Tuesday, December 31, 2013

I'm not sad to see 2013 go

It’s not that 2013 was bad. Not at all, in fact, I’d say that 2013 was better than the two years proceeding it, but for me, 2013 had more manure than roses.

But here’s where I’m going to try my optimism on for size (it hasn’t fit properly in the past, so stand back, this might pop some buttons).

2013 was a big year for my writing. I learned things I didn’t expect to. I didn’t get an agent or land a publishing contract, but I planted a lot of seeds. I got a lot of invitations. I learned. I grew as a person—though at times I didn’t grow as a person at all. Sometimes what I really wanted was a hug, and a lot of the time I just wanted to be ten so I could climb into my tree fort and throw rocks at the bad guys who lurked in the nearby trees (conveniently placed in the cruxes of branches to be knocked over when I really needed it). At one point I whined to a friend that while I wanted to be more like Iroh, I was all Zucko.

But even Zucko finds his way in the end, so maybe being Zucko isn’t so bad. Just because his path wasn’t the convenient one doesn’t mean his path was any less because of his wrong turns.

And boy have I made wrong turns.

I think that if I were going to give Zucko advice, I think I would ask him to take it easy on himself. He holds himself to such high standards, and he’s always frustrated because he hasn’t gotten there. His goals are out of reach, but along the way, he does amazing things. He shapes the future by just passing through.  If only he could see his own greatness, but all he can focus on is how he didn’t do the things he set out to do.

In that, I am all Zucko.

So, here’s what I actually did in 2013:
I rewrote one novel twice. From scratch, both times. Talk about a test of endurance. And better still, I absolutely love that book. I’ve already decided that if it doesn’t find a home in traditional publishing land, I’ll probably look into self pubbing it. That being said, getting through the traditional publishing gauntlet could take a long time to wait and hear back, so that can’t really go on the goals for 2014 (maybe 2015?)

I finished two different first drafts. One of them I wrote 60k of the words in 2013, one was start to finish in 2013. So look for me moaning about editing those in the upcoming months.

I also started two different novels that I haven’t yet completed. One is definitely taking up more headspace than the other, but still, they account for a pretty good chunk of words and time.

So 2013 was good.

Here are my goals for 2014:

I am going to self pub a novella (under a pen name, though I doubt this will be any kind of secret, so look for me to announce it).

I am going to read more books. I think I read something like fifteen books in 2013. That’s just not enough, so I’m going to aim for twenty this year (I want to be able to reach the goal).

I am going to finish my WIP. Considering that I’m at Act II, I suspect I’ll finish it either in January or early Feb.  It’s a strange project, entirely unlike what I normally do, so it’ll probably also go out under a pen name as well (which is why you don’t see it here).

That’s it for my goals. A year is so hard to predict that I think that’s plenty of goals. Well, I’d like to be a bit more Iroh. Maybe I’ll try to make peace with my Zucko nature… and drink more calming tea.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

IWSG Goes Here

As my post on Monday probably clued you in, I have about as much free time as you could expect from someone packing two houses and moving in seven days. In fact, I'm calling the cable company today, so I probably won't even have internet by tonight. Yay.

That means I don't have an Insecure Writer's Support Group for you. If you came looking for one, check out my previous ones (hint, the insecurities don't go away, you just start to make them a little quieter).

Sorry I don't have a good one for you this month, I'll leave you instead with Tea Thief wants more Tea (What do you mean you were working on something? I'm working on not having any tea in my system!)

Monday, December 2, 2013

Alas poor Ison...

Well, I'm pretty bummed that comet ISON didn't survive it's sungrazing trip. I read a book about people who flew ships into the sun's coronosphere to collect it's energy when I was a kid, so maybe that's why I was so captivated by the comet.

But Thanksgiving was fun (except for the traditional plague the child had), and I've now eaten my years turkey quota--unless I manage to take in a ren faire.

Right, I've got nothing. Have a picture of the Tea Thief:

The Tea Thief in his natural habitat (my bed).

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Things I'm excited about

A) I'm excited about things I don't talk about on the blog.

B) Comet ISON (Please survive your close solar encounter so you can be a super awesome comet!)

C) I'm super excited about a variety of nerdy movies, but notably, The Hobbit!

IN other news, my life has started to resemble a nuclear meltdown. Every time I start to get a handle on something, another thing blows up. If it's crazy, and/or impossible, it's happening. Moving one house? So doable, let's do a second one on the same day to spice things up.

One piano? nah, we can fit two in that room.

I even got a fortune cookie that said "Chill while you can, big project on the way." Now I'm not one to go for the prognisticating abilities of cookies, but that sounds like a really good description of my life right now. So yeah, we'll go for it.

Unfortunately, I'll be AWOL with only sporadic posting from now until maybe the new year. So if you don't hear from me, have a happy holiday (whichever holiday you celebrate!), and feel free to share your holiday greetings in the comments below (Christmas, Kwanza, Chanukah, Solstice--knock yourselves out, I love hearing what holidays people celebrate).

