Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Contests and Winner!

Before I reveal the winner of my "Does This Make Me an Author?" celebration, I'm going to pimp three new contests that have come my way that I'm excited about!

First, as you probably know, Shannon Messenger got an agent! Woohoo! To celebrate, she is giving away books signed by her agent-in-laws! Go! Now! Enter! And tell her I sent you!

Second, the uber-fabulous Kim Franklin is hosting a giveaway for The Wolf Within, a book published by Kristi Chestnutt, one of our blogging own! I'd really like to read this book, so don't enter.

Third, Christine Danek is celebrating her 100th Follower! And she's looking for a better term than follower. I like minions or legions, myself. Anyway, to celebrate, she is hosting an awesome giveaway including art, Hooked, and a giftcard! Suh-weet! Go and congratulate her!

Okay, so now for the winner of my contest...


It's ME!

Haha, just kidding! I wouldn't do that. Or would I? *shifty eyes*

First, I'd like to thank everyone who entered. I LOVED the haiku, and I see that we have a lot of drinkers in the house. I like that. I like that a lot. If you didn't get a chance to read the haiku, you should hop on down there to the comments and do it!

I'm glad I didn't decide to choose my favorite haiku for the winner, because I'd be going broke right now shelling out prizes to everyone!

Enough, already, right?

Alright, so the winner chosen by is.....

Aching Hope from Slumpvis Musings!
Don't worry, Sonshine Music, I saw your comment and will send flowers anyway! Now, AchingHope, you need to tell me what color mug you would like, then email me your mailing address to dream.traveling(at)


Because I love everyone so much, I decided to give away a SECOND PRIZE! *gasp*

Second Prize will be TWO BAGS of CHOCOLATE and a packet of seeds. Cuz they are pretty.

And the winner is....

Sarah from Falen Formulates Fiction!
You also need to email your mailing address (dream.traveling[at]

Thanks to all who entered!

And just an interesting tidbit...I did a few test-runs before today to figure out how worked, and AchingHope won 4 times. Seriously. The universe wanted you to win this contest!

I have big plans for writing today, so this is it from me. Ciao, lovelies!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Second day in a row I've actually made significant progress towards this challenge. All of what I wrote today was original, so it was a bit slower-going than pure revision, but I'm pretty dang happy with it.

Day: 19
Goal: 19,000
Actual: 7,183

Finished revising/rewriting the first chapter of Eternal Spring. Full steam ahead tomorrow!

Last chance to enter my contest! You have until I wake up...and that could be late, folks, who knows? :-)

Teaser Tuesday

Health detox is going well, so far.
Manuscript detox...going slow. Quite slow, but I'm working on it. Thought I'd share a bit from my MMC's introductory scene:


A blast of cold air hit him in the face as he pushed open the door to outside, and a small flurry of snow swirled up at his feet in response to the change in air pressure. It was a good thing he had found the jacket, as the temperatures were only plummeting more each day. Blessed March. The transit station would be crowded with the homeless tonight, seeking shelter from the cold and worse.
He opened the heavy padlock binding the doors of his small outbuilding together with a chain as thick as his arm and let it all fall to the ground. The string hanging from the naked light bulb brushed against his face as he walked into the dark space. He tugged on the string. Nothing.
“Shit,” he muttered. The wind must have blown apart his cable splice again. The light cast from the streetlight was just enough to illuminate the doors and cast everything inside the space into even darker shadow.
He unsnapped the holster and wrapped his fingers around the gun's grip, then inched into the darkness, one hand groping blindly in front of him. His breath sounded harsh, like his lungs were screaming his presence for all to see, and his boots kept crunching gravel no matter how softly he laid down his foot. Damn worthless body.
His fingers touched metal, and he relaxed incrementally. Like caressing a lover, he ran his hands down the smooth surface to orient himself with its position, then swung his leg over and settled into the cold leather seat.
He inserted the key.
Something behind him crashed, and he rolled off the the bike, shoulder and leg absorbing the gravel's impact. Before he even fully landed, he squeezed off two rounds into the corner, muzzle flash clouding his vision with yellow floaters.
Holding his breath, he strained to hear any cries or whimpers, but only silence pervaded over the blood rushing in his head and gunshot ringing his ears.
Great. Overreaction much? He pushed himself back up, wincing at the dull throb that started in his left side.
With the motorcycle safely out of the darkness, he quickly chained the building back up, then got astride the machine and started the ignition. As it roared to life, exhaust vaporized in the freezing air. He checked the front-mounted automatic rifle while the engine warmed up, counted rounds and looked in the side pouch for backup rounds. There was no being too careful.
Settling on his helmet, Payette flipped down the face shield and wheeled the bike onto the street, then throttled up and shot forward. Several inches of snow already blanketed the street. He'd have to keep an eye on the weather, or he could find himself trapped at the station. With Sabine.
Maybe not such a bad thing after all.
Hunching behind the small windshield, he pushed his speed as high as he dared, eager to be through the city at night. Even with his precautions, things could happen.
The residential zone disappeared in a blink, and the four-lane commuter road began shrinking rapidly. He was entering the city limits now, coming in from the southwest side. Already he could see the faint orange glow from a remnant camp, the camp he was going to have to drive straight through. The automatic rifle glistened under the streetlights, primed and ready for action, but his stomach still clenched as the glow crept up higher on the horizon.
He drove through this particular remnant camp on a regular basis, but rarely at night. During the day they kept to the shadows, nothing but flashes of teeth and flesh in an alley or through a sewer grate. At night, they blossomed. They ravaged. They ruled.
This camp had at least three or four dozen inhabitants, and the cold weather drove them even further past the brink of madness.
The commuter road disappeared suddenly, funneling into a narrow two-way lane. Buildings bloomed up out of nowhere, looming silent monoliths casting ragged shadows from their burnt-out husks in the combined luminescence from the heavy, round moon and the increasingly bright fire light.
Payette throttled back on his speed to a more manageable level for city driving. There were no limits, of course; their police department had its hands full without worrying about the few individuals who were wealthy enough to have personal transportation. No limits, but this section of the city had been heavily affected by the riots so many years ago, and the decay had made its way into the streets. Some of the more poorly constructed buildings were crumbling, depositing large chunks of concrete on the sidewalks and roads, the steel frames twisting towards the sky like the gnarled fingers of a dying behemoth. Large cracks and ruts pitted the roads, and in some places, the asphalt was completely missing. Weeds that had adapted to the frigid temperatures had taken over, covering everything in a thick, coarse coat of brown and dark green.


