Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Self Lovin' Bloghop

Raise your hand if you've ever had a guilt-ridden, self-loathing, I-suck-as-a-writer-why-am-I-even-bothering moment.

Yes, you in back. Put that hand up.

Like most artistic folk, writers are particularly hard on themselves, especially when it comes to nitpicking imperfection. The wonderful Tara is currently hosting The Self Lovin' Bloghop so that we can recognize our strong aspects and realize that we don't all-around suck. Which trust me, is useful. Be sure to check out the other posts and get in on the action yourself, the hop is running through Friday!

Now, as for what I do well? Well, I can brew a killer cup of coffee. Before you say that doesn't count, I've had many a coffee-fueled late night writing sessions, so I'd rank coffee brewing fairly high on my "Does Well" list.

But seriously, I tend to write nice side-characters. The main character's best friend, the barista steaming some milk, the photographer with a bit of a zany side. I find that I have to work very hard on my main characters, but the side characters, the ones who help cushion the world inside my novels and make them real are the ones who come easy. Always real and sometimes a little zany (but who doesn't know a few oddballs around them?), they are definitely my strong suit.

What have you found to be your strongest writing skill?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Our Roots are Growing a Little Deeper

Earlier this year I announced that my husband had some pretty sweet PCS orders for overseas. Those orders were contingent upon our youngest being medically cleared, which we recently found out he wasn't. So we're going to chill in Georgia a while longer, but that's OK. Because if they say that they can't properly care for him, then that's not somewhere that I want to be.

But exciting things are still (hopefully) in my future because, guys, are you ready for this?

Seriously, I need you to be ready. Get a cup of coffee, go pee, do what you need to do.

I just queried.

For the very first time.

My husband told me that I just needed to breathe. I told him that he just...well, I didn't tell him anything. I was little preoccupied not breathing. I've only queried to two agents so far and I'm debating sending a query to the third on my list, but I'm just not sure.

How many agents have you queried at once?

Monday, March 3, 2014

Cheap Books, Busy Times

I need to be more well-organized in pretty much every aspect of my life. I like to think of myself as one of those carefully organized people with grocery lists and check lists and to-do lists coming out of my ears, but the truth is half the time my grocery list app won't even load on my phone. At that point all I can do is grab something to drink from Starbucks and wander around Kroger with an empty buggy.

Reading is slow right now.

Writing is slow.

My kitchen's a mess.

I'm totally jealous of the lovely Misha Gericke's spreadsheet. I mean come on, look at all of those colors. Those are the colors of a well-organized life. That's it, I'm getting a spreadsheet.

It's just one of those times where everything is busier than normal, and I'm still trying to lace up my shoes so that I can head out the door.

But on the bright side, I did snag all of these books for $14. So there's that.

So come on, you guys. Throw your best time management tips at me.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Puffy Tale

My family commonly refers to April 2012 as The Month from Hell. Fevers and puke buckets abounded for three sicklings all month long, and I swear it took us two months just to get back into the swing of things. And then we had a newborn, and things have never been the same since. If he could talk, he would attest to this.

But I'm now officially dubbing January 17 through January 24, 2014 as The Week from Hell.

Guys, seriously.

Friday morning we dropped the kiddos off at a friends house, I got a lovely IV stuck in my arm that put me right to sleep (parents of small children can join in my joy for this), and had three impacted wisdom teeth surgically removed.

So let's backtrack a moment. I thought I'd go in Friday morning, have them out, and be off pain meds and munching on apples by Monday morning. I even checked out a new library book because I thought I'd simply be lounging around, sucking down smoothies, and reading. Is it obvious that I've never had to have any sort of dental work before?

Apparently, I'd make a fantastic squirrel.
Tuesday my husband was back at work and I corralled the kids into the living room with My Little Pony and cups of juice as a bribe, wrapped my ice pack around my head, and fought to stay awake after taking my pain pills. Oh, it gets better.

The husband is at work, I can barely open my mouth to tell the little one to get away from the TV, and then the vomiting starts. The vomiting. After complaining all day that her tummy hurt, the next morning the big one crawled into bed and, well, my sheets are freshly washed. So is my couch. And the bathroom sink, counter, and floor. It was like the PG version of the exorcist with some swollen woman muttering curses under her breath while the little one contemplates whether or not what's on the floor is edible.

I'm gulping down coffee and playing catch up now. Catch up on work for both my jobs, catch up on house work (you don't even want to know), catch up on my blog (and yours!), and catch up on editing. It's back to the grind of all of the things that I love most. Except for housework, which I think we can all agree on, can suck it.

The original plan was to complete edits and revisions on This is Now by February 1st. Life thinks I'm hilarious, and plopped down a few road blocks in my way, so I'm re-adjusting that goal to the end of February.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Insecure Writer's Support Group

It's not the first Wednesday of the month. No really, go check a calendar. Back?

Told you so.

The wonderful powers that be at Insecure Writer's Support Group understood that most of us would be far too hungover exhausted after a glass of wine, a couple mugs of coffee, and staying up till midnight to ring in the New Year to be able to coherently string more than two words together. Which would inevitably be, "Coffee. Now."

