The Queen and her Brook Horse, An Orc Saga Novella, Book 2.5, is coming soon!
Facets of Fate, a Fate of the Gods novella and short story collection, is available now in print and ebook!
And don't forget to subscribe to THE AMALIAD, to stay up to date on Authors!me.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Chronology and Historical Dating of Myth

Let me take you through a day in the life of reconciling religious myths to one another for the purposes of writing my book. Pardon the mess. Mostly this is all so I can do math in my head, and find a way to fit the pieces of the puzzle together without anyone crying foul.

Did you know, Moses didn't actually lead the slaves out of Egypt during the reign of Ramses II? Hollywood and Charlton Heston were clearly conspiring against historical accuracy with the intent to confuse young children for decades.

According to Wikipedia, there are four choices of Pharaoh for the dating of "Traditional" Exodus (and Stephanie, you'll like this): Thutmose II, Hatshepsut, Thutmose III, and Amenhotep II. Now, I don't really trust wikipedia for dates when it comes to these things, as a general rule of thumb. I like to check my dates against other sources before I commit. But in this case, it wouldn't matter even if I did since we're talking about dates ranging between 1600 BCE and 1200 BCE. Four hundred years is a pretty big discrepancy in the data, and none of it is concrete.

The problem is that The Exodus didn't happen the way it's recorded in The Bible. There were no plagues, and there definitely wasn't any mass destruction. There is no historical record (or archaeological evidence) of any such mass migration (600,000 is a lot of people to disappear into the desert without a trace) outside of The Bible--and if Egypt had lost that many slaves, then lost most of their army trying to win them back, AND lost all their first-born-male-children on top of that, as record happy as the Egyptians were, it's hard to believe they wouldn't make a note of it somewhere.

Myth and historical dating really don't like to get in bed together.

So I'll put Exodus and Moses aside for a minute, since for all practical purposes, I have 400 years to play with, and regardless of whether I lean toward an early Exodus, or a late Exodus (as suggested by more modern argument) there are going to be a large number of people who think I'm wrong. The next major historical-mythological event on my timeline is the Trojan War.

sigh.

Do you know how many places have been dug up and labeled Troy over the years? Basically, we have the same trouble with the Trojan War as we do with Moses with one difference-- every historian and their brother has been trying to pin a date to the Trojan war since Homer. (And I do use the term historian loosely.)

Eratosthenes (a Greek living in the late 200s BCE) dates the start of the Trojan War to 1194 BCE (perilously close to some of the dates for Moses). Herodotus (from the mid 400s BCE), the founding father of history, puts it somewhere around 1250 BCE. I could keep naming dead Greeks for another couple of paragraphs, but the dates range from roughly 1330 to 1130. Narrower than Moses by half, but still pretty foggy.

Then came Schliemann. Schliemann's agenda was Troy, and he was pretty successful at finding a city which matched the descriptions laid out by Homer--it had gold, walls, evidence of destruction, and it was somewhere in Asia Minor. Thanks to Schliemann, the world recognized Troy as an historical city and the Trojan War an actual event, though obviously it didn't happen the way Homer tells it. Our dates can be narrowed a bit by Schliemann's discovery, and those that came after. There's Troy VI, which was disgustingly rich, but appears to have been ultimately destroyed by an earthquake, not a war, around 1275 BCE, and there's Troy VIIa, not as rich, but much more promisingly destroyed by fire sometime during the 1180s BCE.

Just the fact that they have to identify archaeological sites of Troy with roman numeral and letter combinations should tell you something about how muddied these waters have gotten.

(At this point I'd like to point out that Eratosthenes date for the Trojan War matches with modern conclusions based on archaeological evidence, which honestly is something close to miraculous, but he seems to have been some kind of genius anyway, so maybe I shouldn't be surprised.)

