Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My son

My son, and the subject of my parenting book "Michael is a Verb", has an interview for his first job on Tuesday. It's an unpaid internship at a microscopy lab on Tuesday. Please think good thoughts for him to get this. He's excited about it, as only a 16 year old with ADHD can be.

He's wanted to be a physicist since he was five years old, and thinks this will look better on his resume than "worked at McDonald's". (Though he assures me that he can discuss the physics of burger flipping, if he needs to explain how that job related to physics.)

Next year, he wants to intern at JPL.

When I was 16, I was working in a department store, learning how much your feet can hurt when you wear heels all day. Which is probably why I now pick my jobs based on dress code (or lack thereof).

More on book trailers

The Squidoo lens of the day is about book trailers, if anyone is interested!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Back again

So, Thursday night I went home from work, ready for a long weekend (Friday and Monday off) of writing, blogging, reading, and kittening! (Yes, Dylan arrived on Friday and has integrated well. More on that tomorrow.)

I clicked on my blog and got a message that it had been deleted. I had a brief moment of panic, followed by the clever idea that maybe I needed to log into my email  account. After entering my name and password, I was taken to a page that my email had been disabled due to an unspecified reason, up to and including TOS violation.

Now there was real panic. I use my email account as my notebook for all my writing ideas, my back up for my novel, and oh yeah, emailing people and business. I went through the 7 stages of loss over the weekend. Unfortunately, I could only remember 5 of them, so I did those over and over. Sometimes all in the same minute.

I'd like to apologize at this time for all the things I said about Google (in my mind) over the weekend. I got my email back today, as well as my blog (obviously). It turns out that my email account had been compromised and they locked my accounts down when that happened.

So, thank you for saving my accounts and information Google. Thank you for giving it back to me. But please, next time this happens, let me know the same day, not four days later, ok?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Welcome Dylan!

We've adopted a new kitten. He'll be arriving on Friday. We already have two (rescue) cats. An 11 year old cat named Pooka and a 1 year old cat named Morgan Le Fey. Morgan is always trying to play with Pooka, and Pooka would rather just spend her time lying on the couch. We've been talking about getting a third cat for while, but just needed to find the right one.

We went to PetSmart to get food for our cats and they were having an adoption weekend. The woman that fostered Morgan was there, and she had a lot of cats with her. (She works/volunteers for a cat rescue group called "Cats At The Studios".) She recommended Dylan as having the right type personality to fit with Morgan. What can I say? I fell in love with the little guy. (My son fell in love with all of them, which was very easy to do.)

This is a picture of Dylan when he was about 8 weeks old. He's now three months old, but looks exactly the same to me.

Warning: both of these links will take you to the Cats At The Studios site of adoptable cats. Poke around at your own peril!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Book Trailers

I don't really get book trailers. I mean, I understand that they're designed to whet the appetite of your potential reading audience. I'm just not sure how they work. Who makes them? The publisher, the author? I saw one that had a cast of characters including a cameo by Deepak Chopra! Yow! Who pays for that?

I liked the one for Stay, though. I liked it so much, that I had a sample sent to my Kindle, even though it's a genre I don't care for.

And since I'm working on my query letter and a book trailer is like a query letter, I figured if I did a book trailer, it would be like this:

Voice: When Oubliette comes to call
(image of long fingered hand with claws, sliding under the bed)
Voice: Only a troll can protect you
(silhouette of troll, cut to hand with claws emerging from the finger tips)
Voice: And if she’s a tooth fairy, so much the better
(silhouette transforms from troll to tooth fairy, small and cute with wings)

Today is 3x5 card day!

A week or so ago, I made a whiny post about my utter failure of my revision process. Thanks to both Piedmont Writer (who pointed me to Falen) and Falen, who wrote about her revision process (complete with pictures) on her blog.

So, today is 3x5 card day! Today I start putting all my plot points on my 3x5 cards and slicing and dicing my WIP the easy way. As opposed to moving huge chunks of text around in Word, and getting utterly lost.

Of course, I'm also celebrating my shiny new husband's birthday today. And tomorrow is Father's Day, so I may not get as much done as I hope, but at least it's a start.

Next month I'll take Nicole MacDonald's suggestion to make sure I have enough detail.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Opening sentence

While waiting for my husband in the car, an opening sentence came to me. I don't know where it's headed, or if I'm going to do anything more than just this:

Rebecca was wearing her lucky jeans the day she got kidnapped.

new genre: Suburban Fantasy

I describe the genre of my troll wife story as "Suburban Fantasy" as opposed to Urban Fantasy. But what's the difference? Urban fantasy takes place in the modern world as we know it, but with the addition of magic and magical creatures. Sometimes this is well known, sometimes the general population isn't aware that magic and magical creatures exist. It's dark and gritty, and usually someone dies.

