Monday, December 26, 2011

You are here

There's just something about wanting to be there. Be a part of it. The whole Lost Generation, the beret-wearing allness of it.

The smooth jazz, coffee sipping, red-wine drinking, not caring about any of it It.

The whole, I believed. I gave everything I had. I've been lied to. I've lost it all. I have nothing left to lose...

I don't care if I lose it all. Just to be able to say I did...

The joy of it. The dance. The sipping and dipping and squeezing. The taste of eclairs or creme-filled croissants or seafood seasoned just delicately enough. Or meat, marinated for a good eight hours in garlic, red wine, onion, black pepper, and then cooked for another six hours on low heat...

The sounds of crashing waves and the feel of briny salt air on your face.

Nope. It's true. I still haven't seen Midnight in Paris.

But I have lived in south Louisiana and on the Gulf Coast, and well, I guess for us, that's about as good as it gets.

It's that weird break between Christmas and the New Year when anything's possible. When it's all suspended and everything's wishes and twilight.

I'd love to be in the writing cave, but instead I'm on the road. Have a great week, reader- and writer-friends. See you next week~ <3

Monday, December 19, 2011

I Second that Emotion

First, I'm still making Deja Vu (link) rounds--forgive me, bleeps. Being out of town threw me off.

As for today, I've been thinking about emotional blogging and saying what's on your mind on the web.

I've never been a blogger who put my personal stuff out there. (Out here?) I'm not sure if it's because I know how quickly my feelings change or if I'm just chicken. Or if I'm repressed. Suppressed? ... Sarah?

No, I know bleeps who do that, and they seem to have the most followers. I'm sure it's because they're sharing common fears, experiences, pain, etc., and it's good to know you're not alone in this.

I was also thinking about that poor guy who went on YouTube topless to rant against Simon & Schuster. Or his agent, I don't remember which. I confess, I couldn't watch it.

The conventional wisdom is "Don't." Don't put yourself out there, don't share negative experiences, don't seem to be complaining at all. Ever.

But is that real?

Personally, I have a pretty strong support group, so I just rant to them, bless their hearts. But what if I didn't (or if you don't)? You have to get negative emotions out, and it's not healthy to bottle them inside.

To me, though, it's like being the person who suggests entitlement programs need to be changed. Nobody wants to be that guy. (And who said they needed to change?)

I don't know. I'm just thinking. Is the prevailing wisdom right or wrong? Should we be more open with our thoughts and problems? If we did so, would it become less stigmatizing?

I do find I learn so much from hearing others' experiences--good and bad. And it is encouraging to know some people have a hard time in this business... even after they land that agent or get that book deal.

Have a great week, reader-and writer-friends! Merry Christmas and happy holidays! I wish you all many happy emotions~ <3

Friday, December 16, 2011

Blogfest Special: Deja Vu

My good friends DL, Lydia, Katie, and Nicole are hosting this fun fest in which we dig up old posts that didn't get much "play" or that are favorites or whatnot.

This was hard! And as a result, I might sprinkle in some recycled posts in the upcoming weeks.

But anyway, without further ado, a fun rerun and looking forward to seeing what I've missed!

Cups of Literary Tea, July 2010

I'm not much of a tea drinker. I wish I were, because it sounds so refined and elegant.

I mentioned in a previous post that my first boss when I was an editor at LSU was from England, and she observed a strict tea time every day, complete with cookies (biscuits). She taught me so many little niceties.

Anyway, so I've been thinking about books and genre and what appeals to different readers and what doesn't. Of course, I was also thinking about agents...

The other night I looked at JRM and me sitting up in bed reading. He was holding a block of wood entitled TRUMAN. I was clutching my shiny copy of Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side. Being naturally curious, I leaned over to him.

LTM: What's Truman doing?
JRM: They're making the atomic bomb.
LTM: Sounds.... interesting. (Yik!)
JRM: What do you think it says about humanity that we've had the bomb for 60 years and it hasn't been used.
LTM: We love our children.

