Thursday, January 29, 2009


Realms of Fantasy is closing. *sigh*

A little George this morning

George Carlin, that is:

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity."

"Deep Throat: Think about it. There is actually a semi-important figure in American history who is named for a blow-job movie. How do school teachers handle this?"

"George Washington's brother, Lawrence, was the Uncle of Our Country."

“I like it when a flower or a little tuft of grass grows through a crack in the concrete. It's so fuckin' heroic.”

"Ever wonder about those people who spend $2 apiece on those little bottles of Evian water? Try spelling Evian backward."

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

No more editing for now

Well, revisions went to my editor Monday morning. And while I hope he loves it and accepts the manuscript, I'm prepared for it to come back for another round, which is quite normal according to some of my pubbed friends. I just don't want it to come back. :D

Good news is that now I can focus on Book 2 without the distractions of TBPD -- unless you count nail-biting, which goes without saying... So that little word count meter to the left, that little ole neglected word count meter, is going to see some action people!

I'll also be working on my YA, as time allows, getting some details and plot points worked out and then writing in the gaps. I'm usually a big plotter, but this book wants to be written with only a skeleton of an outline. And, for once, that doesn't scare me; I'm excited to see where the story goes.

P.S. I have this incredible apple cider scented candle burning... Just thought you all should know. :-)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Writing with kids

Not always the greatest mix, but it can work. It just takes a little bit of planning, sacrifice, and lots of trial and error before you find the formula that works for you. This one's for you ccallicotte. :-)

I have an 8 yr old and a 14 month old. After the birth of the first child, I took that first month off, but then started writing again during naps and sometimes after she went to bed for the night (though, really, by this time I was exhausted so night-writing was a rare event). My son, however, is totally different. He's not a consistent napper, but he does go to bed for the night at 6:30 P.M. and sleeps clean through the night. So my schedule (up until he just started daycare) has been to write at night.

You just have to play around with what works best. For example, at first I tried to write during my son's unreliable naps. And all I got was frustration. It seemed whenever I found my groove, he woke up. Finally, I wised-up, dropped the stress factor and used that time for blogging, internet stuff, and plotting. The most important thing is to take advantage of the downtimes, and give yourself permission to let others things go. So, here are some tips that I have found helpful (feel free, moms and dads, and anyone else, to add your own in the comments section):

1) Save the laundry, the kitchen cleaning, the phone calls to mom or sis for when your child is awake and active, and use those nap times for writing.

2) Take advantage of those 'quiet times' -- baby has bottle and pillow and is lying on the floor watching Noggin... These are great times for editing since, at any moment, you might be distracted. Editing is a lot easier to stop without frustration than rough draft work. At least for me it is.

3) Ask the Hub for some time. A half day on the weekend, running inteference after bedtime . . . The important thing here is to sit down and talk about it -- work out something that is fair to both of you. He helps you out for a few hours, then you help him out.

4) Is your child instantly at your side once you break out the laptop or pen and paper? My son loves technology. He threw a fit if I sat on the couch and opened the laptop. I started with a very nice, soft "no, no," whenever he came over, stood by my knee, and tried to touch the buttons. This always resulted in crying and fits. So frustrating! But when I decided to try the absolute "No" (like a touching-the-hot-stove-"No"), he learned after several attempts over a two-week period (or so) that it was a lost cause and he gave up. The result is me being able to write for 30 + min. when he is engaged in his own activity.

5) Bathtime is a great time to write! (Once you have a child that can sit up and play and who loves the bath). Mine does, so once he was washed, he played while I sat on the bathroom floor next to the tub and plotted, or used my Alpha Smart.

6) Don't try to write when you know it's not going to work. This seems like a simple one, but I can't tell you how many times I did this. It was like, dang it, I have to get this done, I have to write! But this only results in major frustration that not only affects you but your child, too. It's not worth it.

7) Condition yourself to new writing times. Test getting up an hour or two earlier when the house is quiet, you can drink your coffee without interruption and actually sit down and write. I know, this is a tough one. I have yet to do this for any consistent period of time. Kids are so exhausting, every last ounce of sleep is precious! Hats off to those who can do this one.

Every child and every writer is different, so finding what works for you both will take trial and error. Staying up late, getting up early, foregoing that shower you really should take during naptime, giving up some primetime TV . . . it's all a big sacrifice in a very full 24/7 job. And it's a sacrifice to working parents/writers, too, who work all day, come home, take care of the kids and then instead of falling down in a dead sleep, actually sit their butts down and write before bed. But, we sure learn how to time-manage like a pro, and have the amazing ability to concentrate amid chaos, all while watching our kids grow and doing what we love.

Monday, January 26, 2009


Last night, I dreamt I was a Muppet.

So when I woke and thought about the dream, I realized that I was a green Muppet. Fast forward to sitting on couch and drinking coffee when it hit me -- I was an Irish Muppet.

