Wednesday, January 9, 2013

I suck at blogging

I suck.

I know I do.

No excuses--I just suck.

But I'm here now. So, hello, and happy 2013!

Hope you guys are all well. We are fine, trucking along happily. We are still homeless (kind of) as the house won't be finished for another month or two, but we are doing fine in our tiny little apartment. The thing I miss most is having a kitchen. I never thought I'd be aching to cook a proper dinner on an actual stove, but here I am, doing just that. Pining for a kitchen. It's truly a sad thing.

The kiddos are well. Sissy is back at school as of Monday. Having to get up early has been a bit of a shock to her system--she had gotten used to the sleeping in bit of the holidays pretty quickly. The boys are fabulous.  My Christian has been rocking his therapy sessions and is doing so well. I am immensely proud of him, and grateful to his therapists. Miss Juliana and Miss Lynda--you ladies rock! Daniel is amazing. Because he is with Christian for Kindergarten every day and so gets 2/1 attention, he has picked up on everything, and despite being 4, he is way ahead of where he would be for pre-k. Miss Becky, you rock for helping my boys every day, and loving them so much.

I have been bad about writing all round this holiday season. With two trips to Africa (hi guys--it was amazing to see you and I miss you all) and the general rush of the holidays and prepping for a big trial, the writing was sadly minimal. Yes--again, I agree, I suck.

But I'm back at it (and not just in this blog post), to the great joy of my writing partner (Hi Margaret, and sorry that I suck so much.)  :-)

And now, I must go write, so I can suck less.
Happy new year guys!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

NanoWriMo Anyone?

So it's almost November again.
For most that means falling leaves, pumpkin flavored everything and Thanksgiving. For some though, it means NanoWriMo is here again!

I participate every year. I have never won.

I want to win.

This year, I'm not sure I will participate. I have so much going on. Moving. Therapy practically every day for middle kiddo. Legal work, and writing with my writing partner.

But, I'm dying to rewrite my first novel into something saleable. I love the story. But honestly, I didn't do it justice the first time round. I didn't have the craft of writing down then. I think if I rewrote it entirely--not just moved bits around, I could do the story justice. And I'm so, so tempted to do it for Nanowrimo.

The whole bit--replotting the story arc, the character arcs, and then beginning it all over again.

I want to do it so much. But I'm a bit intimidated by everything else going on. NanoWriMo is hard. And it never seems like my life is quite empty enough to have the necessary time. Don't get me wrong--I love that my life is full.

I guess what Im getting at is I didn't have enough time last year, or the year before and I won't have enough time this year or the year after.

What counts is sitting down and doing what you can. Even if it makes you a loser.

So, NanoWrimo anyone?

I think I'll do it, and will post my progress here on my blog.

Why not?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Reading Kicks

Does anyone else go on reading kicks--you know, where you read lots and lots of one particular genre of book in a short period of time?

I do, and right now I'm on a Regency Romance kick. Perhaps its because I'm currently enmeshed in writing a contemporary romance, editing another,  just finished a post apocalyptic piece and am working on an urban fantasy that's definitely modern in scope. Or perhaps its because I cut my teeth on Barbara Cartland and Georgette Heyer.

Regardless, I do love a good regency romp.

And a friend (Anna Campbell) who writes historical noir romance (not something I'd ever come across before but man, she rocks it) was celebrating having not one, but two of her books on amazon's bestsellers for Regency Romance. Of course, I went to check it out, and ended up leaving with 6--count them 6 books on my kindle that were not there before. Happily  most of them were on sale, so I could justify picking that many up.

I know, you're welcome. I had to share the wealth.

So the latest Regency I read was Secrets of a Wedding Night by Valerie Bowman. It was cute, funny, and had quite a few of the traditional tropes in there that the author riffed on. I enjoyed it--enough that I'll be getting the next one when it comes out.

But picking my favorite regency is impossible. I cannot even pick my favorite regency author--there are just too many amazing ones to pick just one. Or ten. Seriously. I couldn't narrow it down to ten, which makes me think I might be ripe for an intervention.

