Tuesday, July 31, 2007

WICKED LOVELY by Melissa Marr

Just finished this one up this afternoon. Next on the agenda? Hmm. Not sure. I do have a book on the TBR pile that looks rather interesting. A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY by Libba Bray. It's another YA, and I believe it may be about witchcraft. Don't hold me to that, it's been a while since I bought it. (g) And of course there are a gazillion others. I'll have to wait and see what strikes my fancy the next time I have time to read. It may be STRAY by Rachel Vincent. The opening page has me intrigued. (g)

Anywho, on with the review...

Brief Synopsis: Aislinn has a big problem -- she can see Faeries. All of her life, she's been able to hide the fact. However, when Keenan, the Summer King, declares that she is his queen, her secret is threatened. Now she must make the choice between accepting her fate, or refusing, which could mean her death. Oh, and there's a mortal love interest tying her to this world. What to do? (g)

Blah, I really suck at these things. (g) They sound like bad cover copy. LOL. Oh well.

Anywho, my thoughts...

By far my favorite thing about this book was Aislinn's relationship with Seth, her mortal love interest. It was very sweet, and very real. I was cheering them on the entire time. LOL. I'm such a sap for a little romance -- as long as it's not too sickly sweet.

I don't know if it's me, but I found the world building in this book to be rather confusing. I kept thinking there MUST be a "Faeries for Dummies" book out there, and that I missed the prerequisite reading. I'll give Marr this -- she didn't bog down her book with a lot of backstory. That said, a few more hints on how her world works would've been helpful. But this IS the first book like this I've ever read, so perhaps it's me. At any rate, an author can't expect everyone to know a lot about their world -- so a roadmap would've been nice. Like I said, could've been me. But I was scratching my head a lot during this reading, and that doesn't usually happen.

The writing overall was pretty good, though it tended to be a bit uneven in spots. There were times when I could picture everything in the scene -- vividly. At other times, I was left with a complete blank. Those voids jerked me out of the action. That would lead me to scanning the page for some sort of description so I could see the people or surroundings. Sometimes it just wasn't there. I found that rather odd, because of the forementioned vividness.

While I enjoyed this book for the most part, it didn't grip me. For me, the tension never really boiled over to that point I was rushing forward to see what happened next. Case in point is a scene where one of the characters is attacked by a group of men. It was over before the terror filled me, and left me thinking..okay, what was the point of that? Then I realized that it was most likely a tool to get from point A to point B -- filler, in other words. But by the reaction of the characters it was _supposed_ to be gripping. But yeah, it wasn't for me -- at all.

And unfortunately, this carried over into the final climax. For me, it read a bit stilted and well, not once did I have that little jolt of fear in my belly. I was really surprised by this because the book, for the most part, read very smoothly. The ending was rushed and play-by-play. I felt very distanced, and didn't have the emotional response that I wanted to have.

Without giving too much away, I don't feel the stakes were high enough in this book. (Am I channeling D.A. or what?) The reason I say this is that in the end, the MC didn't _really_ have a choice to make -- and everything resolved a little too smoothly for her. I would've liked to see a bit more tension/conflict.

Gah, talk about a downer, huh? Let me point out some positive things:

- Despite not really understanding everything about the world, it still kept me turning the pages. Her MC was great -- a very thoughtful young woman, who clearly had her head on straight.

- She handled sex well. Although, I have to add a caveat here. She didn't show anything, which was fine... but I found that the premise of oral sex NOT being real sex, well...odd. LOL. Maybe it's a generational thing. (Oh God, am I out of the younger generation finally? Gak. (g))

- Her ending was unconventional, and kudos to her for being original.

In the end, you should probably ignore this review. LOL. It may be a genre thing that I'm just not getting.

Buy or Rent? Rent (I hate saying that. To be fair, I just finished HP and the Deathly Hallows...)

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Progress At Last

I've been hard at work on Faking It. The first 25 pages went very quickly as they essentialy stayed the same with only minor tweaks. Right now, I'm working on a new chapter -- or rather a moved scene that needs some major changes. It's practically new. LOL. By time I finish this, I should be 35-40 pages into the first 100. Not bad, for one weekend. We'll see how far I get tonight. Ideally, I would like to have this ready in a week or so. (HEH) It's a goal, anyway.

As I suspected, it took me a while to get back into Maddy's head. Carol reassured me that the new stuff sounded like the old, so hey... can't ask for more than that. (g) I'm sure it will be much easier once I get back into a routine with it.

