Wednesday, December 10, 2008

2008 Accomplishments / 2009 Goals

2008 In Summary

Consistency was my goal, and for a while, I did well. Life jumped aboard and broke that down, but Life required my attention and I could not divide myself between these responsibilities.


* 3 Stories Edited (multiple times)

* 4 Stories Written

* 1 New Short Story Submission

* 5 Short Story Submissions

* 6 Novels Read

* 4 Critiques Completed

2009 Goals

My 2009 goal will be Balance. With an infant and a two and a half year old, and dealing with recovery from surgery, I've got my hands full. I've got two writing classes in progress, and a few short stories in the editing-for-submission phase. I need to clean this up, reorganize, and move forward. My January goal is to get myself and my family on a schedule to allow myself some writing time. Any writing time. February through April will be to solidify that and get some editing done, with at least one new submission. May will be devoted to the Story A Day challenge. June through December will bring a return to editing and hopefully one more new submission.

2009 Goals In Summary:

* 2 New Short Story Submissions

* 5 Short Stories Edited

* 5 Short Stories Written

* 2 Writing Courses Completed (Adv Fiction / Think Sideways)

* Novel Reading - 6

* Crits - 6 to 12

Here's to Balance. May she play nicely with my Muse.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

November/December Break

Superwoman, I am not.
Clones, I have not.
Common sense, I do indeed possess.

So I'll be on break from writing November and December. My health comes first, and my new baby's too once he shows up. I've got my two year old to still spoil for a little while yet, and holiday shopping to handle. The writing is there, and it will still be there when my brain and body recover. I'll post if anything comes up (like my rejection from Fantasy, and yes I'm sending that one right back out tonight, just have to decide where the next destination is). Otherwise, I'll see you in January.

Monday, October 6, 2008

September Results, October Goals

Life has taken over, and my completed goals are not what I had hoped for September. Considering however I spent half the month sick, and the other half playing catch-up at work, and I'm making the final preparations in the house for baby #2's arrival, it's no wonder my writing has slipped. I knew it would. I planned for it to do so. I'm also planning to not kill myself in October, and to get it back after recovering from childbirth/newborn feedings. :)

September Results
  • Nighthunter's Bite - progressed but not complete
  • Think Sideways Classes - 2 completed
  • Novels - 2 read

October Goals
  • Think Sideways Classes: 2
  • Adv Fiction (UM): 1
  • Reading

Friday, September 26, 2008


I'm allowing my writing to slip to the side, it's getting to be that time, I think. I've had to reprioritize home/family/health stuff, and I'm okay with that. However, I'm not abandoning writing entirely. No, I know better than that. :)

First off, I'm focusing on the classes I've signed up for. I can do those with short periods of time without a lot of prep before hand. And not having fifty thousand things to do afterward, the material seems to stick better in my mind, and I find myself reflecting back to what the coursework entailed.

Also, I'm reading. I've added George R.R. Martin's "Game of Thrones" to my bookshelf at my husband's request. We don't read the same authors, so when he raves about one, I really do need to check it out. I've read the prologue, and am intrigued by the characters and how quickly Martin has presented them to me in such distinct identities with only a few pages. I'm going to try and read this one slowly, and absorb what I can.

And finally, I'm focusing on one writing project at a time. Nighthunter's Bite needs to get written, crappy first draft acceptable. I've got images of the chase haunting me, and Maura's strange power is haunting her, and I've got to get her some resolution. She's been running for two years now, you know. I owe her a rest.

My daily list format worked when I was writing daily. I've temporarily dropped my list to a monthly points of what needs my attention. I'm adapting, and that's good. I know I'll get my time back in some fashion in the coming months.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I Remember

September 11, 2001 . . . we all know what happened, we all know people who were affected by it. I am fortunate enough not to have lost anyone that day, but New York is my home. I grew up there, I worked there. I lived and breathed New York until about ten years ago when I moved away, so when that second plane hit and we realized it was intentinal, it made me angry. I felt violated.

Seven years later, our lives have changed enough for us to point back to that fateful day. Seven years later, justice really hasn't been served, has it? Sure, a few higher-ups have been captured and imprisoned, but what has that accomplished? As Americans, we're still hated by the people that formed those groups, and while I don't live in fear that they will take action again, I am saddened that their beliefs are so strict that we cannot live in tolerance of one another.

Such is the allure of science fiction novels that depict a future in which a united Earth goes forth to explore the universe. These problems were resolved, tolerance and unity became the standard, and most people are happy. Life is not science fiction, not will it ever be, not from that angle. But it's sure nice to daydream about it.

While daydreaming, I will not forget those who lost their lives on September 11th. I will not forget our armed forces who have tried and tried to bring order to the Middle East. I will not forget their families who live without them on a daily basis while tackling the normal challenges of everyday life. I will not hate those who can't understand sharing and tolerance.

I can hope that change will come, that people will come. I don't think my generation will be the one to do it. Perhaps my children's generation. All I can do, beyond hoping, is teach my childen right and wrong, while hopefully, some other woman in the Middle East is teaching her children about right and wrong, about sharing and tolerance, and about the responsibility of change.

I will remember. And my children will learn.


It's been an interesting week. I've been going to bed at 8:30 several nights in a row, which isn't even enough time to check on laundry progress after the two year old goes nighty-night. I need it, so no complaints. I feel more clear headed, and I'm using my lunches at work for various writing tasks. I've been reading, too. In the evenings, I read a bit of Hunting the Hunter before bed, and I've also started Neil Gaiman's American Gods at a doctor's appointment. The Think-Sideways assignments are waiting for me, but I just haven't had a spare ten minutes times three or four to work on the freewriting.

Today's task is to work more on Nighthunter's Bite. I'd like to complete the story soon, and get back to editing. I'm really in edit-mode which is making the writing difficult. Sunguard needs my attention. Someone's been hinting to me that it could be more than just a short story, but I need the short story done before I think any further on it. There are two anthologies I think Sunguard will fit fairly well, but deadlines swoop in when the work's not getting done.

