Welcome to the official blog of Hannah Hounshell. Here you can follow along with me as I stumble along the path to publication. Let's just hope I don't fall into too many potholes along the way. Wish me luck ^_~
It has been an awesome week for me. It would've been better if the holidays were over, but I made do. Part of the reason I had such a good week is that chapter twenty seven looks to be done for good. All the bits that were nagging at me have been fixed and run through three different beta readers. They all loved at and I went ahead and sent it yet another just yesterday. I'm now enjoying a short break before I jump back into chapter twenty-eight on tuesday.
The other part of my good mood is because I had a day off with my husband for the first time in several weeks and we spent the day eating good food, going to a few of our favorite places. I now have a bunch of new art supplies from Hobby Lobby(including some clay), the plan to get my CCW this coming summer has been put into action, and we bought a filtered fountain for our cat.
Yes, definitely an amazing week.
I'd stick around and chat, but I better get to work. I might now have edits to do, but there are gifts to wrap, dishes and laundry waiting for me, and artwork to finish up. Also I found this yummy looking recipe for lemon-chili wings in one of my cookbooks. I grabbed the ingredients yesterday at work and I hope to serve them up with salad and french bread when my husband get home.
Holiday season is starting to pick up and it's been one thing after another this past week. I've had stuff break down, customers who seem to have left their common sense at home with their wallets, and associates of several different departments treat me like I'm two years old. Headaches abound and sleep deprivation has become something I'm terribly familiar with as I try to find time to cook, clean, do edits, finish old art projects, and cuddle with my husband on top of dealing with the insanity of the holiday rush.
One day I'll get the knack of doing everything at once, but not today.
On a lighter note, I might be done tweaking chapter 27. It's not for sure yet, however, as I need to pop the new scene into place first. Hopefully this is it and I'll be working on chapter 28 sooner rather then later. My goal is to be working on Book Two early next year, so I better get cracking.
Also, I have discovered almond milk yogurt while I wait for my latest batch of goat yogurt to come in. It is sweet, nutty, fruity deliciousness and I'm close to being addicted to the stuff. Now if only they sold this almond goodness at my work...
Anyway, I'm off to get ready for a day of movies and general silliness. A good friend of mine is free for the first time in a while and I intend to take advantage of that freedom while I can.
I have a tendency to get be in one of two modes when it comes to my creativity; soaking up as much information as possible, and spitting all that learning out on a canvas of one sort or another. It doesn’t matter if I’m writing or drawing, if I’m in one mode its darned hard to switch.
Lately I’ve been in the “sponge” mode, which means a great deal of scouring the library for new books and flipping through my art books and searching for new tutorials online. When its nice outside I tend to go wandering off with my camera, or out on my bike. Both writing and new artwork comes along at a crawl, and I feel twitchy whenever I go to long without a source of new knowledge to soak up.
The opposite of “sponge” mode is a little easier to deal with, but still has it’s moments. When I’m busy spewing up all the stuff I soaked up, I absolutely must write, and you can usually spot me scribbling down ideas and such in the little notebook I carry around. It’s likewise with the art side of things. I can’t carry my sketch book while I’m on the clock at work, but receipt paper will do in a pinch. Some get tossed, but those I decide to keep and turn into real drawings are put in a little drawer in my art desk.
Of course, it doesn’t matter what mode I’m in when there are edits to be done. So while I try to resist the urge to call it quits just a little earlier then usual so I can get to my latest haul from the library, or the new art supplies waiting in my studio, I’m hammering out the latest snarl and watching the clock. After all, if I can’t buckle down and get things done now, how will it be if I ever find myself facing a publishing deadline?
So on that note, I’m off to get my work done for the day and get this posted. There are still another two books waiting unread in my latest stack from the library, and I have some new surfaces to try my art on now that I‘ve managed to get my paws on some of the Ampersand‘s Claybord I‘ve been hearing about. After all, my brain might be trying to soak up everything it can, but I can still have some fun, right?
The holiday season is in full swing now, and my editing has slowed to a crawl as it usually does this time of year. Normally that ticks me off, but not this time. Right now I'm at that point where I need to slow down and watch my step as I tweak the last five chapters into shape for my beta readers.
Last sunday I spent my morning doing just that and even though I never did get to the work I wanted to do on chapter 28, I did manage to clean up a few things in chapter 27 that had been nagging at me. Today I'll be going back to polish the scene I changed and get the last snarl smoothed out. I may not get to chapter 28 today either, but at least I'm making progress somewhere, right? And on that note, I'm off to get started on slipping that new scene into place. Then it's back to the drawing board to work on the latest concept for my book cover. Hopefully this time I get it right.
Normally I know exactly what's causing mine(trial and error can teach you so much, lol), but lately I've been a grouch and I had no idea why. My house is almost clean these days, I'm making good progress on my art projects, and it looks like I might manage to keep up with my dishes this holiday season(for once). However, the grouchiness remained.
Playing Sims 3 Pets and diving into a huge pile of books from the library kind of helped, but it wasn't until I managed to get in a good solid hour of editing for the first time in over a week that I realized what was bugging me so darned much.
I had been putting off writing time with the assumption that I'd be able to get to it later. Of course there was never a "later". If you don't make time for something, you'll never have time. When I was first drafting, I wrote at every moment possible. I couldn't help it. The story just had to get out, you know? When it came to edits, things were different and I found myself putting them off for a "later" that never happened.
Not the best way to get things done.
So today I'm putting everything else on hold. Today I'm going to get the little space heater and a plush blanket to wrap around my legs. There will be a large mug of hot tea waiting at my elbow and some tunes playing from my little MP3 player with its new bomb speaker. No more excuses, no more "I'll do it later". This is my story, and if I ever expect anyone to read it, I better get it done.
Everyone has heard the phrase "The sky's the limit." My question is....why stop there?
Sometimes limits are a good thing. They do stuff like keeping you from spending money you don't really have, or from overindulging on sweets. Its a good thing to know your limits, but sometimes you need to push past them and reach, not for the sky, but for the stars and beyond.
We all have our dreams, whether its a career we've always wanted, or sharpening a skill we love. It could be a simple as just wanting to be with family during the most important moments of your life, or as complex as creating something so intricate and epic that people will remember it for years to come. So often people tell others about their dreams and then sigh about how they might as well wish for the moon. They've put a limit on what they think they can accomplish, and it's sad.
