Come on along!

I finished my short story this noon.  Woo!  It feels good to be finished with a project!

Well, okay, maybe not finished in the classical sense of the word, to quote one of my favorite movies. 🙂  The first draft, though, that’s done, and it feels awesome, except for one little thing…

I’ve got a song stuck in my head.

So this ghost story calls for sensory cues, like the smell of roses and snippets of an old song (“Alexander’s Ragtime Band”, for those inquiring minds out there).  I discovered over the weekend that the song I had in mind actually had lyrics, and I was able to find an old recording of it online.  If you’ve seen Titanic, then you’ve heard the song – it’s one of the numbers that the string quartet plays as the ship is sinking.  I have that version on CD, and now I have the Billy Murray recording from 1911 (which you can listen to and download here) as well.  Woo!

But to get the proper mood, I had to weave the song throughout the story.  And to get myself in the proper mood, I listened to the song on repeat all.weekend.long.  Now it’s stuck in my head, Billy Murray singing over the Titanic soundtrack version, which let me tell you, is a little strange.  It’s also kind of fun, though – I haven’t fallen this hard for a song in quite a while.

In my search for info on the song, I learned quite a bit about ragtime, and now I’m on a major ragtime kick.  It’s a shame the genre died out so quickly because the music is really interesting, and I notice something new every time I listen to the songs (“Maple Leaf Rag” and “The Entertainer” in particular).

What about you?  What kind of music gets you in a writing mood?  Have you ever fallen in love with a song on your writing playlist and listened to it non-stop?

(c) 2015.  All rights reserved.

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“I speak for the trees…”

IMG_20131202_233702If you had been in my car last night, you’d have heard the following conversation between Cricket and me.  It was just too cute not to share.

C: “Mommy, are the trees mad?”

M: “No, the trees aren’t mad.  Why?”

C: *very earnestly* “Because they are.  They are mad, Mom.  Because I speak for the trees.”

M: “You speak for the trees?”

C: *very somberly* “I do, Mom.  I do.”

I hate to think how many times he watched (or read) The Lorax yesterday for that to spontaneously come out last night – once he starts with something, he wants it endlessly (I am seriously sick of Scooby Doo at this point).  Still, I’m glad he liked it – The Lorax is one of my favorite Dr. Seuss stories. 🙂

(c) 2013.  All rights reserved.

 

Still hungover

So I haven’t posted in a few days.  Kind of unusual.  Okay, wow, so it’s been more than a few days – it’s been a week.  I’ve been doing a lot of writing, though, and a crap ton of rewriting, and I think it’s going well.  But I’m still dealing with that book hangover.  I just can’t get those books out of my head.

I’ve spent far too much time the last couple days on Tumblr and ogling all the pretty pictures and listening to pi while thinking about The Hunger Games and America and analyzing the series and thinking about how I can’t remember being stuck on a book like this ever and I finally decided something:

forget

I don’t want to forget. …

A letter to my blog

Hello, pretty blog.  How are you?  Have you missed me?  Been lonely without me to update you?

I’m sorry.  Really, I am.  It’s just that I’ve been revising.  And writing.  And chasing one kid after another – it’s like herding cats, I tell you.

Don’t believe me?  Why not?  Oh, you want pics or it didn’t happen?  All right, fine.  Here you go.

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There, are you happy?  Proof I’ve been writing and drinking all the coffee.  What more could you want?

Oh, you want something of substance?  Well, I think I can help you out there.   Here’s an excerpt from my new short story…

The post of many feels

I found a lump in my breast.

It could be nothing – Dear God, I hope it’s nothing.  Please let it be nothing! – but it could be something.  And if it’s something, then it will be my very worst fear come true.

My mother died of breast cancer at the age of 31, just one year after diagnosis.  Hers was an advanced and aggressive cancer; her doctors offered her little hope.  But she took what little they offered her and fought bravely for a year for us, for my dad, my sister, and me.  She battled hair loss and weight gain and nausea and everything else that goes with being a cancer patient, and when she finally succumbed to death, she was smiling.

I am not as brave as my mother.

Finding a lump in my breast – and worse, finding I had cancer – has always been my deepest fear.

