Sunday, November 15, 2009

Is This What "Empty Nest" Syndrome Feels Like?

I made some (hopefully final) changes to Stock Cars this weekend. Luckily, Carrie was able to find another consultant, so I got the manuscript back with comments about 12 hours after turning in Tarot Within Sight with Nance. Now, my frenzied writing quest appears to be over (or at least on hiatus until I get comments back on one or both of these babies). I feel strangely empty, and I wonder to myself, "Is this what 'empty nest' syndrome feels like?"

I've started working again on Thieves, which as of this year has spanned 10 years of my life. There are 367 pages of it written over a decade. A little over a hundred pages I already yanked and placed in a great big block at the end (because I didn't like it, it was immaturely written, it didn't go with the current direction I was taking the story, etc). I would say it is just over half finished. It's not Wheel of Time complicated, but it's close. When I finish it (and, much to my dismay, there seems to be a sequel in me), I'm going to move onto a different fantasy compilation that has spanned fifteen years of my life as of this year (though this one does not have much down on paper, a blessing and a curse. At twelve, I realized I did not yet have the skill or the maturity to attack the complex storyline that popped into my head).

I think I may just shelve Once Bitten. The vampire market is glutted and phasing out in favor of, of all things, ANGELS. I have absolutey no interest in a paranormal market that has taken an interest in ANGELS. Which also means it's time for me to hop to a new genre for my reading material. *sigh*


Monday, November 9, 2009


And Tarot Within Sight is off with the editor. *HAPPY DANCE!!!* Nance and I really pulled it out this weekend, let me tell you.

Still no word on Stock Cars.

Onward and upward!


Monday, November 2, 2009

Man May Work fom Sun to Sun but a Writer's Work is Never Done

Here's the short and sweet:

Tarot Within Sight is in editing, editing, editing.

Stock Cars is in limbo as the reviewer is still laid up due to her injury, but they're sending me my final payment anyway, as I have said I will be more than happy to do edits whenever the book is ready.

Future plans:

Finish Thieves

Become more diligent about submitting Once Bitten to agents

Get a massage


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Habemus Librum

We are finished with the first drafts of all the chapters in the book. Finally! Now, it is time to edit and send out for review once more.



What do I do with all my time now?


Friday, October 23, 2009

November 6 or Bust

The deadline for Tarot Within Sight is November 6th. Nance and I still have 6-7 chapters to go. Wish us luck!


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Consultant Delay

I know I haven't updated on the Stock Cars book in a while, but that's because I've been waiting to hear back from Carrie about what the consultant said. Carrie e-mailed me today, and the poor consultant has hurt her back! She's not allowed to work until her rehabilitation is complete. So, ETA on the consultant's comments is unknown at this time. Just in case you were wondering whatever happened to Stock Cars.

In other news, I am still working on Tarot Within Sight. I am almost done with Chapter 8, expect to be moving on to Chapter 9 tonight.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Perfectionism is the Enemy of Creativity

Nathan Fillion is currently portraying an author named Richard Castle in a TV series called Castle. Castle is a mystery writer who is shadowing a real detective to use her as his newest bestselling character Nikki Heat. I really enjoy the show. It's funny, just a little campy, and very sweet, with some mystery and grisly murders thrown in for spice. Every once in a while, he even says something insightful about writers.

A week ago when I was watching an episode (those who know me, think DVD - we all know Melanie hates commercials and only gets home at 8 PM), Castle said something to the effect of: "perfectionism is the enemy of creativity."

Before he'd finished the sentence, I'd shouted out "fear!" as my best guess for what stops creativity (yes, I shout at my TV. You ever been to a movie with me?). But, as I've thought about it and been stumped, STUMPED on chapter six of Tarot Within Sight, I've decided his answer was better. When you're writing and every other word you type, your head is saying, "No, that's wrong!" it really kills the mojo.

But, as they say, we shall overcome!


Thursday, October 8, 2009

See You in November

I thought I might do a short blog to let everyone know that from now until November, anything that isn't already scheduled, I won't be scheduling in. I want to, but I can't do dinner, concerts, movies, or anything else outside my house simply because there is a 22-chapter book due the second weekend in November, and I am on Chapter 6.