Don't forget to check out my contest! Ends tomorrow.

Monday, March 29, 2010


I'm still limping along, but doing better, now that I'm into revisions on my novel.

Day: 18 (right? I think so.)
Goal:  18,000
Actuality:  5,047

Like I said, I'm aiming for 10k a week in revisions, so hopefully I'll actually catch up and not feel like a total washout.

For All of Us

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Please visit my "Does this make me an author?" contest celebrating the completion of my MS's first draft! Not too many folks have entered, which I guess is good for those who did, but don't be shy! Newbies, oldies, lurkers, all--please feel free to enter, even if it's just with your follower point!

I also reached 100 followers today, which is amazing! I never expected to have so many, especially not in 3 months! The kinship and connections I've made with all of you Bloggers is mind-boggling at times, and I love every minute of it. So thank you to every person who comes by, even if you don't leave a comment. It's nice to know that I'm not just shouting into the wind. 

My next week or two may be a bit iffy. As spring is rolling in, we decided it would be a good time to do a full-body internal "detox." Granted, hubby and I are only 26 and 23 respectively, but we've been needing to change something in our diets, so I thought this would be a good way to implement a healthier lifestyle. As I'm always telling my friends, "slender" doesn't mean you're "fit" or healthy.  It just means you're slender.

Now, this isn't a crazy lemonade detox or anything. It's a fairly gentle way of cleansing "bad" foods from your diet and replacing them with the healthy alternatives. I was a vegetarian for several years and have no problem giving up red meat; however, I do love my wheat-based products, and E likes his sweets.

Everything I've read says to expect to feel bad for a few days during the beginning of the detox, while your body is releasing all the toxins and trying to flush them out. I've had a monster headache all day, but I'm pretty sure it's allergy or female-related, as this is our first day of the Detox.

As a note, organic food is hella expensive! Can't wait for the growing months to get here...

Anyway, as I'm doing this body detox, I'm going to be "detoxing" my MS, too. My goal is to revise/rewrite 10k a week until I'm finished.

We'll see how it goes.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

When in Doubt...

Don't forget to check out my "Does this make me an author?" contest!

As you're reading this, I am busy taking the G.A.C.E, the Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators, for Secondary English. I'm feeling pretty good about it, but well-wishes are still appreciated. This is the test required for teacher certification in Georgia, and it's a pre-requisite for the certification course I'll hopefully be starting in July.

In the practice test, they offer up this question for a short response: "What literary work did you find difficult and why?"

My first inclination, of course, is to write them pages upon pages about why writing my novel has been difficult, but alas--not exactly what they're looking for. (In case you're curious, if I do get this question, I'm either going to go with Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom! or Rushdie's Midnight's Children, which I would classify as the 2 hardest books I've ever read.)