On other fronts...a new idea bubbled up this morning. It's really more of an image (from a dream I had last night) than a solid story, but I find it very intriguing. It's another YA, which is a relief in a lot of ways. You know how you sorta worry that you'll end up a "one hit wonder" in a certain genre? Maybe it's just me, but I've often wondered whether I can come up with another story/characters--probably because BTPM has been all consuming. Well, I think I've found a kernel that can be developed into something great. *crosses fingers* Sorry I can't share more at this time, but I will say it's about witches. :)

Oh, and I'm almost finished with WICKED LOVELY by Melissa Marr. I'll do a review in a day or two. I've vowed to get through some of my TBR pile before school begins. It's hard to balance with revisions, but I know it's very beneficial to my writing so I'm trying to set aside some time every day. Not always easy. I swear, I'm going to crawl my way back into the school year. lol. It will not be pretty. But for now, one more week of my summer class...and then two glorious weeks of down time. Can't wait!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Sooo Much Yellow

With BTPM well on its way to being polished (let's hope), I decided I MUST turn my attention to FI. Goodness, I can't believe it's taken me this long to get to it. Anyway, I printed out my nifty little outline I sent D.A. and went at it with a pack of highlighters. LOL.

For whatever reason, I made the mistake of NOT highlighting the old stuff that stays. LOL. What a doof. By time I finished, about 5 of the 7 pages were highlighted in yellow. Man, that's a lot of new stuff. The good thing is that practically none of it is in the first 100 pages. With any luck, I should be able to whip through the front end rather quickly. Most of it remains the same, with a few scenes yanked from later in the book and mingled in. Actually, I think there are only two new scenes, and just a few tweaks that need to be made. Thank God. Of course, that means the last half will be very intensive. (g)

So, basically I divided the outline into four categories. The old stuff that will stay as is, the new stuff that I'll be writing from scratch, the scenes that remain but need to be tweaked, and the questionable stuff (in other words, the stuff D.A. wasn't so hot on).

Now comes the hard part. I have to get back inside Maddy's head. I know this should be simple enough considering I wrote this book, but it's been a LONG time. LOL. The last time I edited/tweaked this MS was back in January, I think... Maybe Feb. At any rate, I haven't really touched it since at least Feb., which is when I initially queried D.A. Sure, I've been tweaking this outline forever, but I haven't had to worry about getting my hands too dirty and dealing with voice, etc. I did bring her out to play for that house party on the writer's forum, but I wouldn't call that substantial. lol.

I must channel my inner smart-ass. (VBG)

Okay, so maybe that won't be too difficult. LOL. But it will be quite the switch from dealing with teenagers and werewolves. (g)

One of my main objectives for this revision is to give a greater sense of place. It's definitely the thing I struggle with the most. I _think_ I've conquered my general fear of descriptions. Let's hope. (g) I really began to delve into them with BTPM and went _hogwild_ with The Braeden. I hope to bring that to FI, in a big way. That's one really positive thing about having the chance to rewrite this sucker. I can bring everything I've learned to it. It's crazy how much I've grown since churning this baby out (just a year ago!). Not to sound immodest, but I think that's a universal truth for most writers. You just get better. *shrug* Or at least, you _should_. LOL. I'm sure I have numerous residual problems hanging about.

One thing is for sure -- I want to knock D.A. out of his boots with this rewrite. *deep breath*

Thursday, July 26, 2007


I finished chapter 4 of BTPM. Hip Hip Huzzah! I printed out the first 50 pages (the first 4 chapters) for a read through. It wasn't too bad. (g) And since I'm tired, that's saying a lot. If you know anything about me, it's that I tend to be a bit harsh on myself late at night. No clue why, but there it is.

Anywho, there are a few continuity issues I'll need to address -- nothing major. I'm also unsure whether to leave that darn flashback. It's only about a page and a half now, but I'm wondering if I should just chuck it and summarize in the narration. I may depend on taking a poll of willing readers. (VBG)

I'm hoping these first four chapters are okay. My goal is to slowly raise the tension level for the big moment in chapter 5. I'm packing more and more into this book, but my greatest fear is that I'll put too much and bog down the pace. You never know. Gah, too tired to think about it tonight. I'll take a look when I'm fresh.

But, I must relish this moment -- the next few chapters will only need minor tweaks. I've passed a HUGE hump. *yay*

Oh, can I just say how happy I am -- only 6 days left of my class. (WOO-WOO!!)



(Wanted for Conspiracy to commit murder) (Wanted for Murder)

This morning has been absolutely nutty. My uncle recently planted all of these plants around this huge ginko we have in the backyard -- the dogs were chasing squirrels up into the tree and disturbing the mulch, I guess. LOL. Anyway -- the dogs were eating the new plants and laying on them, etc., so he put a chicken wire fence around it -- about 3 feet high. Somehow Chloe got inside the fence this morning and caught a squirrel. (blinks)

I can only assume the little bugger couldn't get away from her because of the fence -- though why it didn't go back up the tree is beyond me. Maybe it was sick and fat or something. lol. She's been trying for 5 years to catch one and now she's finally succeeded. She couldn't have been more pleased with herself.

We only found out about it because Bailey was going crazy with her little high pitched bark -- at 8 in the morning, not the best thing for the neighbors. It took forever to get the dogs inside, during which time I didn't even know what was going on. Chloe had blood all over the top of her nose *smacks hand to forehead*. She as all kinds of happy, though -- running around like she was the toughtest dog on the planet. Littler murderer. LOL.

Anyway, my uncle was horrified because the squirrel was still alive -- didn't know if he should leave it or kill it. Apparently it died not too long after -- thank God. Poor little thing. Both of us were a bit horrified to discover Chloe is actually a dog with animal instincts. (g) There's no living with her now, the little stinker.

