Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hearing the words "The Swine Flu" makes me hungry - is that messed up?

H1N1 is the new ebola, apparently. People are more afraid of this virus than they are of every book Stephen King has ever written. Granted, most of the panic is due to an over-exaggerating media. Those newsmen do like their panics and epidemics. But every fantasy at least has some basis in reality, right? And guess what? It's a possibility - granted, a distant one, but a possibility nonetheless - that Katelyn and I have contracted this fantastic sickness!


We've been sick the last couple of days. So sick, in fact, that it interfered with my getting my edits done for my agent. It sucks. I finally sent them off today though, so now I'm going to work on the proposal. Exciting! If anyone has any proposal advice, please feel free to comment, because I've never written one before.

Also, don't worry, the exciting conclusion to My Interview with a Vampire is coming soon. I've been working too hard on my mss to put it up. I'll get it done tonight or tomorrow. You guys are the best readers ever for waiting so patiently. I could hug every one of you. (Except maybe Stu - I hear he smells like onions.)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Episode 6: Return of the Spam/It's not really an episode/If it was it wouldn't be number 6/Why I'm posting less frequently

Hey all. So I haven't been posting very frequently lately, and for that I'm very sorry. Katelyn's due very soon and most of my time is devoted to her. After that, I've had edits/re-writes to do from my agent, so I've been very busy trying to get these pages ready for the publishing houses to see. It's all been pretty time-consuming, and unfortunately for you guys, the blog gets pushed to the back. Sorry!

But in apology, I'll bring back an old favorite. I recieved a spam email the other day, so I decided to post it, along with my reply, here. Enjoy!

The subject line was: I love the Cubbies!!!! (Maybe the spammer thought I lived in Chicago or something? No idea.)

Privet, my gentleman

When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody,
you want the rest of your life To start as soon as possible. This
twenty-first century letter is for my twentieth century soul. My love,
it does not matter that we never met in real world, never talked,
touched or even hold hands. I feel like I know you
already and you are the one for me. In my imagination you are just
perfect and I am dreaming about you all days and nights. We have to
patient in order to get what we want. So I am waiting for you here,
my sweet love

The best of luck


Dear Vall,

It's so weird that you felt this connection with me. The
last few days I have had an emptiness in my heart, and
I knew, simply knew, that it could only be filled through
someone who loved the Cubbies who would send me an
e-mail. You, as George McFly would say, are my density.
Here is the thing, though. I pray you are not foreign. For
if you are not a true, red-blooded American, I shall be
forced to hunt you down like the second-class citizen
you are, take you, and before killing you slowly, rip your
limbs from your body in a nasty way, and mail them to
your family members. Because, you see, God speaks to
me. And he has given me a holy quest. To see all other
nationalities, all those not native to the good ol' US of A,
burn in fiery fire. How would I find you, you may ask.
That is a good question. The answer? Magic. I'm sure
you were not aware when sending this email that you
have contacted a great wizard. The greatest American
Wizard of all time. So, in closing, stop email spamming
me, please.


Monday, October 12, 2009

The second writing post

This post is about writing, and I'll stick to writing this time. I promise.

Okay, so I just finished part of a MS to give to my agent and I'm extremely proud of it. The next step is to edit another MS and wait for his edits to come back on the first one. Then I will do his edits while I send him the other edited MS, then wait for those edits to come back and do those. Hopefully those will be the last edits there are.

The reason I'm telling you all this is because I don't think anyone really realizes how much editing and hard work writing is. Yes, anyone can do it, but it isn't just a sort of "I always wanted to write a book one day" kind of things. Writing a book takes a little more effort than just one day.

One of the hardest parts of writing for some people is coming up with ideas to write about. (Why do you think one of the number one questions asked at author Q and A's is "Where do you get your ideas from?" Unfortunately, there's no one answer for that. Luckily, I've never had much trouble coming up with a concept for a book, it just sort of happens. (I got the idea for the zombie books while making fun of Twilight, believe it or not.) I sometimes flounder on the story, but never enough to make me call it quits. I'll usually live in agony without being able to write for a day or two before I'm doing some mundane task and it comes to me.

