Category Archives: Random WTF stuff

Post-conference

Hi, kids.

I kept thinking that I was going to do a giant “here’s what happened at GCLS,” but ultimately, I decided not to. The conference schedule is still available so you can see what panels were offered and who was on them (click HERE). The vendor layout is also available, so you can see where everybody was in the Grand Ballroom, which was the vendor room. I even took photos. You can see those HERE. And you can check out the list of Goldie finalists HERE and then the list of winners HERE.

I will say that the panels I was on included absolutely fab fellow panelists and moderators and I was extremely excited to be on them. I was also one of the awards presenters this year, along with fellow author R.G. Emanuelle. That was a new experience, but I enjoyed it immensely and considered it an honor.

So here, I’ll do a round-up of the crazy that goes into attending a conference. Some of you may remember that I did an earlier post on prepping for one. Well, here’s the bag of controlled chaos that goes into attending a con.

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Questions from the peanut gallery

And I love me some peanuts!

So here we go, people. Questions people asked me on Facebook.

Daniela:
“What is the most crazy thing you ever did…and why?”

Gurrrrrrrl, there is no way I can answer this with just one crazy thing. And sometimes, it’s not like I planned to do crazy things. Crazy things just kind of happened. And my definition of crazy might not be somebody else’s definition. So here, I’ll share 3 weird incidents:
1. Walked across the border from San Diego, California into Tijuana, Mexico with friends one night. Went bar-hopping then came back and got caught in the middle of a fight between a group of Mexican guys and American frat dudes at the border crossing. I was the mostly sober one, so I had to maneuver a bunch of drunks through that hot mess. I’m pleased to say we made it pretty much unscathed. Why did I do that? Cuz it seemed like a good idea at the time. LOL

2. Got stuck on the island of Lesvos (Lesbos, people) for a week. No place to stay in town, so I lived on the beach instead in this cheap-ass tent I and a friend managed to score in this weird little store. After a week, I managed to catch a ferry back to Athens, but I left the tent with my friend and she went on to Mykonos with it. Why? Hell, it was Greece! Who WOULDN’T want to live on a beach for a week there?

3. Drove to New Orleans from Denver with a group of friends non-stop for Mardi Gras. It took us about 18 hours one way driving in shifts. We’d all pitched in to rent a place in the French Quarter. I slept on the floor all three nights but hey, it was Mardi Gras. Why? Two words: Mardi. Gras. :D

Suzanne:
“Why is New Mexico “the land of enchantment”? Or really entrapment?”

Those of us who are New Mexicans really can’t explain this to someone who’s never been. Trust me on this, people who have not been. It’s the Land of Enchantment because it’s like no place you’ve ever been. It’s where the past has melded with the present in this really awesome blend of cultures and customs across high desert landscapes of such preternatural beauty that you can’t believe you’re on Earth.

It’s the Land of Entrapment because really, once you go, it’s extremely difficult to leave and when you do, you miss it constantly.

Kaysi:
“Have you ever worn a flannel shirt with matching argyle socks and birkenstocks?”

I have, indeed, worn a flannel shirt with Birkenstocks. However, I do not wear such an ensemble with argyle socks. Rather, in the winter, I wear my Birks with thick hiking socks. And if all of y’all must know, I have one pair of Birks, the Arizonas. I have worn them for 10 years, just getting them re-soled about every 3 years. Oh, and my middle name is Hermione. (not really, but wouldn’t it be kind of cool?)

Emily:
“What is wrong with people?”

Gurl, if we knew that, we’d solve all the world’s problems. I’m thinking part of it might be more legal pot and craft brewing and distilling for all. Plus neighborhood community centers that had great day care for working parents, national Hawaiian Shirt Days once a month, more telecommuting, health insurance for all, cheap higher education, and casual Fridays every day.

Joan:
Would you pay $200 for a pair of jeans? Or even $50? What do you think of Crocs footwear? (There’s only one correct answer.) Who has more gray hair, you or me? I’ll bet it’s you because I dye mine. Finally, and most importantly, what is your secret? You are so much more productive than any other writer I know, by which I mean me. I want to be as productive as you are. Vitamins? A tonic? Electromagnetic socks? What?!

Let’s see. $200? NO WAY. That’s almost a plane ticket! $50? No. I mostly buy in the $30 range.

Crocs: ugh. I owned one pair once. I’ll just take responsibility for that right now. They were red. And they were good for dog walking in Nashville, because the grass was often wet in the spring mornings. But yes, they started to reek. And that’s when I put them out of my misery.

More gray hair: Probably me. I stopped highlighting my hair in 2008 because it cost too much to do that in the recession. So now I have “recession” highlights (i.e. gray).

