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Jan. 17th, 2011

Me#2

(no subject)


Am very tempted to try running through a thick hedge, just to see if it can be done. Someone would probably get a bit annoyed at me for hurting their landscaping, though, so I probably shouldn't. Plus, I'm sure I'd end up with lots of scratches and leaves in my hair. Still, I really want to know just how hard it would be.

In other news, I fiinished a book this weekend! This book!

 A BRUSH OF DARKNESS by Allison Pang

This is Allison's debut urban fantasy, coming out on January 25th. My agent sent it to my late last year and I just now was able to finish it. My fault, not Allison's. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It's about Abby, a human who is in over her head in the paranormal world. Abby is a fun, brave character who knows how to use sarcasm, but I think it's the worldbuilding that really grabbed me. I love all the paranormal characters - especially a certain incubus - and the concepts of the Crossroads and Touchstones and everything else was super intriguing. I definitely recommend this book if you love urban fantasy.

It felt so, so good to read again! I have a stack of Golden Heart entries I need to read, but I'm looking forward to digging through my TBR drawer and reading my next book. Huzzah!



Jan. 13th, 2011

Me#2

(no subject)


1. I'm in a reading slump. Not because there aren't awesome books out there I want to read, but just because I can't find the energy to open a book. Ridiculous, right? I miss reading, and I'm still buying books. Not reading and buying books at the same time is kind of a problem. My TBR stack is growing. (Actually, it's a TBR drawer. I'm out of shelf space so I put all my TBR books in my nightstand.) I think I'll make this the year I tackle all of those TBR books. I have a couple of must-buy books (gotta get my hands on ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, THE IRON WITCH, Meredith Duran's next book this summer, and a few others), but other than that, I'm determined to clear out my TBR drawer. Just as soon as I find the energy to read again.

2. Tuscon Memorial. I didn't watch much of it. The whole thing just makes me so, so sad. But I did watch the beginning of the president's speech, and I remember frowning, then turning to Trey and saying something like, "Why the hell is the audience clapping and cheering?" Did anyone else find that weird? Almost insensitive? I think it might have bothered the Prez, too.

3. Australia. The flood footage from Australia is incredible. Some reporters say it's effecting an area the size of Texas and New Mexico combined. I think they might have been exaggerating, or maybe its that the rain has effected that large an area or something, but still, a lot of damage has been done, a lot of lives have been lost. Has anyone seen any fundraisers to help the Australian people? With the Haiti earthquake and the tsunami several years ago, I remember seeing charity type stuff everywhere, but maybe I was just on Twitter more then?

4. Financial software. Does anyone use anything good? I've tried Mint.com, but it's making me mad because it duplicates random transactions, and there's no way to delete the duplicates. Mint has been aware of the problem for at least a year (it's affecting more people than just me) and hasn't come up with a fix. Freaking annoying. I used to use and love Microsoft Money, but that's not around anymore. The only other software I've seen is Quicken, but that has terrible reviews on Amazon.

5. Affect/effect. Ugh. I'm never going to remember when to use which. I have to look up the rule every single time I use either word. I know there's all sorts of ways to help you remember when to use the "a" versus the "e," but for some reason, my brain refuses to remember them for more than five seconds. So, my apologies if I used the wrong word in this post.

Jan. 3rd, 2011

Me#2

Checking in

(Woah. My paid account (gifted by the fabulous david_bridger last year) just expired and the ads are already driving me crazy. How does anyone function on LJ without a paid account? I'm renewing this year, but those ads just might chase me away in another year. Ridiculous.)

I'm alive! Mostly. I apologize for virtually disappearing the last month or so. I have a good reason - two good reasons, actually - but I'll talk more about that some other time. I just wanted to stopy by and say Hi! and Happy New Year! I'll probably still be scarce over here for a while, but I will be posting once a week soon, at a new group blog of paranormal romance and UF writers. Very excited about this project! I'll, of course, provide more info when we launch. :-)

I want to write up a top reads of 2010 post and a post on what books I'm looking forward to this year, but I need to put the finishing touches on THE SHADOW READER and my energy level is bleh lately. I think I'm getting better, though, so hopefully I can start on those posts soon.

