms needing days off to take care of kids because for one reason or another the standard childcare wasn't available. Add to that a load of hay (180 bales unloaded by four of us. Two of which are under 5'5". But we are so badass:) a sick stallion (he's 32, which translates to somewhere in his 90s in horse years) and a vet visit. And that was just Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday brought one more worker, but yet another sick horse, who acted like she was one the verge of dying, yet had no diagnostic symptoms to speak of. Another vet call. This one resulted in a lot of head scratching and sustained concern for the mare who was still quite convinced that death was near. To further complicate that matter, this particular mare makes Vivian Leigh look 'low key' when it comes to high strung dramatics. So it's virtually impossible to discern between when she *thinks* she's dying, and when she's *actually* dying.

It seemed like we might skin by, however, as the Vivian Leigh pony took a turn for the better and began acting like herself again. But with only minutes to go before 4pm, there was an incident at the main barns which to this day remains a convoluted mess of confusion. Considering just how convoluted the situation was, I make no inference as to who was at fault and what went wrong. All I know for sure is that at some point a normally docile and pusillanimous gelding suddenly decided to impersonate Mike Tyson and took a swipe at an employee's ear. Considering what can happen when a horse's teeth meets a human's face/head, the damage was minimal. The incident did nothing, however, to better the day.

Wednesday night, I got a text that the Vivian Leigh pony was maintaining her position health-wise. Then at 9ish, my phone rang. By the time I read 'Jefe' on the screen, I had one leg in my pants. Sure enough, Vivian Leigh pony had nosedived. Yet another vet call ensued (I could actually write another paragraph here about what happened between Jefe calling me and the vet arriving, but I'll leave you with 4 key words and let you imagine it all for yourself Panic Redneck Truck Mud) and by 10:30 it was clear that Vivian Leigh pony was going to get hauled to a clinic 45 minutes away that's set up for full surgery. Have I mentioned it was raining? Yeah. Just to add to the drama, you know. By 11:15 we were on the road. By 12:10 we were at the clinic for ultra sounding. The theoretical diagnosis was colic. In short, a stomach ache. But in horses, there's about a thousand things that can cause colic, and about a thousand things that can result from it. Including death. Plus, Vivian Leigh here wasn't presenting in any remotely normal manner. We left the clinic at 1:30ish leaving two frustrated vets shaking their heads (making a total of four vets who had seen the horse) and a 50/50 chance that Vivian Leigh was going to hit the operating table. Which didn't surprise us, considering that the pony had tons of painkilling/sedation drugs on board (the kind of drugs that are illegal for us to even hold the vials in our hands) and she was still putting on like she was being pecked to death by hens.

Back to the farm by 2:20something am. I got the news before I even got home from there, that Vivian Leigh was on the table. Managed to crawl into my bed at 3:40. And my alarm was set for 5:45. Woohoo. Plus there's Vivian Leigh under the knife to stress over. Sleep was... interesting. At 5:50 I got a text. Vivian Leigh was off the table with nothing terrifying found inside her and was on the mend. I'd tell you about Thursday, but frankly, I don't remember much of it. Friday was about the same. But I lived, Vivian Leigh pony lived and no one lost their ears. It was definitely a week of Zombies though.

And not all bad. I also got into the lovely Ruth's contest and then later found out that I'd won through to the 'free pass round' I also found some more contests I plan on entering. And I managed to find, and then enter the Bring a Friend to Bordertown contest. LOVE me some Bordertown!!! So, all in all, I can't complain. But just the same WHEW I am glad that week is over with.

Now, back to editing and writing...

Monday, April 16, 2012

Bring A Friend to Bordertown!

Out There Twin -


I had to work nine hours in trade to get this out to you. But really, it was worth it just to see that pretty boy with the pointy ears wince whenever I lowered the needle. Tough elves my asshole. I got a guarantee of delivery out of the deal too. Who knew elves would be so damn gaga over tats that move around in their oh-so-perfect skin? Pretty Boy's in for a surprise if this letter don't reach you though. I sort of withheld the fact that my tats listen to me if I take a wanting to order them around. I'll have that twining ivy ink choke the shit out of him if he crosses me.

