Friday, August 31, 2012

This is what's happening.

You shut up! You come here and let me kiss you and just shut up! You come here right now! I need love and that is what you are here for!

That was me, to my cat, in the Turner household, just now. I inflicted my love upon a reluctant feline. That is how hard this week has been.

I hit a serious skid. I hit a chapter while editing the fantasy mish/mash and just thought... what the fuck where you thinking? Why did you write this? Long story short, I have a very important character, and for all my attempts at staying away from traditional fantasy, she sounds like Galadriel after she'd eaten a whole bucket of fried Tinkerbell. Dipped in ranch dressing. In other words, too much like fantasy comfort food. And I can just imagine the look on the face of fellow-fantasy fans.

All confidence and faith in myself was flushed down the toilet of my soul. I don't know if it's because of the project, which was something I imagined more than ten years ago, and see as my Dark Tower (as in Stephen King. Not comparing the story to that, but the story reaches into other worlds like the Dark Tower did). My opus. Movie stars. Hollywood. The type of fame were you get to eat a Hot Pocket, whenever you want to eat a Hot Pocket. And now I think it's shit.

I can't remember the last time writing got me this low. I am a bit obsessive, I get moody and all artisty and stuff, but I actually cried on the drive home Thursday. That's how low I feel. The words "quitting" floated through the transom of my mind. Usually even when those words float past, I watch and wave and go, "Uh uh, not me. This dream ain't gonna die!" This time, I stopped in the middle of the muck and stared at the words. Six feet tall. Bright red. Floating by on a tentacle-driven conveyance. The quitting forms are on the back of the conveyance. I thought about taking one.

I didn't.

But I thought about it.

Instead of filling out the quitting forms, I started reading my gothic romance, which I've been DYING to get back into. It's in very rough shape and needs a lot of work. I wrote a boo-hoo email to my friend Heather, who let me boo hoo. Told me to take it easier on myself. Then I got a beta response back on another book and though there are things that need fixing, there was a lot of good stuff in it. I'm not back at feeling like Loki walking down the street in New York yet....

but I did get the pen I told you about a little while ago. It didn't come with a converter, so I pulled out the converter from my old Cross pen and it fit! Now it's like the heart of my Victoria Cross pen beats within the Beverly pen. So things are looking up. I might still eat all the ice cream in the fridge, but I'd do that anyway. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

One Man's Meat... wait....

First of all, you are welcome for the header photo.

I'm 33k into edits on my sci fi/fantasy mish mash. It's not going so awesome. I hate it when the pendulum swings in the opposite direction. I question everything. The approach of the story. If the thing is even sell-able. A month ago, I thought it was a frakking masterpiece.

Time will tell, I guess.

Tonight, I'm finally watching War Horse. Now, I love horses, I love Tom Hiddleston, but I had delayed watching this. Because of reasons. For instance, right now, the horse is wrapped in about 100 feet of barbed wire. It makes me physically sick. I know the real-life horse isn't in any real-life danger, but my imagination is too good... and I can only imagine the horror of this actually happening. And at one point, the horse seems to put himself in the traces so his horse-friend doesn't die. Like that could happen. 

Now this movie won all kinds of awards and raked in all kinds of dough. However, I find it far too sentimental, and sadly lacking in actual horse knowledge. If Spielberg wasn't the one making this movie, I don't think it would have been made. Others think this thing is a frakking masterpiece.

So maybe there's hope for me and my mish mash yet.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

I am a cheating you-know-what...

The above is how a new story idea feels. Like Robert Downy, Jr. and Leo Dicaprio walkin' down the street, holding hands and being fabulous for absolutely no reason at all. 

I had a story all lined up for NaNoWriMo. One I've had floating around in the transom of my mind for so long that all the new and shiny has worn off it. Which stinks because I have a large event file on my iphoto with many images pertaining to this particular book....and LOLcats. Because nothing helps you write a book like LOLcats.

So I'm driving to the pharmacy... store type thing... to buy some toothpaste, and OHEMGEEDUBBYATEE-EFFBARBEEQ! Out of the clear, hot California sky, along comes a new shiny beast. And she's got more traction on her than a Ford F-150 on a gravel road loaded down with a herd of tiny hippopotamai. (I believe that even tiny hippopotamai are still very heavy.) So, I've decided the floating transom story will continue as such, and shiny new F-150 and hippopotamai get the starring gig in November.