This got me to thinking about BTPM -- and well, the nature of werewolves. It led to a good bit of inspiration for WALKING IN SHADOW. Man, I am SO ready to work on a new book. LOL. This revision stuff is for the birds! Even if it is for the greater good. (g)

Anywho, I'm back to work.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Killing Our Darlings

I'm a little under the weather today, but tried to get some writing in. I've got Chapter 4 of BTPM pieced together -- just need to go through to make sure everything flows okay. I also need to add a short bit at the beginning of the chapter --nothing too major. As of right now, I'm still unsure what to do with the flashback that's in the original version. Goodness, you'd think I'd have made a decision by now. But noooo. I think I've finally convinced myself to keep the blasted thing, only abbreviated. We'll see.

I vowed I would get FI cut up today so I could begin work on the front end, but my body isn't cooperating. (g) I'm heading to bed -- I think this early hour is a record for this night owl. I must be hung-over from Potter mania. LOL.

Today I decided the fate of one of my characters... he/she is gonna buy the farm in book 2 of BTPM. It's an odd thing to decide this ahead of time. Right now the character isn't that likable and well, I know my job is to make his/her death sympathetic. So, the goal is to turn the character around and make you care for them. Carol said that would be easy for me, which was a really great compliment. (Thanks, Carol!) This led me to think about my process again.

I knew right from the birth of this character that he/she would play an essential part in book 2 -- and that one of my MC's would grow to depend on this person. I also knew that his/her presence would cause a lot of strife between my two MC's. I didn't necessarily want that, but knew it would be good conflict within the main story. So, how do I get them all to exist without disrupting the main relationship of the story -- i.e. Mac and Ty? Well, I went back to the mantra I've been trying to keep in mind while I revise my books. These are simple questions to help you add conflict to your story.

Who is the only ally your protagonist cannot afford to lose? Kill that Character.

What is your protagonist's greatest physical asset? Take it away.

What is one article of faith that for your protagonist is sacred? Undermine it.

How much time does your protagonist have to solve his/her main problem? Shorten it.

All from the fab Donald Maass, of course.

With that in mind, the answer was simple. Kill off the character and leave my MC completely vulnerable. When this hit me, it hit me at a completely emotional level. I could envision the reaction of my MC. Man, I found myself almost tearing up by the raw emotions it evoked. All of this before I've even truly begun to like the character. Crazy, innit? I knew then and there that it HAD to be in the book. No doubt in my mind.

I once almost killed off a character before introducing him. That would've been weird, but it's all a part of my crazy chunk method. (g)

Although I'm trying to focus on BTPM, WALKING IN SHADOW is slowly taking shape in my mind -- I'll be ready to tackle it as soon as I finish revisions. I can't wait. :)

Monday, July 23, 2007

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows

Despite numerous setbacks and interruptions in my reading time, I am glad to say I made it through the book finally. FINALLY. (g) I've had it in my possession for about 38 hours. Given that I'm a slow reader, I'm impressed that I finished it already. (Mostly because I was worried some over-caffeinated teenager would spoil the ending for me.) At any rate.... I have two words.

LOVED IT!!!!!!!!

It was by far the best of the series. Now for a quick review -- I promise not to give anything away, so don't worry about spoilers.

Synopsis: Harry Potter -- "The boy who lived" -- "The Chosen One" -- "A regular git" -- sets out on a mission to destroy Voldemort's horcruxes (objects containing the Dark Lord's splintered soul). With Hermione and Ron at his side, he learns what it really means to be put in mortal danger as he battles Death Eaters and the Dark Lord who are determined to destroy him so they can take over the wizarding world. (Gah, that sounds really cheesy - but man, it doesn't even begin to describe this book. I simply didn't want to give anything away. And it's late. (G))

What can I say about this book? As mentioned above, it is seriously the best book in the series. It had my emotions running from one end of the spectrum to the other -- from complete happiness to complete dispair... from laughter to tears... so on and so forth. All the while, I was kept on the edge of my seat, with my heart in my throat -- worried/excited to see what would happen when I turned the page.

Rowling did NOT pull any punches in this book. Let me tell you -- I feel like the other books were but a mere warm-up to this one. All the security you became accustomed to in the first 6 was basically ripped away -- the characters forced to face the harsh reality of death, despair.... They grew up in this book, simple as that. No one was safe.

The plot was so well-crafted. I know a lot of writers complain that Rowling's style leaves much to be desired, but I couldn't disagree more. Her writing is so well-developed and detailed, that I felt like I was alongside the characters, experiencing everything first-hand. Sure, her writing isn't perfect, but her storytelling far outshines any flaws you may find.

She left plenty of clues along the way, and yeah, I guessed a few things that would happen. But there were MANY surprises--some so unexpected that I literally sat staring at the page in stunned silence. This happened quite a few times, actually.

