Wednesday, September 28, 2011

And I'm Off

So, I'm unplugging for the rest of this week and all of next week. My reasons are threefold.

1 - I'm running around like mad and am starting to forget what my laptop looks like.
2 - My birthday is on Sunday. *huzzah! Confetti and all that*
3 - We're taking the fam to Orlando for 8 days.

While I'm gone, you, my wonderful friends, have two assignments to choose from.
1 - build me a stasis pod. (I'd give you instructions, but there aren't any online. I checked. Just wing it.)
2 - leave me a comment saying what kind of Giveaway, Q&A, Contest, Writing Tips, whatever you'd like me to do when I get back.

Have a great week! I miss you already. ;-)


Monday, September 26, 2011

Are You Here Or Were You There?

Every book I've written so far has been in past tense. However, my shiny new project really screams to be written in present.

I'm going with it so far, but it's really been an interesting change. On one hand, it is very immersing. Everything is so, well...present. (Oh dear, I'm so so sorry for that.) I'm kind of loving it at the moment.

However, I've read books in present that I just couldn't get into. In some ways, it pulled me out of the story and actually had the opposite effect. I think it's hard to do it well, and I'm still working to figure out what went wrong with those stories.

So, here is my question for you, my brilliant friendlies: Which tense have you written in? Do you prefer one over the other? What strengths do you think each brings to the table? Do you prefer homestyle or curly fries? Chocolate Chip or Sugar Cookies? Do tell!

Friday, September 23, 2011

In Which I May Or May Not Rant

Lately I've noticed so many people telling everyone else what to do. I try to remain separate. Take my own path. And most of the time I do. But when I notice a growing trend with people in positions of authority or influence continually trying to convince newer writers that they don't have options, it drives me crazy. 

Now, of all times, writers have options. Yet all that I hear lately is:

~ Traditional publishing is the only way.
~ Traditional publishing is dead.
~ Self-publishing is the right path for everyone.
~ Self-publishing is always a mistake.

Here is the truth: No one should be able to tell you how to run your career. The only person who can make the right decision for you--is you. Take all the advice, then filter it out to the truth that makes sense for you. 

This is the only one that matters.

[end soapbox] 

Ahem...how about you? Any soapboxes you'd like to take a stand on today?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Getting My Groove Back

I know some of you are miraculous master-minds of the multi-task. I am in some ways, but writing method isn't really one of them. It can switch back and forth from day to day as necessary, but my focus remains buried in whichever one I'm working on at the time. When I'm writing, I'm pretty focused on that. I'm very fast and thorough at revisions, but I need to eat, sleep and dream it. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but what it does mean is that after doing several months of revisions and editing, I'm adjusting back into writing again...and it takes a little time.

For the moment, I'm working a bit on a new project that is deliciously dark and twisty. I'm a big fan of that, by the way.

The dark and the twisty = totally my thing.


How do you immerse yourself in a new project? Are you a multi-tasker or more divided, like me?

***edit*** Stop by the Ladies Who Critique blog and see my guest post on my fave revision tips!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Still My Hero

It's September, and every September I remember that I'm so lucky to have a hero in my home.

This is Kid A. He's adorable, awesome and brave. At 9 years old, he reads so fast and much that I can't keep up with him, he speaks Spanish fluently, can do a wicked Mexican Hat Dance, includes everyone in the neighborhood/city when he goes outside to play...

And he's had type 1 Diabetes for 3 1/2 years.

From the day we pulled him out of kindergarten, took him to the doctor, and then the hospital--to the day when we tried out a new needle for shots or a new insulin pump--he has been brave and tough. Tougher than a kindergartener should ever have to be. Tougher than I was, most of the time. Even through the tears, he's always had hope, faith and courage.

He is everything a hero should be.

Every fall he participates in a walk to raise money so the "smart men can find a cure". Every year he is in the list of the top 10 fundraisers in our state

He's incredible and he reminds me of everything I should strive to be. He is my hero this fall.

Every fall.

Every day.

Who is your hero today?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Unhealthy Addictions

Lately I've rediscovered an old, unhealthy addiction. It's called Slickdeals and it makes me want to buy things that I never missed and yet, at that price, I can't imagine living another day without it.

For example, I found a "Silk Capelet--in Black" listed on there for a great price the other day. Do I know what a capelet is? No. No, I do not. Am I fairly certain I need one, nonetheless? Yes. Yes, I am.

I mean, hello...it's in black. I'm quite certain I don't already own a capelet in black. Do you?

Another listing had a "22-Pack of Clif Mojo Bars--Variety Pack". I mean, the mystery is half of the fun. What exactly is a Mojo bar? What kind of Mojo does it give me? Am I lacking in Mojo? What, exactly, comes in this so-called "Variety Pack"?