Now we come to the cheating part.

Tonight when I got home and started thinking about the shiny new creature, words began to float and I began to type them. So I have the opening scene - just a few paragraphs, but still. I cheated. Not just on the transom story, but on NaNo.

The good part is... I don't really give a crap. :) Because the words are pretty good and I think I already have the voice for the story.

Now here is a picture showing how that feels: Loki wearing Loki.

Monday, August 20, 2012

What a couple of days....

Wow, internet. What a couple of days we've had! In case you've been under a rock, here are a couple of things that happened in the last two days.

I don't usually get all political, I leave that to the smart folks. Until something comes along that pushes my buttons. And button one specifically says "Vagina-less dorktards qualifying rape and/or molestation". Yes. I went there. I went on a mini-Twitter rant, which, as per usual, has NSFW language. I don't tend to edit myself when I get pissed, so if you are a delicate flower, I suggest unfollowing me. In case you've been under a rock, here is one of the many articles about it. Wherein, a senator, one on the House Science Committee, no less, uses 3rd grade sex logic to say that "Victims of legitimate rape don't get pregnant." 

Apparently, this servant of the people believes our lady parts can just "shut that whole thing down" when raped. I may be paraphrasing. I am not reading what he said again. At this point, he's already claimed he "misspoke" - which is politician for "I said something unpopular and I'm trying to cover my ass." Part of his backpeddling is that he meant to say "forcible" rather than "legitimate". I guess he doesn't believe a young girl in a household with a predator in a position of power regularly raping and molesting her, who has been groomed to be a willing victim, has this super power. Shame. That's the first group I'd give this magical power to.

Wouldn't you think if our lady parts could shut down anything, we'd also shut down the rampant cancers that kill us by the thousands every year? Rumors swirl that he is going to be asked to withdraw from the Senate race and his supporters are distancing themselves. I hope they also distance their money from him. Unless, of course, they are paying to send him back to 8th grade sex ed. That I would support.

Then this morning I get up and learn that Weird Tales, a paragon of spec fic, was going to publish the first chapter of that racist mess Save the Pearls - and no, I'm not linking to it. Here is an article with some of the author's complete fucktardery explained. She claims she's written a dystopian where the race issue has been turned upside down. Unfortunately, the author knows jack shit about racism, considering she calls white folks Pearls (wow! what a slur!) and black folk Coals. She also refers to this as a Beauty and the Beast tale, with the white girl the beauty and the black man the beast. Classy. Octavia Butler and Samuel Clemens are probably turning in their graves. 

I read the blog post Marvin Kaye, the editor of Weird Tales wrote, defending the book. Which I guess he hadn't read, because now he's completely changed his mind according to the publisher. (The blog post is linked to in the io9 article in the previous paragraph, but it's been taken down, so you can't read it. Sorry.) They have reversed their position and won't be publishing the chapter. None of this was done until the ravenous hordes withdrew their stories from submission, and in general, the magazine got bitch-slapped all over the internet by the spec-fic community. 

So, that's Insanity 0 - Internet 2

Other things.

This girl is braver than me 

My microwave died.

I got two gothic-romance story ideas in two days. 

So I must write ALL THE THINGS! Allow me to leave you this photo of a baby giraffe using his own back as a pillow to tickle your happiness bones.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


Well, despite the cat's opinion up there, I am a little relieved. Now. But I had some minor distress Thursday. I came home with teeth gritted and hands balled into fists meaning to get down to serious business. Meaning: edit time on Endways of the Gods. And after hardly an hour of work, was crestfallen.

It was garbage.

And worse, I wasn't able to make it better. I had a vision for what I wanted out of this chapter and I couldn't make it happen. The voice is totally off. The pace is terrible. I knew what I wanted to say, but it kept getting in the way of what needed to happen in the chapter. Things just kept getting worse.

That is the most terrible feeling. I gave up and ate some crackers and cheese. Sometimes, it's all you can do. Then I came home Friday, the bad taste of Thursday's disappointment still in my mouth. Ok, maybe that is the most terrible feeling - when you feel defeated before you even begin. I did some petting of the incessant kitten that is the internet, then sighed, opened the WIP and sighed some more.

Well, I don't know why what was so impossible on Thursday entered the realm of possibility Friday night. It took a really long time to edit, and I went back over it again and again, but I got it there. Well, as 'there' as possible. After about two and a half hours, I had the 6500 word chapter lean and mean at 5500 words and singing.