As I've been proudly crowing from the rooftops for the last two days, I finished the first draft of my book Eternal Spring. Although I'm proud for completing an actual market-length novel, the poor thing is by no means a book, really. Its plot holes make lattice look sturdy. However, I have an excellent grasp on my main characters, and a really interesting (to me, at least) world and circumstance, plus a unique take from Greek mythology.

Thus, the revision. Which will probably be more of a rewrite, but no matter. Even if the only thing I can salvage from that MS are 4 names and an idea, I'm happy.

I spent all of yesterday retooling my plot. I laid a solid foundation, built the framework, and drew a complete blueprint. The best part is that this is going to be a single installation, not the first in a series like the original plot would have required. I tweaked my characters to align with the new plot direction, and I wrote out a 3 Act/3 Climax "outline."

Then I freaked out. I know how much time and effort I spent writing that messy, strewn-about manuscript. The idea of doing it all over again was terrifying.

Then I remembered something.

I remembered the name of a blog.

"One Significant Moment at a Time."

And I thought, "that's really good advice."

So, thanks, Nicole, for being as wise and inspiring as always, and for giving me a candle in the sudden cave-in of confidence.

I'll be taking it one significant moment at a time.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Blogger has been acting very strangely for me the last two days. For instance, I was trying to comment on Megan-Rebekah's blog this morning, and instead it somehow made my comment a blog post. What? I swear I didn't do anything different.

The lovely Nicole at One Significant Moment at a Time tagged me for this new award floating around the blogosphere:

This award originated with Christi Goddard at A Torch in the Tempest and is one part gift, one part social experiment! Fun!

The rules:
1. Choose five followers/commenters that 'get' you
2. Write something fake (preferably not too mean) about them
3. Link to them, and link back to this post to comment your receipt of the award. 

From Christi,

"This is by no means a popularity thing. It was hard to choose five people, but I still love everyone. But from reading the blogs of these followers, I think we share a common vibe of strangeness. That isn't a rule requirement for who they choose, of course. Maybe they choose five people that 'get' the mystery behind public shaving, for example." 

Without further ado, here are some things you may not know about the following people:

1. Alex J. Cavanaugh has dated both Kate Beckinsale and Kate Winslet; obviously, he has a thing for women named Kate. Just stay away from Kate Gosselin! 
2. Kim Franklin is Kristen Stewart's body-double for all the Twilight Saga films. 
3. Jen Daiker is actually my first cousin, and we're going on a Mediterranean cruise in July! 
4. Palindrome competed in the Second Annual World Haiku Competition and won grand prize for "Meditations on Vulcan in the Spring Time." 
5. Sarah has competed three times in the Iditarod, with her trusty sidekick Yvie at the helm, keeping those stoopid fluffy dogs in line. 

I also received this award from John Paul:

Thanks! I won't bore you all with repeat factoids. Every post I write is a factoid, let's face it. :-)

Stay tuned for details about my upcoming Finished MS context! (Hint: part of the entry is alluded to in this post!) 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Time Has Come, The Time Is Now

To Talk of Many Things.


How I finished my novel this morning!!!!


There aren't enough exclamation points in the world to express how excited I am!

Well, there probably are.

But I'm excited.

I mean, there's a TON of work to be done. In fact, I may very well be the proud writer of the shittiest first draft in shitty first draft history. Anne Lamott would be proud of me.

This was my NaNo novel, so as you can imagine, there are about 457 different plot directions. I threw in a 3rd character POV about half-way, when I was hitting a writer's block wall, but she's SO awesome that she needs to be worked in from the beginning.

My world-building is a JOKE!

I can't decide on one mythos!

I can't decide if I want this to be just urban fantasy, just science fiction, or if I want to GENRE BLEND! (probably that.)

But...I love my characters, I love my world, and I had some super BADASS epiphanies while I was writing the last bit. I mean, SUPER badass.

I think that's the best thing about writing--how your mind works out these amazing plot twists right before you get to them and you're like "ZOMG! That's so much better than the crap I came up with when I was trying to plot!"

It's amazing.

So please forgive all my CAPS! I'm just SO EXCITED!

Let's all smoke cigars and celebrate the arrival of a new baby novel in the world!

Oh, and one more thing... I was going to wait until I hit 97 followers (my 2 favorite numbers), but I think finishing a MS is much more deserving of a CONTEST! So stay tuned for details!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Finally In

I finally have words to contribute. As my regular followers know, it wasn't in the cards for me to get started on this challenge right away, but I'm finally settled enough that my Muse found my new address.


Day: 11
Goal: 11,000
Actuality: 1,324

Hey, I've started, at least! As you can see from my sidebar, I added the widget for my wordcount, because I like status bars! They make me feel accomplished. Hopefully I'll be typing The End in a few days...and then I'll have plenty of editing to do right away, but more on ES later.

I know, 3 posts in a day? How much of a life do I not have?

