My Novels

My Novels
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Jul 31, 2010

Saturday Morning? Counts

Friday night got away from me… so here it is Saturday morning and I’m finally getting to this.


Word Count: 66,600 (74% by new counts) [Last week: 57,900 (72% by old w/c)]

Page Count: Mine: 214 Theirs: 267 [Last week: 188/231]

Comments: I’m getting to the point where all of the “easy” parts are written. It’s making progress a little slower… but after four novels, I’m used to it. This week I had an epiphany… this epiphany brought more research, because if I can base my theories in reality, all the better. And I’ll admit, I didn’t expect to actually find anything on the subject, but I was pleasantly surprised that a medical version of what I was looking for did in fact already exist. That’s always awesome.

Jul 29, 2010

Can I ask you a question or eleven?

When you pick up a book, what makes your read it? What makes you put it down? What gives a novel the go-ahead to be tossed into your shopping cart/make it to the cashier? What makes you put it back on the shelf (or maybe hide it behind another one on the shelf)? Do you only read one genre? Can cover art kill an otherwise intriguing novel? What’s your favorite beverage? Do you think that a movie of a book can ever be as good as the novel? Do you have a favorite genre? Do you prefer checking books out from a library or do you buy them? When you buy a novel, where do you buy it?

I could go on… but I won’t torture you…

One Armed Scissor

There are a few songs recently that I’ve noticed really resonate with my current WIP, One Armed Scissor by At The Drive In is one of them.If you read the lyrics... you may understand why.

Yes this is a campaign,

slithered entrails
in the cargo bay
Neutered is the vastness
Hallow vacuum check the
oxygen tanks.
They hibernate
but have they kissed the ground
pucker up and kiss the asphalt now
Tease this amputation
splintered larynx
it has access now

cut Away, cut Away
Send transmission
from the one-armed scissor
cut away, cut away

Banked on memory.
Mummified circuitry,
Skin graft, machinery,
Sputnik sickles found in the seats

Self-destruct sequence
this station is non-operational
Species growing
Bubbles in an IV loitering

Unknown origin
Is this the comfort of being afraid?
Solar eclipsed
Black out the vultures
as they wait

cut away, cut away
Send transmission
from the one-armed scissor
(get Away, get Away)

Dissect a trillion sighs away
Will you get this letter?
Jagged pulp sliced in my veins
I write to remember
Cause I'm a million miles away,
Will you get this letter?
Jagged pulp sliced in my veins
I write to remember...
I write to remember...
I write to remember...

cut away, cut away
Send transmission
from the one-armed scissor
cut away, cut away

Jul 28, 2010

A Little Perspective

Let’s talk about perspective or point of view

Narration is a huge part of any story (and not just when Morgan Freeman is doing it)! The Narrator is the vessel that we, the author, use to tell the story. There are several types of perspective. Let’s discuss.

First-Person – Stories told from first-person are narrated by a character in the novel who is telling you their story. Generally, the narrative character is the main character and generally the protagonist (ex: Twilight – Stephenie Meyer, Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathan Swift) though it is sometimes told by a lesser character (ex: The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) and in rare cases first person narration can be plural (ex: I, Robot – Isaac Asimov, Anthem – Ayn Rand). Even rarer than first-person plural is first-person omniscient, in this viewpoint, the narrative character also knows the thoughts and feelings of all the other characters.

Often used to convey deep emotional ties to the narrative character, a first-person narrator can be unaware that they are narrating a story – making the narration similar to third person – or can be cognizant of the fact that they are telling a story to an audience.

Second-Person – When an author chooses to tell a story from second-person point of view, the desired effect is to pull the reader in by making them feel as though they are a character in the story. The Narrator will refer to one of the characters as “you,” thus assigning the reader a role.