This morning, I approached the WIP with the same reticence as I did Friday. If Chapter One was that much of a mess, what awaited me in chapters two and three? To my joy, way less suck than the first one. And who doesn't like discovering that?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Pats Self On Back

I love to listen to.... stuff.... while writing. Usually, it's the goodies on my itunes, and believe me, it is stuffed full and wide of music. I'm in my (very) early 40's, and the CD began its quest for domination when I graduated high school and started to work for a living. Music has ever been my achilles heel when "getting myself a little something". So you can just imagine how many cd's I own. All of which have been uploaded to my itunes. Rock. Country. A little rap. Classic 80's. Classic 70's. Alternative. Grunge. "Progressive" 80's/early 90's - yes, that used to be a genre, pre-Alternative, which I imagine will be as obsolete as "Progressive" in another 20 years. But I'm not shouting at the kids to get off my lawn when they play the Katy Perry, and you all know how much I love Ke$ha.

If you didn't, let me just me say it: I love me some Ke$ha.

I'm not above searching the 'net for some more variety. I've used Grooveshark, Pandora, just a little - I usually prefer to choose my own songs onto playlists, and Grooveshark does that. I'll also go to Youtube and find playlists of videos... but those ads before each one can throw you out of the mood.

Sometimes, however, I get tired of all the f*#$ing and drinking. I mean really. Have you listened to some of the lyrics blaring out of the modern radio station? For those moments, I have showtunes! Guys n Dolls. Phantom of the Opera (those of us in the Know just call it Phantom!). I also love straight up classical music, or the Mediaeval Baebes. I know people say I need to get into the Celtic girls, but they seem schticky to me. And didn't they cover a Wilson Phillips song?

When I get up early on a weekend or day off, rather than music, I will open a window and listen to the burble of the fountain in the pond. Now that they've turned it up for some reason, it's very good at canceling out the doubt in the head while writing. Someone in the SF&F Cantina on Absolute Write turned me on to . I see that getting visits from me in the dark nights ahead.  

However, on Monday, I came home full of purpose. I was going to work! Serious work! Serious bsns! I quickly ate dinner and opened the WIP. Got to work. Had about 1000 words when I realized I was sitting there in utter silence. I hadn't even opened the window. And the dishwasher wasn't clanking away (there is no point listening to anything with that monster bashing away at my dishes not even 3 feet away from me.) 

So this whole blog post was to say that I got another 1600 words on Endways and I did it in utter silence. Surely that deserves a pat on the back.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

An Interesting Exercise

I chose the above photo because I've found an interesting portal to Narnia. I am (allegedly) working on edits of an Urban Fantasy that I wrote over a long period of time. At one point, I quit writing it and started over at the beginning. I also abandoned it for awhile. So it has had a few stops and starts to say the least.

After the last edit pass, which I had hoped was almost the very last one, I was still upset with the magic system and the differences between the different kinds of magic. I was also dismayed to find I couldn't quite distinguish them myself. I was also bummed at the lack of notes I'd taken as I wrote, to keep all this stuff straight. Oops. So I printed the whole lot out and spent almost a week going through it, page by page, meticulously writing notes on all the different kinds of folk, magic being done, updating the character cards for each character with intricate detail about their person, magical ability and whatnot. 

It took a week.

And I learned so much. I saw lots of flaws. I found lots of answers. I came up with a lot of ideas. I also filled in all the blank spots, thanks to the magical fiction machine, which seemed to know what it was doing all along. I should never have doubted it. The rules and limitations, the differences, were all there, I just had to study them one by one, and spend some time writing out their bios/anthropological background. Yes, I used the word anthropological. Because that is the sort of thing you need to think about when worldbuilding: you are an armchair anthropologist, psychologist, archeologist (you are just digging it out of your own head, of course) biologist... there are all kinds of 'gists you need to consider.

So there is another edit pass to go - and I think the book will be much more cohesive and clearer than it was before. Now I just have to do it.

Friday, August 10, 2012

To old friends lost, and new friends gained

Greetings, Fearless Readers. I apologize for this self-indulgent post. But, I did warn you this would happen. I just didn't think it would be so soon.

I had a previous post about Paperblanks Journals, and said my next one would probably be on fountain pens. I love fountain pens. I became obsessed with them after seeing Finding Neverland, doing a little research on the internet and purchasing my first one on EBay for, like, two cents. 

