Friday, May 31, 2013

When Blogfests Collide...

Today is one of those perfect storm kind of days when two blogfests happen to fall on the same day. Now, normally, I would attempt to combine the two into one seamlessly blended post, but, of late, creativity has been hard to come by here at My Pet Blog (shocked, aren't you?) so instead I am keeping these two bloghops separate, short and sweet so, with luck, you won't get bored.

First up is VikLit's Celebrate The Small Things (click on the link for a complete list of participants). So here's what I'm celebrating this week:

1. The rain cleared out, the sun reappeared and the temperatures got warm enough that I was able to take the top off my jeep. Of course, now I have some bizarre tan/burn lines, but it's totally worth it.

2. I did a cartwheel this week. I haven't done one in years—a lot of years—but I did one this week. Sure, I was kind of goaded into it by my beloved niece who didn't think I still had the capability and, afterward, there was some slight...discomfort, but it was totally worth it.

3. My lilacs are still alive! That's two whole weeks now! Is it possible that I have suddenly become a gardening genius? No. Definitely not, but, still, the lilacs aren't dead yet!

And now for something completely different...

Next up is The WIP It Good Blogfest (click on that link for a complete list of participants) hosted by DL Hammond and Elise Fallson. The intention is to offer authors the opportunity to tell the blogosphere about their current W(ork) I(n) P(rogress) and possibly connect with a beta reader or critique partner or two.

And while I am not currently in need of a beta reader or a CP, I still wanted to participate because with Effigy at the proofreader's, I thought it might be good practice for me to start talking about Life After Effigy which means transitioning to Effigy's sequel...

WIP Title: Second Nature

Word Count (projected/so far): 220,000/120,000

Genre: Fantasy

How long have you been working on it? Long enough that I'm embarrassed by the answer. I don't know how the rest of you can write so fast, but I'm in awe.

Elevator Pitch: So...crazy weather we're having, right? In other words, I have nothing. I'll just stare at the floor and be quiet now.

Brief Synopsis: Catherine Cole is lost, grieving, and drifting through life when fate intervenes and entangles her in an ancient war between good and evil. She is destined to tip the balance but...which side will she choose? (Yeah, I know I don't have a whole lot here either. Good thing it's a work-in-progress, huh?)


Well, that's going to do it for me today. Thank you to today's blogfests hosts and thank you, my readers, for stopping by. I hope y'all have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Celebrating The Small Things

Today I'm pleased to join VikLit's weekly bloghop with a very simple and important purpose: celebrating the small things in life, whatever they may be.

(Click on the badge to the left for a complete list of participants)

Here's what I'm celebrating this week:

—I planted lilacs last week. And, by 'I', I mean I told The Man where I thought the holes should be dug. Anyway, lilacs were planted last week...and they're still alive. This may seem like a laughable thing to celebrate, but if you saw my "garden," you'd understand.

—While I technically haven't even come close to starting on my May writing goals, I have three pages of notes that might help me get going on that.

—I spent a delightful afternoon at my mother's house with her, my sisters, my niece and a pair of precocious preschoolers. You know you're a failure at technology when a three year old has to remind you that a Kindle Fire is not a etch-a-sketch. Still, fun was had by all.

—At the beginning of the week, I set a goal to run/walk at least 10 miles before the end of the week. As of this posting, I've logged 13.5 miles. Which is good because I seem to be on a mission to eat all the food in my house and then some.

What are you celebrating this week?

Have a great (Memorial Day) weekend, all.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Trekkie or Not a Trekkie.

...that is the question.

It's quiet around the house today. Too quiet, which probably means the Gator Girl is getting into something she's not supposed to be getting into. And if I weren't so damn tired, I'd probably go find out what.

It's also quiet around the neighborhood, except for my next-door neighbor who insists upon practicing his jazz piano at both midnight and 6am. While he certainly seems to need the practice (he keeps hitting the same wrong notes over and over and over and over again), I'd be happier if he could find a more convenient time of day to do it. While I know it's not his fault that I'm an insomniac, I was actually trying to sleep yesterday at 6am and couldn't because of the jazz piano playing. It made me quite cranky. Crankier. I felt like...


...Benedict Cumberbatch's character when he was ripping the head off that other guy (I'm very good with names) and screaming "You should have let me sleep!"

I turned to The Man and said, "See? Benedict Cumberbatch gets it. I don't know why our neighbor doesn't."


So, obviously, yesterday I went to see the new star Trek movie. Deciding to go see this film started an
argument between The Man and I (please note: The Man and I very seldom argue about anything of substance). You may have seen it on my Facebook page. If you missed it, it went a little something like this:

—Him: I can't believe you're a Trekkie.
—Me: I'm not a Trekkie. Yeah, I know I bought that one movie, and we're going to see the new movie tomorrow, but I'm not a Trekkie.
—Him: Maybe you don't know what that means.

It was revisited when, during lunch with my brother and sister-in-law, I explained to my sister-in-law what Tribbles were. And how Vulcans' blood is green. And something else, too. I don't remember what the something else was, but The Man finally gave me this look that said "Rally?"

Me: But I'm not a Trekkie.
Him: You keep telling yourself that.

And then we went to see the movie. And hell-o, it was freaking awesome. I laughed, I gasped, I jumped out of my seat, I sat on the edge of my seat...I didn't think it was possible to adore Benedict Cumberbatch anymore than I already do (and yeah, I wore my Sherlock tee-shirt to the Star Trek showing. I am a Geek Girl and proud of it!), but it turns out I can.

