xakara: (AWTADH)
Greetings Kittens!

The dust is thick, but everything still seems in place, imagine that. It's been just under a year since I last blogged, nearly that long since I last wrote. It's been a trial and a tribulation, but I'm here...I'm here.

I'm starting from scratch, getting back into forums and blogs, looking through open submissions, and getting my writing feet wet again. There's a lot I don't remember because of the dyscognition and even more that's changed in just the short time I've been out of the loop. All of that's a good thing. A brand new start is just what's needed. I've spent too much time in the past and the things I can't go back to.

I've always been reluctant to discuss my health concerns here, or anywhere really, primarily because I lacked the language to convey the depth of what I was going through. It was also difficult to see where such a topic fit in what was supposed to be a writing blog. Being too sick to write has put things in perspective. My health is directly related to my creative expression, as are so many things, so all of them belong wherever I speak about my existence.

I have ME/CFIDS (Myalgic Encephalopathy/Chronic Fatigue
Immune Dysfunction Syndrome), fibromyalgia and circadian dysfunction. The symptoms range across insomnia, IBS, vertigo, memory loss, inability to concentrate, chronic headaches, chronic muscle pain, chronic joint pain, and crippling fatigue. I was in remission from November 2005 to 2010, stayed in denial until 2011, and made things worse with a full time job and other stresses that couldn't be avoided in 2012. All of that led to a collapse of everything in 2013 and I've spent much of the last 15 months housebound and the better part of 10 months bedbound.

I'm still symptomatic, but no longer stuck curled up on my side with a ice pack or heating pad. I can walk short distances, stand for a small bit of time, and can even run errands up to twenty or thirty minutes before my back locks up. It doesn't sound like much, but it's everything. The last three weeks have shown significant improvement and I want to follow through with taking back the important things.

As always, I'm ambitious in the task. I found an open call with a July 1st deadline. 35K in 30 days is doable, if over-reaching for just getting back, but hey it's win-win. Either I finish it, editing as I go, and have something submission ready at the end of the month, or I'm 15 to 35K closer to a finished ms than I was when I started. Win-win all the way.

After so long, I know it's likely no one will even see this, but it was important to write it anyway, to get a foot back in the game. I've been on the sidelines too long.

I hope everyone is well. I want to get here three times a week this month and rebuild that habit, but I'm not going to push. I'll do what I can and celebrate how far I get. Seeya soon.

Return Ramble Done, Kittens!

~X
xakara: (Naughty Author)


Greetings Kittens,

It seemed beyond time to jump back into Thursday Thirteen, but I nearly put it off due to writing deadline and all the trouble I've been having. Then it hit me, why not cover all the things that have been distracting me away from writing when I just can't bear to struggle through another word. So here you have 13 Go-To Procrastionations From Writing.

Enjoy



13 Favorite Ways to Avoid Writing


1. Research ~ I look at many places but Wiki and The History Channel/History.com are the biggest time sucks. I can get lost on the minutia of anything just to avoid writing a little while longer. I've learned more about landfills and possible ancient alien visitation than I ever needed to know.

2. Facebook ~ Does this even need explanation? But at least I quit all the FB games and only use it to keep up with folks.

3. Twitter ~ Like above, although I see major procrastination in the future when I begin to use it more.

4. Stalking ~ This is wholly innocent in that I only "stalk" the blogs and such of folks who have my work to see if they post updates on how far they are along their backlist.

5. Email ~ Because it's easy to justify taking that extra moment to keep up with it since there could be writing related missives just waiting for my attention.

6. Industry Blogs ~ Publishing is part of writing so keeping up with what's going on in the industry is vital...and it takes up just enough time to get past writing blocks if you do it right.

7. Romance Divas ~ I could have just said "social writing sites" but I decided to give credit where credit is due. RD is the one distration/procrastination technique that always ends up getting me back on track. After all it's filled with fellow writers and readers so it does nothing but subliminally scream "you didn't get your word count in yet" the entire time I'm there.

8. E! Online ~ I don't watch Infotainment shows because I hate the gossip, but I'm addicted to E! Online. The ability to scroll through and only read the spoilers and info on shows I like while ignoring the rest brings me back there daily as part of my regular rounds.

9. AfterEllen.com ~ All the entertainment news anyone could want filtered through a lesbian and bisexual female lens. It's brother site using the gay and bisexual male lens is AfterElton.com

10. Sparkpeople ~ The one good distraction from writing because it's all about my health and the two are linked for me, (as the whole being sick/writing grinding to a halt thing can attest to)

11. Name Books ~ I own three, the latest 100,000+Baby Names, eventually I will have looked at them all. This falls separately from research because it doesn't need to have anything to do with what I'm writing. I'll see it and pick it up because of something I remember from weeks ago that I never got to.