Please meet my favorite pen ever. Or what was my favorite pen.

It is a Cross ATX Victoria Purple fountain pen. Purchased with a portion of my tax return money one year. Cross is one of the best pen manufacturers on the very face of the planet Earth.** Their warranty is legendary. I had this lovely for several years. Smooth, beautiful flow. Nary a clog nor a skip. Our time together was special. However, upon cleaning the pen, as you occasionally do, I left its pieces out to dry. Along comes Cricket. My cat and nemesis. I heard the skittering of something over the linoleum at night, but did not get up to investigate. How I rue that fateful decision. Upon waking the next morning, I found that the barrel of the pen was gone. I never found it. I do not have the words to express to you my sense of despondency and ennui. The self-blame.

If you google this pen, you will find that it is discontinued. Thus, the remaining pens on the market are pretty expensive. I don't exactly have those kinda bux to lay down for a pen. So I resolved myself to being Victoria-less. To accept the loss and treasure the memories.

However, it just so happens that a friend of mine works in the office supply business. I thinks it's much more glamorous than she does, but I digress. Her 5 year anniversary at her job has arrived and a colleague gave her... a purple Cross fountain pen.

Meet Beverly. The Beverly Deep Purple Cross fountain pen. My friend, who is less impressed with this fabulous gift than I, is giving it to me. For a very, very, tiny, itty bit of photographic manipulation for her website. (I have teh Photoshop skillz.) And I would have done this for free, it just so happens the exchange of the pen and Photoshoppery is occurring at the same time. I will not put out her name or job location to protect the innocent. And the douchebag that re-gifted this pen. (He gave it to her in a bag that still had the card with his name on it, fer Chrissakes. If you're going to re-gift, keep it classy, people.) But you know. The office supply industry. Where they throw around $35 pens like it ain't no thang. Sigh. 

I can't wait to get this lovely in my hand. She's got to come across the country. But when she arrives I'm sure we'll start making new memories, writing up manuscript notes, either on a freshly printed manuscript or in one of my story journals. Oh the places we'll go.

Good times.

**Just like last time, I want to make it clear that my pimpage of the Cross pen is soley my own personal experience after many years as a satisfied customer, and not as a result of any money being handed under the proverbial table. Keepin' it real, people.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

And Now...

We're having a little bit of a warm snap. I wouldn't call it a heat wave. It's August. In August, it's hot in California. It's not a "wave". It's just weather.

As I've told you, ad infinitum, I moved this year. My job is now a half hour away instead of 15 minutes, and that makes for a long drive when it's hot. And yes, I have AC, but with the price of gas, I'm pinching every penny, so I choose not to turn it on.

It might be the heat, or the boredom, but the last two weeks or so, the ride home has been interesting. I have experienced:

A man on a black and yellow bike, wearing a matching black and yellow leather outfit zoom up to speed and pop a wheelie for the length of at least a city block.

An older woman in a cube shaped vehicle decked out in a plethora of Hello Kitty gear.

A yellowjacket landing on one of my windshield wipers and accompanying me on my journey for about half a mile.

The waft of a woman's Aqua net drifting over from the car next to me.

I also smelled a pachouli that reminded me so strongly of 1970's oil-infused car air freshener's I could have wept. I wished I could get in a wayback machine, and jump in my sister's van heading for the Santa Cruz Raceway. Fast cars, nachos and the roar of the crowd. Except she was with a complete asshole at the time and he'd probably be there, too.

Numerous mosquito sized aircraft coming in for a landing at the airport. They wobble. It's disturbing.

I found the drive-through's to be incredibly alluring... probably because I didn't want to cook, and a tall cold Diet Coke would have been nice. However, I'm totally broke, so I passed them by, all their greasy promises and tall plastic cups full of ice and dripping in condensation left unaquired. But as for tomorrow... I promise nothing....

Monday, August 6, 2012

Curiousity: Thy Name is Geekasm

I am so proud to be a citizen of Earth today. I blog, of course, about the touchdown of the Curiosity Rover on Mars yesterday.

Mars. That big red planet out there, of myth and legend? You know the one.