Answer: not much.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Overheard in Habersham

This is the name of a feature that I'm really dying to have, as I've made several mentions of the special extreme Northeast Georgian culture. Unfortunately, this also requires me getting out and mingling with the locals, which is something I haven't really done, other than going to the grocery store and a few antique shops.

However, I did hear two turns of phrase that I found amusing and hope to someday incorporate into a story:

"That could gag a maggot!"
"What the cuss?"

I know there are idiomatic expressions everywhere, but I found these 2 particularly hilarious.

Thanks for all the well-wishes about my wrist--I think they worked. That, or the ibuprofens and diligent ice-packing I did over the weekend. I canceled my emergency appointment with my surgeon this morning, I'm feeling so much better. Just back to the regular amount of pain. Yay!

So, this morning I woke up, got ready, stepped outside and...SNOW! Yes, it's snowing again in Georgia. In late March. Spring has officially sprung! We've had 70-degree weather, thunderstorms, and snow all in the same week. Ain't it great?

I got a Sexy New Idea a few nights ago and have been working on it...please don't flagellate me for being so ADD, but I'm really excited about it. I'm also holding off on jumping in and will be TRYING to do the Snowflake Method, as Nicole's rave reviews of it for her gave me some hope. I've been world-building for two days and will continue to do so after this post.

One of my favorite Bloglodytes, the lovely Jen, is having a 300 followers AND 24th birthday contest! Twenty-four is the best age to be, I'm hoping, as it'll be my turn in a few weeks. There are awesome prizes and sexy pictures--what not to like? So check it out!

Another of my favorite Bloglodytes, Sarah, is having a 100 Followers contest, and this one requires THINKING! Gasp! Horrors! Go, Go, get 'em, get 'em!

'Kay, I think that's all the pimping I have to do for now.

As you know, I'm not really one to share sage writing advice--I leave that for people who enjoy making metaphors. But last night I engaged in an activity with my husband (NOT THAT ONE) that made us giggle, hurt us a little, and resulted in something awesome.


And so I discovered that making funnel cake is kinda like writing. You have to really get heated up, pour out everything you have, let it sit for a while, shake it up some, let it sit some more, then voila! Sprinkle some powdered sugar on top and BAM! Delicious novel. I mean, funnel cake. But along the way you can get oil burns, big sloppy funnel cake/writing FAILS, and possibly ants. Metaphor those as you will.

I'm pretty sure more queries would get accepted if you sprinkled powdered sugar on them. Just sayin'.

PS: I ate about 3 bites of my cake, then left the rest to Evan, who scarfed 2 and a half before he announced that he was dying and gave up the last bit of the MONDO FUNNEL CAKE (which he made by pouring ALL the remaining batter into the oil.)

Have you had any epiphanies lately? And, more importantly, do you like funnel cake?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Life with Jeremy

I was looking through my old documents when I ran across a particular gem from my sophomore year of high school. My English teacher gave extra credit for occasional essays, and even more points if you read your essay aloud for the class.

One such topic was "something that is harder than it seems."

What follows is the tongue-in-cheek response I penned about my dearest of dear friends, my cherished big brother. And yes, all the anecdotes are true.