Mix tape memories, Part II

Last night I saw a Buzzfeed post on Facebook about the Backstreet Boys doing a Harlem Shake video.  I missed out on that particular sensation, but I still love the Backstreet Boys, so I had to see this one.  I still don’t get the whole Harlem Shake thing, but whatever.  This made my night:

Also this:

If you don’t know why, then you need to go and watch the video for “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)”.  It’s terrible and cheesy and I can’t believe it’s the sort of thing I adored as a teenager, but there you have it.  High school flashbacks for the WIN! 😀

(c) 2013.  All rights reserved.

The madness continues. . .

. . .but not for me.  The emails are out, and I didn’t get one, which means I’m not moving on to the second round of Pitch Madness.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed, but I’d also be lying if I said I’d been holding my breath.  My pitch needs work.  Maybe I should have gone with my gut and used the short pitch I’ve got up on authonomy.  But the competition was pretty stiff; 300 or so people were culled from the competition, so I’m hardly alone in my disappointment.  Besides – I’ve made a bunch of new friends, and that is quite obviously the best part of these competitions. 🙂

So for me, it’s back to querying the old-fashioned way – research and submit, research and submit.  Oh, and pray.  Cuz, you know, you gotta pray.  A lot.  The competition out there is stiff, and marketing is not my strong suit (I’m working on that).  Meanwhile, there’s always the #PitMad contest on Twitter next week… 😀

Congratulations to all those moving on, and good luck in the upcoming rounds.  I’ll be cheering you on from the sidelines and doing my best to keep thinking positive while I hunt for agents to add to my query list.

(c) 2013.  All rights reserved.

 

Pitch madness!

LipeiArtwork by Hazel Butler

Lipei
Artwork by Hazel Butler

That’s right, folks, I’ve got pitch madness!  What, pray tell, is pitch madness?  Why, it’s a lovely competition run by the lovely Brenda Drake and it’s happening right now! 🙂  Well, kind of.  The submission window was yesterday and the task for those who chose to accept it was to submit a 35-word logline (a pitch) and the first 250 words of their completed novels.  The slush zombies are currently wading through all the submissions and choosing who will advance to the next round.

Unlike during GUTGAA when I was on the edge of my seat, I was slightly more relaxed this time around because there was no entrant cap – everyone who entered during the window got in.  But!  That hasn’t stopped me from second-guessing every bit of my submission ever since I hit send yesterday morning.

I’ve been working over my pitch and my MS quite a bit over the course of the last six months, but that hasn’t stopped me from feeling insecure about the whole big mess, especially since I have a variety of short pitches in the works now.  Do I use one of the ones I created for the #PitMad pitchfest last fall?  Do I use the one I currently have up on authonomy?   Do I use the one-sentence synopsis I spent a whole day trying to draft?

So it’s a Monday. . .

. . .and I needed a little cheering up because, well, you know – it’s a Monday.  Luckily, I found these waiting for me when I arrived home:

Now that's what I call comfort food.Photo by Kay Kauffman

Now that’s what I call comfort food.
Photo by Kay Kauffman

Don’t they look delicious?  I’m trying to be good and not eat them all but, well, I have no willpower.  I’ll be lucky if they’re still here come morning. 😀

I mean, really, who can resist the power of the Girl Scout cookies?  They’re like $3 boxes of crack, only addictive.  Well, more addictive.  You know what I mean.  Also, it’s late, I’m tired, I may have had one or two or ten of them by now, please to insert my usual litany of excuses here, thankyouverymuch.

And now I’m going to try to sleep off the yummy yummy cookies (that were not made with real Girl Scouts (please, dear God, tell me someone other than me gets that so that I don’t feel quite so silly)).  It was a long day at work today, but an okay kind of long for once, so hopefully that’s a sign of things to come.  Here’s hoping everyone else’s week is off to a great start!

(c) 2013.  All rights reserved.

 

Books I want to read this year

I have an extensive list of books that I would like to read and it seems that my list grows longer every day.  But since I’m keeping track of which books I’ve read through the course of the year, perhaps if I keep track of which books I’d like to read, I might stand a chance of reading a few more of those desired titles.

So, without further ado, here are some of the books I’d like to read this year: