And we’re walking…we’re walking…

March 26, 2013 at 12:54 pm (Random Thoughts)

 

So, we made it through International Writing Week. How’d everybody do? I got sick Thursday afternoon and it took me out for the weekend, which sucked. My boss was gone, so I was on easy time and on a writing kick to boot? Boy, the Writing Gods don’t make it easy on you, do they?

This week I’m doing some intense editing while continuing with my page-a-day book, so International Writing Week is turning into International Writing Fortnight. (Sensing a theme here, aren’t ya?) I’m also in the middle or re-arranging my writing space and that already seems to be helping. And, Writing Gods help me, my muses (aka The Girls) are in the mood for 80s music. WTF? They’ve been pretty consistent lately with alternative acoustic music and Mumford and Sons and Alan Doyle and now all of a sudden they’re pulling on my sleeve and dancing from foot to foot every time OMD comes on. Fine. Have it your way. If You Leave is now on a playlist. Happy?

Sheesh.

Today was also the day RITA and Golden Heart announcements were made and if you submitted and did not get the call, I say fuck ’em. Writing is subjective and just because one or two volunteers in RWA don’t like it doesn’t mean a thing. Keep writing. Keep swinging. Keep pushing yourself. I stopped submitting two or three years ago (based on the objection of cruel and unusual punishment) but still have Melina Kantor’s Way To Go card up on my inspiration board. Means more to me than if I would have won the Golden Heart.

Okay, off to let the Girls play again. Whatever they’re doing down there in the basement, it’s working for them, so I’m sending tea, peanut butter M&Ms, and enough colored pens and sticky-notes to stock a Staples. Hope yours are doing their dance for you.

Yawp.

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February? Yoo-hoo, February!

February 22, 2013 at 10:30 am (Random Thoughts)

Hi,

So has anybody seen a large portion of February lying around? About three weeks worth, kinda cold with a holiday or two in there–I just can’t find it anywhere. *looks under bed*

So odd. I remember seeing it back in January, but now–poof!–it’s gone. *pulls out sofa cushions*

Anyway, if you see it, could you give me a shout? I’d love to get it back.

Thanks,

Pam

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Damn you, J.K. Rowling!!!

January 31, 2013 at 1:32 pm (Random Thoughts)

 

Why am I cursing one of the foremost Gods of Literature, you ask? Why shake my fist at the generous, amazing, pulled-herself-up-from-poverty-with-a-notebook-and-a-pen inspirational mother of Harry Potter? Because of the Dementors. And the Patronus Charm. And Quidditch. And I scream unto the heavens about the *mumble mumble* Golden Friggin’ Snitch.

How? How is it that one woman can be so creative, such a world builder? It’s Just. Not. Fair. And it shouldn’t have taken me and Montana watching Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban last weekend to come to this realization, but for some reason, but that’s when it hit me.

Think about it. A Dementor. You don’t even need the description, just that name is eighty-two kinds of evocative. And then throw in a description like “I thought I’d never be happy again.” and bang! You’ve got a spectacular boogieman.

Same goes for a Patronus Charm. You knew that thing was hard-core protection before you even knew Harry could produce a stag. Combine all that with the fact that Harry’s Patronus was a stag, too? That’s when I start weeping with the beauty and majesty of her world.

What can I say? There’s a reason she’s a god. Now, if you’ll excuse me, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix need to get cued up.

Butterbeer, anyone?

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Just Had That

January 11, 2013 at 9:08 am (Random Thoughts, Writing)

Hiya. Well, here I am in week #2 with blog post #2. I tell ya, I am a-rockin’ and a-rollin’!

So the topic of today’s blog post is not what I ate for breakfast, but rather about editing. You see, over the holidays I needed to re-read/polish one of my manuscripts, one that I thought was already pretty dang sparkly, even though it had been quite a while since I last touched it.

What is it they say? Writers never finish a book, they just decide to stop editing it?