         In an ideal world, I would be a normal person: average height, average weight, average looks. I would get up in the morning, eat breakfast, go to school, and come home in the afternoon. My evenings would consist of doing my homework, relaxing a bit, and then going to bed. A simple life, one without complexities and stress; a life in which my immune system functioned properly and I got eight hours of sleep every night. My father would be a businessman who always wore a gray suit and carried a briefcase, eating his eggs and bacon in the morning before saying a cheerful goodbye to the family and going off to work. Mother would wear dresses that fall just below the knee with pristine high heels, and would always be vacuuming the house. Our pets would be clean and neat, with no shedding fur or skin problems. The cats wouldn't leave half-eaten animals on the door step and regurgitate their last meal on the welcome mat; the dogs wouldn't bark at the slightest hint of a rustle in the leaves, or paste muddy, wet noses all over your clean white pants. Of course, last but definitely not least, my brother would be a pleasant, enjoyable young man who spoke words of encouragement and wisdom to me, who helped me up when I fell, and was there for me in times of trouble.
         Unfortunately, we don't live in an ideal world. We have to take what is thrown at us and manage to the best of our abilities. Our families are dysfunctional and our animals are psychotic. We're always too tall, too short, too fat, too thin, or too something. I would say that life is harder than it looks, but that isn't the point of my paper. So, you say, quit babbling and get to the point.
         My brother is two years and two months older than I, to the day. We share similar features such as brown hair, green eyes, and the same dental structure. We are both pianists, both sing, and both enjoy theatre. We watch the same kind of movies, read the same kind of books, and listen to the same kind of music. That is where the similarities end, however, because those of you who know us may not realize that living with my brother is harder than it seems.
         Picture this: it's the end of a long, stressful day. You've changed into your pajamas and are settling down to relax in the blessed solitude of your bedroom when suddenly the door to the closet adjoining your room to your brother's swings open. In vaults a hunched over being with a crazed expression, gnarled hands, and a lump on his back. He bounds up to you, cackling maniacally and chomping on your arm. No big deal, however. It's only your brother.
         Now, here's another mental image: you are sitting on your bed reading a particularly good book when a hard knock sounds on your bedroom door. A moment later, without being invited, in walks your brother. His hands are behind his back, hiding something. You ask him what he wants, but he ignores you and kneels down next to your bed. Whipping his hands up from behind his back, you see that he is holding two action figures from Star Wars: Episode I: Qui Gonn Jinn and Darth Maul. With a cameo appearance of his left hand as a sandworm, he proceeds to re-enact the famous desert scene from Frank Herbert's Dune when Jessica and Paul are running to find shelter. Once he has finished the scene, he gets up and walks out, leaving me alone once again.
         I'll be the first to admit that these are some of the most extreme examples of his peculiarities; unfortunately, he banned me from mentioning the really funny ones in this paper. So now that we've gotten the stories aside, let me continue to explain why exactly living with my brother can be so hard.
         It's six o'clock in the morning, and you are sleeping peacefully in your nice warm covers. Suddenly you are rudely awoken by the climax of Holst's Mars, Bringer of War, which is pounding through your wall at decibel levels that should be banned from society. When you yell at your brother through the door to turn down the music, he replies that such fine music can only be listened to at extreme volumes.
         Twelve hours later, you have just crawled beneath your covers and turned off your lamp, ready to go to sleep. You close your eyes and begin to breathe slowly and steadily. You are teetering on the edge of unconsciousness. Suddenly the door slams open and the horrific fluorescent light comes on. You yell out terrible threats as you fumble to see who has dared disturb your slumber. It is your brother.
         "What do you want?" you scream in rage, rational mind cloudy with sleepiness.
         "Summer," he begins, "when was the last time you considered the beautiful irony of the Children's Crusade?" and he launches into one of his famously boring and long history lectures that, number one, I don't care about, and number two, I am exhausted. Yet, does he listen to my ravings and chanting of "get out"? Of course not. He continues with his lecture undaunted. Thankfully, the late-night lectures when I'm almost asleep are pleasantly rare. However, he does always manage to want to discuss the philosophy of a particular short story or poem in his English 102 literature book while I'm in the middle of geometry homework.
         Okay, so maybe the facts that he's weird, long-winded, and annoying; sings in falsetto while taking a shower, and the only piano dynamic he knows is fortissimo can be over looked. Sure, everyone has their quirks, right? There is one feature my brother has that drives me to the brink of insanity, however, and that would be his fantastically large and well-groomed ego. Sometimes he'll come into my room for the sole reason to look at himself in my full-length closet mirrors. He'll turn from side to side, then say to me, "Summer, don't you wish that you had my dashing good looks, roguish charm, and rapier wit?" In this circumstance, I merely nod and indulge his fantasy.
         Alas, there are not enough hours in the day to tell of my brother's conceit, and frankly I can not do it justice. I do hope, however, that this small glimpse into my life has shown you why exactly it is that living with my brother is harder than it looks.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

New Look

I thought the all-black and candle was a little depressive for spring. Those are my winter go-to's, so in celebration of the solstice, my new theme reflects another of my favorites.

Whaddya think?

PS: Saw Alice in Wonderland and thought it was great!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Picture This:

Contest Alert! I'm sure you already know about it, but Southern Princess is hosting a mother of a 100+ followers contest. You should definitely go support her. Because it's awesome.

Also, Frankie is having a 400 followers giveaway!  The prize is an awesome fun-pack of Kimberly Derting's The Body Finder paraphenalia! If you enter because of this post, please say so so I can get extra points. :-D


Today's post is going to be mostly pictures BECAUSE...something is wrong with my wrist. I'm 3 months out from my TFCC repair surgery, and suddenly two nights ago I started getting excruciating pains at ground zero. Pretty much everything is painful, and I'm talking like 8 on a 1-10 scale. I called my surgeon this morning and the earliest I can get in is next Wednesday, so...these next few days are gonna be rough!

Anyway, because today is a beautiful 73-degree spring awakening, thought I'd share some pretty pictures from my life!

This is my new apartment. That flower bed is going to get all torn up and prettified once my mother in law goes on spring break first week of April. I'm having a kitchen garden + flowers, so it will be made of win.

This is the view from my front porch. Those buildings in the distance are Piedmont College, where my husband works (and his alma mater). That weird pit of nasty brown is dead kudzu.

