Friday, May 31, 2013

So That Deadline...

And that's the truth! =) I didn't make it, which is a bummer, but I'm not too sad over it, as I feel like I'm really perfecting Liberty or Death(to the extent of my ability w/out the aid of outside eyes) by editing it in hard copy- it's just taking me much longer to read it in that form than I'd anticipated... *frowny face* But I have learned something- from now on, hard copy edits are always going to feature in my revision process. So after this last round of revision, and I cap my red pen, it'll be time for critique partners. Goody gum drops!
 

 
Candy makes everything better- even deadline missing! 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Red Pens, Cannons, Dead Dogs, and Hippos

I printed out my book today! It was(is) a great feeling to hold it and tap it(I like that solid, yet hollow thump you get when knocking on a stack of papers). I should hopefully get quite a bit of editing done tomorrow(huzzah for red pens!), as we're going on a three hour drive to go to a Revolutionary War battle reenactment(huzzah for cannons!).

But back to my having printed out my book- I told a friend(and my mother-in-law and my husband): Look at all those words right outta my head. Mine! Mine! All mine!(not quite that rabidly, but along those lines...)

And then I got to thinking that that's not really true. All my years of reading have contributed to who I am as a writer. All those times that I smiled at a funny line of dialogue or inner thought, or read a passage out loud because all the words were just exactly right, or cried b/c a character died(or dog- hello, Where The Red Fern Grows, I'm looking at you!)- they've helped shape how I write my own stories. I only hope that the more I read, the more I'll grow into my own writer skin.



 And, yes, that is a yarn wrapped hippo in the background. Every bookcase needs one.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Sweet Reads: Easy Lemon Cookies and The Help

Once a month I'll be posting a dessert recipe and an excerpt from a book thats struck me just right, whether it be gorgeous descriptions, funny dialogue, swoon-worthy kisses, sarcastic come-backs, or spine-tingling encounters.



The Help by Kathryn Stockett was an incredible read. It made me feel and think and burn with injustice. And laugh out loud! I was reading it one night in our bedroom, when I came across this:

On day three, Mother calls up the stairs to ask what in the world I'm doing up there all day and I holler down, Just typing up some notes from the Bible study. Just writing down all the things I love about Jesus.

I about lost it, which was a huge no-no because I'd just won a hard fought battle to get the kidlet to sleep. So I laughed into my pillow, and for the next half hour would break into quiet chuckles just thinking about the above passage.

The Help is told from different perspectives: Skeeter, Aibileen, and Minny. The voices of the three women were distinct, and each addicting in their own way. To me, The Help was about the worst in people, but also the best. If you haven't read it yet, it's most definitely worth all the praise and accolades it's received!

Now for the cookies! They don't look like much, but they're oh so yummy!

Easy Lemon Cookies

1(18.25 oz) package lemon cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Pour cake mix into a large bowl. Stir in eggs, oil and lemon extract until well blended. Drop teaspoonfuls of dough into a bowl of confectioners' sugar. Roll them around until they're lightly covered. Once sugared, put them on an ungreased cookie sheet.

3. Bake for 6 to 9 mins in preheated oven. The bottoms will be lightly brown, and the insides chewy.

Notes:
I followed a tip from what someone else said and used 1 tbsp lemon juice instead of lemon extract, for a better flavor. And I rolled my dough into a ball before rolling it in the sugar- much easier!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Hunger Games Fan?

In the process of sloowly making over the first bedroom into an office, I came across a Hunger Games poster I'd bought a couple of years ago at Walden Bookstore. I'd gotten one for my baby bro, and since it was cheap, figured I might as well get one for me too.

But as I'm the sort of person that can't stand it when something doesn't match(at least in the house- personally I've gone w/mismatched socks a time or two...or three...or...yeah, you get the idea), I never put the poster up. 'Cuz as much as I love The Hunger Games, I do not have a Hunger Games themed room in my house anywhere(darn it!).