In which case, I'll move the focus over to you. What is your favorite regency? Or are you like me, where you couldn't possibly pick just one?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Cheating on your WIP

I don't know about other writers out there (perhaps I should do a poll) but sometimes I feel like I'm cheating on my work in progress.

It goes like this:

I begin with an idea. Its a fun idea, an exciting idea, an idea that makes me smile, that makes my heart go thump. I love the idea, so much, that I commit.

I sit down with the idea, and plan. I improve the idea, I try turning it into something more. A story.

I commit further, actually putting time in, and writing an opening scene. By now, i'm in love. I think I've never had a better idea.

So I write another scene and another. But sooner or later, somewhere down the road, I lose that obsession. I still love the idea, but not with a burning passion. I'm aware of its flaws by now. Its no longer this shining ideal of a thing I place on a pedestal at the beginning of the process.

I keep working at it, plugging along. I love it, but I'm not In Love with it.

And then another idea comes along. And this one, well, it really is the ideal I think it is--I'm sure of it. So I cheat. I don't abandon my first idea. I still work with it, advancing the story, continuing to commit to it with every new scene.

But--I have a story on the side. One I'm In Love with--at least for the time being.

This happens over and over until...I end up where I am right now, working on 4 stories actively, and have one story set aside for the time being.

I do think that its helpful to me, to have several stories going at once. It gives me a break when necessary. And lets face it--thinking of your story as a shining ideal when you first write it is a bad choice. Because it's going to need lots or rewriting and edits before it shines. That's the nature of writing, and having multiple projects allows me to give the WIP the time it needs to sit, so I can look at it objectively.

Does anyone else cheat on their WIPs?
Does it help or hinder your story telling?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Reading for a Great Cause

Whenever I see a way to help raise awareness for Autism and acceptance for people on the spectrum, I help if I can. Having a child with Autism, I see the necessity for raising awareness on a daily basis, in people's reactions to my son, in the lack of accommodations available to allow him to participate in many of the activities available to normally developing kids, in the sheer financial cost of meeting his basic medical and social needs.

Its a big undertaking.
Our family is lucky enough to be in a better financial position than some, and for many people out there, they simply cannot get their children the therapies they need.

Parents of kids with Autism struggle.

Families with autistic members struggle.

We struggle with the depth of emotional courage you have to have to just keep at it when nothing you do seems to help your struggling child.

We hurt when people are unkind to our kids, when they don't understand or care to understand that this is a person, trying to connect the only way they know how.

We struggle when our kids become overwhelmed because of their sensory issues and strike out, or melt down sobbing, sometimes for hours and sometimes multiple times a day. We struggle with the symptoms of the other frequent co-morbidity diagnoses stemming from being on the spectrum--ADD, OCD, Anxiety, Sensory Processing Disorder.

Loving a person with Autism is overwhelmingly easy to do.
But helping them navigate their world is difficult and takes an immense amount of love, patience, support and knowledge.

That's where Autism Speaks comes in. They provide support in the form of information, advocacy, resource guides and a multitude of other things. This is a good organization, doing good work helping families cope with the demands of Autism.

So when I saw this anthology, I just had to pick it up, and then to share.
Three stories from Entangled Publishing, for sale for $2.99 on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. All profits go to Autism Speaks.

What a wonderful excuse to add to my library.
And if you want to help, and love to read, consider picking one up.
It's reading for a great cause--what could be better?

Sunday, September 30, 2012


Okay, So I have a confession. I'm writing a story with a partner--someone who I've written two other (very good if I do say so myself) stories with that are currently out on submission--and its my turn to write.

I'm a little intimidated by the scene--I won't bore you with the details. Suffice it to say it's supposed to be a very hot sex scene. I don't generally write very hot, and so I'm procrastinating.

Yep, again.

So, I've made a deal. I'll write a blog post, then I'll do some free writing from my character's point of view, and then I'll write the scene.  Yes--I often make these kinds of deals with myself--something to allow me to put off what I want to avoid doing for a little while by doing something else useful, but with a commitment to actually getting what I need to done at the end of the set period of time.

The funny thing is I don't often renege--never that I can remember really, so it works for me.