12. News Programs ~ I tend to write a bit while they are on, but they still take up a good chunk of my time. I watch anywhere from three to four hours of news Monday thru Friday. 

13. YouTube ~ I have playlists on youtube that I listen to daily and almost all of them are fanvids. When I sign on the suggestion list on the first page can lead to hours of discovering new vids and having a grand old time. In my defense, I write to music so this is a necessary part of the process. :)

Other Thursday Thirteen Participants


xakara: (Shifting Passions)

Wiscon 34 was wonderful and I will give a shout-out to it after I've decompressed a little bit more. In the meantime this blog is brought to you by McSquee, that is an unofficial moment of "mystery squee".

One of my critique partners received an offer that cannot yet be discussed, on a story I can't mention, by persons or industries I can't name, on an R&R we whipped into shape in record time.

It's my CP's FIRST SALE! SNOOPY DANCE!!!!!

 

It hit me with a happiness that could not have been more genuine if I had been the one who heard back on my subs. It wasn't the same relief factor of hearing back on my own mss, but who needs relief when you have Snoopy Dance level happiness?

~X

xakara: (Writing is love)

Shocker of a title I know, since it's always applicable. But in this case, I really should be, as in, approaching deadline kind of should be writing. But my fingers refuse to obey.

I'm having all sorts of luck writing longhand, an embarassment of riches as it were, but I come to the keyboard and there's....nothing. Sebastian is silent and no one else is whispering past his recumbant form so that I might muddle through. I'm afraid to contemplate the transcribing marathon in my future.

But paper to keyboard issues aside, I'm writing and that's the important part. Several snippets of secondary projects have snuck in along the way, but for the most part I'm making great progress on a single project, which is what I needed.  It's not the project that's due next, but one thing at a time.

I never did find that scene I was looking for earlier, despite looking through every scrap of paper I could lay hands on. I started rewriting it and I love how it's going so far. For those of you it will make a difference to, the scene is between Dante and the Priar and steams up a bit until Raphael interrupts. Let's just say the Priar doesn't take it well and over-reacts, and man is he in troouubble afterwards.

Okay, enough stalling. I at least have to go and read a short bit on the next project due even if I don't make headway on new material today. I'm a little torn on it now because while looking for the Dante/Priar scene, I found a different one for the current project that took it in a different direction I'd forgotten was an option. Now I don't know which way I want to go, and I have little time to figure it out.

"Procrastination Writing Is Love Ramble" Done

~X

xakara: (Alyn Enjoy)
Yep, I made a week by a whole forty-two minutes, so yay. :)

My back is not 100% healed, but then again, since the car accident it never has been. But it's near the 92.7% it usually is, I'd say...84.6%, so lovely.

But screw health, onto the important stuff, I wrote.

Ramble On Baby....Ramble On )
xakara: (Writing is love)

Writing three separate series, in three separate worlds, with three different mythologies and keeping straight the single overlapping element that shows their parallel development, all at once in hopes of finishing a full novel from each of them within the year while still meeting four novella deadlines is insane.

That is all.

"Stating the Obvious Ramble" Done

~X
xakara: (Statue Kiss)
I'd ask where your minds went but why waste breath I might need at the end up of my life, eh? No, we'll all concede that my lovely little Kittens are a bit filthy minded and that's why they love me. :)

Now, first things first, Sunday Setup for the week: Write, Clean, Website. 

Okay now back to length, by which of course, I'm referring to writing. I'm not sure how many of you have noticed but brevity is not my natural inclination. So much so that I often didn't describe myself as a writer but a novelist so people immediately knew I was in it for the long haul. I felt novellas and short stories were beyond me and never gave much thought to them as a viable outlet until this year. 

After finishing Bloodsprite, my brain needed to recharge and refresh while I personally still needed to write. I found an open call for an anthology and decided to try my hand at it because at worse, I'd surpass the word limit and then I'd have an extra story laying around for some future project of the right kind. Can't ever argue against stock stories. 

So I went for it, and to my surprise enjoyed it, although the wordlimit was too short for my taste. I ended up not being chosen for the anthology but was passed on to another editor who bought the story. In an ironic twist, SHIFTING PASSIONS is the first thing that will be published and I've gone on to write two other novellas and have plans to write four more. It was a stretch, a learning experience (although admittedly, I get to put back in the two scenes I cut since there's no word limit now. Yay) and I'm very glad I did it. I hope I feel the same way about flash fiction. 

