lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
 I feel like I've forgotten how to write. 

Which is weird, since I wrote about 2,000+ words of fan fiction yesterday.  So, it's not the actual act of putting words to page that I've forgotten how to do, but something else.  I've got a deadline fast approaching for an author guest slot in an invite-only magazine called Boundary Shock Quarterly, my issue will be about apocalypses that I was invited to contribute to, and I've been doing a LOT of thinking about stories that feature after the fall/the end of the world and what appeals to me about them.  Shawn and I even re-watched "Logan's Run," which surprised me by mostly standing the test of time. But, Mason challenged me to put some words to paper today and I have started numerous times only to be frustrated with the results.

I've gotten some good advice about how-to write short stories from the people in my writers' group, so I'm not necessarily looking for that right now. But, you know, if you really want to point me to writing blogs or whatnot, I'll definitely read anything you link to. I'm not so proud that I'd turn away a good resource.

What I'm really stymied about right now is something different, however. I was counseled to consider writing a story within a story, where there's something else going on and the end of the world is kind of more of a backdrop. Something like what [personal profile] naomikritzer did with "So Much Cooking."  (An amazing story, if you haven't already read it, you should.) This is excellent advice because a good short story is always operating on a number of different levels, but... okay, here's the thing that's really been hitting me _today_ as I sit down to write. I'm not sure that's me, the writer who writes brilliantly about the human condition clothed in science fiction. Think it's absolutely what most people are writing write now--most successful short story writers, anyway, given what I've been reading in prep for the Nebula Award nominations. I am a gigantic fan of slice-of-life manga, butI was re-reading some of the stuff I wrote to promote the launch of Resurrection Code, which very much is my "after the fall" novel, and it's all apocalypse travelogue with action.

And I'm wondering if I'm doing a disservice to myself by not just writing an adventure?

Eh, I should just write SOMETHING and stop overthinking the whole process.

Mason's right about me. I can talk myself OUT of any idea I have... and end up with nothing.

Well, I'm picking him up at 5:15 pm tonight (unless robotics gets cancelled due to the snow), so I have time to get something down. Probably I should just start writing ANYTHING and see where that takes me.

Or... I could do the dishes... or vacuum.

See, I'm a writer. I know how to avoid writing!

---

UPDATE: 325 words written. Ha! It's not a lot, but I'm exceedingly happy that words made it onto page. Go me!
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Okay, so I finally finished (like, REALLY, and for true, as in sent to my publisher) PRECINCT 13 yesterday at about 12:30 pm. Now, I'm coming out of the haze of frantic writing/revising to discover all the things I ignored while I was trying to make my deadline not be quite so late.

I offered to read a bit of the new novel for Anton Strout's Halloween podcast, but when I came up for air over the weekend, he told me I'd missed my opportunity. Hopefully, there will be others. I hate when that happens, especially since, if I'd had a better sense of when he wanted it, it only would have taken a minute or so to get done. Nuts.

This morning I was looking through my files to try to figure out what I needed to read for Wyrdsmiths on Thursday and I came across an entry that I (in my guise as Tate) was supposed to have read by October 15 for a romance writing contest in honor of the late L.A. Banks. Luckily, with this one, I wasn't the only author behind schedule. When I frantically emailed the organizer she told me that I could go ahead and send in my results as she was just compling a note to remind the other recalcitrant authors. Whoo! So, I got that done right away.

But, having realized that I missed and nearly missed these two things, I've been going through all my emails and trying to figure out a comprehensive "to-do" list of all the things I was working on or planning to do before the computer crash, etc.

One of the things on that list is to try to write a story for the next Biblical Horror Anthology by Tim Lieder. I'd started one before the computer crash, and all couple thousand words of that is lost. However, I still have my notes, so I'm going to reboot that project today.

I need to read the Wyrdsmiths submissions.

What else? I'm not sure. Hopefully, I won't discover something huge that I was supposed to have done weeks ago....

