Sunday, January 24, 2010
Never Stop Learning
I listened to Maass's 2009 RWA workshop on my DVD and heard enough in that 2 hours to think I'd really like to hear more about his thoughts. I was particularly interested because I know that in addition to being a top Literary Agent he's also been a writer. I've read his book Writing The Break out Novel and thought it was one of the more helpful writing books. For me. YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary).
The seminar ran from 9:30am to 6:30pm and what a great experience it was. There was a lot of detailed analysis and explanation. I have pages and pages of notes and examples. I'm so glad I went. This was completely worth the money.
I now have several new and interesting ways to think about writing.
Never stop learning.
posted by Carolyn @ 1/24/2010 10:38:00 AM Permalink
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Carolyn's Big Lunch. And Stuff.
Now, I need to get my head down and finish revisions for My Beloved Assassin
What about the big lunch, you ask? Let me tell you!
Some of you may know that last year I won lunch with Barry Eisler through Brenda Novak's Diabetes auction. Various things prevented an immediate luncheon, but this weekend we hooked up and I ordered the biggest lunch possible. (Not really.)
He signed some of his books for me (squeeee!!!!) and gave me the ARC of Inside Out. We had a lovely lunch. He's a really nice guy. You can bet your bippy I'll be trolling the auction lists against this year for more wonderful things to bid on.
Yesterday, an embarrassingly short time after I got home from lunch, I started reading Inside Out and just kept turning pages. I finished at 1:45 this morning.
Inside Out is the book that follows last year's Fault Line which I loved when I read it. This one features Ben Traven as the hero and well, I'll do a full review when I have a bit more time, but I loved this book. It's on a par with Lee Child. Ben is now in Carolyn's Hero Hall of Fame too. If you like action books then when it comes out in June this year, get your hands on it.
I'm now getting myself to bed early as I did not exactly get enough sleep today and don't wish to be wreck tomorrow.
I hope everyone's inaugural week of 2010 has been lovely!
posted by Carolyn @ 1/10/2010 07:38:00 PM Permalink
Monday, December 14, 2009
Reporting In Between Contests
Anyway, I'm finishing up this side project that came up, after which I will have two weeks (hopefully) to do what will probably be a massive rewrite of My Beloved Assassin because, um, I want to be prepared when I get the editorial letter.
Tomorrow is my mother's birthday so there will be a party. I'm making garlic bread. So that's what's up with me. I rarely think about holiday shopping until after her birthday and that's why I'm never, ever prepared.
How's about you guys?
Off to post the next contest! Check it out.
posted by Carolyn @ 12/14/2009 08:46:00 PM Permalink
Thursday, September 03, 2009
Slash and Burn, Baby
Today I cut nearly 2,000 words at lunch time.
The words needed to be cut, but still. Rats. However, my motto is cut the crap sooner rather than later. I'm happier because, after a LOT of work, I got my chapters into an order that flows better and puts me in a position to move ahead. But that being hard work, I was brain dead for making up much word count. I seem to have spent an inordinate amount of time listening to old recordings of Susan Boyle. She's the real deal. I wish the world had found her sooner.
(Back on topic!)
Which leads me to the title of today's post. I did some slash and burn and it was good. Tough love for the MS.
I wish I had an amusing anecdote, but I don't. I don't even have a good rant. Well, I could think of one, as there is never any shortage of strong opinions here at Chez Jewel and a lamentable abundance of idiots places other than here. But not at your house. Some other house. Anhyhoo, no ranting because then I'd be up all hours ranting and I find that sleep deprivation generally decreases my ability to do quality writing.
As this point amply demonstrates.
posted by Carolyn @ 9/03/2009 10:27:00 PM Permalink
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Reading Through the Old MS
A wee story for you: At work, I have this large very large project with an insanely impossible deadline. Now, large projects (not unlike a novel) benefit from some kind of documentation. Luckily, I am not the documenter for this project. But the person who is expressed great surprise at the fact that the document when read on paper looked and was completely different from its state when read on the screen. I, of course, am saying to myself, well, doh! (I did offer a warning about this, by the way, but you know the saying about horses and water.)
Be that as it may, my point is that it behooves a writer who is working digitally to read through a paper version from time to time. You will find errors, places where the prose requires fixing, story problems become apparent, you'll read sentences that are pure nonsense or that do not mean what you thought they meant when you wrote them. You will be bored (fix or delete that right away!) and there will be places where you say, hot damn! This rocks! and Oh. I didn't know that was going on between them!
Sometimes when I do this, I don't get very far before I know I have to redo my opening. And, being the person I am, I am unable to continue reading until that's fixed, reprinted and I can start over. In one case, this meant moving chapter 27 to chapter 1. In other cases it just means really tightening the prose or shifting the focus of the chapter.
I'm happy to say that I haven't had to do that with this project. (yet) I'm not quite halfway done so there's lots of things that can change between now and having 95K words written. And there are many places that rock. Yay!
I'm not typically a writer who does multiple drafts, and this process is why. By the time I hit 95K or so, the book is final form and already edited for story and language problems. Works for me. Might not for others.
posted by Carolyn @ 8/29/2009 07:25:00 AM Permalink
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Vehicles rush past the windows. Four lanes carry cars, vans, SUVs, trucks, motorcycles, and semis overloaded with alfalfa. Men at work. Dirty orange flag and cones. Inside, hardly anyone looks, and no one pays attention to the noise. Outside, sharp and acrid exhaust hangs in the air. Nothing is really clean. Gangly trees struggle to breathe. By slow degrees, the sun turns parked cars into furnaces. Houses cower behind the fence on the other side of the road as if it were possible to pretend there’s no traffic, no squealing brakes, no engines accelerating or lives passing by.
The fine layer of dirt on the windshield doesn’t obscure the cars in front; an SUV, a blue pickup, a BMW and some sort of expensive silver car. Traffic light stuck on red. One man nods his head in a rhythmic motion, his shoulders join the groove, and then he’s off. Someone else talks on a cell phone. The new car smell is long gone. Buildings low to the ground with flat roofs and peeling signs line the street into sterile infinity; all different and all exactly the same. Traffic ebbs and flows. Vehicles leave the pattern, enter the pattern. Trees flash by. Big green signs with white letters. Slow down for cross-traffic and pedestrians. More lights, Botts dots, yellow and white stripes on crinkled asphalt.
Grass covers the hills like sere velvet. Oaks thick and gnarled by centuries of weather. Slumps mark ancient landslides and swales the vernal creeks and wetland. Cows. Sheep. Horses. Llamas and a goat or two. Stacked bales of hay. Paths worn to dirt lead to salt licks, water troughs and feed bins; not in a bee-line, but curving along the way of the least resistance.
Two peahens walk by the sliding glass door. Only one of them has babies. The other is a devoted auntie. They pause. For a moment, the bodies continue to move forward while head and neck stay behind. They peer through the glass, cocking their heads as if to ask, “Got food?” The first of the two babies appears, stepping on long, high legs. An instant later the other dashes into view. They, too, pause to peer through the window. They have all their feathers now. Topknots pitching and bobbing, they follow Mom and Aunt. Next comes the third peahen with her baby still more fuzz than feathers. They fade into the garden beyond the pond, findable only when they call out. Attar of nature; creatures and dirt, plants and wood and flowers all in a vast and utterly irreproducible blend of things living and dead and only just born.
Next, the white-and-black border collie. The peahens ignore her because the dog only comes to drop her ball into the pond and then whine hysterically until someone fetches it for her. She takes endless pleasure in this game. It’s hot, and she’s been chasing her ball or else herding the chickens into a corner. She lopes along, drops her ball into the pond and then submerges herself in the cool green water. When she comes out, yellow, red and gold leaves cling to her dripping wet coat.
A small bird the color of weathered wood bounces along the deck. Across the way, humming birds zip and zoom among the fuchsias, the lady’s slipper and the bleeding heart. Water lilies open wide to the very last of the afternoon sun. The wind rolls through distant eucalyptus with a sound like waves on a beach. A red-tailed hawk gives its high-keening skree, arcing, diving, wheeling, dashing through the air. Two vultures soar in eerie graceful circles. Quick! Lie down and pretend you’re dead! That never works.
Light through the elm tree filters lengthening shadows on the deck. Quail emerge from low bushes and brambles. They’re soft, round, blue-grey burghers of garden and field and their plaintive cry means dusk is nigh. At night, owls softly call. Stars dance overhead wrapped in ancient black. The moon hangs low and heavy in a sky that would remind us, if anyone were looking, how vast and wide the world is and how very little we fathom of it.
So, what the heck was that, Carolyn?
