Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Staycation 2015: Our Tucson Adventure

You know what sucks about vacation?

The driving there. Oh, and the driving back. There's also staying in hotels with kids who insist they need to share your bed, splitting a single toilet between 4 people (2 of whom either don't have to pee or HAVE TO PEE RIGHT NOW OR OMG I'M GOING TO DIE), and paying crazy amounts to eat out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

So we didn't go on a vacation.

While staycations are actually pretty trendy right now, our motivation to take one was less from a desire to be cool and based more on our bank account and the lingering mental trauma from last year's cross-country move.

Plus, our city is pretty awesome anyway. Who needs to go somewhere when Tucson has so much to offer? And no, we didn't take any hikes, because going to the mountains or canyon any time after sunrise during the summer months is pretty much the most awful thing I can think of, and mama ain't getting out bed that early during vacation staycation.

Here are the highlights from our 3-day Tucson staycation.

The castle-themed arcade:

These awesome miniatures from The Mini Time Machine:

Eegees. 'Nuf said.

The surprisingly active animals at the Reid Park Zoo. Except for the rhino, but that dude's always pretty chill.

Oh, and this, because life hates us, and we've already blown enough trying to fix a problem that everyone totally promises they fixed this time.

Overall, it was wonderful. We only ate out once (except for the Eegees excursion, but c'mon, that's pretty much mandatory), used our annual passes to get into the zoo, swam at the YMCA with our membership, visited our local used bookstore, packed snacks, drinks, and lunches for while we were out, and ate dinner at home.

And I only had to set my alarm clock once, even if I did sleep right through it.

Have you gone anywhere fun this summer? Or are you chilling at home?

**If you haven't entered yet, you've got about 7 hours left to enter Coffee Copyediting's giveaway!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Giveaway Alert!

In need of a professional editing for your manuscript? Head over to Coffee Copyediting to snare a chance at a free editing.

And if you're not interested in possible free editing that's OK too. Instead, here's a funny picture perfectly depicting how fed up this mom was with people's bull shit. Seriously though, imagine all the questions people asked.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Surviving Night Classes

I'm in the homestretch of my summer courses, meaning that I only have 4 weeks left of my 4-days-a-week, 3 hours and 20 minutes night class. Phew. For real ya'll, I'm tired. Luckily I like math, or this would really suck.

Except you would expect this type of class to fly by. After all, it's only a 5 week course, and the first summer session I took went by in the blink of an eye. In reality, this class is draaaagggging because, apparently, no one else has ever heard of a pre-requisite. On the first day of class one girl raised her hand and very loudly announced that she hadn't had math in 7 years, and that she needed to know what subjects to brush up on.

Trigonometry. This is why we're all here.

OK, I admit it, I had a very bad, judgey moment. If you haven't had math in 7 years, you should not be in this class. Period. When I returned to college I hadn't had math in over 7 years and so I started at the bottom and worked my butt off to get to the level I'm at now, and instead of moving forward I'm stuck in a class with people who don't understand how to put all the terms of a function under the same denominator.

But my saving grace has been my teacher who, with infinitely better fashion sense and a masters in electrical engineering, is hilarious. During the half hour intervals in which she has to re-explain all of the principles that should have been learned in college algebra, I spend my time doodling in the margins of my notebook, jotting down notes for stories, and writing down all of the funny things my teacher says.

For best effect, please read in a heavy Greek accent.

Wisdom from my Precalculus Teacher

"If you could be a number you should be zero. It's chaos! Multiply by zero, it annihilates everything. Divide by zero, BOOM! Everything blows up."

"The circle is your friend. You're gonna love that little circle. Girls you want someone to treat you right? Get a circle."

"I try to tell her, but I'm 30 and she's 11, you try telling her she's not the boss."

"When we get to trigonometry that's party time. That's time to bring the pizza and beer."

"It's all just stuff. Just this is X stuff and this is Y stuff."

"Be careful because these look very much the same. This is a drunk 8. When 8 becomes drunk, it falls down and becomes infinity."

"'Hey brother, you have some weed?' And brother does, because it's the 60s."

Monday, July 6, 2015

On Hating the Process and 2D Characters

Earlier this week, I left the planning and outlining phase of my most recent work-in-progress, aptly named: WIP #Bazillion. And no, that’s not a hashtag you young hooligans with your fancy words and Twitter machines.

I was thrilled to start, even if kiddo #2 was home sick from daycare and camped out on the couch next to me. (Side note, I’m now completely caught up on the first season of the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cartoon.)

But the thing is, that excitement didn’t last long. It lasted approximately half of the first paragraph, and then it died as suddenly and devastatingly as climate change’s impact on Texas’ weird rain thing. (Too soon?) I’ve never had the love and joy and excitement of starting a new novel die as quickly as it did then, and I thought, “OK, this is just a fluke. Keep going.”

And I did keep going. For three, miserable pages.

Guys, it was awful. I didn’t just not like writing it, I hated it like I’d been working on it for four god damn years and was on my seventh round of edits. First drafts aren’t for hating, they’re for loving.

I decided to close my laptop and give the experience some thought. I’d spent so long thinking of this story and playing it through in my head before I ever sat down to outline or plan out any scenes. Character sheets with my characters’ information, back story, and other little tiny details were stored on my computer, I’d organized my sequence of events, parceled out some chapters, and yet there I sat, hating the process.

It took my three days before I realized why. My main character? She’s as flat as a freakin’ pancake. There’s no substance to her, no reason for the readers to like her. Honestly, I don’t even like her.

Instead of embarking on the adventure of starting a new manuscript, I’ve been spending a little more time with my main character, getting to know her better, understanding her past in an intimate fashion, discovering the motives behind her actions.

And if you need any further evidence that 2D characters suck, turn your attention to Paper Mario, and never forget that Nintendo thought that would somehow be an awesome game.