Gah. The feeling of discovering these projects ws a little like the one I get when I have that reoccuring nightmare in which I discover I've arrived at a convention on a Saturday (or Sunday) and I've missed several panels I was supposed to be on already. Usually, the rest of the dream involves me trying to find registration to get my schedule and it's in some obscure, hidden, or dangerous (no railings on a glass catwalk kind of thing) part of the hotel.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Last night, I typed my two favorite words in the English language: "The END." Of course, at this stage, the book is really not done in the least. My MVBR (most valuable beta reader), [livejournal.com profile] naomikritzer, has yet to read and comment on all the stuff I skimmed over, my embarassingly stupid misspellings, the plot holes, and the bits I blatently left out. Naomi is also wicked awesome at uncovering emotional themes that I didn't entirely realize I had going and giving me ways to bring them more to the surface. So, when she's done, I'll have some work to do.

BUT I can haz a working draft. A book what has a beginning, middle and end. For me, the hardest part is over, as I'm one of those writers who really prefers revision to writing (in some ways. It's at least a place I feel a lot less PRESSURE.)

To be fair to this WiP, however,I actually really enjoyed putting words to the page this time around, thanks, in large part, to my mother's advice to simply "embrace the cheese."

I will have to say, however, that I am never again naming any project with a title that includes the number 13. This book has been totally cursed. This morning, I got frantic email from Naomi telling me that the version I emailed her seemed to end in the middle of a scene. I went back to my computer and it looked like I didn't save all the words I'd written that took the story from that scene to "The END." I started to FREAK. Then, I realized that through some really weird accident, the final version of the book got renamed (of all things) "Maybe." (Explain THAT one, Dr. Freud.)

This was not the first computer weirdness I've had since starting the book. I'm seriously looking on-line for an "uninstal gremlins" button for the Toshiba.

Anyway, that's a big YAY. Shawn looked at me this morning and asked, "So what are you going to do with all your free time?"

For one, I need to start writing up ideas for more book proposals. I also have a short story percoloating in the back of my mind that I'd like to get down on paper for an anthology I was considering submitting to.

So... write, I guess. :-)

Updatery

Oct. 3rd, 2011 09:15 am
lydamorehouse: (Default)
I'm officially overdue on my WiP now. It took a lot longer to recover from the total computer crash than expected, but I *do* think that the revision has made this a much stronger book. I have about 30,000 words left to write, which, if I push things, I can do in 15 days.

I may be fairly absent here, though, because of that.

Not much to report over the weekend, anyway. It really feels like fall here in the Twin Cities, so we got a lot of around the house errands done. I tend to gear up, physically, this time of year. So, there is paint ready to be applied to fences and walls and all sorts of projects like that. I also made a lovely batch of roasted acorn squash soup that's quite delicious as well. I'll be having that for lunches for the next several days, I think.

Mason has started up a new swimming class. He's in level 2, and he loves it. Now that he's figured out how to float, he's really got a lot more confidence in the water. It's nice to see.

We were all set to have him start painting the back fence when his friend from across the street came over. As Shawn posted in her FB: fence painting can wait, childhood can't. I do love that we have that sort of thing going in our neighborhood right now, where there are kids who know they can come over, knock on the door, and have Mason come out to play. That reminds me of my own childhood.

For myself, I really need to figure out how to get to the gym in the mornings/afternoons, so that I can get into the habit before the snow flies.

Okay, enough of this for now. Must write.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Shawn is off visiting some other out-of-work state employees for a commiseration session and coffee, and Mason and I are getting ready to head off to the public library. He absolutely adores the WARRIORS series by Erin Hunter, and a couple of the *new* books that we ordered/interlibrary loaned came in, so we're going to hike up there to pick them up.

Last night I made it back to kuk sool wan, and that was fun.

What I really need is for Mason to be back at school (that starts Monday) so I can focus on the "new" novel, which is due in a matter of weeks.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
So I've got about 15 days to write 30,000 words. That is, if I want to have a completed draft by the end of the month so I can give it to my beta readers to review in enough time for me to make whatever changes they suggest before polishing it up and sending it to my editor on July 15.

That probably sounds like a complaint, but it isn't really. I'm in full-on panic-mode, no doubt. But I was just sitting upstairs on my sunporch listening to the rain outside the open window and watching Ms. Ball chase her tail, and I was thinking, "I have an awesome life."