My mom and dad always told me the worst thing that can happen when you ask for or about something is that the answer ends up being no. We as a people are so afraid of rejection, that so many times we've let this fear stop us from turning our dreams into reality. We give up just as the finish line is sight, and then moan about how it will never be.
Maybe sad isn't strong enough a word. To hear people give up on their dreams, however flawed, its heartbreaking.
Keep pushing, keep trying, keep climbing the obstacles life throws at you and someday you'll finally reach the sky. It won't happen if you give up, and you'll never soar if you can't find your wings. Just remember, one day your dreams will be a reality, and you'll break the limit of the sky to soar among the stars.
Sorry about the extremely late and short post today. You see, I spent most of my day yesterday climbing all over the registers at work, and today I scrubbed, mopped, swept, and vacuumed my apartment until it was reasonably clean. I've a wicked set of bruises on my knees and I feel like I've been hit with a bus, but at least I can invite over folks without cringing.
Anyway, I'm just now getting to bed after finishing a piece of artwork that has been sitting around for months. All in all it was a very productive day, even if I did miss a few items on the agenda. Mainly doing some editing for chapter 28, while dishes and laundry come in close second.
I'm kind of creeping along on chapter 28. In part because it's so darned rough that I'm forever stopping to reword something, or even take it out altogether. I'm still making progress though. Not much, but it's there.
Well, I hate to say it, but I better get my behind to bed. Work start early tomorrow and I still have some cleaning to do afterwards.
Ever heard that quote? Its a fairly common piece of advice, and very much ignored. Which is kind of sad seeing as you can apply it to so much and it still rings true. From everyday conversation, to advertisements, to your average instruction manual, to writing and editing your manuscript. Choosing the wrong words can put you in a world of hurt, just as choosing the right ones can save your behind. I've seen these kind of situations and even been in more then a few of them. Sometimes I sail away without a scratch, and other times I find myself wondering how deep I should be digging my grave.
Seriously though, words can do so much for you, but be careful how you use them.
Today I realized its been way to long since I put chapter 27 to bed and started in on chapter 28 without anything to show for it but a notebook page of notes. While this is still work, its not enough for me. I've been slacking big time.
I could blame this on the new Sims 3 expansion, or the ginormous stack of library books sitting in jumble of worn covers and yellowing pages in my art studio, or even the fact that the past few days have been far too nice to spend indoors. However, it all boils down to a lack of balance and I darn well know it.
Excuses don't fix much, let me tell you, and they don't get work done either. Now, I could've buckled down today and I didn't. I could've cleaned the kitchen properly instead of just doing the dishes and calling it a day, or maybe given the bathroom a good scrubbing. There are guinea pig cages that still need to be cleaned, and I've a small pile of artwork still waiting to be finished.
You can't really enjoy the moments of relaxation if you've left things undone that you shouldn't have. For instance, its hard to really dive into the pages of an old favorite when your conscience is nagging you about the dirty laundry peeking out through the bathroom door.
A little balance can go a long way to making you feel at ease, like you've really accomplished something. Its too late for me to get back on the ball tonight, but tomorrow is another day and I plan to spend it with the scent of fresh pine shaving in my nose and the gritty scrape of a comet dusted rag in my ears as I put my apartment to rights. Maybe I'll even get on of those pieces of artwork polished off and still have time to catch some sun before relaxing with my husband until bedtime. You never know, right? After all, life is what you make of it and I for one don't intend to let it go to waste.
Well, that's all for me tonight. Work starts early tomorrow and I've a lot to get done once my shift is over.
~Sun and Moon
P.S. Has anyone else had trouble getting Blogger to post a scheduled blog entry? Darn thing just sits there...>_<
You know, I had a blog post all planned out for today. It was written up on a piece of note paper, but not typed into the computer yet. I left it unfinished too, but that was fine as I had plenty of time to wind it to a close before I needed to post it. I left it beside the computer, knowing that it would be there when I needed it as I went about doing other things.
I have since lost my blog post.
Now, it's been a crazy day today. Family events and visiting relatives(my grandma came up from Arizona), and of course a lot of good food. However, it hasn't been all that crazy and while I'm pretty tired after all the fun and such, I shouldn't be wondering how the heck I lost a piece of paper I spent so long scribbling on.
Oh well, at least I didn't forget today was Sunday like I did that one time. I'm late, but I think its forgivable considering the circumstances.
Chapter twenty-eight edits are going slowly at the moment, but as I'm still at the "review it and make notes" stage, that's to be expected. So far it looks like it may need more of a rewrite then I thought, but nothing truly drastic.
In other news, I just bought a program called "Mavis Beacon teaches typing" to help me get my speed up without having to watch the dang keyboard. I used it a long time ago as a kid(I was twelve), and it worked pretty well until I quit for stupid reasons. I'll be installing it and going for a test run sometime in the next week or so.
In the meantime, the much awaited Pets Expansion for Sims 3 is coming out over the next few days. I don't know about you, but I plan to get my writing work done early so I can play guilt-free. Not only are there cats and dogs to play with, but horses and even a unicorn(if you can find it). Here's hoping I can snag a limited edition copy before they run out.
And on that note I'm off to get a treat and relax. My dad gave me some coffee syrup and I'm itching to mix up some coffee milk. Its been ages since I had any and I'm not about to wait any longer.
I had a blog post all written up for today, but that was before I FINALLY finished chapter 27.
Yup, that's right. Both the rewrite and the basic edits are done at last. Today I'll be getting to all those art projects waiting in the wings and then I need to do some serious cleaning. At some point I hope to go on a bike ride, but that depends on how deeply my bike is buried in the garage. It might be a wonderful day for a long ride, but battling massive wolf spiders for possession of my bike is not my idea of fun.
Maybe I'll walk to the park instead. Hm...
On another note, I've been putting off breakfast so I can get the last tweaks done, so I'm starving. I guess decisions will have to wait until after I've rustled up some grub for my growling stomach. Oh well, no loss. My three day break starts tomorrow and I plan to enjoy every minute of it.
Sorry this post is so late, but when you wake and find out the water isn't working things get a little scrambled. Thank goodness for landlords who care about their tenants or we'd still be without water and freezing to boot seeing as our heat is by big radiators in each room that require this thing called water in order to work. So everything is fixed now, and for the time being its all good here in the apartment. Well, mostly anyway.