My husband and I share our computer desk. It's one of those long "L" shaped desks that are supposed to be ideal for those who have a single computer and a lot of crap to spread out. We've managed to shove two towers, three monitors, a laptop, and a ton of crap covered in post-it notes and wrapped up power cords across this thing. Other than the fact that I occasionally bite his head off for backing his computer chair into mine for the hundredth time, it works fabulously. Go us. *Self high-five*

Last night I grabbed the back of his creaky computer chair and spun him around. His ear buds popped out but before he could protest I held up one finger and said, "This is important. What do you think of this?" and then rattled off a few paragraphs that I'd just added to This is Now.

We talked for a while, about my novel and a nude cleaning service I'd heard about (note: not related subjects, and double note: no baby, they're still not coming to our house), before he said very deftly, "At least you're not having to rewrite it like The Meaning of Alistair."

The Meaning of freaking Alistair.

I've rewritten that son of a' three times now. Not including edits and revisions to those three completely brand spankin' new rewrites.

But now there's part of me that's shaking in my fake fur lined slippers. What if, just what if my goal of completing my revisions by February turns into a rewrite? My husband has watched me toil away at Alistair for the entirety of our relationship. A solid five years has been pounded away at that story and it's awaiting it's fourth rewrite.

Even though I know that This is Now is in fairly good shape and that the revisions and edits are all (mostly) minor in nature, I'm scared that it'll turn into a rewrite. And so will the next one, and the one after that until I'm tumbling inside of a swirling vortex of papers marked with shiny red ink and there's no escaping it all.

But then again, maybe I won't.

Be sure to hop over to Insecure Writer's Support Group and visit some of the other writers!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Procrastination Station

I thought that I was ready to start querying. You know what? I didn't just think that I was ready, I freaking knew that I was ready.

But here I am, staring at my query letter and wishing that hitting the backspace button produced the same, satisfying burn as holding a lighter's flame to the edge of a piece of paper.

Story of my life.
On a related note, I'm also editing and revising This is Now. Again. I'm actually happy about it, though. Combing back through my novel while pouring pots of coffee down my throat is the most justified way to procrastinate querying.

Although yesterday, as I filled a glass with fresh, clear water and little clinking ice cubes, my daughter looked up at me with her little brows furrowed and asked, "Mommy, where's your coffee?"

Maybe it's time to cut back.

Ha. Totally joking.

But the extra editing is helping me ensure that This is Now is in the best shape that it can be. Which, you know, is almost as good as procrastinating.

I'm also reading my library book, re-arranging my "to read" list to accommodate the books I received for Christmas (welcome to the front of the line), watching the Doctor Who Christmas special (again), and trying to convince my kids to let me read their library books to them, even as they insist that they've got it. Wanna know the truth? The little one with his book upside down so doesn't have it.

Procrastinating can't go on forever, though. And honestly, I don't want it to go on forever. I'm just biding my time and building the courage to dive into the wild ocean of literary agents. With any luck, and a smashing query letter, I might just snag one on the way up.

One of my wonderful sisters-in-law gave me a Barnes and Noble gift card for Christmas, so I picked this puppy up over the weekend.

I've only perused through the beginning so far but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it proves to be helpful.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Adventures for the New Year

So here we all are, planted firmly in the year 2014 with a brand new Doctor, resolutions that have (probably) already been broken, and finally the third season of Sherlock.

I learned a lot in 2013. In quiet reflection, I learned:

  • What true sleep deprivation can do to a person.
  • That a diagnosis can bring both sadness and joy.
  • Reading is still the most peaceful activity in the world.
  • And that I have the best family in the world, a mom and dad and in-laws that will always stand behind us in times of need.
As per my norm, I didn't make any resolutions. Why? Because I suck at them. I did cook up a nice batch of black-eyed peas and some kale, stayed up till midnight, and rang in the New Year with a glass of wine and kiss from my husband, so chill. I pretty much did everything else. However, I do have a few things I'd like to accomplish or at least start in the coming year.

  • Begin querying for This is Now. I just have to build up the nerve first.
  • Clean up Daxx's Simple Life to hopefully get it ready for querying.
  • Begin my next novel.
  • Blog more often.
  • Read a little more.
  • Move to The Netherlands.

You read correctly.

Back in November my husband received an email that he had PCS orders. But, he had to go back up to work to log into the system there to find out where. So after discovering that the van's battery was dead (of course), we got a jump from a neighbor and he sped off to find out where our next adventure would take us to. When he returned home bubbling and carrying a printed out copy of his orders to The Netherlands I started dancing in the yard. I grabbed my oldest's hands and we jumped and spun and giggled and shrieked as only military families can when they realize that they finally get to leave a base that most consider to be a black hole.

We're now awaiting final medical clearance for our son. Honestly, I'm still waiting for someone to step in and say, "Just kidding, we'll just be taking this away now," snatch the papers away, and we'll be stuck in Georgia for, well, ever.

But for now I'm hoping and crossing my fingers and holding my breath for Max's health issues to not present a problem.

Here's to 2014!