So, blog post first. Ta dah!

Then free writing. I find it useful to help sink myself into the character with free writing when approaching a difficult scene. For me, it helps me find my opening spot. If I don't free write when approaching a difficult scene, I usually just end up writing myself into the character's point of view and the correct opening spot, then have to go back and cut everything in the first few pages. And once it's in--cutting is difficult for me to do. I manage, but its always painful. Hence the free writing--when I approach it knowing none of what I write is going into the manuscript, it helps me get where I need to be more quickly and with less angst.

I'm all about less angst.

So, I'm going to go write in a minute. But I wanted to do a quick update first.

Okay, I can see why everyone raves about this program.

I'm still learning my way around it (if anyone gets it and needs an overview, youtube has some fabulous tutorials to help you get up and running) but it seems like a very useful tool--particularly when it comes time for editing.

If you (like I do) break your story line up into acts as well as chapters and scenes, the Scrivener program really works well for that. Edits-wise, the feature I've liked best so far is the ability to take small chunks of text and move them around easily in your story to tweak the flow of the story.

I've been trying to edit my first manuscript that's been sitting in a drawer for a few years now. I love the story, but the arc and writing both reflect that its was my first attempt. After reading it through, and importing the pieces into Scrivener, I decided that the story just needs a complete rewrite, but using Scrivener in the evaluation process really helped me decide where the arc needs changing. I've also been using it with my work in progress (the one-third complete urban fantasy) and I've really liked the ease of building my acts, chapters and scenes using the Scrivener tools.

So, Scrivener gets a thumbs up from me. I think it is well worth the asking price and am happy I got it.

Kiddo went in on Thursday. It was very interesting to watch the way Neurofeedback works in practice. I'd done the research, read the clinical papers, and had looked at comments/blog posts written by other people who'd tried it first, but the mechanics had eluded me. It is really interesting to watch how the brain corrects its waves to produce a particular result.

The therapist was encouraging about the session and how kiddo did, and we will be going back again this week. Of course, its way too soon to report on any kind of results. But we have hope that perhaps it will help kiddo with some of his difficulties, and if it does--it will be well worth the time, money and effort we put into making the therapy happen. I am trying not to be too hopeful, because if it doesn't work out I want to limit my disappointment.

We do a QEEG this next week, to give ups a baseline on brain waves and what his brain looks like, and then  we'll start sessions in earnest. wish us luck.

Jury's still out on Neurofeedback.

And now, good people, I'm running off to write, just like I said I would. Hope you guys all have a wonderful week.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Trying New Things: Neurofeedback? Scrivener?

Here it is, mid-September. It's the time of year that I always find myself wanting to start fresh. The weather is finally cooling to bearable--crisp mornings, toasty days, cool evenings--it's perfect.

I want to overhaul myself, my life, my--well, everything.

It's a sickness. I know.

And knowing that, this year I'm approaching the urge to toss it all out and start anew with a healthy dose of caution.

So here it is.

As you guys know, my middle kid is on the Autism spectrum. I've been researching therapies that might help him with some of the difficulties that go along with being on the spectrum, and came across Neurofeedback. Now, at first glance it honestly seems a bit like voodoo. Playing video games with your mind? And this helps what?

But in looking at the research and the information out there, the consensus seems to be that this is a viable therapy for many people. So we've found a certified, reputable therapist in Neurofeedback and we're taking kiddo for a trial run. Fingers crossed that it helps him. I'll post on this once we've gotten underway and I have something to say.

Secondly, Scrivener. I've been playing with the idea of purchasing Scrivener to help with the writing/rewriting process. And since I'm itching to make changes, I have gone ahead and made the leap. As of today, I'm a proud owner of the Scrivener for Windows platform. I'm playing with it, and once I've gained some proficiency with it I'll post about that as well.

For  now, I'll sign off and enjoy being self satisfied that I am curbing my sometimes destructive tendencies to demand huge change constantly.

Who knows--if I keep up the minimize change thing long enough we may get to the point where we only move once ever three years or so.

In the meantime, enjoy the crisp weather!