The problem with all this historical evidence for Troy, is that it lays the Trojan War mighty close to the more modern conclusions about Exodus. Too close for the comfort of my narrative--OR, diabolically just close enough. Now what are the odds that the Trojan War and the Exodus of the Hebrews happened around the same time, historically? Two different mythologies, two totally different events, so close that one can flow right into the other! 

...At least until someone does new research on Moses, or a new city is found in Turkey that blows Troy VIIa out of the water. For now, I think I'm just going to run with it, and be thankful it isn't even more complicated.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Revision Notes V

Today I am going to rewrite Chapter Two, from the ground up! And when I'm done, it will be brilliant and shiny and amazing. I know exactly how I want it to work, and can't wait to get it there. Hopefully being at the write-in tonight will keep me on task. (Although, I really don't care for Panera at all. At least they have wireless.)

I'm kind of skipping around with my revisions-- I think mostly because as I move forward through the chapters I'm getting a better idea of exactly what I want to do, and how I want to do it, so then I go back to adjust the earlier bits to match the polish. I don't know if this makes sense, or if I'm the only one who does this, but so be it. I've been doing some AWESOME work with Asgard and the Norse gods, so I'm pretty thrilled about that. Anyone else finding as they move forward in revisions, they have to go back and catch up the beginning to the greatness of the end?

In other non-revision related news, I finished reading Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. Can't wait to get to read the next one-- but my next trip to the bookstore isn't until February, I think. I'm also anxious to pick up Thor vol 3 which should be coming out (or is out?) in hardcover very soon. Marvel, you are totally making money off of my impatience to read comic books and inability to wait for paperback editions. I won't shell out for hardcover REGULAR books, but hardcover comics? I'm there.


I might need a new tag for revision notes one of these days...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Words That Sound Made Up

This might become a series, though I can't guarantee any regularity, since it's entirely dependent on the Word of the Day offered by dictionary.com.

Over at the Penny Arcade forum The Writer's Block, I take part occasionally in a word of the day writing exercise. We pick the word of the day from the day before, and write 800-1200 words of scene or story, somehow using the word of the day within, or as a theme. Sometimes we write a lot less than 800 words, because the word is something ridiculous like clinquant or gallimaufry and you just stare at it and wonder how on earth you can make that word sound casual in any use or form. (Firefox doesn't even recognize clinquant as a correctly spelled word, in fact.) But for the first time, Sunday, I came across a word that looked like something an eight year old makes up while mumbling to his or herself.

I'm sure you guys are all dying to know what it is, so that you, too, can decide how to use it in a sentence without feeling like a fraggle or some other kind of outrageous muppet.

Frangible.

Just like it sounds-- it's kind of a blend between Fragile and Breakable in definition. According to dictionary.com:

frangible \FRAN-juh-buhl\ , adjective;

1.Capable of being broken; brittle; fragile; easily broken.
I had been resisting writing my word of the day exercise for some time, but Frangible broke me down. It was too good not to write something with! (Also I've made a vow to use Frangible instead of fragile at every opportunity in my daily life.)

So now, I challenge you! Write a small scene-- mine is only 500 or so words-- using the word frangible! Put it in the comments if you like! Have at it!

And my scene? Well. It's not anything fabulous but, if you like, it's below. Remember, it's just an exercise. It can be rough!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Revision Notes IV

Chapter 16 is taunting me. I think I have to overhaul it completely.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Another Award!


Bethany Mattingly over at ASPIRATIONS just passed on another award to me! She's awesome, and if you haven't checked out her blog, you should! Her posts are usually filled with motivational greatness!

I'm pretty sure that 90% of the blogs I follow already have this award, so I'm going to pass it on in the cheapskate blanket way of handing it out to all of you who found this blog through the the Mistletoe Kissing-day and the No-kiss blogfests! If you are one of the folks who decided to follow me because of one of those events, you deserve this award, and I am happy to count you among my followers and blog friends!

