Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Follow the White Rabbit

Here are my top three pieces of advice this week, my friends (go read the links and I promise you won’t be disappointed):

1. Score Barton Moody as your tax guy. If you can, go in personally to see him because it’s such a treat, but if you don’t live anywhere near Salt Lake City he’ll do long-distance. So that means you.

link to original here


To all of the above I would add – writing is my gig but if something else is yours (art, music, design, dance, math, gaming, etc) these things apply to you as well. 

You may not be able to control other people’s reactions but you can control, to great extent, what you think and do. So create and experience life with that imaginary machete and be your most powerful you.

That, and talk to Moody.
  
And here's some magic from Daughter:

 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

300 Words or Less: Not so Simple

I feel like it’s been a little too long since I’ve done a “300 Words or Less” post. I miss them. So here’s something new, inspired by this

Not so Simple

Dark of middle forest. Man approaches, limping. Leans on tree. 

Bleached leopard crouches in limbs above. Shoulders pump, readying for pounce.

Thump. Man howls, grapples at muscle of albino snake cinching. Python purrs. Pulls tighter.

Loosens. Snow hare twists to avoid slice, bounding to ground. Man brandishes blade, menacing glint of steel.

Rabbit rears up, thunderous roar, white bear looms over bent man. 

Straightening man. Sneering man. 

“Come, wench, you’re wanted.”

Muzzle contorts into impossible, “No.” 

Paws fold into wings, into claws, into fingers.

Man cups fluttering gently, endures scratches calmly, links fingers fondly.

“I must insist.” Wraps pale shoulders with soft stoat cloak, not letting go.

“I must insist.” Delicate chin lifts, woman plants bare feet firm, unwilling to go.

“You are wanted.”

“But I don’t want that. You of all people know.”

Pained pause, double-sided. 

Pained look, “In you I confided…”

“Enough.”

“Yes,” eyes narrow, voice dipping to whisper. “Enough.”

Iridescent smoke wisps up. Woosh. Hazy hint of smile.

Long pipe, quick inhale. Quick tilt. Quick topple into green moss, eyes rolling back, nearly forgetting. Padding down tunic for tube. 

Quick, Man. Blow her inside.

Tiny fists pounding.

Apology unheard through thickness of glass. Thickness of apology unheard. 

Man withdraws from dark forest, no longer limping. All farcical. Pats pocket, grim half-smile.

But it’s never so simple, or easy, as that.

link to original here

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tags and Hops


Henna paused in her shuffling. “What’s changed?”

“I can’t put my finger on it. It’s hard to explain,” he nodded at her, “and you know my situation better than most.”

“Okay?”

 “Ever since my,” Wynn shifted in his chair and looked wary, “transmogrification, I’ve had these moments I can sense my brother. Especially when he feels things deeply.”

______________________________________

Above is my reply to a tag wherein you go to the seventh page in your manuscript, finger down seven lines, and then copy-paste the next seven lines. C.S. Moore is my tagger, whose new book Scars of the Earth has recently come out so go check that ASAP if you can. She’s getting some great reviews.

And then below are the answers to a blog hop from Sleepy Joe wherein you answer ten questions about what you have either already published, or are trying to publish, are currently working on, etc. Thanks to her and all those who have encouraged me along the way.
______________________________________

What is the working title of your book?
link to original here
QUIET AWAKENING

Where did the idea come from for the book?
It had a rambling, bumbling start here, though I had a general idea what direction it was trundling in.

What genre does your book fall under?
Fantasy, specifically Urban/contemporary

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I don’t know the names of enough current actors to really peg this one. I’d have to troll Google images for longer than I want to find the right pictures.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A retired assassin is forced back into deadly games of the Underground when she finds out the person she loves most will be martyred in less than 48 hours.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I’m going to try finding an agency for awhile. If I’m still down on my luck in a couple years (which might tell me a lot about needing to change my writing/story), I’ll look more seriously into the self-publishing route.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
The first draft? Four months. But then it took me eight months to get the manuscript closer to where I want.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampire Series; Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark Series (though without the intense intercourse scenes, and honestly I don’t know if this helps or hurts the marketability of my stuff); M.L.N Hanover’s Black Sun’s Daughter Series

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
Sariah lit the initial fire under my ass, but many people kept me going along the way including Saralyn, Kins, Megan, Alison, and I could go on.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
While this first book focuses primarily on angels and demons, the next ones will have a wider variety of characters including djinn, faeries, mermaids, and you’ll have to keep reading to find out what other creatures slither out of the woodwork.


Any thoughts sparked? Questions answered? And do you have a novel you're working on or trying to get published? Post your own version of the tag and hop, then link up in the comments so others can get a sneak peek at your stuff too.

 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Medicine Cabinet

I’ll be back soon. Meanwhile, here are a myriad of things for you to riffle your fingers through. Like a medicine cabinet. Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone you opened the mirror to look behind. See anything that surprises you?

Napkin drawings

  
Matisyahu sans beard


Promises made


Promises broken (original link)

 
Practicing for Thor's hammer


And what do you keep in your metaphorical medicine cabinet? Link it up and/or comment below.
 