Ficlets can be entertaining to say the least and when [personal profile] moondancerdraketold me about a horror anthology consisting of LGBT flash fiction, I thought, hey, sounds fun. Completely outside of my current range, but fun nonetheless. As if the Universe was conspiring to sway me, I came across yet a second open call looking for a bit of horror and romance flash for Halloween. So I said to myself, I said "Self, we really need to try our hand at this and see how close we get" and my Self said "Yeah....Right". So we went for it. 

My initial goal was 900 words...I did 2000. Oh well, it was a first attempt, I liked the story, I like the situation, it's too long, but now I have a lovely free read for you Kittens when the website is up. I went on to try a second time with a different story. My goal was 1000 words, I got 1390, closer, six-hundred words closer, so hey, improvement. I was even able to edit that down to the under 1k so definite progress. Third attempt, 1000 word goal, and 1100 word outcome, definite improvement. And here's the kicker, I edited it down to 1k and think I might like that version better. Of course, it was a story that could have been 2500k and made me happy, but that's neither here nor there. 

What I'm getting at here is that practice in another aspect of your craft is as important as improving the parts you shine at. Stretching to uncomfortable limits can help you better understand why you like what you like and introduce you to new things you never thought of before. Am I saying I find I like ficlets and want to write many more of them? No. Nope. Not at all. If I never have to write to a 1k limit after this, it'll be too soon. 

But what I have found is that the many ideas I'll never have time to throw 100k at, or even 10k at, may be given life in 3k increments to free my mind of them and to, of course, thrill and delight you my faithful four readers. 

Okay, off to practice some more, I do, after all, have to do this thing three more times to meet the 5 stories per author submission guideline. Wish me luck. Yes, I expect you to wish me luck even though you get the stories that are too long. Why? Because it's the neighborly thing to do for Pete Petrelli's sake! Come on now. 

Lengthy Ramble Done

~X
xakara: (sin)
I can't believe I forgot to post last week. I was doing so well too. 

I guess I post so many places that here and Myspace just got neglected in favor of my health ramblings. I haven't wanted to turn this into an exercise blog but that's what's been primarily on my mind as I try NOT to focus on writing. Okay, that's not very accurate, I've been focused on writing working out plots at my writing site and such. I've been trying not to focus on publishing. 

I sent off queries almost three weeks ago and then sent off a partial from that last week and now need to forget about it and move on. Considering I have some rather nifty things to move onto, that in and of itself is not a hardship, my head is full of idea. Those ideas are just finding it hard to make their way to my hands and out onto paper of the wood or digital kind. 

I write, I think of the novel, I think of the partial, I think of the possible outcome...

So I've been workout focused instead. My times have gotten increasingly better and I've increased my base speed by a mile and shaved minutes 4 minutes and 20 seconds off my 2 mile time on the glider which is great. My calories have been wonderful if a little low a few days in a row. And although I'm not sleeping significantly better, I'm functioning a hell of alot better on what little sleep I am getting. So a big yay on all that. 

However, I'm not getting enough water and that's causing all sorts of scale fluxes that are keeping evidence of my hard work from me. Fortunately the scale is not my only means of feedback so I'm not totally pouty. But I am pouty all the same. I seemed like I was taking in plenty of liquid but when I moved to a measured container I found it wasn't nearly what I thought it was. That depressed me cuz now I have to spend the next few weeks getting that straight to finally see progress again. Of course I'm not really depressed about that (well, yeah, I am, but work with me), I'm depressed at not being able to write without driving myself crazy. 

So what solution did I come up with? Ignoring it. It works for my main character so I'll give denial a try and see how it works out. 

I created a writing schedule for this week and will just pretend it's not reminding me of the queries and partial until I've written enough that I'm sucked into the story and it becomes truth. Nothing like denial to get you through. 

Right now however I'm going to deny I'm procrastinating on today's writing by loading a new mood theme and perhaps banging out a plot or two for Darkness Reigns. 

Upside for when I finally get around to writing? More rambles for your enjoyment here of course. Yes, yes, I plan to dive into word counts and other such minutiae of writing once more for your reading pleasure, with the occassional rant and human interests piece just to round things out. 

What? Yes, you in the back. Stop mumbling I can't understand you. What was that? Oh, yes, yes, of course, I'll be complaining about taking on too many writing projects and trying to meet open submission deadlines again. I didn't know that was your favorite part. How cute. I in fact have a 30,000 words due by August 1st so you can be certain to have details on that looming deadline to tickle your fancy. I'll also be writing book two, editing book one, and doing plots at my Darkness Reigns so you can believe there will be much stress over.

Yes, I can't wait either. 

Now to delay just enough to build suspense over whether or not I make today's page goal. 

Ramble done kiddies.

~X
xakara: (Default)

I was rather expecting to be extremely sore for the rest of the week. Taking the whirl of activity and then the workouts piled on top of it, I'd accepted a low-grade throb with outright borderline pain at certain moments for days. 