You see, I have a stalker.
No, seriously I do. Remember the yummy goat yogurt I was raving about a while back? Well the healthfood store ran out and then decided to stop carrying it. They can still order it special if you want it, but only if you plan to buy the whole case. There are six containers in a case. At about seven dollars a pop, that's forty-two dollars easy. Seeing as I'm pretty broke most of the time, this means I haven't had any since I ran out a couple weeks ago, and I'm not the only one morning the loss of its creamy goodness.
Ever since that last bowl, my cat has been stalking me.
If I go into the kitchen she's only a pawstep behind me and will linger in the doorway meowing plaintively. Opening the fridge has the same effect, even if she was sleeping in the bedroom when I cracked it open. And she doesn't stop there. If I'm sitting down, she pesters me constantly(sometimes with painful results seeing as we don't declaw our cats). Its gotten so bad that when I get my breakfast in the morning, I've been locking myself in the bedroom so I can eat in peace.
Now, I could just suck it up and learn to make my own yogurt. Its not easy, but I could probably manage it okay.
I'll have to get back to you on that. The cat has realized where I am and is making her displeasure at the lack of yogurt rather plain. Pardon me while I peel her off my leg and go find her catnip.
You know that saying "Keep you friends close and your enemies closer"?
It means, basically, to keep a close eye on your enemies because you can trust your friends to have your back. Or at least, that's what it means to me. Now, I don't have any serious enemies(that I know of, anyway), but I have some of the most awesome friends ever. Not only do they help me out when I find myself in need of a beta reader, but they even let me base characters off of them. Such a situation doesn't always come up roses, though.
You see, one thing I've noticed during my writting is that even characters based on real life folk still walk their own road. They become truly themselves and no one else.
It's kinda creepy.
Now, if you friends don't care, that's fine, but some people do. They see the character, so clearly them doing something they would never do and they get mad or hurt. The friend complains to the author who finds themselves between a rock and a hard place trying to accommodate their friend and keep the story in one piece.
A favorite author of mine had someone ask her how she came up with her characters. Not only did she write a very good response and put it in her FAQ on her website, she also responded to the unspoken question there: what do you do when the person on whom you've based a character calls you out on it.
Quoted directly from her website, here is what she had to say....
I often start with a real person--if not someone I know, then an actor or actress I think would fit the part. It's easiest for me to start with what someone looks and sounds like--if I know that, then I know about the character's personality. As a result, I use a lot of photographs of people or performers. Of course, there always comes a point, as I'm working, when the character breaks away from the person I based her/him on to become her or his own self. That's how I know I'm doing it right. A word of warning: tell no one that you based a character on her/him. Even if you think you've written about that person perfectly, s/he may not like what you have to say, or if the character you create starts doing things the person you based the character on doesn't do, they can get quite vexed. If they ask, lie. If you're a bad liar, like me, practice in front of a mirror. Do not tell them.
I love Tamora Pierce's books and I think she gives good advice on being a writer and an author. Now, I didn't read this until I had already told both people (yes, just two characters were based heavily on real folks) that I'd used them in my book. Neither of them minded, thank goodness, but they could have. I still base characters on real people, but now I'm careful to keep just who inspired who behind my teeth.
Remember, no one needs to know they were the inspiration for this character, or that one. After all, they may not like what they see reflected in the words you've put on the page.
The past few weeks have been kinda draining, but plenty educational.
I've learned that a blog entry is more likely to be read when posted at 2pm then 10pm. That catching up on ones sleep does no good if you insist on staying up till the wee hours of the night, every night running for three days straight.
I've learned that time off work does me no good at all without my husband to share it with me. That book work is best done while music mingles with the sound of raindrops hitting my window and a mug of hot tea steams gently beside my elbow.
I've learned that you can never enjoy yogurt alone when you have a cat, and you better be prepared to share or face the consequences. That humor will get you more then a sour attitude, and a smile can work wonders. The fact that leaving one project incomplete will only snowball anything else you want to get done, and procrastination can have painful results.
Most of all....never take anything for granted, and always look for the silver lining lurking in the clouds of your day. You never know what'll turn up, but isn't that the fun of it? A good friend of mine always told me that variety was the spice of life. It can be good, bad, or in between, but at least it's never boring.
Have you ever heard of the awesome computer game called Sims 3?
Ok, if you just said no then I have straight jacket in my closet you may want to try on for size.
Seriously though, you should check it out. The game is kinda self explanatory. You spend your time controlling the people you create and making them do various things depending on what expansions you have for the game. It's a lot of fun, oddly enough, and it can eat up hours of your time depending on your level of addiction.
I am most definetly addicted.
Of course, like all games, it has its glitchy moments. However, when I first got the game and installed it, it was mostly smooth sailing. Then we had the whole virus issue in april. Since we didn't know how much damage had been done, I uninstalled and reinstalled the base game with all its expansions.
Which. Took. Forever.
Once I started it up, everything seemed fine. Then I decided to go and get the Grim Reaper off of the Sim Exchange. I downloaded him, tossed him into my game and started playing. Again, everything seemed fine. That is, it did until one of my sims went to china and came back with Pangu's axe.
The map loaded, and lo and behold, I suddenly had two identical sims. And then the game crashed.
I have since removed the Grim Reaper from my game.
It reminds me of my writing lately. First drafting was mostly smooth sailing for me, but once editting started, I began to find myself bogged down more often then not. This latest chapter has been especially sticky.
I've created several versions of the middle pages for chapter 27, and none of them fit. Now, unlike with my sims game, I don't think a total reboot is going to fix that. Nor will pulling the ornery characters in question from the chapter. Instead I need to find a smooth path that winds around the potholes without getting everyone splattered with mud.
In other words, I need to let my characters do their thing without interfering so darned much.
So far, I think I may know a way to manage it. That, however, will have to wait for tomorrow. Right now it's way past my bedtime, and this post is late enough as it is. I have my spare notebook by my bed along with a pen for late night notes, so for now I think I'll sleep on it.
Well, last night I sat down to fiddle around on the internet and do some edits. I spent maybe an hour checking things on my various websites and then got to work just in time for the power in my apartment to go out like a blown candle.