It's an assignment I wrote while I was in grad school, but this was for an undergrad class. I wasn't an English major in undergraduate school, so I was conditionally admitted to the MA program with the understanding I would take a lot of undergrad English courses to make up for the lack. One of the courses was The Personal Essay, and this was our first assignment -- to write something that was essentially a big long list.
This essay is about my day from the time I went home from work to when my day was finally over. Natually, I wanted more time to work on it, and thought I'd bombed terribly. But when you're writing on deadline (heh!) there comes a point where you have to commit to what you've got.
So, everyone, off to your blog or writing place and write an essay that's a list. Or not.
posted by Carolyn @ 8/23/2009 07:51:00 PM Permalink
Thursday, August 20, 2009
When the wrong way is the right way
And yes, I did end up about 300 words in the hole, not the direction I was hoping to go. But things are in a better order and the story that is emerging for my hero and heroine is making me happy.
I have a few other little things to clear up. My villain needs a name change. Currently it starts with M and I've realized his name can't start with M. I also need a title but haven't thought of anything that isn't horrible.
Anyhoo, I'm fairly happy, glad to have cut out crap and reordered stuff and things are OK. Hopefully I'm now in a position to start writing new chapters instead of fixing existing one. I've learned, though, that there's no point (and in fact there is harm) in going forward when what I have isn't solid yet. But now the foundation is better prepared.
Tomorrow I hope to make up the word count.
By the time you-all read this, chances are it will be Friday, so happy Friday!
posted by Carolyn @ 8/20/2009 08:15:00 PM Permalink
Monday, August 17, 2009
Still, this means it's still the weekend for me and that is good.
I've been writing and on hold with AT&T. It took in excess of an hour to get my father's cell phone transferred to my bill. It's still not done because I can't put him on my Family Plan until the new phone arrives. I don't even want to tell you about that nightmare. Suffice it to say there were many incredibly stupid reasons this could no not be done reliably, cheaply or at a price that made any sense whatsoever.
And then, I kid you not! Not even 10 minutes after I finally hung up with AT&T, my father came home and as I was telling him that his new phone (NOT FREE -- shh. I did not tell him that part) would be here in a couple of days, he says to me Oh, good, because I think I lost the phone. I took my phone to his car and called his phone in case it just fell out of his pocket (remember my post yesterday about the ventilated clothes?) but this met with nothing but silence.
Which meant I had to call AT&T back to report the lost phone. I am happy to say that this was not as bad as I feared and I'm pretty sure they didn't cancel the new phone order though for a minute I thought he was going to.
Anyway, I wrote today but I don't know how much or how well because I was on hold most of the time and that voice is just gadawful. Odd, but I was never once tempted to add any of those services. In fact, I just kept thinking all those additional metered minutes data plan smhan stuff was an incredible rip off and that it would be a cold day in hell before I ever give up my iPhone because frankly, I think if you paid ala carte for all the stuff the iPhone just does, you'd be paying in excess of iPhone money.
So, my Monday had some very Monday qualities to it and yet, I was not at work and don't have to go to work tomorrow.
And, last night was True Blood night. May I just opine that Alexander Skarsgard is insanely hot?
Back to work.
posted by Carolyn @ 8/17/2009 08:22:00 PM Permalink
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Reading and Writing.
Interestingly enough, my son struggled to learn to read, in part, I think because it was the only thing he actually had to work at. But we got him over the hump, he learned to read and caught up quickly with his classmates. The thing is I've always thought of him as not as strong in language skills as he is in, say, Math and Science. But every year since about 3rd grade he tests higher in ability, from slightly below his grade level to grade level and now, he actually tests as not just proficient but advanced.
For anyone who worries about a child who is having trouble with reading (and is not learning disabled) I think I can say that this doesn't mean he or she is doomed to poor performance forever.
Until he was about 12 I think, I read to him every single night. I read him books well above his grade level as well as books at his level. I bought him books, and, of course, he's surrounded by avid readers. And there are certain books he inhales the minute they come out. And now that he's picking his own books, he has a pretty remarkable open-mindedness about what to read. And somewhere along the way, he seems to have improved his language skills to the point where I can't point to anything and tell him he needs to work at it more. This, DESPITE the fact that he spends too much time playing World Of Warcraft.
Anyway, just wanted to mention that kids can catch up as long as they have support in the effort.
As for writing, right now, it's going slower than I like. I started freaking about how my hero and heroine in The Next Paranormal hardly interact so I started cutting other characters out of the scenes and getting my two together. Seems obvious now. But I caught it fairly early. But this means I'm cutting a lot so although I'm adding word count it's not 1000, more like 500 ish. However, I can report that I really like how it's coming out now. There was a nice little shift in dynamics that I'm looking forward to working -- if I can just get through this cut-the-crap bit.
I have 42.7K words, which is good, but critical mass is about 10-20k words away.
My son is going camping with my bother and his family until the day before school starts so I'm going to have several days with a Monday and Tuesday off to get myself caught up and moving on.
Wish me luck.
posted by Carolyn @ 8/13/2009 10:01:00 PM Permalink
Monday, July 20, 2009
Brilliant Writing Advice from Nora Roberts
posted by Carolyn @ 7/20/2009 09:41:00 AM Permalink
Monday, June 15, 2009
Literature, True Blood and Carolyn's Obsessions Also - Rant Alert
Ranting about Literature
Today I saw a little blurb that suggested Virginia Woolf's To The Lighthouse was the best beach read ever. To which I immediately said, WTF?
There's just so much wrong with that statement, which yes, I do realize was meant partially in jest. But what's behind that jest? Nothing less than the usual insulting dig at commercial fiction and the readers thereof-- actual beach read books, which I hope we can agree are books you can take to the beach and read to forget your problems or simply enjoy an exciting story. To suggest that To The Lighthouse is a beach read is simply absurd. It implies that people who read actual Beach Reads are somehow so silly and harebrained that we have to be led down the path to literature because otherwise Beach Readers would never know about Virginia Woolf.
And then there's To The Lighthouse itself. This book is not an easy read. It takes concentration and exquisitely careful attention to the prose. I once said To The Lighthouse is a cubist novel and it is. If offers a perspective that shifts and feels uncomfortable and forces you to struggle to give shape to what you're reading. You are forced to see the world and The Novel itself in a whole different way. It is a tour de force. But as you learn how to follow the shifts and make new shapes from the prose, a new world opens up.
To The Lighthouse is NOT a beach read. And guess what? I've read To The Lighthouse and I've read actual beach reads and I get value from both. I bet I'm not the only one.
Last night I watched the season 2 premier of True Blood, the HBO series based on Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse books. Which, by the way, I loved.
Then I heard about a controversial opinion that in the final scene of the episode, Eric Northman bites the penis off a hapless redneck who has done vampires wrong. Could that be so? I know other appendages were, er, removed (an arm, seen in silhouette), but was there actual biting off of a male member? Well, upon review the scene and doing my best not to be distracted by the obvious fact that my One True Love Alexander Skarsgard has been working out, I can only conclude that, well, yes. He did do that.
My Current Obsession
Did you read the paragraph above? No, not To The Lighthouse. Alexander Skarsgard. I have it bad. Really bad. It's embarrassing and mostly I'm not even embarrassed.
In other News
I have begun receiving my candy of the month from the brilliant Hank Phillippi Ryan and guess what? Since I won it in Brenda Novak's diabetes auction (ignore the irony! It's for a good cause!) I'm in the club all by myself. And I'm not sharing. Sorry.
Also, I finally worked my way out of my earliest dead end in a Work In Progress (WIP) ever. Chapter 4, for crying out loud. But now I'm out of it and things are looking pretty good.
I'm not due for another episode of Writer's Neurosis for another 6 chapters at least.
So, who else loves Alexander Skarsgard?
posted by Carolyn @ 6/15/2009 09:32:00 PM Permalink
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Working hard or hardly working? Also, a Giant Chicken
His friend lives even more in the boonies than us so the drive there is through country, mostly, which I am sad to say is now a combination of actual farms (which tend not to be neat or pretty) and McMansions built by people who move to the country and then complain about the smell of cow manure and the sound of frogs at night. They want the idea of living in the country without any of the reality. Anyway, his friend called as we were on our way wanting to know where we were. And my son says this:
Dude, we're on our way. We just passed the giant chicken.
And the funny this is, this was a completely true statement. Because, in fact, there is a giant chicken statue in one of the fields along the way. It's a Godzilla sized chicken statue, I kid you not. White with a red comb. It stands there facing the road in its poultry-tudinous majesty, in a rather large field. Unmissable since it is, well, a giant chicken.
