Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
The rules are:
1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.
Well, I had two books stacked on top of eachother -- I Am America (And So Can You!) by Stephen Colbert and The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor. I checked both of their pages and decided on The Looking Glass Wars getting the nod, mostly because I liked the three sentences better than the other one.
Here you go:
Anyone could see that she was going to grow into a beautiful woman. It was the thoought that her beauty might gain her entry into ranks of society rarely attained by orphans, which could bode well for Charing Cross, leading to donations from wealthy families on the hunt for unearthly beauties of their own. Whenever Alyss mentioned Wonderland, she was shushed more harshly than she would have been if the wardens hadn't taken an interest in her.
Intrigued? I know I was. It's a really good book, and just because I like books and like to recommend them, I recommend both I Am America (And So Can You!) and The Looking Glass Wars. Both are very good. If you like Colbert's show, I Am America is the same thing -- funny. And the other book puts a new spin on Alice in Wonderland that is very interesting.
As for tagging people, I hate to be a bother to anyone. Anyone who wants to do this meme is free to do so. Link to it in the comments and give us all something to read too, will you?
UPDATED WITH NEWEST NEWS: Actor Heath Ledger has died today. It's really too bad, I liked him. He was funny in 10 Things I Hate About You, and he looked like he was making a kick-ass Joker in the new Batman movie. I know my mom is going to miss him -- she loved his accent.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Here's what it says:
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to read your manuscript. The volume of mail I receive keeps me from responding personally to each submission. And unfortunately I must often turn down good work due to space limitations and other considerations. I am very sorry that I will not be able to publish your piece at this time. I appreciate your interest in Weird Tales and hope that you will keep me in mind for future submissions.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
My choice to pursue English education wasn't really passion, it just seemed to be the most logical choice. After all, I was good at English, so the choices of field seemed limited. Journalism wasn't my cup of tea when I had it in high school (then again, that might have been because I was never given any of the good stories. Only headlines like “Math Club Wins State Competition”...whoo...) and I didn't see any other jobs except writing and being an English teacher.
Being a teacher was never a calling. I never watched my teachers and thought, man, I wish I were doing that. But I thought it was the best career for my talents.
The ironic thing is, I hate public speaking, and just trying to do my Biology final presentation almost made me have an asthma attack. I got all panicky, I felt hot and cold at the same time, and when I started speaking, my face turned bright red. It always does. When I thought about that the other day, I wondered, Why am I even doing this? This job is public speaking everyday! I tried not to think about it, I tried not to dwell on the fact that I might be totally ruining my chance to get a good job after this. I feared I was wasting my time and money.
Today I had my second class of Classroom Communications and Public Speaking for Teachers.
I think I'll be okay, now.
Monday, January 14, 2008
One of my friends recently sent me a quiz: "What Kind of People Do You Attract?" I took it two different times and got two different answers. Apparently I attract Geeks and Yuppies, depending on my mood. I'm fine with attracting Geeks. Geeks are awesome. Yuppies . . . I don't know. Well, from what I've seen today, I'm starting to wonder if I don't attract nutjobs as well.
At lunch today, I had a choice of cheese covered mush, hamburgers floating a yellowish, bubbly liquid, a hot dog shaped something, or pizza. So, fearing for my stomach, I went into the pizza line.
Because my friends and I were there earlier than usual, the lunchroom was more crowded than we were used to. I sighed inwardly when some muscle bound shmuck in a backwards cap and a striped shirt took the last piece of any of the pizza. That meant I'd have to wait in line for more, but, considering the alternative, it wasn't that bad.
While I was standing there with my hands in my pockets, waiting on the people to bring out some pizza, I had a total stranger walk up to me. He looked at me and frowned with concern. I was concerned too -- when someone you don't know is concerned about you, you should probably be concerned too. Then, he told me, "I hate to tell you this, but I'm afraid Buddha wants to steal your soul."
My first reaction was WTF?, but I've had experience with crazy people before** and I didn't want to offend the looney, so I responded with, "Thanks for the warning."
Apparently, that was the wrong thing to say. I had encouraged him. He moved out of his line (the sandwich/hamburger line) and stood next to me and replied, "I only warn you because...he's Buddha! You don't know what he can do!"
Fearing that this person might take my polite response as an invitation for friendship, I replied "Yeah, man. Thanks. I'll keep my eye out."
