Friday, December 28, 2012

Holiday Crud

The good news about being sick is that I finished an exciting ARC in less than 24hrs. The bad news is... Well, I hope my notes on it make sense tomorrow. ;) Hopefully I'll have more to report on next week since I'll be restarting my evening writing sessions between now and then.

Or ELSE, future me. Or else.

(Happy Holidays!)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Why NaNoWriMo isn't in December

Merry Christmas, every one! I hope you are having a relaxing and/or productive holiday. Personally, I'm going more for the former and not so much for the later. My writing depends on routine, so having family over and having the kids' sleep schedules all wonky means that I'm not going to stress about writing every night, not until schedules return to normal. This wasn't initially a conscious decision because I tend to plan for the best possible scenario and then wonder what went wrong. This time it was me and the baby being sick that went wrong. Going to bed at 7pm with the kids kinda kills nightly writing time. ;)

I am at some good stopping/shelving points in many of my projects and I have a specific day that I expect to restart my nightly writing sessions. I find that choosing a restart date is important for me. Until then I am charging my batteries and brainstorming in stolen moments. I'll probably start back up with a focus on editing (and submitting). The story I was working on for NaNo isn't finished but could use some more brainstorming. The plot turned out to be more far-reaching than I originally intended, and I'm not sure I'm ready to table some of my other projects for that one yet.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Writing Week in Review

There is no excerpt or flash fiction piece today because ohmehgerd I reviewed so many things. My review of "Apollo's Outcasts" by Allen Steele is already out here, and you can look forward to three more YA Report reviews and their associated interviews, as well as another magazine review for Tangent. The total word count is that of two short stories, all in a week, and I think my head my explode. It also serves as proof of how much I love reviewing and how different the writing process is from writing fiction. I can't imagine writing the drafts for two short stories in a week because it would be harder for me to switch gears between the two stories. But maybe reviewing short story magazines is giving me exactly that kind of skill, because those reviews are actually a collection of about 6 shorter reviews that I write at the same time.

I also wrote a few children's books and polished and submitted one. I sent it out with the Christmas letters as part of a psychological trick where I told myself I was going out to the mailbox any way. It's been years since I submitted anything by snail mail because I am a firm believer in email subs, but young children's books are different.

AND I managed some beta reading. Sheesh. Who am I? Am I going to pay for this super productivity by flopping about next week? I don't plan to.

It was a packed writing week that stretched my abilities and self conception. So many reviews. Researching the children's book market.  Kicking myself in the rear and submitting any thing. Forget New Years resolutions, I'm already doing it!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Review: Apollo's Outcasts by Allen Steele

So many good books have come out these past couple of months! Here is one that should please fans of hard science fiction and YA:

Apollo’s Outcasts by Allen Steele is a near-future YA following Jamey, a ‘looney’ who is crippled on Earth because of his lunar birth, as he and five other political refugees flee to the moon to escape a suddenly hostile US government. As Jamey and the other teenagers struggle to control their new trajectories, they learn that even the moon is not far enough away to escape Earth politics...

Read the rest of the review at the SFFWRTCHT.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Review: Asimov, Jan 2013

Having the internet is really useful for reviewing books and magazines. More so than you would probably think. How I was doing this before is a miracle, and mostly attributable to Bryan's patience. Between the five months without internet and participating in Nanowrimo last month, I've got a bit of a review clog. That means that I'm changing my writing project "schedule" for this week so that every day says "Reviews."

Here is my review for Asimov, Jan 2013, which just posted at Tangent thanks to Dave's help.

I have several novels for the YA report, and another magazine for Tangent. Still going strong despite my discovery that my spellchecker quit working. Wish me luck!

Friday, December 7, 2012

To Disturb the All-Seeing Waters

You say not to feel sorry for you, that it's me who has to remember what you can't. Now I agree with you.

This morning I served you breakfast ungraciously, upset that you rose out of bed before the sun. You called me by our daughter's name, Rachel, and said that I had promised to cook you eggs. There was nothing to gain by correcting you, so ten minutes later you had a glass of milk and a rubber mess on your plate. I never could make them over easy. The yolks always break.

I grumbled as I served you and you laughed at me. "You're just like your mom," you said. Suddenly your face knotted into a troubled frown. "What did you see in the divination?"

There was no way to know which one you were talking about. I repressed a sigh as I cast about for the right words. "Not much. You?"

"Chains. Around me."

I nodded, remembering. "And then you spilled it, you clumsy old man."

Your ears burned red. "I knocked it on purpose. Didn't need Betty freaking out."

"Why would Mom care--"

You hushed me then, worried that I would walk in and hear myself talking about it. The look of vague confusion on your face was much more painful to watch than any secrets you could have told me. You lowered your voice. "Your Mom was holding the chains. I thought you might have seen. But it doesn't mean anything, you know? Divination's half guess work, any way."

I turned to wipe the counter, hiding my face from you so that you couldn't realize that it was me you were talking to. "Sometimes it tells the future."

You laughed. "Who cares? Maybe I like chains. But your mom would flip and send us all to counseling."

It was hard to think back to who I was ten, twenty years ago. Anxious. Always had to be on top of things. I remembered something that Rachel yelled at me once, when the reflection had shown her and a boy at school kissing. "I don't think we should do any more divination. Useless piece of donkey hide, like you say."

You nod with approval. "Tell that to your Mom, then!"

Even if I wanted to use the waters again, I'd need Rachel for the encantation, and she's not here. It's just you and me and our past.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Writing without the Internet!

So, we have not had the internet for about 5 months, until today. It was a bit of a learning experience, but not as much as I thought it would be. Having grown up without internet for much of my childhood, I think of it as a luxury and not a necessity - necessities being things like food and water. I thought that not having the internet would help me focus on writing, seeing as we still had a computer to type on. And it kind of did. But that lesson only took a few weeks to sink in. After that, all I learned was that life in the USA is run as if every one has internet, because most people do. Heck, even I had my data connection on my phone, which was kind of like having dialup, and there's always the library if you don't have two toddlers to drag with you. Point being that people expect you to be able to search your email, email back, check online calendars, fill out forms online, etc., and do all that quickly. The biggest blow besides not being able to pay bills online was not being able to blog or submit my writing through online forms. It's great to get more writing done, but shorter projects have a greater need to get out there in some fashion. I mean, I am doing reviews for two websites now and I am lucky that they have been able to work with me on not being able to put up the review myself.

Now I am very grateful for the internet and I'm forming a plan for how to get the most out of it for my writing. One thing I learned was that I should have a single task for each night's writing time. More focus means faster typing and editing and less forgetting of details. Keeping a physical weekly/2week project calendar helps me remember external and internally motivated deadlines alike. Smaller tasks can be relegated to non-writing time when I can grab five minutes during the day and focus (or typing long winded posts...) is not an issue. I think I have a pretty good idea of what my phone can handle, haha. And! And! Once we get the wireless set up, my phone will do these "5 minute" things faster. Drooooool.

Here is my generic weekly plan for my new internet-laden writing times:

  • Posting Monday - Scheduling all my posts for the coming week, including this blog, and reviews, and tweets...
  • Review Tuesday - A good day to feel guilty about reviews I haven't written yet and get on that. Links to reviews that have just gone live may appear this day if I scheduled them on Monday, but this is a no-internet day for me.
  • Submission Wednesday - A day to check where I plan to submit and where I am with those goals, and then Beta Read. I have to be submitting things myself before I can read and comment on other people's unpublished writing.
  • Writing Thursday - You won't be hearing from me this day because I will be writing fiction like the internet hasn't been invented yet.
  • Exerpt Friday - This is my accountability day, the day that I post on this blog to tell you what I have written during the week. I'll be posting an excerpt, summary, link, or flash piece for #flashfriday on twitter.
  • Podcasting Saturday - This is the day that Pendragon Variety records, when they are recording that week. I'd also like to get back into recording short fiction like for the Dribblecast.
  • Homeschooling Sunday - During the traditional school sessions, I teach at a homeschool Coop on Mondays. Plus, I also do light homeschooling for my 3 year old. Plus whatever else strikes my fancy. I have been itching to upload materials to TeachersPayTeachers.

This is something I will tweek every week because I can't stand being tied too closely to a schedule with no regard for specific projects. But, this is the default. This is something to start with. Yay!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Review of Interzone at Tangent Online

I'm happy to report that I have joined the staff of reviewers at Tangent Online and that my review of Interzone is up here:

My review of Quantum Coin, sequel to Fair Coin, by E. C. Myers, went up recently at Bryan Schmidt's sffwrtcht website:

Despite the extra review work I've taken on and the fact that the boys have been sick for a month, my short story writing and beta reading work is right where I want it to be. I also made brownies. What can I say? I can be pretty awesome. Hubby fixed the printer jam, though. ;)

How do you handle taking on new projects? I had to put some of my more far flung homeschool writing on temporary hold and organize my writing sessions to focus on a single project for several days in a row, to get the most out of myself. I also find it beneficial to let rough drafts sit for at least a week before editing them.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Day 77: Almost Everything

My procrastination bet paid off because tonight I finally felt well enough to write the drama scripts I need for tomorrow. Whew. The only thing I didn't get done was some beta reading. Keeping a weekly schedule helped my goals even when I didn't precisely keep it. Ahem.

