NaNoWriMo 2012 – Day One

NaNoWriMo 2012 - Day One

      It’s here! It’s here!
      Wheee! National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) began at midnight and I’m so excited I could spit.
      Since I am going to be super busy meeting my daily goal (1667 just to reach the 50k, but double that to actually complete the novel in November) I will probably not do a whole lot of blogging. Which is par for the course, isn’t it? I’ve been a terrible blogger these past few months.
      Please forgive me.
      At any rate, I was going to stay up and write starting at midnight, but alas, I was tired and fell asleep at about 10 on 10/31. But, I woke around midnight-thirty and the words just wouldn’t wait. Thus, I put to pen the official ‘first words’ of “Inferno” (first draft) – a line six words long.
      I then returned to bed and slept until four or so, woke, and wrote.
      In total, despite reading 95 issues of The Walking Dead because I. Could. Not. Stop., I added 5211 words to the first draft of “Inferno”, completed the Prologue, Chapter One, and part of Chapter Two.
      This may sound like a great start to NaNoWriMo 2012, but I really wanted 10k for Day One. C’est la vie. There are 29 days to go in this frantic month of writing and I shall make it to 50k for sure. Its the 100-120k I’m worried about reaching…
      Wish me luck!

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

Chomped it Good.

Chomped it Good.

      Fear.
      What do you fear?
      Spiders or clowns? Falling or tight spaces? Vampires, Werewolves, Zombies? Dying? Living?
      Whatever it is you fear, does it prevent you from really experiencing life? From doing what you love? From being who you are meant to be?
      Maybe, maybe not.
      Fear is a powerful thing. Right? I mean – its FEAR.
      But successful people don’t let it hold them back. I don’t necessarily mean fiscally successful, but people who have broad interests, help others, fulfilling lives, and who are successful as people.
      October is a month in which a lot of people talk about scary things, about fear, about terror and horror and all those Halloween-y topics. I’m not sure I’ve got anything particularly helpful to contribute about facing your fears, or related topics. That said – I can talk about my own fears and be pretty open about my personal demons and flaws.
      Here’s a top five list of things that scare me:

  • Snakes: Don’t like ’em. Fascinated by ’em. Have horrible recurring nightmares about them. Ick.
  • Heights: Okay, to be honest, its more the falling and painy-splatness that scares me.
  • Dying: Despite a strong faith, I am a total hypochondriac and every twinge or cough automatically means I’m dying. Not ready yet. AAH!
  • Losing All My Weight & Still Not Being ‘Pretty’: Oh, come on. This is legitimate and close to my heart. I have a tremendous fear of doing all that work and ending up saggy and gross. I’m cute as is. But my health decrees the tub must be lost… so yeah.
  • Failure: Rather, confirmation of suspected suckage. Or of putting myself out there are being rejected as ‘not good enough’. Failure of many kinds. Of not living up to standards. Of disappointing people and myself. Failure.

      So, there’s that.
      And being aware of your fears means you can confront them. Which means you can conquer them. Which means you do not have to be ruled by fear! I sure as hell don’t want to be diminished by the things that freak me out.
      In the year of Tangerine Tango, I have conquered my fear of letting others read my work. Maybe, not entirely. I mean, I still get nervous and feel uncertain, anxious… but I do it. The bullet has been bitten. Chomped it good.
      I have not conquered number four, but I will do.
      And number five.
      Do you ever get past that? Is submitting the novel to Harper-Voyager enough to say I’ve passed it by? Is deciding to self-pub, enough?
      No matter what, I’ll keep plugging away. Improving myself and making strides toward being a successful person. A person worth knowing and worth the love and support of the people who care about me.
      That, my friends, is all I’ve got to say on ‘fear’.

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

Wrinkled Papaya is Not a Euphemism.

Wrinkled Papaya is Not a Euphemism.