 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Author Interview: Marianne Walsh

I'm not generally a funny person. I try sometimes -- which in its own way is a little funny I suppose -- but I’m not naturally good at it. I am, however, pretty good at pegging humorous people when I find them. Hubs has been making me belly-laugh from the first night I met him. The women in my writing group are so witty and sarcastic I always come away feeling a tiny bit high. And then Marianne Walsh is…well. Well. She's answered a few of my questions about her writing process and if you’ve read her stuff you already know the glory of her humor, so any amount of my prefacing would simply fall flat. If you haven’t read her stuff? Your new life starts today – here’s where you get started:
 
Marianne Walsh is a columnist, wife, and mother from Chicago.  Her writing appears in the magazine Chicago Parent, in the new book, Epic Mom: Failing Every Day a Little Bit More Than You, and in her signature blog We Band of Mothers.  Marianne has also been featured in The Wall Street Journal, on WGN-Radio 720, and on BlogHer.  She was voted one of the Top 25 Funny Mom Blogs for 2012.  Marianne holds a BA and an MA in English, and currently spends most of her free time wiping pee off toilet seats. 

Have you always wanted to be a writer? 
I had originally planned on becoming a nurse.  Sadly, “The Great Dead Pig Debacle” of 1985 put an end to all that.  It was dissection week for the 7th grade biology class.  Yet the moment they plopped poor dead Wilbur on my lab table, it was lights out.  The school staff scraped me up off the floor and granted me “conscientious objector” status.  I knew I needed a Plan B as far as future studies and career choice.  I opted for English.  No blood.  No pigs.  No problem. 


What made you sit down that first day and begin to write your book?
My co-author, Julie Harrison, emailed me:  “Wanna write a book together?”  I’m sure Rodgers & Hammerstein started out pretty much the same way.  Except for the email part.

What challenges did you have in the beginning, and how did you push past them to continue?
Insecurity, a short attention span, and three young children were big obstacles to overcome.  I decided to sacrifice sleep for a few months, and it worked brilliantly.  My own fears were a little harder to shake off.  I finally decided that I didn’t want to be that eighty-year old woman on her deathbed lamenting how she never took a chance or a single gamble.     

How do you balance writing and being a very busy person?
3 cans of Red Bull a day.  And Cocoa Puffs.
 
When did you know your writing was good enough? 
I don’t believe any writer ever feels her stuff is “good enough.”  Writing requires a knowledge of language, emotional subtlety, and the human condition.  Most writers are extremely sensitive and tend to absorb criticism, or even perceived criticism.  One must develop thick skin in order to keep at the craft.  When that fails?  I recommend calling someone who thinks you’re fabulous.  Like your mom.   

In all honesty, I actually do read each one of my planned columns to my mom over the phone before I turn them over to my editor at Chicago Parent.  If I can get her to laugh, I know it’s a good one.  If I hear her say more than once, “I don’t get it,” I know I need to start over.  Moms are the best.     

What gave you the courage to make your writing public?
Bailey’s Irish Cream.

Who do you write for primarily; yourself or your readers, and are there some pieces you work on that are for your eyes only?
My style of writing is definitely reflective of my readership.  I do not weigh down my essays with anything terribly controversial, deeply personal, or potentially divisive.  I feel my “job” as a humorist is to provide some fun, laughter, and commonality to the human experience.  Bob Newhart once pointed out that it would be ridiculous to create a rift in an audience for the sake of a single joke.  I am honored that my readership is so wonderfully diverse.  As a humorist, I am let off the hook for taking sides on serious matters.  While I certainly have opinions on such subjects, you will rarely see them in my writing.  Funny trumps all.  The other, more serious stuff gets hand-written into my journals.  Good luck trying to decipher those!  I’ve got the handwriting of a 1st grader.    

What would the top three pieces of advice be for those who are working towards getting published?
First, writers need to write.  A lot.  They don’t need to share every last word, but the only way to improve one’s work is to practice.  There are also many phenomenal writers out there (far superior to me) who hold desperately to the notion that the universe will somehow discover their enormous talent.  It is the biggest mistake a writer can make.  Submitting articles and manuscripts to agents and publications is just as important as the actual writing.  It only takes one “yes,” but one needs to plan for a thousand “no’s.”  Lastly, I cannot stress enough the value of networking.  Meeting people in the industry, listening to the needs of editors, and developing relationships with other writers provide a wealth of information and direction for pursuing publication.  And the bonus?  The people you meet along the way are usually pretty neat. 


Huge thanks to Marianne for sharing these thoughts and laughs. Definitely check out her book. Here are a couple of reviews that make it an obvious must-read.

"I loved this book so much that I bought one for all the moms I know! It is laugh out loud funny. It highlights the day-to-day humor in parenting and never loses sight of how tough a job it is. Since this is a review, I though I'd be fair and highlight the negatives. I'm disappointed that the book didn't go on forever; I didn't want it to end!" -- Brett S. Boyer

"As a mom of two young boys, I barely have time to bathe or do laundry, much less read (and Goodnight Moon doesn't count). But, I laughed out loud reading Epic Mom. Julie and Marianne's everyday motherhood stories are witty, self depricating and sweet. Reading the book is like hanging out with a close friend, hearing about her latest adventure in motherhood. If you liked Tina Fey's or Mindy Kaling's humorous essays, you will love Epic Mom. These gals should have their own sitcom! It is better than a glass (or two) of wine and a great holiday gift for any mom." -- Rada Dorman


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