And no, I ain't mentioned that it's my blood in the ink what does it. Or that your blood will reverse things. And no, he can't read this letter. Can't nobody read it 'cept someone with my exact DNA. That's another little trick my nine hours bought me. Now stop mouthing questions to yourself, like I know you are, 'cause I got a cap on how much I can write so I gotta say this while I can.

You gotta come. Shit, I feel like I'm talking to me before I got here. Bordertown was made for us. Us before. I know, I know, you got Him now, and that little kneebiter. But you're just gonna have to bring them with you. She'll make it through fine. She ain't old enough for suspicion and judgement to slow her down. Unbelief ain't had time to root inside her yet. He'll make out okay too, I guess. After all, He survived getting passed me to marry you, didn't He?

Point is, you gotta come. Because I feel like a dragonfly with one wing broke off. Always listing to one side and going on anyhow but knowing something's missing. Folk here are good and bad alike. And some are right between, grey straight through. You don't know which they're gonna be what day, not until you look them in the eye. But Bordertown is a fine place to be, even when things are tough. Better than all that everything that's so much nothing out in the World. Here, a deal is a deal, even if it's tricky-made and giving your word on something means a hell of a lot more than just flapping your gums. In Bordertown, there's no room for people who ain't living in their lives. No room for people who don't have the guts to claim themselves. You either are here, or you ain't.

But you gotta come, 'cause I feel like only half of me made it. And like I said, in Bordertown, you're either here or you ain't. There's no room for halfway. Which, I guess, sort of makes me an impossibility, since genetically I'm here as me, but also Out There as you. Anyway, get here. I'll know when you arrive, just like always. So don't worry, I'll find you.

- Bordertown Twin

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Absurdity is the Fountain of Youth...

This is a random post, written just so I could say that I posted and it has been formatted to be produced in the most absurd (well most absurd I can manage given the time frame that I'm sitting at work drinking cold coffee with ponies screaming their grass-munching heads off because they're still trapped in their stalls) way possible. Actually, cold coffee or not, I think I've had too much caffeine, or that my hair is braided too tightly, or that possibly I strained a muscle in my brain (although it's really my bum that's sore right now) working out yesterday (buns and thighs, thank you Jillian Michaels) because I am totally frizzed out and amped up. A stark change from my forlorn moping yesterday. But what can I say, I'm Italian and we're extremists in emotion. You know, all hair-rending one moment and then hugging and cooking meals for a thousand people the next.

And speaking of cooking, I'm proud to say that I am STILL ALIVE even though I've been gluten free (98% anyway) for a few months now. I still stand in the bakery section in front of the croissants and sob on occasion though.

In other news, the Boy who I once chased around the house in order to change his diaper has made it through Parris island and graduated Private First Class. Ooo-rah! (and yes, that's how you 'officially' spell ooo-rah. The Boy told me so. Apparently, hoorah is Army. They like to copy the Marines. Pesky Army boys. But I shouldn't get that rivalry started... 'specially not considering that I come from a long line of Sailors myself...)



Here is the Boy for your viewing pleasure. I think he's a cherry myself, but then I watched him grow up. Which sort explains my opinion and at the same time, makes the opinion sort of creepy in a slightly Cougar way...










Okay, so I'd better go. One pony is now hanging halfway out of her stall window and my coworkers are all giving me the kind of looks that Napoleon Dynamite suffered in the school hallways. Meaning I'd better either start up a bitch'n dance routine (I do NOT dance as well as ND, just to warn you) or get off my duff and go wrangle a pony.

But I'll leave you with this: Be absurd today. I mean really absurd. Life is too short not to be silly and laugh.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Hunger Games Hangover...

***SPOILER ALERT*** If you haven't read the books/seen the movie, you might want to not read this post because I'm just talking about things without concern for plot spoilers.



















Whew, that took a lot of effort to write since I've only had like 5 sips of coffee and I'm SO tired...zzzzz...

So, we went to see the Hunger Games last night. I wanted to see it sooner, but I'm housesitting which means taking care of more ponies and dogs and cats even than usual, so it took some orchestrating to manage a movie night.