So I'm going to give the poster away to someone who might appreciate it a bit more and let it see the light of day. I don't have an exact picture of it(as I'm too lazy to unroll it and weight the corners and snap one of it), but this is what's on it:

 
 
Except it's a bit more graffiti looking and in black and tan. If you- or if you have someone in your life who's a Hunger Games aficionado- would like the poster, just simply post a comment below and Thurs. morning(8 A.M. Eastern standard time zone) I will select a random winner.
 
 
May the odds ever be in your favor...
 
Mm-hmm, you knew I couldn't let that opportunity pass me by! =) 


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Deadline

I've set one of the above. I'm hoping that if I commit to it here(and post whether I make it or not on the blog) it might help me get my rear in gear. I've been five months in revision, and it's time to get this thing done! Like completely polished, the best I can possibly get it without outside eyes sorta done. My goal is to be finished by May 31st.



So three and a half weeks in which to hammer it all out...yikes. I've given myself deadlines before, but they always passed by and I didn't pay them too much attention. I figured working full time and chasing after the kidlet from one mess to the next meant I could be forgiving of my deadline-missing.

But I'm curious to see if I can actually- for once, for REALS- hit a deadline. And, ergh, I just got nervous thinking about all the work that needs to be done between now and then...*looks at fingernails that just grew out and fights the urge to start nibbling* I'm going to be doing a whole lot of this in the next few weeks:



Except I imagine I'll look a lot less Victorian...and be using a computer, thank goodness! 

Monday, May 6, 2013

A New Bookcase

Woo-hoo! I just bought this:
Threshold Carson 5 Shelf Bookcase


To put in the same room w/these two:



And yup, it's the exact same one as the others, the Threshold Carson 5 Shelf Bookcase from Target. Though I've no idea what a threshold has to do w/a bookcase... Anyway, I'm planning on redoing this bedroom in grey and yellow. I absolutely love grey walls!

Then I'm hoping to snag a cheap desk somewhere and paint it yellow w/some cute knobs(hello summer yard sales!). My other must have is a framed cork board to hang above the desk. When it's done it won't exactly be my dream office w/floor-to-ceiling bookcases and a rolling ladder, but I'll still be glad to have it anyway! You've gotta start somewhere, right? =)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

In Which Characters Act WAY Out of Character

So...dialogue is frustrating(can I get an amen?). Some days, it's relatively easy. What comes out of my character's mouths just seems to flow and is witty and sparkling and might even make you cry(note, I didn't say if it was a happy cry or a sad cry...).

And then there are the days where I sit and stare at the computer screen with my cursor blinking at me and EVERYTHING my characters say is boring and dumb and very un-sparkly. And then I really do want to cry. Sadly. =(

On those days, I sometimes play a game. Because I spend so much time trying to make sure that what comes out of my character's mouths is IN character, sometimes it's just fun to purposely make it out of character.

Here's an example of some dialogue from my YA historical fantasy:

“I suppose I should take your silence on the matter as agreement?”

“What? Oh, no… I was thinking on something else.”

“So you aren’t angry with me?”
 
Now, if this were one of those days where I was struggling to get even that small bit out(and oh, how often that happens!) and I decided to play my game, it'd look something like this:
 
"I suppose I should take your silence on the matter as agreement?"
 
"What? Oh, no...I was thinking on something else. Like a Polar Pop."
 
"So you aren't- pardon me? A Po-Lar Pop? What...is that?"
 
"A really delicious carbonated drink that sure beats the heck out of tea. I'd like one with some vanilla right now. And if I weren't having this dumb, dull and un-sparkly conversation with you- and I lived in the 21st century- I might have one."
 
Right, so(I know, I'm weird!). After I get done messing around, you know what I sometimes find? That I can write dialogue again! That's in character, yay! Which I guess really made this post about writer's block, and what I find that sometimes helps me circumnavigate it. 

Good ol' Calvin & Hobbes, my fav. cartoon as a kid(and now)

What about you all? Are there any games or tricks you have up your sleeves that help you get out of a rut?