I remember thinking that, on the face of it, that was just a very peculiar thing to hear someone say, and yet, I drove on, thinking, yes, we did just pass the giant chicken, so his friend should know we're not far away now. It's a landmark, I suppose, which come to think of it isn't too much of a surprise. A giant chicken kind of stands out wherever you are. Except maybe in the land of giant chickens which may or may not be someplace near us.
Then I came home and read Sookie Stackhouse until it was time to pick up my son. At home I fed him, read some more, took down the garbage and now I'm doing this.
But I did think about working. Tomorrow I actually will. I swear.
posted by Carolyn @ 5/17/2009 08:16:00 PM Permalink
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Mother's Day Jewel
This meant I had to do some quick shopping so that he has more than one pair of pants that fit him (the trusty, next-size-up pants I always buy). Plus he needed some new shirts and a new jacket. Sigh. I am poor now. My Mother's Day was unexpectedly expensive.
Then it was time to take down the garbage, and my son could only find one shoe. Normally, I would just tell him to look a little harder but since there was company, the Border Collie was all excited and one of the things she does when she is excited is pick up a shoe when a door opens somewhere and dash outside with it. Then when the excitement wears off, she drops the shoe wherever she might happen to be at the time the adrenaline rush is over for her. This explains, for example, why there was a yellow rain boot standing in the middle of the driveway when I came home one afternoon. And why one time I found a sneaker in the orchard. There are five acres here and we often find shoes in the darnedest places.
So the missing shoe is actually kind of worrisome. It's Sunday and getting on toward dark and there's school tomorrow and the tallest person in the house has grown out of the emergency shoes that used to belong to his Uncle Matthew. I had visions of having to send him to school in his slippers. They're nice slippers and all, but still. He's only 13 and that sort of thing could scar him for life. It's even possible that the shoe could be in the pond because the other thing the Border Collie does when she's done running around is go lie down in the pond. It cools her off. Which I knew she'd done because I saw her at the sliding glass door in the kitchen dripping wet and with her nose covered with duckweed.
We got back to the house and the search began. Fortunately he found his shoe -- in his room where, I am quite sure, if it had been a snake it would have bit him when he was looking for his shoe before.
I'm reading Agnes and The Hitman by Crusie and Mayer, and finding it wonderfully hilarious.
No writing today. Oops. Didn't get any more done on implementing the new website either. Oops.
So, how was your mother's day? Any stories about odd pet behaviors or kids who grow overnight?
posted by Carolyn @ 5/10/2009 09:04:00 PM Permalink
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
The Birthday Bash Continues! Even More Prizes Plus Stuff
All righty! As my birthday approaches (soooo close!) here are today's prizes:
- A cool ceramic plaque that says Believe. Pictured below.
- JR Ward's latest in the BDB saga: Lover Avenged
Here's a pic of the Believe plaque. Sorry for the bad photo. It's no more than 5 inches high by 3 inches, roughly. It's cute, too, and will look really good hanging in a window or by your computer or any place you would like to be reminded that it's important to believe.
To have a chance to win these prizes, leave a comment on this post about your favorite Brother, or about something you believe in. Like this: Zsadist is my favorite Brother followed closely by Vishous and I believe both those choices explain why I'm Team Jacob.
Only better, if you want.
If you don't leave me a way to contact you, check back around May 1 2009 to see if you've won.
In writing news (just in case anyone's curious) I am working on a proposal for my next historical.
posted by Carolyn @ 4/28/2009 04:51:00 PM Permalink
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Bzzzzzz - Rural Living Story
So my son and I walk up to his house to look. Sure enough, there is a massive collection of bees about the size of two footballs end to end, hanging off the slender branch of an olive tree. Said branch looks to be in danger of breaking. That's a lot of bees. We went back to our house where I discovered that the local paper (publishes weekly) had just run an article about The Bee Lady, who has a farm and raises bees. The article talked about bee swarms such as High Bob's and how she will come and get them, and that quite often the bees die from the cold. Hives that get too big will split off.
I took her phone number to him and about an hour later, the Bee Lady was at his house. She had the whole bee keeper suit and a long cardboard box with a silver-dollar sized hole in one end. She also had an extra hat which she let me put on. Since it was evening, and cooling down fast, the bees were pretty quiet. I was able to get within five inches of this mass of bees. Oh my gosh.
Basically, she just kind of scraped the whole mass off the tree. (She estimated 35 to 40,000 bees) Most of the mass fell into the box, but not all, as you might imagine. The rest landed on the ground near the box. I had a few moments of wondering if I was going to panic as a few flying around bees landed on my mesh covered face, but I didn't because, they were outside the mesh. Pretty neat, I have to say.
With most but by no means all of the bees in the box with some slats for them to cling to, she put the lid on the box. Once the Queen is in the box, all the other bees want to be in the box with her, and the ones that aren't already inside go in through the hole in the end. That part took about 20-30 minutes. Small hole, lots and lots of bees. There was (are you ready for it?) a bona fide bee line into the box. Once or twice she took off the lid and scraped bees inside. They were actually very docile.
I learned lots of fun bee and non-bee related facts. Bees have a body temperature of about 92 degrees F, so they're pretty warm. This time of year Yellow Jackets are our friends because they eat insect larvae. Skunks are bee predators. Who knew? Later in the year, Yellow Jackets are not our friends. They puncture grapes and eat them and they drown in your coke for you to drink -- ICK!!!! So glad I don't drink soda.
Once the bees were in the box, she plugged the hole, duct-taped the lid on and carried the box to her car. The sound from the box was a vibrating constant buzzzzzzzzz.
She was happy to have High Bob's bees because a box of bees with a Queen costs about $95.00 and those boxed bees are, it seems, wimpy critters, having been coddled and what have you. Bob's bees are wild and acclimated to our climate and are much more robust. They will make good honey.
We intend to visit her soon and I intend to buy some honey. Also, it turns out she used to be a patient of my father's, I went to school with one of her daughters, and my son goes to school with one of her grand daughters.
In writing news, yesterday I sent off my two proposals to my agent who will then send them off to my editor unless there are any more tweaks. Today I got most of a The Great Revision chapter done today; all of a first pass and some good work on a second pass.
posted by Carolyn @ 3/29/2009 08:53:00 PM Permalink
Friday, March 13, 2009
A moment to reflect
So there I was, on the Flickr page with my book covers, excluding the cover for Indiscreet because that's not final yet -- though it's quite nice. And there are nine of them.
9 book covers
I have published 10 books
So why do I feel like I'm still trying to make it? Because I am. Still trying to make it in this business. I'm not under contract right now. Maybe I'll never sell another book. It could happen. I'm writing proposals and wishing my sales were stronger so I'd be a hotter prospect. And that's the thing, writers keep writing because readers buy our books. They buy them, and yeah, we writers better deliver on that story.
I guess I'll repeat that. Draw your own conclusions about what's embedded in that.
Writers get to write and readers get to read because someone buys our books. We write even though we, almost all of us, have day jobs because we have to work full time. And families. And bills.
My father once commented about one of my brothers that, boy, my brother was going to be busy with his day job and the consulting work he wanted to start doing on the side. My brother is married with kids. Between him and his wife, they share custody of all three of their children with previous spouses. They do not have their children full time.
And I looked at my father and said, "I have two full-time jobs, Dad." And he looked back at me and wow, he did not get it. "I write," I said. "And that is a full-time job in addition to my day job." To his credit he said, "And you also have your son." So, yes, I actually have three jobs, and one income. My writing income is more than it used to be but it's nowhere near enough to pay all my bills.
For everyone who loves to read, remember that the odds are high -- 95% -- that author you enjoy reading probably has two jobs and a family. And some of us are single parents, writing because we're twisted that way and there's no quick way for most of us to write full time.
10 books. And because of the way I write, because there is no second income to build up a cushion or pay extra bills or what have you and because of the slow and rocky course of just about every writer's career, 10 books is not enough.
It made me think, that's all.
I'm off to fix a writing mess.
posted by Carolyn @ 3/13/2009 06:59:00 PM Permalink
Friday, February 13, 2009
The Dread and Evil Had. Also other stuff.
I hate that.
This particular story jumped around in time, but instead of working at making it seamless, simply dropped in, had with every verb. He had gone. She had eaten Why? Why do that when you can, with a little work, bring that out of the hideous past like that and make it a direct recollection? There are so many ways to avoid the dreaded and evil had.
These verb forms distance. The reader has to put down a mental marker of where the present left off and hold that while reading about crap that happened in the past, and then pick up that marker when they're back. I've read enough, thank you, to know there are short story writers out there who actually write short stories instead of precious little MFA show-off pieces. Go practice your scales in class. Don't inflict them on me.