Thankfully, that's all he needed to hear, because he nodded and wandered back into his own line talking to someone he knew -- or maybe some other poor chap -- saying, "Yeah, it's all a big conspiracy theory."
That was really the only eventful thing that happened today, but it was enough to make me wonder.
** A guy I used to work with at my old job told me all kinds of stories -- he had buried treasure, his house being built on an indian burial ground (and that meant his house was haunted by the angered souls), he had fought demons, etc. One of his most memorable stories was when he told me his hand was possesed by a demon, and the only way he could exorcise it was to slice it open . . . luckily an angel healed it or he would have bled to death. On a side note, I was very happy to quit that job.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
I am hoping, due to a nice new schedule with more free time than last semester, that I will be writing more and reading more than I was last semester. However, I'm really worried about a few of my classes – American Government. On the one hand, I get a better look into what makes our country tick . . . on the other hand, the teacher is supposed to be really hard.
My posting will drop some, but I'll try to post at least three times a week, not counting weekends, which I will try to post on, too.
Welcome to college, boys. Now bend over for the shaft.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
I watched a movie recently that left me absolutely speechless. It's called Mirrormask. It's about a very artistic girl who isn't happy with her life and her circus performer parents. She wants to "run away and join real life," oddly enough. After she gets in a fight with her mother, her mother gets sick and slips into a coma. Then, the girl finds herself in a parallel universe that apparently she created -- the universe of her drawings.
The storyline is really good, very original, but what really got me were the visuals. The Jim Henson company apparently did the CGI that is through most movies and it is absolutely . . . the word that came to my mind while I was watching it is whimsical. The visuals are just out of this world.
I could rave on and on about how good the visuals are, but I, personally, think that it's a very inspiring movie. It left me craving to write, eager to create something as good as they did.
If you haven't seen this and want to, if you have satellite, they've been playing it on one of the Encore channels I belive, or you can buy it here, for a surprisingly cheap price.
Anyway, sorry about the random movie plug, but I've just found one of my all-time favorite movies.
Friday, January 11, 2008
After I sent my stories off, I was reluctant to get back to the keyboard. I wasn't the first couple days, but the longer I wait for responses, the less eager I am to get back to writing. I don't feel excited, and actually getting the words to flow takes longer and longer to do. I wasn't sure what was locking me up, but I've had trouble sleeping because I keep dwelling on it, and I finally figured it out. It came to me when I was clearing out old files on my computer.
Everynow and then I go through the computer and look at what I've got saved that's been building up and stuff. Obviously, since the virus fiasco, I don't have as much built up, but I'd like to think that deleting some of the crap time to time helps the computer run faster.
Well, I looked through my story folder at stuff that might be a candidate for deletion, when I realized something. I almost never delete anything I write, ever. Everything I've written (with the exception of some one page starts that fizzled before they got going) is still saved on there. I browsed through the files and found stories I started in the sixth grade that are still on there.
I finally got it, what I was afraid of. When I go back to my story, it's the first original idea I've had in a while, something that I just came up with when I was sitting around one day. I was inspired by the movie 12 Monkeys starring Bruce Willis, but it actually has almost nothing to do with 12 Monkeys, but I'm getting off track. The reason I'm afraid of going back to the keyboard and the reason I never delete anything, is because I'm petrified of running out of ideas.
I think part of the reason that I finished only one or two stories in my life and then left the rest to gather dust on the hard drive is so I could come back to them, write on them, improve them, make them pretty, and then leave them. I was always guaranteed to have something to write as long as all those stories were left unfinished, or the ones that were finished could be rewritten every few years as I improved in my writing.
When I sent off my stories, it was the first two I'd completed in a long time, and my mind went through shock. I just sent two ideas off. I can't go back and rewrite those, I can't improve them. They're gone.
The reason I never finished a novel idea was because I was afraid that if by some astronomical chance I got published, I was afraid I would be a one hit wonder. I was, and still am, afraid that if I get anything published, it's dwindling the number of ideas I'll have. I haven't settled into one genre very easily, I don't have ideas off the wazoo, I haven't, until a few years ago, written very much very consistently, and I don't dream that often to get ideas.
I'm absolutely terrified that I've already drawn the good stuff out of the idea well, and that eventually I'm going to draw stuff that either sucks, or that has been done over and over and over.