My secret: A vitamin tonic that I strain through electromagnetic socks. It contains glitter from sparkle ponies and the hair of a unicorn.

PAGE:
“Marshmallows. Where do they come from?”

DO NOT THINK ABOUT MARSHMALLOWS.

Karelia Stetz-Waters
“Why is the song ‘Wonderwall’ so great …even though the Wonderwall was just an old school LCD projector?”

The song is way better than those projectors because the song only lasts about 4 minutes while it took about 10 times that to actually get a wonderwall to work.

THANKS, Gallery! Happy weekend!

10 things that make writers insecure (that we don’t talk about)

Yeah, yeah. I know. It’s Sunday and I’m supposed to be resting.

NOT! Day of rest? WTF? Clearly somebody who wasn’t a writer started that meme.

So here’s my tongue-in-cheek list of things that might make writers insecure. I mean, beyond the usual “OMG I TOTALLY SUCK AT THIS WHY AM I WRITING THIS IS POO” angst. As we all know, many creative-types (whether you write, paint, sculpt, do music or whatever it is) are a bit on the sensitive side. Which is actually contradictory, because we’re putting things out into the public world for people to look at, which invariably will draw critics who will smash our sensitive sides into quivering piles of angst, whether they have valid points or not. So on the one hand, here we are all sensitive about what we’re doing and yet we put it out there for lambasting. I haven’t figured out that contradiction, yet. Maybe it’s a type of sickness. Regardless, there are things that just make people who work in creative fields get their insecurities all up in a twist. These are some of them, but most of us won’t tell you that. So here I am, gossip-mongering. :D

1. Getting ready to release a book just a few weeks after a fellow writer releases a book and that fellow writer’s book is getting gajillions of accolades and everybody’s talking about how awesome it is. This makes some writers want to just quietly gather their things and go home, put on the TV and lament that they could’ve been a contender, maybe, had that other writer not been so much more awesome.

2. Blurbs on other writers’ sites that say how awesome their books are and your life is a meaningless desert of ennui if you don’t read that author’s work. Meanwhile, the blurb on your site says: “fun read, good to kill some time” or “doesn’t suck.”
yeah-i-read

3. Parties where it comes up that you’re a writer and someone invariably asks what you write and then says “never heard of it” and adds “should I read it?” To which the writer is stuck. If she says “yes, you must read my work. You’re deprived otherwise.” then she looks kind of like a douchecanoe. But if she says, “oh, I don’t know. If you’d like to, I guess so.” which then makes her look like a sad and shipwrecked douchecanoe. Although, to be fair, there are many, many writers who are brilliant shining lights in literary-land who have never been heard of at some party in a state far away. Hold on to that.

4. As a follow-up, people who say something like, “If you’re published, how come I haven’t heard of you?” Um. Maybe because there are almost 1,000,000 books published in this country every year? Nevertheless, this makes some authors start twitching about not doing enough promo work.
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5. As another follow-up, somebody saying something like “how come you can’t make much money if you’ve published that many books?” At this point, you’re better off taking your sad, shipwrecked douchecanoe right into the rapids rather than attempting to explain the vagaries of the publishing world.

6. Reading “how to write” blogs and realizing that you have engaged in every single one of those DON’T DO THIS in terms of craft. At which point the writer feels cold and clammy because the book she’s just about to release has several writing no-nos in it.

7. Bad reviews that somebody forwards to you with the subject line “FYI.” (here is a pep talk blog)

8. A really super-cool cover on another writer’s book. Especially if everybody is talking about how super-cool it is. This causes some writers to immediately scrap all forthcoming covers, go home, turn the TV on, and think how they could’ve been a contender, if only they had awesome covers, too.

9. A really cool promo thing that an author does and it gets everybody talking about that author and that book while you’re still trying to figure out how to get something like “sparkle pony” into your title because you’re sure that’ll sell.

10. Hammering away on a book and you’re about halfway through when you go onto Goodreads and see another book whose plot is pretty similar to yours and you wonder if writing Godzilla into your romance will thus distinguish you from the pack.49075106

Other than that, WRITING IS FUN, people!

Hope your day of rest is filled with happy reading, happy writing, happy happy joy joy!

To your health

Hi, gang –

Well, I’m still a bit of a Writer McCrankypants. My apologies for that. This project, as excited as I am about it, is rather stressful as all these disparate elements have to come together so that I can launch it to the best of my abilities (and then do the whole thing again with yet another project in the pipeline…LOL).

Remind me again why I do this job? Oh, I remember.

Because I luuuuuuuv it!