OK,so I'm a little more bothered by this than I thought. Sorry.
In other news, it's Friday and tomorrow I get to go to my local RWA meeting. Yay!
In reading news, I downloaded the free Harlequin books to my iPhone and today I started reading one and ohmygosh. It's pushing one of my favorite themes; the hero who's done the heroine wrong and boy is he going to get it when he realizes what a doofus he's been to his one true love. I love that.
I'm loving this book and I'm going to go finish it shortly. Plus there's secret babies only she's been trying to tell him No, stop that. Do NOT think that an email subject line of I'm Pregnant! would have gotten his attention. I'm overlooking that.
I will report back when I'm done.
posted by Carolyn @ 2/13/2009 07:51:00 PM Permalink
Friday, February 06, 2009
Writers: Watch this Video
Note, please, that the DIRECT relevance to writing comes after the first 10-15 minutes. So if you start wondering what I'm going on about bear with it. He's just setting up his point and preparing you to hear it. Once he starts addressing the structure of story tellling, he might as well be talking about writing a novel.
posted by Carolyn @ 2/06/2009 11:24:00 PM Permalink
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Remains of the Year
Writing in 2008
All the hard writing work of 2007-2008 will be showing up in 2009. I'll have 3 books out. Three!
June: My Forbidden Desire
That's going to cost me a fortune in promotion and RITA entry fees. Yeah, I often wonder if I can afford to write novels. Apparently I am a writing fool since I will, whatever happens, keep writing.
Technology in 2008
Twitter gets my vote for the application that actually added value to my life. More than mySpace, more than Facebook, probably even more than email. I'll have a separate post on my website about twitter in the new year.
The iPhone gets my vote for the gadget that blew me away. I heart my iPhone. It's worth every dang penny it costs. I can check and reply to my email! I can twitter! I don't need an eBook reader or an iPod (or mp3 player). A free book I downloaded (about how to read tea leaves) sparked a major plot thread in my October historical Indiscreet
I made the move from PC to Mac when I got an iMac. Technically that happened in late 2007, but the primary usage has been in 2008. I am now saving to replace my PC laptop which is old and getting clunky. I'll get a Mac laptop.
Thoughts about 2009
- I will be writing proposals. ::shudder::
- I hope to write my Dark Elf book which is the book proposal my agent loved (before she was my agent)
- February will see the release of Scandal which is the historical proposal that my agent (before she was my agent) said would have been an automatic rejection for her. This is the same book she read (after she was my agent and I rewrote it) and called a tour de force. Seriously.
- A year of uncertainty and hope. That's my take on 2009.
Have a safe and happy New Year everyone!
posted by Carolyn @ 12/31/2008 03:41:00 PM Permalink
Thursday, December 25, 2008
A lovely day
My family celebrates Christmas, so we did the Christmas thing today. I got up at 5:43 a.m. because I was in charge of bringing cinnamon rolls to breakfast at my brother's. It takes about 4 hours start to finish and we were supposed to be there at 10:00. Sigh. A bit later, presents were opened and enjoyed while the dough was slowly rising.
It's very cold here, so alas, the dough really did rise verrryy slowly to the point where being done by 10:00 am was not going to happen. My son was having far too much fun with his marshmallow blaster. Far too much. At ten my brother called and was informed that we'd be there more like 11:00 or so. Which was right. The 2nd and 3rd rising were also slow.
But we made it over there with piping hot cinnamon rolls about 20 minutes before two of my brother's kids joined us after morning with their mother. My brother from Santa Barbara was there with his wife, so we had Gramma, Grandpa, five children, four grandchildren and two daughters-in-law there. More presents. Then the white elephant gift exchange which was really really fun. Lots of stealing.
Then home to finish cooking dinner with slightly fewer people. More marshmallow shooter mayhem. I cut up green beans and peeled potatoes. That was my contribution to the cooking effort.
I did get some writing done. Every now and then I managed to sneak off and do some tweaking of stuff in need of tweaking.
Plus, I made my brother do my RAM replacement for my iMac since I was upgrading from 2GB to 4GB. Parallels is much much happier with 1 GB assigned to it. Ah, yes.
Now I'm exhausted and fighting to keep my eyes open.
Tomorrow I will blog about some books I've been reading.
posted by Carolyn @ 12/25/2008 09:45:00 PM Permalink
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
I'm relaxing as hard as I can!
But then I had to pull together stuff for a mini-book trailer for Scandal and send out the few ARCs that I got. I have one left besides the now ratty copy I read to make sure there weren't any major goof ups. My agent told a story about a client who looked at her ARC (or maybe it was her author's copies) and discovered it was the unedited, unproofed version. omg. Scandal seems to have come out very well. So, that's good.
Anyway,on Monday before I went to get my facial and massage (Oh, 2.5 hours of bliss!) I went shopping to for my Mom, my best friend in Denver and this guy whose name I drew in ZeFrank's Duckie gift thing. If you aren't familiar with ZeFrank, get over to his site and get familiar. Watch episodes of The Show and you will be in love, too. Promise.
The Marshmallow Shooter Decision
Anyway, I also chatted with another store owner about his lack of Marshmallow Shooters. He didn't order them this year. But he did recommend that the pump action model is the one to get. I thought Amazon would be the less expensive place to get them, but it wasn't, not by a long shot. I ended up back at Hammacher-Schlemmer where the pump action model was $20+ cheaper. I got two, because what fun is one marshmallow shooter? My son's other gifts color-coded, tagged and ranked out of the H-S catalog: spring loaded shoes, lighter than air slippers (or something), the above mentioned shooters and a blanket warmer thing he's not getting because ... read on:
He has requested a snuggli from my sister ($19.95 two for one plus a free booklite!! Order now, Operators standing by!!!) If you watch TV, you've seen the ad, I'm sure. Hilarious hints have been dropped. Apparently, the Snuggli has now replaced his request for a giant cheese wheel.
The Tao of The Gift Exchange
My next dilemma is a new family tradition which, I admit I started 2 years ago because it's fun. I'm sure it's familiar to you: Everyone buys a gift the price of which is not to exceed some very modest amount. Then we all get together, pile up the gifts and take turns picking. Each gift can be stolen a max of 2 times after that, the person who has it gets to keep it. If the gift you elected to open is stolen, you can steal another gift or open a new one. Etc. For us, participants range in age from 6 to 81. The kids have proven themselves ruthless and eclectic about what they steal.
The trick with this is that you have to buy a gift people will want to steal. Too silly, and no one wants it. That's no fun. Too specific, and only a few people will want it. Because of our age range, alcohol and racy things are out.
It's a responsibility I take very seriously. I bought some pirate playing cards that come with a free! pirate doubloon, but I'm thinking that may not be quite right. I think I'm going to head for the bookstore and look for something there. Just in case. My local independent has a lot of gadget type stuff.
Then there's other stuff
Plus, I have proposals outstanding. I was supposed to send off some brief paranormal proposals to my agent, but frankly, it's too hard to write brief, and I just didn't have the time while I was working on Sinful. So now I'm working on that while helping my son study for his French exam. Soccer, and dinner and also my son has mostly grown out of his pants. Rats! Also, I just remembered I told my folks I'd shop for their gift exchange things for them. Good thing I remembered!
Depends on the proposals I have to finish. Fortunately, no chapters at this point. I imagine I'll have to pull together a new historical proposal, too. I have only the very vaguest ideas right now. But I hope to write The Dark Elf Project next. Starting in January. Which may or may not be an issue, depending on if anyone ever wants to publish me again.
Off to relax. Right after I fold the laundry.
posted by Carolyn @ 12/17/2008 07:19:00 PM Permalink
Friday, November 14, 2008
Reporting In on Stuff in General
Scandal is officially on sale February 3, 2009. And I've seem some preliminary indications of good opinions. ARCs arrived Thursday and I've started reading through to make sure there's nothing terribly amiss with the copy. Wow. I was surprised by how strong the story seemed. Lord Ruin has a special place in my heart for being the book where I learned how important it is for me to write from a state of instinct. I am, I've come to realize, almost frighteningly analytical. (Stop laughing!!) But I cannot analyze myself into the kind of emotion a story requires. Lord Ruin was the book where I learned to let go.
Interestingly enough, there have been other times in my life when I have been under enormous pressure -- the kind where there was not time to analyze. I could only let go. The first time involved geometry. I needed under some rather dire circumstances to calculate an angle so as to end up with a precisely drawn triangle of a certain shape. And I stared at this bit poster board (this was for a court hearing the next day -- if I failed I'd probably be fired) and for a moment thought Carolyn, you got a D in geometry in High School. (The only grade I ever got below a B) How in heck are you going to get this triangle correctly drawn? I took a breath and had to let go of my fear and doubt and I swear that I suddenly knew EXACTLY how the formula worked. I got to work and holy heck if it didn't come out exactly and precisely the way Pythagoras said it did.