And... the printer is jammed. Rawr.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Day 74: Running Out of Week

Spent a bit of time notecarding tonight because an idea I was rolling around in my brain finally picked itself up a theme. Plus, the week is looming to a close, which means that my writing obligations to other people - beta reading and planning my weekly drama class - are about to decide the rest of the week for me. The other things I never got to this week have deadlines that are malleable or far off.

Do you know what I am doing for my Drama classes for Monday? Both classes have created their own plot and written down scene notes and a few lines, which I am going to write into a script. I plan to have fun with that tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Day 73: What Plan?

This is the first week that I've gone against my plan for the week. My best excuse is that I planned it thinking that the fam would be over this cold, and instead I face my greatest enemy... interruptions. ;) So I am getting things done, but odd, haphazard things...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Day 63: The Week of Babies

Wow, has it been a week since I posted last? Never fear! I have been writing faithfully every night. 3 nights I have spent working on a new short story, 2 nights beta reading, and the remainder working on lesson plans (drama!). I can't say much for my word count in the short story, but its not for a lack of time or effort - I've just been extra tired, and that means a lot of molasses thoughts.

So, a bit about my personal life. Why so tired? First off, it was one of those weeks where every one I asked got back to me with "Yes, let's get together." Yay for nice weather and play dates! We came this close to over booking ourselves and I went to bed early many nights.

So, of course this would be the week that... My friend had a baby! She was in labor for days and I was holding my breath for the good news! Yay for her healthy baby boy!

And then there's my baby. He's 14 months old as of today and recently we started putting him in the crib to sleep, but only last night did I dare count how many times he wakes up to "eat" each night. 4. In a 12 hour period (every three hours on average). Since forever. Now that I have to get up to comfort him it is officially destroying my sleep, and no 1 year old needs to eat that often at night. That's infant rates, that is! In fact, I'm sure it was partly my friend having a baby that motivated me to evaluate where we are at a year after our baby was born. We all deserve better sleep - including the baby!

So, he is learning. And learning involves being awake longer in the middle of the night. Temporarily... I hope. ;) And don't even get me started on mythical nap time!

All of this going on, and yet, this is not a list if excuses. I still wrote every night!

Who knows what adventures next week will bring? Amongst those adventures will be writing, as always! This nightly writing habit was the best idea ever.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Day 55

It has been a few days since I blogged, but that is because I have been chugging along and flopping in bed exhausted each night. I am very happy to say that I have begun editing People of the Sea again. Last night I had to get back out of bed to jot down the changes I planned for today!

You know what is weird? I would have never thought that this would work for me, but I have planned a week or two in advance what project I am going to work in each day. I have never had so many projects - and types of projects!  - going at once. It was too easy to put off editing by working on other things, and I'd accidentally let weeks slip by without beta reading. One thing that has made my writing calendar possible is that I understand more than I used to about my writing needs, like how long I can work on one thing before I need to switch gears and let that project recharge.

I gotta say, though, that not having the regular old internet can be a pain in my rear for certain projects. Submitting stories? Yeah right! Fewer distractions is great until I want to do something like that and then it will take twice as long or not work at all. Eh. I want to figure out how to make it to the library more often,  sans kids.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Writing Lesson Plans

I should be writing my review for Reaper by K.D. McEntire, because the book is awesome, but instead I have been writing lesson plans.

I know, I know. Originally I had hoped to focus solely on fiction and reviews and only count those two things as writing time. But I start teaching at the homeschool Coop on Monday! And I'm teaching Drama! I am so excited!

And it is writing, darn it all. It should count. I have a hard time not counting writing of any variety (and beta reading...) as part of my writing marathon. So, there you have. I cheated. I guess?

Tomorrow, the review! Promise. Otherwise K. D. McEntire can claim a free babysitting token.  ;)  She has sequels to write, after all!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


I slogged through that last scene tonight just to say that I did. Hey, at least editing will feel like less of an ego blow,  right? Bleh. Kids waking up too early! Proof: I sent the wrong copy of a file to a writer, and momentarily thought that I had lost all my work commenting etc.! Nope, just saved it in the wrong folder, is all. Ah, well. At least I'll have something to work with when I get back to the story.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Day 45: Almost there!

I've only got a few hundred words left in this last scene, but I'm stopping early because I'm a bit under the weather and need the extra sleep to take care of the kids tomorrow. Tomorrow night: a complete rough draft! And maybe a once over to check for consistency before I table this and get back to writing reviews.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Day 43: (re)structuring a short story

So, about that 5000 words. I erased all but 1500 of it for a restructuring that should reign in the word count. I'm not the queen of math, but I'm back up to 2800 words and diving into the climax. I don't consider the trashed bits a total waste, either. That is the down side to discovery writing. At least I worked out a lot about the characters and their previous relationships.

In this rewrite, we don't leave important characters behind in the beginning. That solves the problem of how to get them back in for the rescue at the end. It also means that the MC spends less time interacting with lower tier characters who, while important to him, have little direct power over the outcome of the story. Sucks to be a human in an urban fantasy,  eh?

Hopefully my biggest challenge now will be balancing back story with all this life threatening action ;)

Friday, August 31, 2012

Day 42

The good news is that I'm up to 5,000 words in my short story! The less awesome news is, well, that. The first draft isn't even done yet. I'd prefer the final draft to be less than 5k. But first thing's first - to finish this first draft. Tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Day 40

I prefer round numbers, like 40 and 10:00pm, and ending my writing time at a scene break. (Despite hearing good advice to the contrary!)

Today has been an orderly day. 500 words.

Next time C arranges the fridge magnets in a straight line, I won't wonder who he inherited that impulse from. ;)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Determined not to be a Bust!

Writing Marathon, Day 39: I'm glad I made time to write a bit this morning, because this evening is a no go. If I had waited until now, I'm sure I wouldn't have even gotten 300 words. Generally, I have made great progress on this short story over the last couple of nights: about 3000 words and endless brainstorming to work out plot kinks. I feel like I have the garden of forking paths crammed in my head, and its the gardener's day off!

The plan is to finish the 1st draft this week, then write a few nonfiction articles, then editing - if not this current WIP, then People of the Sea, which has been waiting around, pouting over my shoulder for over a month now.

My submission goals? I'm calling those a bust for now.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

900 Words

I was sitting in the car today, dwelling on an urge to write a short story, when it came to me how to restructure a certain WIP to do just that. I hope. The good news is that I wrote 900 words in it tonight. The iffy news is that I forgot how short 900 words can be. I have only gotten through two out of seven bullet points in my outline, and I didn't outline an end scene yet. Hmm.

It could still be short enough. Wish me luck!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Boot to the head

This is my boot to the head for tomorrow,  because tonight I spent far too little time beta reading and far too much time nostalgically moving photos off of my camera and phone into the correct, dated folders on my computer. Productive writing time was doomed the minute I accidentally clicked the folder for April 2010, when C was only 9 months old. <3

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Beta Reading, Reviews, And Pinterest!

<p>Yesterday I finally put in real beta reading time. A chapter a week was one of my goals, after all! Let's not talk about my other goals... ahem.</p>
<p>I discovered today that there is a Blogger App for my phone. Woohoo! Having my posts limited to the length of a text message was restrictive, even for me. </p>
<p>Did you see the new nonfiction project I've been working on? G<a href="">irl, That's Pinteresting</a> is a blog detailing my friend Erin and I's attempt to recreate pins we see for our family - mostly delicious food and fun home schooling activities. Most of my writing time has been going to that and to writing YA reviews. A successful enough month of writing so far!</p>
Tonight: finished my review for Apollo's Outcast, sent it off, and prepared two Pinteresting blog entries.</p>

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

This is how writing time should always go. Wrote a non fiction piece from start to finish. Now, beta reading. And ice cream.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Have already made up for slacking off earlier. Rearranged comp to locate files I need, made note of which I need to download, and sent off interview Qs. Go me!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Have been tired and slacking on my nightly writing parameters. Sick of writing non-fiction, so tonight I am ignoring my reviews and writing in a random story!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Working on my review of Allen Steele's engaging "Apollo's Outcasts". Went to the library today to contact authors and use netgalley. Go me! And ty, hubby.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Haven't gotten as much done today because I have been trying to convince my phone that it has enough of a connection to sign into netgalley. Harrumph!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Finished my review for Shadowfell by Juliett Marillier - an epic fantasy full of Big Questions. Yay!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Day 20: finished a review for Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz. Woohoo!

