Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Awkward (An IWSG Post)

Hey, all!

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's time for another action-packed installment of the Insecure Writers Support Group!

Please click on the above link for more information about the group and/or for a complete list of participants.

This month's co-hosts are: E.M.A. Timar, J. Q. Rose, C. Lee McKenzie, and Raimey Gallant.

This month's (optional) question asks, "It's spring! Does this season inspire you to write more than others, or not?"

The short answer to this question is no.

There's a longer answer, but I don't really feel like getting into it. Instead, I thought I might ramble a little about how damn socially awkward I am. I don't think this post has much of a point, but I guess we'll see where the rambling takes us...

(Note: I don't know what the above gif has to do with anything, but I kind of liked it so I decided to use it.)

Okay. So, here's the thing—and this certainly won't be a shocking revelation by any means—I am seriously socially awkward. I have very little ability to interact with the human race without coming across as some kind of giant awkward goofball. And after I do interact with the human race, I feel anxious about the encounter for days, if not weeks.

For example, yesterday I was able to make a quick trip back to New Hampshire to visit my old writers group. It was really great to see some old friends, meet a few new faces, and hey—the library still has my book Effigy on the shelves. I don't think anyone has checked it out in a while, so it's really even nicer that they keep it around.

And because the group asked nicely and made sad puppy dog eyes at me (Note to self: become less of a sucker for sad puppy dog eyes), I shared with them an excerpt from my in-theory-will-someday-be-published-but-who-knows novel Second Nature. The excerpt was very well received. Like, really well received—and this is not a group of people in the habit of heaping false praise on people. Which, naturally, made me want to crawl under a table or disappear into a hedge Homer Simpson style...

It got worse when one of those people decided to pull up Effigy reviews online and read them out loud to the rest of the group. 

I don't think I've ever run from a room so fast in my entire life.

(First Aside: Yes, I really did leave the room, with my fingers in my ears. I did not, however, actually run. I was wearing flip-flops and figured that falling and breaking my neck would do me few favors.)

(Second Aside: I really can't bring myself to read reviews. I tried it once, and though it was a lovely five-star review for which any author would probably kill, I felt horrible for weeks afterward. (More on that in a moment...) Because I have issues. Anyway, that said, I really do appreciate anyone who not only takes the time to read my book but who then takes the time to write a review for it. You are rock stars and I salute you!)

Now it's the next day, and I feel anxious and sick—physically sick—that I shared something I wrote with five whole people, and they liked it. (And that whole reading-reviews-out-loud thing, but that may be a different post altogether). I will continue to feel this way for days. It'll probably be a little worse because I'm writing about it in this blog, and I always feel the same way about anything I post on IWSG day (and every other day, too, truth be told.).

It's possible that I have issues.

But I suppose there's no way to know for sure.

Why did I share anything? Why couldn't I just sit there quietly? Damn you, puppy dog eyes!

I really need to look into become one of those reclusive writers who lives all alone in some cabin deep in the woods.

Just so long as the cabin has Internet. And chocolate. And Chris Hemsworth in a letterman jacket. (Waits to see if anyone gets the reference...)

All right, that seems to be as good a place as any to end this ramble. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Goal Post

All right, so this is going to be a long post, so I'm just going to jump right into things. If you celebrate Easter, I hope it was a good one.

Here's a quick-ish recap of the goals I set for myself last month:

1. Send Second Nature to the printer.

Okay, so, technically, I did this. I sent the manuscript to the printer, and I am now in possession of a proof copy. This may seem like progress, but there were some formatting errors, and a few really stupid typos that I am now in the process of rectifying. I'm not sure how long this process will take—except it will almost certainly take longer than I think because it always does—but I guess I can still say that I achieved my goal.

2. Prepare for and don't vomit during upcoming presentation at local writers group.

I did this. And I didn't even vomit. I am also told it went reasonably well. (Which may not be the phrase they used, but it's one with which I am almost comfortable.) Not only did I do this, but I also received an invitation to give said presentation at another local writers group—and I said yes. That presentation isn't until May, so I have plenty of time to worry about it.

3. Walk or run at least three miles a day.

I just missed this goal. By one mile on one day. The Man and I, however, have managed to stick with our running program, though. I'm not sure whether to put that in the good or bad category, but we're still running three days a week.

