Category Archives: Darn good television

Happy Thanksgiving and #ROW80

This year my family decided to do something different for Thanksgiving and get out of town. I’m headed to Mt. Hood in a couple of hours to enjoy a few days of eating and sledding and snowball fights.

Here’s where we’re staying:

Yes, that’s the Timberline Lodge – the hotel from The Shining. I fully expect my sister to wake me at least once by wiggling her finger in my face and saying “redrumredrumredrum.”

Our plan for Thanksgiving is to eat ourselves silly and then take the kids out to play in the snow.  We don’t get much  in the valley, and when we do it’s usually covered in a sheet of ice, so my kids have never been sledding before!

Wish me luck, I’m going to be the one driving and I haven’t ever put chains on my tires.  Actually, I haven’t driven in much snow at all since I was a teenager…why did I volunteer for this job again? 🙂

Enjoy the holiday, American types, and do yourself a favor and sleep in on Friday.  The 500 pack of socks for 10 cents will still be there later in the day.

Row80 update: I barfed up a whopping 3,279 words on a new pen name short story on Monday. I’m using barf in the best sense of the word – I’d been thinking about the story for a while now and wasn’t in the mood to work on my DBC story, so I thought I’d just get the beginning written.  It took off from there!  I probably would’ve stayed up late and written more, but my husband wanted me to watch How I Met Your Mother with him and my eyes were burning something fierce. I added another 400 words yesterday and have left off in an awesome spot so that I’ll be rarin’ to go on it  when I get back from the mountain.

I also completely reorganized all of my files and finally got the epub version of most of my stories up on All Romance.  A fairly productive beginning to the week that I will now completely ruin by being a sloth for three days.  Yippee!!

Have a good one, y’all.

Advertisements

In the Mood

Some days, I don’t want to write.

I know I should try to, that’s part of the reason I join anthologies like Death by Chocolate or writing challenges like ROW80, to have people hold me accountable, to get my butt in the chair day after day and put some words down.
But, some days, I’m just not in the mood.  On those occasions, here’s what I do to get myself motivated or to, at the very least, keep my head in the game.

 
1. Music – Dissent, the 5th Day of Sacrifice story, is stuck at about 1,200 words right now. I haven’t worked on it in weeks because I’ve been writing my anthology story and because I don’t know what I want to happen next.  This is a story I need to have out by the first of the year, so yesterday in order to get my brain thinking about it, I listened to my DoS playlist in the car while I was driving everyone to work and school.  It’s amazing how music can get you in the right frame of mind when you associate it with writing a similar story or a previous story in this case.  I had Halo and Bleeding Love on repeat all day. Just thinking about my characters in a video montage sort of way (does anyone else do that or am I a weirdo?) I jump started my enthusiasm for the series and came up with ideas for the end of the scene I’ve been stalled on.

 
2. Sexy New Ideas notebook – Again, I may be a weirdo, but I never have more new ideas for other stories than when I’m trying to complete the one I’m supposed to be focused on. I combat this by keeping an Idea Notebook.  If I can get the idea down on paper, my mind can let it go.  It’s like a promise to myself that I will come back to it later. Of course, there are always more ideas than there is time to write them, but I’ve also found that sometimes the ideas can be combined together – genre mixing at its finest!

 
3. More than one project – I’ve tried only working on one story at a time. It’s not my style.  I find that if I have multiple projects to work on – I usually have 3-4 going at once – and can add a new paragraph to one that is not my main focus, that it does two things: Like with the SNI’s I can get nagging conversations, scenes and descriptions out of my head and it gives me a confidence boost.  Nothing makes me feel better about myself than writing does, so it stands to reason that if I’m feeling crappy and distracted with my main WIP, getting some words down on something else I’m working on makes me feel like I’ve done something, made some progress in my own little world.

 
4. Read/watch TV – Sometimes when I’m supposed to be writing, doing either of these things can feel decadent and like I’m wasting time.  Really, though, they can help – if you stay on genre. I have a particularly hard time writing action/fight scenes – with the Zellie books, I often turned to reading the Vampire Academy books and to watching teen shows like Roswell, The Nine Lives of Chloe King and Kyle XY – books and TV shows that are aimed at the same audience as the Zellie books are and contain both a paranormal romance aspect and a lot of action.  With the DoS stories, I can’t tell you how much Supernatural and Nikita have helped me come up with ideas for both characters and new ways to write fights.  So, yes, I’m being entertained and slacking off a bit, but I’m also consciously  studying the ways other writers do what I’m trying to do.

 
What sort of things do you do to get in the mood to write?

This blog is cross-posted on the Death by Chocolate blog and the PacNWYA blog.

Happy Friday!

What started out as a kind of bummer day has really turned itself around!

I got edits and beta comments back on my pen name short story today and I think I’ll publish it tomorrow. Yay!

The Cardinals won the World Series. Yay!

I carved two most excellent jack-o-lanterns this evening. Yay!

AND Glimpse went free on Amazon! Double Yay!  If you all could help spread the word it would be much appreciated.  I have no idea how long this is going to last, but I’ve already “sold” as many books this evening as I did in the last week.

I doff my cap to the power of FREE. (Please tell me I’m not the only one watching 2 Broke Girls.)

Have a swell weekend, y’all.

Doughnut overload and #ROW80

It’s only been since Wednesday that I last blogged, but it feels like it’s been weeks!  Since Wednesday, I’ve made a Rain Boots Required stop at West Linn Public library and spent two long days at the Wordstock festival in Portland.

Dudes and dudettes, so much has happened!

The tour stop in West Linn was fabulous.  We had another great turn out and this time our audience was filled with actual young adults.  They asked great questions – about writing and publishing and technique.  Watch out, y’all, the next crop of writers are gonna be some savvy upstarts!!

Thanks so much to Elaine, the Teen librarian at WLPL. She made us feel so welcome and she is such a dedicated and awesome librarian.  The kids of West Linn are lucky to have her and her bosses on their side.  The teen section of their library is a place that I know I would’ve loved to spend time in as a YA because I’m now having fantasies about escaping to there as an adult.

My apologies to Lisa Nowak and Laura Elliott for my less than stellar AV skillz.  I think we can all agree I shouldn’t be in charge of taping the talks anymore!! 🙂

Saturday and Sunday were spent at Wordstock from 10-6.  We had VooDoo Doughnuts at our table and let me tell y’all, doughnuts are the great equalizer.  We talked (and talked and talked and talked) to so many people who might not have stopped by our booth if it wasn’t for those crazy doughnuts.

I shared a booth with authors Angela Carlie and Laura Elliott. Lisa Nowak was at another booth, but she popped over frequently to hang out.  We had such a blast!

Since I had to register the booth name before we had even named our author tour and I wasn’t sure who exactly was going to share it with me, I named it Pacific Northwest YA Authors.  Good name, right?

Plenty of folks thought so.  In fact, a lot of people thought we were an organization and wanted to join.  At first, we laughed about it and told them we just needed a name for our booth, then, well it occurred to us that maybe we were an organization of sorts.  More of a group, but we had authors wanting to join and librarians and teachers wanting us to come give talks at their schools.

Never one to turn down an opportunity…

I give you Pacific Northwest YA Authors.

The website and e-mail address were created on Saturday night when I couldn’t sleep but for thinkin’.  Today, we signed up four schools/libraries to give talks at and collected over 20 e-mail addresses from people who want to receive our newsletter.

There’s just a welcome post up there right now, but by the end of this week I should have all of our Abouts, videos, reference links, contact info., guidelines for joining, etc. up.

Another awesome thing that happened at Wordstock besides networking our asses off, was that Lisa Nowak noticed the Trends in Publishing panel was the most well attended one of the whole event.  And you know what?  The panelists talked about self-publishing, but didn’t have a ton of experience with it.  So, Lisa and I tracked down the incoming director of Wordstock and pitched her a self-publishing panel for next year.  She seemed into it and said we were the first people to pitch her a panel for the following year.  Who knows what will come of it, but I can’t stress enough that it never hurts to ask for what you want!

ROW80 update:  If you’ve stuck around, I have good thangs to share about this too! (Seriously, I had three doughnuts today and am soooo high on the sugar!!)  I talked about my decent word count for Tuesday on Wednesday.  Yay!  On Thursday, I fired up my new Final Draft software.

Guys, I’m in love.  Yes, I actually heart software.

Although my ultimate dream would’ve been to pick a TV format and then copy and paste what I’d already written directly into it, what I got was pretty close.  I selected the script format that they use on Grey’s Anatomy and copy and pasted line by line what I’d written so far.  Voila!  Formatted script.  So easy to use.  I spent the last hour of my writing time creating new stuff for the script.  It’s such a fun project because I get to rewrite my book without having to actually rewrite my book.  Writing new dialogue for the Rosedell gang made me absolutely ecstatic.  There’s a new conversation between Avery and his best friend Jason that had me laughing my butt off.  It’s fun to be back in Zellie’s world in a new way.

Okay, I’m off to work on the PacNWYA website before my sugar crash commences.  Peace out.

Last #ROW80 post for Round Three

This round of Row80 has been crazy!  Because my life is crazy!  I’m writing this at 5 in the evening due to the fact that I spent a good chunk of the day making dips and sauces for a party I’m helping to cater on Saturday night.  Why, on the last week of ROW80, on the first week my son is back to school, on the 80th week (it seems) of going to the doctor twice a week, did I agree to cater a party?

Because I like to cook almost as much as I like to write.

I go on and on and complain a good portion of the time about how busy I am and how I’m never going to finish anything, but the truth is, I always manage to fit the important stuff in.  ROW80 has helped me realize that.

I thought this round had been a bit of a fail for me until I sat down and went over my original goals.  I wanted to finish Takeover and get started on the next DoS story.  I wanted to figure out how the DoS series ends.  Done, done and done. Almost. 🙂

Takeover goes to the beta readers tomorrow and will be published by the end of next week.  The next two stories are simmering in my head.  I actually know what’s going to happen for once!

A little further into this round, I added two more goals.  I wanted to write the TV pilot for Glimpse.  I’m halfway there! The last goal I had was to try to write a story all the way through without stopping to edit.  I did all right with this one.  There were some days where I just couldn’t resist going back and fixing things that were bugging me.  I think that’s okay.  It’s progress.  I had the idea that after the story was finished, I’d go through and identify three things in each scene that could be expanded on.  This trick worked out sooooo well.

If your writing is sparse, like mine, and you have a hard time getting to the word count you want a piece to be, you should totally try this.  I added roughly 3,500 words to Takeover in ONE day using this method.  I swear, the words just fell out of my head when I knew exactly what I needed to expand on.  I mean, stupid stuff like, “describe how this character looks and what they’re wearing.”  Dude, need to know kind of stuff that added paragraphs to the whole story.

Some of you might think that’s a huge duh, but I just never stop to describe what people look like half the time.  I mention it once in the span of one sentence and then never again. (I’m still/always learning, okay?)

I’ve got big plans for the little vacation between rounds. (What?  She’s making goals for between the rounds now?) My website is getting an overhaul.  I’m going to be adding glossaries for both DoS and the Zellie books.  I write stories with a bazillion characters and hate to recap.  This is my solution.  They’ll be available on my website and on Smashwords.  There will be the publishing of Takeover.  I want to write a couple more pages on the TV pilot.  I’ve got to prepare my talk for the Rain Boots Required YA Author tour I’m doing in October.  And, the opening scene for the first Ben book has been written in my head for over a week.  I am so stoked for it and need to get it down on computer.

Oy vey. Thanks for reading this ramble.  Ha!  I’ll be back with even more crazetacular goals for the next round.  Be prepared for more bitching and moaning and then for me to be like, “Dude.  I totally did it.”

Cover reveal and #ROW80

Quick update today, I’ve finally found a chunk of time to work on editing Takeover.  I’ve secured beta readers for it for the end of next week and have purchased a cover!

I’d never bought cover art before, I’m related to a bunch of artists, so it was a new experience.  My husband is usually involved in the DoS covers in some way, whether he takes the photos for the cover or makes the actual cover.  I’d already asked him to make the Rain Boot Required flyer for me this week and didn’t want to tear him away from his own work.  It seemed like a good time to try something new.

The cover for Takeover was designed by Christine from Flip City Covers and I think she did an awesome job.

That’s Meagan (a werewolf) standing there in the field.  Some crazy stuff is about to go down, y’all.

And now for some randomocity:  Did anyone else cry at the end of Vampire Diaries this week?  I got caught up.  Ha!  Also, The Secret Circle was awesome, I thought.  It was enough like the books for me to enjoy it, but I also liked the updates.  I was the same age as the characters when the book came out and what seemed dangerous then, is kinda not now!  They’ve upped the action, for sure.

My time chunk is slipping away!  Check you guys later.

 

Invasion! and #ROW80

The Benefiels are under attack!

Our garage and my husband’s office have been invaded by fleas.  We’re talking an infestation of Angela’s Ashes proportions.  Ick.

For most of my adult life, I’ve had at least two dogs and three cats.  We’re now down to one dog and two cats…and about a gazillion fleas.

My cats are old. Vampire old. And we have a hard time getting them to come inside in the summer.  The have kitty dementia and forget that the garage is where their food is, so we have to hunt them down every evening and put them in there.  In the past when we’ve tried feeding them outside, we’ve ended up with some pissy raccoons at our backdoor munching away at the cat food and hissing at me when I tried to shoo them away. Raccoons scare the bejeebus out of me.  Also, possums.

So, I was dutifully putting the cats in the garage every evening.  But they stopped eating and kept trying to escape.  We couldn’t figure out why.

Then my husband and I started noticing that when we’d go out to the garage we were being bitten by something.

Like I said, I’ve always had a bunch of pets, so I’m used to some level of flea-ness in the summer, but this was ridiculous.  Now, stepping into the garage to get a soda from the beer fridge had become a stealthy operation.

Just how quickly could we open the door to the garage, lean out into the garage, open the fridge door and grab a beverage?  I’ve come up with sparkling water when I was going after a Diet Coke more than once.

When the fleas started screwing with my Diet Coke consumption, it was WAR.

I began feeding the cats outside again, b.b. gun at the ready in case any raccoons try to trespass on my land and take what’s mine. Never mind I’ve not shot the thing.  How do you keep all the b.b’s from falling out? Whatever.  It’s about intimidation.  The raccoons don’t know I don’t know how to load the gun properly. Or that I have night blindness and will have better luck aiming at the kids ladybug sandbox than a moving target.

Enough about the damned raccoons.

Back to the fleas.  The pets have been liberally doused in Frontline.  We bought a gigantic aerosol can of Sentry Flea and Flea egg killer.  It came in pump spray, but I went with aerosol, because I’m not effing around here, people. This is no time to be a hippie!!

Last night we dropped the kids off at my parents and sprayed the house.  We used the whole can.

And we waited.

After the foggy chemical mist settled, my husband bravely ventured into the garage for a  life-sustaining Dr. Pepper.  He emerged from the garage triumphant.

“There seem to be less fleas on my socks.”

Huzzah!  The was much celebration in the form of TV and movie watching.  I caught the second half of Tess of the D’Ubervilles on Masterpiece Classic and the hubs watched Source Code, which he claims to have figured out in the first five minutes.

Cha.

ROW80 update: I managed to squeeze in another 300 words on Takeover on Thursday. I’m becoming annoyed that it’s not going  faster, so I’m upping my time working on it to two hours a day on Monday and Tuesday.  I’d like for it to be in the 6k range by the end of this week.

The Goodreads giveaway of two copies of the Zellie Wells trilogy has ended.  1,199 people signed up for it, so that was cool.  Congratulations to Denise Zaky and Michelle Fecko.

There will be more giveaways of the trilogy, so if you still want to win one, keep your eyes out for that.

I have some other exciting news to share, but I’ll save that for another day when I can make it the focus of a blog post and not just tacked onto the end of this randomness. 🙂

Happy reading and writing and may you be safe from the evils of fleas.

 

 

 

Mid-week #ROW80 check-in

Quick check-in today: 500-ish words (over, not under) on Takeover on Monday. Two and a half more scenes on the Glimpse pilot yesterday.  Monday and Tuesday seem to be the days I have the most time to fit writing in. I’m aiming for more work on Takeover today.  Thursday, Friday and Saturday are non-stop busy!  Oh, crazy summertime.

Today’s the last day to sign up to win one of two paperback copies of the Zellie Wells trilogy on Goodreads.

Book you should move to the top of your TBR pile: Darkness in the Blood by Vicki Keire.  Don’t be dumb like me, read it sooner than later. 🙂

Thanks to everyone who has reviewed Glow.  It doesn’t look so sad and lonely anymore.

I finally get to watch TV for homework! and #ROW80

I’m having a grand old time writing the Glimpse television pilot.  I started on it yesterday and wrote the teaser – that first small scene that comes before the theme song and first commercial.  What I wrote is pretty quirky  and I imagine it’s going to turn out like The Vampire Diaries crossed with Arrested Development.

I’m still trying to work out the format. Right now it looks a heckuva lot like a play. Also, I probably put in too much direction, but after all my years in the thea-tree I have a hard time not seeing things from a director’s POV.

