Sunday, July 31, 2011

5 MODERN WRITER COMPLIMENTS

It used to be, the greatest compliment you could pay a writer was that they kept you up reading all night. I remember pretending to fall asleep until my parents went to bed, then switching the bedside lamp on to surreptitiously read. I'd close the book on the last page, and look up to find the clock displaying 3:00 a.m., or daylight glowing on the other side of the curtains.

Things are different now. Following are five modern compliments for compelling writers:

  • I stayed up until 2:00 a.m. to download your new book on release day.
  • I signed up for a Pilates bootcamp because the studio provided day care during classes. I didn't do the Pilates. I just dropped the toddler off for an hour and read your book in the locker room.
  • I paid airline wireless fees because I couldn't wait another two hours to read your next book.
  • I didn't check twitter/facebook/blog stats once while reading your book.
  • I made a taxi pull over before crossing into Canada so I could download your newest title onto my Kindle.
I have happily done at least three, and possibly four of these things.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

IN THE PIT OF DESPAIR *cough* I MEAN - IN THE REVISION CAVE

Because I'm working on another round of edits for my Urban Fantasy novella Don't Bite the Messenger *cough* 1/16/12 *cough*, I likely won't be posting much this week - unless I'm desperate to procrastinate. There is a 50/50 chance of me hitting that stage.

In the meantime, I offer for your listening pleasure (or not) music featuring prepositional phrases (and, in one case, profanity):

Linkin Park - In the End


I'm on A Boat - misc. SNL


Somewhere Over the Rainbow - Iz


Monday, July 25, 2011

AND JUST LIKE THAT, IT'S GONE

I keep losing the book I'm reading. It's a collection of Raymond Chandler stories, not very long, and I've been reading it for nearly five months. I'll read a few pages, set it down, and when I look back down it will be gone. Vanished. Not even a puff of smoke or an oversized shoe print to mark its passing.

It always turns back up, the same page marked, nary a new scuff on its thick paper cover.

It's a collection of mysteries, but it's not one of those books that opens its mouth and inhales you, so that you're watching dark shadows expecting its characters to come creeping out. I don't stand outside my house, hand on the doorknob, resigned to the likelihood that inside will be a strange man (or a not so strange man) with a gun, calmly smoking a cigarette.

Anyway, I going to try to finish it this weekend. Because it's good, but also because I'm tired of this game. If this is the paperback's answer to enhanced e-books, I think someone is barking up the wrong entertainment tree.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

EPIPHANY

I recently discovered an author who makes me laugh to the point of tears no matter what mood I was in when I opened her books. This is a rare and beautiful thing. And, better yet, she has released lots of books. Under two names, no less!

I hoped to find her on twitter, thinking her feed would at least occasionally make me spew my beverage of choice on surfaces of convenience. I couldn't find her by a simple name search, so I went to her website, where I discovered that she did not tweet. I was astounded! How could this prolific author not be on twitter?

Lightbulb.

Actually, the revelation wasn't mine. I believe she explained that she's not on twitter or other social media because she's busy, you know, producing the books that threaten to make me pee myself - in a good way. Or, in the good way, because hilarity is the only good cause I can think of for spontaneous incontinence.

But I digress. I love twitter. I love it the way other people love bacon-wrapped scallops or Glee or facebook.

I reduce my usage when I'm writing toward a deadline, whether for a submission or when responding to edits from my agent or editor. But I've gotten to the point where I don't think I can let it go. I don't want to, for one thing. I've cultivated a wonderful list to follow. I learn a ton from it. I get news before it breaks through the regular media. I am inspired and touched by these tiny little feeds throughout the day.

But it does take time away from my writing, as does cruising forums, blogging and following blogs, checking stats and sales, and researching both subjects and craft.

What about you guys? What's your online kryptonite?

Monday, July 18, 2011

WHAT'S THAT, YOU SAY?

I'm not one of those people who can write well while listening to music. Oh, I've written to music, but the amount of time it took me to decipher and edit those bits was nearly as long as it took me to write them. When reading through a first draft, I can tell within a few words when I've reached a part that I wrote with my headphones on. They look something like this:

He put her arm on her shoulder and booked glory dining table. 