4. Complete one fifteen-minute yoga workout each week.

Yeah. I didn't do this. I did one fifteen-minute yoga workout the entire month. It may be time to give up this goal. At least for a little while.

5. Read at least four books.

I only read three. I probably would have made this goal had a certain flawed proof copy not arrived. Oh well. Better luck next month...

Speaking of April, here's what I'm hoping to tackle this month:

1. Complete review of Second Nature proof copy, make all necessary changes to the manuscript, and order a new proof copy.

2. Walk or run at least three miles a day.

3. Don't sob too uncontrollably when I go see Avengers: Infinity War

4. Don't beat myself up too badly when the entire month goes to hell (as it inevitably will because...karma, apparently) and I accomplish nothing on this list.

I have a lot going on this month, so really, my major goal in April is to just get through it. Sure, I'd like to wrap up Second Nature once and for all, but it's taking a back seat this month (Can't be helped. Other things are more important.).

I aim to do my best (and also to misbehave...) and also to forgive myself if I fall short.

What's on your to-do list this month? Are you A to Z-ing? Camp NaNo-ing? Both? If you are, best of luck to you. I'm rooting for you!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Celebrate Good Times (An IWSG Post)

Hey, everyone!

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's time for another action-packed installment of the Insecure Writers Support Group. (Click on the link for more information and a complete list of participants...)

This month's amazing co-hosts are: Mary Aalgaard, Bish Denham, Jennifer Hawes, Diane Burton, Gwen Gardner.

This month's (optional) question asks, "How do you celebrate when you achieve a writing goal/finish a story?"

It depends upon the goal.

More often than not, I just get irritated with myself for not having achieved the goal sooner, but it has been suggested that perhaps that particular approach may not be the healthiest one ever, so I am trying not to do that anymore. (With mixed results, naturally.)

So when I finished Second Nature's blurb last week, I celebrated by taking the afternoon off and going to the beach (*ducks as everyone in a cold-weather climate throws giant snowballs at her head*). Of course, me taking the afternoon off looked like me sitting in the sand and writing a scene for Full Circle, but we all celebrate things in different ways, right?

When I finally published my debut novel (fine, my only novel...) Effigy, I celebrated a little bit differently.

I bought swords.

I really love swords. I told myself that if I one day released Effigy into the world, I would treat myself to a matching pair of short swords. My significant other was like, "Can't you just eat a lot of cake?" To which I responded, "Oh, I'm going to do that, too."

And I did.

And yeah, maybe I bought a matching dagger, too.

They're pretty awesome. If I do say so myself. (I understand if I am saying so myself...) Plus, it totally inspired me to want to write and publish another book so that I could add to my collection. Three and a half years later, I am...getting closer to accomplishing this goal.

Which means that I am getting closer to needing to decide upon what to add to my collection next. A double-bladed battle axe? A nice broadsword? A trebuchet? (That could be one way to encourage my loud neighbors to stop being loud neighbors...)

Or perhaps I should just stick with the cake.

How about you? How do you celebrate your writing achievements?

Thanks for stopping by today, everyone. Have a great Wednesday!

Monday, March 5, 2018

March Goals

Hey, everyone. Happy Monday. Hope y'all had a great weekend.

As I mentioned in my last post, today I am sharing my goals for March.

Stop me if you've heard these before...

Send Second Nature to the printer

The Man has this theory that I'm actually the problem here. Which is...ridiculous and completely not accurate at all. Except it isn't and it is. Here's hoping that this month is the month when I get my act together long enough to get this book wrapped up once and for all.

Prepare for and don't vomit during upcoming presentation at local writers group

I'm scheduled to give a talk on storyboarding at a local writers group on March 10th. I'm not exactly sure how that happened, but I do hope that my obsession with storyboarding will defeat my absolute terror of talking in front of other people.

Walk or run at least three miles a day.

Part of this goal will also be to keep up with the running program The Man and I started last month. We're supposed to run three times a week. Every time we do, I have to wonder why we started this stupid program.

Complete one 15-minute yoga workout each week.

I hate that I have to keep backing up with this goal. Next month, it'll probably read 'one 15-minute yoga workout every other week'.