I'm fine today. 

I feel the workout I did yesterday and today, but only the muscle fatigue. Everything else is fully kosher. 

I'm completely awed and elated if rather disturbed. :)

I know that much of it is muscle memory. My body remembers working out regularly and the demands made on it. So it takes less time to recover than if I was truly starting out brand new. 

Still, spooky. 

On the writing front of this, I also quite naturally fell back into the rhythm of writing two things at once as I edited book one and worked on book two. Less disturbed and much more elated on that one. 

It led to a flurry of queries sent off today. I guess when that hateful dam broke it broke all the way. Yay for shoddy craftsmanship!

Off to do what I do. 

Ramble done. 

~X

OW!

May. 21st, 2007 11:46 pm
xakara: (Default)

Ow. By which I mean, OW!

When I got up four or five hours after laying down yesterday, all my muscles were sore, plus a couple extra ones I must have borrowed from someone else. But I was happy and I still am. See? I got problems. Well, no, I've got issues. Problems are things you have to solves, issues are just the cost of living.

So back to the ow and issues. I got up and was considering splitting the 26k steps I got from Saturday and Sunday morning to cover both days. It was a good and fair plan but once I was up and had popped on the pedometer I just couldn't do it. I had to get Sunday's steps separately and ended up walking regardless of the soreness. Strange of strange it actually helped. Getting the blood flowing made me less sore than when I started out. 

But none of that is what made yesterday so wonderful when I got up. What had me joyful and grateful was that I got up, sore, tired, and admittedly the tiniest bit cranky until I ate, and I wrote and worked on book two for the first time in much too long. WOOT!

Today was also another workout and another bit of writing. Like the workouts, the writing still has to pick up steam, currently going at a speed I can keep up with. But I can't wait until both take off and I'm back in the flow of things. Fortunately the writing doesn't hurt as much as the glider workout did. It was a good hurt, but a hurt all the same. It won't be until next week or so that I'll be past it. The moving around of the apartment combined with moving to heavier handweights on schedule was a bit more than my muscles were prepared for and I have to work it all out and get back to the low grade localized soreness of ole.

Okay, there was more but I'm calling this one short on account of, well, that I can. :)

Ramble done folks.

~X

xakara: (sin)
Slip Slidin' Away
Slip Sliding Away
You know the nearer your destination
The more you're slip slidin' away

I know a woman 
Became a wife
These are the very words she uses to describe her life
She said a good day
Ain't got no rain
She said bad days one when I lie in bed 
and think of things that might have been

Slip Slidin' Away
Slip Slidin' Away
You know the nearer your destination 
The more you're slip slidin' away

God only knows
God makes Her plan
The information's unavailable to the mortal man
We're workin' our jobs
Collect our pay
Believe we're gliding down the highway
When in fact we're slip slidin' away

Slip Slidin' Away
Slip Slidin' Away
You know the nearer your destination
The more you're slip slidin' away
~Paul Simon

Above are only two of the four verses, but they're the ones I wanted to share. I don't know if I'm the only one who does this, but a song will catch my attention, be it new or one I know by heart, and I'll obsess on it for hours or days at a time. Saturday's song was Slip Slidin' Away.

There's usually a reason for each obsess even if I don't know it at the time. This one I knew right away. It's how I've felt these last weeks, months really. The nearer my destination the more I was slip slidin' away. Believed I was gliding down the highway when in fact I was slip slidin' away....

I've been slowly coming back to action on many things but two weeks in and baby steps just weren't hittin' it anymore. I snapped. It took about eleven to fifteen cycles of the song and some five replays of the same infomercial but snapped I did. 


xakara: (Yin Yang Dragon)
I never mentioned submitting, but I entered my query hook in the contest at Fangs, Fur, & Fey. Like everyone, I waited anxiously for the feedback and I'm still waiting to a degree. (There were only a few comments when I checked, so I'm hoping for more)

I wasn't one of the ones asked for pages, but the feedback from the judge was helpful and now I think I have a better idea for a third variation of the hook. The first version was entered into a query clinic by the same agent that will read the winner's 50 pages. When I sent it to her, she gave the feedback that it was too light on details. This time around I expanded it and now it's deemed a little too detail heavy. 

Fortunately, an immediate middle ground came to mind and I'll be sending out the third version to the next batch of agents I query.

I'm very early in the query game. VERY EARLY, not even three months yet, and only nine agents. I got caught up in open submission deadlines and when I finally took a break to start reading again I decided to pause for six weeks and go back to edit the novel again. 

It's been edited four times already but I was still too close to it. Even stopping to write short stories and novellas and look for contests to enter, the novel was very much on my mind. I wanted some distance to go back and read it anew. I wanted to be surprised by small details and to feel the flow of it in a way only distance allows. 

