Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Good Bye to another year

Another year has passed, and things have been...

I honestly don't know where to start. Some of the best moments of my life, some pretty crappy moments, and some moments I don't even know how to take yet.

I guess, like all things, a year is a hard thing to judge in the dark of the long nights that cluster around the solstice. It's too complicated to say "this year sucked" or "This year was great!" To be honest, choices I made this year have yet to bear fruit. I could be sitting on even bigger changes (plus or minus) than all the years previous.

Officially, with regards to 2014, I feel I'm still too close to make a judgement. It's been sublime. I have more friends than last year. I have more opportunities than I had last year. I learned things. I grew--sometimes forcibly--and I have a wild suspicion that life is changing in a positive direction. It wasn't easy, by any means.

Was 2014 a bad year? No, not really.

Was it a good year? Meh, some years are perfectly serviceable, and someday I'll look back at this time and wonder why I didn't shout from the rooftops how incredible the past year was. I lived. I basked in the glory of the universe.

On the other hand, life is always so fragile. We dance the knife's edge between triumph and ruin, and they both lurk behind closed doors we didn't even know were there. I'm glad to be moving forward, but not because I'd like to cast the last year aside. Good things are coming--some obvious, some that seem like inconveniences now, and some I have no idea are hiding in my future.

While I might not know what to think of 2014, I do know what to think of 2015:

Bring it.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Baby Jesus, Action Hero!

In my family, there's a nativity set older than I am (and yes, that's old), but it's made out of a kind of plastic that is--for all intents and purposes--indestructible. Now, this nativity isn't brightly colored. It's wan at best, drab at worst, but the baby Jesus is holding up his arms in some sort of delight.

Children in my family have taken this to mean that the baby is excited and having a good time. And if Baby Jesus is having a good time, then he must be doing something more exciting than laying in the pile of hay. Children in my family--young to old--have been playing with action figure Baby Jesus every Christmas since the nativity came home.

Baby Jesus has starred in plays, watched movies, rescued the wise men from evil robot dinosaurs and done all the things any great sidekick toy could do, and more. MUCH more.

In fact, the desire to play with Baby Jesus has resulted in a number of years where Baby Jesus went missing for a period of time, but through luck (or miracle) the figure always finds it's way home. Even from the garden.

The adventures of Baby Jesus have resulted in very strict play regulations as follows:

Baby Jesus may not ride in the Ferris Wheel, especially not fast enough to be launched out (Yes, Baby Jesus always wins the height contest; no, Baby Jesus may not participate this year).

There will be no feeding of Baby Jesus to the dog.

Baby Jesus may not, under any circumstance, be dipped in food. This does not improve the taste, and no, Great Aunt Gertrude did not poison the potatoes, so this step is unnecessary to render food safe for eating.

Baby Jesus may not be buried, and even if he were buried, no flowers would grow.

Under no circumstances is Baby Jesus to be put into a catapult. EVER.

Baby Jesus may not go for a swim in the pool, the hot tub, or even the bath (and no, dunking Baby Jesus in your drinking glass does not turn the water into holy water--OR WINE!).

And those are just the highlights. Hope everyone is having a great Holiday whether it involves three flies up with Baby Jesus (no really, we've seen that in our household), fire duels with menorahs, Kwanza wishes, or whichever winter holiday you celebrate!  

A Happy New Year just around the corner.

Monday, December 15, 2014

I've Been Hit!

Oh, wait, maybe I’ve just been tagged…

That’s right, the lovely Sarah Ahiers tagged me as part of the Liebster Blog Award Blog. Go say Hi and or thank her for tagging me (or you know, if this bores you, you can shake your fist in her general direction for giving me an opportunity to yammer on about my WIP). I have a ton of WIPs (hint, they’re “In Progress” until they’re published), but I’m going to go with ACTION FOUR

What is your WIP About?
ACTION FOUR, NEWS YOU CAN COUNT ON, is about an action reporter, an on the scene reporter known for bringing the news live from location. She is reporting from a near future Earth where super powers have started manifesting, but linked to the psychopath gene – so there are supers, but only of the villain variety. When my MC gets scooped, she loses her job, and she starts faking super villain activity to get her job back.

How long have you been working your WIP?
Well, this is embarrassing. I started writing this novel last year for NaNo. I picked it up again for NaNo again this year, but… well, I had other writing obligations. So I’ve been working on this book forever.

Who is your MC?
Alicia Rodriguez is my action reporter. She’s the brains behind the master plan. She also suffers from cultural whip lash as her mother is from a strictly Italian family, and her father is from a traditional Mexican family. She introduces herself to people as a mexitalian.

What are some of the themes you’re exploring?
Do explosions count as themes?
Nah, I’m kidding. One of the things I always come back to is the idea of heroism. Some people have it, some people are cowards. And some people, despite being cowardly are willing to stand up even when their legs shake. There are people willing to sacrifice themselves for things greater than themselves, and I’m always exploring who these people are. I’m curious about them because people always talk about so and so is a hero, but when interviewed the rescuer says stuff like “just in a day’s work” or “anyone would have done it.” I find that fascinating. Are people all heroes underneath, or is there some magic juju? Or more fascinating, is the possibility to be a hero within all of us, and only some people choose to be heroes.

What song would represent your story or MC?
Umm, I don’t know. This story has so little music in it. Maybe the theme from Mask of Zorro (the one with Catherine Zeta-Jones and Antonio Banderas).

