Monthly Archives: October 2010

Pumpkintastic!

Today, my little one is participating in a Halloween parade. Her pre-preschool class is putting on a “show off the kids” parade in costumes this afternoon. Her class is made up of 8 15-24 month olds. There’s another class of the same age group. A class of 24-36 month olds. Then the actual preschool classes.

Are you picturing the same disaster that I am?

DD is wearing a pumpkin costume. Simple. Slips on over her clothes, no zippers or buttons. But it’s stuffed in the front to make it more round. And I’m just picturing her falling over (from the different point of gravity) and the teachers beign so busy with other kids that my child just kind of…rolls away…

Hey, it could happen.

Of course, being the Mother of the Year that I am, this image makes me laugh hysterically. I mean, I’m not picturing her rolling into oncoming traffic or anything! Just down a little grassy slope. Maybe some wildflowers spread out. Mountains in the background. Julie Andrews singing a few feet away…

You can see why this would make me laugh rather than gasp in horror.

Anyway, maybe next week I’ll post a pic of her gravity-defying attempt at portraying a pumpkin. Don’t expect anything Oscar-worthy. I’m just hoping she doesn’t cry!

 

Jeanette

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Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-NaNo (Part 2)

Less than a week to go and I’m so jazzed I can barely sit still.  This happens every year and though I participate in NaNo-esque fast drafts throughout the year, it’s never as exciting as the actual NaNo event in November.  I’ve got 7 goals for this year:

 

1. I want to finish the month with a completed first draft, regardless of actual length — by that I mean 50K or as is my nature, much much longer.

2. I’m putting the writing first. No reading, tv, Facebook, nights out, no Supernatural (because that’s not just tv to me!) until I’ve made word count for the day.

3.  Word count.  I know it breaks down to 1,667 words a day, but I also know there will be days when I won’t make that.  Recently I’ve been averaging 1,200 during a writing session, so this will be a stretch for me.  I can rest for the day as long as my actual word count is where it *should* be.

4.  I want to finish early.  Last year I finished on the morning of the 29th and felt like a champ.  I’d like to be ready even sooner than that.

5.  I like to get wrapped up in NaNo, but I’d also like to work on at least one other writing project during the month.  I think I’m going to try my hand at editing something else to satisfy the hunger of my inner editor.

6.  I am going to blog everyday on my personal blog: 1) To Keep Me Honest and 2) To get back to loving my blog again

7.  I will NOT burn out.  This year has been hard, and since the accident, words are harder to come by, but I’m going to take a page out of my sister’s book: I’m going to Go Big, or Go Home.

Good Luck to all Fellow NaNo-ers

Sasha

26,593 /310, 000

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I’m Not a Cheerleader

I’ve never been a cheerleader types… well, except that time in eight grade, but I came to my senses before the tryouts. I don’t think it counts. Anyway, I’m not big on the whole cheering-on thing. I never have been. This isn’t to say I don’t care, because I do. I love the Broncos and can call the Hogs alongside the most rabid of fans. I’m just more likely to cast a critical eye at performance than get caught up in the rush of excitement. When the chips are down, I shrug and acknowledge defeat.

I’m not cheerleader material.

I recently saw something rating kinds of critique partners which called the first-rung level the cheerleader, the one who encourages. She ignores it when you stumble in favor of saying you’re doing great. When you think you can’t get to the finish she reminds you how far you’ve come and gives you a push. She keeps you going and celebrates with you when you cross that finish line.

I’m not down on the cheerleaders. People need encouragement, especially when they are trying something new and overwhelming, like writing a novel. Writing is hard. There is little reward and the odds of ever holding a book with your name on the front are harsh. If anyone needs cheerleaders, it’s writers.

I can’t do that. When I get something to crit, be it a page or a novel, I look for what needs fixed and forget to leave comments on what’s working. It’s a bit of a failing. I don’t mean to do it that way, but when it’s reading good, I just go with the flow.

But when it isn’t… duck and cover.

I’ve sliced, diced, skinned, and filleted several manuscripts. Sometimes just a paragraph, other times the whole thing. I’ve given mini-grammar lessons, pointed out plot holes, and told people to cut up to 5000 words. I even told one person to throw away the whole thing because it flat-out didn’t work. I don’t snark or poke fun, but I’m not one to overlook something I think can be improved.

I guess it works on some level because people come back for seconds and thirds. Some have sent me a page and (after recovering from the stake through the heart of their pride) they ask for more.

I can take a hard, point-blank crit just as easily as I can give one. If you think it’s a problem, mark it. If it stops the flow, hit me. If it just doesn’t make sense to you, please let me know. Seeing where I can improve and watching the comment bubbles vanish is my kind of cheerleading. It keeps me moving.

We don’t all need the same kind of cheering-on. A harsh read can be as encouraging as pure motivational oomph.

Which means I might be a cheerleader after all.

Voirey

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So Long

This is my final post at Tales.  Blogging here has been a wonderful experience for me.  A thank you AJ for giving me the opportunity to participate in the blog.  And to my blogmates, it’s been a pleasure working with you.