My story is a suburban fantasy. It is like the cozies in the mystery world. It's not as dark or gritty, and no one dies. It's not the big city of fantasy, it's the suburbs.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

new house, new noises

(Side note, if I can think of a good hook, I'm writing a haunted house story. However, I will probably never be able to write one as creepy as The Dionaea House.)

There are a bunch of fireworks going off outside. We just moved into this house in November, so I haven't had a 4th of July here yet, and no way to gauge what "normal" is for this area.

The fireworks tell me that either the Lakers won the basketball game, or it's a lot closer to the 4th than I realized.

(Checks news.) Ah, the Lakers won.

(Check calendar.) Ah, it's a lot closer to the 4th than I realized.

Still no clue what's normal. Come to think of it, that pretty much describes my life.

website: TV Tropes and Idioms (or why I can't do anything I want)

I love the website TV Tropes and Idioms. Truth be told, I could sit and read it for my entire lunch hour (and beyond). Fortunately, I still have enough self control to stop reading it at the end of said lunch hour. It's so great, I can't explain it. It's a list/data base of storytelling ideas and themes are that are used in TV, books, comics books, computer games(!) and other media. But it's really so much more! If you haven't visted this site, please check it out.

If nothing else, you'll understand that I work with Minovsky Particles and not Applied Phlebotinum which shapes how I do my world building. (Trying to explain glamour and The Gloaming in my troll wife story was very hard, because my son kept me on the straight and narrow for Minovksy Particles. I don't explain all the aspects in my story, so people might think it's Applied Phlebotinum, but they're wrong.)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

from earthquakes to volcanos

Near the end of The Clockwork Cat (my steampunk WIP) Our Fearless Heroine, her aunt, the clockwork cat, and (of course) the butler take an airship (captained by a possibly smitten Luddite) to an island to rescue our Fearless Heroine's father.

The only problem is that the island is named (de de de) Mount Tambora!

Yeah, just doesn't have the same kick as Krakatoa, does it. The problem is that Krakatoa didn't have its huge eruption until 1883, while Mount Tambora erupted in 1815. 1815 fits better for my timeline, plus Mount Tambora was a bigger eruption than Krakatoa. (Thus lots of potential for some volcano vs airship action.)

When my readers see the name Krakatoa, they know a volcanic eruption is coming. I don't want it to be a surprise, I want to use that foreknowledge to build tension for the reader. So, shift my book timeline to 1883 and use Krakatoa, or keep it in 1815 and use Mount Tambora, and find some other way to alert the reader without being too ham handed.

Le sigh.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Local (only) Contest

Wordslayercometh has a post about a writing contest. That catch is that it's only open to residents of West Covina, California. Even if you're not a resident, will you please help spread the word? (Six degrees of separation and all that.)

Even if you're not a resident of that city, you might enjoy the writing prompts :)

Earthquakes as divination

Last night, as I was posting my "I'm scared" post, I mean literally as I was hitting "publish post", an earthquake struck. I'm far enough away from the epicenter that wasn't even big enough to make a noise, but I felt it.

Now, using earthquakes as a divination tool would tell me that I need to shake up my way of looking at this problem and even though it sounds scary, it won't be painful.

And today, I do feel much better about how to handle my problem with this story. Thanks to everyone for their advice and support.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The fact is, I'm scared

I've been working on my Troll Wife story for six years. Now, technically, four of those years don't count, because I stopped writing during those years. I didn't stop thinking about writing (in general) and Troll Wife (in particular), but I just didn't do any writing. (No, it wasn't writer's block.)

This year, I'm determined to finish this revision. But I'm scared. I look at the subplots that have gotten moved around and are out of order, and I'm just overwhelmed. I know that Troll Wife has to get the cream before Thor Thunderfist gets attacked. I know that Troll Wife doesn't find out he's being shunned until after he's been attacked. I know that Brux has to be attacked before Thor Thunderfist. I'm pretty sure that chapter four is too late to introduce the villain. If Brux is getting attacked while the Troll Wife is meeting with the elvish queen, then Troll Wife should be shot after that, but she can't be walking normally when Thor is attacked.

Normally, I love solving puzzles and fixing things. What is going on here? What is so scary about this? If I just chop it up into individual scenes, and lay them out in order like a linear puzzle, I should be able to do fix this.

I need timeline help. And someone to tell just listen while I sort out the problems and cry bitter tears.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Unnamed Cryptozoology WIP

There's something very wrong with the unnamed cryptozoology piece. The fact that it's still unnamed is a big clue to me that there's a problem.

After all this time and research, I still don't have "the hook". I'm pretty sure the character is Rachel Hunter. Why is she looking for cryptids and what is she going to do with them? Who knows. Is she trying to prove they exist? Or hide their existence so they don't become extinct? What will happen if she doesn't find a cryptid? Why do we care? I still don't have any answers.

I still like the idea of a woman that lives in a trailer with her raccoon dog. A research scientist that is looking for answers or has an agenda. I may have to expand the field. Instead of a cryptozoologist, maybe she's a Fortean researcher?