So many things to write and edit, and so little time . . .

Sunday, September 7, 2008


There hasn't been a lot going on writing-wise, but I've been busy. Treischan Strength was rejected, and I've resubmitted it to an anthology. I signed up for Holly Lisle's Think Sideways course, which runs a year long, so the child issues that are due to come up soon shouldn't affect it. And, I read S.L. Viehl's Omega Games, and am slightly afraid of what she intends for the end of the series. The main character received some advice from a new friend on how to handle her current family issue, which is pretty much an issue that's run the course of the series. If she follows his advice, the series is going to end on a sad note, and I hope it doesn't. I can only wait and see, now.

Evenings have been useless for writing, so I'm back to lunch break writing for a few weeks. Progress will be slow, but if there IS any progress, I will be happy!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

August Results, September Goals

My primary goal this year has been of a dual nature: Consistency, and short stories. While August was not a phenomenal month, I did maintain this basis of my goal formation.

August Results

  • Short Stories Edited: 1 (Sunguard)
  • Short Stories Written: 0 (Nighthunter's Bite is still in progress)
  • Crits: 1
  • Novels Read: 2 (Plague of Memory and Wolf Who Rules)

What I didn't get done was based on time constraints, the physical need to not be on a computer 12 hours a day, and changes in my family. I know these things will balance out.

September Goals

  • Story Edits: 1 (Sunguard!)
  • Story Writing: 1 ('Bite, preferably)
  • New Submission: 1 (if Sunguard is ready)
  • Adv. Fiction Class: 0/1 (low priority, I have a year to complete 5 more lessons)

Friday, August 22, 2008


I'm not going to whine, I'm not going to make excuses. I'm going to understand what's wrong and deal with it. Unfortunately, what's wrong with my writing and my writing time is really beyond my control and just requires patience from me to get through it all.

I've had the luxury of working a pretty terrific dayjob that allows me thinking time for my writing, usually at the expense of speed getting through my never ending workflow. If I didn't get enough done before lunch, I'd make it up after lunch. If I didn't get enough done after lunch, I'd make up for it the next day. Don't misunderstand - I don't steal company time to write, it's just that I'm usually thinking about two different things at once anyway, so why can't one of them be something I love? :) Having my mind in two places was okay before, but not now. I'm entering the third trimester of my pregnancy, and I cannot play with my workflow anymore. I cannot chance handing my workload over to my co-workers without it being 100% up to date. Totally not fair. So with the super-focus on getting stuff done at work (and taking on -voluntarily- a scanning project that will help those gals while I'm out) means my lunch break writing time is being compromised. I have a hard time switching tracks in my brain from patent workings and data entry to the creative output I need for writing.

Also creating an obstacle is the combination of my two year old needing a later bedtime and my own need for an earlier bedtime, shrinking that precious time to a mere hour to an hour and a half, which needs to be divded between writing, household stuff, and oh I don't know, ME time? It took us a few days of fighting the 7 - 7:30 bedtime routine for the little girl, and she wouldn't actually go to sleep until 8 or after. We pushed that up, so our routine with her starts at 7:20/30 (playing, reading with her in her room, singing bedtime songs) and ends quite smoothly by 8pm. Sound asleep, she's freed me to do my own thing.

Which means finishing up the dinner cleanup, putting away whatever toys we never got her to do, dealing with the day's mail, starting a load of laundry, and then am I free to write. Or try, anyway. My bedtime has dropped to between 9 and 10pm, mostly because of the Nighttime Joys of pregnancy (leg cramps, bathroom needs), I'm only getting an hour and a half to two hours of sleep at a time. Between that 10pm and 6am, I'm up and out of bed at least 3 times every night.

So faced with all this, my creative energy is dwindling. My time available to stir up that energy is fading, right along with my desire to put out stories. It's the sleep, it's the strain on my body, it's the demands of keeping my day job going strong. Heck, even sitting at the computer is getting more difficult with the big baby belly in the way.

I'm dropping my weekly goals to one item from here on out, which will be geared toward completing projects, but focused more on paying any level of attention to the writing. Reading is included in that, especially if it's my own. Marking up manuscripts now for editing later might work. My monthly goals are going to change, and I don't think I'm going to make my submission goals for the year. And considering the baby is due the end of November (and will likely show up via c-section), my recovery and his well being are going to take precedence over the writing. Not to mention, my computer room is in the basement of my house and stairs after a c-section are quite limited, I won't even be at my computer all that much.

I knew this was coming, and it still makes me sad. I feared with my first pregnancy that I'd forget how to write, and while some things needed practice to get back into, my muse was still there. I just had to rework some of the technicalities of the writing. I can do it again. I just didn't want to give it up this soon. Comparing again with my last pregnancy, I wrote a little bit, but gave up very early on. This time, I wrote nearly every week right through week 26 (that's about 6.5 months). So really, I did better. I'm glad for that.

I'll just have to take it one little bit at a time from here on out.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

And Something Bit . . .

I needed to be more comfortable with Celtic rituals and sacrifice before I could put this story together, so that's what I did over lunch. There are some interesting websites you can find if you just Google the right combination of words, and let me tell you, those Celts were damned interesting.

Nighthunter's Bite now has some backbone, and a basic outline is set. All I need now are the words.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Sometimes plotting is easy, and sometimes it irritates me to no one because I know the story is there, I know it needs to be written, but something is evading me, and I can't figure the 'why' of the story. I remember now why I had stopped working on Nighthunter's Bite. Gutsy character with enough spunk to challenge her goddess, and a nice confrontation scene between the two. But why is there this confrontation? And what the hell does it have to do with the moon bracelet I'm fixated on? Time for some celtic research, maybe something there will coax some answers out of my muse, not that I know where SHE went to. Probably took a nap after all the editing I've been doing . . .