Please don't ask me why, but I think this is hysterical. :D

EDITED TO ADD: Forgot to add this before, but if you haven't already go check out Deadline Dames -- an awesome group of urban fantasy authors (including my CP and pal, Jenna Black) blogging about everything UF.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


The child is now in daycare. Can I get a 'woo-woo'? :D

This means Tuesday thru Friday, I can sit my butt down without interruption and write. ~sigh~ Just write. No laundry. No cleaning. No running errands. No school this semester. I'm not paying daycare to do those things. I'm paying it to work.

And any of you who have felt the excruciating sting of a daycare bill will understand me when I say: I am now writing books to put my kid through daycare. Oy. However, it's my hope that one day the ends will justify the means.

Which means I need to write. So, back to work!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Snow, revisions, and blog love

It's snowing!! This hardly ever happens here; maybe a light dusting one year, nothing the next, or just a few flurries... But we already have 6 inches of snow and it's still coming down. Awesome. I took this pic this morning:

My daughter and her friend were outside before 9 A.M. Of course, the last snow boots she had were from 2005. But we made it work. I made hot chocolate for them when they came in. The dog was hilarious -- this is his first snow -- picture a big ole fawn Great Dane teenager bounding around the snow like a deer with a bunny complex. :D

Fun day so far. Kids are upstairs playing RockBand now -- 'Ballroom Blitz' is playing. And I finally have a moment to sit down and blog.

Revisions are finished!! I'm only waiting to hear from my editor on a small name-change for something in the book, before I send it in. (More on revisions later).

And... the very sweet Pamala Knight gave me some very nice blog love. Hee. THANK YOU, PAMALA!!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

In the home stretch

Just a quickie. . . In the final stages of my revisions. Hope to be done by tomorrow evening. But, if not, I'll be finishing up over the weekend.

I think I could revise this thing forever. There will always be a word I could change here, a sentence there . . . I'm feeling a little anxious about turning it in, and hoping my editor likes what I've done. But the good thing is, I like it. In fact, I'm pretty damn happy with what I've done.

Off to work some more . . .

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

More revision randomness

Everytime I open my document and start a new revision day, I feel like if I have to read this book one more time I'm going to vomit, or shove an ice pick in my eye. (The urge is different from day to day. :D ). But, what is truly insane to me is that once I settle into the story, those icky feelings drift away, and I'm pulled back into my world once again. I really should hate this book by now. I mean, I've read the dang thing at least twenty times, some chapters more than that I'm sure. I still love it, though. But I'm also ready to turn it over and let Pocket work their magic. Just an observation from moi. :-)

Passes made so far: 6

Word count added: 2,189

Repeated mispellings: Embarrassed to admit this one. My own character's name. Charlie always comes out as Cahrlie. It's my fingers. They refuse to do it correctly. I have auto correct to fix it, but still . . .

Comments (made by moi) left in the ms.: 36

Sample of comments remaining: "Wrapped up too neatly.", "Check capps of this word through-out and consistency of all weapons used.", "Needs to be more screaming here." And this one, quite honestly, I have no idea why I wrote this or what I was talking about: "Ah, the hell with it." :D

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The series proposal

You can all thank Christine for this one. (Or ask her: "why, Christine, why did you give Kelly this idea -- that's the most rambling blog post I've ever read!") :D

Go searching on the www and you'll probably find lots of ways and formats to write a series proposal. One thing I learned when putting together a proposal for the Charlie Madigan books (after I signed with my agent), is that there's no written-in-stone formula. But there are a few things that usually make up a proposal.

Let's look at the writer persuing representation:

When you submit a fiction query (and you had better have that book completed and polished, and polished some more. Trust me on this, k?) and an agent writes back asking you to send a proposal -- it usually means a cover letter, the first three chapters, and a synopsis. (Some will also ask for a bio). Even if you plan your novel as a series, you don't want to send anything other than what the agent asks for at this point (although, including the fact that this is a series is perfectly fine in your query or cover letter). If the agent wants to see additional info, after reading your initial proposal or full ms., they'll ask.

What should the length of your synopsis be? Good question! I can only say it differs. 2-3 pages, all the way up to 10 or more. My synopsis for TBPD was 2 pages. My synopsis for Book 2 was sold based on a 3 page synopsis (and the strength of a completed Book 1).

When you already have an agent and want to present a new series idea, you might (or not -- depends on you, and your relationship with your agent) first talk about it to see if it's something worth persuing. Either way, you write the first three chapters and synopsis -- your proposal. And you might also write a short synopsis on additional books at this time, or wait until your agent is ready to submit to editors and wants to include them for a possible book deal. But, let me just say here (disclaimer!), every agent is different in what they prefer to see from clients, and what they ultimately decide to send out to editors. For some, a synopsis of additional books, or simply a story arc showing how you envision the overall series can be a good way to clue your agent in on your vision. And it might help them devise a plan of attack and advise you -- is this series commercial? Is there a market for the books? Has something just like this sold recently?