The rain has been constant, and it looks like it'll be with us until sometime after Thursday. This is another thing I've been trying not to complain about. The rain is _so_ much easier to write to, than heat. I can't really take super-hot days, especially since we haven't put in our one window air-conditioner yet. So I'll put up with drizzle if it saves me from sweating.

We had a pretty low-key weekend. It rained. I spent much of the day writing Saturday, and Sunday we ended up cleaning up the basement because one of our cats decided to start peeing outside of the box. He didn't hit anything critical (luckily all my important papers are already up on bookshelves or in my file cabniet,) but he did ruin a rug and stink up some empty cardboard boxes. Shawn dumped and filled garbage bags while I mopped (our front section where this happened has nice tile.) It actually lookes really awesome now. We could have company over. In fact, because Mason has been hiding down there anyway, we set up a little reading nook for him in the corner with a comfy chair and his own book carrol (one of the spinny kinds).

The next big room to tackle in the house will be my office/the craftroom.

Mason has started dance classes, so I won't be picking him up until 5:00. Of all the after school activities Crossroads offered this one seemed the most like something Mason would enjoy. I'll be curious what he as to say about them tonight.

Our CSA started last week. We got a ton of spinach, arugula, potatoes, radishes, kohlrabi and the like. Most of it is already gone, honestly. I made a pot roast in our new slow cooker on Saturday that wiped out the potatoes and green garlic (though we still have the blue potatoes to use up), and we've been eating salads with every meal. Turns out I'm kind of a fan of raw kohlrabi, so that's been disappearing quickly too. I'm sure we'll be ready for our next box on Thursday.

Well, that's all the news that's fit to print for now. I should get back to work at any rate.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
I've been really absent lately, but this time I think I have a pretty good excuse. First, as you know, Bob, I've been frantically working to make deadline for Tate's young adult novel ALMOST TO DIE FOR. I'm happy to report that as of ten o'clock last night, I did (electronically. Now I have to send mss. via post.)

Also, Gaylaxicon was this weekend, and I was in attendance on both Saturday and Sunday. (I actually brought along my laptop and was working on the novel in between panels and, rudely, in the corner at Eric Heideman's party. But I wanted to be there and Shawn had said I'd better only come home when the novel was finished. :-)

Otherwise, I had a great time at Gaylaxicon. I have to admit I'd never been to one before. My big problem is that I often don't feel gay enough. I don't write about gay or queer issues, I just happen to be a lesbian who writes SF/F (and straight romance, talk about not feeling Q!) It's sort of like that feeling of "being a fraud" that some writers go through when they're held up as experts on panels when they've done only "x" (written short stories, published one novel, not broken out into best-seller-ness, or fill in insecurity here.) It's been a long running joke of mine that I don't "do" the professonal lesbian potluck scene because I'm really just a nerd that happens to be lesbian. I have way more in common with people who get wound up about Battlestar Galatica than I do with women who sleep with women on a semi-regular basis, you know? So I felt a bit out of my element.

I will say I was surprised (and impressed) by how much of a READER oriented (if you will) con this was. I only saw a couple of people in costume, and then, only briefly. There weren't a whole ton of media panels that I noticed (although our BSG panel rocked!), but most of the literary track was peopled with people who also intimidated me by the sheer volume of gay/queer SF/F they'd read.

On the flip side, I met some truly impressive people and am harboring a deep intellectual crush on a queer fellow-Wiccan I met there. And the con has inspired me on a number of levels. The first of which is a desire to check out the Spectrum Awards page for a reading list to take to my local library, and to pick up my pen and get queering the genre!

In mundane life, I've been not only frantically finishing Tate's novel (and the next proposal which I have to also turn in on the 15th, aka Thursday,) but we're getting ready to head off to Indiana to visit the relatives on Thursday as well. So I have to do the usual house cleaning and car mantainence bits on top of all this book-related excitement.

Whee.