Love you all, and see you in November!


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Melanie and the Laptop Gremlin: The Saga Continues

Some of you may remember the incident of which is never spoken involving one black Gateway laptop and one toasted memory disk that will never be unlocked unless I am one day able to send the great black paperweight to NASA one day to piece its memory back together. The great black paperweight is sitting at the bottom of a great plastic tub, waiting for the day when I will send it to NASA. Five years of my life is contained in that laptop. Don't think for a second that I won't send it in when I am independently wealthy.

The great Blue Dell paperweight has suffered a similar fate, however in intervening years, God saw fit to grant Melanie the Jump Drive technology, and the files were saved from the invading computer version of AIDS that the poor, blue victim caught in Guatemala, apparently by way of Thailand (at least the virus seemed to think it was from Thailand). The red stick that we shall now think of as the Blue Dell's black box is safely housed in my closet in a plastic case that does not move unless there is a dire emergency.

There was a dire emergency.

The not so great Red Dell XPS, which is only a year and a half old and six months outside its warranty, has been fritzing, pixilating, streaking, and spontaneously shutting itself down. I did a file dump on all the works in progress onto the red Jump Drive and, still under deadline, mind you, with 3 chapters to go on the Tarot book, handed my poor limping baby over to Smartie Computers (we do not mention the Geek Squad. We believe the Geek Squad is the Devil), and luckily, we did not receive back a smoking wreck of a black paperweight this time (did I mention that Geek Squad is the Devil?). I wholeheartedly recommend Smartie Computers to anyone with troubles, he was very nice, and very timely, and very easy to get ahold of, and very smart, and very forthright. I waited on pins and needles for 24 hours, and lo, it has happened again! The laptop gremlin hath smote my baby! They did the best they could for it, but, unbeknownst to me, this particular model Dell has suffered some similar problems. My video card is all but shot! This video card is hard-soldered into the Motherboard.


THE Motherboard.




So, I'm going to try to get this poor thing to limp through November....

... and then I'm either getting a new laptop, or a new Motherboard. Or both.

That leaves the score at Gremlins: 3 Mel: 0.


Friday, October 2, 2009

Luck is Where Preparation Meets Opportunity

For interested parties, unless Heather goes into labor, I will not be leaving my house this weekend. There will be writing. Followed by more writing. Followed by some editing. Followed by yes, you guessed it, even more writing.

These are the days I get PO'd because my tummy growls, reminding me I need to eat something, my phone is on vibrate, and I may not leave my room and blink at sunlight until 4 PM (when I just can't stand being hungry and dirty anymore).

This weekend, I will be working on Tarot Within Sight the final revisions on Stock Cars, and if there's time left over, working up a submission for Once Bitten. Yes, you heard it here first, I am sending it out to agents again. I can't stand it being finished and not working for me.

I have 2.75 chapters to do for Tarot Within Sight, minor editing for Stock Cars, and hopefully enough versions of a synopsis and cover letter for Once Bitten that mostly I'll just have to change the date and hit "print." We'll see.

In other news, I've started working on a YA novel called Fracture, not sure if it will go anywhere yet, but I'm hopeful.


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Spinning the Plates

Today, I will talk about Other Life, because Other Life is encroaching on Writer Life. Just in case I didn't think I was busy enough:

I have Chapter 7 downloaded for Tarot Within Sight, I am still working on Chapter 6, Stock Cars is still with Carrie (though I did receive the first half of my payment on Monday eve, w00t!)...

In Other Life, the Women and Spirituality Conference is coming up the weekend of October 31st, and I need to update brochures and the website for the Blessings and Breathing Center (gah!).

I also need a winter coat because I threw the other one away before getting a new one (Melanie is not always about the smart)...

Meep. COLD.


Monday, September 28, 2009

On Your Marks, Get Set, REVIEW!

I sent out the next three chapters (3, 4, and 5) last night for Tarot Within Sight to my lovely, wonderful reviewers! Nance did, too. Chapter 6 is about 1/3 or 1/4 of the way done (depending on how long it takes to write the Fool's Journey, this chapter could be MASSIVE).