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Edit: Sunguard

The Sunguard edit is complete and off to critters. The story doubled in size and some plot layers were added. I have a feeling the resolution isn't what it should be, so I need to give it one more pass for sure. But my time has paid off, I think it's a good story. It just needs a little more editing love. ;)

Friday, August 8, 2008

8/7 Update

Exhaustion hit me early evening, which makes me really glad I pushed on the story over lunch. The entire draft of Sunguard has been redlined on paper, with sheets of new scenes and paragraphs that need to be added. Evening is starting to become difficult again at week 24 of this pregnancy, and I still have about 14 weeks to go. Sunguard is my priority this weekend, but I think I'll have to focus most of the work around the daughter's afternoon naps. It's killing me not to have this one done already.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Moving Along

I managed some decent writing today. Nighthunter's Bite is coming together in my mind, and I've got some more notes. Sunguard is definitely moving ahead. I went back to redlining on paper with pen instead of using MS Word's track changes, and I feel like it's made all the difference. I redlined 7 of 17 pages today, and handwrote a new scene, plus bits of some other scenes that needed additions.

Is it possible I'm getting somewhere? :-)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Tempting Fate

Yes, I tempt fate. My promise to myself "edit Sunguard no matter what comes up" was derailed by Mother's Nature's attempt to blow my city away with massive thunderstorms and sightings of funnel clouds. Niiiice. Thanks, Mama Earth. Love ya. (smooches)

Today was fairly productive, surprising considering how little sleep I got last night.

Over lunch I completed the crit that was troubling me. I don't usually read, never mind crit, flash fiction. The author is someone whose writing I respect, so it's always tough for me to get into crit mode in that situation. It IS harder for me to crit for someone when they're less of a stranger, but that's okay. I'm learning to handle it better, and I'm learning from the people whose work I've learned to critique.

I also started reviewing my notes for Nighthunter's Bite. I like the concept of the story better now than I did before, and am looking forward to writing it. This is going to my submission to the celtic fantasy anthology and really does have the right foundation for it, I just need to research some details to make it just right.

I'm working on Sunguard now, I won't get through it tonight though. There's too much I need to change. But I'm slogging through the handwritten notes, reentering the edits I made last week before I had lost that version of the file. It's tough going, but I am making progress. Then I can go back and and the two new scenes. I need to do some character work, as two characters that had only been mentioned before, will now have more significant roles. And they weren't even mentioned in the first version of the story. It's fun watching how these things develop.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Back from Vacation & On The Go

"Vacation" simply means "time off of work, not at home" when it's done with a toddler. She's moving beyond her toddler phase, and while she is a well behaved child, it's still work. I gave myself this morning off to recover from the vacation, but it's off to finish unpacking, doing laundry, buying groceries, and logging on to the work computer (yep, promised them four hours today, which is much better than eight).

I was too exhausted to manage any writing over the trip, but I did get some reading done, and quite enjoyed Wen Spencer's "Wolf Who Rules". I get a kick out of her main character Tinker, who is as short as I am, but has courage in spades where mine only comes in spurts. ;)

This week promises to be chaotic, mostly due to committments to the day job that may require more than the normal eight hour day, but I do have a few things I'm aiming for. Sunguard needs editing still, and I intend to finish it this week even if I have to sacrifice sleep. I have some minor goals (my fiction class, a crit, and start/build a short story first draft), but not until Sunguard gets another pass.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

July Writing Update / August Goals

Where did July go? There was a good deal of editing, some struggles to write a new story (more on that), a few days on vacation, and a few crazy days at work. I came very close to meeting my goals, and I am satisfied with my progress.

July Results:
  • New Submission: 1/1 (and submitted to a second market by month end)

  • Stories Edited: 2/2 (Sunguard and Treischan Strength, with edits in progress for Orchard, Eve, and the next draft of Sunguard).

  • Stories Written: 0/1 (too many ideas, not enough focus)

  • Adv. Fiction Class: 1/1 Lesson

  • Read: 1/1 Novel (Tinker, by Wen Spencer)

  • Crits: 2/2

August Goals:

  • New Submission: 1 (Sunguard)

  • Story Edits: 2 (Sunguard & one other)

  • Story Writing: 2-3

  • Crits: 2

  • Adv. Fiction Class: 1 Lesson

  • Read: 2 Novels

The short story writing has proven problematic in July because I've been in deep edit mode, and the stories I was trying to write, were not truly sincere attempts. I've been letting them simmer, which is fine, I like when things simmer, but I never really sat down and gave it my full attention. Once A Thief is actually 2 different stories I have to pry apart, and Stone Forest needs some more focus. However, they're going to sit on the back burner for August. There are a few anthologies I'd like to try and submit to before the end of the year (October deadline for one, December deadline for another). I've got a working title of "Radio Silence" for once, but that will change, and the other is Nighthunter's Bite, a short I started a few years ago, but lost interest in. I'm going to revamp it with the theme of the anthology in mind, and that seems to be sparking some creativity for me.

As far as editing goes, I'm aiming for Sunguard to be the next submission, so it needs one more good edit (after a few crits). Eve is on my mind, and so is Orchard, but they both need a decent amount of attention. I'll have to pick one as I get closer.

I'm looking ahead to August, the writing should be fun, but there are time constraints I have to consider. I'm away for the first three days of the month, and then my folks are coming in town for possibly a week or an extended weekend, so I need to make sure I'm using my time right.

Monday Update

I spent a good deal of time on Sunguard today, but a computer glitch resulted in a loss of every one of those changes. My evening was spent preparing for the vacation, so I had no time to redo the edits. I did receive a rejection on my short story, so I prepped the next submission package and will mail it out again on Tuesday.

The vacation is going to be fun, but getting ready to go on one is usually a fairly busy time, especially with kids involved. I'll get there, even if I don't sleep tonight!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Edit: Sunguard

Yes, still going with Sunguard. I haven't touched it since earlier in the week and I really want to try and finish this version before I head out on vacation. I had about an hour tonight and implemented the simple edits I marked on the printed manuscript, but I still have in-line comments I made with one scene to add and another scene to rewrite. Time remaining? I have my lunchbreak tomorrow, and a short bit of time tomorrow night before I start packing, so there is some hope. I'm eager - this one is going to be my next submission.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I Knew It

I know when some weeks are impossible for completing anything, and I'm glad this was one week I did expect it. That said, I was able to not stress out over my lack of finishing anything I started. And, I was able to continue writing in dribs and drabs, keeping my projects alive. So what did I do this week?

* Once A Thief - Realized the main character is poking her head up in about three different short story ideas right now, and that I need to give her some free writing time next week to find out who she really is, and what problems she's really having. Once I know that, I can fit her into the correct story, and move the two others back into worldbuilding/plotting and come up with appropriate main characters.

* Sunguard - did some market research and found an anthology I believe is appropriate which sparked a revelation that my ending was all wrong.

* Crit - read a story for crit, and will try to get the crit done this evening. It's a short story (flash fiction) so it shouldn't be a days-long project. I just need to sit down and do it.

The one bad thing I did was daydream about my submission being accepted. I wasn't getting anything done anyway, so that's not the issue, but it's silly to get my hopes up. There are a lot of writers out there who are as good as me, and some better, and I have lots of practicing to do. That said, I do have a lot of faith in this story, and I want it to have a home like I've never wanted it before. But that will come in time, not on its very first venture out of the house.

I've been toying with the idea of writing a workshop on Time Management for writers to participate in S.L. Viehl's workshop week, but ironically enough, I don't think I have the time to write it up this particular weekend. Maybe I'll set it up and just post it when it's ready. It's not that I've mastered time, I think I've come a long way in understanding where it is, and where it isn't in my life, and I've gotten pretty effecient at determining how to use it. My July goals are near completion. The last item, writing a short story, is complicated because of the character issues. I hope to get it done, but like I said, this last week and a half of July promised distance from my writing. Maybe tonight, after the crit...

Here's a link to the workshops for next week. If you've got any interest in writing, go check it out Monday - Friday. Paperback Writer

Monday, July 21, 2008

Editing Sungard

I'm working on the next draft of Sunguard. The story has come a long way from when I struggled to write it, and it still isn't easy. The effort has been worth it though, I really think I salvaged a decent story from first draft garbage. Another day or two and the issues should be ironed out.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Celebrating 10 Years of Me

The 28th of this month marks the ten year anniversary of my adulthood. I'm not talking about legal adulthood, I'm referring to the day I left home. I left my family, left the city I'd grown up in, and moved to a strange new place where I had to fend for myself. Sure, I had people to fall back on, and I did rely on them, but this is when I truly became an adult. Let me tell you of the things I learned.

  • Proper finance handling
  • Car buying (and lemon trading)
  • Moving cross country
  • Job hunting and keeping
  • Marriage, and what it really means to have another half
  • Motherhood (one beautiful daughter, and a little boy on the way)
  • the meaning of Time
  • the importance of being me and enjoying my own activities

That last one hit me as soon as I moved out. I went from living in a house with three other siblings, two parents, a grandparent, a dog and two cats to occupying a one bedroom apartment by myself, in a town where I knew no one. I couldn't afford cable tv, and really, this is when I learned not only that I loved writing, but that I was good at it, and the dream came alive for me. Ten years ago, I decided I wanted to be a writer. Seriously.

In that time, I've researched and taken classes, and read everything I could get my hands on. The results? Take a look below.


  • 3 Completed (1 of which has been edited a few times)
  • 2 in progress
  • 7 in various stages of worldbuilding and outlining
  • 35 viable ideas (with at least 1 paragraph of notes) in 5 genres

Short Stories

  • 1 published
  • 1 in submissions
  • 31 complete (2 are intended for novel conversion)
  • 6 shelved (they were learning experiences and need to die)
  • 25 awaiting edit (Yes, that's 25 worth spending time to fix!)
  • 10 started but not completed (a project for 2009)
  • 3 in progress


  • 2 published
  • 10 ideas (being researched or in outline form)

So you see, I've had a busy ten years. I've learned much, and am continually learning. I've surrounded myself with positive people, and learned how and when to laugh at myself. That lesson I learned from my husband.

Tell me - either here or in your own blog - what have you accomplished? Celebrate yourself.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Moving Forward

I reread my edits to Sunguard, and between my own observations and a first reader, I made some notes for the next edit pass. I moved on to Eve, which has a good foundation in conflict and emotion, but I need to add some description which is sorely lacking. I think it's one of the reasons I tend to write more fantasy than science fiction, I have more to play with regarding description and environment. But who am I to back down from a challenge! I'll keep you posted.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Edit: Sunguard

The Sunguard edit has met with some success. The story nearly doubled in size, and maybe 100 words remains of the original story. The changes are definitely for the better. The ending took an odd turn, but I think it works. I've got it out to some readers now, so hopefully soon I'll know if I've gone off the deep end or not. Happy reading, my friends. :)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

New Submission

For the first time in three years, I have submitted a story to a magazine: Treischan Strength. For my non-fiction, it hasn't been that long, but I need to get that moving too. The point is: my story is out there, and being out there is the only way to achieve publication. It's exciting and scary all at once, and hopefully this "first" submission will not be my last. I have a few other stories to get into shape so I can get those out there, too.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Edit: Treischan Strength

Ending revised, story complete. Edited. Ready. Submission quality. I lack the proper words.

