Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My Cover!!!

It's here!!! The Ghost Shrink, the Accidental Gigolo, & the Poltergeist Accountant is one step closer to publication!

Check out the cover!!! -->

A real cover. As in for a real book. Something that someone (namely Samhain Publishing) is really going to publish. It's really happening!!! Aaaaahhhh!!! (Scream with me, people. It's more fun than you might think. Come on... you know you want to...)

I probably scared the bejeezus out of my neighbors with my hysterics when I saw I had a "Coming Soon" page on the Samhain Website. But this... hooo, baby. This is an actual, honest-to-god, bonafide cover.

So what do you think? Go ahead, judge a book by its cover.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Tis the Season...

That's right, boys and girls! It's that time of year again. The time when all the accountants and their rosy-cheeked accounting elves (that's me!) put in crazy overtime hours at a workshop (er, corporation) of the northerly persuasion to prove that they've been good little girls and boys this year. You guessed it. It's Audit Season! Fa-la-la-la-laaaaaa, la-la... what's that? There's another season that runs between November and February? Holidays, you say? Oh, yeah...

It's Christmas! Christmas, Christmas, Christmas!

Now, you sticklers out there might inform me that the Christmas season doesn't start until Thanksgiving is over and, while I agree that October is too early for the Santa Claus display in Macy's, I am of the opinion that the Season begins the weekend before Thanksgiving and lasts until the Monday after New Years (longer if you're too lazy to take down your tree). So it's official (in my book, at least) - Christmas is here!

I decked the halls of my apartment this weekend, did a bunch of my Christmas shopping (cuz mailing to Hawaii always takes a week longer than they say it will), and crammed my iPod full of holiday tunes. I'm set.

I love the holidays. Please allow me to repeat for emphasis. I love the holidays. Family and laughter and feasting. Wrapping presents and clocking my nephews on how many nanoseconds it takes them to unwrap them. I'm sure my niece will soon catch up to them in speed, but she's still at the phase where she spends most of the holiday playing with the boxes.

I'll be home for Christmas (sing it, Bing!) this year, but my folks are coming to my place for Thanksgiving. For the first time ever, I am hosting Thanksgiving for my family.

It should be noted that I do not cook. This is not to say that I cannot cook and I have even made a Thanksgiving dinner or two in my time - most notably the Glenview Feast of '03, which featured numerous phone calls home for guidance and moral support, and such memorable quotes as "I put my hand where in the turkey?" and "How many Northwestern grads does it take to stuff a turkey?" The answer: Three. One to hold the slippery little bugger, one to shove the stuffing into its various cavities, and one to shout instructions across the room with a cellphone pressed to her ear because she is so grossed out by the stuffing of food into orifices where food should not live - such as the chest cavity - that she cannot stand closer without dancing around in circles squeeling "Ew, ew, ew!" Which one was I? The one on the phone, of course. Yeah, I have a low gross out threshold. This year, I bought a frozen turkey because the fresh ones - particularly the ones named "Jenny-O" - were too squishy and lifelike. In my world, frozen turkeys are more dead than fresh ones and therefore more edible.

So I have a frozen, unnamed turkey thawing in my fridge, a little tree with flashy lights and sparkly ornaments in my living room, and Jingle Bell Rock bopping through my apartment. Life is good.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Scotland Forever - ***007 Spoilers***

I miss Sean Connery.

The latest James Bond installment wasn't as bad as I thought it would be (glowing recommendation, eh?), but as studly as the new Bond is - and yes, ladies and gentlemen, that is one studly piece of manflesh - he's no Sean Connery.

Perhaps my memory is playing tricks on me, but my Bond would never lose his calm (or that twinkle in his eye), no matter how wild the speedboat chase. My Bond was always more inclined to smirk than the sneer. He was smug and cocky, arrogant and coolly collected. He used his brain, his brawn, and his undeniable sex appeal for the good of England and mankind. And he did it all while secretly laughing at the lesser mortals.

New Bond Drinking Game: Take a shot every time the name "Vespa" is mentioned or Jamesey-poo cringes in pained memory of her. That bitch haunted this movie and as much as I love ghosts, I wanted to resurrect her just to kill her all over again for making Bond into a weepy, conflicted, real human being.