A new book came out in a favored series and I began to reread it from the beginning so that I could fully appreciate the fifth book. I can't even begin to catalogue how many things I'd forgotten and it made me so excited to reread my own novel that I know now I'm in the right mindframe to rediscover it and see it with new eyes.

 Once I reread and edit yet again (because no matter what, there's always typos), I'll dig out my list of agents, check their sites and query away. 

Right now I need to get back to my book so...I can get back to my book. ;)

Ramble done

~X
xakara: (Default)

They finally posted the winners for The Big Finish Contest at eHarlequin.com. I didn't win but that's to your benefit as I can now share with you a writing sample by posting my contest entry here.

Now the rules of the contest was to finish the opening scene they gave in whatever manner imagination took you. I'll post the pre-written section in red and my follow-up in whatever color strikes me by the time I'm done.

xakara: (Default)

*Stretch*

I just submitted my contest entry an hour or two ago and it feels like a weight has lifted off of my shoulders.

The story was written three years ago, maybe four, with absolutely no place to submit it. Back in January while I was looking for open calls and contests to enter I found the perfect place for it at  Clean Sheets magazine. They have a contest called Sex & Spirituality that's absolutely perfect as far as context. Content on the other hand left me feeling a little shaky.

When you write Bible Slash (yes, I said bible slash, you aren't misreading and please don't ask unless you seriously want to know. Minor curiosity is not enough), there's really no place to even have it looked at outside of an erotica magazine. However there's a certain level of explicitness that is expected in erotica that the story lacked. I couldn't use all the allegedly 'liberating' words because the flow of the story was bibilical and had to stay in the same lyrical expression. There was also something in the story that would have been lost to throw out the obligatory cock reference just because.

So it took me over three weeks to add three, maybe four paragraphs to the story. It broadened the love scene and the sexual tension but without becoming what most expect with the word erotica. I just couldn't do it. I was so reticent to the idea that I didn't want to write at all and was ready to shut the computer off and not deal with it until the day before the deadline.

In the end I'm glad I didn't do that, it was much better to finish and then hope for the best. If it turns out not to be for them, then I'll post it here, or at least post a link to it here so that everyone with greater curiosity can have a read. If it turns out they do like it despite its more "tasteful" language, I'll post a link so that you can read it on their site and see my name in print.

Well, my pen name most likely. But still, it's all good.

Pen names will have to be a blog topic all its own one night. I have several thoughts on it and not enough energy to share them at the moment.

So for now...

Ramble done.

~X

xakara: (sin)

If you feel so empty
So used up, so let down
If you feel so angry
So ripped off so stepped on
You're not the only one
Refusing to back down
You're not the only one
So get up

Let's start a riot, a riot
Let's start a riot
Let's start a riot, a riot
Let's start a riot

If you feel so filthy
So dirty so fucked up
If you feel so walked on
So painful so pissed off
You're not the only one
Refusing to go down
You're not the only one
So get up

Let's start a riot, a riot
Let's start a riot
Let's start a riot, a riot
Let's start a riot

If you feel so empty
So used up, so let down
If you feel so angry
Just get up

Let's start a riot, a riot
Let's start a riot
Let's start a riot, a riot
Let's start a riot

Okay, I admit that in part this post is being made to meet my one week quota. It does however reflect back on writing because music is essential to the creative process for me.

The right playlist can mean the difference between a four page day and a twenty page day of work (and yes, I mean twenty usable pages). Right now that right playlist is ONE X by Three Days Grace. Yes, the entire album! I can only say that about a handful of cds I own, so every time I add to the list I'm impressed and must pester everyone I know to support the album and the band.

At least three songs from the album will appear in the new book I'm working on. Unfortunately, or fortunately as the case may be, the "new book" is not the picking back up of book two I had hoped for. Yesterday spawned a brand new story with vampires that will appear in my Shifter world which is convenient, but the first story in which they are fleshed out will be entirely separate from the Dante series. Ah the joys of inspiration from all quarters.

It makes everything I watch, read, stumble across and half-remember from childhood fodder for new worlds. I've come across blogs of people who read two to three books a week as well as write or edit and/or attend a day job. I don't know how they do it. Everything I read has to have enough time for proper staring off in space as some idea spawns a new way of considering things and I make mental or physical notes.

It probably says a lot about me but 99% of the time what comes to mind is how I would do something differently. Yeah. I know.

Anyway, the above song starts out the new story. A nice underground club called 3rd Shift (which has all sorts of neat connotations) where it's set up to cater to those with night jobs and thus is open during the early hours after dawn. Yep, now you see the interesting connotation of a club open after dawn in which a vampire comes in.