It came back on around 2am thanks to the fact our apartment is on the same grid as the police station next door. I wasn't sure if it would stay on, however, so I went to bed soon after. Thus, I am just now getting to work on said edits.
Anyway, after being up so late my brain is mush. Which is good for getting cleaning done, but not so much for editting. I'm going to try though, because I'd like to go for a bike ride tomorrow and I won't be able to really enjoy myself if I have unfinished edits hanging over my head.
And on that note, I better get my rear in gear. Besides, I have some new goat yogurt and fresh strawberries in the freezer.
So, I've been a little distracted lately. Life has been a little nuts(and by nuts I mean really frustrating), and if you've read my last two posts I'm sure you've noticed.
Sorry bout that.
Snarliness aside, I have had one awesome discovery this past week. It almost makes up for all the times I've had to bite my tongue over the past few days.
Yes, you read that right. I'm an avid yogurt lover, but when I became lactose intolerant, yogurt made me pretty sick. That didn't stop me from wanting to scarf it down, but it did slow me down. So for the past two years I haven't had any. Until this week.
It was amazingly delicious. The only fresh fruit and raw honey could've made it any better. As it was with my refined honey and no fruit....oh YUM.
Unfortunately, I kind of scarfed the whole tub in about 3-4 days(what? it was YUMMY). It makes me sad, but there are plently of the tubs of creamy goodness at the health food store waiting to be bought. The next batch I get, I intend to savor.
In an odd way, it reminds me of the library. You know, minus the price tag and the edible stuff. You find that book and you devour it as fast as you can turn the page. Then you mope a bit because the book was just that good and its over.
And then you find that the author in question has a whole series with the same world and characters! Heaven!
That was how I discovered several authors I love and I can't imagine life without their words on my book shelf. Tamora Pierce, Mercedes Lackey, Patricia Briggs, Robin McKinley, Patricia Wrede, and Brian Jaques...just to name a few. Reading one of their books is like a special treat I can enjoy over and over again.
Its only a small thing in the big rush of life. Kind of like the yogurt. Both, however, are well worth savoring. You never know if you'll find yourself scraping the bottom of the tub tomorrow, or realizing the jerk that broke into your car last night took your favorite book along with your purse.
Love the little things in your life, guys. Take a moment and savor them. You never know when they may no longer be there to enjoy.
Have you every heard the phrase that "everyone is a winner"?
Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but that's a load of hogwash. Not everyone can be a winner, and it implies that if you're a loser you must suck dirty dishwater to be so bad.
I hate that.
Everyone needs to learn how to lose and these days people don't seem to realize that. The most obvious example I've seen thus far would be a couple schools(mostly for the younger grades) who play their sports with the notion that points don't count, and nobody wins or loses. Now, I get what they're trying to do, but it won't work. No matter that the adults have thrown out the whole winner/loser deal, you can bet the kids are paying attention. And since there are no "winners or losers" they aren't being taught how to lose gracefully or win and be humble about it.
The same thing goes for writing and authors. Rejection is a part of the game we play to reach our dreams. You can "lose" for an average of 5-8 years before getting that "win" of signing with an agent. Then you're back in the game(usually after lots of edits with said agent) and facing more "losses" as you strive for the next "win", and so it goes.
We need to learn how to lose. It serves so many purposes for us that most people don't even realize. Losing teaches us to grow a thick skin and know that things don't always go according to plan. It keeps us humble, yet hopeful so when that big win does finally come we can truly savor it without making a fool of ourselves. Losing forces us to look at ourselves, find what's holding us back so we can fix it and leave the earth behind as we find our wings to soar. So the next time someone tells you your book sucks, or you get a rejection, try not to take it so personally. If you can, ask them why they think that and then file it away to consider later. They may have a point, but then again, it may be they just don't like your work.
When you're a writer, you find lessons in character creation and research in the strangest places.
A few years ago when the vampire craze was at its thickest, there was a show on tv called Moonlight. It didn't survive past the first season, but it was still pretty popular. So, when I came across it at the library, I decided to take a peek. It was...interesting.
You know those books you pick up that have a really good story line, but only one or two strong characters? Well, that was Moonlight. The male lead, Mick St. John, is a vampire who was changed against his will and wants to be human. Maybe want isn't quite strong enough a word. Its always on his mind and he doesn't care that it means giving up immortality and all the perks of a vampire. He's a very well crafted, strong character and his dialog is spot on for who and what he is. He's a character you can become invested in as the series goes on.
The female lead, on the other hand, doesn't measure up so well. Her name is Beth, and the fact that I don't even remember her last name says a lot to me. She's human(no surprise there), and if she vanished from the series, I wouldn't have mourned her in the least. She starts to shape up later on, but I still wish they'd paid a little more attention to her character when the writers first created her.
The story itself is a good one. With the exception of Beth, who's kind of all over the place, all the characters hold true to who they are. The vampire slant is fresh enough that it keeps you guessing as the story unfolds, and well researched. Last of all, the series keeps your attention.
This is kind of like how I want my books to be. Well, barring the Beth-like characters, anyway. Strong leads, a fresh view on old things, a good story, and no matter what, a world that pulls in my reader so well that they forget to eat lunch because they just want to see how the story ends. I can only hope that my written world won't end as abruptly as Moonlight's did.
For now, however, I still have two more episodes to watch and a chapter to whip into shape. It's been a long week and I'm feeling the urge to indulge.
Also, I just bought some ice cream. Peanut butter n' chip, anyone?
Yeah, that was my thought not five minutes ago as I logged onto Blogger to see what other people were up to today. Actually, that's how the past week has been. Unreal, hazy, and easily forgotten as I pick apart yet another knot in chapter 27.
Yup, that's right. I'm STILL working on it.
Slowly it's starting to come together as I figure out what is too much information for the reader, and what is just enough. That's what happens when you introduce a new character so late in the game and you know everything about her.
Ok, maybe not everything.
Still, this part in the chapter came up and suddenly I knew this person had to be there. She's mentioned several times earlier in the book, but this is the first time she actually makes an appearance. And then, just as suddenly, I knew exactly who she was, and why she might be more then she seemed.
Now I have to convey all that baggage without telling the reader outright. On top of that, I need it to be sad, and tense, and painful all at once. This is not the first time a character has dropped fully formed into my head, but she's the only non-lead character to do so thus far. It's been very interesting to say the least.