As I’ve been working on the project I’m about to launch I’m also finishing up a short story for an anthology. That one’s been a bit of a pain in the butt. Sometimes stories almost write themselves. Other times, they’re divas and require certain things just so, taking scenes out and re-doing them, and a whole host of other issues. This was one of those. Who knows why. It just was. I’m just about done and then I’ll leave it for a few days and go back and read it and see how it all feels.

Anyway, the past couple of months have gotten me thinking, because not only have I been totally swamped in the writing world, but also in my non-writing world. Yes, friends, writers have non-writing lives, too. Like anybody else, we have shopping, cleaning, and laundry to do (unless you’re all super-famous and can hire that out), cars to get fixed, animals to take care of, jobs to go to, family and friends to check in with and/or take care of, home repairs, doctors’ appointments, haircuts, bills to pay, taxes to do (ARGH)…

Which means for those of us who write and work full-time day jobs, there isn’t a whole lot of time for either. And that got me thinking about much larger things that maybe writers and other creative pursuit-types don’t think about.

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Valentine’s Day stuff

Hi, all–

Hope everybody’s super-groovy.

As a little reminder, in case you haven’t read it, here’s my freebie Valentine’s Day story Floral Designs.

Author Jove Belle and I are doing a 2-hour gabfest at the Virtual Livingroom this Saturday the 15th 1 PM-3 PM EST (US time). We’ll be chatting to each other and taking questions from anyone who wants to chime in. We do have a topic we’ll be discussing (JUICY, people! JUICY!) but we’re not going to tell you what it is. We’ll spring it on yuh Saturday. Here’s the rundown of what’s up at the VLR this weekend:

VALENTINES WEEKEND

AT THE VIRTUAL LIVING ROOM

Coming this weekend Saturday 15th February and Sunday 16th February from 11:00 to 21:00 EST

The following authors will be discussing ROMANCE

D. JACKSON LEIGH AND LARKIN ROSE
ANDI MARQUETTE AND JOVE BELLE
CHRIS PAYNTER AND CP ROWLANDS
KATE CHRISTIE AND AMY DAWSON ROBERTSON
DK HAWK AND RRROSE
JAE AND LOIS CLOAREC HART
ANGELA PEACH AND JADE WINTERS
AJ ADAIR AND BARBARA WINKES
MJ WILLIAMZ AND PJ TREBELHORN
DIANA SIMMONDS AND J-L HEYLEN

And DEFINITELY tune in to Women and Words on Friday, February 14th. We’ve got author Lynette Mae in the house discussing her brand new book, Rebound! Seriously. Hit that link for the trailer.

Happy Thursday!

Things I’ve been up to

Hiya, peeps –

Some of you know that in addition to the writing stuff, I’m also an assistant editor over at Luna Station Quarterly, an ezine that publishes spec fic (short stories) by women. They’re always interested in finding new writers as well as established, so if you write spec fic (and that encompasses sci fi, fantasy, paranormal, fairy-tale-ish), consider them as a venue for your work. If you read spec fic or you’re interested in some fine short fiction in the genre, maybe add LSQ to your go-to sites for that. You can read an interview I did with LSQ’s founder and editor, Jennifer Parsons, here.

Now, what have I been up to? Well, I’m preparing the follow-up to my novella From the Boots Up for publication in late spring. It’s a novel-length, and it’s gone through a lot of re-writing. OMG. I had a draft manuscript of it written about 4 years ago. I gutted it, re-shaped it, and sent it to my primary beta/editor who sent it back for more gutting and tweaking. I finished that and now I’m getting it formatted and pretty-fied. Or something. There’s a designer working on the cover and it’ll be going into editing and proofreading soon. Whew. So stay tuned…

I’ve also got another romance novel I’m trying to finish up so I can send it to a couple of betas. That one I’m hoping to have out in the fall. I’m also working on book 4 in my sci fi series (The Far Seek Chronicles, for those not in the know) and I’ll be starting some research for the fifth New Mexico book.

That doesn’t count the conferences I’ll be attending and events I’m helping plan. So basically, I have my work cut out for me this year. Heh.

Speaking of From the Boots Up, it got reviewed in Curve Mag, which is a pot of awesome. Here’s the link if you’re interested.

I’ve also been interviewed in a couple of different venues recently. Ylva Publishing posted this one with me, and thriller/mystery writer Jon Michaelsen had me aboard at his blog. If you missed it, here.

And as always, you can find me at the Women and Words blogsite, where I’m a co-admin and blogger.

So hope everybody has a great rest of the week and if you’re caught in any of the terrible weather out there, stay safe.

Happy reading, happy writing!

Monsters

Hi, peeps!

Been a few days. I’ve been battling a winter-time nasty cootie attack that involved feeling like crap for over a week. Some monsters aren’t visible to the naked eye, but they can lay you out just as easily as a zombie or werewolf or pissed-off MMA fighter.

