31 August 2009

I can fit over 20 grapes in my mouth.
Oddly, the Spouse Thingy is not as impressed with this feat as I am...


30 August 2009

The Spouse Thingy is reading my manuscript, looking for typos and stray words that seem to appear out of nowhere—remnants of the original draft that just didn’t get backspaced over during rewrites—and he’s handing the pages over a few at a time. This is the last step before the manuscript goes to layout; the cover is almost ready and the back cover copy is done (fingers crossed that other-author blurbs will fit on it!)

This afternoon I took my trusty netbook and 50 of these proofed pages over to Border’s where I intended to make corrections to the digital version and people watch. But I got there and realized with a well dammit--and after I had already bought my iced tea—that I (again) left the flash drive with the manuscript on it at home.

I figured what the hell, I’ll sit down anyway and flip through a magazine, watch the people come and go. Now, I wasn’t reading garbage, I was looking at an issue of Scientific American Mind (not that I’m cerebral; there’s an article in it about how working out can make you smarter, and I need all the incentive I can get to push my ass to the gym). This grimy looking guy in dirty jeans and holey t-shirt walked by, looked at me with a sneer and muttered “white trash” and then walked away.


I was totally not wearing my white trash clothes today. I have no idea where he was coming from. Still, if reading something so brainy was going to get me sneered at, I figured I might as well put the magazine away (no worries, I paid for it) and pull out my Kindle to read for a bit before heading home to avoid housework.

No one sneered at me for reading on it, even though Border’s sells the Sony Reader.

One of the things I’m seriously enjoying about the Kindle is the sheer volume of books available that have been written by independent authors. These books are typically very inexpensive (and often self-published), but most of the ones I’m buying are very well written. Right now I’m reading an epistolary memoir, Learn Me Good, and I laughed out loud so often that people started to glare at me.

Hey, if they can sit there and carry on conversations on their cell phones, I can laugh out loud.

Or at least snicker.

Damn, that just made me want a candy bar...


29 August 2009


I am trying, through a cloud of fatigue, to remember what particular law of physics it is that says that any given smoke detector on any given day will need its battery changed at 4:15 in the freaking morning.

I would like to know this law so that I can find the person who declared it so, and shove hot peppers up his nose.



28 August 2009

I love cinnamon gum. Cinnamon gum does not love me back. I know this, yet every once in a while I cave into the love of it and buy a pack, thinking that surely one piece will be all right. I’ll just put the rest in my desk drawer, and a week from now I can chew another piece.

One piece. My freaking tongue is now on fire. One piece of cinnamon gum and I burned my damned tongue, and now brushing my teeth hurts like a mother, and if I eat anything hot… It.Will.Hurt.

What sucks the most is that when I had the pack of gum in my hand at the checkout the Spouse Thingy asked if I really wanted to do that. “You know what will happen.”

One damned piece.

I freaking hate it when he’s right.



23 August 2009

I mentioned in a writer's area of a book forum, in an off-handed sort of way, that I was pretty much done with my current manuscript and was at the waiting point...wait for someone with proof it, wait for a final layout so that I would know how many pages and therefore how wide the spine needs to be, wait for a print-proof copy....lots of waiting.

Within an hour I had a couple of requests...since you're not busy with anything else--I didn't exactly say that, but I see how it can be inferred--would you take a look at the thing I'm working on?

Since these are writers who can, presumably, take some criticism, I said yes. And I didn't regret it; the stories were very good and sucked me in from the first line. It's always good to grab a reader right from the start. These writers are also very new to the game and while they can weave a mean tale, they're also making some very common new-writer (and old writer) mistakes.

Out of ten things I'm asked to read, I wind up giving the same advice to nine of the writers:

  • go back and edit out 98% of the adverbs1... 'she said sadly;' 'he laughed quietly;' 'she said gently.' That was one of the biggest things I took away from Stephen King's book On Writing. Kill the adverbs. If you've written the story well enough, those are implied. Your reader should know the character well enough to understand how they are speaking or sighing or laughing. When you're plowing through the first draft, use them liberally; they help you maintain the tone of your work, but then go back and pick most of them out. They really are verbal fluff.

  • Don't use the word literally unless something actually happens. "His head literally exploded!" Unless your character is scraping bits and pieces of someone's brain off the wall, his head did not actually explode. "My heart literally swelled three sizes." No...well, maybe, but you better see a cardiologist. We all tend to say "literally" when it would be more apt to say "figuratively" but that doesn't have the same ring to it. So scrap them both unless something literally happens, and even then think twice, and then think again.

  • I let my eyes roam around the room. No. No you did not...unless you literally popped them out of your head, fit them with tiny red sneakers, and set them free, your eyes did not roam anywhere.You looked around the room. Just be wary of dead metaphors and literary cliches.

  • Slice the word "just" as much as possible. It's as overused as the adverb; sometimes you just can't help it, but really, cut it.