Anyway, we saw it. And, I liked it. Liked. It. Of course, I'm a 'the book is SO much better' girl, and it's really hard to impress me with movie adaptations of books I already love. But, overall, I thought the Hunger Games was a good movie-ized version of the book. I did have issues though, and I'm leaving the comments open (so many reviews of the movie that I've read have closed comments, which is fine) because I want to know if other people were annoyed by the same thing (no, none of my issues have anything to do with anyone being black, white, or green, or any of the surrounding drama that seems to have sprung up around that subject) or if they thought things that bothered me weren't so bothersome to them.

So here goes:

Gripes

1) District 12 was just too CLEAN for me. I'm sorry to be that picky, but I've spent a large part of my life in a coal town (mother came from there) and even though no one in my family worked in the mines, the coal dust was EVERYWHERE. I'm not joking. If you had the windows open, any tables/furniture near them would be coated within an hour or two with fine dust. You wouldn't see the layer until you touched it, then you'd get a skim of black on you. My feet (we went barefoot constantly) were perpetually coated in thick black, and there was a pan of water by the door to rinse them before going into the house. And this wasn't like a shanty town perched at the entrance of the mine. This was just the reality of a coal town where coal was the primary source of heating, where trucks and trains passed through and were loaded for shipment. So they could have done better there. But it's probably a personal annoyance, and it doesn't detract from the movie at all.

2) Kaniss's hair, always hanging in her eyes. I gather that it was a way of 'framing' Jennifer Lawrence's face, but it was very unrealistic for me, just because I've got long hair and I'm outside working, and THE most annoying thing EVER is having a wisp of hair in my eyes/face. And with Katniss being a bow-user, it just felt wrong for her to have crappy bangs dangling everywhere and constantly needing to be pushed aside. I don't think the real Katniss would have the patience to deal with it. She'd be more likely to cut the bangs off at her scalp to get them out of her way.

3) Sober Haymitch? Now, Woody Harrelson was AMAZING as Haymitch. Epic love. However, I felt like the 'powers that be' toned down Haymitch's drunkenness in order to keep to a PG13 rating. (I have other gripes regarding this) I 'get it'. PG13 reaches a much larger market than R, and is much more 'YA friendly' in a marketing sense. But it bothered me. I was really looking forward to Harrelson's portrayal of Haymitch falling off the stage and presenting himself as a walking disaster in general because I knew Harrelson could pull it off spectacularly. Yet, he came out muted, with only glimpses of Haymitch peeking out from a very PC version of the tortured sot he is.

4) The 'wounds'. I say 'wounds' because, well, for me they were 'wounds' like you saw in Gunsmoke or Wagon Train, where someone shot someone else and the injured person doubled over, clutching their stomach and died neatly, with no blood, or maybe a small red spot. I'm not saying that I wanted gore sprayed across the camera lens (like in 300) but honestly, I had to withhold giggles when other audience members made gagging sounds at the two inch diameter bubble on Katniss' leg that was supposed to be a gross, agonizing 3rd degree burn. Sorry, I've HAD a 4inch diameter 3rd degree burn, and it did not look anything remotely like that. Mine had fried blood vessels sticking out of it. Seriously. Now, Lawrence did a great job portraying what that 'burn' FELT like. I found her reactions and the way she moved with it very realistic. But visually, no. And leaving the pant leg like that? Rubbing on the burn? With the melted edges of the material scraping it? Never. Ever. They could have had her cut the pant leg off, or make a bigger hole. Or something. The same goes for Peeta's gihugant (supposed to be, anyway) cut on his leg. Again, I'm sure all of this tempering is for public consumption and the PG13 rating, but I'm sorry, Peeta's leg was practically severed and it half rotted off by the time they escaped. Let's face it, the Games were gut wrenching and AWFUL in the book, and in the movie they were, well, not.