Friday, August 10, 2012

(2/2) still do it.
(1/2) Day 19! Have been working on the reviews and figuring out how to use my phone to get them out into the world. Everything takes longer but glad I can

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

An extremely successful day! Comp up. Figured out phone usb. Typed up a review of Quantum Coin by E.C. Myers to send off. Woohoo!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Finished reading "Apollo's Outcasts" by Allen Steele. Started writing review. Started setting up computer!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Summarized another plot for the drawer. Plan to do the same tomorrow night. Can't wait to get my hands on a real keyboard again!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Could not focus on WIP, so I jotted notes for a story idea, hoping to get it out of my head. Get in that drawer, you!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Wrote a few scene cards with letters for character names. I hate it when two major characters have names that start with the same letter. Weird? Probably.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Day 7! Had to dig writing pad out from the Sorting Pile of Doom. I now have a barely legible back story for WIP's magic system. Tomorrow: scene cards

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Yesterday: a list of possible characters. Today: MCs and a love triangle. Oh, and some conspiracy for good measure

Friday, July 27, 2012

(2/2) think this sort of thing would at least help with all those pesky side characters in a novel length or series length work.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The good news is that I'm on day 3 of my second writing marathon. The bad news is that I'm having to post about it from my phone and only just figured out how.
The good news is that I'm on day 3 of my second writing marathon. The bad news is that I'm having to post about it from my phone and only just figured out how.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Marathon #2 Goals - and GO!

Marathon Rules:
20 minutes a night of writing, editing, or submitting. (reading does not count, formatting does)

Marathon Goals:
Fiction: 1 night a week of writeordie, writing flash or new material needed for editing longer stories.
Fiction 2: Have two stories out in submissions, constantly.
Fiction 3: Complete another round of editing of People of the Sea by the end of 90 days.
Reviews: 2 articles a month. That is either 1 book review and an interview, or two book reviews.
Beta Reading: A chapter a week.

Competing Life Goals:
Weekly homeschooling theme with 6 activities

The biggest difference between these goals and my last, unwritten goals is that I only have one big project to focus on, fiction wise, and I'm dedicated a night to writeordie. Every time I use , I love my progress, but these times are too few and far between. I am also formalizing my beta reading goals because although they don't count towards my 20 minutes a night, they're still important to me and I easily lose track of how many days it has been since I last heard from or got back to a fellow author.

And it begins... Now!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

My Goal is to work on my Goals...

That Wednesday deadline for my goals went a little soft. I thought we'd be moved in by then and we're not. Today was also C's 3rd birthday, so not making the Wednesday deadline pretty much guaranteed that my goals wouldn't be ship shape before today.

Ah, well. I am happy to report that I've still be doing writing related things on my "break", mostly reading. Tonight I am working a little on YA reviews for sffwrtcht. My interview of Stephen Wallenfels, author of POD, came out on the 12th, and the next couple weeks are looking a little thin due to a gap of books that interested me. Quantum Coin just arrived in my mailbox, and I just finished Shadowfell, not to mention Splendors and Glooms, so there are plenty of reviews in the queue!

I do still feel that I need more defined goals for this next writing marathon, so I'll be throwing some wet bullet points and seeing which ones stick to the wall.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Last Day of Writing Marathon!

What did I do for my last day of my writing marathon last night? (Day 90!) I took notes on a new story idea and started reading a book I am already loving, to review later. It has been a successful 90 days, and now I am giving myself until Wednesday to slack off and come up with my game plan for my next 90 day marathon.  This time around, I only had one rule: 15 minutes of "writing," and that included almost anything related to writing, prose or fiction. I started with a handful of goals, some of which I met, like my goal to edit and submit work. Next time, I'll show you what my goals are from the get go. I may also add another rule or two. Any suggestions?

I'm excited about the move and about my next set of goals. Although I probably won't be done with arranging things in the house by Wednesday, I think these extra chores will be balanced out by the benefits of the new place, including the fact that there are no stairs. My knees have hurt since the baby was born almost a year ago, and pain drains a person's energy. Plus the computer will be better situated so that whoever is using it is not bothering other people.

The only downside? We won't have internet. Well, I'll have my data connection on my phone. That might mean I'm only posting in the blog once or twice a week. I'll still have a computer and may actually get more done.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Writing Marathon, Day 89!

Tomorrow is the last day of my goal to write every day for 90 days. So close! I have been flagging a little because we are moving soon and have to get the new place ready, plus pack. So, after tomorrow night I will take the weekend off. Once my break is over, I'll go another 90 days.

This past week I have been writing reviews, helping with the Pendragon Variety magazine, and beta reading. Tonight I got a rejection for "To Save Samantha". It's a difficult piece to find a home for because of the experimental qualities. I have half a mind to podcast it!

The rest of the night I am going to spend reading for upcoming reviews. The next month is looking pretty bleak for reviews. There weren't that many books I was interested in, and then, hello! The distractions mentioned above didn't help. My reading time has been spent packing.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Writing Marathon, Day 82

Wow, has it really been 6 days since my last post? I have been writing every night, but the quality has hardly been worth mentioning. I've been tired and distracted, so my mind skips around from this project to that. So, I've managed to take some notes, but that's about it for my fiction this past week. For this reason I've focused on beta reading, which is what I did tonight. I find that helping other writers with their fiction helps me improve my writing, both directly and indirectly.

Lastly, my review of POD by Stephen Wallenfels came out this week. Woohoo! Next, I need to write a review for Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz. I finished the book days ago! We have to take a break on the house remodel because of the heat, so perhaps tomorrow... In the mean time, Stephen Wallenfels was kind enough to do an interview with me, so that should be coming out soon.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Writing Marathon, Day 76

Sometimes I like to trick that rebellious, pout monster inside of me. The part that whines "but I don't waaaaaaaaaant to!"

I've still been writing every night, with about 30 minutes each night. I only took a short break from blogging about it so that I could feel like I was "getting away" with something, while still meeting my goals. I've continued working on reviews, formatting interviews, and that sort of thing. Even better, tonight I submitted two stories out into the world. One came back from my wonderful beta reader with only a few fixes needed, and that went to the magazine that recently rejected a different piece with a note indicating that they liked my work but couldn't find a place for that story. The other story I sent off has been rejected by several different publications. It's a difficult one to find a match for because the format is a bit experimental. Tonight I suddenly realized that there was another genre label or two that I could search under at .

Now I can reward myself with a bit of beta reading for my beta reader. :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Writing Marathon, Day 73

Today's writing time: 29 minutes.

I've received a few rejections from magazines lately, and one had a nice little PS. indicating that the story was almost right for them. This makes me feel as if my writing may be a good match for that particular magazine if I chose another piece with more action in it. So, I've edited a few flash pieces that were already on their 3+ draft, and sent them off to a beta reader.

If I went to bed now, I'd be getting to bed early. Haha!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Writing Marathon, Day 72

Today's writing time: 15 minutes, formatting and scheduling reviews.

Father's Day was such a blast and I am so ready for bed. While I was driving home, I was reminding myself of my resolution to write every night, and I realized... Wow, it's going to be harder when we're busting our behinds moving house! I considered, briefly, putting my resolution on hold, but when it comes down to it, it's only fifteen minutes. That was the point of not choosing a higher goal. Never give up, never surrender! I might have to grab some of my writing time during the day, is all.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Writing Marathon, Day 71

Today's writing time: 30ish minutes.

The good news is that I did exactly what I had planned to do, which is polish off that review and send it to the publicist. That might have been after 30 minutes of creating a homeschool plan for my soon-to-be-3 year old. He could use more structured activities, and I love to have a plan. But most of all, I saw this adorable 6-pocket hanging organizer at a yard sale, and I knew the minute I saw it exactly how I would use it for homeschooling. It will be like a treasure trove of activities for the little guys to do throughout the week!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Writing Marathon, Day 70

Today's writing time: 50 minutes. 500 words.

I outlined some ideas for my POD (Wallenfels) review during the day and finished the draft tonight for my writing time, but it took a while for me to get my head in the game. Something about Pinterest. Something about a secret writing/blogging project in conjunction with a crafty friend of mine. I am going to do my best NOT to work on the secret project tomorrow, as there's no deadline for that yet, and this review needs a polishing so that I can give the publicist plenty of time to look it over and respond. Pri-or-ri-ties. Oh, look! A butterfly!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

YA Report: Interview with Author Krystal Wade

Today's writing time: 41 minutes.

Tonight was a night for editing and writing YA reviews for Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer's Chat. So, on that note, here's an interview with author Krystal WadeKrystal Wade is a mother of three who works fifty miles from home and writes in her “spare time”. Her debut novel, Wilde’s Fire, is available now with Curiosity Quills Press.