So many unanswered questions! And the Candle Tumbler, the Fujitso Lifebook, the Logitech M260 Wireless Keyboard... ahem.

So, you know about my weakness...so spill. Do you have any unhealthy addictions you try to stay away from?

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Day My Arms Died


When we first bought our house, I spent all my time painting and trying to fix it up. In the first couple of months, we painted the entire house, by ourselves (including cabinets), installed new hardwood flooring, carpeted the stairs and replaced the light fixtures. Last summer, we trenched our yard, installed a sprinkler system, painted our siding, moved in 32 cubic yards of topsoil, seeded, poured a 10x10 concrete pad, & built a deck.

We worked hard and I was buff. I flexed my bicep and people two blocks away oooh'd, and aaahh'd -- okay, it was my 6-year-old and he does that on command, but still. I was tough.

Now, after taking only one year off from all the DIY amazingness, I did a weekend project. I decided to take a closet that was formerly used for storing tools and store food there. Now, my cleanliness standard for storing food is significantly higher than my husband's tool-cleanliness-standard. So, I emptied the closet, scrubbed it clean, primed and painted it...

and then my arms fell off. Or at least I'm wishing they did. Someone took my strong, buff arms and replaced them with gelatinous masses of goo. I'm pretty sure there aren't even bones in them anymore. They just hang there, limply, by my side. They are no longer good for anything but shooting pains up to my brain and out the top of my head.

As you can imagine, just propping them up enough to type this post took a feat of engineering. And that is how much I love you guys. That I hired a mini-crane, a.k.a. 9-year-old boy, to come lift, prop-up, and arrange pillows to make this post possible.

So, what did you guys do this weekend? Also, can someone lift up my Diet Coke?

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Highway Patrol Teaches Me to Break the Law

So, today I'm going to rant a little because, let's be honest, I'm powerless and frustrated and you are a semi-captive audience.




What? Yes. You are. Don't argu... Am I going to have to put you all under hypnosis again?!

Ahem...now that you've settled down. I'll tell you my very irritating & true police story that happened this week--a.k.a. "How to alienate people in under 2 minutes flat."

**Disclaimer** I have the utmost respect for the police, and this guy would've been a pain in the a** in any uniform.

On Tuesday, I was driving home from a city almost two hours away. I was in the farthest left lane on the freeway and the traffic was pretty bad when I noticed a sign that said my lane was turning into a carpool lane. I wasn't familiar with this city and didn't realize they had a carpool lane there, so I promptly tried to move over, and out of the lane.

The traffic was pretty tight and I slowed down a bit, but there was nowhere to get over before the lane ended. Ahead of me a bit was the only break in traffic big enough for me to move over into, so I sped up a bit, and moved over as soon as I could. I made it less than 10 feet after the lane had just turned into carpool with a solid white line.

Immediately, a highway patrolman showed up behind me with his lights flashing. When I pulled over, rolled down my window and he walked up, our conversation went like this:

Him - "Do you realize I can put you in jail for that stunt you just pulled?"

Me - stunned silence, followed by, "Stunt?"

Him - "Yes. You were in the carpool lane without having two or more people in the car, you crossed the solid white line, and you were speeding. That's a trifecta which equals reckless driving and I can legally take away your license and put you in jail."

Me - *blinks* "But, I was trying not to break the law. I'm not from this area. I didn't realize it was a carpool lane there and as soon as I saw the sign, I tried to get out, but the traffic was too heavy, so I sped up a bit to get into the only open slot and out of the lane.

Him - "You're going to kill someone. Or you're going to kill yourself. Which do you think would be worse?"

Me - *is speechless*

Him - *sighs* " Do you even have a license?"

Me - "Of course I have a license!"

Him - "Well, I'm giving you a ticket for speeding and a warning for being in the carpool lane because I'd rather give you a ticket than have to go to your house and tell your husband and kids that you're dead."

Me - *hands over license and resists the urge to add 'rolling window up on head of an officer' to my list of offenses*

Keep in mind: I was in no way unsafe. I have a completely clean driving record. I was actually trying to obey the law, and the only time I sped up was to get out of the lane (and even then I was only going 6 mph over the limit).

Here is what I learned from this experience:
1 - He couldn't see in the back of my van. I'd have been better off to stay in the lane until I could get out without speeding up because he had no idea if I was alone or not.

2 - I've gained a new appreciation for the old Judas Priest song, "Breaking the Law."

3 - I hate people who let the power of their positions/situations go to their heads.

/End Rant -- Anyone else need to get something sucky off their chests? Let's get it out of our systems so we can have a fantastic weekend!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Meme Quiz--In Which I May or May Not Sneeze

Am I totally crazy, or is that just like, the prettiest virus ever?

Okay...maybe I'm crazy...