And I’m a control freak. 🙂

Bonus, I watched two episodes of The Nine Lives of Chloe King last night and didn’t feel guilty about  TV vs. reading like I sometimes do.  I paid attention to the structure of the show, how long the scenes were, if I could differentiate between Acts I and II, how much of a scene was dialogue and how much was action.  TV as homework.  I would’ve loved that in high school!

I got in 558 words on Takeover.  I worked on it Monday and today. (I skipped yesterday and went to see Harry Potter.)  I did quite a bit of deleting what I wrote on Monday and replacing it today.  On Monday I just got the scene out of my head.  I did a lot of telling.  Today, I exchanged the telling for showing and added in more dialogue.

Alexander’s first scene is finished and tomorrow or Friday I’m going to get started on Meagan’s scene.  Crazy fighting stuff is about to go down, so that’s always fun.

I wanted to mention to those of you that are self-published or interested in self-publishing, that Author David Gaughran has a new book out called Let’s Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should. It’s a great resource and also has a section containing essays written by a wide variety of self-published authors, including me.

If the book sounds like something you’d be interested in, and it should if you want to self-pub, then you can download a free copy of it from David’s blog.  Click here and you shall receive.

Let’s see, anything else you need to know?

I spent a little bit of time, okay, two hours, making a welcome page for my Facebook page last night. I’d love it if you guys would stop by and tell me what you think of it.  There is plenty of room for more tabs at the top – I could put a review tab up or links to Kindle and Nook apps.  Suggestions are welcome about the welcome page. 🙂

I also got the Zellie books up at Google Books yesterday and am one step closer to seeing my books on Powell’s.com.  They are “live” on Google Books, but haven’t shown up anywhere else yet.  Also, the only prices showing up are for the paperbacks.  No, I would not charge you $17.99 for an e-book.

It’s all going to take some figuring out.

Alrighty, time to go take out the trash. My husband took the kids to the grocery store and my son always waits until we’re in the checkout to announce that he has to poop, so it’s the least I can do. Frankly, I think I dodged a bullet.

Happy reading and writing!

What’s for dinner and #ROW80 update

I’m supposed to be making dinner because I vowed to start making all of our meals so that we didn’t eat so much processed food, but I kinda wish I had a bag o’ taquitos in the freezer at the moment.  I’m sure the kids, and my husband for that matter, would rather have those than the chicken breast and salad I have planned.  I know, I know, I’m not a short order cook. (Not anymore, at least)  I’m also not the type of person who enjoys throwing perfectly good chicken breast in the trash.  Our dog Chief has been eating well lately. 🙂

I hadn’t planned on writing a ROW80 update today because I don’t really have anything to report.  I did finally deal with all of the Zellie business, adding them to Google Books today, so that’s out of the way.

I read over the DoS stories again to make more notes for Takeover and will start putting words on the page for it tomorrow.  After I finished the note taking, I uploaded the stories to Smashwords and Barnes and Noble again because I’d found a few typos and my website address was still the old one.  I’ll do Kindle after dinner, as it aggravates me the most and I’ll require sustenance.

So, look, it’s like week three of ROW80 and I haven’t even started working on what I’m supposed to be working on.  I’m not worried, although I am making an addendum to my goals.

A super freaking exciting addendum! (What, they can to be exciting!)

Takeover starts tomorrow.  It gets worked on every day for an hour.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I’ll be writing the pilot script for Glimpse.

I’ve had a bit of luck.

My friend that is the head of my local community theatre is  an Assistant Director on films.  She also used to AD television shows. (Ever heard of the X-files?)  Anyway, we went out for frozen yogurt the other night and I was hoping that she could give me some tips on how to write a television script. I’ve written plays, but it’s not the same.

The conversation went even better than expected.  Not only did she give me some tips, but she made the idea of my wanting to do this whole tv thang seem plausible.  She’s going to read my script and help me make sure it’s up to par AND she’s going to help me with finding a production company.

It’s like I have an agent, except she lives down the street from me and our kids get together for playdates.  I’ve officially kicked that funk from a few weeks back in the ladyballs (that’s for you Vicki) and I don’t expect to see it for a while!

Okay, time to make chicken and salad.  I’m sure if I bribe the kids with one of my emergency gummy worms I can get them to eat a few bites.  Whatever works, people.