Tomorrow I'll either be editing People of the Sea more, or finishing my review for POD by Stephen Wallenfels. Or maybe both!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Writing Marathon, Day 68

Today's writing time: 16 minutes.

Tonight I had a headache that had been building up all day and was to the point of light and noise sensitivity. So, I worked on my notecard outline, clarifying and redefining scenes. I've got about 15 scenes starting from the beginning that I feel solid about. From there I may need to start throwing away cards and writing new ones. Further world building and scene clarification should help.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Writing Marathon, Day 67

Today's writing time: 19 minutes.

I made a list of things I need to name for the story I'm outlining, and even named a few. But, ugh. This is always one of my least favorite parts of a longer story. I know just enough about language to feel like I should make up, if not a language or two, at least a grouping of sounds common to each culture in the story, so that there's some vague pattern. Unfortunately, I always feel like I'm doing it wrong. I can name them all Jane Doe, right?

This all comes on the end of finishing a heart-stopping book, POD by Stephen Wallenfels. I read the first couple of chapters yesterday and slammed through the rest today. The characters have very limited knowledge about the aliens, even by the end of the book, and this reminded me of classic scifi. The focus was very much on the human element of it all - how people survive, and what human nature looks and smells like up close. It wasn't too dark or gruesome, though. But most importantly, gimme the sequel. Grr. :)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Writing Marathon, Day 66

Today's writing time: 47 minutes.

Tonight was a submissions night. I checked on the status of submissions, updated my submission tracker, and sent out another story after a bit of final editing. I originally intended to send out a piece that was rejected recently, but as I was searching for a likely home for it, I matched up a flash piece with another market. I hope. We'll see if the market agrees. :)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Writing Marathon, Day 65

Today's writing time: 40 minutes.

Rewrote the beginning scene of People of the Sea at about 600 words. Next I'm going to have to cut out chunks of the previous draft to figure out how to slip in the other scene I wrote, and, of course, write new bits here and there. I feel like the new beginning has the characters down to a T, so as I get close to wrapping up this draft, I'll need to do a once over for character consistency. Ah, well. That's part of the problem with taking on a story that I started writing so long ago.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Writing Marathon, Day 64

Today's writing time: 30 minutes.

Today I actually wrote for my writing time, instead of outlining or editing. Amazing, right? What is even more amazing is that I wrote in People of the Sea. I had taken a shower without the kids (a luxury) last night after my "writing time" was over, and brainstormed some new scenes and major changes. The entire project is still daunting in the amount of work that needs to be done, but at least now I feel like I have some viable solutions to work with.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Writing Marathon, Day 63

Today's writing time: 28 minutes

I had the pleasure of taking the kids to a fun outside activity. DRUMS! It was a clear-your-head kind of evening, topping off a morning at the park and eating at an ice cream shop, which is an unusual treat for us. The kind of day that makes me feel like the best mom ever.

So, finding myself centered, I finally tackled People of the Sea tonight. I swept over the entire thing for the minor edits, kind of wincing and throwing my arms over my head as I thought of what needs to be rewritten. Haha! Here's hoping for another brave night tomorrow. I probably need to let the other story rest, so that when I come back to it, I'll have a new feel for which ideas are going to work together as a cohesive whole, and which need to be scrapped.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Writing Marathon, Day 62

Yesterday's writing time: 35 minutes
Today: 50 minutes

I have been doing some hard core outlining and world building, and I'm up to 40 or so scene cards. The outline now sports a grab-you opening, a cliff-hanger ending, and an ominous card that says "BOOK TWO" with a few scene cards behind it. Book one isn't done, mind you, but a few of the ideas I have don't logistically fit in book one. Holding that thick stack of scene cards is a sure way to remind me that I've got enough character threads for book one already. Now I'm getting to the point where I want the cards to say more than "Cedric is kidnapped," and as I clarify each scene and work out more world building details, I'm sure they'll be more scene shuffling to do. Some of the scenes already link nicely from one to the next. I keep thinking that I should stop and work on a project that is nearer to completion (ahem, People of the Sea!) but I haven't been this excited about this story in over a year.

I also find it difficult to do revision work when I am in a period of transition for all that real world nonsense. It's stupid, but even when the transitions are good ones, anticipating being interrupted is a killer to my drive. That goes back to the reason that a nightly writing time has worked so much better for me than trying to write during the kids' nap. I'm often interrupted by the baby at night, but unless they're ill (aw), any interruptions are followed by going back to sleep. That's like hitting the pause button. Speaking of which...

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Writing Marathon, Day 60

Today's writing time: 30 minutes
Yesterday's writing time: 30 minutes

I'm up to about 30 scenes and gobs of world building notes, which is much better than that pathetic 11 scenes from the old outline. The best part? I've got me an overarching theme. Not to mention the presenting problem and two categories of baddies. So far I'm not having any of the problems I've had in the past with plotting this thing. Before, I was trying to work too linearly, forcing random characters into the beginning and hoping I came up with something useful for them to do later. Now, I'm working from the themes and problems back to the characters and their entrance into the story. With my focus in the right place, I feel much freer to ax characters and scenes for what best suits the story.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Writing Marathon 58

Today's writing time: 30 minutes, outlining.

The moral of today's story is that a good outline is worth a hundred thousand words.

I dug up an old outline of a story that has stayed with me for over a decade, lurking on the peripheral of my attention, almost as if every story that I write is for the purpose of learning the skills necessary to write this story well.

One of the hurdles I must clear to even begin writing this monstrosity is to organize and detail a decent outline. I've written plenty of outlines in the last decade, and plenty of stories with and without an outline, but all of those stories have been shorter. Not counting an attempt to write this very story, the longest story I've ever written is about 60,000 words, and that was a rare bird indeed. My mode length is more like 500 words. Let me tell you, outlining a 3,000 word short story is an entirely different beast than a 90,000 word fantasy novel. When you are outlining for shorter works, you can get away with half phrases and other barely decipherable notes to yourself. For one thing, you are probably going to write the story immediately, and not a decade later. And if the linear plot or the revelation of details in your outline is a bit jumbled, that's ok because you can slot them into the correct place as you write, because it's only 3000 words that you are juggling at once.

So... The outline that I wrote a year and a half ago is almost completely useless. I feel like I had a lot more details worked out than what is actually in the outline. Not like it matters, since the organization of the plot also blows. When I wrote out what I could salvage on notecards, I only ended up with 11 scenes. This explains why, the last time I tried to write a rough draft, I quit because it felt boring. It's a bit too much meandering from point A to point B, if you ask me. I am so thankful that I have learned more about pacing, themes, and outlining even this past year (like, here).

I even peeked at some of the notes I took over a decade ago, so I could have a good laugh. If I thought I was ready to reconstruct the whole thing from the ground up a year ago, I am definitely ready now. Wish me luck!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Writing Marathon 57

Today's writing time: 16 minutes, embellishing notes.

I've been coming up against an urge to relax on my writing resolution, but I know that it's the every day aspect that is the foundation of any success I have and will get from my efforts. Part of me says, "Oh, come on! Just one day slacking off can't do much harm." Yes, self. Yes, I know that Outlander is a very good and a very long book and we're not at the end yet. This is why I made the minimum requirement a paltry 15 minutes, so that no matter what was going on to pressure me to let a night or two go, I can always berate myself: "It's just fifteen minutes! Who doesn't have fifteen minutes?"

Well, I've done my fifteen, and since I'm talking to myself, I'd better head to bed. ;)

Friday, June 1, 2012

YA Report: Wilde's Fire by Krystal Wade

In case you missed it other other day, my review of Wilde's Fire is now published at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer's Chat:

Wilde’s Fire by Krystal Wade is the first in a YA fantasy romance series with horror elements. In Wilde’s Fire, the gods have decided that it is time to bring Katriona back home to save her people from an invasive army of twisted creatures whose mysterious leader is known only as Darkness. Luckily, Katriona is not expected to save the world on her own. In Encardia she has magic, and she has Arland, who is sworn to protect her, and with Arland comes the rag tag army that he leads. The first book focuses on Katriona’s moral dilemma with her best friend, Brad, who has recently confessed his love for her, but who is abnormally possessive. Next to Arland, the young rebel leader that has graced Katriona’s dreams for years and who is tied to her by powerful magic, Brad doesn’t stand a chance. Now if only Katriona can find a way to tell Brad without breaking his heart and giving Darkness another soldier for his army.

Head on over to Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer's Chat to read more!