I, personally, haven’t read a novel in second-person perspective – other than the “choose your own adventure” novels back when I was a kid. ( ex: Bright Lights, Big City – Jay McInerney, Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas – Tom Robbins)

Third-Person Objective – In this style of narration, the author tells the story through a narrator who does not describe any of the character’s thoughts, feelings or opinions. The narrator tells the story from an objective perspective, presenting the story to the reader in an unbiased manner. The “fly on the wall” narration is completely detached from the story and lets it progress on its own merit. Novels told from this perspective often have characters who express their emotions in an observable way – as the narrator only describes what he sees. This perspective – though lacking insight to the emotional side of its characters – can be useful in providing information that few, or none, of the characters know. (I can’t think of any right now…)

Third-Person Subjective – is a narrative voice that allows the reader to experience the world of the novel through the perceptions of a chosen character (or several chosen characters). When the perspective is reliant on only one character, the narrative scheme can also be termed “Third-Person Limited.” They call it this because the reader is “limited” to one characters thoughts and may not always see the whole story on their own. (ex: The Dead – James Joyce, The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway, The Demon’s Lexicon – Sarah Rees Brennan)

Third-Person Omniscient – The narrator in stories told from third-person omniscient plays no part in the story themselves, but knows all of the details, including all of the characters thoughts. This form of narration tends to lend more reliability to its narrator than other forms. This form allows for easier movement between parts of a story that other forms do not. (ex: The Lord of the Rings [trilogy] – J.R.R. Tolkien, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams)

Alternating – An author can decide to write their novel from two different viewpoints (usually this is from third person omniscient and first person) in order to provide information that one narrative form cannot provide. (ex: The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver)


When it comes to my novels, I’ve found that I like writing in First-Person or Third-Person Subjective/limited. But I think it’s really more about the fact that the novels I’ve written are best suited for those perspective types (imo – which means of course that I could be wrong). [Duty & Death (& Subsequent TTW Novels) – First person (occasionally slips into universal); Forfeit Souls – First person (Alternating between two first-person narrators); Magic is For the Birds – Third Person Subjective; (WIP) – Third Person Subjective/limited]

Jul 27, 2010

What’s in a name? The Quest For The Perfect Title

When it comes to titles, I can assure you I’ve had a tough time.

Back in the beginning Duty & Death’s title was entirely different (I think this is the fourth title it’s had), but then again, back in the beginning, it was one book, not five.

Up until a few months ago, it was only four. When I split D&D in half I suddenly realized that I would have to find a new title for the second half… my initial thought was “Crap.” But that’s no good for a title.

I had a few thoughts for the (now) third book, but they definitely wouldn’t work - very specific to that novel – drat, no cannibalizing. The potential title came to me as I was working through revisions last week.

“Living With the Enemy”

Granted, this is just a working title and is subject to change, but what do you think?

My second novel was a bit easier to title. Typical, isn’t it? The works that I’m not as proud of/don’t intend to pursue publication on at the present are the ones with easy titles. Don’t get me wrong, the original title was “The Demon Soul,” but then I found out that it was already the title of a novelized adaptation of WoW. Don’t get me wrong. I used to play an MMO, there’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s not the connotation that I am going for. So it changed to Forfeit Souls. I think it was a change for the better.

My third novel didn’t have a title for the longest time it wasn’t until a major revelation with the plot that I realized the perfect type of title for it and it became “For the Birds” however, this didn’t last and it’s now “Magic is for the Birds”. Once again, this is a novel with a wonderful name that I don’t want to pursue first. (love the genre, I just can’t see myself going anywhere with it.)

My current WIP has two titles. The one that is like my friend Greta’s name for her fish – Fish – and the one I made up before I’d locked down most of the plot – so it doesn’t make sence.

Most of the time I call it “Space Opera” and worry about what I’ll actually call it once it’s finished and I have the energy to think of something clever. Occasionally though, I still call it by its original title. “The Nine Lies of Calliope Druthers” this however brings to mind the novel, “The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch” and it’s really not a novel that I want associated with mine. They’re too different.

Jul 26, 2010

Why One Novel Will Either Kill Me Or Teach Me The Patience I So Desperately Need.

Duty and Death has been a very long time in the making. And I blame that on a few things.