Personally, that sort of reading doesn't relax me. I start wondering if I'm getting credit for the course. But to JRM it's fascinating.

I boarded this train of thought because I needed a critique partner. (One of those non-relative, or husband or friend types.)

And I was pondering if it's really necessary for him/her to prefer the genre I write in. I think it is, but could I be wrong?

I recently "met" a fellow blogger who's writing fantasy books. This very imaginative (and good!) writer suggested I read his WIP, but I had to come clean--I think I'd be a terrible helper with fantasy fiction. (The true kind, I mean. The kind JRM devours.)

I felt bad. But I think my answer was correct. I've tried many times to read hard-core fantasy, and I always follow the same pattern: my mind starts to wander and I get lost (you really have to pay attention to that stuff). Then I'm faced with having to start over, and instead I just put the book down and grab a good-ole escapist YA romance.

(Not genre romance, mind you. I get the itch if I can feel the formula in a book I'm reading.)

But maybe that wasn't the right answer. Maybe having a critique partner who's not a big fan of the genre in which I write would make him/her more likely to catch problems...

I don't know.

Last weekend we hosted two of JRM's old law school buddies who are serious fantasy fans. I asked them what it is about the genre that appeals to them. Is it the descriptions? The worlds? The literary devices (e.g., time travel, quests, magic). They couldn't really say.

I don't think anybody can. That's like saying why you prefer chocolate over vanilla.

At the very least I like knowing there's a genre for everyone.

Mine's more the love story-anything genre, although I have to admit an aversion to creatures. LOTR was not my bag, baby. Sorry. So the love-story-anything-without-creatures genre.

JRM: There are no creatures in The Dragonriders of Pern.
LTM: Do the dragonriders fall in love?

That's all for today, kids. I'm actually on the road headed back home, so let's all thank Flower the cat for today's post.

My genre's anything I can bite.
Have a great weekend! And I actually am out of town til Sunday, so I'll be late making the rounds. But I'm coming! Til Monday~ <3

Monday, December 12, 2011

Hard Times, Good Times (for Writers)

Most of the friends who've hung with me the longest are artists. And all of my serious boyfriends/husbands have been musician-songwriters.

I don't know why--whether we just get each others' mercurial personalities or if I just have a strong aversion to money. As Michael Scott says, "Mo money, mo problems," right?

(Yes, I know it was Damon Wayans.)

Anyway, I thought of this because when we were in college, we debated how hard it is to be creative when you're happy.

What do you guys think? Yes/no? Were we simply listening to too much complaint rock at the time?

Regardless, it got me thinking. Things aren't currently ideal for me. And lots of other folks--in some cases worse.

In my case (new bleeps), over the summer we did a major relocation, and as is typical with such things, the adjustment period... well, it's a tough time fraught with stress, frustration, denial, anger, bargaining, depression...

But I was also thinking this can be a great time for writers.

Think about it: as writers we need hard times to draw on for future projects. If we never feel the extreme bad feelings, how can we possibly conjure them authentically for our characters?

Back in the day, writers used to put themselves in all sorts of terrible situations for their art. I do not recommend that practice. But I've decided to take advantage of this opportunity.

I'm headed back into the cave, and for the duration, I'll be blogging less.

I'm cutting my schedule down to once a week, except for special occasions like blogfests or announcements.

So my schedule is now Mondays only. And this Friday, I'll do a post for DL's Deja Vu fest (link).

In the meantime, I'll be thinking of you, and wishing you all the best. Naturally, I'll be making the rounds on Mondays as well, so I hope to stay in the loop.

Have a great week, reader- and writer-friends! I'm working, and when I'm not, I'm writing. Til Friday~ <3

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Catchup and Cool Blogfest Envy

Shew! Catching up after being out of town is hard work! Especially at this time of year. But I'm back, and I'm making the rounds.

Where was I? Well, I tagged along with hubs on a work-trip to Scottsdale, Az., and I have to confess. Part of my motivation for going was superstition.