P.S. In an upcoming interview, Krystal Wade referred to Wilde's Fire as dark fantasy, and I think that genre label fits very well. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Writing Marathon 54

Today's writing time: 19 minutes of outlining. More ideas means more note taking! Now I'm up to 36 scenes. L. Scribe Harris (@marksmaster) believes that a plague of locusts must be next, if I'm writing something so long! ;)

I started reading Outlander by Diana Gabaldon and... wow. The first chapter was enough to convince me that I am going to love this book. After I finish Outlander, I should probably read more YA for the YA Report column for @SFFWRTCHT. Speaking of which, I am also reading Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris. I saw an interview of her by sffwrtcht at the sfsignal, but I think that at the time of this posting they have exceeded their bandwidth. My impression of her from the interview is that she is a refreshingly practical person. Here's hoping the link works for you!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Rant: Happy Endings.

I finally finished the Bitterbynde Trilogy by Cecilia Dart-Thorton. You can probably guess by the title what the trilogy did not have.

To be fair, the books had plenty of foreshadowing, warning me that the ending might be less than rosy. There's a prophecy at the beginning of the book that I conveniently forgot about, which comes up at the end as a thumbed up nose to the poor main character. There's more than that to clue the reader in throughout all three books. Each book is full of folk tales from the land and very few of them end happily. At best, the protagonists of these tales end up in a zero sum ending. And, just like in many of these tales, our hero has her prospects stolen away by a nearly random accident. It was a bit like watching Wash die. Strike that -- it was exactly like watching Wash die! Except that Wash wasn't the main character of Serenity. Harumph.

I suppose I require happier endings from the stories I read. Especially when they are so long, and believe me, the Bitterbynde books are long. I can put up with a fatalistic or depressing ending for a very good short story, but if I invest the time it takes to read hundreds of thousands of words following a single character through her romance, then, yes, I want a happy ending.

So, on that note, I've started reading Outlander for the first time. I'm already loving it, and between that and the Bitterbynde Trilogy, by the end I'll be able to write a novel full of characters that say things like "ye ken". Maybe I can top it off by watching Brave when it comes out? It's the year of the Scotts for me!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Writing Marathon 52

Today's writing time: 59 minutes.

I had another stack of notecards for an unnamed WIP and decided that it was time to type these up. As I had feared, a few of them were already out of order, although this time I can't blame any toddlers. ;) After typing them up and adding scenes and details to scenes, the entire document is already at 1k. Yikes! There are 25 scenes already and lots of holes to extrapolate more scenes into. It also still needs an ending. I think some characters need to die. Hmm!

Obviously I'll need a better way to keep my notecard outlines after we move. Since right now they are laying about here and there, I feared losing them in the excitement and chaos.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Writing Marathon 51

Today's writing time: 20 minutes. Wow, I didn't anticipate spending so long fighting automatic formatting, and then tying up other odds and ends for upcoming reviews and interviews at the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer's Chat. But at least I learned something about Wordpress that may save me time in the future. Computer wiz is me!

Today L. Scribe Harris called me to tell me that Norm signed her chest at Balticon. Pics or it didn't happen!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Writing Marathon 50

Today's writing time: 23 minutes.

Another author got back to me with interview answers. Yippee!

So, at this point, I'm avoiding editing The People of the Sea. It needs more editing than I had deluded myself into believing before my beta reader got back to me. That's what beta readers are for, and thank goodness for that! Maybe tomorrow, if I finish Sookie first... ;)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Writing Marathon 49

Today's Writing: 15 minutes of outlining.

Remember how I had notecards for "The Rent-A-Mech and the Stablehand"? Well, those notecards were sitting in front of the computer at perfect toddler height. Then they were on the floor, all out of order. Then they were up on a shelf, still out of order, but at least also out of reach. Now it has been long enough since I wrote them that other objects had been placed on top. I figured I'd better type them in. This has also given me a chance to review my ideas, gauging their level of awesome. I'm thinking that these 5 scenes fall incredibly short of the number of scenes needed to finish the story, which is one reason why I've been letting it sit. They are scenes like: "Bruce is arrested." I may as well have written "good luck with that" underneath. There are also lots of transition scenes missing. I'm going to have to think on the whole project more before I delve back in. Don't even get me started on that last scene I wrote, which I then immediately highlighted and noted: "change from transition to scene." But at least I have some ideas to spring board off of. Wish me luck!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Writing Marathon 48

Today's Writing: 18 minutes, editing "Reseeders' Treaty".

If the kids keep going to bed later, maybe they'll keep waking up later, and I can devote more time to writing again. Also, it helps if I'm not trying to read "Deadlocked" by Charlaine Harris. ;)

Writing Marathon 47

Today's writing: 30 minutes.

The other day I received a rejection for "To Save Samantha." It took a bit of searching to find another market that I thought it might work for, and off it goes.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Met Alethea Kontis Today

Gosh, I love book signings! But I hate driving (knee problem). So, when I learned that Alethea Kontis was coming not only to my state but to my town, you can imagine how excited I was.

And if you can't imagine, add in the fact that I was willing to take my two little ones with me, just to meet her and get a book signed for my cousin. Thanks to grandma and grandpa, I only had to take the weest one. Let me tell you, Perrin loved her. He found the whole thing amazing and tried to "talk" to Alethea as she was doing her reading and answering questions. Perrin is pretty picky, too! (OooOooh, alliteration!). Alethea is a charming lady and it was wonderful to meet one of my favorite authors in person. I learned that she has sequels for Enchanted in the works. Woohoo!

Check out her book tour and everything else Alethea at - Oh, and a fairy godmother told me that the audio book for Enchanted is full of magic ;)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Writing Marathon 45

Today's writing time: 47 minutes.

Reviews, interviews, and formatting! The time and effort to get your writing into the world has to count for something, so I'm counting it. Without these behind-the-scenes efforts, I wouldn't have...

This interview of Leah Petersen, author of Fighting Gravity! Go read her interview and read her book. Are you still here? Off with you. :)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Writing Marathon 44

Today's writing time: 30 minutes.

I did a quick edit pass of "Reseeders" to change the character's age. Making it YA has giving me a better feeling for the piece. I've left myself highlights on portions that I still feel iffy about, but don't have the presence of mind to change for the better right now. The new title for now is "Reseeder's Treaty." We'll see if it still clocks in at 2500 words after I rewrite the ending later.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Writing Marathon 43

Today's writing time: 30 minutes.

I'm proud of myself for working on what I said I would work on tonight, which is reviews. I finished and sent off a review for "Wilde's Fire" by Krystal Wade, and set a date for releasing my review for "The Six" by K. B. Hoyle. Not that I'm disappointed in myself when I switch projects, but at some point the reviews become time sensitive. Ahem.

I didn't want to write at all today. It took over an hour to get to the kids both to sleep, so by the end of that I was practically asleep myself. But after shaking myself awake, I stuck to my resolution AND I enjoyed myself. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Writing Marathon 42

Today's writing time: 15 minutes. Editing and notes for editing.

I know, I know. 15 minutes is my self-imposed minimum requirement. Earlier today I received beta reader comments that I have been waiting for (for People of the Sea), so I read over those and want to give it a chance to sink in. I took notes on the changes I want to make to Reseeders so that I don't leave myself scratching my head later. And I would still really like to think of a better title for that one. Hmm.

Earlier today I finished reading "Wilde's Fire" by Krystal Wade and I am thoroughly pleased. The description made it sound like horror fantasy, but it is actually a romance. Part of my dilemma earlier was accepting that fact. The book is already out so I'll be working on that review tomorrow in an attempt to get the review out ASAP.

I feel like I need a recharge, so I'm going to bed early. Cutting short one less productive night can equal better productivity later, if I cross my fingers just right.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Writing Marathon 41

Today's writing time: 1 hr 30 minutes. Editing, reviews, editing, and reviews!

I was still in "taking stock" mode from last night, and as I was glancing over the flash fiction I've written in the past 6 months, I stumbled upon a piece that I had a sudden desire to edit, and did. One of my favorite beta readers is getting back to me soon on a novella (People of the Sea) and the very idea of it is giving me editing fever. I think I had better write down some of my ideas for editing Reseeders before I lose track of my own name.

Eventually I settled down to work on reviews. I got the answer I needed to finish the review for "Shift" by Kim Curran - follow the author @KimeCurran on twitter if you like action-packed scifi set on Earth. Look for my review and the release of the book in September. (Hint: I like it and wish that I could shift ;) ).

I've also been reading "Wilde's Fire" by Krystal Wade (@KrystalWade). The book is quite enjoyable but I have had one or two issues with the premise because apparently I am a cynical prude. Even so, I have been devouring the book with relish and will have many positive things to say about it. I am not quite to the end, so... no spoilers!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Writing Marathon 40

Today's time "writing": 40 minutes.

Tonight was a status check on my stories. It's good to take a moment to count which stories are nearly ready to submit, and find where I'd like to submit them to first. In fact, I found a great place to submit "The Gallant Reseeders" -- er, after a title change and heavy editing. Finding an intended home helped me pinpoint some of the changes that I would like to make as I edit the story.

