Friday, April 30, 2010

Newsy News

First bit of news: I entered my screenplay, "944 Friendly People," in the Nicholl Fellowship competition. I will be nervous about this for months now. Please wish me luck!

Secondly, today is Friday Fiction at my critique group's blog, Critique This WIP and it was my turn this week to add a scene, so go check it out and leave me a comment!

Third, don't forget to sign up for the Flirt Fest blogfest to be held on May 15. You don't want to miss out.

Last, I'm so excited the semester is almost over and when it is I'll be halfway through my MFA program! This time next year I'll be getting ready to graduate. Can't believe it. For this semester I just need to finish my grant proposal, write a short paper, do some critiques of other students' work and then I'm done. Now if I can just get my employment situation straightened out I'll be in perfect shape.

It's a beautiful day here, so I'm going to go for a walk now. Hope it's just as nice where you are!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Flirt Fest Reminder

Don't forget to sign up for the Flirt Fest blogfest at Critique This WIP! You'll be desperately sorry if you miss it. Really. You will.

Go here to sign up right now.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Beer + Golf = Job

Yesterday I started my summer job where I drive a beer cart like a maniac around a golf course and sell beer to old farts.

(For those of you new to this saga, an update: my day job for the last 15+ years has been medical transcription. In March my computer crashed and I can't afford a new one right now - read "broke." Because of the stupid [expletive deleted] company I work for I haven't been able to get unemployment, so I've been totally panicked because I've had absolutely no income. I've applied for every freakin' job I can find - apparently I'm seriously overqualified for everything. Hubby works summers as the cook at the golf course so he got me this job.)

This is what I learned the first day on the job:

1. Usually the cart "girl" is an attractive young girl. I am not young, nor am I a girl (well, I'm female, but a woman not a girl). I also do not believe myself to be attractive. Therefore, I will likely get a lot of crap from the old guys about all of these things.

2. I know nothing about golf other than the sandy places are bunkers; the light green, well-groomed spots with the flags are the greens; and I recognize the tee boxes. Rules? Well, I know you have to be quiet when the golfers are teeing off or else they'll yell at you (cuz, you know, they're all such awesome golfers you have to respect them with silence, right?)

3. I get lost easily. I'm not sure where the fairways end and the normal landscaping begins. It makes me nervous driving across the fairways cuz I'm sure somebody's going to scream at me.

4. I've never driven a golf cart before yesterday. It sounds like a lawnmower and it's super bouncy, especially at the speeds I'm driving. When I trained with the club house manager, he drove like a lunatic. I thought I'd fall out of the cart. When I started driving, I drove like an old granny. By the end of the day I think I could have taken the manager in a race. It was fun.

5. I don't drink beer, so they're all the same to me. I learned yesterday that cranky old golf farts are picky about their beers. Important lesson.

6. Selling beer to old farts on the golf course requires surprisingly more flirting than I expected. I've been married for 20 years this October. My flirting skills are seriously rusty...not that I was ever all that great at it to start with. Amazingly, I still made good tips.

7. I like making tips. It's fun to leave my job with a giant wad of cash in my pocket.

So, in a nutshell, that was what I learned on my first day. Today's my second day. Being a Saturday I'm anticipating it'll be much busier. I will certainly be sharpening my wit, brushing up on my flirting skills, and learning more about golf and beer throughout the day.

All of these skills will be most useful as I pursue a writing career, right?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Ode to Poetry

April is National Poetry Month and although I am not a poet I felt I should at least acknowledge it.

At first I thought, wouldn't it be cool to write an ode to poetry? Very clever and pretentious. But did I mention I'm not a poet?

I have an overwhelming respect for people who are talented enough to make words sing. It's a very special gift and I am humbled by those who possess it.

My favorite forms of poetry are the haiku, because I'm impressed at how a good haiku packs so much complexity into such a simple form (and because I can occasionally manage to write a passable haiku), and the sonnet (which I have adopted as my own personal challenge). I also like prose poetry because as a writer it's an excuse to call a paragraph a poem.

My favorite poet/poem of all time? Ummm. I'm stumped here. I'm not at all a student of poetry so I haven't sampled a very wide selection of poets, but one of my favorite poems is Robert Browning's "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came."

I've also discovered some very good contemporary poets in my travels through the blogosphere - good enough that I visit them often and bask in the beauty of their words (while trying not to feel inadequate myself) - Terresa, Psychonaught, and SweetMango among them.