Then comes the editing. Endless editing is the way I write. It's the way I suggest anyone looking to begin a writing career write. A lot of people do a first draft, second draft, and polish. This is pretty much the standard, as far as I know. What I do is read the last 10-15 pages I did before I start writing every day, fixing everything I come across that needs fixed, tightening the loose bits, and balancing the awkward sentences, phrases, and paragraphs. After that, once I've totally immersed myself in my "writing mindset" (as I call it) as well as my story, I write. I usually try to set a writing goal, but I never really stick to it. I write until I run out of the idea I'd thought of, or keep going if I get more as I go (which is usually the case), normally only stopping when life calls. (Having an almost bursting pregnant fiance makes that the case most of the time these days, and I'm sure it will be even more frequent once our son is born.) That's why I try to get a lot of writing done late at night or early in the morning, while normal people are sleeping.

After I finish the entire manuscript that way, I will do a second draft, then a polish. Sometimes, due to my heavy editing during the first draft stage, the second draft isn't much more than a polish, and the polish is more like a once-over, but there you have it. There is my process.

But wait, there's more! After that it's off to the agent, who will give me stuff to edit after going over my work with a fine-toothed comb. Then I'll do those edits. Hopefully he won't have any more after that, but it's very possible. So then I'll do those edits. Then more. Then more. Until it's absolutely perfect. (Absolutely perfect being it looks like it wasn't edited a trillion times, and I've made this tough process look easy.) Then my job takes a break for a time while my agent does his stuff.

So there it is. The second writing post. Now you know how I write my novels. Pretty exciting right? Hah.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Something more than a little irritating

Katelyn and I like to shop at Wal-Mart. And to all you Wal-Mart haters out there, I have this to say. Nyaahh nyaaaah! No, really, Wal-Mart is not as evil as one would think. Actually, they're not nearly as evil as some other big corporations, like McDonald's and Pepsi and a host of others. Don't believe me? There's a show called Penn and Teller's Bullshit. Watch the episode on Wal-Mart and learn some actual facts.

Anyhow, so we were at Wal-Mart the other night, and one of the things I love most about this store is its 20 items or less line. We never have more than 20 items, so it's a very quick way to get out of the store, because (even if I have a good book with me) waiting in line just plain sucks.

In line in front of us, however, was an evil greater than anything Wal-Mart's ever done. These two women, in an unusual display of sheer, unadulterated gall, had 40 items in their cart.

That is not in the spirit of the 20 items or less lane.

It seems they had cooked up a scheme where they would split their money in half, and then each would pay for 20 items. Thus circumventing the whole spirit of the 20 items or less lane.

Except they forgot about one thing: Richie Kray was behind them.

With a look to Katelyn that I refer to as my "Oh no she di'int look," I said, "Excuse me ma'am, don't you think you have a few more than 20 items there?"

She replied, grinning, "Naw. We's both got 20 items."

Ignoring her terrible grammar, I pressed on. "Yes, I'm aware of your little scheme. It seems only right that you go to a proper lane for people with more than 20 items. I would hate to have to get the store's manager and fill him in on the situation."

They left the 20 items or less lane without another word, their heads hung in shame.

Score one for people with an honest shopping agenda.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Richie Kray - Keyboard Destroyer

So, I've come to the conclusion that maybe, just maybe I might, in the teensiest way possible, write entirely too often. The proof of this is the poor keyboard attached to my little Toshiba Satellite laptop. For a month or so now, certain keys have been worn out, becoming very hard to press. (My quote key, for instance, takes a good half a second to hit. And if you don't think this is annoying when working on your manuscript, think again, dear reader. It is a freaking nightmare.) Today I woke up, and after making sure my beautiful fiance was doing okay (she is pregnant and about to pop, and also was not feeling well yesterday), I sat down to write as I always do. Except I noticed a teensy little problem.

My space bar had betrayed me.

I don't know why, or how, but my space bar no longer responds to me. I hit it (I hit all things I want to obey my desires) and nothing. I press it down, holding it there for a good 10 seconds, sliding all over its lanky surface, and still nothing. Why hast thou forsaken me, o space bar? O grand key of keys? O king of the keyboard, o savior of laptops? Why?!

Then I came to the conclusion that I must be a mythological beast from Ancient Egypt or Rome or some other less heard of civilization, sent into the future to destroy writing as we know it. I will ruthlessly inter each and every keyboard I come across, regardless of race, or sex, social standing, or creed. I will be methodical in my destruction. Never tiring. Always waiting to pounce on that next unsuspecting set of keys with the ferocity of a dragon with a hangover.

Either that or I really need a new computer. One of the two.