Yeah, it was something like that. I found some small things (i.e. easy fixes)–and these were primarily choices, not typos or such, and I found a few places where more description was needed, and one or two spots where I needed to weave something back through the story. All of those items were easy-peasy compared to my final pass-through.

Find function, meeting the dreaded words of Just, Had, and That.

These are my Crutch Words (don’t get me started on looked and smiled–that’s another pain in the, er, I mean topic) and, as you’d guess by my pet name of Crutch Words, it means I lean on them.

A lot.

But, thank the writing gods for the Find function, I am able to highlight them and decide what to do with their overused asses. I read through the sentence and hear if the word is necessary, tricky, or needs to be axed. Necessary is easy–leave it alone and zip to the next one. Needs to be axed is pretty self-explanatory, too. The tricky ones are…well, tricky. Sometimes I take it out to see how it looks/reads, sometimes I’ll try and use another word(s) instead, but many times I’ll leave it alone. My theory is if it’s not falling naturally into being taken out or changed, I leave it alone. I’d rather be a little bit wordy than force a change that doesn’t fit.

So here are my stats on my Crutch words (for a 100K word book):

  • Just was the baby with 399 appearances, whittled down to 279
  • Had came in second with 632 appearances, slimmed down to 520
  • That, my biggest crutch of all, came in at a whopping 1063 appearances, shaved down to 913.

Think about it.  Those three words made up almost 2% of my book, the word that alone accounts for ~1% of my total words. I don’t know about you, but this was my reaction:

Side thought–one of these days I should put one of my books into a wordle and see what pops up. It’d either be very interesting or make me want to slash my wrists, possibly both.

So that’s what I’ve been doing. Some other stuff, but those projects are posts for another time. All I know so far is that the first 11 days of this shiny new year have been interesting, fascinating, and chock full of optimism. That little gif above? Yeah, that’s how 2013 is going to be. Mind-blowingly fabulous.

Have a great weekend. I think I’m playing to the majority here when I say stay warm and dry.

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Happy 2013!!!

January 3, 2013 at 2:42 pm (Random Thoughts, Writing)

 

Okay, apropos of absolutely nothing, Electric Barbarella by Duran Duran is playing on my internet station. That is awesome.

So, Happy 2013, everybody!!! How is everybody doing with the new year? I’m adjusting quite well, though I have a theory about that–since 2012 passed so damn quickly, I don’t think I ever acclimated to it, so the new year (in my head) was about due. So that’s my secret–24 month years.

I did have a nice moment on New Year’s Eve–I was entering edits on a story I adore, and remembered that on New Year’s Day of 2012, I finished my first novella. That meant I was writing/working on my writing on the first day of the year and the last. (And yes, so many more in between.) That meant a lot to me. I feel like 2013 is going to be the year of writing, a very important year. It’s going to be a great year; a hard year, but one so worthwhile. I’m going to try and blog more (yeah, I know–you’ve heard that before, haven’t you?), and be not necessarily more active on Facebook and Twitter, but more consistent. But, as always, the writing comes first.

Happy New Year to us all!

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Still Here…

October 31, 2012 at 1:18 pm (Random Thoughts)

Hi,

Blog silence, I know–busy fall and the writing comes first, so it’s been a little dusty over here. With NaNoWriMo starting tomorrow, I’m afraid it’s not going to be any busier for a while. However, I am still on Facebook and Twitter, so drop by and say hi either or both of those places.

Happy Halloween, Happy Fall, and for those of you participating, Happy NaNoWriMo!!!

Pam

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Happy Anniversary to me.

August 6, 2012 at 9:31 am (Events, Random Thoughts, Writing)

Holy crap. I just realized today is the 16 year anniversary of when I started writing. Rather than be embarassed or ashamed at how long the journey to publication is taking me, I wear each and every one of those years with pride. I could not be where I am now–and let me tell you, I freaking adore where I am right now–without each and every one of those 5,840 days.

And let me tell you one other thing–these next 16 years? I’m going to tear the mother fuckers up.

Yawp.