And when I physically feel crappy, I don’t have the creative energy to work on my fiction writing. So I spent a lot of time watching movies and paranormal shows on Netflix and basically sleeping. In other words, spending a lot of time alone without being able to write or go outside and feeling generally icky.

For me, that’s a recipe for monsters.

Not the ones in the shows I was watching or the microscopic cooties that went to war with my immune system. And not these friendly, fuzzy ones:

Rather, the ones in my head. And those, my friends, can be worse than any external monsters we might have to face.

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Timelines, series, and marriage in New Mexico

Howdy, peeps.

WOO-WEE I’ve been busy over at the 12-Day crazy-ass massive are-you-freaking-kidding-me book giveaway we’re doing at Women and Words. It’s the Holiday Hootenanny, people! As an example of the out-of-control-ed-ness, here’s Day 8 for you to see.

Yeah, like that.

Anyway, I was thinking about the writing process behind writing a contemporary series, and about how time runs on two separate tracks when you’re doing that. There’s the author’s real time, and all the events and contexts that the author is living through and dealing with, and then there’s the series. I blogged about this time conundrum in a series HERE.

Here’s a quote from that blog:

Here’s what’s weird about a book series. For the characters in your books, time is a whole different construct than it is for you personally. That is, for them, a month has passed. For you, a year or two. And then there’s a lag between finishing the book and actually publishing it. So what’s been a month or two for your characters is a year or two for you. Which raises the issue: how do you keep your series chronologically accurate without having to write historical fiction every time you sit down to do another installment in your work?

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When writing is like a construction site

Hi, all –

So, yeah. Been keeping busy with some stuff. My latest mystery will be out in a month or so. Give or take (let’s hope it’s the give). And I’m working on a few different projects at the moment. One is really causing me angst. I like the characters, I like the overall plot arc, I like the setting and the romance (yes, it’s another romance), but like any project that sits a while, it needs work.

I wrote this novel back in…um…2009-ish or thereabouts and then it kind of sat around for a while on my hard drive, drinking beer and scratching itself while watching The L-Word and Ellen over and over again. I dug it out a few months ago because I knew it was time for it to get ready for its debut.

And time to gut a few parts of it and add some other parts. For some reason, that’s proven a bit frustrating for me. Okay, it’s pissed me off. I’ve gone rounds with this manuscript and with the characters. And now it’s time for more of that.

MORE BLOG THERAPY AHEAD!

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Angst

Hey, peeps.

All writers, I think, go through periods of angst.

Mine usually happen after I turn a manuscript in to a publisher (or, if it’s a self-published work, when I turn it over to the editor) and I start thinking that said manuscript sucks giant horse ass and WTF was I thinking, turning it in like that?


source

The angst gets even worse when I start another project or resume work on one. Generally, after I finish writing a novel, I usually take about a week or two off from writing, and let my brain and muses recover. Unless something is totally demanding that I write it.

In this case — with my latest bout of angst — I took about 10 days off and then started doing re-writes on a project I hope to publish in the spring.

And I’ve had nothing but angst with this one, even to the point of actually not being able to sleep. Even though I really like working with these characters and this story.

The thought that dogs me: is this novel good enough? It has a lot to live up to, because the novella on which it’s based is proving to be rather popular with quite a few readers. I really like these characters, and I’ve been with them, now, for about seven years. I want to do them justice, and I want to do their story justice, but I’m freaking out that I’ll totally drop the ball and deliver a suck-fest.

And then I remember that I do this every time I finish a book. I write two series, and when I start the next installment in either, I freak out that it won’t be good enough, and that it won’t even make it up to what the others delivered (which I hope is good).

So I’m battling angst as I work on this particular project. The funny thing is, I had a serious case of angst when I released the novella on which this novel is based. The same kinds of freak-outs, the same feelings that I was sending my characters out into the world to get their asses kicked.

Maybe it’s just these particular characters. I don’t worry so much about the other ones. Maybe I worry about these because this storyline has a very special place in my heart, and I didn’t want to see these characters get their asses kicked. That is, I know that there are people out there who are not fans of what I write, and they’ll find fault no matter what I do. So I knew my characters would get smacked around a bit. And I know they’ll weather the storm, just as I do, but this particular storyline has really made me angsty, though I absolutely love working on it.

Upshot? Yeah. I’m in a writer-angst period. But that goes with the territory, in this writing life. I generally try to back-burner the angst and continue working on the project, but sometimes, the angst gets the better of me. That’s when I watch movies.

Any other writers go through angst?

In spite of all that, I hope everyone had a great weekend and that you’re recharged and ready for the week.

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