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Pop Tara (like pop tarts only less toaster burn)

Today, I’m excited to have Tara Tyler, author of POP TRAVEL, on the blog for an interview! (Tara’s in bold). Welcome, Tara, pull up a chair and pick out some baked goods (I recommend the chocolate chip cookies, baked them this morning).  As you know, November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNo). Are you participating this year? 
Chocolate Cookies are my absolute favorite - no kidding (brownies are a close second)

I am not doing Nano this year - I'm slowly but surely editing the sequel to Pop Travel (first draft is done)

As many readers know, I’m a big fan of the “just get it down” draft. Followed by the edited forever and ever draft. Was POP TRAVEL one of those novels with a million different drafts, or did you nail it in one? 

I think like you. I started with an outline, but then I write the scenes, just getting it all down, and they develop as I write. First draft usually gets most of the best points - the meat. Then with the editing, I cut it up and add gravy, maybe some mashed potatoes as a side story!

Tell us a little bit about your publishing experience with Curiosity Quills (LOVE their slogan!). How did you find them? How did they acquire POP? 

I was submitting queries like crazy, no bites at all. Then I sent my query to THE Janet Reid and she gave me the kick my query needed. As soon as I spiced it up, I entered a contest through Unicorn Bell and one of their editors was a judge. He loved it, requested a full, and that was all she wrote!

What is your favorite part of being published with Curiosity?

Being published! Ha ha. CQ is a small, but growing, family and does its best to take care of the authors. They are growing and don't have the big pub experience, but they are learning and doing their hardest to work with us. I ask and usually get quick feedback.

I know a lot of writers get to the part of their journey where it seems like everyone just says “No.” Do you have any words of wisdom or inspiration to keep other writers going?

Finding an agent/publisher is like finding your soulmate. You may not find that special someone who clicks with you and your work right away (usually not!) I believe when you and your work are truly ready for that step, the right situation will arise. My advice: Do it for yourself. Ask for help from a new source. Write something new if you are tired of working on one thing and come back to it later if you miss it. Don't get stuck in a rut! But don't give up either!

And because it is NaNo, do you have any advice for our writers struggling to get their word count down? 

Dedicate a certain amount of time and hopefully have an outline to guide you. If you can do that, mathematically you will be able to get the words in. I did Camp Nano last year because August was better for my real world schedule and I finished my first draft of Broken Branch Falls.

If you get stuck, write character bios or settings or history - I think anything you write during nano toward your MS counts! Just don't edit anything! Add only for Nano, edit later!

BTW, why is NANO in November? It's too busy for me! Travel for Thanksgiving and my bday and all! Good luck to all of you taking the challenge! May your work count ever rise!!

 Ha! Why is NaNo in November? I think it's so the procrastinators can use Thanksgiving weekend to send a hail Marry to their word count. Clearly not thought up by the mothers in our communities!
Thanks again for stopping by, Tara!

Thanks to you, my friend, for having me! Great questions!

For all you NaNoers, just remember that reading a book counts as writing research, so it’s completely allowed in the month of November, so go read Tara’s book.

Available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Goodreads  <==>  Trailer  <==>  FB Author Page

Tara Tyler started out as a math teacher. After having a hand in everything from waitressing to rocket engineering and living up and down the Eastern US, she finally found some roots, writing and teaching in Ohio with her three active boys and Coach Husband. In addition to her novels, she has published short stories and poetry in Science Fiction, Fantasy, Thriller, and Humor. So many stories to tell!

In 2080, technology has gone too far for J. L. Cooper. He is happily hidden in his simple, secluded life as a private detective in a small town, far from any pop travel laser teleportation stations. Until he takes on a client who insists pop travel made his fiancé disappear.

When Cooper investigates, he finds evidence of pop travel's deadly flaw, sparking a series of murders, attempts on his life, and threats to his brother. He’d like to pass off the evidence but knows he’s being watched and can’t trust anyone. And who would believe him?

The only way he can save his brother is to fool his observers while looking for a way to expose the problem. He decides to go to the source and confront the Creator of pop travel. On his way, Cooper meets Southern siren, Geri Harper (an undercover FBI agent) who tags along despite his protests. When they reach the Creator, he has plans of his own and leads them on a wild detour.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

IWSG: There's a formula for that

As you surely know by now, today is the first Wednesday of the Month which means it's time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group led by Ninja Captain Alex and this month's cohosts CD Coffelt, Tina Downey, Isis Rushdan, and Michelle Wallace.  So if you haven't done so yet, jump on the Linky and release your fears and insecurities into the world.

It's also NaNo.

I'm already 8K behind the pack, and things aren't looking good.

Then someone quipped that it's too bad there isn't a formula for a novel.  Umm, yeah, actually, there is:

yes it's mine. You may post it, but link back to me.

That's right, that's the formula for a novel. It just isn't a formula for a GOOD novel. That doesn't exist. And of course, I want a good novel. So I guess it's back to the pit of word sprinting.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Do as I say

So yeah, I’ve started NaNo like a real champion.

I’ve written less than 2K, and we’re five days in.

I’ve been on vacation. I’ve knitted a couple of fingerless mitts. I’ve packed boxes, and I’ve cleaned house.

I have not WRITTEN so much as a FIRST CHAPTER **tears hair out**

Right, so if you’re interested in completing the NaNo challenge, then don’t do what I do. It’s not helping.

Maybe I’m just being a good sport. For me, NaNo isn’t hard unless external conditions tank. So maybe I’m really just giving everyone else a head start. 

Time to hit the keyboard.