So, back to my original plan to write an ode to poetry. Well, the following haiku was the best I could do. I know, it's lame. But I did warn you - I'm not a poet.

Ode to poetry,
The gift of making words sing
Pretentious haiku

So who's your favorite poet? Favorite poem? Are you a poet?

(on a silly side note, my grandfather used to say: you're a poet and don't know it, your feet are long fellows. hehe.)

Happy Poetry Month!

Monday, April 19, 2010

100 Followers Contest Winners!

Here are the winners of my 100 Followers contest!

First Place: Kelly at Kelly's Ramblings
Second Place: Stina at Seeing Creative
Third Place: Falen at Falen Formulates Fiction

Congratulations! Winners please send me an e-mail with your choice of book so I can send it to you. And thank you to everyone who participated!

p.s. Check out Stina's contest at her blog, Seeing Creative!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I Have Been Schooled

A few days ago, I was whining to one of my MFA mentors about how tedious editing is and how it makes me feel incompetent as a writer. Because, I mean, what writer doesn't feel flush with excitement and creativity as they write a first draft? Doesn't it feel as if it flows, perfect in form and content, from your imagination, out your fingers, and onto the page?

And then you go back and read it in the light of day and you realize it clearly needs work. Oh, sure, that seed is there - that awesome story, magical as it was when you were writing it - but it's not nearly as perfect as you thought when you wrote it. Now is the time for editing and revision.

So, "if only I could write the perfect novel/screenplay, etc. the first time thru so I wouldn't have to slog thru the edits..." I lamented to my mentor.

And then I got an earful. This was her sage opinion:

"The point I'm trying to make is if anyone tells you they write genius right off the bat, they're full of crap, because crap is most likely what you get the first time out. Editing IS hard, but that's where the real writing proves itself - as does the real writer. I constantly edit - over and over again - as I write, with each paragraph, each scene, with each draft. I finish it and I edit again. When I write a first draft, I'm kinda in a fog; there's a scene in my head I'm playing out on the blank screen, and I don't come out of it until it's finished (I call it "verbal vomit"). Only when I can sit back and take an objective look do I get to really craft the thing, and that's the part that's most challenging. It's like a big lump of clay I'm shaping, carving out the details.

So you're not practicing editing; editing is part of the process. All the world's greatest writers edit and have editors. That's what makes the world's greatest writers. Knowing what to add and detract is an art unto itself, and knowing that perfection is a journey and not a destination will keep us working toward it."

Isn't that great? I felt like a big baby after I read it. I mean, in my writer's gut I already knew all of that, I was just having a bad day and her words were just the kick in the butt I needed. Since then I have sucked it up and I am working determinedly at editing my novel!

As writers, who do you turn to for a kick in the butt when your confidence is low?

Also, don't forget that tomorrow is the last day to enter my 100 Followers Contest. Click here for details!!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

What's Shaking in the Blogosphere

There are some awesome contests and blogfests going on around the blogosphere, so I just thought I'd post a quick rundown!

1. April 24th - Body Language Blogfest - hosted by Harley D. Palmer
2. May 1st - 50 Followers Baking Blogfest - hosted by Charity Bradford
3. May 1st - Last Line Blogfest - hosted by Lilah Pierce
4. May 7th - Bad Girl Blogfest - hosted by Andrew Rosenberg
5. May 10th - Deleted Scene Blogfest - hosted by Mia Hayson
6. April 25th deadline - awesome publishing celebratory contest - hosted by Sarah Wylie

Finally, my critique partners and I will be hosting a blogfest in the near future as well at our blog, Critique_This_WIP (as soon as we decide on a theme!!!) So stay tuned for details!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Murder Scene Blogfest!

So, clearly I'm very late posting this. I had several murder scenes to choose from, but I like this one best. It's taken from the novel I just finished writing and has not been fully edited yet.

The setup is: Rand is a rogue faerie bent on avenging what he believes was a premature treaty forged between his mother (the faerie queen and, as it turns out, one of the four elemental goddesses) and humans. Rand is determined to steal the power of the elemental goddesses so that he can use it to defeat humans once and for all. He believes the only way to steal the goddesses' power is to kill them.


"Follow me, ladies."

Rand heard a quiet sob escape Sylvan’s lips, and caught a glimpse of his mother wrapping an arm around her waist for support. He looked away, focusing on the steps in front of him, climbing them one at a time until he gained the top.

“So, who’s going first? Any volunteers?”