      Last night, on the once-in-a-millenia date of 10/11/12, I submitted “Incandescence” to Harper-Voyager for consideration. Now, I’m not holding my breath (though I am totally praying my butt off) but it felt amazingly horrible and exhilarating to click that “Submit” button. I posted a milestone on my Facebook page and received the confirmation email shortly thereafter.
      So the deed is done, man.
      In the past few days, I added several vignettes to the story that I had not gotten around to writing for the first draft. They are gruesome. They are… just- wow. One deals with isolation, betrayal, and starvation. Another, with a child’s perspective of the horrors in the world (er… the ancient evil rising to the surface, not just mundane horrors). A third features a rebellious girl who dies screaming and a fourth shares a story eluded to by Alexander in another chapter.
      Overall, I am pleased with how they turned out, but I could change things, certainly.
      Plus, less than an hour after I hit submit, my dear sweet mother started reading the novel and found a typo in the prologue. Tend instead of Tent. How did I miss that when I read it outloud to myself?
      C’est la vie.
      The important thing, as my friend Ray and I were discussing, is that we took the plunge, we took a risk, took a chance… we did it.
      What to take away from this post?

  1. My mother, who has never been much of a reader, is reading “Incandescence”.
  2. “Incandescence” has been submitted to a genuine publisher for consideration.
  3. Today I opened a (mostly) blank project in Scrivener to get ready for NaNoWriMo.
  4. The last four chapters I wrote for “Incandescence” are bloody and gruesome.
  5. Wrinkled Papaya is not a euphemism. (But it totally should be!)

      And that my friends, is all for this morning. It’s Friday and it is time to work. Boo-hiss.

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

10/11/12

10/11/12

      On this day, a momentous occasion for yours truly, I will submit “Incandescence” for consideration by a major imprint. I will send my precious, precocious little brain-baby out in the world to fend for herself.
      Please pray with me that she does not return trampled and trod upon, mangled and mutilated, hated and scorned.
      Poor little “Incandescence”, it seems just yesterday that I had a strange spark of inspiration which was totally out of my wheelhouse (Modern-Day fantasy? Wuh ta fuuuh?) but which snared my mind and would not let me go until I completed it.
      Now here you are, polished and primped and ready to go out into the big, bad, scary world to be criticised and judged and- and- *SOB*
      …
      If I’m this sappy emotional about a bloody novel, I am going to be a WRECK when I have a real child growing-up before my eyes.
      Tee-hee.

      Wish me luck, guys!

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

Progress Report

Progress Report

      Oh please, dear friends, please forgive me!
      I never meant to be such a busy blogger that I fail to blog for days (or weeks!) on end. Its just that real life has become incredibly hectic these past weeks.
      Jack and I moved at the end of September, which as you can imagine, was a trial of epic proportions. Especially as we had to do it ourselves (well, the moving OUT anyway. The moving in did have help).
      Anyway, here’s a quick progress report.
      “Incandescence” is within 20,000 words of completion. Which is excellent, because I will be submitting it for consideration on October the 10th. That means I have four days to finish editing those 20k words, rewrite three chapters from scratch (and then edit them), complete my query letter, and revise my synopsis.
      Why yes, I am insane.
      Maybe I’ll give myself until the 11th…
      As long as its there before the 14th, I think I’m good. But the 10th is my goal.
      And with that, I better get back to work. There are so few hours in the day!