The second time also involved a court hearing, with the added bonus that the messenger was waiting for the exhibits which the copy service had just brought to the office incorrectly bound. Miss your filing and you notify the company's malpractice carrier, and of course we were right at the edge of maybe not enough time for the messenger to get to the courthouse. I looked at the copy guy and said, that's not how I asked for them to be bound. (All the exhibits had to be bound in one HUGE insanely thick stack, and they had divided them up according to the height of the two-hope top prongs.) And he says I didn't know how! Well heck, me neither because that was his job. A legal copy service is supposed to know all the tricks. So with my job and the company's future flashing before my eyes, I let go of the panic, looked at the exhibits and the little fasteners and just knew how to fix it. And did. In the nick of time.
The same thing happened with Lord Ruin I was sitting there knowing that the book currently had spots that were just dry and boring, and I was feeling kind of panicky about that. So I just let go. I just started writing, without caring about what was coming next. I fixed what I was looking at right then.
Oh, long digression there. I need to get cracking! Off to work.
posted by Carolyn @ 11/14/2008 06:47:00 PM Permalink
Saturday, November 08, 2008
The cookie diet tip, NaNoWriMo, flowers and other stuff about writing
The good news is it's never all bad news when you cut crap from your novel. Plus last night I was able to get myself above 60,000 again. I think I need to add one more chapter, but I have to spend some time thinking about exactly what needs to happen in it. In the meantime I'm reading through and editing as I go. I'm feeling a lot better now that I've removed all of the chapters that needed to go stay in the Trash Files, an all expenses paid vacation for Words That Are Not Right. Or maybe it's a Rest Home. Yeah, more like that. Or maybe it's more like an orphanage. Without the big pathetic please take me home with you eyes. They try, sure, the pathetic whiners. But it's important not to listen.
What else? Today was the last league game for the son's soccer season. They won league with a 2-2 tie. I wrote in the car before the game started, which is always good for lack of distraction. It was an awesome game, too. Both teams played good soccer. From now until January they practice for the big state-wide tournament. This means I have my weekends back.
Today I ate mostly cookies. I said I'd bring cookies to the End Of Season soccer party so I made the dough last night and cooked the cookies when we got home from the game. I'm afraid I did too much taste testing, though I can at least report that each and every one of the cookies I ate were excellent. I couldn't eat anything at the party because I was too full from the cookies. Which is a great diet tip only I think you're supposed to fill up on carrots and celery, not cookies. Whatever. It worked, didn't it?
Here's a random picture I took yesterday:
OK, off to write a few more words then I'm going to bed.
posted by Carolyn @ 11/08/2008 07:05:00 PM Permalink
Sunday, November 02, 2008
What Does Whiskers Think of The New Kitty?
In writing news, I have have been writing The Next Historical. Trying to write more than I delete. So, like if I write 2000 words today, I can delete 2000 words of crap. Works for me!
Also, at a gathering, my hero just discovered something kind of upsetting about the heroine. Ooooh.
By my friend on NaNoWriMo My user name is cjewel. Won't you be my buddy?
posted by Carolyn @ 11/02/2008 07:04:00 PM Permalink
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Sometimes Paranoia is Justified
Monsters in the form of really old chapters that don't reflect the current story. Which makes me feel like my actual word count is something more like 50,000 which is a panic number. Ack! Ack! Carolyn running around panicking
I continue forward into this unknown country from which this writer may never return, ready to fight monsters with my trusty... er... keyboard, delete, backspace, select-all delete, undo, redo, and
q w e r t y u i o p a s d f g h j k l z x c v b n m(but not necessarily in that order, plus there will be lots of repetition of the little buggers, hopefully in new and sparkly combinations)
K. That's how I'm feeling. And now, for a quickie post of good news. In the next post. Not this one!
posted by Carolyn @ 10/23/2008 09:58:00 PM Permalink
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
On writing well
I heart xkcd.com. Check out the one from a couple of days ago. (a couple posts ago).
Also, I declared a winner in the LOL cat contest. Read previous post to see if you're the one!
Also, also, I'm still waiting for the additional entrants for the Wicked Cool Contest. Soon, soon...
posted by Carolyn @ 10/01/2008 04:45:00 PM Permalink
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
I am NOT panicking, seriously
I turned off Twitter and my email and put some tunes on. I only wasted time once when I went off to listen to Paolo Nutini on YouTube for a while.
Off to bed!
Bonus picture for the heck of it. Roses are red. Blogger squishes the pictures down quite a bit so they don't look as crisp as the original which you can see here.
posted by Carolyn @ 9/30/2008 10:07:00 PM Permalink
Monday, September 29, 2008
Reminder Plus Another Great Comic
Reminder 2: I am still working on The Next Historical. Currently rewriting Chapters 1 and 2.
Feel like you need to put things in perspective? Check it out. (Scroll for heaven's sake!)
posted by Carolyn @ 9/29/2008 05:53:00 PM Permalink
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Cute or What? LOL Cat Contest!!
There's a LOL cat in there somewhere. So what the heck. Let's have a contest. I have this awesome glass ring and a glass pendant thingee that I bought at Art in the Park. Best LOL title entry gets them, k? Put yours in the comments to this post. I'll select a winner, say, September 30. Your odds of winning are good, there are only 6 of you regularly reading this blog. What is this cat thinking?
Speaking of contests, I have to wait on the Wicked Cool contest entries from Fresh Fiction before I can announce the winner and I think it takes them a month. Sorry for the delay. I will be announcing a winner as soon as I have those and have them processed, I promise.
posted by Carolyn @ 9/20/2008 08:26:00 PM Permalink
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
Fun with numbers!
It was fun. And now I'm feeling unaccountably happy even though I'm still 1000+ words away from recovering the 3000 and some words I deleted over the weekend.
In other number news, yesterday I rewrote the opening of Chapter 1 12 times before it was right and ended with a net increase of about 234 words. Ouch. Today when I was driving home, all of a sudden I knew I needed a different chapter 1. So today I renumbered all the files and Chapter 1 became Chapter 2 and then I wrote the new Chapter 1.
I think it works.
I'm going through start to finish on a mission to clean up my little messes. Fast. I'm freaking a bit about my deadline. I wish panic wasn't such a motivator.
posted by Carolyn @ 9/09/2008 09:52:00 PM Permalink
Sunday, September 07, 2008
First, some Humor....
That's one of my all time favorite cartoons. And I love xkcd
I'm not procrastinating by the way. Yesterday, I pulled out the chapter outline for The Next Historical and added in all the new stuff and then rearranged the new and the old so I'd know what the new chapter order should be and which ones needed to be deleted. Two of them. The others I think have enough to warrant staying for a total rewrite. Then I reordered my chapters. Then I read Travels in Turkey and Asia Minor, Syria and Egypt (1844) and got some really good background information. But I had to also do some quick side research on The Levant Company to confirm a suspicion of mine about the Consuls. Uh, yes, it's true. The British Consuls were appointed but apparently needed to be approved by the Levant Company which was kind of the Middle Eastern equivalent of the East India Company. Politics and commerce. Hand in hand.
Today, my son had a soccer game in a town about 35 minutes away after which we went to Art in the Park where he ate a lot of food and looked at art. I bought a couple of things that will go into the contest stash and a couple of things I liked for me. Then I went grocery shopping then we came home. I was at the computer for a bit and when I actually fell asleep sitting up for a minute, I figured I needed a nap which I did for 2 hours. Then dinner, then cleaning up and now blogging. And so, maybe I surfed the web a bit, maybe.
Anyhoo -- off to get SOME work done because I have two deleted chapters to make up...
posted by Carolyn @ 9/07/2008 08:25:00 PM Permalink
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
I am Directionally Impaired
It happens in my writing, too. I always have to be very very careful with my physical descriptions in case that left-right confusion sneaks in on me.
Today I had a bigger directional problem, related to my tendency to start out making things way too complicated. Example: The Next Historical opens in Syria. After first writing what I thought was the beginning (set in England) I realized I had to start in Syria, so I'm pretty sure the back half of the book is more or less written, subject to some massive revisions when I get back to it.
Anyway, I started everybody out in Aleppo, which is in Northern Syria near Turkey. Then, of course, it was still the Ottoman Empire and then I had my heroine and her father heading off to Iskenderun (Alexandretta) which is roughly 60 miles north-west-ish on the Mediterranean through, as it turns out, some mountains and the Syrian Gates where Alexander the Great defeated Darius and his Persian Army (hence the Alexandretta). Iskenderun is named after Alexander the Great.