1. Impatience .

2. I’m in love with the story, just not how I’ve written it.

The major issue is actually the combination of the two problems. I want to share that world with the real one and I’m chomping at the bit to do so, but it’s not perfect.

The other day I posed a question to my editors and my “biggest fan”.

so... I'm reading over bits and pieces as I revise D&D... and I kind of want to rewrite the entire thing... you know same story, just start over. I’m feeling like the way I’ve written it is coming off really pretentious… and I’m wondering if that’s because it is pretentious… or because the space opera is such a different book (and half of my mind is still plotting for it) that it’s clouding my judgment of this. Thoughts?

Overwhelmingly their response was to the tune of “you write like a psycho crazy person, it would probably only take you a month, so why not?”

Why not? Is answered by #1. One month seems like an eternity!

Let me let you in on a little secret. I decided a while ago that I would not query anyone from the beginning or November until Mid January. It’s the holidays, I know how these things work. They’re uber busy. I know I won’t get any points for that – I’m not looking for them – but I don’t want to try to push a ms on to an agent at a time of year that’s undeniably busy in peoples personal lives. That’s just who I am.

This is why I was hoping to have a polished ms by August first – ample time before my “dead months” and as great as progress is going on the space opera, I’m 100% certain that it isn’t going to be ready until after said dead months.

I’ve spent the weekend waiting for an editor’s reply and clearing my mind of all things related to other books, and now I’m going to do an indepth read through. Maybe I am just crazy. Maybe I’m being too hard on myself. Maybe I should check into the Loony Bin – I could get lots of writing done there…

I think I’ll let my betas tell me if I should remove the maybe from any of the above sentences…

Jul 23, 2010

Mid Friday... er Late Friday Counts


Word Count: 57,900 (72%) [Last week: 48,100 (60%)]

Page Count: Mine: 188  Theirs: 231  [Last week: 159/193]

Comments: So... I would have posted this at noon time, but my work internet is annoying and wont let me on to blogger! and I went to the ball park tonight. Anyway. I've gotten a lot done this week (2% more than my goal!) and that kind of surprised me with the revisions on my other novel and a doctors appointment that took up my entire Thursday morning.
This week had a lot of questions that came at me and I struggled with finding answers to them, but now, as I write this little post I can say that those questions have all been answered and I've come to understand both the novels and the characters better than ever. That is always a good feeling!

In The Clutch

My mom used to tell me I did better at things when I was under stress. She said it was the reason I qualified for state in the soprano solo competition, All State Choir and various other things I can’t remember off the top of my head. Honestly, I have to disagree. The situations were stressfull, but all in all, I can tell you the real reason I was better at those times than at others.

I honestly didn’t care.

This was a bone of contention for my best friend – she was mad that I didn’t care about going to state and was. I honestly would have stepped down to let her if I could.

Maybe that’s the problem with my writing. Maybe I care too much. Unfortunately my novels are so much a part of me that I’ll never have that laissez-faire attitude about my novels.

Jul 22, 2010

Accepting Change

Oh, revision notes. You’re so much fun! I just want jump into that pit of needles from Saw II (or not eeew!)

When I sent out the first draft of D&D to my mother, I don’t know what I expected to get back. I know that I didn’t expect her recommendations for the major cuts. I think that those early notes are an example of when you need to learn from mistakes. The mistake in this case was thinking that I “knew better.”

Now, 8 months and countless form rejections later, I can think back to that and be annoyed at myself for wasting time with my own pride. I can tell you that now in its… what is this? 5th? reworking… both of the pieces she suggested to cut are gone, they’re in that special folder where unused ideas for the series go to wait and see if they’ll ever make their way back into the series.

What’s that saying? … “Mother Knows best”

Luckily, through time I’ve learned that when changes are suggested there is usually merit behind them. Occasionally I read a change and I think, “They so do not get [Insert Character]” but I think that I’ve learned my lesson. Hopefully accepting change in my novels will help me to be a little more flexible in other aspects too.

Jul 21, 2010

Switching Gears

Normally I pick one world/story for the day and stick with it. That means that I don’t have twelve different people talking to me about two different worlds, and it helps keep the people I talk to that day from wanting to gut me with a harpoon.