Although he heard the edge in his own voice, in a detached part of his mind his enthusiasm seemed forced even to him. He was losing focus. He refused to let the tears rolling silently down Sylvan’s cheeks, Fia’s false bravado, Naida’s indifference, or even his mother’s stoicism affect him. He’d planned this for too long to suddenly develop a conscience. He’d killed countless people in his lifetime, why was he hesitating now?

“What’s the matter, Rand, having second thoughts?” Fia’s acid tone cut through his thoughts.

“No, not in the least. Just savoring the moment.”

She raised a brow, clearly not believing him, but her only answer was an indifferent grunt.

“No takers for the honor of christening the cistern?” he asked.

None of the ladies answered him.

“Fine, then Sylvan, you can go first, it’ll put you out of your misery - and mine - and you won’t have to suffer witnessing your sisters take their turns.”

Sylvan shrank back, her eyes wider and dripping more tears. Rand let out an irritated sigh and stepped in her direction, intending to yank her pathetic little lost puppy hide and throw her bodily on the table, strapping her in himself. He wondered why these women had to make this so complicated. But two steps away, as he was within reach of grasping Sylvan’s wrist, his mother stepped between them.

“I’ll go first,” she said.

He pulled up short. “No, I don’t think so. You’ll go last.”

The look on her face was maddeningly smug.

“Why? So you can punish me for all of my alleged mistakes?”

He disliked that she could upstage him like that. “You don’t think you deserve some sort of punishment? If you hadn’t made the choices you made the world would be a very different place. I think it’s reasonable to hold you responsible.”

She dismissed him with a wave and a tsk. “Really, Rand. You should be more careful. Your mommy issues are showing.”

The muscles in his jaw worked as he forced his response through clenched teeth. “Do not belittle me, majesty.

She sauntered regally over to his table and sat gracefully, swinging her legs up off the floor.

“Fine, then. Your point is taken. I’ll die knowing my sisters will suffer. Does that make you feel any better? You don’t need to throw a tantrum and stamp your feet and kill everyone before me just to make me feel more guilty. Trust me. I feel guilty enough already. Now, let’s get this over with, shall we?” She crossed her arms across her chest, challenge in her eyes.

This was not going the way he had planned, so it was time to get things back under his control. If she wanted to die first then fine, he’d let her.

“All right mother. If you want to play the brave martyr, I’m game.” He strode over to the table, pushing his index finger into her shoulder, forcing her to recline. “Lie down and we’ll get on with it.”

Victor began binding Anila’s wrists and ankles to the table while Rand smoothed aside the fabric of her dress, baring her neck. She clutched one hand to her chest.

“You don’t need to bind me to the table. I won’t fight you,” she said, addressing Victor. After a considering glance at his mother where all he saw was acceptance and serenity, Rand nodded once to Victor who didn’t finish the binding. Instead he took up a scalpel and leaned in with no preamble.

“Wait!” Sylvan cried, and turned to Fia. “You can’t let him do it! You said! We agreed!” She threw herself at Anila, pushing Victor out of the way, taking Anila’s hand. “You said you’d rather live and fight another day, didn’t you?” she sobbed.

“I changed my mind, Sylvan. He needs to live with the consequences of his actions.”

She lifted Sylvan’s hand to her lips and kissed her fingers. “I’ll tell Mother hello for you,” she whispered.

Rand rolled his eyes and made his way around the table. He’d had enough. He took another scalpel off the nearby tray, shoved Sylvan away and slashed Anila’s neck quick and deep, before anything else stopped him. She gasped and then sighed, a tiny smile crossing her lips. Her blood began to gush, thick rivulets coursing a red river down the channel to the cistern below. His eyes grew wide, not quite believing the moment had really come. He dry-swallowed, mesmerized by the flow sluicing much more quickly than he’d imagined, until her free hand flew up and caught his wrist which still held the bloody scalpel. A chuckle rose deep in her throat, causing the blood to gurgle from her veins. Her grip was a steel vice.

“The wind blows when you least expect it, Rand,” she whispered. “There is always a price to be paid for our actions.”

“A death bed prophecy? Really, you shouldn’t have,” he sneered, but her eyes had already rolled up under the lids and her lips were pale and still. He peeled his mother’s fingers from his wrist and laid her hand on the table beside her, noticing that the blood had slowed to nothing more than a trickle.

It was just like her to get the last word, and make it as dramatic as possible, but he had no interest, and even less inclination to contemplate its significance. He had three more goddesses to drain of their power. Lifting his chin and straightening his jacket, he turned.

“So, who’s next?”


Okay, I hope you liked it. Better late than never, right?!