Saturday, February 28, 2009

Gorgeous Saturday & eyewear

It's raining. It's my kind of day.

Yesterday, I spent $300 on a new pair of glasses. Gah. But they are very nice and, hopefully, will help with this glare issue I'm having when I write. (I see a hazy, white film over my left eye whenever I look too long at the PC screen.) It's gotten so bad that after a few long days working at the PC, I have to give myself an entire day of rest just to get my eyes working correctly again. They are very sensitive to bright light, which makes night driving horrible and sunlight an issue. I should be getting them next week, and I might put a pic up to show you all how stylin' they are. :-)

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Friday, February 27, 2009

A favorite

I love Nanny McPhee.

The movie is one of my all time favorites (read no further if you haven't seen it -- spoilers and such).

What could be better than the crack of her magic cane, or Oglington Faaarrrtworthy?

Or "When you need me, but do not want me, then I will stay. When you want me, but do not need me, then I have to go."

Or my favorite part of the movie when Evangeline returns as a Lady and the snow falls and magically comes together to make her a white wedding dress.

Some of you who know me might say: "Kelly is full of it -- the only reason she adores this movie is because Colin Firth is in it." And, well . . . that might be true. :D But he's not the only reason, I swear!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What's coming up

March is nearly upon us. That means sticking to my personal deadline of having Super Secret YA completed (the rough draft and polished partial). Good news is, I think it's going to happen (need to update my word meter bar). But, whether it's done or not, come March 1st, I will be setting aside the YA, to work on Book 2 of the Charlie Madigan series. Yay! Looking forward to getting back into that one for sure.

The ultimate goal is to get the YA rough draft completed and out of the way so I can turn my attention to Book 2. And there's the added benefit of having something in the wings to revise and polish when I have extra time -- you know, at night while watching TV or weekends. My work day come March, however, will be devoted to Book 2.

Up for today -- another marathon lunch with Jenna Black to discuss her fabulous YA, and to discuss mine, which I emailed her (just a partial) yesterday. She's the first one to read Le Project Secret (yeah, I know, excuse my French), :D so I'm anxious to hear what she thinks!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Getting out of your own way

I've been thinking about plotting, about how writers approach a new book. If you've been reading my blog at all, then you know I'm not a 100% plotter, nor am I a 100% panster (writing by the seat of your pants). I'm whatever feels right, whatever my book wants me to be. Sometimes, I use notecards, sometimes an outline, and sometimes nothing at all but some vague scenes in my head, a few scribbled notes, and a set-up. And sometimes not even that.

So with that in mind, and a recent conversation I had with a young writer about how to approach your story, and how this particular writer was blocked, wanted to start out the right way, and aim for a very defined market, I will say what I said to him: "Get out of your own way." Sometimes (and I've done this, too, believe me) a writer can get so worried over how he thinks something should be approached or written, that he often finds himself stuck before he even begins. It can be overwhelming, especially when you want to do it right -- to write a great book and have it fit that niche you're aiming for.

There is no right way to write a book! Yes, obviously, there are elements required to make a book a book, but I'm not talking about that, I'm talking about The Process of writing. How you do it is a choice, it's whatever feels right. Plot one chapter, and free write another -- it's whatever works for you and the particular story you're telling. It's okay to have your own unique writing process whether it's seriously quirky or pretty standard. Some writers find a pattern that always works for them. Some, like me, find that with each story the process is different.

So, just get out of your own way. Don't worry about a right or wrong writing process. Do what feels right, and just write!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Still here . . .

Weird weekend. Feeling much better (thanks for the get well wishes, gang!). Child is now sick, though. Gah. Not fun.

Anyway, still distracting myself with this YA. It's going great, and it's continuing to surpise me. I'm 'pantsing' this one like never before, and it's actually quite fun. I haven't been the best commenter here or on other blogs lately, but please forgive me as I've got my head buried deep into this manuscript.

Still waiting on confirmation to share book news, but it shouldn't be much longer . . . sorry! :D

Hope everyon had a great weekend!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Tis the season

You know I actually got through most of the winter without getting horribly sick. But unfortunately, the sick fairies have found me and bestowed what could be the flu upon my sorry self. So, off to the doctors to see . . .

I have some exciting news coming up on the book front, too, but I'll post that later after confirmation.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Writer's Butt

Not to be confused with Writer's Block. Writer's Butt occurs when writer sits still for extended periods of time, sometimes hours on end without standing. The only movement: eyes, eyelids, hands, fingers, the occassional thinker's frown or pursed lips, and sometimes, when very excited over scene: toe wiggling.