I usually only switch if the story I’m working on has annoyed me to the point of neck stress. But sometimes, switching gears is necessary. Sometimes, you have two goals that need to be moved toward simultaneously and well, you just have to make time for both of them. This month is very much like that. I’m still on track with my space opera and I’m working on the revision notes for D&D. So I have to switch gears from a first person Fantasy/Family saga to a third person limited SF.

Let me tell you, if it weren’t for my lunch break, my head would probably fall off.

I may be a little more “psycho” this month than normal. Any suggestions for coping?

Jul 20, 2010

Lonely… I’m So Lonely…

Writing a novel can be a very lonely thing. It’s something I forget until I’m this far into it and realize that no one will understand me if I bring up something from the middle of the book that’s giving me trouble.

Writing is lonely because you’re the only one who knows the facets of your story at this point. You don’t have beta readers who can buoy your spirits (I had a long desert island metaphor, but it lost all semblance of sense, so this is all that’s left). You’re very much alone.

If you’re like me – and refuse to write in any semblance of an order – it’s even worse. How do you explain what you need to fix in chapter 23 when you haven’t bolted down the previous 22 yet!?!

If you’re writing a novel, you know your characters intimately, there are aspects of their personality that no one else will understand until they’ve read what you’ve written… but they can’t do that until you’re done writing it. So you’re stuck in your own personal fortress of solitude… waiting for that final word to fall into place.

Jul 19, 2010

We Are The Dreamers Of Dreams

(Photograph by Brian M. Freer)

Think about it. Writers spend a lot of time in fictional places, we like to dream about the “what if’s” and postulate amazing things. I myself have dreamt of making it “big.” Oh, how I envy J.K. Rowling and her success.

But there is a point when these dreams become detrimental. They’ll begin to weigh on your psyche if you let them. I am prone to brief periods of depression, and one or two have been spurred by the irrational belief that – just because I haven’t yet seen any success – I won’t ever be published. I’m not looking for pity in that statement, I’m fully aware of my moods and their implications. My point in telling you this serves a dual purpose. If you yourself find that you occasionally fall into these little ruts, know that you’re not alone. If you were wondering why I am the way I am, this might help to explain.

Throughout my life I’ve always had fantastical places in my mind, scenarios playing out parallel to my real life. Occasionally those scenarios bleed through and I can’t recall if the event in question is from a real or imagined existence. Perhaps this is the reason I find it easy to create the world’s that go into my novels. Perhaps it’s part of the reason I don’t like to write about the “real world”.

Anyone want to psychoanalyze that?

Jul 16, 2010

Mid Friday Counts And A Thank You.


Word Count: 48,100 (60%) [Last week: 40,100 (50%)]

Page Count: Mine: 159 Theirs: 193 [Last week: 136/160]

Comments: I almost didn’t think I was going to make it this week. Last minute work came up that should have derailed me, but I had to send it back to the guy who’d given it to me for clarification and he still hasn’t gotten back to me, so voila!

This week I was given a very special gift. I was allowed by a fellow writer to help with her query letter. It’s something I do occasionally on Query Tracker, but there’s no real discussion between myself and the author that I give suggestions too. So being able to give my suggestions and the reasons for them, and then getting feedback from her that I cleared up some of the fog that had settled on her in the process. I’m not going to name names, in case she’d like to remain anonymous, but I’d like to thank her for giving me that opportunity.

So, thank you, it is an amazing feeling to know that you’ve helped someone. I no longer have any doubt of the reasoning behind my best friend’s decision to become a teacher.

The Return Of Revision Wars!

Today begins the second installment of Revision Wars: Duty & Death.

Mother dearest My editor has returned the revised manuscript and thus we begin the grammatical revisions while we wrap our head around her other comments. We have more work to do and we know this (though we don’t know why we’re talking about ourselves in the third person… stop that).