So, as I was saying, my hero goes off to Maarat an Numan (spelling seems to be variable) and then goes to Iskenderun to meet up with the heroine after a fashion. Then they go back to Aleppo, and then some stuff happens and then they go back to Iskenderun because in order for my heroine to end up back in England with the rest of the book, she has to sail and Iskenderun is the only port in the province.
You see my issue. I have my characters going from Aleppo to Iskenderun to Aleppo and back to Iskenderun. Absolutely do NOT ask me why I didn't see how stupid this was before. Suffice it to say that today as I was sitting in the car at soccer practice the stupidity of all this back and forth finally smacked me.
So now I have to move everybody to Iskenderun at the start, then off to their various locations of castle ruins in Maarat An Numan and the suq in Aleppo, and THEN my hero goes to Aleppo and takes my heroine back to Iskenderun once and only once and puts her on a ship.
That should be an interesting fix not to mention a demonstration of my writerly super powers as I move entire houses 60 miles from their original locations. And then I will rename Aleppo to Fredericksburg or something, then rename Iskenderun to Aleppo and then rename Fredericksburg to Iskenderun. And move a bunch of descriptions from east to west.
Ta-dah! And the crowd goes wild!!!!
posted by Carolyn @ 9/03/2008 09:23:00 PM Permalink
Sunday, August 31, 2008
One milestone and a confession
Confession: Today, in between writing, for some stupid reason I checked the Amazon reviews for My Wicked Enemy and found the usual for me: some hate :: some love. Not too much in between. Probably because those readers couldn't be bothered. One review mentioned another paranormal book as being much better than my horribly boring one.
So I went off and read some reviews on the book that is soooo much better than mine. And guess what? There was some hate :: some love for that one, too.
Hey! Isn't that interesting? It's not that I suck and Author A does not. (I have her book in my TBR and continue to look forward to reading it.) It's that people have different tastes. And just because my writing didn't work for Reader X doesn't meant it won't work for Reader Y.
Because you know, blue is not everyone's favorite color. It's not mine1 and yet I don't go around telling all the blue-lovers that they are plainly fools, though they may well be for any number of reasons. Or not.
I felt better after that. A bit petty for the schadenfreude over at Author A's book reviews, but oh well. I'm over it now.
So, please go buy My Wicked Enemy read it and then say what you think over at Amazon or B&N or wherever because it's awesome that readers get to share what they think. As an opinionated person myself I am aware that I loathe Madame Bovary and yet also know a lot of fine people disagree with my opinion. And I'm okay with that.
And you know what, major thank you's to all the people who have written to me either at my website or MySpace and even Twitter to tell me how much they enjoyed the book. It's wonderful when someone takes the time to let an author know. Trust me, we get all excited and warm inside. Keep those letters coming! It makes me very happy.
1. Here's another confession for you. Although I like green my favorite color is gray. I think that means there's something wrong with me.
Geek note: The hex code for gray is
#666666which can be shortened to #666. Kind of scary, huh?
posted by Carolyn @ 8/31/2008 10:56:00 PM Permalink
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Stuff and stuff
I'm blogging early because I'm pretty much exhausted. What with the soccer tournament last weekend I didn't get to catch up on my sleep which means I've been running at a deficit all week. Missed the gym more days than not because I wanted that extra hour of sleep.
Looks like His Wicked Witch will be titled My Forbidden Desire which title I like quite a lot.
The Next Historical is going reasonably well. I'm finding out some very interesting stuff about Syria and what Napoleon was up to. Right now I'm researching Harems. Worked in the car at lunchtime.
Lastly, my apologies for the boring post. I will try to do better next time. Hopefully after I'd caught up on my sleep.
Remind me to tell you-all about the marshmallow pyramid.
posted by Carolyn @ 8/28/2008 05:43:00 PM Permalink
Thursday, August 21, 2008
In which Carolyn keeps information from her hero
Neither does my hero, but he doesn't know yet just how low he's going to go. I don't have the heart to tell him. Besides, he'll find out eventually.
I have 41.5K words. Need more.
Off to bed. Will try to do better soon, I promise.
posted by Carolyn @ 8/21/2008 10:06:00 PM Permalink
Monday, July 07, 2008
On Avoidance Behavior and Shopping Aversion
Sunday was a tough day writing-wise. Basically, I wrote my characters into a boring place. Now, I knew better than to try to make it un-boring so I left everybody on the stairs because I had no idea what to do with them, and did other stuff so that the old brain wouldn't realize I was trying to trick it into giving me the answer.
Let's see. I fiddled around with MySpace and Facebook stuff, but that wasn't un-writing related enough. So then I read a book for a while. Also not un-writing related enough. I went grocery shopping. Definitely not-writing related, plus I listened to my MP3 player while I shopped. But that didn't help much. Groceries are expensive and I think I was in sticker shock the whole time. Then I came home with sandwiches and frozen yogurt and yes, the child was up, but he was cranky. Then I started cinnamon rolls after which I had a vague idea that turned out to be stupid so I picked up the dog and walked up and down part of the driveway for a while. Then I came back, stared at the computer, felt a bit panicky and decided to take a nap. Because NAP is just a short word for Avoidance Behavior.
Two seconds after my head hit the pillow I was falling asleep at which time a little voice says Send in George Brooks. He's a psycho and he'll make something happen and then I dreamed about this other story I want to finish up. But when I woke up an hour later, I sat down to write and brought out George the psycho and darned if he didn't get some conflict on the pages to the extent that I met my minimum for the day and knew the next 3 things to happen. One of which I wrote today, far exceeding the minimum, I'll have you know. Because I was stuck in the car at soccer practice.
People have contacted me in various ways about my clothing dilemma. Thank you every one, and please keep with the advice and links. But I will say that I am now in this odd state of decision paralysis. I have some cute suggestions and I'm afraid to take any of them. I'm paralyzed by my lack of style. What if I only think something looks cute but in reality it's totally dorky? I was kind of hoping to avoid stores and shop online but I think I'm going to have to hit the stores anyway. I'm going so far beyond my comfort zone here (and the really sad thing is it's like an inch, not a mile) that I need to see what I'm getting into. I think. Or maybe I should order stuff online-- only so late that I can't return anything and have no choice but to wear this new stuff.
Waaaah!! I just want to put on my plain blue shirt or maybe the plain red shirt and pretend no one can see my feet.
On the other hand, I decided today that I would be okay with painting my toenails and that boots might be a nice shoe choice.
I am so pathetic.
posted by Carolyn @ 7/07/2008 09:43:00 PM Permalink
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Other Stuff that Happened Today
- Got the RT review for My Wicked Enemy (see previous post)
- Didn't make it to the gym this AM because 4:30 was too early for someone who stayed up too late the night before. Came out of a dream at 5:15am--
- The dream was one of those dreams where I am observing as a commentator in case my dreaming self is too stupid to get the significance of dreaming about the characters in my book --
- Dream-observer Carolyn said something to the effect of: You DO realize that this is exactly the backstory that's missing from your book, right? Your h/h get married in Anatolia.
- Dream-observer appears to be right.
- Celebrated my son's 13th birthday. He acted just like a pre-teen, too. He was supremely uninterested in hanging with the family. He and his cousin disappeared into his room and performed Satanic almost-a-teenager rituals, I'm sure.
- Talked with siblings and in-laws.
And now I'm going to bed airquotesearlyairquotes. The sad thing is, that's exciting for me.
posted by Carolyn @ 6/24/2008 09:23:00 PM Permalink
Monday, June 23, 2008
Hack Wheeze Cough plus AmaZING
The writing is going well enough. I had my first big (in effect) adjustment and today I went over chapters 1 and 2 to get that laid in. I've got 21K words so far.
My plot is emerging along with some unexpected, but cool, backstory. No List yet. I'm going to have to come up with another title.
Off to bed.
Updated to add: @marsphoenix is the most amazing Twitter feed EVER. It's all about the Mars Phoenix project, and really, this would be a great way to find out about Twitter. Really.
posted by Carolyn @ 6/23/2008 10:16:00 PM Permalink
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
The Fact Kitten Hey!
The Fact Kitten
Because I got one of the free Encyclopedia Britannica accounts. (Sometimes it pays to be a geek!) and today when I needed to know some stuff about Turkey in 1800 or so, I remembered I had the account and so I went. Heaven. Really. I was a kitten on her first dose of catnip ever. I learned a lot of stuff. Not necessarily about Turkey, though I did get the answers I needed.
I will now go there more often.
And, I met my minimum tonight, too. Exceeded it a bit.