So . . . now that I've figured out the problem, I have to figure out how I can fix it.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Well, she has some big news:
"#7 on Border's and B&N's romance bestseller lists
#16 on Border's Group overall fiction mass market paperback list
#22 on B&N's overall fiction mass market paperback list
#23 on B&N's overall mass market paperback list
#96 on USA Today bestseller list (that's everything, hardcover, trade & mm)
And, deja vu, Evermore will come in at #21 on the next New York Times extended bestseller list."
This is absolutely huge. Go over to Paperback Writer and congratulate her. She absolutely deserves it, and more.
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
I was going to mail them off on Saturday, but we wound up not going to town until the post office had already closed. Since the mail didn't run on Sundays I had to wait until Monday to mail them off. In the mean time, I started researching magazines, because one of the first things I realized was you can't sell a short story if you don't know what market to send it to.
I found some that were perfect, but then I decided I needed to go through one last time and make sure everything was square. Since it was for real this time, since it was for all the bannanas, I wanted to make sure that I had caught all the grammer mistakes, that I had fixed all the parts where the writing was weak, blah blah. What I didn't realize was that, by examining the stories for just a moment, I opened Pandora's box.
I saw one thing that didn't work. No, two. No, three. Now, four. Five? Six? What were they, multiplying? At one point I was so delirious that I swear, when I looked at the page, I saw the words fornicating and creating more and more errors and mistakes.
In horror, I set out with my trusty pen and began hacking and slashing, fixing errors and repairing typos, changing parts of the story that didn't seem to work, or fleshing out areas that needed more fleshing. I must have cost us a small fortune in paper and ink, and I'm sure everyone in my family read them five times, if not more. I apologized to my mom over and over and over again about all the trouble I was putting everyone through. Bless my mom's heart, by the end of the evening, she was probably more frazzled about the mailing than I was.
Finally, I got the last draft done, a few errors had to be fixed but nothing major. Then I stressed on printing out address labels, making sure the addresses were perfect and the right SASE (Self-Addressed, Stamped Envelope to those of you who -- like I did -- have no clue what a "SASE" is) with the right manuscript envelope, and finally, I crashed into bed at one in the morning, exhausted from stressing so much.
The next morning, I woke up at around 7:30 -- the usual time for me on the weekdays -- but by 10:00 I was already exhausted. I had hardly slept the night before; I was still worrying about the manuscripts. So I decided to take a nap. At noon I woke up in horror, my heart pounding, because I realized a few pages from one of my manuscripts still had writing on them from errors I had to fix, and I hadn't printed out the new pages to replace them. I flew to my laptop and, in a frenzy, I fussed with it until every page was perfect.
Then, I had another problem. Paperclips! I needed paperclips! Everyone knows you can't mail off a manuscript without paperclips!!! So then I had to search the house for paperclips. We were out! So I called my mom and had to have my brother pick up paperclips from her work so that I could mail them off.
So then, I finally had to go to the post office. The last time I went, I had made a simple mistake -- I thought I had grabbed all the money in my pocket to buy stamps, but I had forgotten a nickel, so then the old, bald man behind the desk had to look at me like I was an idiot and tapped his fingers impatiently after saying, "If you don't have more than that you're not getting any," while I searched for the missing, elusive nickel.
With that event still fresh in my mind, I felt my chest tighten. I didn't know what to buy or what stamps or how many I'd need. What if I messed up? What if I didn't get enough postage and then they got sent back, and then I'd have to wait even longer for a resonse. What if there was a line at the post office and, after running out of patience with my doddering around with my little stories, they rioted and sacrificed me on a table made of postage stamps and Express Mail boxes.
My heart pounded as I approached the desk. I cleared my throat and said, in a pitifully soft voice, "Ma'am, I'm here to mail these. I'll need a lot of stamps."
She smiled at me sweetly and looked at the envelopes. Then, she helped me buy giving me four stamps for the SASE, a book of stamps for home (because we were out) and then weighing and putting the proper stamps and their proper number on each package.
When I finally paid and left, my hands were cold, clammy, and shaky. I had done it. I had finally done it. I mailed off my stories, I submitted a manuscript...something I'd heard on author's blogs and biographies all my life, but never actually thought I'd do.
I drove in a daze, not really taking in anything that I saw as I drove. I got home and collapsed onto the couch.
A short story is only a fragment of what a novel would be. Just the thought of making sure every page of the novel was mistake-free makes me break out in cold chills. Not to mention, all this horror, all the ink and effort and stress and strain, and I still won't hear from them for months, and when I do, it may not (probably won't) be a "yes."