In other news, at Ms. Bethany's suggestion, I headed out to my local library to do some writing yesterday, and had a great time! It was really refreshing to get out of my living room and have a nice big table to spread out my revision notes and do some work with a lot less distraction, in a place where books are loved. I think I'm going to go back Monday!

Now, if only they had more convenient outlets...

Friday, January 22, 2010

Titles are Hard.

By Bethany and Just Another Sarah's request, some title history!

The book of Genesis in the bible is believed to be composed of two main parts. The Primeval History, and The cycles of the Patriarchal Stories (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph). The Primeval History makes up the first 11 chapters or so, and includes the stories of creation and the lists of generations from Adam to Noah, and then down to Abraham. The genealogies listed in the bible, because of their complete difference in tone, are thought to have come from a hypothetical and long lost source called the book of Generations.

Since my book is multi-generational, moving through a very large volume of history and tracing the genealogy of at least one family as it does so, I felt that the title of Generations would be more fitting than to begin with Genesis. Part of the story takes place at the dawn of creation, but my book doesn't begin until after God has finished making the world. I also wanted a biblical flavor for my title, without causing public outcry--I know my subject material is going to be offensive to a lot of people who believe that the stories in the bible shouldn't be tampered with, and I don't really want to bait them further (although, book burning might increase sales!).

Of course all of this could become a moot point when and if I ever get the book sold and a publisher decides that my title is crap and unmarketable, but I'd love to be able to keep it as is. My hope is to publish a trilogy-- Generations would be followed by Genesis (once I have a fan base of people who won't be turned off) which will then, hypothetically, be followed by Exodus. Alternatively, I suppose I could have titled Generations, The Book of Eve, and made the sequel The Book of Adam, but then I wasn't sure how best to sum up the third book with the same naming convention.

Normally I'm not really good with titles. I have a hard time coming up with them and the ones that I do come up with I'm never happy with. In earlier incarnations, Generations was actually titled "Daughter of Eve" which was a pretty serious misnomer, but I hung onto it for a while and the folder on my computer which has all of my drafts and sourcework is still called "DoE Project." One of my other novels was called Life After Death, which later became Cost of Living, and I still think it's crap and refer to it in my mind as "Thairon's Book" after the leading man instead of committing to the title.

So there you have it-- the origin (genesis?) of the title for The Book of Generations. I hope I didn't bore you all (and if I did, feel free to suggest a topic more to your interest for another day!)

What's the story of your title?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Revision Notes III

Walking to the dentist's office this morning for my 6 month cleaning brought with it some excellent brainstorming for my revisions.
Just a few notes:

1) Why do the great brainstorm breakthroughs always happen when you have nothing to write with?
2) Why was it ADAM and not THOR loitering around in my head, pestering me?
3) Poor Eve is going to have a miserable time in this book by the time I'm through revising. As if Adam being in her face wasn't bad enough.
4) Seriously. Why is Adam in MY face?! He never is! And really, he's kind of obnoxious, so I'm not sure I'm thrilled about it.

I ended up writing down my brilliant idea on the back of a receipt that was stuffed in my checkbook. I need to get a couple of new small notepads or something...

Are any characters pestering you lately that normally keep to themselves?

P.S. I have no idea what I'm posting about for tomorrow. Any Topic Suggestions?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Asgard and Settings

I don't talk enough about Norse Mythology on this blog for someone who is writing a book heavily influenced by its gods. (Among others.)

I have already delved into what I think of the character of Thor, and a little bit about the problems we have reading the source material and learning about the gods, and I've mentioned Loki and Sif in passing, of course, because you can't talk about Thor without talking about them, too. But today, I want to talk about Asgard itself. Asgard, in particular, as it applies to The Book of Generations.