Writer's Butt can cause stiffness, achiness, and weakness (weakness evident upon climbing stairs with laundry basket, jogging to mailbox, and dancing to Mambo Italiano while making dinner).

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Linear curiosity

Thinking about my post yesterday and how this YA is spilling out of my head... It made me wonder if you guys ever write scenes out of order.

I've never done that. I do have some very clear times when I know a scene inside and out, but I keep it in my head (or write a few notes to remind me) until the time comes in the book for the scenen to happen and then I write it. I've heard of authors writing scenes out of order and then linking them all together, but I've never had the compulsion to do this -- yet.

I'm curious as to how you'd keep the pace and flow going, and if you find it helpful to do this or does it make you feel somewhat disjointed...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Productive weekend

Despite everything that seems to be going wrong, one thing has been going right. The YA is progressing wonderfully. I wrote 11,000 words over the weekend, bringing the rough draft past the 100 page mark.

I usually plot. A lot. But with this book, I'm just forging ahead without too much knowledge of what's going to happen. I vaguely know how I want it to end (as far as my main character's emotional black moment and such) but I have no idea what that scene will entail or how she's going to get there. I'm finding it all very strange, but it's working for this story so I'm keeping on with the status quo, and just sitting my butt down and writing whatever comes to mind.

Funny how certain stories demand to be written in certain ways, isn't it?

Friday, February 13, 2009

When it rains...

Well, first, thank you guys so much for the good wishes and support concerning Yeager. It means a lot, and your words were really helpful. We're still thinking the whole surgery thing through and I'll be talking to the vet again today . . . Now that some time has passed, though, I think I have a better outlook and understanding of his disease and feel like I can make a good decision as to his care.

So, on another note: my car is possessed. It left me stranded at daycare yesterday morning, refusing to start. Now, it refuses to go into'park', will only start in 'neutral' and will only release my key when turned off in 'neutral' and then put into 'reverse' -- only then will it release the key. Oy. Christine has been reborn...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Despressed, worried, scared...

You name it, and I am it. :-( I think I'm still in shock a little, too. Yesterday, my 2 yr old Great Dane, Yeager suddenly screamed while outside. I mean screamed. For 4-5 minutes straight. He was holding his paw up and limped into the house where he plopped down on the floor and continued to whimper. Everytime he shifted or stood up, he would yelp. I was pretty sure he'd fractured his left front leg/paw. So I took him to the emergency vet who has an ortho doc on staff.

He is terrified of the vet, so when we got there he was shaking and it took three vet techs to lift him out of the back of my SUV. But, good news was, he walked into the hospital and was not limping at all (we believed this was due to adrenaline taking over and masking the pain).

So very long day and story short: he does not have a fracture or anything else wrong. It's much worse. He has a degenerative spinal disease. His vertebra in his neck are growing more bone, squeezing his spinal cord and blocking/pinching his nerves (particularly the one that goes to his left leg).

He needs an MRI and surgery. BUT surgery could also end up paralyzing him and making him worse. OR it could cure him. OR it could relieve the pressure for a few years until the bone starts closing in again. I don't know what to do. While he is young and healthy and a good candidate for surgery, he is also incredibly sensistive, and I think surgery would take an enormous toll on him that he might not fully recover from. Yesterday (after going through general anesthesia -- tube down his throat-- so they could take all kinds of tests and X-rays, he had a very difficult time coming out of it. Once he was well enough to go home, he still was having a hard time. I couldn't get him out of the car. He was crying and shaking and kept collapsing when he tried to sit up. He had to stay in the back of the truck for 3 hours, before he was well enough to get out, and once he didn, he immediately collapsed in the driveway and we had to sit there for another 15-20 minutes before he could stand again.

He cried all night.

If he had surgery, he have to be in a sling b/c he wouldn't be able to walk unassisted for a while. His neck would be in a brace. How the hell am I going to lift a 120lb Great Dane in a sling? The only other option is not having the surgery and hope that the disease progresses slowly and we would manage the episodes of pain with medication. The thing is, right now, he is happy, otherwise healthy, and is always in good spirits (minus the vet thing). So, I'm afraid surgery will do worse than good. But then I'm afraid of letting it get any worse... Ugh!!! I'm going to talk to the vet again today about options and alternative treatments and outcomes...

Today he is doing great, and he seems to be pain free for now -- until he moves a certain, random way and that nerve gets squeezed . . .

Here he is with his Christmas present:

And as a pup before going to my daughter's soccer game:

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Creating words

You've created your world. You've brought a supernatural being onto the page. And sometimes they require their own language. A few words here and there. Curses, exclamations, incantations... Those words they'd fall back on when English just doesn't do them justice.