5) The whole thing felt rushed. Rushed in all different ways. I know you can't very well take a book and translate the entire thing into script, but I think they could have made the movie a little longer and spent more time with various aspects. I mean Rue, for example. Rather than fleshing out her shy reserve and how she and Katniss connect, they have several pictures of Rue hiding behind something or peeking out from somewhere. So we get: Rue is small and shy. And randomly, she likes Katniss, even though Katniss is rough and scary. Uh, right. There is so much MORE to their relationship and it wouldn't have taken a huge deal to show it. And the fact that they didn't even show the rest of Cinna's team, many of whom cared for Katniss in a very personal and supportive way annoyed the tar out of me. There were a scattering of things like that where my editor brain kicked in and started going 'They could have cut out X and put in a 2 minute scene between K and F and shown Y by doing it.' Which leads me to the second rushed sensation. I sort of feel like the movie was on a schedule or something and there was a 'we'll shoot this and if we get the shot, great, and if we don't, we'll make it work anyway' mentality. Hard to explain but there were moments and sequences that were SO SPOT ON, with the characters and story, but then there were others (like Rue hiding) where the FIRST thing I thought was 'Oh, they took the quick easy route with portraying that'. It was almost textbook 'show' versus 'tell' movie style.



Now, so I'm not whining and critiquing the entire time:

Things I Loved Unreasonably About The Movie:

1) The cast. I thought they could not have done better with their casting choices. They were all totally phenomenal. And I can tell you right now if they choose to make the 2nd and 3rd books into movies and cast members change it will FAIL.

2) Lenny Kravitz as Cinna. Oh. My. Lord. Kravitz WAS Cinna the way I felt Cinna in my head when I read the books. There are not words to articulate how much I love his portrayal.

3) Harrelson as Haymitch. I AM OFFICIALLY TEAM HAYMITCH. And I hated Haymitch the moment I met him (in the books), but by the time we saw him on the train, my feelings were beginning to blur. By the time Peeta was peeling him off the floor for the second time, I was irrevocably in love with his tortured soul. So capturing my feeling of Haymitch was going to be impossible. I had high hopes though, when I saw who had been cast, and despite my quibbles with the not-so-much-drinking-being-drunk part, Harrelson rocked the house.

4) Peeta looking out the train window, waving at the Capitol folk as they arrived. He was SO FREAKING SWEET TEMPERED PEETA at that moment. It made me ache. The same goes for his interview with Flickerman and when he was talking at the dinner table about how his mother thought their District might win, but not because of him.

5) Katniss looking at that hologram of the forest, when for like 18 seconds, she thought she might be able to step through the window and just BE SOMEWHERE ELSE. Also, those seconds when she had to walk across to the Arena tube, get inside and then not panic and struggle when it began to rise and take her away from Cinna.

6) That moment at dinner when they were discussing the kids who train their entire lives for the Games, and Haymitch says they almost always win, but Effie points out that they stay in the same apartments, but they aren't lucky enough to be able to order whatever dessert they want, and Peeta and Katniss can, so isn't that lovely? And when she admonishes Katniss for having bad manners both after she thrashes Peeta and after she's shot her arrow through the apple in the pigs mouth.


So, to recap, the movie was a small little shadow in the presence of the book itself. But for all that, it did a good job of being what it was. The cast was great, the actors nailed their characters, even when inhibited by ratings. I'll be very interested to see if they make the 2nd and 3rd books. I'm not sure how that will work, what with the noticeable lack of grit and rawness in this movie that was present in the books, but it'll be interesting.

What about you? Have you seen the movie? What did you think?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

It Only Took Me Half A Month To Post This Time...

This is gong to be short and sweet because I'm backlogged like you would not believe as far as editing/riding/sleeping goes. I'm back into EVERNOW and the ms is changing in very good ways (EPIC LOVE TO MY CRIT PARTNER) and I'm constantly working on queries and the material to go with them for GMG. Daylight savings/fall back/let's mess with nature is screwing with me more than usual. But then, it might have something to do with the fact that I stayed up until 1:30 editing on 'fall back' night. Naughty me.

Oh, and before I forget, I managed to get into a contest! Okay, it doesn't sound exciting when I put it like that. But my entry made it through four readers and beat out 138 other entries just to get a spot in the 'agent' round. Now the agents are bidding with 'hands' of cards for various requests from the entrants. Or, at least, I'm *hoping* agents are bidding on my entry! Since there's 60 of us, and only 10 of them, anything goes. Anyway, hop on over to our three lovely contest hostesses and check out the entries!