Speaking of heavy editing, I also submitted, "To Save Samantha". I feel that the story is polished but that it might be difficult to find a home for a story with its experimental structure. I honestly don't know where I'd submit it to if it was rejected from this magazine. At least I won't be waiting long. This magazine is known for an amazing response time.

Tomorrow I'll probably work on the Reseeders, especially the title.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Writing Marathon 39

30 minutes and 700 words in "The Gallant Reseeders". I think I'll have to change the title! Oh well.

The funny thing is, it's only 2500 words. Oh, to find a market for that! It still feels good to finish it. I have had trouble pinning down endings for my last few flash pieces, getting the build-up and the dramatic decision at the end right. This might bode well for the other flash I have been working on, too.

And, as always, is a wonderful website and almost always a good idea.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Writing Marathon 38

40 minutes.

It probably sounds like I have been working on the review for Shift for quite long enough. I've sent the author a question, and then the review should be ready -- but wait! You probably won't see it until September, when the book comes out. The short of it is: it's a fun scifi drama set in England.

I also started a review for Wilde's Fire by Krystal Wade. I like the book well enough, but something tells me that the horror genre is not my thing. Every time I try to read horror, I have some complaint or another. There have been several books I've tried that I haven't even mentioned on here because I couldn't get even half-way through. Wilde's Fire, however, has the kind of world development and all-strings-attached relationships that might woo me over to the horror aspect.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Writing Marathon 37

Yesterday: 30 minutes writing the review for "Shift" by Kim Curran. Almost done with that one!

Today: 1 hr. A bit of the review, but mostly writing in the scifi "The Gallant Reseeders".

I was going to call "The Gallant Reseeders" flash, but as it's almost up to 2k now and not finished, we'll see. It could hit 3k with some effort towards that goal. It was nice not to feel too tired and to be able to think about my stories while I was putting the baby to bed, instead of having to direct all of my energy to not falling asleep myself. Thinking about it ahead of time allowed me to write 1k in 45 minutes, which is about average for me. I might want to use next time to get the end of it out a bit faster so I can move on to revisions. As soon as I figure out what the end will be. Haha!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

YA Report: Fighting Gravity by Leah Petersen

I'm delighted to share with you my review of a hard scifi novel, Fighting Gravity, by Leah Petersen:

Fighting Gravity by [Leah Petersen]

“Fighting Gravity” by Leah Petersen is a science fiction gay romance that follows Jacob Dawes starting with his removal from the ghetto to the Imperial Intellectual Complex, where he is expected to benefit the Empire with his genius and, somehow, fit in with his prejudiced upper class peers. For a Romance, the book is high on smart details and serious themes which raise Fighting Gravity to the cream of modern science fiction. Never does the reader get the myopic sense that Fighting Gravity is about Jacob Dawes and whomever he happens to be in love with at that moment. Instead, the book is as much about social structure and personal improvement as it is about the unpredictable human heart. At the same time, Leah Petersen never loses sight of the personal relationships that make Jacob’s narrative a Romance that will have you racing to get to the end and then pining for the next installment.

Fighting Gravity is not YA, yet the characters are in their teenage years, so it may appeal to and be appropriate for young adult readers who are ready for more mature themes. Although the characters are teenagers, the perspective is of Jacob as an adult relating a story of his past, and the next book in the series will take the characters into adulthood. But what really separates Fighting Gravity from your typical YA book is that the romance is more realistic and more mature, reflecting the complexities of real life relationships and how they form, break apart, and evolve when the participants are faced with intrapersonal, interpersonal, and external challenges. Jacob’s relationships are affected by life changing events such as Jacob living on a spaceship for a year, as well as by Jacob’s human inability to explain or control his actions one hundred percent of the time. As the characters encounter these obstacles, they each strive for healthy relationships and a stable position in life. In other words, while the characters make their share of questionable decisions, the love interest is not a creepy jealous stalker type whose behavior is made all the more abominable by the other characters’ blind acceptance. Jacob Dawes is an antihero, but one who, like most good antiheros, eventually realizes that he’s due for self-improvement. For these reasons I find Fighting Gravity to be no more objectionable for a mature teenage reader than many of the standard classics on a high school reading list.

As much as I love a good Romance, my favorite aspect of Fighting Gravity is its tip-of-the-iceberg science that categorizes it unabashedly as Science Fiction. Like other great modern writers, Leah Petersen effectively brings Science to the forefront without bogging down the story or making the reader feel like they need a Masters in Everything. You come away with the sense that the author knows her stuff, without having to dive into obtuse pages describing how binary star systems work or why faster-than-light travel is or isn’t possible. Fighting Gravity is like if Ursula K. Le Guin and Orson Scott Card could co-author a book without exploding. On the one hand you have the liberal and social science aspects of Ursula K. Le Guin, and on the other hand you have a character-driven story that isn’t afraid to be entertaining.

The depth of Leah Petersen’s writing gives the reader credit and engages multiple aspects of the self. For that reason, I feel confident recommending this whirlwind read to a variety of genre readers, from Romance to High Fantasy, because even a lover of High Fantasy would enjoy the conflict arising when an Emperor and a boy from the ghetto lock eyes. If you’ve had trouble getting into other science fiction, give Fighting Gravity a spin. You don’t have to be a mechanic to enjoy the hum of a classic engine.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Writing Marathon 36

Tonight's writing: 1 hr. Several hastily scribbled notecards.

This outline has been teaching me how to write a novel, verses my usual short stories and novellas.

The first lesson is that it takes longer to write a longer outline (duh). I don't think I've written that much by hand in one sitting in years. I've even got notes on the back of several of the scenes, trying to keep relevant background information where I'll probably use it later. Having reached scenes beyond the half-way point, I've been attacking areas of the setting and background that need to be expanded upon before the final drama can be orchestrated. So far my biggest reason for celebrating is that, if I had started writing this story as per my usual short-story methods, with a sparse outline, I can assure you that it would have petered out and died around word 10,000. A re-write might have salvaged 2,000 of those original words.

Speaking of word count, somehow I still have less than 30 cards, which with the way I write, is only a projected 60k. It's adult science fiction so I'll be needing more than 80k to keep it marketable, and accounting for wanting to cut this or that in revisions, I'm going to try for 90k. I'm not used to planning for novels, so that's something I'm keeping in mind as I decide things like, Do I add this character? Do I add this trial that addresses a secondary theme? Do I put a dude (or dudette) in there just to kill them off five scenes later? Yes, yes, yes. I need to say Yes for now and worry about combining characters or scenes later when I'm reviewing the outline before starting the first scene. Instead of getting rid of a character because he's not doing enough, I'm trying to think, what CAN he be doing, so that I can keep him and use him to muddle things up further? YES muddling and death! This seems to be the attitude I need right now to push through the rest of this outline.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Writing Marathon 35

15 minutes. I may get in more with notecards, but I won't be getting on the computer after that. Mulled over the flash I've written/still writing recently.

Let me say, beta reading has really sped up my personal evolution as a writer. I wouldn't say that beta reading or getting beta readers is absolutely necessary, but feedback in some form is essential for improvement. You need other people to help you understand the forest you can't see when you are looking at the trees. Some of it you can learn on your own, but it may be a longer road. There is the obvious benefit of having others beta read your work, assuming you find decent beta readers. But I am also talking about reading other writers' work and commenting critically on it. Seeing the problems that other writers run into with their manuscripts, and brain storming with them, helps me do the same for my own work. It helps it feel more like a process that every writer goes through, rather than some personal failing of mine. And, it helps me be aware of the types of solutions that work for a variety of problems. Changing scene order, changing POV, how to edit for consistency, and all that good stuff.

Now, I found the note cards I was working on last, so I'm going down to re-familiarize myself with them while I eat.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Writing Marathon 34

16 minutes. Wrote a flash piece that I've been thinking about for two days. Not at all satisfied with it. I'll sleep on it, I guess?

The baby has been destroying my ability to write. He's been fussy about bed time, requiring me to stay with him longer and causing me to fall asleep in the quiet, dark room! I have ideas but when I go to write them, the sentences trip over themselves and fall flat on their faces. Snoring. Haha. I think he is coming back out of this phase already, as things with young children are always changing, sometimes because you adjust and do something different and it works better. Tonight I put them to bed 20 minutes later and he went to bed much more quickly. I suppose that is like leaving for work ten minutes later to skip all the traffic.

While I am getting my head back in the game, I think I'll revisit outlines that need more note carding so that I can focus on the part of the writing process that is working for me right now: ideas.

Writing Marathon 33

18 minutes. I "finished" that flash piece but I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to rip out the ending and start over. At least it has an ending to rip out now.