If you are reading this, and are interested in Tarot, and know nothing about it, we do need more Tarot Virgins to "test" the book.

Stock Cars is with my editor (her name is Carrie), and I'm hopeful that changes will be very minor, or that, God willing, it's ready to go to the Consultant, who will review the book for historical accuracy.

That's all for now!


Friday, September 25, 2009

Whatever Happened to My Novel?

Recently, I did a Tarot spread with Nance that I like to call "Burnout" (or The Falling Star, for those of you who are romantically inclined), and I came to the realization that, despite the amount of work I'm doing on the two projects I have and am getting paid for, what I'm working on isn't really what I'd consider my stuff.

I also realized that I haven't worked on my stuff since March, about the last time I saw the business end of a treadmill. Or a pool. Or anything else I continue to pay the YMCA for.

So, last night, I started working on my stuff again, very briefly. It's hard to get back into. My brain has completely switched gears toward non-fiction. But I feel it's important for my sanity to let some of the voices in my head out to play.

In other news, the next 3 chapters will be ready within the next day or two for our reviewers for Tarot Within Sight, and I'm in the final revision stages of Stock Cars before it goes to the historical consultant and then into layout.

Chapter 6 is in my inbox to download, outline, and write.

Work, work, WORK!


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Balance and the Writing Life

So far, I am finding that the above statement is an oxymoron if one has a day job (aka: the one with the health insurance) and is writing on the side. Sure, it's a wonderful idea to plan a lovely schedule in your head where you're going to work 8:30 to 7:00, then come home, eat, and be writing by 8:00 PM. And you will get exactly what needs to get done accomplished by 11:00 PM so that you can get a good night's sleep and start over the next day. Also, you will set time aside for exercise and family and all the other pillars of the well-rounded life.


Yeah... I haven't seen the business end of a treadmill since March, my family thinks I may have died, and last night I got to bed a 2 AM because revisions are not about the fun and easy. And I'm still behind schedule.


Friday, September 11, 2009

The Importance of Research

Doing the Stock Cars book has gotten me back in touch with a part of writing I haven't been acquainted with since I was laid off from editing. Research, and lots of it. It's fascinating. It's gruelling. It's frustrating as hell. But there's something satisfying about it. I get kind of the same feeling I get when I'm gardening - on the very few occasions that I end up gardening. Sweaty work, with kind of a gritty, dirt under the fingernails satisfaction.

I'm kind of fanatical about research. I go the Anne McCaffrey way about research. She once said you should know what's in every drawer in any room you imagine, even if you never open them. I want to know everything that happened, from start to finish, every detour, even if I never mention it.

Which is why I have a kind of low tolerance when I see writing that isn't well-researched. Particularly when it's easy research. And especially when you're supposed to be writing like you are the authority on the subject matter. It's easy to throw around opinions. But if you're going to put it in writing, you'd think you'd want to not sound like an idiot. For posterity.

For instance, just today, I read a review of Twilight that a reviewer for Glamour finally lowered herself to read. And lucky us, she decided to do a feminist review. Which is all well and good, predictable and a bit of a predictable crutch, given the material, but okay, I'll roll with it. Someone was bound to do it sometime.

She had four points. They were good points, such as the unrealistic expectations being set up in young girls' minds about men. However, she cited what she considered a fact that Bella doesn't have hobbies. Because she has read all of one of the four books of the series, she said with perfectly firm authority that Bella has no hobbies. That she was too busy cooking for her men to do her homework or to read a book.


Now, I wouldn't call myself a Twilight Saga expert, but I seem to remember Bella being very well-read, an honor student, and versed in music. She was adventurous enough to learn the motorcycle.


My only consolation is that this is now in print for all time. So she gets to look like the lazy elitist ass she is until the end of time.

In other news, Tarot Within Sight (current working title) has had its deadline pushed back to November, thank God. I am now working on revisions for the Stock Cars book.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Books! Books! Books!

This past year, my family made a book about my grandfather, who died two years ago. Since then, I have received not one, but two opportunities to write books! Both are due in September. This may lead to a post about meeting one's deadlines and where to find a good oxygen mask at a knocked down price.