And by that, I mean she's being a pain.
Well, I better get back to it. Besides, I have a tall glass of chocolate goat's milk* in the freezer and its calling my name.
~Sun and Moon
*(Don't knock it till you've tried it. I'm lactose intolerant and I hate soy milk and all that fake stuff on the market, so I drink this instead. Goat's milk is rich and yummy, and makes killer chocolate milk. I dare you to give it a try.)
Well, the past week has been interesting indeed. I went from having three followers to having eight, and from no comments to having two on my latest post. From chatting into the void, to having people listening to what I have to say.
I have to admit, after dancing around my livingroom and squealing over my new followers for a minute, I suddenly felt a little pressure. It wasn't just for me anymore and I found myself wondering: will this be what it's like when I publish my first book?
Granted, I haven't even finished the final edits for Book one yet, but I can't help but think about it. Do I want this? Am I crazy? Can I handle it?
I've heard many times over that authors have to be just a little nuts to do what they do. If that's what it takes to see my book on shelves, I'll be crazy. Art is meant to be seen and shared, after all, not stuck in a box and kept safe from those it was meant for. The same goes for the stories we write. Now, we all have those pieces that were made just for us, whether its a manuscript that defies all the rules, or a piece of artwork that's precious to us in spite of all it's flaws. Those are ours to cherish however we like, but then there are those we create for others as well as ourselves. The trick is figuring out which one is which.
Originally "New Beginnings" was one of those destined for the shoe box(yes I have an actual shoe box for that kind of thing). After languishing there for upwards of ten years(I wrote the original draft at twelve years old), I found myself thinking of the characters once again, and decided to give them another shot. Now, that original draft will never see the light of day(yes, its that scary, lol), but "New Beginnings" is another story altogether, pun intended.
Whether or not I end up a published author remains to be seen, but until then I'm another writer scrambling to get her stories out of her head and onto something besides the receipt tape from work. And as long as the stories keep coming and the words keep flowing, I'll be crazy.
Sometimes you have to let things go to move forward, whether it's a piece of artwork giving you trouble, an argument you can't seem to win, or words on a page that simply won't behave as you want them to. You can only let yourself bash your head against an unmoveable wall for so long before you're burned out with a pounding headache and ready to give up.
But think about it. You wouldn't pick green fruit and expect to be able to eat it right away. You wouldn't open freshly bottled wine and expect it to be any good. No one plants the seeds for their garden and then wonder why they don't have cucumbers and squash on the vine the next day.
Sometimes you need to let things age. Those words you put down last night at one o'clock in the morning may have sounded like dreck as you read them over before finally getting some sleep, but in the morning things may change. Some scenes need time to settle before you see them as anything other then a hasty replacement.
So next time you reach the point of burnout just let it go and move on. We are all learning, and no one said you had to be perfect. I mean, yeah it would be nice to churn out a first draft where every word is struck in gold, but things just don't happen that way.
Nobody is perfect, and no one can master their craft without mistakes. Mistakes, after all, are how we learn. Think about it :) ~Sun and Moon
The apartment is nearly clean, and edits for chapter twenty-seven have been underway for the past week. I wish I could say I've been making wonderful progress and that I'm almost done with the darned thing(the chapter, not the apartment), but alas, no. Instead of moving through to the sticky part in the middle of said chapter, I got stuck on the beginning.
Yup, that's right folks. For the past week I've been stuck on one darned paragraph that refused to cooperate. The whole reason it had to be redone? It was too over the top. Just a little. Ok, maybe more then a little.
Monday I spent about six hours hammering it out, but still wasn't happy. I'm still not sure, even after getting some wonderful feedback from my beta readers, that I'm happy with it now. It still sounds...off to me. Or maybe its because the original words have been in place for over a year? Either way, I'm setting it aside to come back to later. Maybe then I'll see it as a good fit instead of as a hasty bandage.
For now, however, its time for me to get back to work.
Over the past week I have realized I am in desperate need of a time machine. I concidered cloning, honest I did, but decided it was too messy and unpredictable. Nope, time machines are the only way to go.
Unfortunately, they're awfully scarce in Ohio. If you find one in working condition, please let me know.
On another note, I still haven't had a chance to do more then read over chapter twenty-seven and make notes as I've been on a one woman rampage to finally get my apartment in order. So far my livingroom, art studio/study/guinea pig room, and the tiny spare bedroom(read: large closet sized room) are all looking pretty snazzy. The bedroom and the stairwell outside our door is another matter. However, it's too hot to work on the stairwell and our cat, who isn't feeling well, has taken over the bedroom. Since I don't want to disturb her I'll be pulling out my laptop and curling up in the livingroom to get some serious work done at last.
Or at least that's the plan.
There's apple crisp cooling on the stove and my hubby is waiting for me to serve it up(why he won't serve himself until I cut it first is beyond me, lol), so I better get cracking. Bedtime will be here soon enough and I have work in the morning. I was serious about that time machine, by the way.
Or rather, it was supposed to be. Instead I cleaned my kitchen, did all the dishes except for one(it really needs to soak for a bit, trust me), vacumed, swept what little hard floor we have, gernerally picked up stuff, and did some laundry. I had some good music blasting and sang along as I scrubbed, rinsed, swept, and basically put things to rights.
Oddly enough, it was awesome.
I now have a clean house for my husband to come home to. There's time for a nap, and even some artwork before he gets home....well, maybe not the nap.
As you've probably guessed, I've finished chapter twenty-six. The new ending is still a little raw, but all my betas who have read the new ending love it and that's good enough for me(I can always tweak it later).
Today is also the last day of my usual three day break between chapters. Tomorrow it's back to work, and I'm hoping the new changes I've made are the right ones. It'll all show up one way or another when I buckled down. This will be my second attempt to finish chapter twenty-seven. I have to admit, I'm a little nervous, but excited too.
I'm almost done.
That's right. There are just three chapters after this one and none of them need the kind of rewrite twenty-seven does. With a bit of luck, I'll spend maybe a week on each of them.
For now, however, I'm still on my three day break and I've been working pretty hard. It's time to go slip into my little art studio for a bit and get lost in lush color and clean lines....or I could try for the nap.
Another week come and gone, and I feel like I'm standing still as it blows by.