That, my friends, is the town square. Yes, I walked to take this picture, for all of 50 seconds.

This is my neighborhood.

This is what keeps me company while I do dishes: a heather plant, a schefflera, and a daffodil I just picked. 

Since my kitchen window is at ground level, this is what's right on the other side of the glass. I know they're weeds, but I think they're pretty, so there. 

This is my car. Earlier this morning, I took it through the car wash to get rid of the Florida road-trip grime. It didn't really get the tires very well, so while I was getting gas, I took some paper towels and used that windshield fluid stuff to clean the tires. As I was cleaning the last one, a grizzled, rangy country dude walked by me and either said, "You're looking good, ma'am" or "They're looking good, ma'am." I'm hoping he meant the tires. 

This is my 2nd bookshelf. This shelf is dedicated solely to my pleasure novels. As you can see, each shelf is either double or triple-stacked. I won't show the other shelf, since it's full of my geekiness. ;-) 

Oh yeah! That's is SO me, giving you a big thumbs-up with my poor, hurt hand for looking at all my pictures. Such a beautiful day!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Awesomesauce Words from Not-Me and So Much More!

Am-Me Note:

1. Now the plumber has to REPLACE the bathroom sink. Our new landlord must hate us.
2. The birds came! The birds came! This morning I caught a sparrow and a cardinal at my feeder!
3. The grocery store in my new town has a 6-pack Mix&Match section. This. Is. Epic! I got 5 new beers and 1 trusty stand-by (Terrapin Gold). Reviews to follow.
4. I am teetering on the edge of writing burn-out, and I haven't even tried to write in over a week. I'm concentrating on getting my house in order before I even think about the writing...

PS: Don't forget to check out Beth Revis' super-mega-awesome contest!!

And Now For Something Completely Different: 

If you missed my first post from The Writer, take some time and check it out. Good stuff in there. This month's issue is completely different, of course, and the Marketplace is featuring upcoming conferences BY STATE. Yeah, I won't be listing all of those, but I'll try to hit on some.

First, some highlights from some of the articles:

1. Give us the context of your narrative. "It's surprising how many writers will neglect to tell the poor reader where we are, when it is, and who is talking to us, thus plunging us into a tale that takes place nowhere in particular, at no time in particular, and happens to no one in particular." (Adair Lara)

2. Know the signs of author burnout! (I think several of us have been experiencing this as of late.) "Writing is not everything. There, I've said it. And if you want longevity in this business, play isn't just important--it's critical." (Lisa Shearin: you can check out her website/blog here

3. The big article was a reprint from a 1985 interview with Madeleine L'Engle. Her biggest piece of advice for writers is this: "While I am writing, I am not thinking of any audience at all...I am thinking about the book." This was an awesome article, worth buying this issue just to have. 

A few more articles:

1. Interview with author super-star Meg Cabot--talk about some querying inspiration!
2. Improve your fiction with film techniques! 
3. A hilarious offer by Kathy Stevenson to be writer in residence at Godiva chocolate headquarters, Nordstrom, Champagne Pierrier-Jouet, etc. 
4. What makes literary fiction 'literary'? Followed by how to give your literary novel an edge and submission strategies for literary journals. 

Personal Essay markets! I never knew how big this was, but here are a few:

1. American Baby: "In your words" covers issues affecting parents and children up to age 2 (e.g. feedings, child care, sleepless nights, sibling rivalry, etc.) 750 words. $1000 payment. Contact: Tricia O'Brien;; 

2. FamilyFun: For parents of children ages 3-12. "Family Traditions" shows how a family's tradition has shaped its identity or brought members closer. 300-500 words. $1.25/word. Contact: Mary Giles,; "Creative Solutions" describes how an innovative idea solved a common family problem. 800-1000 wprds. $1,250. Contact Debra Immergut,

3. Real Simple: "Life Lessons" calls for essays that have an unexpected outcome or an interesting take-away for the reader. Avoid static essays like a meditation on a farmhouse. 1,500 words. $2/word. Contact: Amanda Armstrong,,


If I don't include your state and you'd like to know, ask in the comments! I'd be happy to share. 

-Wesleyan Writers Conference. Middletown, CT. June 17-21. Contact: Anne Greene, conference director, Wesleyan University, 294 High Street, Rm. 207, Middletown, CT 06459.;

-American Independent Writers Conference: Washington, D.C. June 12. Broad array of topics. Contact:

-Anhinga Writers Studio 2010 Summer Writing Program: Gainesville, FL. July 28-31.,

-Chattahoochee Valley Writers' Conference: Columbus, GA. Sept. 25-26.;

-Southeastern Writers Association Conference: St. Simons Island, GA. June 20-24.