Other exciting things: I'm going to have a real website! Not anytime soon. I think my designer has me scheduled for June or July, but still, it's going to be AWESOME! And...

Oh. It just ocurred to me that it's 2011. OMG! It's 2011. Do you know what happens in 2011?! MY BOOK COMES OUT! I just sold the thing. How can it possibly already be the year that it's released already? I mean, sure, it's not out until November, but that's only 11 months away.

*blinks*

Dudes, this is going to be an interesting year.

ETA: Ohmygosh, you guys. LiveJournal is really getting on my nerves. Apparently, they've raised the price of paid accounts from $10 to $20, and that's only if you sign up for automatic payments! If you want to make a one-time yearly payment, it's $25. Don't the admins know I can move to other places for free? And Wordpress, IMO, is a better platform than LJ. You can do so much more with it and it's prettier. The only thing keeping me on LJ is the community aspect of it and my friends, but seriously, it might not be worth it much longer. 

Ahem. Sorry for the rant. 


Dec. 13th, 2010

Me#2

Revisions


Yes. Still. I don't know why this round is so damn difficult. It's not like the first round in which I had to write entirely new scenes and do a few big changes. Most of the tweaks are just that - tweaks.

And yet, progress is slow. I have a list of 5 things left to do. 5 little things. On Friday, I had a list of 9 little things. At least I'm making some progress.

I think I'll finish everything up today, but then, I absolutely must do one more read through of the manuscript. I must! The last time I read it through, it took me two days, so hopefully I can turn these in on Wednesday. It sure would help if I felt better, but I've been bleh since Friday night. I need a burst of energy to get through this last little bit!

And then, on to new words!

Random: you know what I miss? I miss posting little teasers. I haven't posted any in forever because I either wasn't writing new words or I was writing words which were spoilers for book one. But I have this story I started which is set in the same world as The Shadow Reader. I don't think it's spoilery and I probably won't do anything with it, but it's fun. So, here's a snippet, just because I like Paige and this scene, and I'd be so very sad if no one ever read it.

-----------------------------

            I should have checked the peephole before I opened the door. As soon as I see Lee standing on my front porch, I try to slam it shut. He gets his foot over the threshold just in time.

            “I said I’d call if I heard from her. I haven’t.” I slam my stiletto heel down on his shoe. It should hurt, but he doesn’t flinch or pull his foot back.

            “It’s been a month, Paige,” he says, maddeningly calm. “You told me she’s never gone more than a week.”

 I ram my shoulder into the door, still trying to shove it shut. “She’s usually not gone more than a week. Really, I don’t have a clue where she is.” The latter half of that is true – I never know where McKenzie runs off to – but we sometimes go two, three weeks without talking.

“I don’t believe you.”

“That’s because you’re psychotic!”

He moves closer, getting his whole leg between the door and its frame. I push my knee against his thigh, trying to force him out of the way. The muscle beneath his jeans is hard, unmoving. The only thing that does move is me and my ruffled white mini skirt, which rides up my leg.

“Paige.” He grips the edge of the door with his left hand, completely focused on my face, not the skin I’m showing. That hurts my pride. Not that I thought he’d become distracted enough for me to get the door shut, but a little interest or even a flash of memory would be nice.

“Look,” I say, not caring that I sound like a bitch. “McKenzie is my friend, but I don’t keep track of her. She’s flighty” – to put it nicely – “but she’s an adult. She doesn’t have to report to me or anyone else when she takes off. You want to talk to her, go stake out her apartment.”

“I’ve already checked her apartment.” His voice is quiet, but intense, and his expression hasn’t changed since I first opened the door. He’s nothing like the guy I met at my sister’s wedding. That guy was nice – too nice for me, but a definite possibility for McKenzie, who’s in desperate need of a man. I thought she might like Lee’s easy smile and his mix of American and Asian heritage, so when he asked about her at the reception, I intended to set them up. But for once, McKenzie found a date on her own. Sort of.