 

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Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-NaNo (Part 1)

I fought not to write about NaNo (National Novel Writing Month) and then I thought, why?  My brain  has been preoccupied with it  for nearly 2 months.  I can’t remember how I found out about it, but I’ve been pretty obsessed with it since.

I do recall I failed pretty spectacularly that first year.   I didn’t even reach 3,000 and that YA Murder Mystery has yet to be written.  (And though it’s still bouncing around in my head, begging to be written, it’s not on deck for this year either)  I’ve done it every year, and I’ve crossed the 50,000 benchmark, but never with a completed story.  Apparently for me, 50K is the middle of the story.

This year I am (once again) shooting for the goal of a completed draft by November 30th.  I’m still not sure if it’ll be the YA Urban Fantasy about The Dead (which has no ending) or if it will be the Erotic Sci-Fi Romance (which I previously tried to NaNo and somehow made the 50K+ out of four scenes), but whatever the project I’ll be ready and raring to go Nov1.

Viva La NaNo!

Sasha

20,142/310,000

 

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Guest Blogger Annie Nicholas and the Power of Three

My friend, Annie Nicholas, is joining us today to talk about her new book, Catch, available from Liquid Silver Books

Menage a Trois

Though the idea of being part of threesome sounds enticing, in reality I think it quite a challenge. Keeping a stable relationship between two people is tough without insert another personality to the equation. How do you keep feelings from getting hurt and jealousy from blooming?

I’ve never been part of such a relationship, though I’ ll admit to the fantasy. Many romance books have started including ménage a trios and my next release has one but I didn’t want to write about it blindly.

Did I go out and have a ménage? LOL. No, my husband is too alpha possessive to believe in sharing and to be honest, so am I. Instead, I asked. Lots of people are open about their relationships and I gathered as much info from this treasure trove as I could.

From what I learned, there seems to be two different kinds of ménages. One where there is the central couple who asks a third to join them for sex but with very little emotional attachment. The other is where all three are equally involved with each sexually and emotionally.

Of course, I decided to give myself a migraine and chose the second option. Love triangles can be a mess but if a resolution can be found it could be just so much sweeter.

Caught between two vampires, Connie is torn between Rurik, the one she loves and Tane, the one she’d love to stake.

Hunger burns in Connie Bences’ soul–she craves the blood of her vampire lover, Rurik, but it’s not satisfying her needs anymore. It’s driving her insane. Desperate to find help, Rurik brings her to Rio De Janeiro, where Tane rules the vampire nation.

The back-stabbing vampire almost killed her and Rurik when they’d first met, then used them to obtain his crown. She would rather stake him, but the small drop of Nosferatu blood he’d forced her to drink in Budapest is blooming into a bond, one which ties her life to his. One he won’t hesitate to manipulate.

He admits to binding her so Rurik would have to remain at his side, but their timing couldn’t be any worse. The betrayer finds himself betrayed. Tane’s rule is in upheaval and he’s forced to place his trust in two people who owe him no allegiance—her and Rurik. In the middle of a power struggle, Connie fights to keep her lover, but didn’t plan on Tane slipping into her heart.

Vampire slayers mourned those of their ilk who got caught. While most died a true death, some of the very things they hunted lured them to cross over and they became creatures of the night. Or in my case, blood bound with one. Colby and Red, my former comrades-at-arms,
treated me as if I was dead, but I never felt more alive.

Jardim Botanico was a botanical paradise famous for its peaceful landscapes. Minutes away from my hotel, it sat in the heart of the south side of Rio de Janeiro. I’ d spent the night sneaking along its gardens, ponds and well-manicured lanes, desperate to escape the predator who stalked my trail. Every time I got close enough to make a run for the streets, he’ d pop out from hiding, almost as if daring me to try.

Bloodsucker.

An envelope of silence surrounded me as I hid under the dark green leaves of a tropical plant. The scents of nutmeg and cinnamon lay thick in the air, I hoped they covered mine. My heart raced and sweat made my curls stick to the nape of my neck, not only from the heat, but from anticipation of the chase. I’ d been smart this time, wearing a black sleeveless t-shirt, sport-shorts and water bottle clipped to my hip so the Brazilian weather wouldn’ t sap my strength. My hair color, though, gave me away most of the time. So pale and yellow, sometimes it seemed like a neon sign saying ‘ here I am’ .

I’ d gotten pretty good at running away from vampires. Connie Bence, live bait extraordinaire, was my last job, but I quit and tonight wasn’t a trap.

It was a game.

The night blanketed everything. I thought a city like Rio would be up at all hours, people partying in the streets, especially on New Year’ s Eve. I was right. They were. Just not around here. The Copacabana Beach probably swarmed with people. One nervous human and one lusty vampire were the only creatures roaming the botanical gardens tonight.

A humongous, lighted Christmas tree floated on the central lagoon as a landmark. From the hotel window, I could see it to the northwest. This meant I needed to go southeast. Or did I? Ah shit, I suck at this stuff. Don’ t throw me in the woods, no matter how manicured.