My Bond is impervious. I didn't want to see the neurosis lurking behind his mask. I want him to be superficial, dammit! My Bond may have deep dark issues that cause him to have the devil-may-care attitude in the face of death and destruction (not to mention a serious vodka fetish), but I don't want to have to watch them. James Bond is not the English Patient. I don't care why he is the way he is. I just want him to be the Bond I know and love.

Ugh. And don't even get me started on what they did to M's character.

Screenwriters: Grow a pair and stop trying to make everything so Chicken Soup for the Frickin Soul. Bond is gratuitous action and adventure. That's what it's supposed to be. Stop trying to make Schindler's List.

Scientists: Please clone Sean Connery. I need my Bond back.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Day of Suck

Metaphor of the Day:

Right when you think you have your foot in the door, you discover you only had a toe in. Then someone slams the door on your toe and it hurts like a mo-fo. So then your toenail falls off. You're hopping around, screaming and bleeding and...

I'm sitting here, trying to think of a way to put a positive spin on this. I know there is a positive spin. Unfortunately, my toe hurts and that seems to be inhibiting my ability to take it to a happy place.

We'll go with Scarlet. Tomorrow is another day.

Heh. Yeah. Tomorrow I could lose another toe. Woohoo.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

NaNoWriMo - The Halfway Point

Two weeks into NaNoWriMo! Do you have your 25,000 words yet? Do I?

Well, yeah, about that... funny thing happened, actually...

I sort of got sidetracked. This novella that I wasn't planning on writing until January totally railroaded me into starting it early. I was struggling with my WIP, puttering along at a snail's pace, and then, all of a sudden, I'm writing pages and pages on this completely unrelated novella.

This just demonstrates my utter inability to follow rules.

Do I have 25,000 words? Hells, yes, baby! Are they on the book I was hoping to write this month? Um, no, not exactly. Can I write 50,000 words on one book (which I believe are the NaNo rules) this month? Well, since the novella is done, kaput, completed, it certainly isn't going to hit 50K. And there is no way I am going to write a whole nother 50K this month on the original WIP, what with the family coming for Thanksgiving and my desire to retain my sanity and all. So I cry defeat, ladies and gentlemen. No NaNo for me.

Maybe next year.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

PYHIAB - Best Contest Ever!!!

For the record, the Put Your Heart in a Book Contest run by the New Jersey Romance Writers is the best contest ever!!! Now, I would love to be able to say that this glowing assessment is completely unbiased, but alas, I can make no such claim. Cuz I won it! Or rather, Picket Fences won the Single Title category. Sweet, eh?But I choose to believe I would have endorsed the contest just as whole-heartedly had I not been so lucky.

So what makes PYHIAB so awesome? Well, little lady, allow me to elucidate. (Anyone get the reference? Anyone?) Ahem. The evidence:
1. Three, count them, three published judges critique your work in the first round. I don't know about you, but I find the comments from published judges are much more helpful (and kind) than those of the unwashed masses. (No offense, unwashed masses!)
2. Three, count them, three industry professionals (editor, agent & best-selling author) judging the final round.
3. If you final, you get a certificate (plaque for 1st), cashola (enough to cover your initial contest fee investment), a pitch with an editor/agent at the PYHIAB conference in New Jersey (where many an industry professional has been spotted, due to its proximity to NYC), and recognition at their Awards thingy at the conference. Sadly, I had to take a pass on the last two as New Jersey is not in close proximity to Seattle and I am tres broke, but how rockin' awesome are those prizes? Not too shabby, huh?

Now, this is just my opinion and I'm sure there will be those out there who had very different experiences, but what made the PYHIAB contest so singularly awesome for me was the quality of the judging. If you've entered more than a couple contests, odds are you've had one of those judges. The nasty ones who seem to delight in tearing your work apart without providing any specific, constructive suggestions as to how to improve your story - which should always be the goal of such feedback, IMHO. The PYHIAB judges could not have been farther from those judges. They were stellar, phenomenal, breathtakingly brilliant. Someday, I shall write odes to their majesty.

Now, they obviously liked my stuff, so that does bias me pretty heavily in their favor, but they didn't just give me a pass, scribbling "Don't change a word" or "Perfect just the way it is" or some other unhelpful platitude. No. I got some good, hands-on, specific criticism. It was heavenly. I had several writing epiphanies as a direct result of these judges' comments. Realizations that will make my writing stronger for years to come.