"This isn't the fist time," she said. Pungent. "Also I need to bick up my cleaning."


"The pigs," he said, shaking his head and running her hand through his hair. "Every time. Fuck."


She kissed him and meant it. 

Touching stuff.

So, how about you? Can you write through distractions? Do you have to have the television on as a backdrop to your scene? Do you have a set playlist to attract the muse? Do the pigs really, every time?

LISTENING TO: Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before - The Smiths

Monday, July 11, 2011

FISH ON

Every once in awhile I leave work -- squinting like a mole -- and venture into the great outdoors.

I'm in Alaska, after all. The last frontier. The land of the midnight sun. Where the men are men, and the fish are yummy. This is a quick look at Resurrection Bay and the bounty it holds.





IT'S NOT A TUMOR

So, the good news is that I don't have a tumor.

Wait, let me back up.

About ten days ago I started having some weird symptoms...so weird I couldn't even explain them until my doctor started asking me questions and prompting me with words that sounded vaguely related to (or at least rhymed with) the issues I was having.

I got sent for x-rays and EKGs and PIBBs (of the "Mr" variety) and all other kinds of stuff. I got lost in not one, but two hospitals. I did learn that doctors will walk right past a plainclothes person in a restricted area, but a nurse who spots you from fifty yards away will stop in her tracks and sprint down the hall to corral you. Just in case you were wondering.

Anyway, following my first x-ray my doctor called to say that I needed to go back to the hospital for another one, because the radiologist had Found Something. I was already all stressed out, and she described this Something in foggy terms and, by the end of the conversation I believed that one of my ribs was growing a smaller, sharper second rib that was arcing downward and which could, at any moment, pierce my lung. Of course, she said nothing of the sort, but panic and a strong imagination are not the best cocktail.

I went back for the second x-ray (got lost again) and, hours later, received an urgent and apologetic phone call from the hospital saying they'd taken the wrong x-ray due to some paperwork issues, and that I needed to come back again. That was a Friday. I was going out of town for the weekend, and told the very nice woman that I'd be in on Monday. She didn't like this idea, but since no amount of bending caused me even the slightest amount of lung deflation, I figured a few days wouldn't hurt. How fast can a bone grown a second, selficidal second bone?

So I went back today (and did not get lost-huzzah!) and received my third and fourth x-rays, after which I got caught in the middle of a rather awkward position (they left me in an oval-shaped room which seemed like the perfect opportunity to practice my short-track speed skating form. p.s. you can't hear the techs until they've opened the door and p.p.s. never attempt any sort of athletics while wearing a hospital gown). So then the head doctor person who'd discovered the Something came in and assured me that it wasn't cancer and that I should be fine. And, inside my head, I heard the zipping sound of a record needle scratching off the record.

It is a strange thing to discover that you're not very, very sick when you never knew that someone-a trained professional, even-thought you were very, very sick. I'm not sure if my doctor told me that, and my brain, after taking a look at the mess I already was, decided that I didn't need to hear it, or if she had her own ideas and opted not to add to the tension I was already carrying.

I left the hospital without the relief I should have had, but since I'd entered it without the fear and doubt I could have been carrying, I guess I'll call it a good trade. And now, of course, this scene is playing over and over inside my head:

Thursday, July 7, 2011

THE POWER OF PUNCTUATION

To whoever googled "super impudent sex" and ended up on my blog, I'm sorry to have disappointed you. I  just haven't had time to get that post together.

Also, is it supposed to be "super-impudent sex" or "super, impudent sex"?

Oh, the power of punctuation

Sunday, July 3, 2011

TRIFECTA OF DOOM

Alright, folks. I'm up to my knees in Personal Crises, and up to my neck in Revisions. Also, I believe I just cracked a filling, rounding out the trifecta of doom.  So, give me just a couple of weeks to get things sorted out, and I'll be back. Same Bat posts, same Bat blog.

And, if you find this post depressing, the antidote is here: