megwrites: Shakespeared! Don't be afraid to talk Elizabethan, or Kimberlian, or Meredithian! (shakespeared!)
Behold, my writing woes are over! Why didn't I think of it. Can't write? Just get a cat! It worked for me, see?

[Image: A close up of two fuzzy orange paws belonging my cat on top of a white Mac laptop on a very messy desk.]

[Image: A picture taken from above of a very fuzzy orange cat sitting on top of my white laptop atop my messy desk.]

That's my cat, known as Orange Cat (or Hawkeye). He provides a lot of useful services around here. Sunlight absorption, ankle attack readiness consultation, encrypted cat butt code-writing, and late night shelf-clearing.

[Image: A short haired blonde/yellow dog laying down in front of a black bookcase full of books.]

And I think Girlie!Dog wants to be a librarian. She has great taste in literature (literally. She's eaten a lot of my best books!). Given that she's named after a book (Coraline), that makes sense. She likes to sneak them off the shelf when I'm not looking, which is ironic when she silently makes off with a copy of The Art of the Steal.


Apr. 28th, 2012 01:07 pm
megwrites: Shakespeared! Don't be afraid to talk Elizabethan, or Kimberlian, or Meredithian! (shakespeared!)
OH MY GOD. Somebody put money in the tip jar for [personal profile] cityofthehand. OH MY GOD. I'm freaking out and having like hyperventilations of joy.

Whoever you are that put a tenner in the tip jar, I LOVE YOU FOREVER. I never thought anyone would, really. I only checked paypal on a lark. I was just glad to have the story out there and have a few people following it. Seriously. I just cannot even express how awesome this is.

I wrote a story and somebody liked it enough to give me money. This has never happened before.

This is seriously a big high point for me.

Also, my husband suggested that I offer those who put money in the tip jar the opportunity to get the entire novel as an ebook file (pdf or something) so they don't have to wait for the entire thing. Anyone think this is a good idea or not?

I kind of like the idea of having something to say, "Thank you person who put your hard earned money in my tip jar."

megwrites: A pair of brown glasses on a worn wooden table with a shadowed white wall in the background. (glasses)
I've been on a letter writing kick, but I'm running out of folks to write letters to. So I'm asking if anyone wants letters from me.

Addresses, names, etc will be screened and kept strictly private unless you tell me otherwise. Feel free to ask me anything, request anything, or otherwise say what you want in your letter. (Or don't want). I'm willing to send anywhere in the world that can receive letters/post.

So, just let me know. You can also just say you want the letter sent to a pseudonym if you like. I don't need legal names, just a valid address. So if you want me to send a letter to Seymour Buttz of Butte, Montana, I will gladly do so.
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (tree)
Talk about your two-fers. So not only was I sick and dealing with clueless people in comments, but I found out last night that my great-grandfather passed away.

So now I have to get on a plane tomorrow, go through the world's most nonsensical layover so I can attend his funeral and be there for my mother.

I'll be writing the NaPoWriMo poems, but they may not get posted and comments may not get modded or responded to until next week. Sorry.
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
I post this mostly as a cautionary tale to any eager beaver new authors who want to get into the self-publishing game and also as a warning, in general, of how not to approach people.

Three days ago, a person I didn't know came up to me, held out three one dollar bills (US) and wanted to pay me to download his self published books from Amazon.

The tale of the most awkward attempt to shill a book I've ever seen in my life. )
megwrites: A vertical stack of books, spines facing out leaning against a horizontal stack of books. (many books)
I had something of an illuminating experience at the Borders "going out of business" sale this weekend.

For those who don't know, Borders is (was) one of the major brick and mortar retailers here in the U.S. They've been fighting bankruptcy and financial woes for years, but it's finally caught up to them. They're going under and individual locations are going out like light bulbs.

Here have a link about it from the Wall Street Journal.

This is very bad for the employees who are losing jobs. I feel genuine and deep sympathy for them, especially with the way job markets are right now.

But as a person who buys books and is deeply interested in book retail and the publishing industry, it was something of an instructive experience.