As of now, part of my day will involve inputting changes, but I have no intention of abandoning my goal of 10% completion each week. Even if I could make all of my changes right away and send out my new query, I’ve taken pains to keep myself from doing so.

I think I’ve expressed my difficulty with patience before, but I’m not the kind of person who ignores her faults without attempting to change them for the better. So, shortly after I emailed my mother editor, I wrote up a contract with myself. Basically it’s a contract to combat impatience. And per the contract, I can’t send out that query until August 1. That’s right, its contractual patience. If I can’t have the real thing, I might as well fabricate it for myself.

Jul 15, 2010

Pretty Sure This Isn't Accurate... But I'll Take It!

Thanks to The Rejectionist, I found out that I write like Dan Brown! Who knew? Certainly not I. But that's what the I Write Like Analyzer told me after I posted the first 1000 words of  D&D.

The meme is, however, horribly flawed as you'll see here and here.

So take it for what it's worth...

Wow... that's a new one...

I'm working on my WIP and I'm having a hard time with a character. I love him, but there's something about him that just isn't right. He's not providing the amount of conflict I want. And I’m scratching my head as to why. Why aren’t you who I’m trying to write?

I take a step back. I look at all of his individual aspects.

I like his dialog – I think it’s funny (but it’s not funny enough, laugh it up fuzzball)
I like his interaction with the MC’s – he’s like a wool sweater, he just kind of itches (He’s not itchy enough. Make that sweater out of steel wool.)
I like his name – honestly that’s perfect no changes necessary
I like his physical characteristics – well, on in particular, the other parts don’t really matter so much…

Then I figured it out. HE. NEEDS. TO. BE. FEMALE.

Bet you didn’t see that one coming. I didn’t. (BTW. she looks nothing like this)

So I went about changing him to her.

I love her dialog – it's funny and sassy
I love her interaction with the MC’s – did you ask for steel wool? Ok, here it is on fire
I love her name – it stayed the same (and still works beautifully)
I love her that physical characteristic – as with the name there is no change.
(added bonus - she helps with a potential audience revelation)

It’s funny how things work out, isn’t it?

Jul 14, 2010

Goal Oriented… Who, Me? (Or, Welcome To My Insanity Pt. 6)

Welcome to this episode of “Understatements” today’s contestant is Amy, a writer from Glendale, Arizona!

Ok, so my brain is a strange place, I’ll be the first to admit that. I NEED MY GOALS. They keep me on a forward path and help me stay sane – a difficult task when you’ve got voices in your head and multiple worlds/lives playing themselves out in the back of your thoughts. It’s why I make lists, it’s why I schedule things.

Current Writing Goals:
  • Complete 10% of unnamed WIP each week. Est. Completion Date: August 13th.
  • Finish Revisions & Send out Query for D&D. Est. Send Date: August 1st (no sooner than)
  • Continue to post on two blogs 5 days a week. (No actual end date)

This might sound strange to you, but I’m a serial non-finisher. I have a nasty little habit of finding a tangent and letting it completely derail my day. That’s why I keep my list and work toward goals. My biggest tools in keeping on track with my goals are my spreadsheets. It’s one thing to know that you’re on track; it’s another to be able to visually see it.


Jul 13, 2010

When I Write, Where I Write, Why I Write.

I am, like so many other aspiring authors, unable to survive without a full-time day job. Unfortunately the pen (or keyboard) doesn’t yet bring home the bacon – if it ever will…. However, I am one of the lucky few who are able to write at work. That’s right. I’m allowed to type away at my WIP between answering phones and doing anything else that my job (more or less an over glorified babysitter of middle aged men) requires of me. Let me just tell you, the current economy has made my down time at work very conducive to pushing out pages.

So when the Rejectionist offered up a post on her writing space, I thought about it for a minute… and ultimately decided that I didn’t have anything worthy of posting. After all, I don’t have a space set aside that is specifically for my writing (yet).

Then Amanda (soon to be published author extraordinaire) posted her space and I found more that had also. And I thought, “I may not have much to show, but why not?”

So here it is… the space where I work & write.