I woke up this morning to realize it was monday and I hadn't posted a single word for my Sunday blog post. I haven't been late in a while, but I have a good reason. Or rather, I have a reason that makes sense to me.
Actually, its two reasons.
First of all, I lost a guinea pig last Monday. She had been sick and I'd been trying to get her to pull through with no success. The last of my breeding stock, her death put a definite end to my small breeding operation. I now have a small herd of five guinea pig misfits I either can't bear to sell, or simply won't because I don't trust anyone to understand their quirks like I do. My website died out last year and the online ad I maintained was deleted just yesterday. I'll miss waking up to new babies running around the cube and coroplast cages I built, but its time to let go and just enjoy the ones left to me.
And my other reason for slacking off and forgetting to post yesterday? Well, I had the most amazing day with my husband goofing off and talking about everything and nothing at all. There was a wrestling match(I won), video games(I lost), steak for dinner, and a movie to round out the night.
It was awesome.
I even got some editting done, and chapter 26 is slowly coming together as a new character makes her debut just as things wrap up. It still needs lots of work, but I have the time.
And on that note I think I'll turn in. My pillow is calling my name and I'm about to fall asleep at the keyboard.
Things are finally starting to look up around here. I've managed to fixed a scene that was bothering me and even started on working on a new ending for chapter twenty-five. There's new artwork on my desk tonight waiting for a final touch up before it gets a mat and a frame, and I have tomorrow off with my husband for the first time in a long while.
I even managed to get a full night's sleep last night.
Yeah, things are definitely looking up. I'm still stumped on how to rework the ending of chapter twenty-six, but I figure I'll come to that when it's time. Until then I have plenty to think about as one of the books I've been putting off while I work on this trilogy has decided to drop some new facts in my lap. Thank goodness for notebooks kept by the bed and the street lamp outside my window.
For now though, it's time to get back to work while I can. Here's hoping all this forward progress doesn't come crashing to a halt anytime soon. I'm enjoying this ride too much to be getting off now and I have more stories to share then just this one.
And on that note, I'm out of here. Chapter twenty-five is calling my name and I need to get to work.
That's what I tell people when I've just finished ringing them up and they can't seem to find their cash/check book/credit card. And it's true. I do get paid by the hour. That's not why I say it though.
You see, when those words pass my lips the customer usually smiles or chuckles and then goes back to looking. However, now they know the pressure is off. They know I'm not standing there wishing they'd gotten everything ready while I was ringing up their groceries. And I've discovered that when they're more relaxed they tend to find that elusive cash/check book/credit card a lot faster. Don't worry, there's a point to all this rambling.
If you look in on my blog regularly, you'll know I've been having problems with the chapter 27 rewrite. Well, maybe "problem" is a bit of an understatement. Its been the most frustrating chapter so far and then some. But in the rush to get it done and out of the way, I didn't realize the real problem.
Sometimes you have to go back in order to go forwards.
There were a couple spots I wasn't truly happy with in chapter twenty-five, and again in chapter twenty-six, but since I was in a hurry to get them done, I brushed them off and ignored that nagging feeling.
Well now that neglect and rushing has come back to bite me one. Just like those folks who were in such a hurry to get to the next store that they just tossed their cash/check book/credit card in their purse or pocket instead of putting it were it belonged, I tossed some words down and ran on to the next chapter. Now I've wasted a week fumbling for the words I needed when my characters are still waiting for me back in chapter twenty-five wondering where I left my brain.
Nothing makes you feel stupid like your characters giving you the silent treatment. Trust me, it sucks.
So after I tracked down my brain and groveled to my characters for a bit, I returned to chapter twenty-five. I still feel stupid, but at least my characters are talking to me again. Tonight I go back to chapter twenty-five one more time to a proper polish on it before heading to take another look at chapter twenty-six. With a little effort, I should be back to chapter twenty-seven by the end of the week.
Nothing is for sure, of course, but hopefully I've learned my lesson. Unfortunately, only time will tell. In the meantime, have you seen my wallet? I seem to have lost it again. ~Sun and Moon
It's that time of the week again and for once I can't seem to think of what to say. I would just post a cute picture of some sort and call a night, but I don't have any cute pictures to post.
Shameful isn't it?
So for lack of a cute picture, here's one one of our cat Nikkie. One of the few ways to get her to stay still long enough to take her picture is to pet her until she flops down on the floor and starts batting at your fingers.
I didn't lose any fingers taking this pic, but she did swat my foot when I went to walk away. That's right folks, don't let the innocent look fool you. After all, it's the quiet ones you have to watch.
As I'm working on chapter twenty-seven(and wondering how long it's going to take to get it finished so I can move on to chapter 28), I keep hitting these snags. I've probably rewritten the fourth page half a million times already, and it's still not quite right. Part of it is the piece of me that clings to the original words because they've been there so long and they're comfortable. The rest is me just wanting it to be perfect as possible and refusing to settle for less then the best I can do.
After working on the same page for nearly a week, I feel like it's nearly there. Like it just needs the right words, the right push, and it'll all fall into place for me. So while I probably have at least another week's worth of work to put into it until I can call it close to ready...I'm making progress.
It's hard not to rush ahead, though. Because while I'm making progress, it's taking me longer then I thought it would. Plus I keep thinking about the fact I'm just three chapters away from being done with edits. I keep getting all excited....and then I start screwing up and it's back to square one.
I have to admit though, I've peeked ahead a few times. Mostly to reassure myself the last three chapters won't need work quite on the scale this one does. So far, so good, but I've said that before and been wrong, so we'll just have to wait and see.
In the meantime, there's a new scene to fit into chapter twenty-five, cover art for "New Beginnings" to finish, and my apartment could do with a good cleaning. I took a break from edits today, but tomorrow its back to work on chapter twenty-seven. Hopefully I'll be able to leave page four behind at last and move on to something new.
Keep your fingers crossed for me, ok? I'm off to get some sleep. Goodnight, folks.
Getting opinions for my work can be an all day thing. Fortunately, most of my beta readers work at the same store as me. This was especially good yesterday when I found myself stuck waiting for my husband to finish his shift so we could go home.
Instead of pouting when I couldn't find someone else to take me home, I tracked down two of my beta readers and asked them to have a look at a scene change I was thinking of doing in chapter twenty-five(yes, I know I'm supposed to be working on chapter twenty-seven, but this scene had been bugging me for a while).