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

Friendship Is…

This post was originally featured at Radical Scribblings as part of the TTC/MK VBT 2012.
———————
      Friendship is… *
…laughing until you can’t breathe.
…shared memories.
…strength when you feel weak.
…light in the darkness.
…singing embarassing old songs in the car.
…phone calls at any hour.
…better support than a good bra.
…permission to indulge.
….more than mere words.
      Everyone’s experience of friendship is a little different. And it changes as we age, as our personalities and priorities shift, as we learn more about the world and ourselves. But at its core – I think – the concept of what makes a friend is always the same. I could be wrong. Nonetheless, here’s what I think.
      Friendship is caring about another person’s well-being. It’s about giving a damn. It’s about taking a moment to exist outside your own bubble and share the experience of life with someone else.
      It is easy to lose sight of true friends in this digital age when we rack up hundreds (or thousands?!) of so-called friends in the social media realm. Old friends from High School who “like” your status from time-to-time, former co-workers who send you game request by the dozen, neighbors past and present, relatives you haven’t seen in years…sure, they are friended you, but are they real ‘friends’?
      If you were stranded on a lonely road at two a.m., would they crawl out of bed and come to your rescue? Okay – maybe that’s a bad example. But really – when you need them, how likely is it that the girl you had a study group with one semester in college will be there to pick you up, brush you off, and set you back up on your feet again?
      People are a vast and frequently surprising set of variables that appear upon the line graph of life. Sometimes, they pop in, change your whole world, and pop out again just as quickly. There are those with less influence, and those who affect a broad spectrum of factors in your world. Others are there for the whole tumultous ride; be they caught up in your gravity and propelled along passively or actively hanging on and making the effort.
      It is this final type that I strive to be and to recognize in my own life. It is that type which we should celebrate and cleave to be they living in the next room or thousands of miles away. Those who provide support and positivity. Those who are more than just “likes” on a Facebook page. Those who build you up when life has you low, those who celebrate your highs as if they were their own.
      Those who care. Those who give a damn. Those who matter.
      Friendship is one of the crowning jewels in life. It is something to be cherished and kept close. Its something I think a lot of us take for granted and like the art of letter writing, cursive penmanship, and conversation – it is something that is being overshadowed in this increasingly digital age; something that is in danger of being lost.
      I’m guilty of not always treasuring my real friends as I should. I don’t call as often as I ought; I rely on text messages and Facebook comments to keep in touch. But I think acknowledging a flaw is the only way to start correcting it. Because friendship is…
…vital to mental & spiritual well-being.
…worth making the effort.
…walking toward a person when everyone else is walking away.
…the best gift under the Christmas tree.
…sun on your face after a cold, wintry night.
…life.

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

Friendship Is...

P.S. What does friendship mean to you? What do you think I got right – or wrong – in my little rant today? Have you been guilty of not being the greatest friend? How did you work to be a better one?

* = The caveat is that this is just how I see friendship. Because like I said, everyone’s experience is different.

Who Touched My Breast?

This post was originally featured at MasterKoda as part of the TTC/MK VBT 2012.
———————
      There is a writer who touched me.
      Who wormed his way into the beating heart within my breast.
      Whose words sing out at me through the pages of his works, across space and time; whose prose and witticisms make me weep or laugh or both at the same time. Whose genius has spurred hundreds fellow writers to pen hundreds of thousands of words debating the meaning and purpose and symbolism of his pieces. Whose identity is ever in doubt and whose mystique sends literary scholars into heated debates.
      Yes, I am referring to Shakespeare.
      Now, this may seem like a little bit of an obvious choice. Who wasn’t influenced by the Bard at some point? Who didn’t marvel at the queer-but-brilliant turns of phrase or read aloud the metered couplets and be amazed at how they flowed from the tongue like silk?
…no one? Was that just me? Oh.
      Anyway. I am a fan of Shakespeare’s work, no matter if it was scribbled by Anne Hathaway’s wayward husband, a female writer who could not reveal her identity, some uppity lord afraid of sullying his reputation by slumming with theatre folk, or by some futuristic alien mastermind who sent it back in time to screw with humanity’s collective mind. I still love me some Shakespeare.
      Romeo & Juliet, that’s how it began. Reading that in middle school and finding it to be so beautiful and tragic and – pardon my language – effed up. Wedded, bedded, and deaded in five acts. Ah, young love.
      King Lear. Macbeth, The Tempest, Hamlet, The Taming of the Shrew, Othello. And the sonnets. I’ve tried a thousand times – at least – but I have never mastered the form. Its so rigid and I am so chaotic. Yet somehow, his sonnets never seem perfunctory or forced. When I write a sonnet, its as if big, rolling round syllables are crammed into cube-shaped Tupperware. Its not a pretty sight.
      Frankly, I could probably go into a million words about authors who have helped inspire me to read and write. From Laura Ingalls Wilder, whose books made me fall in love with the Westward Expansion when I was seven, to Jackie Collins, who taught a twelve-year-old me more than I should have learned about Hollywood crazies and orgasms like freight trains, to Victor Hugo, who brought me to tears every time, to GRRM, Paula Volsky, David Gemmell, Eve Forward, JV Jones and – oh! – Melanie Rawn, who all set my love of fantasy on its ear and made me its bitch. And I cannot forget Jane Austen, and Tolkein, and Patricia Cornwell, and Dean Koontz, and Stephen King, and Neil Gaiman, and Tim Fields, and Dave Duncan and… so on…
      I could do that, but I won’t. Because when it comes down to it, there is only one writer whose brilliance keeps us laughing and crying and re-vamping, and debating as a whole, huge collective 400 years after his death. And that, my friends, is Shakespeare. I do not aspire to be as legendary as he (or she, or them, or whoever) but I do aspire to touch at least one person as deeply as The Bard touched me.
      But not in a naughty way.
      Well, maybe.
      So tell me, friends, who is your favorite author? Who touched your breast (metaphorically, I hope)? When you’re old and decrepit and sitting on your deathbed, whose words will be dancing about in your memory?