The gentle hum of the air conditioning (chronically set at 55, inducing my desire to bring a parka to work when it’s over 100 degrees outside) helps to block out the larger part of the office noise – mostly the gossip of the men I work with, they’re worse than high school girls. The Dual screens are wonderful – as I have a pension for making charts for everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) I do.

Unless something comes up, or I get distracted by reading blogs, I can usually push out 2,000 words between the phone calls, bank deposits, construction of manuals, etc. Earl always jokes that I’m already a professional author (being paid to write) and I guess he’s right in many ways. This job – and its boredom inducing slow periods – is what got me into novel-writing, and I am writing on a salary… it is not, however, to be compared with being paid to have your novel published.

* When I move (hopefully shortly) I’ll post pictures of the space I’m going to carve out in the new house.

Jul 12, 2010

Elk Creek Redwoods

Green leaves, red bark tower
High over the gentle, flowing water
Of Elk Creek.

Soft water smoothes jagged
Edges of rocks plucked
By collecting fingers.

The face of a Troll peeks through
Soft bark beckoning
Passersby to stay.

The sun filters through a misty haze
Until this fairy land scenery is shattered
By a passing sedan.

(all pictures were taken June 6th, 2009 by yours truly, during a drive through the California Redwoods.)

Here's a bonus picture of me on a log over fish creek. ( I thought I was going to die when I tried to turn around to get back to the bank.)

Jul 9, 2010

Mid Friday Counts

(Oh! Did you think you wouldnt get this lovely little post because I'm out on vacation! Never, NEVER I SAY!)


Word Count: 40,100 (50%) [Last week: 31,700 (40%)]

Page Count: Mine: 136 Theirs: 160 [Last week: 114/126]

Comments: This week came with the commencement of a goal. My goal of finishing 10% every week until August 13th at which time the editing will commence.I was a little worried because (as you'll find out tuesday -  please don't make this awkward, you should know I schedule, I make lists for everything. Keep up people!) I get most of my writing done at my day job, and this week I only worked 3 days.
But amazingly, inspite of phone calls and needy salesmen, I managed to bust out an aproximate 2,700wds Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday and managed to reach my goal of 50% of my projected word count. So technically this is a late Thursday count... but who's going to get nit-picky? Not me!

The Last 5 Books I’ve Read

So I’m not really here, you may think I am, but I’m not. I’m officially on vacation already - I'm not even awake yet - you just don’t know it. Well, I guess you do now…

Anyway, in lieu of a real post, I’m going to give you my reading list (or the last 5 books I’ve read – along with completion dates.)

1 - The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan (June 15th, 2010)

2 - Song of Scarabaeus by Sara Creasy (June 18th, 2010)

3 - Pride & Prejudice & Zombies by Jane Austen & Seth Graham-Smith (June 30th, 2010)

3.5 - The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer (June 30th, 2010)}
* I know, I know, this technically makes it 6 books, but it’s a novella. I finished it in 3 hours, I don’t think that counts as a full book.

4 - Man from Mundania by Piers Anthony (July 8th, 2010)

5 - Kilkenny by Louis L’amour


I would recommend that you read novels 1 & 2 most certainly, in fact, you should go buy them now.

3 & 3.5 I can honestly say are easily books you could skip, I read 3.5, the novella, while ignoring a losing baseball game.

4 you should read, but only after you’ve read all of the other books in the series. Xanth is definitely a place you can go to forget the real world and just take a break from thinking.

5… I’ll get back to you on that one when I finish it


Jul 8, 2010

Conversations with a Rocket Scientist

Alright, on Katie’s advice I queried Alex with my conundrum and sent him a picture. I blame her for the fact that I feel so silly now. Alex asked me some really good questions… and I answered them like a complete dolt.

*This has been edited for size, spoilers and to hopefully make me look a little less dull :)

First we talked about the part I know the least about.

Alex: First off, I find it difficult to believe that your engines would only take up one deck.

Me: Well... the black box with the diamonds is actually only the control portion of the engine...the engine itself is encased in that big red blob...