Now, no book is _perfect_. To be fair, there were a few slack patches in there -- and the epilogue, well... yeah, it wasn't the greatest, and the last line left much to be desired... (You'll see.) (g) But overall, I can't think of a better way to end this series. I'm so pleased to have experienced these characters and to have lived in this world for the past few years.

Thank you, J.K. Rowling! I will miss everyone greatly!

Buy or Rent? Buy!!!!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Sssh! I'm Reading!

After many interruptions, I've finally managed to finish my re-read of HP 6. I'm now beginning book 7. I'm out until I devour it... I'm so slow. Send in reinforcements if I don't surface by tomorrow.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

All Caught Up

I got my course materials -- finally. Last night I spent several hours trying to catch up on all the assignments. I didn't go to bed until about three. (Exhausted) BUT, I'm back on top of things now and ready to move forward. The great thing? One week of three is almost over...whew! This will be a fast 'un. (g)

I'm heading to see some relatives tonight. They breed dogs and want me to help them set up a blog to advertise their puppies. The puppies are about 5-6 weeks now... I'm gonna have a good time! (g) Last I saw them, their eyes were still closed and all they did was eat and poo. It'll be fun to chase them around.

So, not much chance to work on either book these past two days. I'm still thinking on it, though -- all the time. I've come up with some new things to add to BTPM and have started thinking about how best to tackle FI. After this week, things should settle into a routine (i.e. AFTER HP comes out). Hey, priorities! You gotta have 'em.

A friend is sort of pushing me to finish the short story so I can submit it to SIWC. I'm going to try, but I must make FI a priority. I wouldn't object too much to spending an hour or so every day on it, though. I'd love to submit it...especially because I'm _tentatively_ planning on attending the conference. Right now I'm trying to work out the deniro behind the whole thing, but it's looking somewhat hopeful. (g) By somewhat, I mean I may be able to _squeak_ by. lol

Anyway, I'm missing my books -- a lot.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Thanks, Mom!

I've harped a lot about critters and how you shouldn't trust their opinion 100% if they're close to you -- i.e. a good friend or relative. But today I want to say that even though I take such opinions with a grain of salt, they are lovely to have. (g) Of course, after hearing them, I probably need to send out my MS to three new betas -- just to keep my head on the ground. (g)

I spoke to my mom last night. When I originally told her that D.A. wanted revisions to FI, she was actually quite upset. Said she thought my book was great the way it was... that she loved it and didn't think any changes were necessary. Awww, thanks, Mom!

She's been periodically checking up on my progress -- so how much do you think will change? Are you sure you want to do this? It's great the way it is!

No, Mom... I think he has a point. If we could just come to an agreement that we both like...

*sigh* Okay...

Last night I told her we finally reached that point.

Will there be a lot of changes?

Well, yeah... I'd say I'm rewriting 3/4ths of the book, BUT the core story is still there, same feel.

Oh, okay. *silent sigh that came across louder than any words*


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Bit In The Butt

The past couple of days have been NUTS. I didn't really mention this before, but changing my class to get the two weeks off at the end of the summer was a complete nightmare. I didn't even know if I actually made it into the class until about 15 minutes before it started. It was a tad nerve-wracking because I skipped the one I had signed up for, figuring I would make it in... but then I didn't hear anything, so I was slightly freaked out. If there's one thing to be said about law school professors -- they're a bit unforgiving when it comes to excuses and well, missing class. (g) And of course, there was an assignment that I hadn't completed...

Another crap thing about the change is that they were out of the course packets for this new class -- so I'm still waiting for them to print a new one for me. Problem is that I still have homework due every day. Yeah... can't quite get that done without the readings, etc. It's really freaking me out because the last thing I want is to get behind in a _three week_ class. LOL. I did speak to my professor about it today and he's okay with me turning them in once I get my supplies. TG. (g) Hopefully it will be in tomorrow. The assignments are fairly easy, but time consuming. I can see having to spend 8 hours catching up. JOY.

At any rate, with my marathon revisions yesterday, I was a bit wiped out today. I haven't gotten much accomplished. Mostly I've been staring at the materials for the next chapter and second guessing my decision to cut a big flashback from the original version. I talked myself into snipping the sucker, but now I'm not sure it's the right decision... BLAH. Yeah, I may need to sleep on it. (g) I'm way too exhausted to be objective (late nights and no sleep tend to make me very sentimental about my scenes (g)). Boy will I be glad to get past chapter 4 -- after that the chapters will be much more stable. LOL.


I kicked some butt tonight. I plowed my way through chapters 2 and 3 of BTPM -- and I'm actually quite pleased with the end results. Granted, I'll need to read them while I'm more coherent, but it's at least a solid jumping off point. I'm just happy to have broken through the problems I was having with chapter 2... it was a nightmare, I tell ya. (g) Guess I just needed to be in the right frame of mind to slash and burn, which is essentially what my problem was. It's just so hard to do. (g)

Once I hit the fifty page mark, I want to do a read through to see if I've properly addressed all of the changes and their ripple effects. Hopefully, I'll get there tomorrow -- should be just one more chapter. The front end is the most affected, so here's hoping things will speed up after that.

