Thursday, March 24, 2011

How to make your future neighbors think you are a freak

Yellow arrow is maybe our place. Red arrows denote
neighbors who may now be praying we don't move in. 
What are Carolyn and Mister Crane doing? Having our last fire, not only of the season, because this is the last of the wood and hopefully the last of the cold and snow, but also because we have put an offer in on a condo!! And it was accepted!

We are so excited. While it has no fireplace, and is in a less glorious section of town, we think it is lovely and we also suspect there will be more people like us living around there. Also, we will save money and there are many nearby coffeeshops.

Now we have the inspection period where we will have it inspected. Which brings me to a little story...

The one that we almost bought
There was this condo we almost bought. OMG, it was a bit more money, but bigger and so lovely, and we were up there with our realtor and every room was more magical than the last. We were like, this is perfect perfect!

Then, the downstairs neighbor turned on their TV. And it was SO loud. I mean, they were obnoxious to have it so loud, but it became clear that the floors in this perfect place were not that thick, and that any TV noise would carry pretty well. We were like, omg, thank you for turning on your TV.

Now Mark and I have become totally focused on the potential of noise. We are both writers who do lots of work at home, and while we don't need library silence, we don't want to listen to Maury Povich all day.

So like the freaks we are, we went over there and dropped a note in the analogous condo across the hall's mailbox asking for their assessment of how well the noise carries up on their side from the floor below them. And then we dropped a note in the unit below us to ask if, oh, one of these days during our inspection period, we could go over and stand in the unit we might buy, and they play their TV or stereo and we can see if it really carries.

I mean, there are other things we have to check out with our inspector, but this noise thing has seized our imaginations. How thick are the floors between these units? Will we be driven crazy by noise? Will our concentration be totally destroyed? Will I lose my ability to write novels and be found wandering Death Valley in a Panda suit this time next year? But we didn't put that in the note.

Do you think our potential new neighbors will think we're freaks?

Mark read an article the other day that boiled down the difference between rich and poor, in part, to the ability to have quiet around you. That the poorer you are, the noisier your environment is. And the richer you are, the more you can control your environment. I thought that was so fascinating.

Since we fall between those two extremes, neither rich nor poor, I think we rely partly on luck and partly on being careful. And notes in future neighbor's mailboxes. eep. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

writerly question of the day: Turtley bedazzled by your word counts

I have a writerly question today, for others to answer!

Carolyn Crane: slow, and she doesn't even have
awesome red eyes! 
As some of you may know, not only am I the slowest reader on the planet, but I am also quite a slow writer. I mean, I write first drafts by hand and type them, unless the scene is just really mechanical. And, more than half of the time I am hand drafting, that is spent in daydreaming. Some days, that's more like 95%.

Okay, so I have this punishing new schedule that I have made for myself that is a cruel 5000 words per week. LOL. It's 5000 polished and edited words, but still. (Yes, I know there are writers who put that down in a day.)

Then, after that, I'll go back and edit and revise. At that point, my progress is like minus 200 words a day. (Though, sometimes editing adds a few hundred words.) And this revising process will take weeks. Months.

So, for all you 2K, 4K a day folks:

  1. Are those words revised or raw? 
  2. Is there ever a time where you're revising, and not adding any words whatsoever? How long does that last?
  3. If not, are you turning first drafts into your editor or agent?
  4. Or are you both revising AND adding that many thousands of words every day, 365 days a year? *gulp*
  5. Do you have any words of wisdom for me? I don't want to be slow forever. 
Yours truly,

Friday, March 18, 2011

Critique for Japan...and what is this madness?!?!?

My pals and I over at the League of Reluctant Adults have been really distressed about the situation in Japan, and wanting to do something. So what did we come up with? Two writerly auctions! 

Basically, the winners will get to submit a synopsis and first pages (up to 6000 words) and get league authors as their writing group on it. (see details below) So, you get not one person critiquing, but SEVEN. That could sound scary, I suppose, but as a major user of writing groups throughout my career, I think the group dynamic can be hugely helpful  - people can build on what others say, disagree, bring their own styles,  suggestions, and ideas. You can see where there is consensus and disagreement.

Knowing what is working beautifully is as helpful as knowing what isn't working, so on critiques, I attempt to bring both things, and I think most authors do. I think that's what you can expect, except from seven perspectives. 

From our ebay page:

Get a helpful critique of your first pages and synopsis from a group of authors from the League of Reluctant Adults! 
Highest bidder (100% of proceeds go to the Red Cross to help Japan) gets to submit a synopsis and first batch of pages (up to 6000 words between the two - you decide how that works) of any fiction project for "expert analysis" by Team Fang, a group of authors from the League of Reluctant Adults! (We're a group of published authors of urban fantasy, young adult, and paranormal romance.
What you get: We'll each commit to taking at least an hour to read your stuff and let you know what we think is working great, and what we think isn't working, and give ideas for improvement. Some members may concentrate more on the synopsis, some on the pages, but we'll all be giving our best constructive advice. Be ready to get a spectrum of opinions, and possibly disagreement between league members, either noted on the document itself or on separate documents. It'll be like we're all sitting in a room, discussing your story and early pages. You will have six months to submit your document (Microsoft Word ideal), we'll have a month to look it over and comment. (note, this is for craft/story feedback only, and not in any way a guarantee of representation or publication). At the end, we'll email your word doc back, full of all of our comments, either on the document, or on separate documents. 