Read at least four books.

I know I have a slight lead in my Goodreads challenge, but I'd like to keep that lead. However, that said, I will totally sacrifice it in the name of getting my own manuscript to the printer.

Other Things I'm Looking Forward To This Month:

—A visit to the Ren Faire. I still haven't decided upon which theme weekend I want to attend, but as long as I get to go at all, I'll be good.

—Season Two of Jessica Jones. Season One was seriously amazing, and I have been looking forward to the second season from the moment that the first ended.

Ready Player One in theaters. I'd really like to read the book again before I go (it's been a while since I've read it. A refresher course couldn't hurt), but I have no idea if that's in the cards.

That's everything on my agenda this month. What's on your To-Do list?

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

February Wrap Up

Wait...what's this? Two posts in the same week?

I know. I can't believe it, either.

Okay, so we've finally reached the end of February. I say 'finally' because it feels as though this month  (this year) has gone on for about twelve million years. I wouldn't mind this phenomenon, if I were actually getting anything done, but the harsh truth remains that I really am not.

Whatever. I'll just try again next month.

Today, however, I am offering up a review of the goals I had set for myself at the start of February and a little bit on how I did with them.

Here we go...

1. Send Second Nature to the printer.

Yeah. That didn't happen. But did you really expect it to happen? I'm still working on the blurb for the back of the book. Three-quarters of it is done and ready to go. There's just one paragraph for which I haven't yet found the right wording. I'm a little afraid that I'll be working on the blurb for the rest of my natural-born days and a good portion of my being-a-ghost days, which is sad. If I'm going to be a ghost, I want to do way more interesting things than write blurbs for the back of books.

2. Read at least four books.

I actually managed to do this one. Not only did I read four books this month, I read eight. Sure, three of those books were kids books that were lying around my mother's house (some series about a pigeon who wants to drive a bus and eat junk food), but they still count, right?

3. Walk, run, or bike at least three miles each day.

I fell short on this one, but not by much. I missed the mark on two days (one by a little, one by a lot). Every other day, however, I either met or exceeded the three mile mark, which is a vast improvement over January. The Man and I have even started one of those "Couch to 5K" type programs to help us become actual runners and not theoretical ones. It's going really well. Here's some footage of me running:

4. Do two fifteen-minute yoga workouts each week.

Yeah. I managed one ten-minute workout the entire month. So...yeah. Still a little work to do here. I don't know why I'm having such a hard time getting back into the routine, but if anyone can come up with a way to blame Florida rather than my own laziness, then please let me know. I couldn't find a gif I liked for this, so please enjoy Baby Groot instead:

Recap of Other Things I was Looking Forward to in February:

—The Super Bowl.

Yeah. That did not go the way I had hoped it would. But, like, congrats to the Eagles or whatever.

—This Is Us

Well, I sobbed and then sobbed some more. This show makes me cry a lot. I have a friend who's afraid she's this cold, unfeeling monster because she never cries while watching. I've assured her I'm just a big baby. Here's some footage of me watching the show:

The Black Panther movie

I thought it was a lot of fun, and I want to be Shuri or Nakia or Okoye when I grow up. That is all.

—Ren Faire visit

This didn't happen. Other things came up, so the Ren Fair visit has been bumped to March. I'm trying to decide between two theme weekends: Saint Patrick's Day or Harry Potter. I know you wouldn't think it, but it's been surprisingly tough to settle on one. The Man, being the superhero that he is, has suggested that we just go both weekends. Which seems like a good compromise to me.

The Winter Olympics

I watched so much curling. (Yet, I still don't understand it. Like, at all. I was even reading about it online, and I still don't understand it.) And figure skating. And downhill ski racing. Congrats to the U.S. women's hockey team on their gold medal. That was a hell of a game, even if it did make my Canadian friend very, very sad.

Okay, that's going to do it for me today. Tune in on Monday when I write about my March goals and plans. I promise it'll be more riveting than it sounds*...

I know it's just Wednesday, but have a great weekend, everyone! Thanks for stopping by.

*—Possibly not more riveting than it sounds.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Souper Soup

Hey, all!

Today on My Pet Blog, we're pleased to be taking part in the Souper Blog Hop, celebrating the latest release, Pea Soup Disaster, from super (see what I did there?) author Elaine Kaye.

Participants are asked to share a favorite soup recipe, or—if you're like me and you don't cook anything that requires a recipe—just share a favorite soup...even if it comes from a can. Which is good, because pretty much anything I can cook comes from a can.

My father used to make pea soup, this big giant pot of it, whenever he had a ham bone. I never had any. It just looked so...gross. I like peas, I'll eat ham, but pea soup? No way. However, my significant other loves it, so whenever my father made a batch, he would send me home with a big container for him.

Personally, I've always been partial to Campbell's Cream of Chicken soup. We had it as kids, usually mixed with some kind of pasta, and the meal just stuck with me, I guess. Even today, Cream of Chicken soup and elbow macaroni is one of my top go-to comfort foods.

And because I'm a smart ass, here's a picture of the soup in a bowl...

Congratulations, Elaine! Wishing you much success!

Gregory Green loves his mom’s pea soup, but when he eats it at school, all of his friends make fun of how it looks. He doesn’t think it looks like bugs, and it tastes good! Then at recess, his friends run from him, screaming, “He’s a monster!” Gregory doesn’t know why his friends are being mean until he sees his skin is green. The teasing gets worse until an unlikely friend comes to the rescue—his teddy bear, Sammy. Sammy usually only comes to life for Gregory and his family, but Sammy has an important lesson to teach Gregory and his classmates.

Available in Print:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Elaine Kaye got the idea for Pea Soup Disaster from her son who loved to eat her homemade pea soup. Pea Soup Disaster is the first of many fun stories featuring Gregory Green and his teddy bear, Sammy, as part of the Gregory Green Adventure series.

Kaye has worked as a library assistant and teacher's assistant in elementary schools in the Sunshine State. She currently lives in Florida, but she has called Michigan; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Okinawa, Japan home. She is a grandmother of three boys.

Find Elaine:
Website / Instagram / Litsy - @ElaineKaye

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Take This Book And Shelve It (An IWSG Post)

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's time for another action-packed installment of the Insecure Writers Support Group.

I'm assuming that everyone coming out here today is already well-versed in this group, but if you're looking for more information, or a complete list of participants, click on the above link.

This month's co-hosts are: Stephen Tremp, Pat Garcia, Angela Wooldridge, Victoria Marie Lees, and Madeline Mora-Summonte.

This month's (optional) question asks, "What do you love about the genre you write in most often?"

But I'm skipping that question in order to discuss with you something that's been weighing on my mind.

How do you know when/if you should put aside a project?

See, I have this WIP I've been working on off and on (more off than on) for a while now. Its working title is Vinnie & Ellie, so you may already be somewhat familiar with it. In case you're not, it's a maybe-not-actually-a-romance novel I decided to pull out of my unfinished manuscript pile last year in an attempt to, you know, finish it.

And this attempt started off reasonably strong, I thought, but has steadily slowed over the past few months. Whatever momentum I had at the beginning is gone. It's like I no longer have a feel for the characters, who they are, or what it is they want or do or...anything else. It feels as though the only way this book will be finished is if I make some kind of deal with a crossroads demon. I'm stuck. I'm blocked. I'm...I don't know. Disinterested, maybe. I don't know exactly what it is, but every time I sit down at the computer to work on it, I soon find myself doing my best Cave Slayer impression.

I don't want to give up on this project completely. I like the main characters (mostly) and I like where the story's headed (mostly), or at least where I think the story's headed. (Or where I'd like it to head. As much planning as I do, I still seem to never truly know where a story's going to end up.) There are a pair of scenes of which I am particularly fond (mostly...just kidding. I really am fond of them, which for me, is really saying something) and I would hate for them to go to waste.

But in spite of these truths, I just can't seem to make myself work on it.

Which brings me back to my initial question.

How do you know when/if you should put a project aside?

Should I find a way to power through this dry spell (or whatever it should be called)? Should I stick it back in the unfinished manuscript pile and find something else to work on? Should I give up writing in favor of becoming a professional consumer of baked goods? (That is a job, right?)

Have you ever been in this situation? What did you do to rectify it?

Thanks for stopping by today. See y'all next time.