I shall say no more. Less because I don't want to share and more because its a bit torturous for me. See, I swore off writing until Wednesday to give myself a break. I did this on Saturday before the story struck me Sunday and I was stuck making notes and waiting for the days to pass. I could lift the rest break due to unforseen circumstances but I know myself. There will always be unforseen circumstances so its best to just power through and keep my notes going.

Ah, but let me cease and desist in a timely manner, this post wasn't to lament my unscratched itch to write. It was started to find out what music is currently rocking your fantasy worlds and to get word on some of your favorite albums as recommendations to write to.

Come on, cough 'em up and share the love.

Ramble done.

~X

xakara: (Default)

Punch Drunk Tired:

If you're not nor have ever been an insomniac the phrase "punch drunk tired" may be foreign to you. For the rest o f us it's that point where you've been up for so long, or gone some many days on so little sleep that the entire world is a half shade off. 

It's brighter or darker or funnier or in some way not quite on center and you can't help but marvel at the sparklies on the edge of your vision. As a chronic insomniac it's something you come to enjoy because the alternative is a room with rubber wallpaper and afternoons learning to basketweave. Not quite ready for the asylum, I've gone the "oo, pretty sparklies" route.

Now ever so often I find my way out of the cycle and make it to almost six hours of sleep. It usually takes about 40 hrs up and sleep meds, but it does happen. It's a delicate balance to keep it there and the one thing that undoes it quicker than all else is writing. I am one of the unfortunate few who don't take any illicit or other mind altering substances so sleep deprivation is my big epiphany medium.

I've been too tired to think just like everyone else. But most often I'm too tired to stop thinking. I'll be on a pretty good sleep run of one time or another (less frequent waking, quicker falling to sleep) and while writing something hours will pass and suddenly the sleeping streak is broken. I go to bed, bleary eyed and on my 23rd hour up and still can't turn off.

I force my mind to stop writing what I'm working on only to turn to other projects, concepts and thoughts. Entire stories, excerpts, whole seasons of Law and Order: SVU, I've written them all in my head during one exceptionally bad bout or another and it seems to get worse every year.

I've begun to wonder on some level if subconsciously I break a sleeping streak just to feel that creative overflow while working on a writing project. Some of my best stuff has been written when I had to lay my head down between paragraphs just to catch a little rest before I could go on. I don't enjoy the side effects and the other things that are impacted, but when the writing is flowing and the stories are floating so close to the surface of consciousness that I can read the pages through the water...well, it's hard to pass that up even for my own good.

I've always wondered if it's the same for other artists who find themselves drinking or using in order to work in their chosen medium. No matter what they tell themselves about their health and feeling better it always creeps back when they start jonesing for that creative outlet. They need to work, to purge, to create and so in the end they fall back on the thing that gets them through.

They can create sober as well as I can create rested, but it's not what comes to mind when you walk up to the canvass or blank screen. No, when you're there you're just thinking of the last time you were there. The last time that things turned out exactly the way you wanted it and everyone who saw it understood.  You think about how it felt and what you did and you wonder if you can reproduce the results. You wonder if you have to be under the same influence to do so. Maybe it's not a conscious thought, but it's there.

"If I stay up just a little longer I think I'll be able to get through this chapter". A true thought, but in the end what's happened in staying up is that I've grown more and more tired, and in that tiredness, in that blooming exhaustion is the place where the mind lets go and everything feels in reach. If that doesn't sound like a drug....

Maybe the classic alcoholic writer or drug addicted painter are addicts because they get just too much sleep and the high of exhaustion is unattainable. You never know. *grin*

What's your mind alteration of choice when other worlds are calling?

Ramble done. 

'Til

~X 

xakara: (Default)

Adaptation.

Due to very practical reasons, some of the bloggers I read have disabled anonymous comments. With a new gmail account, I figured it was time to finally give in and create a Blogger id so I could keep up.

The original premise had been to create the profile, put in the link to either MySpace or LJ and then live it be when I didn't have to a comment to post. Well, best laid plans, right? It had that "new blog smell" on it and I couldn't resist. I transfered my old entries from MySpace and started yet a third incarnation of StoryWeaver's Web on Blogger.

I read agents, editors, and writers who chronicle their lives in publishing in all three blog formats and although it's just one more thing to do, being available on all three formats to be read in turn seems fair. 

(Yes, I'm rationalizing my OCD, but it's my blog and I'm allowed.) 


*Sigh* 


Creating the Blogger profile and transfering the files was also a stalling/distration tactic from the heart of today's issue. 

The March 2nd open call deadline was plagued with issue. 

