Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Last Day of the Year

I'm not one for New Year's resolutions--they're either stupid or unachievable over time (and by 'over time' I mean past January 15th) but it is beneficial to look back over the previous year, listing pros and cons, wins, failures, and draws, before starting the new one.

In 2013, I worked closely with an agent tweaking a story that didn't end up getting published, though I did learn a buttload in the process. I parted ways with that agent, though I did recently hear from her (she left the agency and wished me great luck with my writing in future). I finished one novel (my ghost story!) in the meantime and another during NaNoWriMo, which was an amazing process. I wrote a handful of short stories for submission in 2014 and, in the process, rekindled my love for writing shorties. Kiddo and I soaked the house in estrogen whilst my husband was deployed for the year (he'll be back in February! Finally!!) and had many good months of giggling, hilarity, movie reenactments, food craziness, shopping, etc. We got over a bad medical situation that befell my mother during the very last bit of 2012, so 2013 was instantly better once we shoved that behind us. I lost my little dog in April, which was awful, especially considering my husband's ongoing deployment. I traveled some, but not as much as I would have liked. I watched kiddo play her first season of varsity soccer, finish her freshmen year in high school, and start her sophomore year. I read at least 10 excellent books and many more that were very good, all the while dreaming about one day seeing my own novel on bookstore shelves. I can't say I learned much about myself this year that I didn't already know (I do spend hours each day locked inside my own head, so...) but I have noticed that with age comes increased comfort in my own skin. Progress, I suppose, especially for a woman. Aren't we born and socialized to hate ourselves? At least subconsciously? Anyway, fuck that. My skin is most comfortable and the inside of my head is a sanctuary unmatched by any place outside it. Oh, and let's not forget that, as this year comes to a close, an agent is actively considering the novel I sent queries out for in October. As good a way to end the year as any. I'd rather have a freshly signed publishing contract (or, better, a copy of my book sitting right in front of me), but I'll take what I can get.

As for the new year, I refuse to make resolutions. But I do hope for health and happiness for those I care about. I'd love to be published by this time next year, but that isn't really resolution material. I know what I need to do to give myself the best chance. So I'll do it. That's a promise, not a resolution. Bring it, 2014.

Monday, December 23, 2013

I Need a Butterbeer

December has been a lazy month for blog posts, but busy for everything else. Lots of Christmas shopping, baking, running guests places, and editing (which I finished!). Yesterday, we went to Islands of Adventure and drank many a butterbeer in 85 degree weather. Today, shopping, lunch, and grocery shopping (and the last Walmart run before Xmas...hopefully). Nothing beats a Florida December: high 70's to early 80's. Just a few more days until Christmas and another week until 2014. Hard to believe. I'd hoped to review some short stories last week, but running our house guest (he'll be there for the next four months, so more like tenant, less like house guest) around every afternoon cut into my work time, turning an edit I thought would take a week and a half into one that took nearly three. Then came cleaning the house, making cookies, and packing for a two week holiday at the folks' house.

Walking around the Harry Potter area of Universal yesterday got me thinking. How amazing must it be (and, no, not just monetarily, though that's freaking awesome as well) to not only see your books made into great movies, but to walk around an entire park that brings life to the characters and places you tugged out of the ether? An author can only dream, I suppose, and as long as we do, such things are possible. I just want to get published, so it's hard to even consider what might come after, but I let myself dream a little while I sipped my butterbeer on the way to Hogwarts castle. I don't need to make a billion dollars off my writing, but wouldn't a movie be grand?! In the meantime, I need to find a decent recipe for butterbeer and pumpkin juice...

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Importance of Being Snarky

I've been neck deep in an edit since the Tuesday before last. It's like falling into a well that you somehow keep making deeper. I have a love/hate relationship with editing--I hate it when it's going on and love it when it's over, HEY-O! Just joshing. I do like the process. It's just a bit tedious at times, especially when you're getting into the realm of 3rd and 4th edits. And with a guest in the house since Sunday, I've been out to lunch in the middle of every day which leads to sleepy editing in the late afternoon since I'm used to eating light when I work. Not fun. So, suffice to say, I haven't been as productive as I'd hoped. Still, I should finish the read through (which I started today after completing the final edit yesterday) by early next week at the latest. Then it's time to motor to Florida for the holidays. After that, just a few weeks until my husband comes back from overseas.

Does anyone actually follow writing advice that people post on Twitter? I always wonder, because some of the advice either seems a bit in your face or completely self-evident. Honestly, it ignites my inner smartass, which is always itching to come out swinging. Life outside my house is little more than a perpetual editing process that turns the snarkiness in my head into comments that are appropriate to use around others. So, there have been quite a few times that I've typed a reply to a 'helpful' writing tweet, only to erase it immediately. I find it's usually best to just keep my fucking mouth shut unless someone has directed a comment or question to me directly. Even then, an edited response is usually in order. To maintain my sanity, I mostly just giggle at the no shit, Sherlock variety of writing advice. Grammar is good stuff, reminders that editing is necessary, suggesting you not threaten an agent via query letter (wait to do this face-to-face)--yeah, no need to tweet about that. Now, tweeted advice from agents or legit established writers is another story, but a lot of it can still be taken with a grain of salt. Anyway, here's my advice...

Saturday, December 7, 2013

So Lazy I Forgot to Blog

Things are about to change in the Adams household. As you know, it's just been me and the kiddo since my husband deployed. As soon as he left, we quickly got into our own groove, which is pretty damned strange if you stop to think about it--lots of playful screaming, laughing, loud music, and maniacal repetition of TV and movie quotes. My husband would hate it. Well, now we're going to put up a family friend for a few months while he goes through triple C (captain's career course for you non-military folks). He gets here tomorrow. I feel sorry for him. This house is awash in estrogen. Even the dog is a girl. But it will force us to get back to more normal ways of living (we'll never be completely normal, but who would want that anyway?) before the hubs gets home. That will save him a lot of eye rolling. But it also means I've had to rearrange the spare room and clean the house. Not my idea of weekend fun, but then I'd almost always rather be reading or writing.

Over the last week, I've been editing the story I finished in the fall. I figured it didn't make much sense to jump into another project with Christmas looming and primed to fall in an explosion of green and red. Once I return home from my parents' house after the holidays, I'll get going on a new novel. In the meantime, why not prepare this puppy for submission in case the agent who's reading the full MS I just shopped around doesn't  bite. I think I have a few other agents I need to hear from, but it never hurts to get the next submission ready. That means the dreaded query AND the dreaded synopsis. Double ugh.

Speaking of the holidays, I'm right on track with everything and nearly finished shopping! I sent my husband's stuff out Friday and only have a few more things to buy. Christmas cards are done, the house is fully decorated, and Kiddo and I had our fun Xmas photo shoot (with costumes!). Next week, I'll get to start making cookies. And then I'll get to start eating them. That's the best part of every holiday for me: the eating. And Chex mix. That rocks too. I only make it once a year.

And Stephen King's on Twitter. Like, whoa.