“Let me in, Paige.”

I lift my chin and glare into his dark eyes. “She’s. Not. Here.”

His first sign of impatience is a slow blink. He draws in a breath then says, “Back up.”

Ah, hell. I lean all my weight against the door. “My friends are going to be here any second,” I lie. I’m supposed to meet them at a club in half an hour.

“I don’t want to hurt you.”

Despite my suspicion that he’s clinically insane, I believe him. He’s always been gentle with me – well, except when we slept together but I liked that – and he usually backs off when I ask him to. Usually.

“I’ll call the cops if--”

He kicks the door open. I see it coming, try to dodge out of the way, but it clips my hip, throwing me off-balance. I would be fine, but my high heels work against me. My ankle twists and I go down, landing hard on my ass.

Lee closes the door behind him, but I’m still not worried, not until he turns the lock and the bolt slides into place. Shit. Maybe I should be afraid of him.

I get my feet back under me, start to rise. Lee is there before I straighten, grabbing my elbow to help me up.

Or maybe he’s grabbing it to keep me from reaching for my purse. It’s there on the back of my couch only a few paces away. He knows I keep my taser in it.

“I told you to back up,” he says as if it’s my fault I fell.

“And I told you to fuck off.” I try to jerk my arm free.

“Not in those exact words,” he mutters under his breath.



-----------------

Yeah, the scene still needs work, especially Paige's voice, which sounds a little too much like McKenzie's, but I love snippets.

Dec. 10th, 2010

Me#2

Fight!

I'm excited for the UFC fight tomorrow. It's between George St. Pierre and Josh Koscheck. I'm 100% rooting for GSP, who's the reigning UFC Welterweight Champion.



I have to confess, though, that I didn't know who GSP was before this season of The Ultimate Fighter. The Ultimate Fighter is a reality show that places two current UFC fighters in charge of the training of a class of prospective UFC fighters. Their fighters face off against each other over the course of the season then, when the season is over, the two coaches fight. I don't know when I started watching the show, but I'm pretty sure it's the reason why I've become a huge fan of the UFC.

If you're curious about the UFC - and you definitely should be! - try watching The Ultimate Fighter next season. It gives you a chance to get to know the fighters’ personalities and, ironically, most of the UFC fighters seem to be nice guys. It still amazes me how, after one guy gets his ass kicked, both fighters smile and hug and practically make out in the Octagon. These guys have respect for each others' skills and, as a result, I have a respect for them. 

Of course, not all the fighters are nice, which is one of the reasons why I'm rooting for GSP and not Koscheck. Koscheck is a bully, plain and simple. He antagonized GSP and his team the entire season, going so far as to pick a fight with the team's medical assistant. Koscheck actually put his hands on the medical assistant, which almost led to an all out brawl between a few team members (a big no-no on the show; you gotta save the fights for the Octagon), and I don't know how Koscheck didn't get into some serious trouble for that. Maybe the medical assistant didn't want to press charges? It just really bothered me because, even though the medical assistant was a big dude, he's not a trained fighter. Koscheck would have killed him.

The other reason I like GSP: he reminds me of my brother. My brother’s a Marine and, IMO, a badass. But, like GSP, he’s kind of quiet, quiet in an I’m-not-going-to-put-up-with-your-bullshit-but-will-kick-your-ass-later kind of way. GSP shrugged off all of Koscheck’s taunting. He’s saving it for the Octagon.

So, tomorrow night on Pay Per View: GSP vs. Koscheck. PPV is expensive, which is why we go out to our favorite, family-friendly bar where there’s just a $5 cover. I really think I should be able to write that cover charge off as a business expense. I swear it helps me write the best fight sequences. It gives my characters something to do besides just throwing punch after punch. Guillotine choke anyone?

Dec. 7th, 2010

Me#2

Are you wrapping air for Christmas?