We have an appointment with Mason's teacher when we get back from the break, which I think will go fine. I'll be curious to hear the general plan for his reading stuff (he's clearly enjoying his pull-out time with the second graders, he keeps pointing them out to me in the halls as I take him into to school in the mornings,) and figure out the whole library privledges thing.

I think that's all the news fit to print, though I feel like a lot more has been going on in my life. Perhaps you heard that it snowed here? I like it. Most Minnesotans are complaining about it, but it's pretty and I doubt it will last. We'll have a few more warm days before winter settles in, and Mason was so excited to see it he burst into Christmas songs and almost cried when I told him we couldn't check out the sleding hill until a little later.

Okay, I'm off to get new tires for the car and FedEx Tate's book.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
I finished the first draft of Tate's young adult novel on Sunday. Go me! It, however, is not ready to go to the publisher yet. I need a fresh pair of eyes to look at it and tell me the stupid I committed (which, as always, there is at least SOME) and to help bring out the theme, etc. I emailed a copy to [livejournal.com profile] naomikritzer who is a phenomenal beta reader.

Now I have to finish up a proposal for the second book in the vampire princess series, which is due (contractually) at the same time as the book. Yesterday, I wrote three pages on it. It needs to be ten or twelve. (Not contractually, though that's the size these things are when I do them.)

Plus, I need to write a proposal or two for more adult books by Tate, since Penguin said they might be interested. (And, heck, if they're NOT, I need to do them ANYWAY, since my agent will need to sell them elsewhere. So I can keep having a job. Knock on wood!)

Then I need to start hammering out the Mouse book. Because that's due in Decemeber. Three books in one year... it's a good thing, but it's a crazy thing.

But, despite all that stuff on my plate, today, I find myself mostly pooped. I just want to nap. Plus, it's been cold and rainy here which sort of adds to the desire to crawl back into bed under the nice warm covers and close my eyes for just a few minutes... yeah, that's it, only five minutes!

Mason is going to have an extra long school day today (and all week, actually.) We signed him up for ice skating. Normally, I'm not a huge fan of after-school activities, but this one was too good to pass up. Mason will be picked up at school, taken by school bus to the arena, given free access to equipment AND lessons. All, did I mention, FREE. The only thing that will be hard on him is that I won't pick him up until 5:30 pm, which is LATE for Mason. We're usually sitting down to eat by 5:00, so it's going to be an adjustment. However, it only lasts one week. So, I think it should be kind of fun. Plus a bunch of his friends from Crossroads are also taking it.

Anyway, I suppose I should have a little lunch (as we say here in Minnesota) and then plug away on the proposal.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
For our last night of mischief before mama comes home, Mason and I splurged. We bought THREE Star Wars novels at HalfPrice Books. Insanity!

We also stopped off at Mirriam Park Library because the #15 HIKARU NO GO that I'd requested came in. Mason checked out the Goosebumps, but was underwhelmed. We did end up checking one of them out to read together called "One Night in Horrorland!"

I also had a funny experience writing my young adult novel yesterday, which I report on over at Wyrdsmiths. For the brevity of the post, I neglected the step in there where I also called [livejournal.com profile] naomikritzer on the phone to ask her opinion, and the very funny conversation we had about it all.

Ever since then I've been thinking about what's wrong with this situation. News flash: I know very little about young adult novels or the young adult market. I can name several local authors who haven't yet broken in to the YA market who know a whole hell of a lot more about it than I do. I've read only a handful of books that would be considered teen YA and I haven't been a teenager since the Cambrian period. Why am I the one writing a young adult novel? Don't get me wrong, universe. I'm extremely grateful for this opportunity (especially since Penguin has rejected further Garnet), but...

... in the end, it really is all about who you know and being in the right place at the right time with a chipper attitude and a willing smile on your face. I always suspected that much of the success in this business came down to luck and being willing to write anything, any time for anyone.

And I hope to keep banking on it.

But, I don't know. I hope my friends will continue to be my friends through it all.