Alex: Ahh, ok

Me: love my technical terms, doncha?

Alex: Is this capable of FTL?

(after scratching my head for a minute I realized this meant “faster than light” and finally replied – gimmie a break it was after 3pm.)

Me: yes... and no,

Alex: Okay. And how do the sublight engines work?

(Here’s where I start to feel very ill prepared for this quiz.)

Me: Um.... I don’t know? I'm not extremely technical.

Alex: I get that you're just making the space-ship "go." In any case, I think for the FTL, the "black box" method is fine. For the sublights you might actually need more infrastructure. For instance, if you were using standard rocket engines you would probably need big fuel tanks. For a plasma-ion engine you might need longer engine modules to account for the space you need to accelerate your particles, plus generators to run your magnetic field… which might be nuclear generators. But if we say that that big red blob is just extra long, I guess that'd do it :)

Me: ok, so extend the blob

A little later (after studying my drawings further)

Alex: Two questions: Why does your bridge need two levels, and why aren't they using that extra space?

Me: Two answers: I just liked the idea (it’s not necessary and can change), and I'm not an aeronautical engineer, I don’t know what could/needs to go there.

Alex: Well, the aeronautical engineer part isn't that big a deal. But from my tugboat experience, I can tell you that on a boat, every spare inch of space gets used for something. From an engineering perspective, that might be extra fuel, that might be directional thrusters, that might be fresh food stores, water tanks, filtration systems, life support…

Me: Sure, all of that. That's my answer!

So, I’m not a total failure at this! He even went on to say:

Alex: Other than that, I think you've done an excellent job

Me: Considering the fact that I have no qualifications

Alex: I opened up the picture and thought, "Hey, I can imagine living on that for a few months." I mean it reminds me of the tugboats I worked on.

I think this may have just been to pick up my battered and useless brain.

Jul 7, 2010

Advice on Rejection from the Rejected

You know… I’ve never once been mad at an agent (or in most cases, their assistant) for sending me a rejection. I’ll admit that I had sky-high hopes of finding an agent right away, and seeing success almost immediately, but I’m not the type of person to invest all of myself in an unlikely hope – which that most certainly was. Maybe that softened the blow.

I believe it is this lack of anger towards people - whose jobs are already hectic enough - that makes me extremely curious at others. I’ve seen writers take the most impersonal rejections to heart (in online forums where they post their ire) and pull, frankly quite absurd meanings from a two sentence letter that everyone who’s been rejected by that agent/agency has received. I have one piece of advice for you: they call it a “Form” rejection because the agent/assistant simply puts your name at the top of the letter and clicks print or send. There is nothing to take from a form rejection.

My honest advice for rejections is this:

If you receive a form rejection, don’t think about it. Put it in a pile, stack or shoebox, and wait until you get something that is not a form rejection. If that never happens, maybe you need to re-think your query letter. (In my case there was something very daunting to an agent in the midst of my letter that has since been fixed.) Don’t give up if you’ve received ten rejections, or even twenty. If you receive upwards of 50 with no requests for partials and no personal rejections, you may want to take a better look at your query, or even at your manuscript as a whole. Don’t give up.

Jul 6, 2010

Everybody Knows

There are a few songs recently that I’ve noticed really resonate with my current WIP, Everybody Knows by Leonard Cohen is one of them. Mr. Cohen has one of those voices that when you hear it for the first time (as I did in “Pump up the volume”) you often don’t know what to make of his deep bass tones.

I however have grown to love him and this song truly resonates for where this novel is going. Here are the lyrics, though I definitely suggest you listen to the song.