And as soon as the movie was over, I started making plans to go see it again.

So fine. Maybe I am a Trekkie. But only if J.J. Abrams is behind the helm.

Damn. Does that mean I'm going to become a Star Wars fan, too?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Back In Black

Hey, did y'all know I had a blog? It's been so long since I've paid attention to it, I'm a little surprised to find that it's still here and that it hasn't been overtaken by...I don't know—Tribbles or Devil's Snare or dust bunnies or something.

I didn't really intend to ignore it, but that's how it goes sometimes. I had only intended to take that one weekend away, but life became a little more...interesting than usual and a longer absence became necessary. But things have since calmed down so when I next ignore this blog, it'll be because of good old fashioned laziness.

I can't wait.

Anyway, I'm now super far behind on my normal monthly posts so I'll spending this week getting caught up. First up is Patrica Lynne's Are You Writing Now? group.

Participants set a list of goals to complete each month and at the end of the month, we revisit these goals and see where we ended up with them. April was my first month back after an extended absence (Apparently, this is becoming an alarming trend with me. Maybe I should set a goal to end that.) and here I am, late with my May posting. I shall do better in June. Probably.

Here are the goals I set in April:

1. Find a copyeditor/proofreader type person for Effigy. I have finished with my edits, and I am ready to move forward. I think.

Miraculously, I actually pulled this off. It feels weird to have made actual progress on something. Let the ritual worrying begin! (Unless Heather M. Gardner is reading this. Then I'm not worrying. Not at all.)

2. Dig out Effigy's blurb and stop ignoring it. It still needs to be shortened. And, you know, finished. Which, I realize, will make that whole 'shortening' part more difficult, but hey, who doesn't love a challenge?

Um...I can only give myself partial credit on this one. I did dig out the blurb. And I even looked at it before I made a face and shoved it into a pocket in my notebook. So yeah. The blurb remains a work-in-progress.

3. Solve the major plot problem that is holding up all progress on Effigy's sequel, Second Nature.

Well, I'm not quite sure how to score this. When I wrote this goal back at the beginning of April, I had one particular scene in mind that I thought was causing all the hold-up and I thought if I solved the problem of that scene, that everything else would just fall into place. So I solved the problem of that one particular scene and it...well, nothing else fell into place. Nothing else even came close. Something's still not right and I haven't worked out what yet. I guess that means I can't count this one as a win.

And now here are my goals for May. Or, you know, what's left of it...

1. Solve the major plot problem that is holding up all progress on Effigy's sequel, Second Nature. Or die trying. Well, maybe not die per say. Still, stop watching Scandal and get that plot hammered out.

2. Seriously stop ignoring Effigy's blurb. You need something more than "It probably won't be the worst thing you've ever read!"

Déjà vu, anyone?

Oh, and one thing more before I possibly disappear into the ether again. I just wanted to thank everyone who stopped by my IWSG post at the beginning of this month and offered such kind words and advice. I know I utterly failed at responding to anything, but your help was much appreciated.

And....I'm a liar because I just thought of one more thing to share. Rumor has it that Tara Tyler from Tara Tyler Talks will be revealing the cover of her soon-to-be-released novel, Pop Travel today. Be sure to head to her site and check it out.

Happy Monday, everyone. I hope you have a great week.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Down To Business (An IWSG Post)

It's the first Wednesday of the month which means it's time once again for Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group.

This is an opportunity—a safe haven— for writers everywhere to let their insecurities out and receive and/or offer support and guidance in return. Please click on the above link for a complete list of participants...

I'm going to start off today by telling you that I hate having to write this post.

If this blog has proved anything, it's probably that I don't know anything about anything (Well, except maybe Firefly) and, as I continue to fumble my way toward self-publication, it becomes ever clearer.

And it's not a feeling I enjoy. I feel as though I should already know these things and not knowing them is an Epic Fail on my part.

I'm starting to fear that "Epic Fail" is actually my middle name.

But the worst part is that as clueless as I can (sometimes) be about the writing part, it's really nothing compared to how clueless I am about the business side of things. The idea just grips me with terror because it is so unknown, and if the topic comes up I have to fight the urge to crawl underneath my desk and sit there with my hands over my ears singing "Lalalalalalala...I can't hear you!" until the topic goes away.

Because the writing part I am comfortable with. Mostly comfortable with. The business part...well, not so much. Or, you know, not at all.

But that is not going to cut it anymore so I look to you—my much wiser and more experienced indie author acquaintances—to maybe take pity on the uninformed and idiotic. By all means, do the pointing and laughing thing—I think I've certainly earned it—but then maybe consider throwing a poor girl a bone.

Here is a sampling of my potentially stupid questions (in whatever order they happened to pop into my head):

—Did you start an LLC or something like that? Is a vital step or maybe an unnecessary one?

—Did you consult a lawyer or an accountant? Both?

—And what about taxes? Assuming there's any amount of income, how do the taxes work? I've only ever had W-4s. What do you get when you're an indie author?

—Is the money you spend on things such as cover art or copy editing or domain fees or anything book-creation related deductible?

And I know there's probably a million other questions that haven't even occurred to me and really should have, so if there's a self-published author out there who's gone through the business side of this endeavor and maybe has some insight to share and time to spare to answer a million stupid, stupid questions and who might be willing to talk to me, please let me know. Or if you just know of a good resource for me to use so I will leave you alone, let me know that.

I can be reached through the comments below or at mjfifield at gmail (dot) com.

Thank you.