But at any rate, I went through about 25 pages today -- not bad at all. :) Took forever, but oh well. I've added in a character that will be central in book 2, and I'm bringing in more clues that will hopefully amp up the suspense. Nothing wrong with that.

Monday, July 16, 2007

I Blame J.K. Rowling

I didn't get a lot accomplished this weekend. (See title.) I'm blaming her because I've been totally caught up in HP hysteria -- I've seen the movie twice already and am currently in a reread of book 6 in preparation for when I get my grubby little hands on book 7. It's sad, but I can't seem to help myself. :)

Anywho, I'm back in the saddle, so to speak. I've forbidden myself from working while sitting on my bed, simpy because it's much too easy to go horizontal for a nap. So, desk it is. I've decided I'm going to try and split my writing time between FI and BTPM for now -- see how it goes. I desperately want to finish BTPM and get it in the mail, but realize I need to focus on FI. The thing is, if D.A. hadn't given me the okay to send BTPM, I would probably put it on the back burner... but I keep thinking I might be able to get that book to a satisfactory level before the hellish rewrites of FI are finished. (g) I HOPE. Every time I think about BTPM, some new idea pops out and I'm scrambling to adjust.

I've decided that before I send off BTPM, I will write out a tentative (by tentative, I mean BIG, GENERAL ideas) "outline" for WALKING IN SHADOW. That way, I'll know where it's going and that I haven't missed anything that I needed to include in book 1. I hope it works out okay. There's nothing worse than springing something on readers that you completely left out of the first book. Yeah... kind of like those cheaters from MISERY who let the car go over the cliff one week and then, during the next week's installation, showed the hero jumping out before the crash happens. "Those dirty birdies!"


Have I mentioned I think I'm losing my mind? (g)

Oh, and I started my new summer class today. It only goes for three weeks, which means I get _two whole weeks_ off before the new school year begins. YAY. I'm still torn on what I'll do, but I'm leaning toward staying home and writing like a madwoman. We'll see. White water rafting is calling my name...mmm, fun. Crisp air...mountains...long leisurely hikes... Yeah, nothing's for certain at this point. (g)

Friday, July 13, 2007


I heard from D.A. today. He's not completely sold on every point of my outline, but overall he thought it was a lot better. He pointed out what he saw as potential trouble spots and said to keep them in mind while I start rewrites. He wants the first 100 pages...and then we'll go from there.

So, rewrites will officially begin. I'm still limping along with changes to BTPM, so I may give myself this weekend to get as far as possible. Then I'll just have to juggle them both, I guess. The good news is that I've worked out a change with my summer classes to get two weeks off right before school begins. LOVELY. I need a big chunk of time to do nothing but concentrate on my books. I had planned to go out to Breck, CO for a week or so, but we'll see how far along I am at that point. The change of scenery might be what I need to get the juices flowing, though... Only thing is that I'm very easily distracted and honestly, there are soooo many things there to look at, to smell, to just bask in the glory of. (g) It'd be tempting to chuck all work and go be one with nature. :)

So, this is good news...pretty much what I hoped for. YAY. :)

Thursday, July 12, 2007


I apologize for not letting this subject drop, but I'm very passionate about it.

Please. PLEASE...Be honest when you're critting someone's work.

You don't have to be mean, and you don't have to tear them down. But please remember that a person joins a crit group in order to get honest feedback that will help them improve their writing. They do it so that when they take their MS out into the world to shop for agents, they don't get every door slammed in their face.

When you fail to point out problem areas, and instead choose to mindlessly rave about it because you don't want to hurt their feelings, you're doing them a _complete_ disservice. You can cheerlead, but for the love of God, tell them the TRUTH. Isn't that what you want? Sure, compliments are nice...but if you have a legitimate problem, don't you want to know, even if it stings a little to hear it said out loud?

Without too much detail, I'll share with you an experience I just had. I crit a person's (we'll call this person a 'he' so I don't have to continually say "this person") work. It was the first chapter I'd read of his work. I hadn't so much as read a crit of his work done by another person. Basically, I was completely clueless as to where he was in the critting process.

The chapter had some big problems. I pointed them out and made suggestions as to how he could fix them. I pointed out what was good about the chapter and tried to be as gentle as possible. Guess what? He is now scrapping the book entirely. YUP. Wanna know why? Because, as I found out later, he had always felt he had certain problem areas -- even went so far as to say, I think I need help with this and that. Rather than help him with those areas, the people critting the wip said NO... you don't have a problem, this is great. People, IMHO, who KNEW better.

And then I come along and reinforce his concerns by pointing out those very issues. Only, over the past few months, he's become convinced he doesn't have those issues in his writing at all. *bangs head on desk* Talk about a shock to the poor guy.

So, I'm left wondering -- WHY did they do that? Was it cheerleading and a fear of hurting their feelings? Or, as I suspect, was it an attempt to cushion the blows so that they'd receive crits in return? If that's the case, I think it's sad and pathetic.

You're there to receive truthful feedback that will help you improve. Be courteous to the other members in your circle -- give it back.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


And so goes my progress.