I'll do a quick check tomorrow, make sure I didn't make any silly typos, then print and head over to the post office. This will be my first short story submission in three years. It's about damn time!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Artifacts & Relics

I started some research today using Google's image search to try and locate some artifacts and relics for my short story, and wow am I amazed at the process an archeological dig has to go through and the issues they have to deal with once the project is moving forward. So, I found myself in Ancient Egypt again, I keep finding myself there whenever I do this kind of research. I need to find something new. Maybe I'll go look up the Incahs and the Mayans tonight. Just so I stay out of Egypt. :)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Best Laid Plans

Derailed. Derailed by both exhaustion (did too much this weekend) and by inspiration (new stories want to be written!) Yes, I am battling the need to edit with the inspiration of two new shorts. Once A Thief finally shaped up and I need to get the first draft typed out quickly, and the untitled urban fantasy I mentioned has a working title of Stone Forest. Both are demanding my attention. I have until Friday to edit Treischan Strength, so I'll follow a friend's advice and go with the new stories for tonight.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


Considering the level of exhaustion we experienced from our ultrapacked three day weekend, I'm surprised I accomplished anything at all. I was not in an editing mood and couldn't get there no matter what I did (exahustion, I'm sure) so I started the new short story (urban fantasy, untitled) and started getting my submission package together for Treischan Strength. The final edit will start over my lunch tomorrow, and hopefully I'll clean it up enough to mail on Tuesday.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

How Swiftly Time Abandons Me

Time is not my friend. I need to harness it, maybe bottle it, and portion it out as I see fit. Actually, I do prioritize my tasks based on the time I have available, but it just doesn't always fit into my imagined schedule.

I've been continuing the Sunguard edit. I tried to work on Once A Thief, but the character changed the rules on me as I got to know her, and the story is an entirely different idea than when I started. I'm keeping the old idea for future writing, and going with the new one this upcoming week. I completed a critique this week, and will try to do one more this next week.

Goals for this week are aggressive, but I'm giving it a shot. I have my priority items including a final edit and submission (Treischan!!!). We've had way too much fun with the holiday, so it'll be nice to get back into a normal routine where writing fits into my preplanned schedule. :D Hope your week goes well!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Market Research

I used my lunchbreak to do some market research, focusing on anthologies this time. None of the listings on really jumped out at my before, but I wanted to give myself a second chance. I looked at the themes based on what I've already written and what I'd like to write, but this time, I really looked at the themes.

I selected two based on partial writings I have saved. There's a celtic anthology that I can use to help complete Nighthunter's Bite, which I've been stumped on forever. There's another one that didn't have the theme listed on Ralan's site, but which I discovered on the direct website specifying "radio" and "alternate worlds". It reminded me of a scene I wrote for an exercise a few weeks ago, a scene I can now morph into a story. Both have December deadlines, so I have enough time to write the first drafts and edit them to my heart's content.

My only fear with anthologies, is that everyone else will be writing these themed stories, and if mine doesn't get accepted, then all those people will be sending their stories to the same markets as I will be. I suppose I can always tweak them to be different so they don't look like antho-rejects. . .

That's a lot to be worried about without the stories being written though, so I'll add these little projects onto my August and September plans. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


I've been working on multiple things since Sunday, not really getting too far with any of them. On the other hand, I've managed to regain control over the day-job workflow, and I think that (and the two year old) have consumed most of my energy. Oh, and the growing one, too. (Pats tummy).

Something drastic has to happen to Sunguard. I'm playing with the different scenes, but I still don't have the right combination. The story concept is right, the characters are right, even the viewpoint is right, but it's the sequence of presenting the events that's bothering me. Backstory is fine, but in a short story, an entire page of backstory is too much. I generally try to avoid flashbacks unless the story truly needs it. This story either needs the flashback (groan) or I need to start earlier. But that means dragging my readers through an event akin to a meteor shower and hitting those same people once a month for three to four months. I think that'll kill the interest in the character. Those events, those changes, lead to what Ashelle is dealing with now. I think the event isn't so much the "meteor shower" but Ashelle's interpretation of it. I don't like my options right now. I feel like there's another option, but at the moment, I can't identify it. I'll keep playing with it, I guess. It'll hit me eventually.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

June Results, July Goals

I know we have one more day left in June, but there's no time in my schedule for writing tomorrow, so my June 2008 writing is as complete as it will ever be.

All in all, the month went quite well. The writing didn't quite go in the places I decided exactly, but the amount of writing I did balanced out very well. My goals were to edit 1 - 2, of which I edited Treischan Strength twice, and am in the progress of editing two more. I wanted to write 2 short stories, and wrote 1 (Eve), with another one moving forward (Once A Thief). I took part in FM's Emotion's workshop, and signed up for an online advanced fiction writing class of which I already completed (or at least, turned in) the first assignment.

I'm stepping up July goals as my system seems to be working, but keeping each goal "area" light, so I don't overhwelm myself with one task. This'll allow me to be flexible in what I do, and where it can be done. I tried to leave some "extra" time in there, to deal with any inspiration that tends to hit me when my muse is tied up in multiple projects. The most exciting thing is getting Treischan Strength submitted. A new submission -- yeah!!

My July goals are:
* New Submission: 1 (Treischan)
* Short Story Edits: 2 (Orchard, Sunguard)
* Short Story Writing: 1 (Thief)
* Crits: 2 (these are good for me!!!!!)
* Adv Fiction Class: 1 lesson
* FM Dialogue Workshop
* Reading: Tinker

Last year, I burned myself out by piling on too much work, specifically crits. When those pile up, I get stressed out. I also tend to take on too many "big" projects when I don't have the time or energy for it. Sticking with the small ones - short storying writing and editing - should fix that.

I intend to keep my writing active through July and push into August. I want to break the cycle of hope/failure I've created for myself in the past. Now is the time. I'm going to do it.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Editing Sungard

Something clicked or unblocked or woke up, not quite sure which one at the moment, but am half way through the Sunguard edit. Out of nowhere.

Maybe it's my magic notebook? It told me to edit Sunguard tonight...

Other Sunguards

Interesting find today. I googled "Sunguard" to make sure no one else had recently published a short story by that name and came across a company named Sunguard with an interesting product. Would you use a laundry aid to put UV protection into your summer clothing? It requires a 15 minute soak and is good up to 20 washes. The company claims dermatologist recommended as well as approval from the Skin Cancer Foundation.