While I was doing that, another person I work with saw the papers and asked what it was. My reply was a little garbled as I was(and still am) sick and had run out of cold medicine halfway through the day, but I must've managed to make some kind of sense, because she decided to read it too.
So I now have several opinions on that scene. Mostly they're positive, but seeing as the original scene was VERY polished and I threw the alternate one together in an hour's time late at night after I'd had some nyquil....it wasn't whole hearted.
Beta reader One(no names, sorry) thought the alternate was better. Or, it would be once I fixed two mistakes that she pointed out.
Beta reader Two said it would be very good if I blended the changes in better. A lot better. As in take the new bits and transfer them into the polished chapter seamlessly.
Coworker who took time to read pointed out an unrelated error(I had forgotten to add "the" at the right spot...on BOTH copies. How embarrassing!), and then said she liked them both. I didn't get a chance to clarify things for my fuzzy sick person brain before my husband was ready to go, but that's ok. I got what I wanted.
So today I'll be getting back to work on chapter 27 as well as giving that new scene a good polish. Hopefully tomorrow I'll have something to show for it. In the meantime, it's time for lunch and the leftover chicken lo mein in my fridge is calling my name.
Now where did I leave that little bottle of hot sauce...hm...
First of all, I would like to apologize for the late blog post. It wasn't until I got back from work this afternoon that I realized I had forgotten to post yesterday.
Vacation can do that to a girl.
Yes siree, for the past week I've just been relaxing with my husband and being an all around bum. And it was awesome.
Unfortunately, it's time to go back to work and I don't just mean for that lovely thing known as a paycheck. Chapter twenty-seven is still waiting for those edits and will need a major rewrite. I also have a million little things to do around the apartment as well as a couple of new drawings waiting to be finished. Of course logic tells me I should've done all this while I was lounging around the house during my week long vacation.
Then again, where's the fun in that?
So it's back to trying to find enough hours in the day for all the little things while I do my best to whip my book into shape. The good news is that I'm almost done with this last all around edit for this book. Soon I'll be able to set it aside and move on to Book Two.
Anyway, it's waaaay past my bedtime, so I'm off to bed before my husband wakes up and realizes I'm still typing away over here.
Well, it's been a rough few weeks, but the edits for chapter 26 are finally done. Today I'll be getting to work on chapter 27 after I get my sore butt out of this comfy computer chair and get some cleaning done. Why am I so sore? Well, my husband managed to get his dirt bike fixed a couple weeks ago and yesterday we loaded it into the bronco and took it out to the farm for a test drive. It was an awesome day of hot sun and fresh air. While he rode around one of the far pastures, I spent my day chatting with one of the boarders in the barn as she cleaned stalls and scrubbed out water buckets. We topped it off with hotdogs and hamburgers fresh off the grill along with chips, salsa, salad, and greens. It was wonderful.
But after helping my husband take the top off his bronco and haul a dirt bike into the back with no ramps....I hurt. All that walking around I did probably didn't help either. Thus I feel pretty beat up, but hopefully that won't keep me from cleaning the kitchen and maybe getting some artwork finished. If so, well....there's always tomorrow.
At about 7:30am, my husband's phone went off. It was his mom. I could tell something was wrong by the tone of her voice, but I thought it was something minor. It wasn't.
Our beautiful, funny, independent german shepherd, Bretta, had passed away during the night.
I spent my morning digging a grave for Bretta with Paul. My clothes are covered in mud and my eyes burn from crying so much. We're not done yet, either. Because the ground here is super saturated from all the rain, the hole we were digging kept filling up with muddy water. Tomorrow my husband will be going back to the farm to finish the job and bury our dog. In the meantime I'll be working on a tattoo for him of her paw print. So if you see me at work, or run into me outside of walmart, please don't ask how I'm feeling. Or if you must, then bring some tissues. If I'm going to start bawling in public again, I would appreciate not having my nose run everywhere. Prayers are welcome, and if you have a dog or know one....go give them a hug for me. You never realize just how much they mean to you until they're gone.
Were you surprised? On second thought, don't answer that. Instead, I'll explain why I still have a muddle of halfway edited chapters and hopefully you won't roll your eyes and tell me I'm nuts. Or at least try not too, ok?
Anyway, remember that virus that I wrote about in my last post? Well, no sooner then the next day, it was back. But not the same exact one. No, this one was another variation that was even smarter then the last. It took my husband and his friend several hours to get rid of it, during which it actually took over our computer, forcing my husband to have to pull the plug to shut it down. *sigh*
The next day it happened again. We got rid of it.
So far it hasn't shown back up, but it seems it's only going to be a matter of time before I see it appear on my screen to invade my computer once more.
On that note, I've been sticking to sites we're sure are still safe, and trying to get editting done in between work and getting art ready for next month's sale. To top it off, I managed to catch a cold over the past few days.
Of course, even if everything hadn't gone so splendidly these past few days, I'm not sure if I would've made much progress. I decided to snip yet another piece from one of my chapters and now as I find myself trying to smooth out the rough edges from my latest cut, I wonder if I should have cut it at all.
Not something you need to be thinking about when you're full of dayquil and cough drops.
So the offending chapters are getting sent off to a friend of mine to make sure I didn't just shoot myself in the foot, and I'm off to get some real work done on chapter 26 while I can still think to type.
If this post sounds a little odd, don't worry. I'll be back to my usual, drug-less self by next Sunday. Until then, I'm off to tackle those edits and take a nap until my husband gets back to help me with dishes.
Now, I'm not talking about me. I have hobbys. Probably more then a sane person should. No, I'm talking about the idiots who spend all this time creating viruses and trojans and the like so they can set them loose on the internet for others to stumble across.
Yeah, those people.
Because of someone like that, I lost the better part of my day trying to figure out why Windows was insisting I had all sorts of spyware, malware, and every other bad computer thing infecting my system. Thanks to a computer savy friend of my husband's, all my computer problems had been cleared up, but by then my entire day was shot and I ended up spending the rest of the evening playing games online.
So because of all that, chapter 26 still isn't finished and the other chapters I'd realized needed tweaking are untouched. Tomorrow I might be able to catch up on the writting I missed today and make some progress on the pile of cleaning that I have yet to get through. Thank goodness my vacation is only about two weeks away. At this rate, I'm going to spend the whole time cleaning and writting.