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Evil can’t be undone, but good can outshine it.

July 20, 2012 at 9:22 am (Random Thoughts)

(Lots of ranting, lots of personal opinions here. Deal.)

Like so many of you, I woke up this morning to the news of the shooting at the Aurora movie theater. Sadly, there seem to be more and more of these random acts of mass violence and, like the news/internet/social media can do, I’ve started to become inured to it. I’ll say a small prayer for those affected, for my friends and family, but then try and keep my head down until it passes.

But I can’t do that this time. I have friends in Denver, family very nearby, and, if that weren’t enough, the whole Batman angle. Our best friends were at a midnight showing and, where it may not have been anywhere near the Aurora theater where the shooting took place, just the fact that they were involved in the exact same activity at the exact same time as those killed and injured made it impossible for me to keep my head down on this one.

As much as I, personally, don’t believe that the Batman movie had anything to do with it, I knew that was the spin. It was painfully confirmed when the morning news had a reporter at one of the local theaters, interviewing people who had just left the 3:30 a.m. showing and those in line for the 8:00 a.m. People! Really? When the Toronto food court shooting happened last month, I don’t remember Fox news going to my local malls and asking somebody about to slurp down their Orange Julius or nom an Orange Chicken bowl if they felt safe. When Gabby Giffords was shot, six others killed, nobody ran down to my local Safeway and asked me if that head of lettuce was worth it. I kept thinking if this had happened at a Panera restaurant or a Radio Shack, there wouldn’t be this need to immediately connect where the shooting took place with other locations/franchises nationwide. I wonder if they’re going to find out it was all about some girl, either freshly broken up or never even knew that the shooter liked her. And I also kept wondering what would had happened if me and Montana had been there.

I’m a geek and a nerd. I’ve never hidden that fact and am a proud attendee of multiple comic cons, have wonderfully geeky conversations with my friends about the subtleties of Joss’s writing in The Avengers or should Ryan Reynolds have played the Flash instead, maybe clearing the way for Jeremy Renner to play Green Lantern. And the very sad fact is, if we had seen a man in black, dressed in tactical gear with a riot helmet and carrying weapons, entering a theater on the opening night of Batman, I don’t know that we would have thought very much about it. Cons, and other comic events, are full of costumed characters, some of them very scary, but within the con or event, you have such a feeling of being safe, of knowing that those weapons were plastic and unable to hurt you unless you tripped over the damn thing. Of knowing that no matter who was dressed as what, you were all believers of the same make-believe universe, and that made you your own little (and sometimes not so little) family. Safe. I say this not to counter my previous thought of tying the movie into the shooting, because I still believe it wasn’t about Batman, but rather to wonder about how I would have reacted. If anybody else shot last night had the same thought about a costumed man entering a theater.

I also hate that the news is spinning this with the same jocks-looking-down-on-the-nerds angle. In an ABC/Yahoo report, they say: “Holmes was wearing a bullet-proof vest and riot helmet and carrying a  gas mask…the (third installment of the) Batman triology opened  to packed auditoriums around the country at midnight showings on Friday  morning, and features a villain named Bane who wears a bulletproof vest  and gas mask.”

Fucking idiots.

Let me repeat and augment: The news report was written, proofed and approved by a series of FUCKING IDIOTS!!!

Bane does not wear a gas mask. It’s a delivery system for a drug that makes him into the almost unstoppable menace he becomes. It’s like saying a hat is the same as headphones because you wear them both on your head. And this is how Batman is spun into the movie that spawned a killer, regardless that, as my friend Cynthia says, sometimes it’s just a lone nut with a gun who wants to hurt others. Why else would the man put such an elaborate booby trap on his door? Because he wanted to, even after however his night ended, hurt more people.

(Amended to add this spectacularly stupid clip from a yahoo article):

Jesus mother-fucking Christ on a pogo stick… The length of this stupidity knows no bounds.

Okay, NOW rant over. Let me get to the good stuff.