Superstition Mtns
You might remember this post (link) where I shared how I started writing my first book after returning from Scottsdale and visiting Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West.

Something about the story of him really getting into his life's work, his passion, and designing his most famous buildings when he was almost 60 gave me hope.

It's never too late to start.

And we talked about how he died at his drafting table still working, happily, at 90-something.

Taliesin West
Then I told you about my visit to the cool souvenir shop and the freak hailstorm-40-degree temperature drop that occurred while I was in the American-Indian artificats gallery.

I revisited that place, too, on the way to Sedona so hubs could see the Red Rock formations this time.

But what I'd never done before, and what was really fun, was climbing all over the Camelback Mountains that are located slap in the middle of Phoenix.

So that's what I did. In other news, have you noticed the cool blogfests going on lately?

Camelback Mtn.
My friend DL Hammons (link) is hosting "Write Club," which pits short passages from writers against each other. Everyone votes, and the winners move on to the next round in February. Check it out! (link)

Then my other friend Jen Daiker of Unedited fame (link) participated in the Heroine Challenge where she had to defend a fictional heroine against another writer's choice. Everyone votes based on their arguments. Very cool. (link)

I hosted a blogfest once with Dr. Kang (link) where we all told jokes. But now I'm wanting to do something literary.

Like everyone picking and defending their most satisfying reunion scene from a book. Or their favorite couple. Or best literary battle. (I threw that battle one in for my male followers. You all know I'm a romance junkie, so I'd be more interested in something along those lines.)
Cactus Santa hats

But I think it could be fun and educational. Like it would help me as a writer to see what's most appealing to readers.

So what do you think? What's a literary blogfest you'd like to participate in?

Now let me get back to digging. Christmas is coming, reader- and writer-friends! Have a great weekend; get some shopping done. Til Monday~ <3

Monday, December 5, 2011

Be Right Back!

I'm actually out of town this week, but I'll be back Thursday.

Don't do anything major while I'm away!

Okay, you can do something major. Just nothing super-fun. Or if it's fun, I want to hear all about it when I get back. With pictures...

Have a great week, reader- and writer-friends!

Til Thursday~ <3

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Blogfest & NaNo Writers, Need an Editor?

It's Dec. 1--all my NaNo and Nanner-split friends rejoice! National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo, link) has ended. How'd you do?

If you finished all 50,000 words (or more), super congrats! You're a rockstar.

Just remember the big mantra: "Don't query now!"

Now you need to enter the all important ReviseMo stage, after which you will enter the all-important critter/beta phase. And I'm taking this moment to remind everyone that I've hung out my shingle. I'm an experienced editor for hire (link).

(The short version is also in my sidebar over there -->)

I've never done NaNo. Mostly because it typically falls when I'm in the middle of revisions or just finished revisions. Last year, Dr. Kang (link) and I observed "ReviseMo" during the month of November, and now she has like a mega, 50-book deal!

So revisions are very, very important! You're not done. Yet.

Speaking of stuff I've never done, or never thought I'd do, my other good friend Vicki Rocho (link) is hosting a fun, "Well, I Never" blogfest today!

Here's my entry: I never thought I'd write a book.

Seriously, when I was growing up, I loved to read, and I always had little stories scribbled out with illustrations in spiral notebooks all over the place. Then I read a short story my older brother wrote.

It was so funny and insightful and moving, and I think I cried at one point. I clearly remember thinking, "One day I'll write like that."

But never a whole book.

I got my degree in English, taught 10th grade one year, went back to graduate school, got my master's in Mass Comm, worked in production at a TV station (CBS affiliate--WAFB, Baton Rouge, whoot!), did some association work, worked as an editor at LSU for 10 years, had two babies 11 months apart (!), started freelancing for seven years...

Then in Sept. 2009 I sat down and started writing a book.

And today I've finished four. Two are actually polished enough that they're with an agent (link). So there you go. Never say never.

What's something you said you'd never do? How's that working out for you?

Have a great weekend, reader- and writer-friends! Til Monday~ <3