It took me a while to get comfortable with Asgard as a setting. I knew, generally what I wanted to do with it, what I wanted it to be, but it wasn't until a few months after I had finished the first draft of my book that I was able to really get down on paper how I wanted it to be SEEN. This imaginary home of the gods isn't something that's been addressed en masse by the great painters of the world, or really shown by anyone outside of Marvel's comic book pages. That leaves me with a pretty blank slate, or will, until the movie comes out in May 2011. Even then, I'm not sure how much of Asgard they intend to put on screen, or if the movie bombs, how much exposure it will get.

But I also had another problem with describing Asgard, as I wrote Generations. The only character seeing it, had built it, lived in it, and known it down to its last stone, for centuries. Through Thor's eyes, how much of the grandeur of Asgard can we really see? How much note will he take of the gardens, or the carvings that decorate the doors to Odin's Hall? Would he really pause to admire them as he goes about his business? So how do I convey the setting of Asgard as I want it to be seen, without compromising the character of Thor?

My first round Betas were adamant that something had to be done. They wanted to see Asgard, and I had largely ignored its description up to that point. But there was really only one good place in the book to expand on it, and it didn't really have room for more than a few lines at best. But I'm a layerer. Thor doesn't spend a whole lot of time in Asgard in Generations, but I know he'll come back to it. And I know, if he has things his way, he'll bring along some friends. Each revision since has given me the chance to add in a line here or a line there, until, I hope, a picture of Asgard was painted within the manuscript.

All right. So instead of talking about Asgard, I just spent three paragraphs talking about my struggles with it in the book. So what about Asgard as more than just setting? What's the heart of Asgard as a place? What does Asgard mean?

In my book, Asgard has been built stone-by-stone by Thor and Odin and was completed some time roughly before the birth of Moses. It isn't the first Asgard, and it certainly won't be the last, but it's the only Asgard of Earth-- of this plane of existence. It's not exactly part of the world, but it isn't exactly separate from it. It's where the gods dwell, much like Olympus for the Greeks, but it isn't somewhere that anyone can walk into, or even find. Asgard exists in and of itself, somewhere in the North, and it's only accessible by the Norse gods themselves, or by explicit invitation. I suppose that other gods from other pantheons could show up, but it would probably start a war if Odin hadn't given them the greenlight in advance.

Asgard is built around the World Tree, Yggdrasil. In Norse mythology, Yggdrasil connects the nine worlds, from Asgard to Hel to Jotunheim to Midgard, and so on. In my book, the existence of the nine worlds lies outside of this one. The catalog of Norse Mythology becomes, in essence, a history of the migratory Norse gods who have settled within our world. It turns out, this was also a convenient way to subvert Ragnarok as the ultimate end of the world, and make room for the other pantheons involved on Earth, and their own histories. When the Norse gods left their original home, they uprooted Yggdrasil and brought it with them. Every Asgard has been built around Yggdrasil. It is the only constant as they move from world to world, rebuilding themselves and their city as they go.

I want to end with a bit of an excerpt. If you visited Gary Corby's blog recently, you'd have seen a little bit of Asgard in the comments, by way of describing Thor himself, as part of a writing exercise, but  there's so much more to Bilskirnir (Thor's hall) than just a single room and some frustrations with antiquated kitchen equipment. As aggravating as Asgard could be to me, it turned out that when I finally got to showcase it, I had a really great time! (full disclosure: this is a first draft. Thor is showing a friend his hall and the scene is written from this friend's perspective.)

[excerpt deleted]

Annnnd I'm going to awkwardly stop here before the end of the scene, because it's too long to post all of it, but you get the picture?

Are there any physical settings giving you a hard time as you write your novel?

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Big 101!

Gah!
My last post was my 100th! And I didn't even realize it! I think this makes me a poor excuse for a blogger, or maybe just someone without a proper appreciation for celebratory moments! Well, to make up for it, we will celebrate this post! The big 101! Like the Dalmations, or something...

But what content would be properly celebratory?

I could, of course, discuss revisions, or present a character study of some kind, or perhaps share some information about the book I'm trying not to write because I have so much other work to do (but I don't want to encourage it, really).