First on Facebook, then  on Twitter, I saw Chuck Wendig’s post on this, which, to me, can be boiled down into the beautifully spoken (and again, close to home) philosophy of “Evil can’t be undone, but good can outshine it.” He urges us all to “balance out the horrors of a day like this by willfully doing good for others. So, hug your kids, give to a charity, rescue a puppy, something, anything.”

So we did. Montana and I made a donation to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of the First Amendment rights of the comics art form and its community of retailers, creators, publishers, librarians, and readers. Where normally our contributions go to non-kill animal shelters and other rescue groups, this time, as I mentioned above, was different. I am a writer. My husband is a writer. Our friends, both close and online, are writers, creators, artists, and for those people who put blood, sweat and tears into this movie, only to have it all overshadowed and stained by some asshat with a gun, deserve more. They deserve better. That’s why today’s donation.

And I don’t plan to stop there. As I mentioned on my Facebook post, I plan to spark a few more lights today. I have an elderly relative who I don’t write as often as I should, but today she’s going to get a card from me. At the grocery store, my place in line is going to somebody else. And, another donation might end up going to the Colorado House Rabbit Society, because what better good is there than fuzzy cuddlebuns?

So I’m challenging all of you–do something good today. Pick up the cost of somebody’s coffee behind you in line. Send somebody a nice email. Let somebody merge ahead of you on the commute home. The list is vast and easily achievable. And let me tell you from personal experience, what we did today is so small, but I felt like I took a stand. I felt like I did something. I didn’t let the asshat win.

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Double Fireworks.

July 4, 2012 at 7:00 am (Random Thoughts, Writing)

Happy 4th of July!!! Hope everybody gets the day off to celebrate and your fireworks, BBQs, events and family hootenannies are very happy and safe!! And for those of you reading from a place other than the United States, may I be the first to wish you Happy Wednesday. Always a good day because it tips the scale from the beginning of the week to the end. Salut!

I thank you all for sticking with me during the most recent silence. As you know, Bob (writer’s joke…), when I last posted, it was a quickfire little beauty telling you I was on  a writing streak, and was respecting that gift. Just to show you how much, in that week/7 day period, I wrote 20,000 words. Seriously, exactly 20,000. As I told the hubs that Sunday night, had it been 19,999 words, the computer would have come back on just so I could type “The” or “She” or “Next” and clock it in at exactly 20K. The writing continued, exceeding my 2K daily goal and I wrapped up Book #8 (the Irish book) last Friday.

Hmm. Guess that’s another reason for fireworks. (Yes, it’s all about me.)

So, I’ve since been piddling on a novella that is my version of writing sorbet, i.e. a cleanser, and doing a whole lotta diddly-squat. I wrote some 60K words during a very challenging May and June and let me tell you, some diddly-squatting is called for. I know myself though, and need to get going back into some serious writing or editing, lest I lose the flow I so painfully shaped.

Hmm. I think a reward system is called for…

So what have I been piddling on? (On the re-read, this makes me sound like an untrained puppy. Oh well…) Watching The Tudors again, though I have yet to acquire Season 4, and in a bit of overkill, reading The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir. Watched Bull Durham and Princess Bride this past weekend, and I tip my hat to two movies 25+ years old that still hold up. I’ve also read Heiress Without a Cause by Sara Ramsey and Love My Way by Karen Booth and was absolutely delighted by both–absolute keepers and auto-buys for the rest of their books. And yeah, we went to see The Avengers for a second time. Joss. *sigh* That man is crazy good.

Okay, I think that’s about it. I hope you are all doing well and July has started off well and, for those affected, hope you haven’t been baked, broiled, or roasted out of your home.

Happy 4th of July!

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Ebby Calvin and me…

June 20, 2012 at 6:31 pm (Random Thoughts)

 

I’d been planning to do a blog post, a few actually, but in the past three days I’ve written almost 9,000 words, and as Crash Davis told Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh, never fuck with a winning streak. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“We gotta play it one day at a time…”

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