I don't know what they put in the water in New Jersey or how they train/select their judges, but I do know that my experience was wildly positive. This contest receives my highest recommendation. I would totally enter again next year if not for the fact that my novella disqualifies me. PYHIAB - Best Contest Ever.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Reading... Now a Social Activity

I'm reading Twilight, along with half the rest of the population, and I've noticed the strangest phenomenon. People who see me with the book are overwhelmed by the uncontrollable urge to talk to me about it.

First, when I picked up my copy from the hold shelf at my local library, one of the chicks standing in line at checkout with me started gushing uncontrollably about how much she loved the book. This seemed odd to me because, well, clearly I haven't read it yet, so what am I supposed to say? How nice for you?

Then, I decided I wanted to take myself to a nice quiet lunch at a local restaurant yesterday and brought the book along. It wouldn't fit in my bag, so I held it against my chest, cover facing in, with my arm around it. One of the hostesses recognized the book by the font on the back flap and proceeded to bubble enthusiastically about how great she thought it was. Then, a second hostess led me to my table and she too performed the magic back-flap parlor trick. For the third time in less than a day someone began volunteering their opinion of the book I'm reading. How weird is that?

I read constantly. I read in public all the time. This never happens. Then I pick up the Teeny-Bopper Bible and all my lovely reading privacy goes to hell. Random strangers interrupt my reading to talk to me.

And as happy as I am that America's teens are literate, I find this damned annoying. Did I ask for their opinion? Do they think I care? My internal monologue goes into high-snark mode, leaving me with nothing to do but smile because if I open my mouth...

So I ask you: Random Strangers volunteering their opinion of a book you clearly have not finished reading. Annoying? Sociable? Aggravating? Friendly? What do you think?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My Bulimic Email (aka Binge & Purge Editing)

My email program does not "delete" messages or "empty" the trash. No. My email purges. I know it is socially insensitive for me to think the idea of my email having an eating disorder is hysterically funny, but, hey, I'm pretty socially insensitive, so I laugh my CLA off every time I hit purge.

I should get my email some counseling. Send it on Doctor Phil to talk about its self-image. And while I'm at it, I should enroll myself. You see, faithful reader, I have an editing disorder.

I avoid editing. My editing fasts can last for months. I write stacks and stacks of fresh, newly minted manuscripts and set them aside to be edited later. Much later. Then once or twice a year, when my To-Be-Edited pile gets precariously tall, I binge on editing. Punishing myself with a glut of it.

I'm in an editing binge now.

"What's this?" you ask. "Aren't you doing NaNo? There's no editing in NaNo!"

I know. And I am doing NaNo. Or rather, I will be (hopefully), just as soon as I get this editing monkey off my back.

You see, October was my designated Month o' Editing Masochism and I didn't finish gutting and filleting one of my older manuscripts the way I wanted to. Did you see that Grey's Anatomy with Anatomy Jane, the doll with the removable organs? That's what my book looks like right now. An empty body cavity. The organs are all strewn around my apartment on ice, waiting to be put back inside. Now, you may say the metaphor is flawed, that my story isn't going to die if I leave the plot devices on ice indefinitely, and maybe you're the kind of person who can walk away from surgery with the guts hanging out, but I'm not. I can't.

Now if only I could remember which order to put them back in, so this puppy doesn't end up breathing out of its stomach.

Saturday, November 1, 2008



It's National Novel Writing Month! Woohoo!

So, I've never officially played this game before, where you sign up and log on and they verify your word count and all that. And, sorry folks, I'm still not going to be official. I'm going to party alongside those wild and crazy NaNoWriMoers, but I'm doing this for me, not for them, so I'm not going to be sending my words off to be tallied. The only tally that matters is mine. (Narcissism, thy name is me!) And I invite you, officially or un, to join in the zaniness. Write like a wild thing!

The rules? 50,000 words between Nov 1st & Nov 30th. That's all folks. It don't have to be Shakespeare, it just has to be verbose.

I love the idea of writing with blind enthusiasm and turning off the internal editor, because when I get started, step one of my process is to sit down and give myself permission to suck. Worry about quality later. You can't fix what you don't write. So write! Write 50,000 words in the next 30 days and earn bragging rights for a lifetime! Go, go, go!