I have to get to bed so I won't be a wreck tomorrow.
posted by Carolyn @ 6/18/2008 10:10:00 PM Permalink
Thursday, June 12, 2008
What's in a Name? Not Roses, that's for sure
Speaking of which, I changed my heroine's last name to Godard because Harris starting bugging me. A lot. Don't know why. I also changed my hero's name from Lysander something, Lord Starts-With-F to John Marrack, Lord Foye (Marquess of) Because, as it turns out, Lysander is not the right name for him. I'm not sure about Foye. Sometimes it seems cool and neato and other times it seems lame. Also, I thought he was another pure alpha-dude, but he's not. Don't mistake me, he's Alpha, but in a different way than other heroes I've written. I tried to fight it for a while but he kept acting all difficult and pissy so I finally gave up and let him be who he is. Group Hug everybody! and then things settled down and now I have some good ideas about what's up with him.
And Camilla, the heroine, well, I have some issues with her name because I have a Crosshaven, previously mentioned here as Lord Something which makes two C's, but I like them both so much! I'll let that set a bit. Once I let Foye be himself, Camilla defined herself further with an end result of I'm really excited about this story and how I'm starting to see it play out. Big sigh of relief. I'm learning not to be so stubborn with my writing. When it's bad, don't let the badness sit around waiting to be rescued by Erato or something like that. She doesn't care, and there's actually no god of Historical Romance waiting around to rescue bad writing. Bummer that.
It's late so I have to get to bed.
posted by Carolyn @ 6/12/2008 10:05:00 PM Permalink
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Tonight was the Year After the Norman Invasion
Off to bed. Sorry to be so dull. I've missed too many days at the gym on account of staying up too late.
posted by Carolyn @ 6/10/2008 10:19:00 PM Permalink
Sunday, June 08, 2008
Discovery Day, Sweetpea!
We went to my nephew's birthday party today where I discovered that my sister-in-law has a long-time family friend who is writing a romance! I'm taking her to my local chapter meeting next Saturday and seeing if she can't get signed up for Nationals, too. What a nice discovery!
As for sweetpeas, I went down and cut sweetpeas today, which has the happy effect of bringing on even more sweetpeas and now the kitchen has a vase full of sweetpeas and when you walk in, there's just an incredible scent. I love sweetpeas, and here's two pictures of some I took this afternoon.
posted by Carolyn @ 6/08/2008 10:17:00 PM Permalink
Friday, June 06, 2008
Why Sir Thomas de Kay is my Hero
I am on my knees prostrating myself to a new god (to Americans) For this Brilliant Post
I read the original Forbes article and couldn't make my way through the ahem balderdash of the article or the comments in order to even think of posting my own comment or even a rebuttal over here. And even if I had it wouldn't have been as good as Sir Thomas's.
So, Amazon, where's my $8.7 Million?
Really. My day is complete.
posted by Carolyn @ 6/06/2008 04:59:00 PM Permalink
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Well I started something all right
Right. Monday is a total blur. Number one it was a Monday and that's hard enough. But I'm doing my grocery shopping on a Not-Sunday so as to preserve Sundays for non-drudgery stuff. That part of the plan worked brilliantly. So, I went shopping after work Monday and got 3 homework related calls while doing this. Got home, dealt with the homework situation and then someone says, Say, isn't today the [insert REALLY important meeting]? Long story short, yes. It was. In 30 minutes. So I cooked a pizza, sliced it up, left the kid to fend for himself and was at the meeting 15 minutes later. Got home fagged, but the Fudgester wanted to play and so we went out and I threw a stick for him. Blogger wouldn't post my blog, so I left it in draft.
Yesterday is a blur, too. Some stuff happened which I can't remember what it was only it was busy stuff. Then at 9:30 pm the darling child remembers important homework. I did get Monday's blog posted.
Today is becoming a blur. The DC calls me at 2:15 to tell me he'd forgotten he was getting a ride to soccer practice with someone else and was on the bus home instead and calling from a friend's phone because he'd left his at home EVEN THOUGH I called him at 7:00 am to remind him it was on the charger in my room.... I had to leave work early in order to get him to soccer practice 15 minutes late. Then we got home just in time to leave for his Jr. High Open house at which his French class sang a French song. They were very charming. Got home from that and now after a bit, I'm here doing this. It was so freaking hot today I took a shower when I finally got home.
In reading news, I finished Lisa Kleypas's Sugar Daddy which was fantastic except maybe the ending wasn't strong enough for how fantastic the rest of the book was. But still a big thumbs up. I also finished Sherman Alexie's Reservation Blues which was brilliant and his fiction debut. I will buy more of his books soon. This weekend if I make it past Friday.
In writing news, I did officially start notebooking the next historical. The heroine's name is Camilla, I think. And the hero's name is Lysander, I think. Nobody has a last name or title yet. But the idea has fleshed itself out in my head over the last week or so of down time and now it's ready to get fleshed out on paper. I'm pretty sure what chapter one needs to be.
posted by Carolyn @ 5/14/2008 09:09:00 PM Permalink
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Done Gone and the Post Book Glow
What an odd feeling. I have Monday the 28th off, which I had thought to be spending in last minute panic. I'll be getting a massage and maybe a facial that day. Mmmmmm.
Then I went outside and took some pictures with my spiffy new replacement camera. There were three black widow spiders under a vat. Never mind how I found out. Some of the pictures came out good. I got the chills looking at the spider pics. It looks like I was much closer to them than I was.
I'm in the Post-Book Glow period and feeling a bit at sea. What to do with myself? Go to bed and read.
TBR pile, here I come...
posted by Carolyn @ 4/23/2008 08:57:00 PM Permalink
Friday, March 28, 2008
Carolyn Good Faker
Of course I had to write a synopsis in order to sell My Wicked Enemy but other than the protagonists' first names, that synopsis bears no resemblance whatever to the book I actually turned in. I knew that would happen. The whole time during the sale process for this book I knew the synopsis I had to slave over like a dog was written in disappearing ink. I told my agent, when she asked about stupid stuff I put in it, I don't know! I have to write the book first! None of that stuff is going to actually happen. And yet, I had to provide a synopsis anyway, of some other book from some other universe. They gave me money anyway. Carolyn good faker.
So the problem is the book trailer people want a synopsis. And I only have a fake one. And a book trailer based on a fake synopsis? Bad. Bad indeed. But the next book is due May 1. I did not have time to spend 3-4 days bleeding out my eyeballs to write a synopsis. I paid those dues already, Bub! I am not agonizing over this while I pay them. Oh, no never. That's just sick and twisted. So I whipped something together, mostly resisted the urge to edit and sent if off with the last round of edits copy of the book.
Which is most of the reason I'm only up 400 words. That means 1600 words tomorrow.
off to bed.
posted by Carolyn @ 3/28/2008 11:07:00 PM Permalink
Thursday, March 06, 2008
My agent has been nicely nudging my historical editor for revisions on Scandal. They better come soon given the May 1 deadline for Xia. I'm told they are. Also, my Berkley editor sent me a cover (not mine!) by the guy she'd like to use to do the cover for Scandal. He's a wonderful artist. That was pretty exciting, actually.
I now have my artwork-only jpg for My Wicked Enemy which I need for bookmarks and I have my preliminary order in. I'm on the fence about a book trailer. Does anybody know if they make a difference? Readers, do you like them? Do you care? Does anyone have hard figures on what the ROI might be?
It has occurred to me that it would be nice to have a title for Xia. Probably with the word Wicked in it. I have no ideas right now. Wicked Tired?
Off to bed.
posted by Carolyn @ 3/06/2008 10:23:00 PM Permalink
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
At least on the other sides of the house if we get all our interior and exterior lights off it's possible to see how incredibly starry the night sky is. Amazing.
I have my minimum done for Xia and I'm heading off to bed early. I need to finish my RITA reading.
I'm pleased to report that Xia has at last been kidnapped and Alexandrine is on her way to rescue him. Yay!
Update: Went outside so the Fudgester could do his business, and I could hear the frogs and toads plus the owls. It was lovely. Not just a frog or two, but hundreds, quite possibly thousands, which is good because the last two years there were hardly any. And that's just wrong. I love listening to them. Not to mention the owls.
posted by Carolyn @ 2/20/2008 07:48:00 PM Permalink
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
posted by Carolyn @ 2/19/2008 05:18:00 PM Permalink
Monday, February 18, 2008
Slings and Arrows Plus Bows
Further research revealed that the Northern Coastal California yew is considered among the best bow-making yew in the world. Another excellent choice is cypress. As it happens, we live in Northern Coastal California. So I gave the Darling Boy a hacksaw and said go cut yourself a six foot branch off the yew tree down by the fence. And if that doesn't work then get a branch off one of the cypress trees by the sheep chute. We live in long bow heaven it seems. Who knew? Off he went with his size 9 1/2 feet and the hacksaw and he came back to the house with the perfect yew branch. One of the websites said to ask the tree's permission first. He says he did, but that it was on vacation at the time. Right now he's out sanding his yew stave.
update: I thought perhaps he'd chosen a limb that was too thick, but I was just looking at it, and now that he's shaved it some, darned if the thing isn't just springy enough to imagine Robin Hood bending it.