There are TWO critiques being offered: 

Team Claw: Sonya Bateman, Michele Bardsley, Carolyn Crane, Kevin Hearne, Jackie Kessler, Diana Rowland, Jeanne Stein

As you can see, Team Claw is the far superior team! And the good news is, as of this posting, the bid is only $163! For at least seven hours of work from some very majorly published and popular authors. This is an amazing deal! See the ebay page for Team Claw and bid here.


Team Fang: Mario Acevedo, Dakota Cassidy, Stacia Kane, JF Lewis, Nicole Peeler, KA Stewart, Anton Strout

What is this madness? I have just checked and bidding has driven up the Team Fang critique price to $203!! WHAT?!?!? How can Team Fang be beating Team Claw?!! Not only does Team Fang feature my nemesis, Stacia Kane, but as you see, there are several other lazy bums and no-gooders on it. Not that you would want to make a bid for a critique from pathetic Team Fang, but you can visit their page here

Richelle Mead and a number of other authors also have a fabulous auction of signed editions and even hot ARCs to bid on here

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Website revise, ancient challenges, and a Glee question

I have been working on my author site a lot lately, inspired in part by this post on author sites over at Penelope's.

What's more, when I made the site, I had one book coming out. It was a one-book site, there to tell the world about my soon-to-be released book. Now I have two books out, and three more coming, if you count two upcoming anthologies (and naturally, I DO)!  I realized people use the site in different ways; some may be coming to learn more about my books, whereas others may have read one or both, and are looking to see what's new. Perhaps others have read my books and are looking for strategic ways to avoid me and my future works at all costs.

The site: so different...yet so the same! 
So, I totally redid it. But, it pretty much looks the same. Except for the fact that I have spent an obscene amount more hours on it! Partly fixing mistakes and last night's book page implosion.  There are a few additions. The biggest new thing is adding my character fashion ensembles in the fun part, from a long-ago Fiction Vixen post!

Hmm. THIS challenge didn't go so well...
Mostly it's organized better. I'm sitting here thinking, why am I making this post? The site isn't that different. This is totally not a check out my site post, and definitely not a check out my site and praise it post, but here is the new revise, if you're curious. I still need to do a few more things (I want to add a links page and a books drill-down pages) but I'm out of time. Constructive criticism is of course super welcome but not expected.

Entropy elsewhere
Now I'm looking at other things that need updating here on my blog. Like my personal pull-ups challenge! OMG I started it when my husband put a pull ups bar in our kitchen doorway. My goal was 5 pull ups by the end of September...2010.

Pictured is the last installment. Note that I had lost a half a pull up. I'm probably down to one pull up at this point. Hmmm. Maybe this challenge needs to get re-upped for 2011!

my first ever challenge...late,
but successful
Then there is Orannia's Big Book challenge. I'm not really a challenge person, but I had meant to read Dune at some point during 2009. Well, I did not read it. I re-upped for 2010. Did not read it. However, the good news is that I'm about to finish The Name of the Wind, which I'm quite loving, and that will hugely count for the challenge! Luckily, Orannia is a sweet and flexible girl, and made this a fun and no-pressure challenge.

Also, my fave books thing is from 2009. Oh well!

Glee question 
Ate cheesy avocado rice and watched Glee tonight. So, is that new blond boy related to McCauley Caulkin (or however you spell his name) or not? The gym teacher once pointed out his Caulkin resemblance, and I haven't caught where he's a Caulkin, or McCauley himself. Is that possible?

 I hope everybody had a nice weekend. What did you do?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Three cool Wednesday things!!!

One, I'm super excited to have been invited for an interview over at My Bookish Ways, a fun and smart blog with a gorgeous header I could stare at for hours.

Kristin and I talk side jobs, why I decided on a trilogy, my sordid past as an essay writer, upcoming projects and more. I'm also giving away a signed book.  Come say hi at My Bookish Ways!

Two, some great news:
• Mind Games was nominated by the reviewers over at The Romance Reviews as 2010's Best Debut Book! and... 
 • Double Cross was nominated by the reviewers over at The Romance Reviews as 2010's Best Urban Fantasy!
 I'm so honored and excited! You can see all the nominees and vote for your favorites here.

A new and highly successful kitty toy. Meet rattle mouse, the toy that Oblio loves, and can play with for hours. Rattle mouse is totally going to consume all of Oblio's attention this morning while I work.

And even better, rattle mouse is helping in my campaign to keep my still-very-kittenish little friend awake during the day so that he will not want to play at NIGHT!

Oh, look at the annoyance. Look how he can't even bear to  be separated from rattle mouse.

Happy Wednesday everybody! 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Can you help?

I was so touched by this post over at Anya Bast's blog, about Tena McNeely, the animal rescuer who was beaten to death in Kentucky, leaving 10 sweet-looking rescue cats without homes.

A vet has stepped up to care for them, but that can't last forever.

Anya has a post about it, full of pictures of the beautiful cats who still need homes, and Anya is offering a happy kitty adoption gift too!

Pity Poo
Does anybody live near Kentucky (Shelbyville), or know anyone who does, who would enjoy a new friend? Rescue cats are always the best!!

More at Anya's! 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A funny thing about fuck

Editor and agent comments caused me to spend a bit of time thinking about the word 'fuck' this week, especially the strange way it operates when used in character dialogue. Fuck is not a word like other words - it's tricky and mysterious, and sometimes it's one thing, and sometimes it's another.

What the F am I talking about? What exciting conclusions did I draw? Come read my very writerly post over at The League of Reluctant Adults to find out!!!

Image: F images by ACF from wikimedia