If you were casting your story as a movie, who would play your main character?
Man, I just don’t know, I haven’t been following actresses lately, someone good who really looks the ethnicity. I shouldn’t be hung up on stuff like that, but I see the whitewashing of visual media. Whitewashing really damages people and the way they view themselves. I grew up with a poor body image partly because girls are always petite in movies, and I’m tall, broad and strong. They don’t make movies with women like me, but they have the same hair color and eye color as me. I remember how distant movie stars felt when I was growing up, and I don’t think it’s fair that people feel even more distant because there aren’t nearly as many people of the same color in those roles (also, did I mention I'm still a little cheesed that of all the people of Earth, the only people with courage enough to be GLs are male? Lame).

What is your favorite line in your WIP so far?
Biggest joke of the centuryGod gave us supers, just none of them of the hero variety.

If your MC were to have a pet, what would it be?
A chinchilla named Chupacabra.

When do you think your WIP will be done?
A cold mountain shy of never seems to be my standard opinion. It isn’t that I don’t get done with projects, but this one just seems to be going at me, one slow chapter at a time. I’ll dive back in, but so far, it’s been interrupted by three other projects, and that’s pretty unlike me. So we’ll see.

Who is your favorite side character in your WIP and why?
Jerhome because that man knows how to make a drenched rat look fabulous. He could turn any liability into a commodity in a heartbeat. When life is full of lemons he’s like “Oh hell no, it is time for tequila. You give me those lemons, and I’ll use them in cookies or something. It is time for a Margarita.”

What’s your MC’s favorite food?
Alicia loves tamales, but she loves meat balls and marinara. And to be fair, she sometimes mixes the masa from the tamales into the marinara sauce. She would, of course, never fess up to it, but she dreams of making meatball tamales, but she knows she’ll have to wait for her Nana to pass before she could get away with profaning the holy trinity (celery, carrots, and onions sautéed in virgin olive oil before being added to tomatoes) with masa.

I’m tagging:

I’ve gone lazy with the holidays, so I’m going to steal Sarah’s questions.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Insecure writer is decidedly insecure... and trying not to listen to THAT voice

Another month has come and gone, and it's time to release our fears out into the world by jumping on Ninja Captain Alex's blog hop of awesome and make some friends. It's Insecure Writer's Support Group time. This month's Co-hosts are Heather Gardner, T. Drecker from Kidbits, Eva E. Solar at Lilicasplace, and Patsy Collins!

I have a whole host of fears and insecurities tied up with how things have gone previously in my writing. Let me take you on a brief tour of the dark places of my writing mind.

The first time I wrote something I was really proud of, a little voice inside my head said that it was really greatrevolutionary even. It succeeded in cutting through all the old paradigms and it would bring my work to people in a way that was FINALLY understandable to the science types.

That little voice bolstered me through the dark times of waiting to hear. Would they like it? Would they hate it?

So the moment of truth would come, and I’d open the email. The letter would be two paragraphs long, inevitably something about the bones of the project being there, just needing fleshing out. And then I would open the attachment. 

Imagine, if you will, 300+ comments on a 35 page paper. No line untouched by track changes. Each and every one boiled down to rewrite the whole thing, and for the Love of All Things Pasteur, learn the difference between farther and further. The little voice, the one praising my pioneering waysmy bravery at challenging the way Things Are Doneyeah, that jerk turned on me faster than lunch on a tilt-a-whirl.

In the early comments (of the 300), the direction was, mostly, useful, but as the numbers ticked higher, the comments would circle around to the “I already commented on how your usage of the farther is, strictly speaking, an abomination to the English language!” The gradient had started with professional, but slid quickly into stabby-stabby meany pants territory.

Still, it was a dream I had, so I waded through the vitriol and venom. I rewrote the whole papers, repolished, read every comment three times to be sure I understood what was being said, and then sent it back. Six months to a year (yes, these were ridiculous turnaround times, but that’s what I was dealing with) later, I’d get something back that said “Did you do anything at all? Now isn’t the time to be lazy!”

This was a decade of my life.

And now that I’m in a better place, and working on another dream, I’m insecure about history repeating itself. I’ve already mentioned that my edits are easily a bazillion times better than what I experienced under the thumb of academia, but there’s still this lingering fear that the mean, vengeful side of editing is just around the corner.

What if my editor comes back with “did you even work on this at all?” Or “Now isn’t the time to be lazy!” Or (one of my personal favorites) “How can you be so bad at a language when it is the only one you know?”

And I’m insecure because, on some level, I am lazy. Sometimes I would rather play videogames, or walk through the park, or knit, or all of those things that aren’t writing. And I know that if things come back rougher than I’d like, I’ll blame myselfremember that night you had a glass of wine after work and shot grunts with a sniper rifle instead of working on your novel? It was THAT NIGHT that made this a FAILURE.

In short, the voice lies. And it’s been whispering to me. But even worse than the whispering, is that the voice likes to tell truths mixed in. I’m not that good at English. Quite frankly, my comma placement leaves something to be desired (or at least everyone I’ve ever worked with has complained about my commas). My word usage could be betterpuchier, zestier, less unorthodox, and while we’re on about it, I could use some a refresher on the differences between peel and peal and peek, peak, and pique.

So in short, my little voice of doubt (which isn’t very little at all) is telling me 80% of the truth.

(that means it speaks 100% lieswhen will I learn not to listen to it?)