Anyway, no time to think about all that. 22 days and counting....
lydamorehouse: (Default)
As you know, Bob, I have a deadline kicking my butt. What you may not know is that yesterday (and Sunday), I was down for the count thanks to a wicked flu. I was smart this time, I think. Instead of resisting, I gave in to my impluse to sleep it off. I slept nearly all of Sunday when I first felt it coming on. Then on Monday, Shawn left for Washington, D.C. on business and I stayed upright long enough to get Mason ready for school, fed him and drop him off. Then I slept. I slept and slept and slept until time to pick him up, feed him again, stand over him while we did homework, brush his teeth, and get him into pjs. Then I told him he was on his own.

We have a tradition that when one parent is away that Mason is allowed to be somewhat mischevious. This mischief can involve wanton bookshopping, daring trips to McDonalds and other usually off-limits restaurants, or playing videogames/watching TV past the usual cut off time of 6PM. Last night, since I was so very, very sick, I told him he could do whatever as long as he crawled into bed at a semi-reasonable hour (say, before 9:00 pm, which is quite late for a school night for us, but we could sleep in in the morning since we didn't have to take mama in to work by 8am.) That rascal watched RETURN OF THE JEDI and then read until bedtime. Wicked, wicked boy, that one.

Meanwhile, I only monitored him during my semi-conscious moments. I'd bolt awake at 8pm and ask him what he was up to ("just finishing TV, ima!") and I'd tell him to start getting books together or whatever ("I was going to, ima!")

The best part of having such a mostly well-behaved young man is that I totally could trust him. He was in bed and asleep before 9:00 pm as promised. Too bad I was restless and in a bad way for several hours after he was out.

Still, the important thing is that my plan to sleep it off seems to have worked. I'm not 100% today, but compared to yesterday... whoo! I'm much more bright-eyed and busy-tailed and ready to start my writing.

Strangely, I'm feeling like, with Shawn gone, I might actually make a good push. It's funny but sometimes I write more when Shawn's away. I think it's because I don't have someone interesting to talk to (once Mason is asleep, I mean.) And, TV mostly sucks now that "More to Love" is over, so what else is there to do? :-)

Wish me luck. And if you don't hear from me in the next week or so, know that I'm head down over the keyboard typing furiously.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
It's cold and gray here in Saint Paul and I'm feeling far too exhausted from my work out to feel like doing anything other than staring at the computer screen while my brain goes, "zzzzzzzzzzzzz." Alas, I have about 30,000 words to write in 29 days. Actually, best if I got that done sooner since I need to find a Wyrdsmith or two to read it and critique it before I send it off to my publisher.

Bleah.

I think I shall fuel up with tea and a sandwich.

Mason is now starting to get homework. Personally, I find this rather atrocious since I don't remember getting homework until 3rd grade or so, and, worse, I have a feeling Mason is going to be wicked bored by it. He needs to work on his handwriting/penmanship, it's true, but Shawn and I worked out a good system for encouraging that, I think. But some of the other stuff is like, "count the number of letters in the month of September. Now count the number of letters in your name. Which one is bigger?" Mason was counting the number of letters in things in Pre-K. In fact, he surprised both me and his Pre-K teacher when they were doing a stickering project where you put three stickers on a page next to the number three and you know, four next to the number four, etc. He hadn't finished it at school, so he brought it home. At home here we have some letter stickers for Shawn's scrapbooking and spontaneously, he spelled out the word: "octopus" and put it under the number seven. Because, you know, octopus has seven letters. And he just had that floating around in his head. At four years old.

Still, it's a requirement, so we'll find a way to do it and hopefully expand it and play with it in a way that makes it fun instead of rote. Wish us luck.

Speaking of homework, I'd better get to mine.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Not that I expect y'all to remember this, but I just booked my Uncle Hugo's gig for Saturday, May 9, 2009 from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm. Hope you can make it. Save the date and all that. (Though I promise to send out my usual postcards to those of you who are local.)

Oh, and thanks for all the congrats. Today, in the sober light of day, I keep thinking: how am I going to make all these deadlines. Yeesh!

But, as promised, here is my darling Ms. All Ball discovering she has, of all crazy things, a TAIL!! She then gives it a good pouncing on, and quickly (and very cat like) decides the whole thing is SO not worth all that effort:

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