It's even affordable.

And for Star Wars fans -- Who knew?

Yes, my blog is more than about writing now I suppose...

Ever Elusive Time, Captured?

It's interesting to me, that the less time I have available, the more I accomplish. For instance, until my daughter was a year old, her bedtime was 5:30pm, based on her needs for sleep. I had from 5:30pm to about 11pm every single night to fit in dinner making/cleanup, laundry, game playing, and writing. I even pushed it to midnight some nights. The writing got done sporadically, the game playing was too much fun, and dinner was eaten in peace every night. Over time, my daughter's bedtime has moved up to about 7:30pm, and since I'm pregnant, I need to be in bed by 10pm. I give myself a half hour to read/unwind at that point, but it must be done in bed. So I went from five and a half hours every night to do these things, to about two and a half. And somehow, I'm managing better now.

Maybe it's because we've managed a nice evening routine with the two year old where even if we have separate dinners, we're all together for it. Meals tend to be gobbled down, and cleanup doesn't always happen to completion. (Thank goodness for the dishwasher and a husband who knows how to use it!). By 8pm, I'm usually on the computer. That leaves two hours to enjoy my time, do some laundry, and prep for the next day. (Is it any wonder I haven't done my nails in a few years?)

I have lists to thank. Yes, you read correctly, lists. I make a series of lists that keep me organized. No more too-tired-brain wondering what the heck I had to do. Now I look at my lists. There are three, really, that tie into each other. One is a Writing Goals (Monthly) list. Based on the time I predict I'll have and what I feel most needs to get done, I make my writing goals on the front page of a notebook. The next pages follow with a Home list that lists home/finance/family related things that need to be done over the next month that isn't part of the normal weekly chores. Then there's the weekly page. One page for seven days of tasks. I break down 3 - 5 tasks for each day, a balance I hope of writing and home needs. At the end up the week, I tear out the weekly pages and make a new one.

My intention is to accomplish something writing related every day, however minor. This helps me do that. My notebook, by the way, goes everywhere with me. Whereever I am, I know what I need to fit into my day, so on those lucky days when someone else offers to pick up the two year old from daycare, I can complete an item on my list -- early. :) I feel almost sane!

So tell me. How do you stay organized?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

When An Edit Isn't An Edit

When is an edit not an edit? When it's a complete rewrite. I think that's my problem with Sunguard. I deleted the first three pages, wrote another two and a half, but I'm going to delete most of that. I'll wait until I get the ending sorted out, then tie the beginning directly to that. In the meantime, I'm not happy with what I rewrote.

I'm right back at the original issue of viewpoint, too. Ashelle's voice hits my fingers in the first person, and I'm forcing her back to third. (I type often before I realize what's in my head). I don't write first person well, but I don't think Ashelle is giving me a choice this time.

I also think I've started the story in the wrong place. (Real interesting timing with the online advanced fiction course I'm taking through University of Madison. The first lesson is "Begin Someplace That Matters".)

Since I'm rewriting this anyway, I'll try the first person, see if I can't do something decent with it. It may help to reread one of my viewpoint reference books. Maybe I'll grab it on the way up to bed.

On the upside, I decided today I wanted to start sketching again. I don't know where it came from, aside from sharing my beloved colored pencils with my two year old daughter.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Edit: Treischan Strength

Yes, again. I'm getting closer. Sending the story off for a sadistic crit. I'll edit once more after that's done, but then it's going OUT THE DOOR. I promise you -- better yet, I promise me!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Bookshelf: "Rebel Ice" S.L.Viehl

I'm currently reading "Rebel Ice" by S.L.Viehl. It's the sixth in the Stardoc series, a heart-warming yet culture shocking, humorous at times, science fiction adventure that isn't over-the-top science-in-your-face. She doesn't write down to the reader either. The tech's in there, the emotion's in there, and this time, there's snow. Lots of it. (With all the snow that fell this winter, I had to wait for summer to read this one, didn't I?)

For anyone who hasn't read any of the Stardoc novels, I have to warn you, they're addicting. The main character, Cherijo, is a doctor with some family problems that turn intergalactic. Literally. If you're going to read the series, start with "Stardoc".

Interestingly enough, Viehl starts this novel with the point of view of a character we've never met in the previous books, in a strange world we've never even heard of, practicing customs I'd never imagined. I admit, I was a little concerned for the first few pages about being thrown into this world without Cherijio and her friends, but trust in Viehl won out. My favorites showed, each being tested in their own way around this planet of ice, each suffering, each tortured. And quite a punch at the end, I might add.

Here's a link to Viehl's blog which contains a fascinating combination of writing advice, general adivce, and Viehl's interpretation of what makes the world go 'round. She gives stuff away too, which is always nice.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Don't Take Your Authors for Granted

My blog is about writing and very little else. It makes sense to me that since reading influences my writing, it should also influence my blog. It's another way for me to support the authors I enjoy, and especially the authors who have influenced my writing, whether it be through their own writing, or direct contact with these normal everyday people who have their own issues and worries and loads of talent to bog all that down.

Never take for granted that your beloved authors will always be there. Writing is competetive. If their sales aren't top notch, they won't be getting new contracts. Don't have time to read it all now? That's fine. You know you love them, you're going to buy the books anyway. Buy the books now and have them ready for when you want to pick them up.

My rule has always been to buy paperback rather than hardcover because I could purchase more books that way. I still have a hard time spending $25 or more on a hardcover and can't wait for the day when Lotto picks my numbers and I can buy all hardcovers and show them off on an antique cherry bookcase. I'd rather help a little, all the way around.

I'll share with you my current reading list, what I think you'll like about the book, and link you to the author's site in hopes you'll check them out and support them too.

Editing Galore!