Brenda Drake

Shelley Watters

Cassandra Marshall

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Out of the Tree, Back in the Car Again...

Okay, ten bonus points if you 'get' that title and where it came from!*

So, despite having lagged on posts here (you don't even want to know how far behind I am on LJ) and Dr.'s appointments (my divorce from gluten is still up in the air, I'm praying to my Irish/Italian ancestors to save me) being sick and working on writing stuff offline, I've managed to throw myself back into the querying game.

I sent out five today, two of them with sample pages *eats chocolate and prays for interest* I think it was harder this time than ever before because I dicked around and let myself get out of the flow. I mean there's a certain balance to the sending of queries, receiving of either requests or rejections, then the sending of more queries. Just like the great circle of life, the unbroken chain... wow, got a little high drama there... But you get my meaning. It was very strange jumping back into the pool again. I did an exaggerated 'run and flap my arms after hitting send' dance and I'm still googily over it.

But I'm also excited. Terrified and joyous. I've got other projects to work on in the meantime. EVERNOW has informed me that I was wrong, and her story cannot be wrapped up in a neat and tidy standalone novel and Beauty is quite adamant that THORNBRIAR could use another visit for more polishing. So I'll be far too busy to check my email... *pinches finger to avoid opening new browser tab, just to peek*

I'll leave you with the one memento I got from this year's 'winter which wasn't' in VA. I warn you, there are a few exclamations of curse words. Near death adventure and all that :)


video


*The title of the post is a reference to Jurassic Park the movie, where Alan is trying to rescue Tim from the car that's been thrown into a tree. Epic love for that scene.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Bad Artemis, No Doughnut...

That's right, no doughnut for me. I've been very naughty and haven't posted since God was a child. Okay, maybe it hasn't been quite that long, but still long enough to deserve a good swat on the bum. Not that I've been sitting around on my tuchus, doing nothing. Well, except for the week I was sick. But that was, like, two weeks ago, so it doesn't count for a lot. I HAVE been busy else wise. Just not with writing stuff. Which makes me sort of sad. And then what writing I DID work on, was this road-hog #shinynewidea, which as forbidden me from getting any 'work' type of editing/query stuff done. Mostly, anyway.

And then there's the fact that I've been forced into a starvation diet. Okay, okay, it's not *entirely* a starvation diet. Technically. See, apparently it is *possible* that all the joint issues I have over the years are not, in actuality, related to arthritis. At least not caused directly by it. No, apparently - at least based on preliminary testing - I may, in fact, have Celiac SPrue disease. Whatever that means. Uh, that was sarcastic. Being me, I've researched it and can tell you what it means. It means (if secondary testing, which I'll undergo later this month proves the diagnosis to be true) NO GLUTEN FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE!!! Which is where the second pun of my post title comes in. I really don't get a doughnut. Ever again. Unless I find a gluten free one. Or the diagnosis turns out to be wrong. Do you know how much gluten is in EVERYTHING? For an Irish/Italian girl that's like saying you can never wave your hands while talking again! No bread? I'm like a bread-free version of My Big Fat Greek Wedding! You don't eat bread? I'll fix you some biscuits. Biscuits aren't bread!

Okay, so, I CAN eat bread. But it has to be gluten free bread. Which is astonishingly hard to find unless you live beside a Whole Foods. I wasn't too surprised to find that because Americans (most of them) think flour that is any color but pristine white is 'gross' and 'contaminated' and 'looks wrong' virtually all flours contain 'enriched wheat' which in our country equates to 'genetically engineered wheat'. And that, at least in some studies, seems to be what causes a lot of the autoimmune reactions to gluten in people with Celiacs. There have been reports (though not studied in depth) that people with celiacs who vacation in Europe and consume 'old world' species of wheat, which have not be genetically altered and are pure strains, do not have any reaction to the gluten in those strains. But there is no scientific proof of that yet. At least, as far as I know. And I'm still learning. Maybe for nothing if the second round of testing shows that I don't, in truth, have Celiacs. But at the very least, I'll come out of it more educated.

