Monthly Archives: August 2014

Blood Alone Remains Writing Playlist

To get my mind into the right headspace for my characters, I use music as inspiration. I love using 8tracks to create atmospheric playlists that I can add to or modify as needed. This is the playlist I’ve been working with for my current WIP. All of these songs have been running through my mind as I write. Hope you like them as much as I do! Have a wonderful Sunday!

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Steady as She Goes

Writing Stuff

My vacation at the beginning of August sparked an idea that’s been on the slow burn in my brain all month. I was going to put it on the shelf to write during the month of November, but then I got an email about a short story contest that made me rethink that plan. Since the entry date is October 15, I’m revising up my writing plans. With a three-day weekend coming up for Labor Day, I’ll be spending it working on this project. That will give me all of the month of September and half of October to edit it into something I think will be worthy of submission. I’ve done my prewriting, and tomorrow I’ll do my research. Starting Friday morning, I’ll be on radio silence until my 5,000 words are down.

I’ll return to work on Book 2 once my short story piece is finished. I’m still excited about the story, and I cannot wait to see how it ends!

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Yes, I did it. Yes, I donated. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), sometimes called “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” is a progressive and deadly neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Though the disease is rare, I know three people who have been directly affected by it–one who has it, another who discovered she was a carrier after her father died of ALS, and another who lost a cousin to the disease. Donations as of today are up to $94.3 million. It’s not enough, but it’s a start.

Other Things

Yesterday was National Dog Day, but I didn’t get the chance to post anything here. Therefore, belatedly, I give you Layla and Mustang Sally.

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Mike Doughty’s new album, Stellar Motel, is on its way next month. I helped crowdfund the project, and I cannot wait to hear the whole thing. Meanwhile, you can hear the first single here.

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I’m a huge Doctor Who geek. The fact I am still knitting a Fourth Doctor scarf should have been your first clue.

Every time the Doctor regenerates, I go through a period of mourning for the actor who portrayed him previously. Matt Smith didn’t start out as my favorite Doctor, but I became very attached to him over the years, and it was actually quite painful to let him go.

That being said, the Season 8 premiere last Saturday gave me confidence that the role is in good hands with Peter Capaldi.

His Doctor is clearly a departure from what we’ve seen before, but that’s part of what keeps the show fresh and exciting for viewers. I love that we have no idea how he is going to react or whether or not we can trust him. He’s much darker than the last few incarnations, and definitely a different brand of madman in a box.

I’m very excited to see what’s in store this season, and I’m confident the show will keep fans glued to the screen week after week.

 

I’ve been watching Outlander on Starz every week, and with three episodes down, I am certain I’ll be tuning in regularly. If you haven’t seen it, just go do it now. Seriously. It’s that good. It follows the books faithfully, and I am absolutely loving every minute.

 

Finally, I have to mention the end of True Blood. I saved it for the end because…ouch. true-blood-season-seven-posterThis marketing campaign poster was kind of prophetic.

I hated that I hated it, but I really did. I wanted to be satisfied with the ending. That doesn’t mean wish fulfillment. I mean sure, if I had my druthers, Eric would have been the main focus for Sookie from Season 4 on. Clearly, the writers didn’t see it that way. I can respect that decision. And I don’t think that they “owed” the fans a specific “happily ever after” scenario. Unfortunately, they seemed to think so, and that’s where they fell flat. The writing became more desperate as the season wore on, as though they just gave up after episode four and threw together quick wrap-ups for every plotline that was going on. It just didn’t work for me, and I’ve heard from several other fans who agree.

The show had so much talent in one place, but I think after the death of Russell Edgington, the show spiraled out of focus. Perhaps this was due to the departure of Alan Ball. I may not have agreed with all of his decisions when he ran the show, but the seasons he worked on were much more effective and dynamic.

I will miss Sunday nights with True Blood. But after sitting through this final season, it was easier to let the show go than I had thought. And that realization made me sadder than the actual loss of the show.

That Time that Dropbox Saved my Life (And by “Life,” I Mean Book)

My old iMac finally gave up after seven long years of service. Not one virus in all that time. I loved that machine. But when it gave me two white screens of death in as many days, I knew that it was time to make the switch to a new computer before it was too late to transfer the files.