I made a bunch of goals for myself this week, but I wonder if I didn't overcommit. I put the Sunguard edit on the back burner to thnk some stuff over, but I think I'm ready to get back to it. I gave Treischan Strength another look at (with some comments from the Roving Crits boards on FM), and marked that up to be edited again. It's in good shape, and should only take one night to work out the details. I'm just waiting for feedback from two other folks I emailed it to before I finalize it. (Either that or when the mood strikes). I'm also working on The Lonely Orchard which posed more of a problem because of backstory issues. I think I have those mostly worked out, so it's just a matter of putting in the time and getting a few scenes rewritten.

The two year old's birthday party is this weekend, so we have house-cleaning and party prep (and monthly bills) to get to this week. I'm hoping for a high energy week so I can keep up with my Wish List. ;)

Here goes nothing!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Edit: Treischan Strength

I took a quick break from Sunguard as editing a first draft can be overwhelming, and this one is taking so long it's stressing me out. I pulled up a story -- Treischan Strength--I wrote last May and edited last June, and reviewed the crits and comments I received on it. I made some changes, reviewed for basic editing, and the third draft is done. I've sent it out to some readers for feedback. I have a good feeling about this version, it's very very close to submission-level writing, but I need some confirmation before I ship it off to my favorite zines.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Still Editing

I'm holding myself to high standards right now, so the edit is taking a while. I took a new approach to find the Voice this story seemed to lack, and was drawn in by the freewriting. I enjoyed the results so much I was tempted to rewrite the story in First Person, but I got some feedback and -- I agree, btw -- it wasn't enough to hold the story. So I will stick with my original 3rd person viewpoint.

I've been reading a lot more lately, focusing on short stories. I have a tendency to subscribe to several fiction magazines a year, and not touch them until the bug hits. I usually end up devouring 6 months of magazines in the span of just a few weeks. It's good though. I'm reading some quality stories and then hitting my stories for editing and I'm learning that my stuff does not yet compare with these published stories. Yet. I'm learning from them. It'll be my turn someday. :)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Editing, Editing, Editing...

It's pretty easy to read a first draft and pinpiont what's wrong with it. It can sometimes even be simple to decide how to fix it. The hard part is getting your brain to move into fix-it mode and making those changes. It's a challenge, and it's rewarding once I get it done.

I worked on Sungard tonight, contemplating a name change to The Fallen Sun, but we'll see after I make it through this edit pass. I only got through 1.3 pages out of an orriginal 7 pages, and 1 page of that was new material. A few more nights of this and I should be able to make it through safely. ;) I'm looking forward to getting it all fixed!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

May the Edit Begin!

I spent Wednesday evening organizing the stories I like the best, the ones that I feel have the most potential. The four I wrote this past month, plus two from last year are the highest priority in my editing queue, although there are a few older favorites that need major revamping. The plan is to move those six along, and then I can look at the older stories.

I'm starting with Sunguard. I wrote my stories this year without use of my "Notes" sheets, so I'm using that document to prep for the edit. I like the premise, but I need to increase the threat in the story. Reading it feels too far removed from what Ashelle is dealing with, and that isn't quite the feel I envisioned.

I red-lined the printout last night, and today I'll move onto the analysis. Hopefully I can get this first pass done in a few days and out to my First Readers for some basic feedback. May the edit begin!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Short Story: Eve

Eve is complete now at 1500 words. This SF story was inspired by my own pregnancy research. (I've been contemplating an article on birth methods and the riding trend of repeat c-sections vs VBAC). There has been a growing trend and comfort with the "ease" of births via c-section. While I believe it's warranted in some cases, I was almost a victim of "let's just do that again, it's easier". Maybe in some respects it is, and while I'm not guaranteed a surgery-free birth for this child, it made me think about the future and the "ease" of childbirty via surgery. What if future technology removed the risks of surgery and this became THE way to birth children?

And this is what Jessica fights in "Eve". Space dwellers on a science ship, the course of her pregnancy is determined by Medbots until Jessica takes things into her own hands.

Monday, June 2, 2008

May Progress, June Goals

I wrote three stories in May, and have another two in the works. It wasn't quite the success I hoped for, but I am very pleased that I completed those three stories. This particular May was very very busy, and I feel like I'm lucky to have completed anything at all.

On to June... I'd like to complete those two in-progress stories (Eve and Queen's Diamond). Then I need to choose which stories should be edited (I'm aiming at 4 for the summer), and choose markets to submit them to. It'd be nice to get 1 - 2 edited before the end of June, despite the father's day holiday, the daughter's birthday, and all the weekend fun we're planning. :)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Working Through It

I pulled several prompts so some ideas could simmer on the back burner, and guess what? I still got stuck. I know, I'm doing a lot right now between fighting the exhaustion still, training a temp, and dealing with the terrible twos. Regardless, the writing is still there. The stuck wasn't laziness, it was in indication something was wrong.

So I decided to let the idea-in-progress sit on the back burner and I'd proceed with another idea for now. I went with a premise I came up with on my own and was pretty charged up about it on the way home from work. I narrated parts of the story to msyelf on the drive, and it's the one I want to write next. Then as I'm driving home, trying to remember the bits of dialogue I entertained my steering wheel with, I realized what was wrong with the other story idea.

I had actually combined two of the prompts I pulled and deep down, I think my brain knew that and was struggling to seperate them. Well, forget that. Now that I know what I did, I like it! And I'm going to work with it more as soon as I'm done my current piece. I wrote about 400 words this evening, and can probably finish it off tomorrow.

If only I could have two more hours in my day. Oh, well.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Short Story: Bound

I wrote my first story this month about a mother's love for her lost child, and now I've written this one about a father trying not to lose his daughter. Somehow the only way to save her IS to lose her. Being a mom has sure changed the way I think, the way I write. My characters tend to be older, with more serious problems, and serious solutions that hurt as much as they help. So long as I never have to experience what my characters do, I think I can live with that.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Short Story: Sunguard

Ashelle is hallucinating, and doesn't know what's real anymore. But her duties as a Sunguard do not end simply because of her illness.