  • Recognize that you are going to do all of these, repeatedly. Be willing to edit them out. Be willing to edit even the things you find hysterically funny, the characters you've fallen in love with, the prose that feels Pulitzer-prize worthy; if it doesn't add to the story or move it forward...edit.

The tenth writer? I don't make it past the first few lines. If you show me something written in old AOL-kiddie speak or something that looks like it was written as one giant text message, I'm going to shove it aside.

None of this applies to blogs...unless you're a professional blogger, and even's a blog. Who cares if the grammar, punctuation, and word usage aren't perfect?

1Basically, taking and adjective and adding -ly to it to form a verb
2Um. There is no 2. There should be, but there's not. I just like using the sup tag...


19 August 2009

I'm not sure what the lead time on publication will be; there are still some edits to be made and I need an extra set of fresh eyes to proof read (for some reason the editor doesn't seem to think that's her job. Sheesh. I'd give her cookies in exchange)((The Spouse Thingy might do it for something less edible [or more, it depends] but I haven't asked)) but we do have a front cover:

Click to biggify

In other book related news, It's Not About The Cookies got a 5 star review this week, which made me 3 kinds of happy.

I just might have to keep writing.


16 August 2009

Holy carp. Listen to this kid play! She's 9 year old and this piece, El Colibri, is hard enough for near-guitar masters to play...

I feel so inadequate now...


15 August 2009

Ya know it really doesn't do a whole lot of good to take the netbook to Border's with the intent of working, but not take the flash drive upon which the manuscript is saved...


12 August 2009

July 22nd trip to the ER: $50

Co-pay to get Spouse Thingy's blood work reveling a cholesterol of only 187: $15

Getting a stress test and having it perfectly normal: well, it was also $15 but I'd mostly put that at priceless.

We're now 99.9% sure that what sent him to the ER with cardiac symptoms on the 22nd was a reaction to Niacin (thank you mlah for putting us on the right path there...) and he's since stopped taking it. It was a royal scare but in the end it's given me some peace of mind because now I know that the Spouse Thingy's heart is working just like it should be, and I know his cholesterol is in a really good place.

This is major for me, because I always have that little thing in the back of my head reminding me that he has a strong family history of heart disease...he rubs his chest oddly because he has heart burn, and I get worried. He feels out of sorts, and I get worried. He falls asleep on the couch and snores...mostly I get irritated, but when he stops snoring, I get worried. At least now I know his heart is in reasonably good shape, and I can let my DON'T YOU DARE FREAKING DIE ON ME OR I WILL SLATHER YOUR JUNK WITH BEN GAY voice fade to a bit of a whisper.

'Cause, seriously, as much fun as I poke at Murf for the way he gushes about his wife, I'd be just as broken if something happened to the Spouse Thingy. I need his heart to keep beating for another, I dunno, 40 or 50 years. And even then if he dies before I do I will totally kick his ass.

And hey, that means we're both normal. Sweet.


11 August 2009

Every few months my endocrinologist likes to take a look at my blood; it's just routine, and other than finding out a few months ago that I am significantly Vitamin D deficient, it's always normal.

Well, normal with the help of multiple medications, but hey, I have medical proof of my normalcy.

I had an appointment at 2 pm today and we headed out in time to get there ten minutes early, because that's what you do. You get there early because there's always a slim chance of begin seen early. We walked in, the Spouse Thingy sat down to read while I checked in...and I was told my doc is no longer at that office.

Excuse me?

Nope, she's now at the Woodland office.

Twenty minutes away.

It would have been nice if that information had been relayed when the appointment was made. I was not a happy Wabbit as I drove to the new office; by the time we got there and checked in, not only would I be at least 10 minutes late but I had figured on being completely done by then.

But, I didn't have to wait long once I was there.

And again, I am normal.

Shuddup. I have proof. I go back in 4 months, because hey, why not enjoy getting reams of blood sucked out of me, even though we all know it'll be the same thing all over again. Minus the doctor moving on me...


10 August 2009

Overheard in Border's yesterday:

  • Semi-colons should just die!
  • That's the biggest thing I've ever put in my mouth.
  • Seriously, if a senior tells you tomorrow is dress-up day, don't do it.* It's just a punk.
  • She smelled like cheese, but that's okay. I like cheese.

*Made me laugh out loud, because I was totally guilty of doing something like this in 8th grade. He still hasn't forgiven me...


8 August 2009

"The manuscript," Editor Tracy says, "is not too long. Normally I would prefer to see books of this genre in the 115-125K range, but fans of the series will appreciate the length."


Granted, she did go on to say that there are a few spots that need work, but I knew that already. She confirmed the necessity in cutting 1200-1500 words that had already been suggested as trim-able from someone else and pointed out a few places I need to tighten.

So...I can get back to work.

While I've not been working, I've been terribly blog-blocked again, so mostly all I've done for the past two weeks is play online, poke around on Facebook, and drool.

I've got the drooling thing down to a fine art.

You'd think with all the not-working time I've had that the house would be spotless, but really, that would only cut into my playing online time, and we can't have that.