For the most part, I enjoy creating words in my being's native tongue. But sometimes, it takes a while for just the right letter and vowel combinations to come together. It's got to sound right. It's got to read right. You know?

How do I find 'new' words?

Um, I read things backwards. I've done this since I was a child. Specifically, I read road signs backwards (after, of course, I read them properly otherwise I'b be lost all the time). Towns, cities, road names, whatever is out there. The ones I see on my regular journeys, I bypass b/c, you know, I've already read them. Sometimes, all it takes is a change of one letter or vowel. I've come up with some cool, 'off-world' sounding words by doing this.

This weird childhood travelling pastime has led to me randomly reading things backwards. A word flashed on the TV, a word on the cover of a book, menus, whatever strikes me. . . (For instance, yesterday I spelled the word 'gulp' backwards in my head after the Hub used the word, and I realized it spelled 'plug'. I love it when that happens!).

Other things I've done is going through foreign language dictionaries, name databases, and my latest kick -- those verification codes you have to enter in blogger and other online forms. Yeah. Loads of possibilities there. :D

Monday, February 09, 2009


1) Writing, and playing catch up since I played hooky last week.

2) Bummed I couldn't go to NY Comic-Con, but having fun reading about it on other people's blogs.

3) Feeling like a cold is coming on. Taking zinc and vitamin C in hopes of fighting it off.

4) My TBR pile depresses me. I'd need 2-3 weeks off to read all these awesome books. Well, that and they keep staring at me. Just staring. Waiting . . .

EDITED TO ADD: Shameless promo for a great book! Jax's book, The Art of Sensuality, is up for some whipped cream voting. :D Check it out, read the reviews, and if you think hers is awesome (as I do), then vote! (Not sure when it ends, but it's still open as of today.)

Friday, February 06, 2009

Productivity of a sort

Had a fantastic lunch yesterday with Jen. We chatted and ate and brainstormed, which was AWESOME. It was like some electrified ping-pong match, only we were playing with each other not against. Kind of went like:

"That's so cool, and then you could have...", "And if she did this, then that would be...", "Ooh, I love that, and if you went that direction you could do this...", "Or what about this..."

I also revealed my ultra secret YA project during lunch. And I'm pretty certain Jen could tell by my super-sonic blabbering and stumbling over words that I'm so freakin' excited about this book (as my agent can attest to as well). Really guys -- that's the only time I get that way. Promise. :D

All this creative talking is like 'Red Bull for Writers' to me. I went home and wrote 11 pages!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Playing hooky

Yeah. I did. And I'm not sorry about it. :D Yesterday I had breakfast with my dd, went to see INKHEART (and have you guys seen the preview for RACE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN? I cannot wait to see it!), came home and played video games.

It was a good day.

Dinner was great, too. We grilled on the charcoal grill. Yum. The hub brought home a bag of lemons and made lemonade. So good.

I'm playing hooky for half the day today as well -- having lunch (which usually lasts 2-3 hours, so maybe I should call it lunch-and-more) with Jenna Black. I love having lunch with my writer pals. It's nice to get out of the house and have some adult conversation and talk shop.

Hope you all have a good day, too!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Harder than I thought

I know some writers who have written their dedications and acknowledgements long before selling. I have done this to some extent in my head, but never on paper. For me, I was too afraid of jinxing myself since me and jinxes go way back...

Anyway, yesterday I turned in the dedication and acknowledegment for the book. This was a fun project, but also a lot harder than I expected. I wanted to thank and mention every single person I've ever known, but that would take up an entire chapter or two or three, and isn't exactly a possibility. *sigh* That being said, I'm very pleased with what I turned in, and even more relieved that there'll be a second book where I'll be able to mention more people who have helped me or supported me along this journey.

The author bio and pic also made it to my editor yesterday. I feel like things are moving ahead now. Just waiting to hear back on revisions to see if I need to do another round . . .

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Saturday roller derby

Truly, at times, it did resemble a roller derby. I think it's been at least 15 yrs, since I was on roller skates. I used to be pretty good, too, back in the day, but the balance and 'moves' came back very slowly (some, not at all). But, man, it was fun! It brought back so many memories... That's me in the blue.

Monday, February 02, 2009

The dreaded author photo & bio

So, it's time for me to submit my author photograph and bio, which will go on the inside back cover (or the back, not sure which yet) of the book. I'm so bad at writing about myself! I'm bad at photographs, too, but I might just use the one the hub took last spring (the one currently on my website).

What's everyone else been up to?

Tomorrow I'm going to post a hilarious/frightening/embarrassing/graceful (take your pick) picture of what I did on Saturday. All I can say is that it involves balance and wheels -- eight of them. :D