Which is exactly how I had hoped I wouldn't be spending it.
On the upside, I finished a new piece of artwork(not the one I was supposed to be working on, but oh well), did some weaving on my little lap loom, and cleaned the livingroom while watching "Penelope" and "Ever After" on my husband's PS3. Other then the false alarm with the bogus virus, it was a good day.
Well, my husband just woke up and asked why I was still awake, so I should probably head to bed. That, and the fact I'm about to fall asleep at my keyboard, tells that this is probably a good idea.
Well, this post is a little late, but better late then never, right?
Anyway, chapter twenty-five was finished thursday afternoon. It's still a little rough around the edges, but it'll do for now. I'll be taking another look at it wensday and giving a final polish, as well as taking a peek at chapter twenty-three. If nothing goes wrong, I'll be finishing up the initial edits for chapter twenty-six right about then. In fact, I might be able to call it a wrap by friday and spend the weekend going over the twelve or so pieces of artwork I hope to sell in May.
There are about five chapters to edit(including number twenty-six) before I can do a final brush through and call Book One done and take my week off before tackling Book Two. I already have the beginnings for both chapters one and two written out and ready to go into the computer, and chapters one thru ten have been outlined. New characters are starting to pop up in my head, and if I'm not careful, my supervisors are going to catch me scribbling notes for those scenes that insist on being written down right then, thank you very much.
Trying to take care of a customer? Too bad. Attempting to zone your area and neaten up in general? It can wait, because that new saytr character from an unknown chapter wants to talk to Kris and the information for his race has to be written down in my little note book this very minute.
Remember that one post not too long ago about how I'm trying to blog more often? Well, as soon as my availibity change at work kicks in, I'll be writting a blog every sunday evening to be posted on monday. I also hope to write one for wensday too.
In the meantime, I'm trying to get Book One done by May. Please note: I'm still stuck on chapter 25....ugh.
And on that note, I'm off to make something for dinner. My husband is glued to his PS3 at the moment, but I know as soon as his buddies log off he's going to be starving. Besides, white chili sounds really good when the weather people are talking about how it's going to snow tonight.
Does Spring know it's supposed to be here? Maybe someone should give it a call. I think it over slept.
Last night I got all of my internet stuff squared away, grabbed my notes, and sat down at the computer for an hour of editting before bed. I had planned everything, but as an hour began to tick by I just drew a complete blank. The words that were filling my head were not those of chapter 25.
Nope, not even close.
Instead, I found myself thinking of all the friendships I had made over the years. From when I was just three years old, to now at twenty-four(twenty-five in May, but who's counting?). So many people flash through your life as you grow up and grow old, and they all leave their impressions on who you are. So here are the words from last night. This is my tribute to those who have touched my life and helped me become who I am now. May you continue to help shape me and my dreams.
When you’re scarred and broken, and you don’t know where the pieces fall, and you feel like it’s you against the world, a friend is everything. When you feel like an outsider with your own family and you’ve shown a mask to the world so long that it has become who you are, a friend feels like a lifeline. They let you live in the moment, and help you through the rough times whether they know it or not. They make you laugh when you want to cry, and draw you out into the company of others when all you want to do is shut out the world. They are healers and guardians, brothers and sisters. They are the family bound by richer means then blood. No matter what may come, they stand with you as you stand with them.
There have been times in my life when my friends held me together and picked up the pieces when I couldn’t. They held me when I wept from the pain of growing up, and reminded me that someday it would all be worth it. Their strength helped me through the worst points in my life, and I have no doubt that they would do it again.
So to those of you who think I’ve forgotten what you’ve done, who think I turned my back on the years we’ve had together. To those of you who believe I’ve move on and away from the friendships of my past; I remember.
You have given me so much and have helped me become who I am today. I may not have said it then, but I’m saying it now. Thank you, for everything.
Well, I'll be working on cleaning up my rough cover idea tonight and giving it color on my next day off. Hopefully I'll have it loaded and ready to go not long after because that's also the day I'll be getting my sorry butt on the authonomy forums. Its time and past time to start promoting my book so it can hit the editor's desk sometime in the near future.
Wish me luck, I'll probably need it.
My other project is to start blogging a little more and get my rear in gear on book one so I can have a brief break before plunging into book two. The goal is to be done with book one, and starting book two by my birthday. I'm still getting bomboarded with snippets from book two and I fully expect to get caught scribbling away at my register any day now....
Anyway, I do have to work today, so I'm off to do some more edits on chapter twenty-five. I need to trim away at least five pages and it's been slow going.
Today I got plenty done, honest. I just didn't get any house work done is all. I have a lovely new piece of artwork to hang and ponder about whether or not it's truely finished, but my kitchen sink is full of dishes and I have yet to take out the trash. Oh well, I guess I'll be doing all that when I get home from work tomorrow.
In other news, I finally finished my edits on chapter 24. It only took me...a week? It feels like MUCH longer then that. I'll have to check later.
I have gotten chapters 11-20 of my book back from that one editting friend of mine and she loved it(insert happy dance here). She says I'm getting better at catching my own mistakes and she barely marked up any of it. Unfortunantly I don't have the next ten ready for her and I won't for some time. I looked them over earlier and had to resist the urge to....do something, lol.
Well, I'd have more to say, but it's waaay past my bedtime and I need sleep in a bad way. G'night!
If you've stopped by my authonomy page, you'll notice I have one of their generic covers posted for my book. Well, thats about to change. After sketching one thumbnail(a little picture about the size of your thumb) after another, I finally know what I want to put as my cover. I know it probably won't stay if it gets published, but it'll work for now and thats what I need.
In other news, I handed chapters 11-20 to the first of my editting friends two days ago. She hasn't started them yet, but she thinks she can have them done by this time next week. Seeing as I'm just now starting on the rewrite for chapter twenty-four, I'm not about to rush her.
I'm also trying to rework my pitch and get a small pile of artwork done. Hopefully I'll finish up this book by my birthday and be starting in on Book Two by June. I've been itching to start a new manuscript and I already have a few scenes scribbled down in my various notebooks.
Well, on that note I better get to work. Chapter 24 is waiting for me and it's not going to be an easy one. Besides, I went to the library earlier and now there's a stack of books just begging to be read....
Hm...maybe I'll work on those edits tonight instead.