Actually, I worked on chapter 2 and 3 for a good portion of the evening. I just found many unexpected changes that needed to be made, and I became a bit overwhelmed with the process. Yeah, I got a headache. (g)

But I did work, and I did move forward. I'm happy with that. If I'm lucky, I can wrap up these changes tomorrow. I've made a lot of notes and KNOW what I need to do. It's just a matter of integrating them into the scenes I have now.

You know, that sounds so easy, but it's really a frustrating process. I think it's because in any scene you write, you create a certain rhythm with the exposition... adding in additional details tends to throw that off, and it takes many little adjustments to make it all flow together again. It's sooo time consuming, and I'll admit I easily lose patience. BUT -- chapter 4 remains intact and in the same place it was before. Things _should_ get easier. *prays*

Forward Momentum

I'm nearly finished with chapter 2. In the next, the story will pretty much progress as it did before. Of course, I need to make changes due to the ripples the new scenes created, but overall, it should go a lot faster for about 5 chapters or so. Then there will be a brief hiccup while I write a major new scene, punching up the conflict in the front end of the story, etc. Then it should be smooth sailing the rest of the way through. *crosses fingers*

I'm super excited to get on a steady roll. Right now I'm moving at a snail's pace as I hem and haw over this sentence, or that paragraph and whether or not it's necessary. Gah, I hate revisions. lol... Although, I like the end result. The one good thing is that I'm getting the opportunity to write new stuff.. I'm cutting, but it seems every time I cut, I add... Therefore, the word count is hovering in the same area. Oh well -- I know of a 1K cut coming up. (g) And like I said -- it's so wonderful to be writing new stuff.

No word from D.A...but I figure next week is the earliest I'll hear. Anything before that will be a bonus. I know he's super busy right now. Although I'm dying to know what he thinks, I'm slightly relieved. As I told someone, if his response is negative, my confidence will take a nosedive, which will ultimately harm the revision process for BTPM. If it's positive, I'll want to jump on FI right away, which will ultimately hurt the revisions for BTPM. Sooooo... best not to know right now. LOL. Of course, I wouldn't turn down an opportunity to hear what he thinks. (g)

Other than that...two more days of class, and I have Friday off... then back to school on Monday for the new session. Blah!

Sunday, July 8, 2007


The past few days have been just nuts. I'd like to say I got a lot accomplished, but that would be stretching the truth in a big way. (g) I mostly enjoyed having the house to myself. I had fun cooking and playing with the dogs -- I worked on a school presentation -- did a lot of brainstorming about BTPM. And I slept in (as much as I could with two crazy dogs in the house)...watched some movies and relaxed. I did get _some_ work accomplished, but not as much as planned.

I did manage to finish chapter 1 of BTPM, and right now I'm working on chapter 2. It's been slow going because I've done a lot of thinking on how to rework the order of these scenes. Apparently, my brain is on pause because it took me forever to reach a decision. But I have now --it's all a matter of implementing all the changes. Goodness, the front end is torn up... most of the scenes are still there, but in a totally new order. I think it's going to make this book sing...seriously, I couldn't be more excited.

I'm finding it quite surprising how willing I am to cut things from this MS. With FI, it was just bloody hard. (g) I guess I've grown accustomed to the pain now. lol. In reality, I'd say I'm being more cautious with this book. I simply wouldn't want to turn in a half-ass effort to D.A. I want this book to be the best it can be when I hand it over to him. If that means being a bit harsher on myself, then that's what I'm prepared to do.

I remember when D.A. first showed interest and the advice I received while I waited for The Call. Someone told me to take copious notes, because I would probably learn more during that single conversation than I would in years and years of writing. I can't tell you how true that was! One of my friends even commented on that the other day -- how much I had learned from D.A. and that it was clear in my work. *TEE* I'm just happy to be improving.

The great news is that I've already worked on chapters 5 and 6 -- and the book will stay MOSTLY the same from there on out. I have two scenes I want to add, but the majority of the "fixes" I need to do will be basic fleshing out and copyedit type stuff. Oh, and addressing the ripples of these new scenes.. Okay, so maybe there's a lot of work to do. LOL. Oh well, one day at a time.

Honestly, I'm dreading the synopsis most of all. I hate those things. If I could just skip that step... NO? I can't? DRAT.


Oh...other good news! After tomorrow, I'm pretty much finished with my class. I mean, I still have to go, but being as there isn't a final... heh. Paying attention is optional. (VBG) I know, terrible -- but it's an advanced class and I'm really not learning anything I didn't learn in the regular section. Oh well. It was a fairly easy class for summer school. The next one will be killer though. Did I mention it starts at 730??? That's AM, btw. YEEK. Gah, that makes me tired just thinking about it.

Okay, I'm off to see if I can get some more work finished on chapter 2.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Hot Diggitty!

Yeah, I know... my grandparents just called to get their phrase back. (g)

Couldn't help it, though. :) I posted my first chapter over in kidcrit and the extraordinary head of the section took a look and had just a few deletions, etc.. She said it was "excellent" -- that she especially liked the tension of the new scene at the end of the chapter.