Uuuuuuuuuuuugh. This report is so late because I fell asleep putting my needy children to bed! Love those guys. Do not love writing while groggy.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Writing Marathon 32

15 minutes and 378 words. "Back Alley Resurrection" is right at the end, but I haven't gotten the last lines quite right. Need to think on it.

Today I started reading through L. Scribe Harris' manuscript, "Mark of Flight." I'm lucky to be one of her beta-readers! I also need to review "Shift" before my impressions start to fade. Bad reviewer, me! Chop chop! I'd love a night where I wasn't sleepy or starving to death. Speaking of which... ;)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Writing Marathon 31

20 minutes and 240 words. I'm still enjoying this flash, "Back Alley Resurrections" but I'm tired and just not with it. This was all for the sake of the habit. Stubbornness can be a good thing.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Writing Marathon 30

Day 30! If it takes 90 days to form a habit, I'm 1/3 of the way there. Or, a more uplifting way of looking at it is, go me! A whole month!

45 min. I stole 15 minutes in the middle of the day to work on the flash I was writing the other night. Then, as I was putting the kids to bed, I had another idea that I wanted to try out. Using I was able to hammer out 1k in that half hour, which is fast for me! I'm going to finish this newer story, tomorrow hopefully, and then another review for a book I just finished reading, and then I'll consider getting back into one of the longer works.

Tonight is recording night with Pendragon Variety. Woohoo!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Friday Flash: "Big Enough"

"Your liddle brother’ll be bigger than you soon ‘nough," Momma said, and what Momma says has a knack for coming true.

When the cat scratched my face, I thought that was dumb luck. But then there was the pot that never boiled, and now, yes, the 7 foot toddler in the backyard. What is he...?

"Mamma! Junior's eatin' the neighbor's apples right outta the tree!"

"Boy, you put that apple down afore you turn inta one!"

I laugh as her eyes go wide, so she turns to me with a pointed finger. “I hope you have kids just like you!”

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Writing Marathon 28

40 minutes. Polished and sent off a review and began a piece of flash fiction (200ish words so far). I had the idea for the piece earlier today and thought it might serve as a nice transition for going back to fiction writing. Reviews and other non-fiction, like the contracts, are different enough that it can require a bit of convincing to switch gears. Which is also why I don't drive a stick shift car any more.

Trying not to think about the fact that the baby took up 20 of the 60 real-time minutes that I set aside for writing. Silly baby!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Writing Marathon 27

45 minutes of researching and revising the contracts for Pendragon Variety - I've sent them off for the approval stamp. I did my best to strike a balance between protecting Pendragon Variety's rights and leaving the author with any rights that we don't need. Oh, and you know what? I'd better go change our Submissions page to reflect that submissions are closed. Ahem.

There was also a minute or two of jotting down notes for reviewing "Shift" by Kim Curran. I'm only half-way through the book, so notes are about all I can do at this stage. I had started to read another book titled "Blackwood," but it turned out to have a lot less classic scifi than I was hoping and a lot more of BOO, ghosts! So, finding myself still not engaged 1/3rd of the way through, I dropped that one. "Shifter" is much more for me.  Pseudo quantum mechanics + free will = win.

Last night (day 26) was 30 minutes of writing a review for "The Six" by K. B. Hoyle, whose moralistic writing reminds me fondly of C.S. Lewis, if C. S. Lewis was reincarnated as a woman and decided to up his characters in age a bit. Oh, and there's no Jesus analogy.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

YA Report: Alethea Kontis Interview

Woohoo! "Enchanted" by Alethea Kontis was so much fun to read, and then I got to interview her besides. Check it out here!

New York Times bestselling author Alethea Kontis is a princess, a goddess, a force of nature, and a mess. She has authored several published books in multiple genres as well as short fiction, essays, and poetry appearing in over ten anthologies and numerous speculative fiction magazines.. Her debut YA fairy tale novel, Enchanted, will be published by HMH (Harcourt Books) this spring.
You can find Princess Alethea online at: and on twitter at @AletheaKontis .

Monday, April 30, 2012

Writing Marathon 25

1 hr. 300 ish words (nonfiction).

I finished readying "The Six" by K. B. Hoyle and spent some time writing the review for that and then prepping blog posts for other reviews and author interviews. I am quite embarrassed to see that I messed up on the release date for one of them! Hopefully a google calendar for sffwrtcht will help me keep track, now that I'm up to a post a week over there.

I've still got to finish that review and also the PV contracts - but, another night. It is already way past my bed time!

Note: it only took me two days to read "The Six" because I found it quite enjoyable.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Writing Marathon 24

30 minutes.

I accidentally fell asleep while I was putting the baby to sleep. He was extra fussy and I had to lay there an hour before he'd let me get up! So, this writing session was accomplished through a grumpiness and grogginess. It didn't feel like writing, but at least I stuck to my guns regarding what I was going to write tonight. PV contracts! They're closer to be done.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Writing Marathon 23

31 minutes of editing. I'm reading "To Save Samantha" backwards paragraph by paragraph. Got 1/3rd through.

30 minutes is amazing considering that Saturdays are when I podcast with Pendragon Variety, which ends after my usual bedtime. AMAZING. Because I like to sleep.

Oh, uh, and those Pendragon Variety contracts? When I said that I was going to do those tonight, that was because I forgot that today is Saturday. My brain was too fried after podcasting. I'm not putting them off! I just can't remember what day it is. That's better, right? ;)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Writing Marathon 22

50 minutes. Final final pass-through of "Spoils of a Long Dead War," then formatted and submitted it to a SF/F mag that I feel is a good fit. We'll see if they agree.

I also know which magazines I want to submit "To Save Samantha" and "People of the Sea" to. One of the magazines I would be submitting to takes about a year to respond, but for some places, it is worth it.

OH NO! I forgot that I was going to do the PV contracts tonight. So... uh... tomorrow, then!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Writing Marathon 21

1 hr, complete edit run-through of a 4k fantasy story, "Spoils of a Long Dead War."

You wouldn't believe how many titles this poor story has had, nor how hard each title has tried to sound dirty (The Hunter's Stones, any one?). I think it is ready to submit, and I know where I want to submit it, but I find it advisable to let it sit at least one more day so I don't get submission regret. Otherwise known as that moment that you pop out of a deep sleep realizing that you should have changed this or that before sending it off. Or the moment that a beta reader you gave up on gets back to you with a typo that you missed.

We'll see tomorrow!

And if you are wondering why I've been editing so many stories at once, the short answer is because there are so many to edit. Switching between them allows me to "drawer" my stories without actually losing any editing time. This story is one that I suddenly recalled as being ready or near-ready to submit, and my current game plan is to first work on the stories that are nearest to ready so that I can have a few running around in submission piles while I'm editing or writing the next batch. Something about not being published if you don't submit any where.

Speaking of publishing, tomorrow I plan to work on writing the contracts for Pendragon Variety's upcoming e-book release, now that the accepted stories have been chosen by our PV team. I will be counting this towards my writing time because I feel like learning about and participating in the publishing process as a whole is beneficial for any writer. Also because I will literally be writing, it just won't be fiction.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Writing Marathon 20

1 hr 15 minutes - 1 hour of editing and formatting, and 15 min of researching possible markets (14k? Ugh.)

I think it's time to send People of the Sea off to beta comments. And maybe I'll finally have the courage to take a look at To Save Samantha tomorrow. Not sure if it's been in the drawer long enough!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Marathon 19

1 hr 15 min - 1100 words, and that makes a complete rough draft of People of the Sea!

Funny. I felt like I was interrupted quite often (kids!) but looking at the stop watch I set versus the actual time that has passed since I started writing tonight, I can't have spent more than 15 minutes fussing over the kids. And there goes the baby again.

Looking forward to tomorrow's writing session, though I haven't decided yet what I'm going to do! I'm not sure that I have the heart to look over To Save Samantha, yet.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Marathon 18

40 minutes and 500 words.

That 40 minutes includes a bit of research time as I suddenly realized that I knew nothing about how to make a canoe. I finished up the scene that I started last night.  I didn't get to the fun part yet, but, hey, more motivation for tomorrow, right? At this rate I might be done with People of the Sea by the end of the week, pending Beta Reader feedback. Now, that's a goal I can aspire to. Woohoo!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Marathon 17

1hr and 10 minutes and one 1,300 word scene! Whew.

I had an idea for People of the Sea earlier today, and it's working so far. It takes the characters to crazy extremes of yelling at each other and feeling embarrassed. Haha. That's a start.

And have you read "Enchanted" by Alethea Kontis? You can read my review about how awesome it is here. She is coming to NC next month, and she'll also be at Dragon*Con. See her appearance schedule here.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Marathon 16

17 minutes of editing / formatting today. I'm trying to get my head around a scene I need to write for People of the Sea. It's like I found a rotted slat in the fence and have to replace it, but can't remember where I got the others originally.