I just discovered a huge problem with e-readers: I don't want to buy people e-books for Christmas. It's like giving someone air. Air doesn't look so good wrapped under the Christmas tree.

I want to buy good, old fashioned, tangible books, but both my mom and my grandmother have e-readers, so I'm not doing that this year. I'm really bummed about that because there are a ton of books I'd love to buy for them. *sulks*

Another gift idea I have that's probably not going to happen: Birchbox

I've developed this, um, kind of secret obsession with a few beauty and fashion YouTube Channels: http://www.youtube.com/user/missglamorazzihttp://www.youtube.com/user/AllThatGlitters21, and espcially http://www.youtube.com/user/juicystar07. The ironic thing is that I'm a complete dummy when it comes to beauty and fashion, and I spend the least amount of time and money possible on all of that stuff. The only reason I stumbled across these channels was because I decided to write about a character who IS into beauty and fashion, and I felt like I needed to do some research into her character. But I was thoroughly entertained by these girls. I'm seriously addicted to Juicystar07's videos, but I learned about the Birchbox from MissGlam.

Birchbox sounds like a cool program. It's $10 a month. The website/company sends you 4-5 samples of high end beauty products to try out, and it comes all pretty in a box with pink tissue paper. They also have tutorials on-line, and if you like a product, you can buy the full-sized version at a discount.

I was thinking of gifting three months to someone, but when I went to the website, I encountered the same problem (sort of) as I did with the e-books: I'm gifting air. The site will send the gift recipient an email notifying them of the gift, then, a few weeks later, they'll get their first delivery in the mail. Again, not to fun unwrapping air from under the Christmas tree.

I guess if you wanted to give someone a gift who you aren't actually going to see, e-books and subscription things like these would work, but it's just kind of disgruntling when you have a good idea but, because there's no packaging or actual, tangible product, you decide not to buy it.

Maybe this is just me, though. Are any of you gifting e-books this year? Anyone wrapping air?


ETA: Ooh! Birchwood has excellent customer service. They just responded to an email I sent less than an hour ago about gifting a subscription. Maybe I can make this work out...
Me#2

Everything is distracting me today

I'm so ready to be finished with my revisions, but making myself sit down and actually work on them is a challenge this week. I'm distracted by everything. For example, right now, there's a cricket on Trey's jacket. Not an on-it's-last-legs-going-to-die cricket, but a very bouncy one. I hate bouncing crckets. They're worse than spiders. Much worse.

Speaking of crickets, I have no idea what the deal is with our house this year. They've been everywhere! It's a little better now that it's colder, but I swear, during the summer, I was killing one or two a day. I don't know where they're coming from. Maybe the same place that wasp that stung me? The damn wasp was IN MY BED! It stung my back and my arm. Oddly, it felt like being punched.

Maybe it's because we replaced the wooden fence behind our house with a pretty wrought iron one? There's a pasture with cows behind our house, so I'm sure there are lots of insects there. It's totally pissing me off.

I figured out a way to make myself drink more water! Just add lemon. I just can't drink water straight. It, like, seriously makes me ill, but just a squeeze of lemon makes it so much better. So, I'm alternating between water-with-lemon and Crystal Light Peach Tea. I'm drinking a Diet Coke only about every other day or so, and usually just when I share with Trey.

Have I mentioned how easily I'm distracted today?

I'm really concerned about where that cricket is now. I don't see it, which means it could be anywhere, like behind me preparing to jump. *shivers*

Revisions. Ugh. Have they finished themselves yet?

*checks*

No.

*grumbles*

Must. Finish. By. Friday.

Dec. 3rd, 2010

Me#2

Titles and contracts and revisions, oh my!

 

  • jmeadows post yesterday made me realize that - oops! - I haven't let you guys in on a little secret. Okay. It's not a secret, but the title of my book has changed, too. It wasn't a surprise at all to me - author Sandy Blair has some hilarious stories about title changes - and I've been wondering since August if I would get to keep FISSURED as the title. The answer: nope. My new title is....

 

THE SHADOW READER!