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died

Everybody talking to their pockets
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
And a long stem rose
Everybody knows

Everybody knows that you love me baby
Everybody knows that you really do
Everybody knows that you've been faithful
Ah give or take a night or two
Everybody knows you've been discreet
But there were so many people you just had to meet
Without your clothes
And everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

And everybody knows that it's now or never
Everybody knows that it's me or you
And everybody knows that you live forever
Ah when you've done a line or two
Everybody knows the deal is rotten
Old Black Joe's still pickin' cotton
For your ribbons and bows
And everybody knows

And everybody knows that the Plague is coming
Everybody knows that it's moving fast
Everybody knows that the naked man and woman
Are just a shining artifact of the past
Everybody knows the scene is dead
But there's gonna be a meter on your bed
That will disclose
What everybody knows

And everybody knows that you're in trouble
Everybody knows what you've been through
From the bloody cross on top of Calvary
To the beach of Malibu

Everybody knows it's coming apart
Take one last look at this Sacred Heart
Before it blows
And everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

Jul 2, 2010

Mid Friday Counts


Word Count: 31,700 (40%) [Last week: 28,800 (36%)]

Page Count: Mine: 114 Theirs: 126 [Last week: 106/115]

Comments: This week was a slow writing week. Monday was spent in developing plans for a spaceship. Tuesday saw a little writing, I found myself distracted by another piece I’m working on (though not as diligently). Wednesday was a blog heavy day – I’ve got things planned for a while. So yesterday and this morning were really the only writing times I had this week.

Also: my books should be arriving shortly *fingers crossed* and I’m excited, my reading list is severely depleted when they’re all in boxes waiting for us to move.

“If it Isn’t Broken, Don’t Fix It,” or, A Review of Pride & Prejudice & Zombies

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith is touted as “The Classic Regency Romance – Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem!”

This sort of a tag line let me to expect great things from the novel. I expected lots of Zombie, Mayhem, Gore and Fighting. I did not however, expect dialog that was out of place with Ms. Austen’s style, innuendos that popped up quite prevalently, or the strange addition of fighting styles and training in the orient. I think you can gather what I received and what was lacking.

I will admit that I was excited to read this novel. And the first line only served to increase that excitement.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a Zombie in possession of brains, must be in want more brains.

In contrast with the original first line:

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a fortune, must be in want of a wife.

And it began pleasantly, I was enjoyed the story I knew and waited for the zombies, mayhem and everything else I expected – forgiving the author for tossing in the bits about being trained in the orient - but the expected gore and mayhem never came, though the illustrations were amusing.

A friend’s sister quit reading before the halfway mark out of boredom. If I did not love the underlying story as much as I do, I might have given up too. But I soldiered on through to the end, even with my jaw hanging open at times with the horrible things that Mr. Grahame-Smith had done to my beloved characters. I was not rewarded for my diligence.

The changes made to Austen’s original novel in no way better the novel. And the things he does to the characters are hard for me to stomach. Wickam is made pitiable – a martyr even. Mr. Bennett is made an adulterer. Darcy is cruel – though only to Mr. Wickam. And Charlotte is stricken!

When it comes down to it, the things that could have been done, were not and those that were come off as poorly done, even half-done in some cases. The zombies are just there, they could easily be taken out of the story and it could have been called “The Pentagram of Death” about the five Bennett sisters, warriors to the end. The characters were not enhanced by this portrayal and in many instances their new speech and behavior lacked believability.

Overall, I don’t suggest reading this novel. Read the original incarnation instead. The first go was the better.

Jul 1, 2010

A Day Without Writing

Ok, so that’s pretty much impossible for me, but the point is: all of the time spent on the WIP on Monday was spent drawing up the plans for my space ship and the shuttles.

I will post them someday (though not today) but it’s good to have an idea or what will work (layout -wise) in the space I gave myself. As an avid fan of Firefly, I spent quite a lot of time looking at Serenity and studying her plans, but in the end, there is very little that is the same between them. For one, my ship cannot land on the surface of a planet - I had to take precautions to make it impossible.

I modeled the ship after the Eagle Lunar Transport (Space:1999)… with several modifications, and a lot of shrinkage – basically I just kept the shape.

I finished all three decks yesterday – the blueprint-esk drawings are not difficult. It’s going to be the design of the exterior, which I’ve begun, that will be the difficult part.

I’m going to try to hide the fact that I’m designing spaceships from my friend who’s an Aeronautical engineer… I don’t think he’d be happy with my designs. I’m far from qualified.