ANYWAY, I promise that I will do my best to update my blog on a more regular schedule. I'll be sending out queries again soon (this time on Gone Missing Girl, formerly known as Amarok and the Gone Missing Girl) so I'll have that adventure to relay to you. Plus, until the end of the month, I have the saga of the gluten-free Irish/Italian twit to dramatize, which I feel I ought to make as fun and ridiculous as possible. Thank you to everyone who hasn't unfollowed, or unliked, or defriended or whatever it is on Blogger, me because of my lack of posting. And I hope all of you are well. You might have said on your own blogs, but I wouldn't know, because that's another set of stairs I've fallen down. But it's also something else that I intend to rectify.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Brenda Drake Pitch Contest!

Yay, it's here! The first contest I've entered in 2012! For anyone who didn't know the contest was going on, you can check out the fun here. Feel free to join in!

Here is my entry:

Title: The Gone Missing Girl

Genre: YA Contemporary

Word Count: 101,000

Pitch: Nineteen year old albino Ansel isn’t one to go looking for excitement, until the day he saves a runaway heiress and gets tangled up in a real life fairy tale that’ll change his world forever.


I didn’t mean to find her. All I planned to do was retrieve a crappy book from the storage shed so I could cannibalize some of its pages for another book I was restoring. Instead, I found myself facing off with a deranged waif.

The busted hinge on the door should have clued me in, but that’s an oblivious bookworm for you. I was already plotting how I intended to rebind the book back in my apartment, not wondering why the door of the shed was broken.

Shoving my way inside, I cut to the right, heading straight for the box labeled ‘GerFairy’ which held double copies of the German fairy tale books in the bookstore. Even with the Coleman lantern, I didn’t notice her standing amidst the stacks of books at the center of the shed. Not until I happened to trip over a box and turned left to step around it.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I got a Blog Award! Aaaaand it's about time I posted anyway... *face of shame*




So this super awesome friend of mine who is both a talented writer and an amazing mom (you know who you are Christi:) gave me a blog award! And on top of that I reckon it's about time I put up a post... I mean, you know, maybe... since the holidays are over... and I don't have any excuse... *mulls over possible excuses* *finds them all lacking* and there's a bunch to say.

But first, there are all these 'strings' attached to this blog award thing... and here they are:

I have to tell you seven random things about me…

Then I have to:

Thank the person who nominated you
Share 7 random things about you
Share the love with your favorite bloggers
Put up the Versatile Blogger Award picture on your blog


So first and foremost, THANK YOU CHRISTI!!! Both for the blog award and for reminding me (with that tender sledgehammer) that I haven't put a post up in, well in a long time.

Alright, on to the seven things about me. I'll try and make them interesting and new...

1) I've written 8 books and have another dozen in various states of process. Among them 3 are/have been out queried/requested. Several are still very rough, and a few will never see daylight again. Ever. But I've learned something from each one!

2) I'm an aunt! Aunt Waguli, to be exact.

3) I'm really good at digging graves. Yes, seriously. Totally morbid, I know. And no, I've never dug one for a human. But I've buried many fur people and I can lay turf so as you'd never know what was beneath it.

4) I've never been on a date. Ever.

5) I have arthritis. So far, it hasn't stopped me from being active, but sometimes I have rheumatic episodes that make it hard to do anything, even hold a coffee cup. You can tell if I'm having one by the number of cuss words audible before the lights come on in the morning.

6) My whole back is tattooed. And I drew the design. 9 hours worth of ink.

7) One time I spent 4 hours playing Cambok in 90 degree heat. Think rugby. With a stick. In a corset. Did I mention that Cambok is a medieval game? And, technically it's outlawed. At least according to a 1363 edict. I know, I'm a rebel.


Now I get to pass this blog award on to:

Brenda Drake

Heather Kelly

Lydia Sharp

Matthew MacNish


And that's all, I'm done. Okay, the truth is that I'm so freaking behind on reading all the blogs I follow that these are the only ones I'm up on. And in fact, I'm supposed to be working on a pitch for a contest on one of these fine blogs... which I need to go do now, unless I want to fail epically. Which I don't. But I give you my promise that I will try very hard not to fall behind so far in both my posting and reading after this.