Oh yeah... I'm stoked.

Now I'm more determined than ever to make the rest of the book shine. On to the next chapter.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Rollin' Along

After a very unproductive day yesterday, I'm finally back into the revisions of BTPM. After a lot of grief, I _think_ I've got chapter 1 where I want it to be. At least for tonight. (g)

I went ahead and posted it over in kidcrit -- hopefully, people will have time to offer some feedback. I've looked at it so many times, that it's hard for me to be objective. All I know is that I want the first chapter to have quite an impact and leave readers wanting to turn the page. I think the original was _interesting_, but not necessarily a BAM piece of work that it needed to be. I HOPE this version is.

Now that this new scene is settled, hopefully the next 3-5 chapters should roll along pretty smoothly. It's mostly going to be deciding what to cut. This YA is getting a _bit_ out of control. I think it's hovering right around the 66-67K mark right now. *hee* (g) And I still have at least 2 scenes I want to add.. lol. Of course, I can think of a few places that need definite trimming... so hopefully it will all balance out in the end. Honestly, I'll be happy if I can keep it between 65-70K. (g) I know that's long, but what can you do?

It's just such a relief to have this first chapter finished... HOPING people like it.

Cha, Right!

I just finished watching The Fountain. I don't quite _get_ the movie -- and I can't believe I watched it all the way through when I have a gazillion other movies I could've watched instead. LOL. OH well. It seems I always manage to watch the weird ones -- guess I believe they'll get better if I hang on long enough.

Anyway, the reason I mention it is because one of the central plot elements revolved around this book one of the MC's is writing. I found this particular bit one of the most far-fetched (that's saying something) elements in the movie. Why? Because the book was written -- by hand -- in one of those nice leather bound notebooks -- with the little leather ties, and such? You know the ones? Anyway, the script was perfect -- the pages neat -- no smudges... no white out... no arrows leading to text written in the margins when the author forgot to add a sentence. LOL. Isn't that true fiction at its best?

It made me laugh thinking about my manuscripts and all of the incarnations they've seen. I still have all of the "while you were out" slips that I wrote big chunks on -- mixed in with the register tape from the grill where I worked... I have various sized scratch paper, receipts, backs of envelopes... anything and everything I could find to scribble out this bit of dialogue or that image.

Then I transcribed it all into my computer.

With that came the numerous print outs... the cutting and paperclipping of scenes together... the numerous red markings as I tried to fix my problem areas, etc. The sticky notes, the flags, the highlighting... I probably have a few reams of printouts of one version or another... I keep vowing to shred them, but can't seem to make myself do it. LOL.

Anyway, my point? The neat little notebook presented in this movie -- it really made me laugh, shake my head, and say, "Cha, right!" :)

Thursday, July 5, 2007


Well, I woke up this morning and still liked my revision ideas. By noon I scratched the entire plan. LOL. I told you, I'm fickle. (g)

I made a preliminary decision, however. I decided that I really LOVE the opening scene as is.. I just do. I also decided it wasn't packing enough punch. So, I spent today figuring out a way to give more oomph to the end of the first chapter. My solution is to add to the orignal scene -- putting in more suspense and an actual threat to my MC.

I'm very pleased to say that tonight I wrote the new scene. I just finished the first draft of it -- about 1200 new words. Ahhhh. It feels good. :) It's been a while since I've produced anything. And the great thing is that I really like it. Sure, it probably needs some clean-up and tomorrow I may hate it -- but tonight it's lovely. (g) Totally lifted my spirits -- even with my raging headache (yes! another one!). Goodness. :)

Anywho, I hope to polish up chapter 1 tomorrow. At this rate, I may have the front end taken care of this weekend. That would be grrrreat. We'll see. (s)

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy Independence Day!

I hope every one of you has a lovely holiday. Eat lots of BBQ and don't forget to take a moment to say a little prayer for our men and women at arms.


Tuesday, July 3, 2007


I'm back to working on BTPM. Top of the agenda is the front end, trying to decide if I want to re-order the scenes or leave them as is. I've had such conflicting advice on the first two chapters that I'm just confused. LOL. I made notecards for the first 3, and right now I'm in the process of coming up with an order that makes me happy. Problem is, I like the way it is now... but then some days I think it needs major rearrangement. I tell ya -- I'm like a fickle schoolgirl.

Anywho -- I'll most likely try out a few things and send it out to a couple of test readers. I have a preliminary order that I put together tonight. I'll wait to see how I feel about it in the morning. Right now, I have a raging headache and don't fully trust myself to chop things up. (g)

Great thing is the holiday tomorrow -- no class. (WOOHOO) And my fam is going out of town so I'll have the house to myself all weekend. LOVELY.

After all the craziness of this past couple of weeks, it's just what I need. Half of me would like to say VACATION for Jen... no writing, no nothing. But then, when will I have such a big chunk of time again? Not for a LONG time, I tell ya. So, here's hoping I muster the energy and desire to work on BTPM. I would like to get it in the mail SOON. :) All right, I'm off.

I've Been Tagged!