I didn't find out about it until Feb.11th and already had something due Feb. 21st. I got that one done only to have some comp issue leave me writing longhand with only four or five days before the deadline. Still determined to try, I transcribed everything the moment I could get back into ms word. The ticking clock lead to a marathon session of twenty-two hours trying to finish before the deadline closed today.


It's a good story. It's also five thousand words short. I could expand it, and incorporate an entire subplot worth at least another 10k wds. I just couldn't do it on three hours of sleep over two days with only four hours to go before the deadline. No doubt I could have padded it with gibberish and sex, but it wouldn't have been my best effort and I couldn't turn that in.

Downside: I won't make the deadline and in doing so have likely given up the opportunity to see my work published this year.

Upside: It's a good story. One that could grow to become an even better story. If I hadn't reached for the deadline, it's a story that wouldn't have been told and a part of the larger world it's set in wouldn't have been explored.

I also have a "Stock Story" now. One I can place in the literary larder and rework if another last minute deadline finds me or someone somewhere is looking for a good shifter piece.

Uber Upside: Having already sold a short story in the same world, once I've reworked and polished the novella, I can still submit it for a future anthology. It was also a good exercise to prepare me for another March deadline I'll start on Monday after some good sleep.

For my four readers out there, I'll keep you updated on how it all turns out. Time to go and count my blessings and try for more sleep.

Ramble Done,

X

xakara: (Default)

Couple=2. Few=3. Several=4 or more. Many=7ish and beyond.

It's not a hard, fast rule, but for the most part the above is how my lovely private school education broke down the words.

So when I was told that the second editor my short story was passed on towould get back to me in a few weeks, I knew I couldn't get nervous until at least three weeks had passed. Nearly three weeks to the day I got my answer.

I sold it.

I mailed off the contract today after going over it several times and making sure I understood it. At just 48hrs old, the whole thing is incredibly new and lacking in sufficient detail, but it doesn't lessen any of the excitement.

What I do know is that it'll come out early next year...

And we've now covered the portion of things I know. :)

If I don't sound as excited as I should and seem to be lacking the appropriate exclamation points and such, don't misunderstand. I am happy and excited.

It's unconditional and there's no "but", "except for", "if not for", attached. I'm happy and grateful. Period.

I'm just two days passed the *Happy Dance* and onto the deeper gratitude of the situation.

It's not just about the sale and having the publishing credit. Hell, it's an epublisher, I don't even know if they count as a pub credit. What I do know from author blogs and conversations is that they're discerning and not afraid to reject what they feel doesn't work.

That means that during the editing of the story, I'll be getting back valuable feedback to help with every area of writing. The 15,000 words edited for it directly helps the 30K I'm working on now. That 30K helps the 60K I have due weeks from now. The 60K helps the 120K of the manuscript I already have done.

How Fan-frakin'-tastic is that!?

I'm incredibly excited about the editing process and what it can yield in everything else I write. As I result a quiet 'yayness' is what's left of the inital WOO-HOO as I wait to see what happens next.

Keep your fingers crossed, My Four Readers, that it'll come in threes. Hearing back from an agent and placing in the contest I entered would be great. (Even nearly placing where someone gave detailed feedback on the contest entry would be great). I'll also take having this current story picked up right away as well. :D

Speaking of which, it's time for me to go and work on that story a bit. The clock is ticking and my Zen-Groove is flagging in the face of Deadline Stress. I don't have many days left and there are several things to still do and few opportunities to do it all to my liking. Time to knock out a couple of pages so I can rest.

Ramble Done.

Til

~X

Update: I've been corrected and told that at 15K words it's not a short story but a novella or novelette. Well, okay.

Yay, Done

Feb. 21st, 2007 12:46 am
xakara: (Default)

I always feel so accomplished when I finally send something off. 

It doesn't matter what it is, query, partial, short story, contest entry, whatever it comes out to once it's away from me and no longer on my mind it's time to party. 

I sent off the contest entry due tomorrow (today at this rate) and it's out of my hair. It was a wonderful exercise in frustration that there were no clear guidelines for the entry, but I made due and now it's all hoping for the best. 

Unfortunately or Fortunately as the case may be, I didn't actually get rid of a slot on my To Do list. I found yet another open call and now have an April 25th deadline to get in a 50K plus ms. 

I can't focus on it too much though, I have ten days to finish a 30K ms for March 2nd and another 30-60K for March 30th, along with another contest entry due April 1st. Makes April 25th seem like a great luxury of time to go. 

Out of the seven projects still due, I have mental outlines for four of them and the three I'm unclear on aren't due til June 1st. So no major freakouts to be had any time soon on that at least. The goal now is to get everything outlined on paper so I have a reference point once I jump in head first to everything still coming up. I haven't mastered the detailed outline yet, but I'm doing pretty well with the skeleton outline listing scenes and turning points leaving the connective tissue to grow as it will once the writing begins. 