Discussion of book buying habits, stores, economies and other things that might not be interesting. Also, very U.S.-centric, with my apologies! )
megwrites: A pair of brown glasses on a worn wooden table with a shadowed white wall in the background. (glasses)
1. Schoolbook by [personal profile] ephemere is razored, sharp, searing, and true.

2. Conservation of Shadows by Yoon Ha Lee. Everything I've come to expect from this writer who is always lyrical, definitely surprising, never fails to be heartbreaking, and captivates me fully. This story is SO EXCELLENT.

3. I don't post advice from agent/slush reader types on writing much anymore because I think as a writer you can read too much of such things. It can convince you that writing is only good if it is saleable (false) and that good writing and good marketing potential are the same thing (also false).

Not to mention that I believe any writing advice is limited in its helpfulness because writing is such an individual thing, and that goes double for advice coming from people who are not speaking as writers to begin with.

That said, sometimes that advice is helpful, even if you're not looking to sell a single word of what you come up with.

So, this bit of advice about "why should I care" is really great.

Bonus points for advice that focuses on the constructively critiquing the writing rather than berating writers or calling them "psycho" or "insane" or "crazy" if they did get something wrong.

4. The Jacksonville Library is still sending me emails. I don't have the heart to try to unsubscribe and tell them that they were TWO CITIES ago, because frankly, Jacksonville had one of the better library systems I've seen. I'm hoping that one of two of the Charlotte branches will live up to the high standard they set.

I try not to be too much of a library snob, because I know that a lot of the problem is money and it's way, way beyond the control of the people who run these places. But still.

When the main branch of your city's library has a smaller SF/F section than you do at home? Something has gone awry. Terribly, terribly awry. And that something is called cutbacks.

5. NK Jemisin is looking for post-colonial SF/F And I am eagerly watching comments to see what recommendations are getting handed out, because that's something I, as well, am always on the look out for to add either to the "buy when as soon as possible" or "to be read" list depending on how easily I can get my hands on it.
megwrites: A pair of brown glasses on a worn wooden table with a shadowed white wall in the background. (glasses)
1. I need a beta-reader/critique partner or two (or three) for the novel I've finished revising. It isn't anything I've shown to anyone yet (besides my husband, which makes me question if letting your partner/spouse critique your manuscripts is strictly healthy for one's marriage).

It is in the 120,000 word neighborhood, it is adult fantasy. Not sure what subgenre of fantasy I'd stick it in. There's people with wings, a really big city, smart ass sorcerers, and an evil forest with trees that eat people. So, yeah. I'm willing to return the favor if possible.

Also, I need at least one person who is really savvy with gender neutral pronouns in English, as they get used frequently in this book because there are a lot of non-binary characters and the world they're in recognizes and commonly uses gender neutral pronouns, but I need to make sure that I did my research right and that I'm using them the way I hope I'm using them (that is to say: in a good way that will make sense to readers).

If these critiques could be on the faster side, that would also be good.

2. We're moving! The Hubs (my socially approved heterosexual life partner) has gotten a new job in Charlotte, North Carolina. We don't know where exactly in the city we're going to be living, but we do know we'll be there by July because he starts work on July 11th.

Which is great, but it also means that I don't know ANYONE in Charlotte, NC. So if anyone knows of any geeky folks or SF/F writer's groups or social justice type writing people that are down there, that'd be great. Because I really would like to, yanno, have friends. Maybe people to hang with.

But this also means we need to cover moving expenses and initial expenses because the new job is paying for exactly squat when it comes to moving and I'm going to be unemployed until I find something down there and going from NYC to North Carolina is a bit of a haul. And it costs money. A lot of money.*

So right now, given that I am once more unemployed, I am considering doing one of two things:

a) Singing (or writing) for my supper by taking requests for short fiction or putting the above novel that needs critiquing out there and seeing if anyone wants to contribute to the tip jar on the model AND/OR b) Selling off some books and blank journals that I've got.

So thoughts, opinions, and suggestions on that would be wonderful!

*FYI - This is why I get really, really pissy when anyone says "just move, go somewhere else if its so bad in your neighborhood/city/state!" when others try to talk about how poor resources, lack of jobs, cost-of-living, etc affect them where they live. It isn't just as simple as pulling up stakes and going somewhere. Unless you fancy leaving all your worldly possessions behind and sleeping on the first street you can find, you need resources to both leave the place you're at and to get established in the place you're going. Which requires a fair amount of privilege, both economic and otherwise.
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
In case you've noticed (or cared to), I know the postings here have slowed to a veritable crawl and even elsewhere they've slowed in the last couple of months. I'm going to try from here forward to get things going a bit more. Not that I think my wee little DW/LJ is of any major concern to anyone, but I do know it can be a bit of a pain in the butt having someone on your f-list who doesn't post anything or comment a lot.

The reasons for the slow down were that this winter was one of the most difficult I've ever been through, especially mentally. The reasons why, skip if you're not super interested in my mental health or anything like that. Trigger warnings for discussion of depression and anxiety. )

So now that you've all been informed of that, which I know you're all richer for having read, the basic idea is that I hope to start posting more. And to get on that giant backlog of book reviews I have and all the other things.

But here in my part of the world, spring is springing (or trying valiantly to, since it's in the 30's here in NYC) and I'm trying to spring with it. If there's anything I've missed since December or didn't comment on that you wanted me to or anything else, let me know.
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
I've got a week and a day left until I get married next Saturday (October 10th for the interested), and four days left until I fly down to Florida for the big event. Feel free to shower me with ridiculous amount of cash to wish me the best on my upcoming nuptials. You know, if you happen to have ridiculous amounts of cash just laying around. If not, a simple "congrats" is both sufficient and heartily appreciated.

I tell people I'm just getting married for the cake. But I'm also marrying because there's cheap health insurance in it for me. And because I like this guy enough to steal the covers from him for the rest of my life. That, too.

My only sadness? I have a number of friends attending who could not do the same thing because the state says their genitals are the same and thus they are ineligible for cake and health insurance. On the day that my country comes to the sane and compassionate conclusion that this ought to be remedied, I feel that they owe the same-sex couples of this country one big goddamn cake for their trouble. With doilies and buttercream icing and gum paste flowers and the works. Like, epic cake we're talking here. Epic "I'm sorry we were such buttfaces to you" cake. The kind you'd see on cake wrecks, except it has to be photographed aerially.

But, writing wise (because I know my personal life is oh so interesting to you) that means I'll essentially be on vacation for a week or so. My goal for finishing the first draft of Soul Machines is November 1st and I have no doubt that with my nose to the grindstone, I can accomplish just that. I'm more or less 40k in and that's half of where I intend to be. I'm not precisely half way through the plot, but I'm close to halfway and that's doing pretty good given that all my books tend to come up way over budget and I have to go back and trim them like unruly hedges.

Unless things go badly, I do intend to do NaNoWriMo again this year. I've won five years in a row, it's fun, and it gives me a reason feel like the slain turkey on my table is both festive and celebratory. Did I mention that all the best things happen in autumn because it is the BEST SEASON EVER and I am so sad that it doesn't last long enough?

As for today? I'm basically going to watch a lot of movies and put the heating pad on my aching shoulder and if I should trip and fall and accidentally hit the keyboard and get some writing done, so be it.
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
I'm trying to get all my writing work done for the day, because about 4 o'clock, I'm going to leave to take the train into Manhattan. Tonight the Boy and I are going to Liner Notes II, which features Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer teaming up to do a charity event. Squee!

I've never seen Neil Gaiman in person, and I've sort of always wanted to. I used to have this biggest writer!crush on him back in my younger days, and I think like everyone else on the planet, I was blown away by Sandman. Also? Smoke and Mirrors was one of the few short story collections I've ever been able to bring myself to read. Seriously, I really don't like short stories, and I loved that book something fierce.

So even though I can't say I'm a fan of Palmer's music (the Boy is. But nobody said I was marrying him for his musical tastes), I anticipate it's going to be a lot of fun. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what he reads/says.

Of course, I'd probably get more writing done if I quit fooling around on livejournal and got back to actual writing.

But, hey, every once and a while you've just gotta brag a little bit. I hope that everyone out there on the f-list will be having as lovely an evening as I will be having.
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
I chickened out of going to Fantastic Fiction at the KGB Bar last night. I made up a bunch of excuses, but it basically boils down to anxiety and social awkwardness and fear. And I really wanted to go, too, but that's the nature of anxiety. It'll steal anything you don't nail down.

But on more positive notes, I did have a productive writing day to the tune of 3000 words and change. I also read through some of the earlier chapters that I'd reshaped and they were at least 40% less crappy than I thought at the time I was writing them.

I'm still tinkering with the progress notes format, because I intend to make a study of the writing/revision process so that the next time it'll go quicker.

Project: Tower!Guy Story (working title)

Wordcount: 37143 (+ 3735)

Goal: 100,000 words or less

Deadline: August-ish.

Reason For Stopping: Exhaustion and errands that needed running.

Exercise: Slower walk than usual, still working back up to my previous pace. Did lots of errands.

Stimulants/Chemicals: None.

Musical Inspiration: "If I Never See Your Face Again" - Maroon 5 f/ Rihanna. The explosive chords and combative, sexy duo are good for a fight scene between characters who are snarling at each other. Also good exercise music.

Darling du Jour: "Goddess preserve me. A princess who doesn't know the name of her own land. "

Mean Things: Fighting. Calling someone stupid who isn't. Calling someone "crazy" who actually *is* mentally ill. Inquiring very rudely about the sexual practices of relative strangers. Trying to marry off fifteen-year-old girls to older men. Gambling. Stalking.

Things Learned/Discovered: When I type from my notebook, the amount of typos goes up exponentially and I feel like an ass having to make up fictional plants. Oh, yeah, and I frakking love fights and argument scenes, maybe as much as I love sex scenes. I can't justify having my characters have dirty, dastardly fight!sex in this story, but maybe the next one. I have mental issues, Y/Y?


Jun. 17th, 2008 05:07 pm
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
Back from vacation in Las Vegas. One good thing about being a writer is that you officially are never truly at a loss for something to do. Even while waiting in airports or on long, long plane rides. As long as you either have a laptop or at least a notebook and pen, you're good to go. You'd be amazed at how much writing you can get done when you're trapped on a plane for five hours. Even on JetBlue where they have the TVs on the back of the seats.

I love me some TV, but wow. Between the hours of 10am and 4pm, TV is pretty much a wasteland, innit?

I actually got most of the way through one whole chapter, and I've got to type it in and do the usual fiddling around. It doesn't feel like my most brilliant writing ever, but it got done.

Today, though, I'm taking the day off because I'm still very dizzy and I'm jet lagged from being on the wrong side of the country for five days.

No offense to them that live on the west coast, particularly in the southwest - but how in the name of Betty frakkin' Brown do you not go around with constant nosebleeds? How do your pools not evaporate an hour after you fill them?

It's like the entire state of Nevada is basically a giant dryer that's always on high. Your frickin' mountains even look like giant pointy piles of lint from the air. And I don't know who's running the joint, but somebody needs to throw a dryer sheet into that mess because I couldn't even look at something metal without being electrocuted. "Oh, look, here's a metal thing. GAH! MY RETINAS! MY BEAUTIFUL RETINAS!" In fact, I propose to rename Nevada from The Silver State to The Vandergraph State. Just so people have fair warning.

Dehydration plus jet lag was not fun, let me tell you. I woke up feeling dried out, bleary, groggy, and disoriented my first morning there. It was like the city of Vegas comped me a free hangover so I wouldn't have to bother actually drinking any alcohol first. Generous of them.

So, I'll moisturize for the day and rest, but tomorrow it's back to the salt mines.
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
Since about Thursday, the creativity faucet got turned on high hot and all the way. Since Thursday I have:

1. Picked up speed (finally!) on the Tower!Guy Story revisions. I rocketed through the end of one chapter, and will probably be done with another by the end of the day, and see no reason I'm not going to zoom through the next chapter.

2. Painted a picture. Not sure if I should scan it in and share it with anyone as I'm still in the process of getting my bearing with acrylics, especially since I started out learning to paint with oils.

3. Exercised my photography muscles by taking a bunch of pictures of assorted things in the psuedo-garden behind my apartment building. The pictures of the rose are my favorite. Although, I sort of risked life and limb to get the pictures of the rose. Because it wasn't like the damn thing was right in front of me. It was actually on top of a big thorny bush that was taller than me. So I had to climb on top of a somewhat dodgy ceramic planter (never again will I go into a garden wearing neon green flip flops) and sort of stick the camera in there and eyeball it. Still, I think my photoggery has improved. Especially since I've got The Boy's ultra-sweet camera to do it with.

The funny part of this had nothing to do with the pictures, though. The funny part was when I was walking back to my apartment and overheard a conversation through an open window and didn't catch on at first.

You have to understand that this neighbor, who I'll call Ms. J, is a woman in her late-60's maybe 70's. She's very quiet, reserved, looks a bit mean, and perpetually lives in her Hawaiian-flower nightgown.

So I'm walking through the alley by the apartment and I hear her talking to her daughter, who's very loud, typically New York voice I recognize:

Ms. J's Daughter: So, tell me about Linda. What does she do?

Ms. J: (mumble mumble something I can't hear)...Scrabble.

Ms. J's Daughter: Oh, she plays Scrabble. But what does she do all day?

Ms. J: (mumble mumble, still can't hear)

Ms J's Daughter: Well, did she at least give you a shower? That's the best part, when they give you a shower.

Me: o_O. *eyebrow raise*

And my first thought was, Sweet moses on the mount, I didn't know Ms. J was a lesbian. And what the hell kind of kinky stuff is going on if her daughter is asking if her girlfriend gives her a bath? Privacy much?. (Yes, I realize the irony of thinking this as I'm eavesdropping, but the window was open, and this lady was loud and it's New York City).

I walked away, and then after a few minutes of thought, realized that they were actually talking about the home health nurse that Ms. J has, because Ms. J suffered an unfortunate fall and broke her hip last year.

4. Thought up a great new idea that would make a fantastic Fantasy/Romance/Mystery story. It includes such exciting elements as: Princes In Disguise! Hundreds of Virgins, None of Whom Actually Are! Intrigue! Swordfighting Women! Important Social Discourse! And most importantly: Surprise Buttsex! Not sure what I shall title it in my head. I'm sure by now anyone who's checked out my tags realizes that my working titles lack any kind of elegance.

5. Revised and refined the UF!2Girls project such that I think it might stand a chance of one day getting to reader for an opinion of whether it, too, deserves it's turn on the Submission Wheel.

6. Wrote three poems. Eventually I'll get around to posting them, probably. Maybe. I really hate f%^king poetry, you know that? Grr. Argh. *Finger monster*

7. Finished off one of my paper writing journals and started a new one. It's a cute little red Miquelrius notebook. Yes, yes, I know. It's supposed to be Moleskine or bust for us writery types, but honestly? Moleskines are nice, but overrated.
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
I need *another* reader for the Tower!Guy story. I need someone who is willing to be a) nitpicky and b) honest in the kind of way that leaves teethmarks. The novel is 120,000 words, fantasy, and I'm willing to put it into any kind of electronic format you need.

Why do I ask this favor of you, my f-list?

I had lunch today with [ profile] lagringa, and we talked about the Tower!Guy story. She had some really, really important things to say about it, and pointed out a lot of the places where the novel, was, well, *broken*.

She was abso-freakin'-lutely right about all of it, too.

I suffer from Clear Forehead Syndrome. It's where a writer believes, mistakenly, that their forehead is clear so that readers can just peek in and see what their thought processes are and know everything about a story that they do.

The main symptom of which is: I don't recognize that you, the viewer, have not lived in my head with this story for months, pouring over every single detail. Thus, you don't know all the information I do. So sometimes I have to explain things.

Also, I need to take a clarity stick to my novel and beat it like a redheaded stepchild.

She also suggested, in the middle of my first, best, and only experience with Greek food (I gotta try it more often, it was delicious), that I get another reader. So, I'm asking.

What she said has given me a lot of things to chew on, and has renewed my determination to get this thing *right*. I want to submit it somewhere, I want to really give this thing a proper go.

I thought I was going to do that a year ago, when Revenant Blues had been revised to death - but I chickened out. I refuse to turn back this time.

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