Saturdays are when I podcast with the lovely ladies at Pendragon Variety. Check it out!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Marathon 15

So, blogger is completely different now. It's about time, but I'm temporarily annoyed.

20 minutes in Rent-a-Mech today. I don't have much to show for it but the important thing is that I stuck to the habit. I've noticed that the last few days I have been waiting to start until after the baby wakes up the first time. No! Bad writer mommy! Some nights, that could be a whole 15 extra minutes! I hate being interrupted, but that's life.

Going to bed early so I can sleep and fight this sore throat. By the by, garlic infusions do not taste good.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Marathon 14

30 minutes and 500 words on the Rent-a-Mech. I thought the writing felt a bit slow! Transitions are always the trickiest. I almost fell into the trap of the never ending dialogue, where the characters talk about what is about to happen before it happens. I might torture my loved ones with that in real life, but not my readers. Ha!

Tore up another scene card. Tearing up the cards is immensely satisfying.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Marathon 13

I was feeling brave and went to work on The Rent-a-Mech and the Stablehand. 800 words in 30 minutes, and at the end I got to tear up a scene card. Yay! Also note that this is why 30 notecards is only a 20-25k story for me. I actually broke out the calculator for that, like it matters. Haha!

Today is also the release day for "Fighting Gravity," by Leah Petersen (@leahpetersen). Fighting Gravity is an engaging gay romance that has a strong foundation of modern scifi. I'm excited to share my review with you, but that doesn't come out until May 10th. To be sure, you'll be hearing from me about it again later, but for now go congratulate Leah Petersen on twitter or on her blog!

Oh, and I was trying to redo my blog theme and lost the old theme without finding one that I truly like. Laaame.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Marathon 12

Last night: 50 minutes
Tonight: 60 minutes

While searching for a place to submit "To Save Samantha," I stumbled upon a publication that sounds perfect for "People of the Sea." I thought I remembered that "People of the Sea" was ready to go, but taking a look at it.... Yeah. Not quite. I think it must have been that I was tired of editing it, and it was time for the drawer method. Now I've reopened that drawer and blown the dust off the paper. Tonight I finished the first read-through/editing, and I'm pleased to have identified some weak areas of the story that need more serious overhaul. I may switch back to "To Save Samantha" so that I can let this one settle a bit.

Monday, April 16, 2012

YA Report: Enchanted by Alethea Kontis

I had first read Alethea Kontis in Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show years ago, and I have loved her ever since. So you can imagine how thrilled I was to read and review her debut YA novel, Enchanted! It is lovely, indeed:

“Enchanted” by Alethea Kontis is a YA fairy tale that follows Sunday, the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter, and her romance with a prince-turned-frog. Set in a world where it seems possible for all of our classic fairy tales to be true, “Enchanted” focuses on the importance of family and friends, trust, and the truth that builds that trust. After all, when your godmother is powerful enough to turn you into a frog, family matters.

Head on over to the SFFWRTCHT blog to read the rest of the review!

New York Times bestselling author Alethea Kontis is a princess, a goddess, a force of nature, and a mess. She has authored several published books in multiple genres as well as short fiction, essays, and poetry appearing in over ten anthologies and numerous speculative fiction magazines.. Her debut YA fairy tale novel, Enchanted, will be published by HMH (Harcourt Books) this spring.

You can find Princess Alethea online at: and on twitter at @AletheaKontis .

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Marathon 10

35 minutes today, editing "The Rent-A-Mech and the Stablehand" to fit my new outline.

New rule: I'm only allowed to "need" to do one thing between when the kids go to bed and when I start writing time. And then I can only do that one thing and not the three other things that pop into my head along the way. Haha!

Also, caffeine headaches are no joke. No excuses!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Marathon 9

I got cracking on my writing time early today so that I could have a guilt-free podcasting evening with Pendragon Variety. Since I couldn't sit down at a computer yet, I decided to focus on a story that needed brainstorming and notecarding.

Remember how I said yesterday that I didn't have any ideas and thought I'd have to move on to another project? Could you hear that in an Eeyore voice? 15 minutes and 5 or so notecards later, I've got a game plan! Tomorrow I'll be writing in "The Rent-a-Mech and the Stablehand". Woohoo!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Marathon 8

20 minutes today. Although I'm very focused once I start, I need to stop piddling around before I start writing. It helps if I don't have to go downstairs to eat first because somehow that can take forever.

Since I sent off "To Save Samantha" to beta reader(s), I read over another story that needs attention. I found myself making very few edits because it is a strong beginning, but it is just that. A beginning. A 5k beginning. I'll see if I can brainstorm some plot points but I think I'm going to have to move on to something else for my marathon time, at least for now.

See you next time!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Marathon 7

Boy am I dragging my feet today! I am tired and distracted and did not even want to start editing. Still, I put in 22 minutes for a once-over. The whole story is put together like it was never torn apart, and maybe it's time for a beta reader or three. For now, I'm calling it a day.

Marathon 6

P decided that I wasn't allowed to blog about this yesterday - he's getting two teeth and he would like me to know that my presence is required for this event!

So, last night I managed 37 minutes on "To Save Samantha." It was equal parts cutting words and stitching words together. I am creating a monster! Bwahaha!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Marathon 5 (?) !

Rest assured that I have been keeping my 15 minutes or more of writing time a day. Easter Sunday, I reached this goal by taking notes on my phone for the changes I wanted to make to "To Save Samantha." Monday, I polished a review for Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer's Chat and wrote on the ending for "To Save Samantha," but I didn't want to blog about it that night because my review for "Wicked Passage" came out on the website that same day.

Now it is day 5! I spent at least an hour total today writing and revising. I've got the ending finished and rewritten a huge chunk in the middle. Five days ago I had no idea how to end it or how to fix the lackluster middle. Now the finish line is in sight!

Monday, April 9, 2012

YA Report: Wicked Passage by N. M. Singel

"Wicked Passage" was a blast to read. It was kind of like watching Time Bandits:

“Wicked Passage” by N. M. Singel is a trippy science fiction following thirteen year old Blake Wyatt as he attempts to preserve the timeline while taking directions from a talking book and two dogs who live in a field of blue grass. With the help of an uncle who likes to nap at the most inopportune times and a sister who manages to get herself locked in a trunk, Blake must save Christopher Columbus from a mutiny started by a Tolucan, an evil being determined to destroy not only Blake but the universe’s entire timeline.

Head on over to the SFFWRTCHT blog to read the rest of the review!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Marathon 3

I got in my fifteen minutes today, despite having a podcast recording to attend (Pendragon Variety). Talk about just barely, too! 20 minutes of writing the ending for "To Save Samantha."

I discovered I had to break through this odd feeling that I was writing the ending to someone else's story. Reading something I wrote so long ago gives me that feeling, like I wrote it in my sleep and don't remember. I remember wanting to write the story and all that, but the words themselves, the phrases, feel like they were written by somebody pretending to be me.

Then I got over it.

It's a long day tomorrow, so Happy Easter everyone!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Marathon 2!

This is my second night of my writing Marathon, and I'm happy to report that I wrote for just under an hour. I'm not quite as thrilled with how late it is, but that's because the kids went to bed late and I got carried away with writing.

Tonight I wrote the rough draft of my review for Leah Petersen's fantastic book, "Fighting Gravity." It was one of those books where, when I write the review, I'm trying really hard not to sound like a rabid fan girl. But seriously, the book deserves the praise.

I also took some notes for my plans to revise "To Save Samantha." I need to rip out a scene in the middle and I've got some conflicting ideas for what to replace it with. When the story requires me to go in a completely different direction that I had originally envisioned, it usually takes me at least a day to chose and get over my choice.

Now it is bed time for Mommies!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Marathon Begins!

Tonight begins my "Marathon" re-dedication to writing. I'm dedicating 15 minutes every night to any of several writing projects in various stages of concept, writing, and editing - with a focus on the later two. This is how I accomplished my (diminished version of) NaNoWriMo, which proved that this is a good motivator/method for me to get writing. Right after the kids go to bed is the only time of the day where I am guaranteed those fifteen minutes of uninterrupted concentration. Take what you can get, right?

Tonight I started a stop watch and clocked in just over an hour editing "To Save Samantha," a story I abandoned over a year ago when I decided that life needed to settle down before I could apply myself with any thing like good results. "P" is eight months old now, so I might get a full two hours a night to write, do a chore or two, answer emails, etc. P cried just after I was done editing tonight, and now I'm going downstairs to take the chicken out of the crockpot, then blissful, blissful sleep. Life goes on, but that life shall now include writing fiction.

Special thanks to my friend and fellow writer, Cyd, who is often the final impetus to get me back on the writing track. It's easy to feel comfortable writing two book reviews a month, until Cyd innocently asks you what you've written recently.

Tonight: One Hour. Go me!