-Write-to-Publish Conference: Wheaton, IL, June 9-12. Focused on Christian market.

-Writers & Editors/ One-on-One: Chicago, July 16-18. For magazine writers. 

- Indiana University Writers' Conference: Bloomington, Ind. June 6-11.

-Bear River Writers Conference: Petoskey, MI. June 3-7.

New Jersey
-Deadly Ink: Parsippany, NJ. June 25-27. Mystery writers.

-Winter Poetry & Prose Getaway: Cape May, NJ, Jan. 14-17, 2011.

North Carolina
-Wildacres Writers Workshop: Little Switzerland, NC. July 10-17. 

-Antioch Writers' Workshop: Yellow Springs, OH. July 10-16. 

-Writers' League of Texas Agents Conference: Austin, TX. June 25-27. Each writers receives 10-minute agent consultation.

Any song writers out there? There are multiple listings asking for song lyrics in the Marketplace. is still accepting short story submissions through the end of the month. Check out the website for guidelines and to submit. Payment for stories accepted for print pub: $700-2,000. 

Well, that's all for this month's issue! As always, please let me know if you do any of these things and they pan out for you!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

New Resolution

Between Granddaddy's passing, the whirlwind trip to Florida, and the never-ending stress of moving, my body and mind are SCREAMING for some normality and routine to return to my life. Since the Blogger community is a big part of my daily entertainment, I'm making some changes in my interaction with said community, mainly this: since I'm so far away from the agent/querying/professional stage of the game, I'm discontinuing following any sort of purely industry blogs and will instead refocus my attention on blogs maintained by people like me, people who are getting started, newly agented, somewhere in the middle, or nowhere at all--but people whom I find charming, amusing, inspiring, or just downright entertaining (or all of the above)[how long can I make this sentence? Suck it, Hawthorne!].

I'm going to try and start writing my posts the night before so that I can devote my morning Blogger time to reading and commenting on all the far more talented and worthwhile blogs out there. I'm a lurker to the nth degree, so I'm going to make a concerted effort to actually make a comment, instead of just snickering to myself.

That being said, please feel free to direct me towards any blog (including your own) that you think could use some love, or that I simply can't continue on without following. I like those who are starting out and haven't accrued a big following yet, but I won't snub someone with 8234078 followers, either, if you think I shouldn't.

I may or may not get around to scheduling a post for first-thing tomorrow, but I am planning on my next post containing all that nerdy info from The Writer magazine.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Drunk At First Sight Blogfest

As mentioned, this is my entry into John Paul's Drunk At First Sight Blogfest!

This is a snippit from the later half of my '09 NaNo novel, Eternal Spring. It is science fiction cum urban fantasy, so please just bear with the unfamiliarities (and it hasn't been edited, so take it with a shaker of salt.)

WARNING: Adult content. Consider yourself warned! 