I could talk about the heart-rending situation on Haiti, or the ridiculous response of Pat Robertson that it's just what Haiti gets for making a pact with the devil (?!?!?!?!?!) but I think at this point it's a little bit late to the ball game, and I'm sure that the things I might say in response to Mr. Robertson (No, I will not refer to him by his title, such as it is) have already been said much more eloquently. Of course, feel free to open up in the comments, if you like...

Today, I want to talk about some old news. Something that has fueled the telling of stories for generations. Today, I want to talk about Mars. And not just Mars, but Martian water.

We have sent people to Mars in our imaginations for practically the entire length of its known existence. Edgar Rice Burroughs populated Mars with giant green martians with four arms, and red-skinned egg-laying humanlike martians, and great white apes way before I was born. As a people, we are obsessed with life on Mars. As such, we are absolutely determined to locate water, because water is to the best of our knowledge, a fundamental for life. Pluuuussss finding water on Mars in any quantity means we don't have to export it when we send non-fictional people to the planet, and that saves quite a bit of weight on lift-off.

But I think NASA and the scientific community is forgetting an important fact here. Life As We Know It does not mean Life Is Limited By What We Know. 

Finding water on Mars doesn't mean that there was life there, ever. Finding water anywhere doesn't mean that there was life or that there IS life on a planet. Because as much as we know, as much as we've learned, there is no real proof that there isn't some other path to life. We don't even know, really know, how life formed on Earth.

Oh, we have guesses, theories, all educated, but if there were any real proof, and real understanding of how life began, we'd have duplicated the experiment by now, and there would have been a huge outcry over it by the religious right. The Pope would probably have smashed the whole thing under his heel in rage, if people like Pat Robertson didn't get to it first. (I could apologize for comparing the Pope to Pat Robertson here, but I'm not really Benedict's biggest fan either, to be honest with you. I'm equal opportunity that way.)

I guess it makes some kind of sense. We can only look for what we know to look for, the signs we can be certain are associated with life, but lets just not let that limited scope of knowledge blind us to the things that might exist outside of what we know.

And maybe that should go for more than just the search for water and life on Mars.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

All Work and No Play

Finally starting to get a handle on my workload again! It's such a relief to be back on track.

I've been doing some research into old curses-- think something mild enough that you might utter it if you dropped your keys in a mudpuddle-- in English, and haven't really found anything I liked, so I thought I'd put the word out on the blog, and see if anyone has any suggestions!

I also need modern French, Old Norse, and Scandinavian curses and expletives, if any of you have them sitting in your back pockets.

Let me tell you, if I knew some French myself, my life would be a lot easier.

Anyone else having trouble with something in your book that you don't know anything about, but realize belatedly that you wish you did?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Happy Blogs Make Happy Writers


Thanks to VR Barkowski for awarding me the Happy Blog Award! I definitely am feeling the love right now, and since part of receiving this award requires me to list 10 things that make me happy, I think I'll jump right in with:

1) Receiving Awards!

These are, of course, in no particular order. Lots of things make me happy, and I'm sure we can all agree that there are many meaningful things in life that should be ranked above blog-awards, but they still bring a smile to my face, and remind me of how fortunate I am to have met so many wonderful bloggers and fellow writers. On with the list!

2) Sea Shanties and Folk Music (as if you didn't know)
3) Family and Friends
4) Writing.

I apologize if some of these are obvious, but you know, it's the simple things! like:

5) Playing on the Swings
6) Playing Board Games
7) Reading Comic Books

Especially Thor. I love the art, and the art of telling the story through the medium. I just think it's fabulous. I mean, I also love reading regular books, and imagining it all for myself, but there's something about the inhuman and godly glory of the retold myths and their illustrations that just resonates with me. I love the incredibly impossible muscles, and the women who beat down on villains in high heels without ever twisting an ankle. I'm envious of comic book artists. I wish I could draw like that.