Okay, Susan tagged me. I need to reveal 7 little known facts about myself -- and then tag seven people...

Here we go...

1. I have a voice minor. When I entered undergrad, all I wanted was to be the next big thing on Broadway. In fact, my vocal coach said I had a voice made for it. The major glitch in that plan is that I lack any musical sensibilities. LOL. IOW, I can't read music or sight sing. I've got a great ear for picking out melodies, etc., but cold reading ain't my thing. And we won't even bring up my piano lessons during that time period. BLECH! But I love to sing. Karaoke was a Godsend... and well, I'm a complete ham.

2. Hand in hand with the voice minor, I have the WORST stage fright. I get sick to my stomach -- want to run out the door and away from the stage, despite LOVING to perform in front of people. Talk about a contradiction. Amazingly, I had no problem singing solo's at my waitressing job every night (i.e. I sang Happy Birthday in Italian. lol). I think it has something to do with the stage... at least, that's my theory. (g)

3. I'm scared of heights. Gah, you guys are going to think I'm a nutjob after this post. (g) Let me clarify -- I don't have any great fear when looking down from a really high level -- say the viewing floor at the Sears Tower in Chicago. It's beautiful, and I love it. No, my real fear comes out when I'm standing on a patio a floor or two up... My knees go weak, my stomach drops, my hands start to shake... I experience vertigo. It's horrible. LOL. Of course, I plan to go skydiving when I graduate from law school. Go figure. It won't be off a patio, though. :)

4. Oh..this is a good one! (g) Why I'm continuing to embarrass myself, I don't know. It's fun. :) When I was in first grade, my teacher wanted us to each stand up and explain our heritage to the class. I'm all kinds of excited -- I went home and talked to my mom, she filled me in, and I was ready to go. Little Jen stands up: "I'm half American Indian and half German sheperd." *Laughter* Jen: "What? *blink blink*" Yeah... (g)

5. I'm a reality TV junkie. It's pathetic.

6. I've lived in 8 states, 14 cities. No, my family wasn't army or any other normal "traveling" family. My parents just had a touch of the wanderlust and it rubbed off on me. Staying too long in any place bores me to tears. Hey, I went to 8 elementary schools -- it's a way of life for me. (g)

7. One of the most common things said about me: "You were so quiet when I first met you -- WHAT happened? You're out of your mind!" LOL. I'm like a car in the winter -- sometimes I need to warm up before I really get going.

Okay...tagging... *cheats by looking at link list* I tag Carol, Jenny C., Cindy D., Helene, Beth Shope, "Maggie", Rose, and Jenna.

Monday, July 2, 2007


Outline is finished, polished, and sent. YAY. I'm greatly relieved to have this monkey off my back for a bit. (G) Now I can concentrate on BTPM -- perhaps get those ideas for the short down. Gah, I hope I remember everything. (No, I didn't write anything down -- I was that miserable last night.)

Anyway, I'm a bit exhausted, but reenergized by this accomplishment. Feels good to work hard on something and finally lay it to bed. Good -- but not as wonderful as the feeling I get when I churn out a scene or chapter. I really need to start writing again -- and soon!

Same Time, Different Story

Most of you know I'm not all that committed to the law school thing. LOL. I mean, I'm getting by, but what I really want is to write for a living. I don't need fame, I don't need glory... I just need a steady (or semi-steady) income that will allow me to put "Storyteller" on my resume. Bear with me, it's late. (g)

Anywho, I have a paper due in precisely 7 hours. It's not finished. Oh, I'll get it done... probably by the skin of my teeth, but that's me. As I usually do, I decided to catch a few winks to charge up my battery and then planned to push on until I finished. Be that two hours before class, or two minutes. (g) More likely the latter.

So, I go to bed... guess what hits me hardcore? Yup. If you know me, you've guessed it by now. My mind would not shutdown, but instead decided to work out the kinks in my short story. It was a lovely hour and a half of inspiration...then a miserable half hour as my body finally gave up, only to be awoken just as I fell asleep. I don't feel one bit refreshed.

What I have to show for my "nap" is a great deal of insight into how I'm going to weave my short story together. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure it won't go quite as smoothly as I'm imagining... but I now have a firm idea of how I'm going to layout the story, in what I hope is a coherent fashion.

It's a bit tricky. I'm telling the story all from one POV (what else is there?), but in three distinct sections that will be interlaced together. One is sort of my MC narrating from the present... The second is my MC in real time in a scene from the past, and the third is my MC narrating/experiencing another series of scenes.... all leading up to a point where they all three meld together for the big "Aha" moment. OH man, doesn't that sound wonderful? Yeah, the actual writing of it will probably drive me insane...but I can hope for the best. (g)

I had to take a few minutes to write this post, because dang it... this is what it's like being me, the writer. (g) I swear to the heavens, I could SO be that tortured artist in the barren room, a single bald lightbulb swinging from the ceiling... haven't showered for days...slouched over the computer, just typing my little fingers down to the nub. I tell ya, I'm one heartbeat away. (g)

Does this happen to you?? Gah, tell me I'm not alone in this. :)