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go dig my stuffed tiger "Hobbes" from my closet, fix myself a cup of hot cocoa, and curl up underneath my bed covers and hide from the Big Scary World.
Monday, January 7, 2008
But, since I've been watching more movies and stuff lately, because I missed out on some serious TV watching in college (we almost never watch any), I started thinking about something I want to do. I want to make a "Bucket List," but it would be a bit more practical.
In movies, often times, people get put into the most extreme of situations, but situations where, if they knew one skill or another, they'd fare much better. For example, in Poseidon, everyone flocked to the guy from the...Navy I believe, but it may have been the Marines...because he knew so much about survival and ships and stuff like that. But Kurt Russel's character was a fire fighter, so he wasn't really a pansy either. And yet another character got things done because he used to be on the swim team.
So here's my idea, I'll spend my life learning all these little things, little, silly skills so that, when the time comes, I will be a survival god. I'll learn sword fighting, fencing, all the different martial arts styles, I'll learn speed reading, I'll train to lift tons of weight, yet be fast as a bullet. I'll train to power swim, I'll learn the architecture of buildings and ships, I'll learn the best ways to escape in a situation, and even pro-wrestling.
Imagine, stuck on a sinking ship? I'll get out. I'm a power swimmer and I know all the ins and outs of ships and submarines. What? Zombies are banging down my front door? That's okay, I know all kinds of ways to keep food fresh, purify water, building handy useful things from virtually nothing, like MacGuyver, and I'm a marksman with any weapon. Even if they break into my hiding place, I'll take them out with my mad shooting skills.
What? I'm transported into the past during the middle of a war? No problem, I know tons of different fighting techniques and weapon styles, I'll have it covered.
Sure you could call it extreme paranoia, but I prefer to call it being prepared.
Saturday, January 5, 2008
I've got two short stories...one's a mystery, and the other is a supernatural thriller. Well, I'm gonna get ready to go to the store. Wish me luck!
Friday, January 4, 2008
January 2nd marked the release of Evermore, the new book in the Darkyn series by Lynn Viehl.
The Darkyn series, for those of you who don't know, is what Lynn considers a "dark-fantasy" series about vampires. There are 5 novels to the series, the fifth being Evermore, and another coming soon, Twilight Fall. There's also a novella, Midnight Blues, available for free on her sight, and a few short stories also set in the Darkyn world. All of those are available on her site, for free download as well.
Still not convinced to go check it out? Night Lost, the fourth in the series, was a USA today bestseller.
And, finally, if you act now, you can enter Majorie M. Liu's contest (January 2nd post). Send her an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) to enter and if you win, you win the first four books in the series!
So what are you waiting for? Go! Buy!
Thursday, January 3, 2008
My goal for the new year has been writing 1000 words a day. I've hit more or less that every time I've written--although I haven't written everyday. Last night I wrote 967 words, which is close enough for me. I could have tried for the extra words, but I would have wound up stoppin the middle of a scene, and I already had the perfect stopping point. Tonight, though...tonight was something else. I wrote 1753 words tonight. That's way past my goal, and I couldn't be happier.
I also got some great stuff tonight. Some stuff came up in Detective Sheen's life, and I know more about it than he does (and the reader at this point) and the problems he's going to have because of it just makes me giddy inside.
Here's hoping I can have more nights like tonight.
I can't wait to get cracking with everything! Here's to the reading of '08!
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
I ran today, but that's the first time for several days. I've learned that when the temperature when you wake up is 12 degrees, it's best to wait a few hours before you go running, and give the air a chance to warm up. By the time I came back, I suspected I had frost bite on my ears, my hands, and several other placed I would prefer not have it.
I've had a couple of story ideas, but I've just been letting them slosh around while I finish the story I'm working on. I'm not plotting this one, just letting it go and see how things go. This is just an experiment. I mapped and planned and sucked all the fun out of writing trying to get every little detail down, so now I'm going organic-ish for my stories to see if I can make it more fun.
Two problems with that:
- It makes for getting stuck to be very easy.
- When you get stuck, it makes it easier to procrastinate.
- Procrastination leads to no writing.
- That's bad for my goals.
So I need to find a happy medium, where I can plot out and know how things are going, but also leave room for loosey-gooseyness and fun.
Anyway, how's the new year going for everyone else so far?