So, when I write a series proposal, it consists of the first three chapters, synopsis, and then my overall story arc for the entire series, which ends up being anywhere from 6-12 pages. This is also a good way to get an idea down 'on paper' and out of the way, so you can continue to work on your current/main project. I did this over the summer -- had an idea that would NOT leave me alone, so I wrote the proposal and a lot of notes and then set it aside.
This brings us to the point where I wonder if I even answered Christine's question, and where I realize that I'm mostly rambling now . . . :D

Questions? Just fire away..

Monday, January 12, 2009

A look ahead

So I'm jumping on the bandwagon and posting my writing goals for 2009:

Complete revisions for THE BETTER PART OF DARKNESS.

Finish and turn in Book 2

Finish YA novel and write series proposal

Sell (fingers crossed) YA

Write proposal and sell (fingers crossed) Book 3

Work on super secret, supernatural historical fiction project.

Friday, January 09, 2009

I know, I know

My website is in major need of an update. It's sad, really. But here's the deal: I'm waiting for cover art. :D 'Cus, see, it's gonna have a grand overhaul when that happens . . .

And, yeah, okay, I know everyone is Twittering. And then there's My Space and Facebook. They're on the List 'O Things to explore. Er, at some point in the, hopefully, near future. Heh.

In other news, the revisions for THE BETTER PART OF DARKNESS are still going well. In the home stretch, tackling the biggest note, which really isn't that big in terms of major changes and restructuring. And I realize/admit/accept that I cannot type the word 'from' without having to slowdown and think about it. It comes out as 'form' every single time. It's like my fingers refuse to go in the proper order.

That is all.



Wednesday, January 07, 2009

My dinner conversation . . .

. . . with 8 yr old daughter went something like this:

Kid -- "Mom, OMG, wasn't it funny when the baby farted on my lap when I was playing ToonTown?"

Me -- "Yeah, that was cute. Eat your food."

Kid -- Starts to giggle. "He's like me always 'cracking wind'. Hahahahaha!"

Me -- Laughs. "Cracking wind? Okay, keep eating."

Kid -- On a roll. "Oh, yeah, I'm so funny. I just 'blow' myself away!" Catches the giggles bigtime from here on out.

Me -- Sighing loudly.

Kid -- "I should eat beans all the time. Like at lunch. And then I'd make a 'tropical storm'. In the Sahara Desert."

Me -- Trying not to giggle now.

Kid -- Eyes watering, can barely speak through laughter. "Hey, Mom, you want to walk on 'air'? 'Cus I can make that happen."

Me -- Totally loses it.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Writers seeking an agent?

Want to bypass the whole query thing? This looks like it a great opportunity to get your first chapter read by a literary agent, so I'm posting it here in case some of you haven't heard yet. (I saw this mentioned on Christine Writes a Book and Heather Zundel's blog). I think they rep mostly YA and childrens, but check out their site to make sure.

From Firebrand Literary:

". . . we’re announcing the first annual FIREBRAND QUERY HOLIDAY—to support authors who want to spend their time and energy perfecting their manuscripts and not just polishing their sales skills.

We want to read your first chapter.

We pledge to review all samples by the end of January, and will respond to those that we are interested in no later than Feburary 1."

Monday, January 05, 2009

Revision randomness

EDITED TO ADD: Pseudosu asked a good question (thank you!) that made me realize I didn't exactly clarify -- the comments and track changes I mention below were done by me (not my agent or editor, although many of the notes are reflective of the line edit he sent me, as well as our brainstorming session). 

Number of comments (via Track Changes) made in the manuscript: 127

Number of passes made so far: 4

Grammar mistake made most often: Commas. Grrr. I hate those little f-ers!!!

Most humorous mistake thus far: 'disease infested', was 'disease invested'. Heh.

Samples of some of my comments: "Get real." "Ah! That explains everything!" "Ask Ed." (okay, so that one might be used more than once.). And my personal favorite: "Not sure. Thinks this reads better to eliminate the two idiot lines and go with the other line . . ."

Friday, January 02, 2009

Title schmitle

Hope you all had a great New Year's Eve and Day.

My New Year's Eve consisted of our annual game of Monopoly at which I royally sucked. Yeah. It wasn't pretty. My thimble got torpedoed repeatedly by the battleship and the hat was constantly heckling said thimble. :( Then we made a fire in the fireplace and fell asleep at 11:30 P.M.

I know, you just can't stand the excitement.

Hey, I was exhausted from all the excitement in my fictional world, so I have an excuse. You know, overthrowing supernatural beings, dodging bad-asses . . . Trust me, I have enough excitement going on in my head that when I do have free time in the real world, it's nice to just chill.

Oh, who am I kidding? My name is Kelly and I couldn't stay up for New Years. There I said it. Ha!