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

Beta Reader #2

Beta Reader #2

      As the incomparable George Takei would say,”Ohhh myyyyyyy”.
      I finally got a sincere and amazing email from a Beta Reader and it truly made my night. Not because it was a glowing review of how perfect and amazing I am (although, the part I’m sharing with you is sort of a rave) but because it was honest and had constructive criticisms. Due in no small part to this person having read much of my ‘work’ in the past, he really nailed some of my worst tendencies and called me out on some lazy tactics (just because it is set in the ‘real world’ in what is mostly the ‘modern day’… there’s no excuse for constant pop culture references).
      He also mentioned the things he thought worked. Characterization. He loves Hannah, for instance. He felt that the relationship between Michael and Brandi was well done. The magic being somewhat in the background at first, then waking up as the story goes on to really move to the foreground by the end. Even the setting, which… you know… real life/modern day-ish…
      Pacing is definitely still a bit of a problem, but if you’ve read this blog you know I tend to be a bit verbose. I really gotta rein that in, in the rewrites.
      Anyway, the last paragraph of his initial feedback/review, is as follows:

      I find [Incandescence] to be daring and delicious. Full of delightful details, even if they are heavy at times, and a gritty realism that grips […].
      There is plenty to fall in love with. Characters […] to interact with and a magic that, at first, seems hidden, but becomes such a major player as the story unfolds. I wonder if by some means everyone will be saved by an unleashing of powers no one knew they even possessed. Personally, though, I think you know the magic you have, and it’s been beautifully unleashed on these pages.

      Like, couldn’t you just die?
      I could. I might. Now, excuse me as I decide not to sleep tonight and return to editing my poor bruised baby. Gotta get this apple polished before presenting it to teacher (and by teacher, I mean Harper-Voyager). Booyah.

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

Winner Announced!

Winner Announced!

      Booyah! I totally forgot to announce the winner of the Blurbity Blurbity Blurb give-away!
      Drum roll please!

      Number Two!
      Going back to the post, that would be the lovely “Mary”! I will be contacting you via email, Mary, to get your information and let you know when a copy will be ready for you!

      To the other entrants, thank you tremendously for your advice and your entries! I hope to see you all enter again next time.

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

Tweaking

Tweaking

      At last! I’ve found my groove with editing and I am cranking out the changes/fixes/tweaks like no body’s business. Its a wonderful feeling and as much as I occasionally loathe editing, seeing how just a few changes can make an enormous difference makes my heart thrill.
      Can a heart thrill?
      Whatever.
      The point is that I am working again, and working it hard. Now what, you might ask, has motivated me at last? Sent me into fits of productivity that after months of stalling?
      An open submission invitation from a major publisher. They’re calling for fantasy and sci-fi from unknown writers, accepting non-agented people, and all that jazz. This is just too good an opportunity to miss, so I must finish this last sweep of the novel ASAP! Like, within two weeks.
      While also packing and moving.
      And planning a wedding.
      And preparing for NaNoWriMo.
      And working full-time.
      *groan*
      Not to mention two challenges I’m participating in (a 30 Day challenge to Deal with, Dump or Donate things I’ve been putting off and a 21 day eating-right/living-right challenge). And blogging. And gaming. And life…
      But I can do it. I just have to really tweak my time management skills. So I’m really cramming editing in between calls at work, before work starts, after it ends, when I wake up in the middle of the night… if I’m breathing, I’m editing.
      At least until this is done. Then… maybe a breath to finish planning Inferno and right back to typing til my fingers fall off.

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

P.S. Man, I need bacon.