Lets see, what else?

8) Reading in general. Definitely.
9) Workshops with Crit partners and Reader Response.

I just got a copy of one of my books back from a reader with all his comments and corrections, and it was better than Christmas morning.

10) Sharing a Meal.

There is nothing better to me, than sharing a lunch or a dinner or a breakfast with family and friends. I love sitting down over a meal and sharing conversation as well as food. I love preparing a traditional family dish well, and sharing my food-traditions with others. When you share a meal, it isn't just about the food, it's about being with one another, and taking that time just to enjoy it.

Now, I'm supposed to pick 10 blogs that make me happy to pass on the award. I'm going to pick 5, because I'm a wimp.

1) Stephanie Thornton at Hatshepsut. I mean, c'mon, have you see all the squirrels?
2) Gary Corby at A dead man fell from the sky... Because the kind of historical information he shares is exactly the kind of thing that I can't get enough of. Plus there's usually some great conversation to be had in the comments, and he offers an excellent insight into the writing and publishing process.
3) Frankie at Frankie Writes. Because she is Hilarious! Especially her commentary on her childhood writing. The woman cracks me up.
4) SQRT(D) at Dmitri Demidov's Meal, who has taken on the challenge of 350 blog posts in the year 2010. I know I just awarded him an award, but what can I say? The blog makes me happy!
5) Diana Paz at Writing Roller Coasters. Because she is also hilarious. Her story-telling, just in her blog about the things going on, is fabulous! I can only imagine what her "real" writing is like!

Okay, okay, Six, because I don't want to leave out Sarah at The Wit and Wisdom of Another Sarah who is just a happy person in general, and deserves a happy blog award!

So there you have it. Go out and spread the joy!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Distractions

If I could simultaneously read and revise and edit all my books at the same time, I so would be doing it. I get so distracted by the others--not necessarily in a bad way, just in an "I can't wait to work on this more!" way.

I figure that I'm on vacation for the weekend, so I'm allowed to read whatever I want for fun and not edit, right?

Friday, January 08, 2010

Sea Shanties and old Celtic Folksongs

Lately, I write and revise to Sea Shanties and Celtic Rock. I'm not sure what it is about it, but it keeps me moving forward and I never get tired of listening to different version of "What Would You Do With A Drunken Sailor," or "I'll Tell Me Ma."

In fact, I've been thinking lately that someone should compile a cd of just Drunken Sailor variations. I would snatch that up in a heartbeat. (If anyone knows of any, please leave me a link in the comments!)

Maybe these Sea Shanties and Folk Songs resonate so well because they remind me so much of writing. You see, every story we tell has been told, in its essence, somewhere else. Some say that Homer already used every plot in existence, and everything since has just been recycled from there. I'm not sure I necessarily want to go through and list the themes and plots in Homer's works to see if they're right, but these variations that we tell now, they're like old folk songs. Every locality, every ship, every group of people would have their own way of singing it, unique to itself, but sharing with all the others the basics. Maybe the tune is the same, but the lyrics are slightly different. Or maybe the tempo is different and the melody is changed, but the lyrics are the same. Or maybe they're different pieces of the same song that broke off from one another back in the day. But they resonate inside us because we know the story, we know the song, we've known it for an eternity, from the dawn of time, and listening it to again, no matter where we are and what version it is, still brings us, for that moment, back home again.

A good story can do the same thing. As much as we groan about cliches and things that are overused, maybe there's a reason that all these tropes keep recurring. Maybe because these are stories that we know, that we remember, that bring us comfort, no matter how many times we've heard them. Maybe it's the adult version of the child who demands to be read The Three Little Pigs every night before bed. The sailor singing the songs from home to remind him of his children.