So, the very entertaining Randy Lindsay tagged me in a Meme Quiz last week (which he compared to a virus and ever since then I've had an intense urge to sneeze...I blame Randy, but it could just be allergies). Now I shall go forth and answer the Meme questions.

Achoo.

#1 - What is your quest?

I would tell you, but then I'd have to kill you, run you over with my car, and then kill you again...because I'm thorough like that.

#2 - What is your favorite question?

What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow? (If you don't recognize this reference, you should go watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail immediately so I won't be required by law to have you flogged.)

#3 - Who is going to win the fast food wars in the future?

The one who starts giving away free e-books with purchase will get my business...so my guess? Starbucks.

#4 - What rock song should be your anthem?

Just one??!! Alright then, the first one to pop into my head is : Whip It, by Devo -- no, you really, really don't want to know why.

#5 - What published book, possibly a classic, would you like to rewrite?

Easy - The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. I mean, come on. Love, loss, betrayal, revenge, sword fights, twists, crazy old men, secret treasures...talk about a book that has it all!

Okay, so here is the deal. If any of you would like to answer these very entertaining questions, consider yourself tagged. The virus has spread to you! Now go forth and...post? And don't even start to pretend you don't secretly love Devo and Monty Python.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Cleo, the Secret Ninja Assassin


 This is my kitten, Cleo. She looks sweet and innocent. Who wouldn't love her? She's adorable, all cuddled up with every piece of electronic equipment in the house.


But she has strange habits, that I think can only mean one thing... 

Cleo, is a secret ninja assassin.


 She can find a hiding place anywhere...literally. Every time I think she's sleeping on the couch, I turn around and find her in a new hiding place.


Silently, she creeps around our house, waiting for an enemy to approach so she can jump out of a new spot and attack. Who she is waiting for, I don't know.


I can only say, I'm glad to have her on my side...
Plus, she's super cute when she purrs. ;-)

Happy Labor Day, my friends! And may you be safe from all kitty ninja assassins!

Friday, September 2, 2011

How to WorldCon in Style - Part III a.k.a. The End

So, do you feel educated about WorldCon yet? This will be my last posting, but I would be remiss to post all about WorldCon and not mention the amazing Brotherhood Without Banners. These were by far the most friendly and welcoming people we met at the conference, so today my post will be mostly about them and their sheer awesomeness.

For those of you who don't know, the Brotherhood Without Banners is a George R. R. Martin fan group. They have a forum that is 20,000 strong and an active and robust attendance at every WorldCon.

Also, they're SO MUCH FUN. So, back to our tips:

Tip # 11 - Read George R. R. Martin's (hereafter referred to as GRRM) A Song of Ice and Fire Series, starting with book 1: Game of Thrones (yes, the HBO series is based on this. Yes, these books are made of awesome). Really, this is a recommendation whether you go to WorldCon or not. And no, it is not a YA book and not really kid-friendly. Also, once you become a fan join their very cool forum and introduce yourself.

Tip #12 - Meet awesome people, introduce yourself, get pictures taken with them.

Cool Chair, Cool Girls, Cool GRRM...Just Cool
The very cool Lev Grossman, winner of the
Campbell Award with his Campbell Tiara...definitely the coolest part of winning.
The awesome Claire Brialey and her Hugo. Isn't it pretty? *pets*


Tip # 13 - Go to WorldCon and drool over the Game of Thrones' Throne of Swords.
Dude.

Tip #14 - Go to every party the BWB throw because there is a very good chance these will be the funnest parties of the week. (Again, may I recommend wearing corsets? As I said, always a good choice.)
Have someone else take your pic though, I'm not so good at it...

Tip #15 - GRRM attends all the WorldCon BWB parties. He is beyond cool. At the public party, GRRM holds a vigil and quest for any who want to participate. Vigil = stay up until 2am or so. Quest = go and get some specific local food that GRRM requests for the Lords and Ladies of the BWB and bring it back. If you succeed, he knights you. I can't say this strongly enough...DO this quest. It includes ridiculous amounts of fun.

Tip #16 - Go with very cool people, and play very loud music the whole way there. Yes, this is necessary. No, you shouldn't question me.
We were sent to find the "Awful, Awful Burger"
at the Golden Nugget in downtown Reno.

Tip #17 - Driving across Reno at 3am with a van full of people singing "Tonight, Tonight" by Hot Chelle Rae at the top of their lungs on a quest to find the Awful, Awful Burger in a strange city, and then standing in line with 30 other people at a tiny dive diner and hoping against hope that none of the local patrons grope you or anyone in your group = priceless.

Tip #18 - Now, I'm officially an "Awful, Awful Knight". Or, you may call me Ser Curlz, Unseen Knight of the Shade. Or just Ser Jenn.... or Hey You!...Let's be honest, I respond to anything, really.

Last and Final WorldCon Tip: GO! It is in Chicago at the end of August, 2012. See you there!