I've been through the first round of the page proofs for My Wicked Enemy. Now I'm off to check all the corrections. I'm hoping I'm able to get some time in with Xia.
posted by Carolyn @ 2/18/2008 10:28:00 AM Permalink
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
The Carolyn Character Meld is Tricky
Anyway, today was a boring day except for when I was watching Buffy and doing my character-ectomy some of which I did in the car at lunch time.
My editor emailed me to let me know the page proofs for My Wicked Enemy should be arriving tomorrow. I'm kind of excited to read it. This is Carolyn ignoring the unpleasant fretting in her head, hey it'll only cost me thousands of dollars to re-write the whole book! I have a day off Friday, and Monday is a holiday so, I have a 4 day weekend coming up. Yippee!
Still obsessed with Spike, though.
posted by Carolyn @ 2/12/2008 09:49:00 PM Permalink
Monday, February 11, 2008
Today's Subject: Obsession
Tonight, The Darling Boy and I watched the last three episodes of Buffy, Season Six. Which brings me to my obsession du jour.
The episode ends with Spike having endured horrific trials in an attempt to return to his original bad and evil vampire self. Make me what I was originally so Buffy gets whats she deserves, he says, all mean and vampire-nasty. Uh-huh. And that's exactly what happens, because, who doesn't deserve a hottie like Spike?
Thank goodness I have it all on DVD, because I don't think I'd make it waiting for TV time to get me to season 7.
Off to remove a character and then have my hero demon-napped. Or is it mage-napped?
posted by Carolyn @ 2/11/2008 08:37:00 PM Permalink
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
The Write Stuff Plus Monsters
This is the hardest part for me... early on when the core of the book isn't established, yet I know what I want it to be. Sometimes the words just aren't there, and sometimes the words that are there are the wrong ones. Double Sigh. Times like this I'd rather do anything than write the right words.
So, one of tonight's episodes of Buffy was Fool for Love which I'd noticed made Joss Whedon's top 10 list of episodes. For about half the show I was wondering why. And then it happened. Oh. My. Gosh. I am now a Joss Whedon Fan Girl. Spike is a very bad vampire, just really bad. He seriously hates Buffy yet has come to realize he loves her. Even though (because of?) he wants desperately to kill her. Really. He's let at least part of his secret out and she delivers a resounding and rather heartless slap down. He is determined to kill her and sets out to do so. He goes to her house, ready to do the deed. Only she's sitting on the front steps by herself, crying. (Because of some terrible and devastating news about a family member). He has all the opportunity in the world to kill her. But instead, he asks "What's wrong?" Shot of her tear stained face... She doesn't want to talk about it. She's plainly devastated. "Is there anything I can do?" he asks and you can tell he truly, sincerely means it. Then he sits beside her, leaving ample space between them, and awkwardly pats her shoulder. End of the episode.
Now, that, people, is a real villain. Not cardboard bad. This is not one of the bad guys from The Fairie Queene where bad is just bad and the outward appearance and action stands in for the inward person. Not a psycho for whom reality is but a distant memory.
I want that guy for my hero. I'm twisted that way.
Back to work.
posted by Carolyn @ 1/30/2008 08:28:00 PM Permalink
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Why some Rat Poison maybe isn't so bad
I'm just saying, is all. No Planet Sue's or Culture Sues. Please.
posted by Carolyn @ 1/29/2008 04:12:00 PM Permalink
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Somedays are not fun
Saw 27 Dresses today. Although I loved the actress who starred in the film (sorry no idea of her name) Ok I looked it up, it's Katherine Heigl. I thought the male lead was unworthy of her. And there's a point where she strikes back at her sister by publicly humiliating her in front of friends and family. Not good. The movie died for me right there. Not even Heigl could save the movie for me at that point. And then sometime later she's at least expressing some remorse, the male lead actually tells her at least you stood up for yourself Oh come on. Whoever wrote this movie should be ashamed. Ok, I looked that up, too. It was Aline Brosh McKenna and she should just be ashamed. Somebody give that writer lessons in what it means to be despicable. That scene was despicable. Don't see this movie. Ever.
posted by Carolyn @ 1/27/2008 12:02:00 AM Permalink
Monday, January 21, 2008
Despite Everything, Progress Has been Made
Oh well. I'm tired and so's the dog. Bed is calling to me.
posted by Carolyn @ 1/21/2008 10:01:00 PM Permalink
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
In Which Two (2!) Funny things Happen Today
The first funny thing that happened today is one of those, it's scary to be a writer things: I'm going to be doing a few chapters of Xia in the Point of View (POV) of Kynan, the hero of the next book (this is assuming my publisher will want to go to contract on more; with a fancy cover, let's hope so!) and I've been wracking my brains about the circumstances of the chapter and the fact that I want him to meet his heroine (but not know it) in at least one of those chapters. How to do that, I've been muttering to myself these last few days. So in an unrelated plotting dilemma, now that I have my first crucial fight scene drafted, my vague intention was that someone -- didn't know who, would call Kynan who would then do some stuff -- careful, that's advanced panster plotting there! I mulled over a bunch of lame-o or otherwise unsatisfactory ideas and moved on. I started thinking about the fact that my heroine has called her best friend (Kynan's heroine-to-be) to arrange a get together, only the big fight comes along and by the time of the meeting Xia and Alexandrine are long gone from the house. So, I'm driving home and thinking about this and admitting that I cannot leave this appointment thing unresolved. What to do? I'm sure some of you are shouting the answer at me. Bear with me, please. So, I'm imagining the heroine-to-be standing at Alexandrine's house where it's obvious something awful has happened, and I swear to Dog, this is exactly what happened in my head --- Kynan walks up to her and says, "Are you Alexandrine Marit?"
See, the whole time, Kynan has been trying to get a hold of Xia but can't because Xia's cell phone was crushed in the big fight. So he finally drives over to talk to him about what's up and there's the heroine-to-be wondering where her best friend is. Two problems solved with one frightening glimpse into the writer's mind. Sometimes it's best not to look too hard. But it was like I was watching T.V. or something. Kynan just walks up and voila!
Another funny thing happened today. Over on the Crimson City blog where no one has posted for ever and ever, because, well, we're done with the City for now, it seems, someone posted two comments: Here they are for your reading pleasure, along with my response since, for good or ill, they were directed at my book:
my mom is reading "a darker crimson" with the characters Korzha, and Claudia Donovan, and I think the third is Lath. she's almost finish[ed] reading and wants to know if their story line continues?
Nice! I think. But, hey! not so fast, Carolyn!
never mind about the continuation, she finally finished the book. And is cursing..." how the hell can an ultra alpha gorgeous male die at the hand of a twit who didn't know her own lust. As she is banging on the table and cursing at the characters. it is a anti- climactic book. why could they both have her. love on one side lust on the other, the dumb twit didn't deserve her. he wasn't evil just true to his nature, i didn't agree with him but that twit should not have be able to kill him and he deserved better than her twit ass self." "maybe she could write that he vanished and he really wasn't dead. he deserves love too and make the twit jealous. maybe when he died he regenerated and now can have someone else better than her and make her jealous he just should go out like that"
Oh. But the thing is, I don't really disagree. My response:
In the un-revised version of A Darker Crimson Lath did not die. But my editor, and others, strongly believed that Lath had to die. ::Sigh:: So, I did the dirty deed. I didn't want to do it. Honest. But, I understood the Lath-Must-Die faction's point. It's not a traditional HEA ending if Tiber has a rival for Claudia's affections at the end. Still...
Lath was a total hottie. But with writing, you cross some lines, which I did with Lath, and see if you get pulled back. Which I did. If it helps, my story (DX) in Shards of Crimson, features a demon who doesn't die. And I have a book coming out where I got pulled back at a different line, a little further out. (Heh, heh!) So, yeah, I totally get your frustration.
Thanks for the comment, though. If you see this, feel free to email me directly, and I'll send you the original chapter where he doesn't die.
And I added my email address. I'm hoping she sees my reply either over there at the Crimson City blog
posted by Carolyn @ 1/15/2008 06:00:00 PM Permalink