For myself, I don't mind if I can recognize the story, as long as you're telling it well. And I will listen to three more versions of "I'll Tell Me Ma" and laugh when I wake up singing it to myself in the morning. Classics are classic for a reason, right?
I'll tell me ma when I go home,
The boys won't leave the girls alone.
They pulled my hair, they stole my comb,
But that's all right 'til I go home.
She is handsome, she is pretty,
She's the belle of Belfast City,
She goes courtin', a one, two, three
Please won't you tell me who is she?

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Non-Revision Notes

I'm spending the weekend in upstate New York and celebrating a late Christmas with my family, so I'll be scarce the next couple of days, but I did want to point you in the direction of my latest GeekaChicas post, regarding the parallels between Fairy Tales and Greek Myths, now with extra quotes!

Have no fear, a new post is ready to go and set to post on Friday morning, kind of along a similar vein, only regarding Sea Shanties. Apparently my head is in comparison mode.

Fingers crossed that I'll get some work done while I'm out of town. One never knows, but I'm excited to keep working. I really feel like things are coming together into Awesome.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Revision Notes II

I have defeated Chapter Eleven, and it is MUCHLY improved.

I can't believe that it took me three days to rewrite, but I feel so much better now that it's done.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Hey, It's 2010! and a 2009 Award Wrap Up


Over my holiday break from blogging, I received The Kreativ Blogger award from Bethany Mattingly over on ASPIRATIONS. I am both honored and flattered! Apparently this award requires that I share seven things about myself that you all don't know, and pass the award on to seven people. I'm not sure about the passing it on to seven people business (arbitrary numbers! argh! decisions! double argh!), but I'm happy to share some fun facts! (Yup, that was five exclamation points. Sorry. They just happen. I blame the new year.)

  1. I'm a world builder. I didn't realize it for a while, and I didn't really embrace it for even longer, but I guess there isn't much point in denying it now. I built a world, and in my head it is beautiful and complex and if you ask me what one of my characters was doing during any important historical event, I can probably tell you. Not because I have it all outlined somewhere, but just because it's inside me. I'm a little bit baffled that I can keep it all straight, and I really hope that I can find someone in the industry who loves it as much as I do and wants to give it a chance. If not, I'm sure I'll live, but man it's exciting. This all sounds like hubris, maybe, but sometimes writing requires a little bit of ego, and I'm really proud of what I've made.

  2. My father used to read to me and my sister at night before bed. If for some reason he couldn't, my brothers would. My oldest brother was always the most dramatic and theatrical, and we would get in trouble because he would make us laugh so hard we weren't tired anymore. Sometimes instead of reading, my dad would sing old camp and folk songs to us by request--my favorite was White Choral Bells. It's something I remember fondly, and a tradition I intend to pass on.

  3.  I'm a huge Star Wars fan. I also love Star Trek, but I hated Wesley Crusher from TNG. Something about that young-whiz-kid-who-saves-the-day character just rubs me the wrong way. Luke Skywalker has something of that aspect in the original Star Wars (A New Hope) which is probably why I never really cared for him, either. Han and Leia are my favorite, of course.

  4. I dreamed of being a zookeeper and working with tigers. In college, through what was essentially a fluke, I got to go pet a female Siberian tiger that someone had and discovered I was horribly allergic to them. It was itchy-eyed-running-nose ridiculousness. I still love tigers, but I think it's probably for the best that I changed my major and my career path.

  5. When I was a kid I used to pretend that I was a superhero, and my powers were communicating with animals, flying, morphing, and immortality. Now that I'm grown up, I'm not sure that I would really want to live forever. The other stuff would still be awesome, though.

  6. I collect goblets. I think they're cool. I have no space for them in my cabinet, so half of them are packed up in boxes in my parents' house, and the other half are probably headed to the same place. At least until we move to a bigger apartment/house/whathaveyou.