I think this story has an interesting twist. After watching all the Star Trek and Stargate episodes where we the explorers do something terrible (accidentally of course) to the natives of some friendly and unsuspecting planet, I wrote a story such a thing from the point of view of the poor natives who have been damned. But you don't get this to the end. I hope it delivers this at the end, but I have a feeling the first draft is very rough. I'll have to work on the delivery in the edit.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Short Story: Anthony

It needs renaming, possibly, but I don't know what is suitable at the moment. I finshed it on Mother's Day. The protagonist is a mother who lost her five year old son to a kidnapper, but who now appears to her in ghost form to send her on a mission to save children. She keeps hoping he'll send her to his body or to his killer, but that isn't Anthony's mission.

This one holds some speical meaning for me. While the situation thankfully resembles nothing in my life aside from motherhood, it has granted me freedom from the nightmares I've been having. They are pregnancy induced, I remember this kind of vivid dream from my last pregnancy. Though, last time they were about something happening to my cats, and this time, they are always about something happening to my daughter and husband. Writing the story has tied my brain up with Anthony and his mom, and spared me the nightmares of my daughter's disasters. As for my husband, I think his place in the dreams were only because he would have protected our daughter, had he been able.

Amazing what writing can do!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Working Away

So it's not recordbreaking progress, but it is progress. I pulled two prompts for the challenge, and am close to finishing one ("Anthony"), and working out the ending for another ("Sunguard"). I also am eager to finish "Once A Thief", which is also from a prompt, but one I pulled two months ago. My plan is to use it for my 5th story for the challenge, which allows for my own source of inspriation. The news sparked an idea for a SF short story which I'm affectionally thinking of as "Broccoli" if only for the cute way my daughter says it. I'm writing over my lunch breaks a little bit, and writing on paper in the evenings until we get a nasty computer situation worked out.

The point here is that I *am* writing. Hopefully this weekend, I can bring something to completion. :)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Old Habits, Inner Selves

Interesting that the short story I've chosen to work on, is about the very thing I'm having issues with. We are who we are, and for me that's being a writer. I can't change that, nor do I wish to. However old ways, distractions, life, tend to block my path. While my distractions tend to be family related and therefore positive events in my life, it isn't so for my poor little thief who wants to change, but cannot.

January, February, and March were mostly nonexistent in terms of my writing. I signed up for the 2YN class that Zette offered once again on But since I have some distractions coming up in the future that will prevent me from finishing the class, I'm choosing to withdraw. I'm keeping my notes and will write it another time, but seriously, writing a novel about a mom searching for kidnapped infant is not a good thing to write while the writer is pregnant.

I realize, too, that my one rule for writing "Finish what you start" has fallen by the wayside. I have one novel that I started but could not finish (Shadow of Blood), and I started building another novel (Winter Warrior) though I did not start the writing. I've also quit editing Forgotten Star after overediting and receiving a right-on crit that freaked me out. I view this with a positive attitude since it proves that my desire to write is still strong. Unfortunately, I need to re-discipline and get these projects under control.

I think to finish Shadow of Blood, I need to revamp several chapters in the beginning, and rewrite/replan with the intention of which character takes precedence. That darkness of the story, and the confusion between two main characters took the focus off track. I am NOT ready to do this now, but it will be my first step when I am ready to work on novels again.

For now, it'll be short stories. I need to get this one written, and hopefully edited, then I'm going to hit the May Story-A-Day challenge again. I need to start somewhere.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Consistency, 2008, and January Goals

I've been "seriously" writing since 1998, with seriously meaning intent to edit and publish. When I lived alone, I wrote a lot. When I married my husband and we lived in our little condo, I wrote a lot. When we grew our family into three, my writing become sporadic. Instead of writing being my outlet, it become a chore. Whenever stress levels rose, I avoided the writing, despite my love for it. When I needed an outlet, I turned toward other hobbies. Writing found its way onto the back burner.

In 2007, I wrote from May until mid July with an obsession. I wrote 10 short stories, edited 4 of them (twice each), started a novel edit, and outlined/researched a new novel idea. Then I burnt out.

I have to choose: (1) downgrade my writing to a hobby; this way I don't have to stress when the writing doesn't come, or I'm stressed out, or I'd rather read or play that video game; (2) focus on a method to get the writing done without stressing.

Since my muse is obsessed with me (she's awfully demanding), option 1 is never going to fly. Trying it will only land me into a depression of 'why can't I do this?' which is fruitless and dangerous. I have too much positive in my life to spend my time being depressed. Option 2 seems like a good idea, if I can pull it off. To do that, there are a few key items I need to consider.

First, I have to stop overplanning. Each hiatus from writing has a pattern: obsessive and productive writing over a short period of time; planning oodles of writing to be completed over the next twelve months; joining critque circles beyond my ability (in producing critiques, not the writing ability); freaking out over the number of critiques and edits that must be done; and then the dreaded avoidance of writing.

Second, I need to start enjoying the writing. I love novels, but they are a huge committment in time and energy and brain power. Short stories have come a long way for me. I've figured out how to write them and enjoy writing them. The edits are still tough, but the writing is usually lots of fun. More importantly, the time committment to editing a short story is more manageable than the time required for a novel edit.

Third, I need a *reasonable* plan. Small goals in the short term. So I planned out January.

Implementation: Now. Let's look at 2007 really quick, and then move on!

2007 Writing Accomplishments
* 10 Short Stories Written (Apotheosis; The Lonely Orchard; The Knot; Storm Song; The Crossing; Knights of the Scarlet Rose; Kalila's Veil; Treischan Strength; The Dragon's Bard; Immenence)
* 4 Short Stories Edited (The Crossing; Treischan Strength; The Dragon's Bard; The Lonely Orchard)
* 1 Novel Prepped: Researched and outlined (Winter Warrior)

2008 Writing Goals
* Consistency: writing should continue through each month of the year. Breaks for sickness/family issues and good stuff are acceptable, but one thing needs to be done each month.

January Goals
* Short Story Writing - 2
* Short Story Editing - 2