Mmm...tasty image, yes?

Anyway, the secondary goal of right now is to avoid collecting any other deadlines prior to August 1st. I've got 200K words due in 14 weeks, spread out over seven different stories. I don't think it shows any greater dedication to add to that, only greater insanity. The men with the white coats and butterfly nets already have enough to consider. 

I'm happy though. Thriving on chaos I think they call it. However right now I think it's more the fact that after not writing for years I'm inspired to take on so much and am getting it all done. It lets me know I was in the right mindset at the right time. 

*Yawn* Too tired to keep my eyes open. Pardon and typos. 

Ramble done. 

~X

xakara: (Default)
This Ain't A Scene, It's An Arms Race"

I am an arms dealer
Fitting you with weapons in the form of words
And don't really care which side wins
As long as the room keeps singing
That's just the business I'm in, yeah

This ain't a scene, it's a goddamned arms race
This ain't a scene, it's a goddamned arms race
This ain't a scene, it's a goddamned arms race
I'm not a shoulder to cry on
But I digress

I'm a leading man
And the lies I weave are oh so intricate,
Oh so intricate ~ Fall Out Boy

Publishing novels isn't a scene, it's a ***damn arms race. Thank you Fall Out Boy for speaking the gospel for your industry and mine as well.

As writers we don't get too many songs that fit and this one was perfect for my mood and current take on things. In seeking to write full time as a career I'm in fact looking to get paid to lie for a living. Wonderful intricate lies that make life a little more bearable for the person swept up in my words for time. But this isn't a new perspective and has been said before by more eloquent scribes than myself. I'm merely expanding on an idea for my time.

As a writer I am an arms dealer fitting the reader with weapons in the forms of words. Weapons that protect them against the stresses and tolls of a mundane world.

My goal is to get the words to the publishers as quickly as possible while the model I'm hawking is still hot and I can get top dollar. I will supply equally for whomever is willing to shell out the money for as long as they are willing. I'll pit them against each other if it what gets me what I need, it's all the same to me. As the middlemen between me and the buyer I don't really care which side wins as long as the room keeps reading....that's just the business I'm in.

What put me in this mindframe you ask (besides drowning in the FOB video)?

I got a request for a partial and I found a handful of contest I'm planning on enterring while I work on book 2. It's all about getting my name out there and getting feedback on the things that trip through my head in the dark of night when it seems no one is looking. I'm learning my audience. I'm finding out if the same things that brought me to paranormal fiction brought them as well. In the face of what they have I'm learning how to arm them with more.

Urban Fantasy is barely recognized by some and immediately brings squeals of delight from others while the rest nod and are afraid to ask questions. Let me break down what I mean. Urban Fantasy is contemporary fiction in setting that brings in paranormal elements, vampires, shifters, ghosts, wizards, witches, psychics, etc.

Some prime examples of authors who excel at UF; Laurell K. Hamilton, Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher, Rachel Caine, Patricia Briggs, L.A. Banks. Sometimes it's more recognized as Paranormal Romance (which is its own subgenre, but mirror twin of UF) this would MaryJanice Davidson, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Lynsay Sands and so many others.

I fall under UF rather than PR because I don't have the typical heroine and hero who get together at the end. Relationships are the main focus and there's love found in the end, but its not with just one and it's not with our primary "Alpha Male" in the story. But that's okay, its what worked for me and for the story and we'll see where it goes. I'm still all about PR as much as UF because I love the twin genres. I even managed a PR short story, but it involved a trio so still not traditional but just as valid a romance.

I've read things that said the subgenres are dying off and both UF and PR are seeing their last days. At the same time on places like the Romantic Times blog I see readers just getting into it and discovering Urban Fantasy and its concepts outside of romance. At the same time I read threads where UF fans are finding their vampire/shifter fix in the romance aisle while their favorite UF writers work diligently on their next books.

With the hunger to supplement their favorites readers are making new favorites all the time. The genres aren't dying, they're still finding their groove and I think there's still plently of room for my and other new voices to become those filler stories between the established voices. To build and deliver and become new favorites. I know my shelves exploded when I ran out of one author and snatched up every anthology I could get my hands on to discover new (to me) authors.

Don't sing the dirge for the vampire, as usual the news of its permanent demise is greatly exaggerated. Weep not for the werewolf for he still has more than a few quick changes to keep readers guessing. And ghosts, well, lets just say they are much more substantial than you've been led to believe. The audience is still there, some jus't don't know it yet.

~This ramble has been called on account of bloodsugar issues. I return you to your regularly schedule evening drift of thought.

Another Time,

X

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