Thank god I am the backup queen, or I would never have made it.

Five years ago, I bought massive terabyte sized external harddrives, and all of my music, movies, TV shows, and photos were moved there for safekeeping. Three years ago, I got a Dropbox account, and all of my writing has been backed up there. I got Scrivener two years ago, and those files are backed up on Dropbox as well.

That’s why switching to a new computer and setting it up with my old configuration and my manuscripts intact took only a couple of hours. What an enormous relief! The only thing I’ve really lost are my browser bookmarks, and I never really used them anyway.

So thank you, Dropbox, for saving my life. And my sanity. And my book.

JuNoWriMo and Beyond

10386293_659876230762898_4937453897515353660_nSomeone asked me “Why do you have to do this JuNoWriMo thing?” Have to was the phrase that stuck with me. I have to because I want to. Because I need to. Because I have a story that I want to tell that’s bursting out of me. And because if I don’t set deadlines for myself, it never gets done. Without deadlines, it joins an endless stream of “somedays” and “shoulds” and “ought tos” that never reach fruition. I don’t want to look back on my life and feel like I’m disappointed that I didn’t put in the effort to reach for my goals. I might not achieve what I hope for, but working at it is going to get me a whole lot closer than if I waited for a more convenient someday that may never arrive.

Therefore, I’m telling myself this:

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That was written at the beginning of June. Obviously, this summer has been too busy for me to blog since that time, so I never finished that post. I accomplished what I set out to do, and by the end of June I was at 40,000 words. I’ve sent that section off (about 150 pages printed out) to my editor in preparation for The Stanley Hotel Writer’s Retreat in October where he and I will sit down to talk about it.

I’m continuing on with the next section of the book, but July and August have been so busy, I haven’t had time to bury myself in it once more. However, today I start back with my night schedule at my regular job, and that will give me more time to make forward motion again. My goal is to reach 60,000 words by August 31 (two weeks from now), and by the end of September I want to be finished with the manuscript.

Some other things that are upcoming include a trip to Scotland in December (exciting!) and traveling to the Tucson Festival of Books in March for a Writer’s Retreat and attendance at the festival with one of my closest Facebook friends. That’s a lot of travel in a short amount of time, and I’m thrilled about all of it.

Writing-Related Notes:

Book One was sent to an agent at the end of June, and she was intrigued enough to ask to see the first fifty pages. I hope to have some news from her soon. Fingers crossed!

Book Two is going extremely well, I think. I have a working title, Blood Alone Remains, and a working cover. BloodAloneRemainsCoverI can promise more action, more suspense, more chills, and more romance. It’s strange how I start with a brief outline, but as I work, the characters often have their own ideas of how to get to those plot points I had in mind. What I thought would be one chapter might turn into three or even five before they’re happy with themselves. They really are fully formed in my imagination and full of their own opinions and stubborn plans. Every time they lead me down another road, it’s better and more complex than my original idea.

I also have an idea for a story (not sure if it’s a book yet or something shorter) that I plan to begin work on during the October retreat. This story is still in the beginning stages. I’ll be working on it in November for NaNoWriMo and plan to hand fifty pages of it off to my editor for the March workshop in Tuscon. It’s something completely different from my series, and though I want to finish what I’ve started before I begin work on it, I am champing at the bit to get it going. I’ve done the research to prepare. In October, I’ll do some outlining and prewriting, and then the real work can begin in November.

Personal Notes from the summer:

  • My best friend moved, and I’ve visited him there twice.
  • My niece got married, and I gained a wonderful nephew in the process.
  • My nephew moved to Los Angeles to start a new career. I’m very proud of and happy for him.
  • We had concrete work done at my house, resulting in new sidewalks and steps that are safer and easier to clear in winter.
  • I had a vacation in Eureka Springs and got to see some family while we were there.
  • Work has been very busy, and we’ve started training the new student workers for the fall.
  • Classes start tomorrow.
  • Today my seven-year-old iMac is in it’s death throes, and I’m in the process of backing up my files and replacing it as I type this.

It’s been busy, but I’m ready to get back to my regular routine at last.