Laughter drew my attention and I peeked through the leaves. The street was ten yards in front of me through a small stone archway. The noise drifted closer.

I’ d been waiting for a witness. It sounded like a group celebrating, probably heading to the beach where the fireworks would be going off in a few hours. If I could make it to them, my vampire wouldn’t be able to finish the hunt.

He had to keep his people’ s existence a secret. If he broke that law, the big nasties would come and punish him.

Even vampires had nightmares—the Nosferatu.

I crouched under the foliage and did my best imitation of an Olympic sprinter waiting for the start pistol. My adversary strolled out from the shadows next to the archway. Clenching my teeth, I swore under my breath. Dirty, freaking bastard knew what I was going to try.

With his hands clasped behind his back, he whistled a little Hungarian ditty. He wouldn’t kill me, this wasn’t about life and death. It was about winning.

The small group of people, my would-be rescuers, appeared.

My vampire blocked the exit with his body, waved at them and called out something in Portuguese. They laughed. It appeared they found him hilarious.

I didn’ t find it funny.

The muscles in my legs trembled with the strain. They wanted to take off and run with all their might. It took some effort to make myself relax and slow my breathing. Rurik, the vampire, knew I was close, not my exact position or he would have taken me by now. How did he follow
me? Maybe the blood bond we shared gave my location. If that were true, shouldn’ t I sense something about him, too?

For once, I’ d like to win this game, just once. Make it to our hotel before he captured me. It would mean he’ d finally submit to my whims, instead of the other way around. The irony that I couldn’t dominate him without his consent wasn’t lost on me, but I’d make do.

He now stood in the center of the exit, his arms extended to touch the stone walls of the archway. The dim light from the streetlamp outlined his lean muscled frame. “ Run, Rabbit, run.” The softly spoken words sent shivers down my spine. “ Try to get away.” He’ d named me Rabbit
when we’ d first met in Budapest a little over a year ago. Only he could call me by that nickname, he had earned the privilege. No one else had my permission.

My options for escape narrowed. The garden contained more gates, but I didn’t know where. We’d been playing since sunset and he already prevented my leaving three other times. If I gave up he would be disappointed. I understood his need to hunt, yet I grew tired of losing, too.
I eyed a wide Banyan tree by the fence. Long vines hung from the branches, waiting to root themselves one day. Before Rurik bound me to him, I wouldn’t have considered the crazy plan formulating in my head. The blood we shared made me faster and stronger. I healed quicker and didn’t get sick. Best of all, I stayed young. Worst of all, if he died, so did I.

Marriage vows seemed weak compared to that. So if he needed a little hide-and-seek in the dark, I played with him.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What is your opinion in the ménage a trios?

Leave a comment and be entered to win a signed print copy of BAIT, book one of The Angler series.

On Halloween weekend my group blog Paranormal Romantics,
www.paranormalromantics.blogspot.com , is having a Blog-a-Thon. Every hour or so a new blog will go up with a contest. The grand prize from PR will be Nook filled with Books. So come join us starting Oct. 30.

Annie Nicholas
www.annienicholas.com
www.annienicholas.blogspot.com

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Filed under new release, reading, Relax with a book!, Voirey, writing

Competition is good for the soul

A few weeks ago I asked what was the definition of productivity? For me, if I’m writing a dirty draft, it’s usually 1,000-2,000 words a day. Partly that’s because when I’m writing the first draft, I don’t stop to edit anything except massive typos that I might not recognize the mangled word later. I don’t fix plots, I don’t correct formatting, I don’t rethink characters. It comes out how it comes out, and I touch up and layer in the second or third draft. The other part is my inherited fast typing. My mother was a 90 WAM kind of woman, and she passed on her dexterity to me. Luckily. I don’t even want to think what having to fingerpick the words to a 100,000 word novel would feel like…

If you do those calculations, that’s about 7,000 – 14,000 words a week. Now this doesn’t happen all the time, of course. Life gets in the way. But it’s always a good goal. Usually 10,000 words is my average.

Last week I realized I needed to make serious headway on my Marine story, currently titled Standard Issue Marriage. I told my goals group on Monday that I would be aiming to write 12,000 words. One of my CPs said “That sounds like a good goal, I’ll join you.” Somehow “we’ll both write 12,000 words” turned into “race ya!” And it was on.

She pulled ahead after 3 days and finished 12,000 words before me. Being the good sport that I am (read: sore loser) I immediately challenged her to see who wrote the most words before the week was over. We would announce our final tallies at our goals group the following Monday.

It was a tough battle. And knowing that Keri was always neck and neck with me kept me going when my wrists burned and my fingers wanted to fall off. I didn’t allow myself to fall into that blank “writers block” space. I kept going.

In the end, I edged out the victory…barely. With 25,368 words. I mean, in one week. That’s insane. So I now know there’s no real reason I can’t write 10,000 words in one week.

Competition can do amazing things for you.

Jeanette

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