Maybe she's researching anomalies, rather than cryptids? It's a wider field, and allows for more travel and problems with all sorts of people, but I'm still wondering why...why is she doing this? What's in it for her? Knowledge? Love? Carrying on in the footsteps of her father (or mother)?

In X Files, Fox was determined to prove that strange things were out there, because his sister had been taken by "strange things out there" but no one would believe him. In "The Secret Saturdays", they wanted to find cryptids and hide them before the Evil Villain found them and made them extinct. In Supernatural, they're following in their father's footsteps and trying to save the world. Some other show that I don't know the name of, the guy wants to put "the truth" on his website. So, what's in it for Rachel? Why does she do this?

Until I know that, I can't do anything more with the story.

Maybe her father was a discredited scientist that died before he was unable to prove his "crackpot" theories. Rachel wants to prove that her father was right, but discovers that revealing the truth about cryptids is just going to get the cryptids killed. (People will want to put them in zoos and study them, right into extinction. Let's not forget the last passenger pigeon and last Tasmanian wolf both died in zoos.) Now, Rachel is torn. Continue her work and exonerate her father but kill the very things he loved. Or, let her father's memory be laughingstock in the scientific community. However, aren't the cryptids still in danger?

Look at the Hoan Kiem turtle which was discovered in 1998.  It's now on the verge of extinction (only 3 known left) and their habitat is being destroyed by development. Right now, plans are being made to save them and create new nesting beaches for them. If they'd never been discovered, they would never have a chance to be rescued.

It's a start, but it's not the full hook that I'm looking for.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Rats! Another WIP makes an appearance

Currently, I'm working on revising my troll wife story. I'm also working on:
The Clockwork Cat, a steampunk novel.
An unnamed cryptozoology novel.
The Monster of Dewsberry Drink, a middle grade novel.
Michael is a Verb, a non fiction article/book on parenting children with ADHD.

Last night, another work popped in. I've always known that I wanted to do a mystery where the main character has prosopagnosia (face blindness). I know it's been done, but since I have it, I want to write about it. I was just waiting for the right take on it to come along. Well, it did.

Carrie just gave a good description of the killer to the police. So it's no wonder they don't believe her when she says she can't recognize the killer. Because Carrie is face blind, she can't recognize her own mother, much less a killer she saw for less than a minute. Sure that he will be coming after her, Carrie takes a course in how not to get kidnapped, booby traps her house, and learns to shoot. When the killer tracks her down, Carrie has turned from someone who wasn't a threat to the biggest threat the killer has ever faced.

Carrie paused in her description. "I think they knew each other."
"Why do you think that?"
"Their shoulders were down when they first met. When you meet a stranger, or someone you're scared of, your shoulders go up. The dead guys shoulder's didn't go up until just before he was shot."

Yeah, it's not a mystery. More of a thriller, and it turns the "ordinary citizen out for revenge" trope on its head. I'll let the idea sit for a few days, and see if I still like it in a week or two.

There actually is a course about how not to get kidnapped. They focus on things like being aware of your surroundings, not following a set routine, and not being afraid to make a scene when your instincts tell you something is wrong. There may be some defensive driving, too. The graduation consists of avoiding a "kidnap" attempt by the course instructors.

By the way, that link for prosopagnosia is my favorite. I've been using it for years to try to explain face blindness to people.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Query Letter, draft 1, version 1

I'm working on my query letter. I started by posting it on my LJ, then posted it on the Public Query Slushpile, and now I'm posting it here.  I really like some of the suggestions I've received, and I'm thinking about how to work them in, so there are sure to be future versions :)

I took stock of my injuries. I hadn't even been on the job a month and I had 14 bruises, a concussion, multiple cuts and abrasions, a broken bone, and now, a gunshot wound. Being a tooth fairy shouldn't be this hard.

So opens my 95,000 word urban fantasy novel, A Troll Wife's Tale.

When Troll Wife first becomes a tooth fairy, all she can see are the good things. She has a steady job. She's making friends. Best of all are the tooth fairy wings and flying.

After a few days, she starts to see the problems. She's racking up an impressive number of on the job injuries. Her friends only accept her because they can't tell she's a troll while she's wearing the wings. The wings take away her troll ability to smell a person's character and emotions.

She notices that going even a day without wearing the wings makes her irritable. Are the wings addictive? If so, why?

It seems that tooth fairies also have enemies. Oubliette, the most efficient soldier in the human/fae war hundreds of years ago, hasn't given up fighting the war against the humans.

Tooth fairies keep the peace pact with humans and Oubliette wants to end that pact. Oubliette seems determined to convince Troll Wife of the dangers of humans. If Oubliette is right, is the peace pact actually destroying all the fae?

When a homeless boy that Troll Wife has befriended loses his first tooth, Troll Wife has to make sure he keeps the pact before Oubliette catches up to him.

(snip reason I'm submitting to this agent)