Yeah. That change takes some getting used to, lol. You want to know what's super ironic, though? I was going through my old submissions on Critique Circle and two years ago, I submitted the first chapter of the book as Shadow Reader. I didn't remember that at all!
 

  • I have a contract!!! It came in the mail yesterday. I signed it and sent it out today. It's real! It's real! Well, it'll be real once the publisher signs it and sends it back. They could still refuse to sign or something. Yeah, I know. It's totally ridiculous, but there's still that fear that someone's going to wake up and realize I don't know what I'm doing with this whole writing thing.

 

  • To make getting my contract even more awesome, my agent sent me this ARC:

Sweet! I've been waiting to get my hands on it. As soon as I finish Kalayna Price's GRAVE WITCH, this book is mine!
 

  • Can't remember if I've mentioned it before, but I'm working on the second round of revisions for THE SHADOW READER (Look! I used the right title!). I should have them finished up next week, and you guys, I know it's still basically a year away, but I absolutely cannot wait for people to read my book! Honestly, I just want to give it to everyone right now, but I'm pretty sure the publishing people wouldn't be so happy about that. :-)
     
  • And that's it for updatery this week. Hope you all have a great and productive weekend!

     

Dec. 1st, 2010

Me#2

I just saved 8,000 lives.

With just a few keystrokes. A certain event happened in my book as part of the backstory. I wrote that ten-thousand fae died.

Ten-thousand is a huge number! This was just one city. It was a fairly large city but, really? 10,000?

No need to overdo it, Sandy. Two-thousand. Two-thousand is a much more believable number.

Nov. 29th, 2010

Me#2

Board Game Geek Con!

It's me!

I know, I know, I fell off the face of the internets these past couple of weeks. Real life stuff had to be taken care of, the holidays came out of nowhere, and then there was this board game geek convention.

Yes! A board game geek convention. Actually, THE Board Game Geek Convention. It's put on by www.boardgamegeek.com and held every year here in Dallas. I wasn't sure I would be game (pun!) for four full days of gaming, but because of the Real Life stuff, I only made it for a few hours on 3 of the days.

It was totally worth it! The game of libraries was ginormous, and since it was mine and Trey's first time to the con, we got received free games as soon as we walked in the door. Check out this stack!
Yes, we received two copies of Terra Prime

And here is monster dog trying to eat said stack of games:
 

Monster dog!
 
 
The games.
 
We haven't played any of these yet. The Pirates game won Game of the Year on Germany in 2006, so I'm looking forward to that one, but the games I'm really looking forward to aren't released yet: 7 Wonders and Navegador.

7 Wonders can play up to seven people. After you play a card from your hand, you pass your hand either to the left or to the right, so you're seeing new cards each round. It's a relatively quick play - 30 minutes, I think - but supremely fun. I'm pretty sure it was the most played game at the con. Trey and I had to hover over the group playing Sunday morning (when the con was least crowded) so that we could pounce as soon as they finished.


Navegador was also hard to get play time with. In fact, we were only able to play for about an hour on Sunday right before the game library closed. We didn't get halfway through it before we had to pack up, but we were able to tell in that amount of time that we love it. It's totally on the Christmas list.* One of the things that makes this game awesome is the compass pictured to the right. It's sort of the player movement part of the game. It controls what actions you can take on each turn. Apparently, this type of game is called a "rondel game." I've never heard of that term before or played one, but I like.

We finally played Agricola at the con. We've heard awesome things about that game but thought it might be too much like all the other resource based strategy games we play. Not so. It was unique enough that I definitely want to play it again. Plus, I won, so it was particularly fun. :-)

So, that's the fun part of the last two weeks. I have my second round of edits to work on. I've had them about a week and a half but really only took a serious look at them this weekend. I think I'll be able to finish them up in a week or two then it's off to copy edits, which is both awesome and terrifying. No more big changes after this round of edits! Ahhhhh!



* On second thought, I don't think it's on the Christmas list. Since it doesn't come out until sometime this month, Trey pre-ordered it himself.
 

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