  7. Cookies are my number one most favorite dessert food, and after a good 20+ years of making them, I have perfected the recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies. I kid you not. It's entirely possible that someone else has already figured out the same recipe independently, but I still guard it jealously. If I never get published, I will live my life knowing I make AWESOME Chocolate Chip Cookies, and be content.

Now that that's out of the way, on to the next item on the agenda! Boy have people been busy while I've been on hiatus--Tricia J. O'Brien over at Talespinning gave me an award too! The Superior Scribbler award. I'm flattered to have been thought of, and floored by all this attention from bloggers I've just met. Thanks so much for this outpouring of blog-love. I try to keep things interesting around here, and I'm glad to know I've succeeded somehow.
    In November, I also received the One Lovely Blog award from Stephanie Thornton, at Hatshepsut, but being new then to the blogosphere, I wasn't sure how to handle it, other than with gracious thanks-- which I give again, today! Plus, at that time I didn't know fifteen people to pass the award on to, so I just kind of let it get away from me.

    Now that I've been around the block a couple times, I've observed the established order of things and the way others have handled it. (At first I wasn't sure if I was allowed to pass these awards on, or not, I mean.. I was just a n00b. From what place of authority was I standing to judge?) I feel like I've got a handle on things, and I'd like to at the very least give a few shout outs and spread the love.

    I think Dmitri Demmidov's Meal is a great blog, and they've always got something thought provoking to say, so I'd like to award them a Superior Scribbler, in particular for the Santa Claus and Jesus post, which  summed up a lot of things I wish I had thought to say first.

    I'd like to send some love over to Just Another Sarah, too, who always has an interesting tidbit to share, and has never failed to show a generosity of spirit that is beyond  my ability to fully return. Consider a One Lovely Blog award a meager attempt? And if you love Christmas trees, check out her other blog, too.

    Finally I'd like to give the Kreative Blogger award to Katee Roberts over at Livejournal, for her Books, Comics, Writing and Other Misc Meanderings. I found her through the kissing fest, and have been following her blog ever since! (Feel free to skip the seven things about yourself if you'd rather--no obligation!)

    And that's that.

    Happy 2010, everyone!

    Monday, January 04, 2010

    Revision Notes

    Why didn't anyone tell me before now that the Eleventh Chapter in this book is Awful?! How did I not notice it until now?!

    Sunday, January 03, 2010

    Thanks!

    I had a lot of fun yesterday reading all the no-kiss scenes, and I'm thrilled and grateful to everyone who found the time to stop by my blog. Thanks for all the kind comments!

    I'm getting serious this month and trying to stay on top of things with Generations. I've got two (possibly three) people beta-reading this month, and I'm anxious to hear what they have to say. I'm excited about some of the changes I've made, though I think my habit when writing drafts, and even revising, is toward more of a bare-boned scene and story. I know Mr. King says we're supposed to subtract a percentage of our book when we're finished and revising, but I don't think I could without destroying something integral--or maybe I already did when I brutally ended the book in spite of the fact that I could have kept going for... well... generations? It had to be done, and I did it. I'm fairly certain it left about 20K on the cutting room floor to be picked up and recycled for a sequel--and yes, yes, I know. Writing sequels before the first book is sold is against the rules. Sorry. There was no help for that either.

    When it comes to writing, sometimes you just have to go with your gut, and I hope that my gut knows what it's talking about. I guess I'll find out when I hear back from this round of Betas. Fingers crossed, yeah?

    Saturday, January 02, 2010

    No-Kiss Blogfest! Let the UST rule!

    For those of you who read my contribution to the Kiss fest in December, this is a piece that takes place a bit earlier in the story-- I might as well admit that cutting these scenes was so horribly agonizing that I had to go ahead and start putting together a sequel at once. They were too good to give up entirely.

    Go on to Frankie's blog to surf through the rest of the contributions for the No-kiss fest!

    There's some background already in the scene--Eve (the woman through whom we are witnessing this event) is married to Garrit DeLeon.

    [Excerpt Removed]