I know the NASA and JPL did a lot of WOOT WOOT AMERICA! yesterday, and deservedly so, but as Dr. Tyson warns us (the gentleman in the above photo: if you don't know who he is, get thee to youtube and get you some learnin') America the Beautiful isn't alone out there. Yes, we're the first in many ways space and Mars, but we are not alone. It is not our Hadron Collider on the Franco-Swiss border that found the God particle. That's not our space station orbiting the Earth.

As a matter of fact, when one of the scientists spoke last night, he made a point of saying "I'm not going to mention the countries that aided in this endeavor" (I paraphrase, excuse me) and I know it wasn't said in a mean way, but why not give a shout-out to our friends in science? To our brothers and sisters on Earth that look beyond its fragile blue and white atmosphere. This is an achievement for all of us: ally, friend, casual acquaintance, and yes, even for our enemies.

What does any of this have to do with a blog that is supposed to focus on a writer's journey? Because there was this little girl who sat in a darkened movie theatre and watched the words "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away" flash across the screen, and who went home and wanted to go far, far away herself. Because she was also riveted to the tales of men that had gone where no one had dared to go before...and those tales took place in .... space... the Final Frontier! And if I couldn't get away for real, maybe I'd get away in my head. My first attempt at a novel was basically about what I hoped the Jedi did. I called it "The Chronicles of the Jai-Alai." Science fact and it's dreams... science fiction... are very close to my heart.

I am proud a California company was so involved in this incredible achievement. I am psyched to live in an America where this is available to watch online. But more than all that, I want to celebrate the citizens of Earth who have taken this incredible step from the blue planet to the red one. And as @CobraMisfit said, let's name the next rover Red.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Why I've Avoided Editing

This month might be the month of "Why" blogposts. 

Now that I've gone into the "woods" (see previous post), I'm trying to get some editing done. But I feel like I'm swimming in very wet concrete. Or trying to cuddle a wet cat. Speaking of that previous blog, commenter Diandra said that for her, she knows the story already, she's written the book, why go back? I answered that for me, I fear I will never make the book as good as I want it to be, so I avoid editing. That way I avoid failure. And that was the first time I realized that. Or maybe the first time I admitted it to myself.

The thought of actually finishing the book (an achievement in itself, if you ask me, but that might be another blogpost) then editing and editing, and still winding up with shit, is just heartbreaking. Maybe it's being lazy. Maybe it's that one edit never does it. I've read that famous lady's book about doing an edit in one pass, but she focuses on plot and story. I feel (fairly) confident about my story, it's the voice and the language that I worry about. Not layering it with purple gauze, but making it straightforward and tight, without losing what makes my story mine. Or at least not sounding like an amateur. And after all that, you go back and read it again and it comes up so very, very short.

And I have to go through this process four times in a very short period of time. I have four books to edit.

*makes more coffee*

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Why I Went To the Modern Day Version of the Woods

Mr. Spock pretty much sums it up right there.
I have come to the horrific discovery that it is August 1st. This means there are only 5 months left in the year. I have four novels (I hope) that are sell-able but in need of things that sell novels: like getting them edited and writing queries and such. I said I would do that by the end of this year. And I promised myself: No NaNoWriMo unless the four books have each had a good polish.
I'm not there. And I so want to participate in NaNo; not twisting it to my own needs, but writing a real, new book. I love writing new books. I just suck at editing them.
To do that, I really have to get off the internet. This thing is worse than the tv. When I’m sitting on my ass watching tv, I know I’m watching tv and being a bum. When I’m on the internet, I somehow convince myself I’m doing something other than wasting time. I’m interacting with other writers (even when discussing kittens abandoned on doorsteps). I click links on the Twitter and read blogs by other writers, getting tips from agents and editortips from real-life functioning editors. And the cat videos. Oh, the cat videos....
Cat videos can never be anything but a waste of time, but who can look away?!
I must.
I’ve decided the surfing must be curtailed if I am to achieve my goals. Not that I won’t be around. I will just be using the internet for good, not evil or cat videos. Sigh. Cat videos. There are many forums and threads on AW where one can track one’s progress, get encouragement... or brag. I love to tweet #amwriting or #amediting and want to take part in #AWritein. I will still blog my journey. Feel free to email me if you have it, or PM or DM me on AW, Facebook or Twitter if you just can’t deal with the reduced amount of bettielee in your life... or if there is a really amazing cat video you think I should see. I will be checking all those places, just not posting as much.
ETA: the irony. I tried go online to and post this blog, and there was something wrong with my internet. The gods have spoken.