    “This roun’s on me,” Dagen slurred, weaving as he pushed up from the table. “I’ll be right back.”
    “Somebody help him,” Devon demanded, tossing back the remains of the amber liquid in his glass. “I don’t think I can stand up.”
    “For fuck’s sake,” Kinnasy muttered, then pushed her glass towards the center of the table, where it clinked against the others that were piling up. “Fine. I’ll go.”
    Not that she was in much better shape. Celebration had been in order, and that could only mean going to one place: the skeevy dive in Reno that bootlegged liquor from the Old Country. It was damn expensive, but worth every ounce. After all, they couldn’t celebrate their impending independence by drinking the humans’ ale.
    Her feet were feeling decidedly numb, but Kinnasy managed to clomp her way to Dagen, knocking into quite a few irate customers on the way, whom she skillfully ignored. She grabbed his arm, trying to steady herself—not that he was in any better shape.
    They wormed their way to the bar and leaned on its polished obsidian surface. It was a welcome cool to combat the flush she’d worked up between the drink and the overwhelming press of bodies in here. For a dive, it was all crowded to hell, and by a surprising number of humans. They didn’t get many chances to rub elbows with the duathinae.
    “Another round?” the bartender asked, already pulling out a tray and lining up five glasses on it.
    “You got it,” Dagen said. “Just put it on the tab.”
    “No problem.” The civilian duathinon reached below the counter and pulled out the inconspicuous-looking glass bottle and emptying it into the first glass. “Shit, that was the last one I have out front. Just stay here for a minute—I have to go to the back.”
    He yelled for the other bartender to cover, then disappeared. Dagen eyed the one full glass like he was already thinking about trying it. Kinnasy turned around so she could look out into the bar, propping her elbows up against the counter. She could just barely make out their table, mostly drawn by the back of Jason’s head. He looked like just about any other duathinon male, though his black locks were heavily waved, but she knew the back of his head as well as she knew the front.
    “What’s going on with you two tonight?” Dagen said in her ear. Kinnasy turned to look at him, drawing back some when his face was right up against hers.
    “What’re you talking about?” she said with a bit more force than she’d intended. Dagen tsk-ed.
    “Why do you even bother lying to me? How long have we known each other now? Twenty years?”
Kinnasy rolled her eyes and looked back out at the crowd. “Force of habit. And there’s nothing going on.”
    “Bullshit,” he scoffed. “Jason looks like he's trying to shit a brick, and you’ve been hitting the booze even harder than usual. Which is saying something,” he added wickedly. Kinnasy scowled. She’d hoped the celebration would have eased some of the tension between them, but so far all it had done was make him retreat further into his shell. Every time she smiled at a male, even one of the twins, the frown lines just deepened.
    “He’s just got his panties in a twist,” she muttered.
    “Doesn’t have anything to do with your little trip last night, does it?”
    She whipped her head around so fast that her neck popped. “What are you talking about?”
    Dagen laughed. “Kinnasy, please. You’ve got a big mouth. I heard every word you two were saying back at the base. And a few that you weren’t,” he added. She frowned. Great. It was fairly common knowledge that Jason had feelings for her, but she didn’t want everyone knowing the details of her burgeoning relationship with the godson Haakon, even if it was supposed to be strictly professional.
    “Does Devon know?”
    “Nah. He was too busy trying to sweet talk Fiona,” he said, referring to the trainee his twin was currently drooling over at their table. “Besides, his hearing isn’t as good as mine.”
    “Lucky me.”
    “Here we go!” The bartender was back, two cut-glass bottles in his hands, brimming with the potent amber liquid. Kinnasy gave Dagen a hard look, then turned back around to watch the bartender fill the rest of the glasses.
    “Why don’t you go ahead and do another round,” Kinnasy suggested. The morning would be hell, but at the rate this night was going, it would almost be a relief. The bartender hesitated, then shrugged.
    “Whatever you say.”
    They somehow managed to carry both trays back to their table without incident. Devon cheered when they plopped the alcohol down.
    “Better drink quick,” he told them. “Connoly's on her way!”
    “What!” Kinnasy protested, pulling her chair back out. Her knee accidentally brushed Jason's as she sat. “Who told her where we were?”
    “Please don't be mad!” Fiona said, cringing a bit as the force of Kinnasy's glare hit her. “She ranks above me...I couldn't not tell her!”
    “Goddammit. Fucking figures.” Kinnasy snatched one of the glasses and tossed it back, feeling the ball of nervous energy that was always inside her starting to throb. She was completely hammered, but also strangely wired, eager to get out and do something.
    A glance around the bar didn't help either. All the humans and duathinae alike were in surprising good form. No one was even yelling, let alone getting ready to throw down into a fight. Besides Jason's foul mood, she'd been having a decent time with her friends, but Connoly's impending arrival soured the deal. After their little run-in in the locker room, Kinnasy really didn't feel up to dealing with the bitch.
    “I'm getting out of here,” she announced, then drained the rest of her glass, opened up her purse and tossed a few bills on the table. “You guys have fun.”
    “See you in the morning,” Dagen said, then glanced pointedly at Jason. His expression clearly read fix this. She wanted to. She really did. But she was drunk and he was drunk, and that probably wasn't the best combination.
   Or was it?
   “You coming?” she asked Jason, then pushed back her chair and started for the door. She didn't wait to see if he was following her until she was outside.
   Music still throbbed the night, but at least the air was fresh. Kinnasy leaned against the outside of the club, fishing inside her purse for the slim metal case that kept her sane. There it was. Fingers clumsy from booze, she pulled out a thin roll and stuck it in her mouth, then tossed the case back in her purse and fumbled around for the lighter. A quick spark and she was inhaling the sweet taste of salvation.
   “You smoke too many of those.” Jason's voice purred through the velvety dark. Kinnasy blew a perfect smoke ring into the air.
   “Maybe you don't smoke enough.”
   He leaned against the wall beside her, his arm touching hers. She studied his profile, noticed that he hadn't shaved today, his jawline darkened by rough stubble. That was another unusual thing about him. Most duathinae men had a difficult time growing facial hair. Jason stayed clean-shaven most of the time, but tonight he looked as dark and introspective as she'd ever seen him.
   “You look like your brother in this light,” she remarked. Jason scoffed.
   “I'm impressed you can remember what he looks like.”
    “It hasn't been that long.”
   “Long enough.”
   She took another deep drag on the roll, then held it out to Jason. She heard him sigh lightly, then take it from her.
   “Tastes different,” he remarked after a moment.
   “Yeah. It's an import.”
   “Really.” She could hear the disapproval in his voice. He probably thought Haakon had bought them for her; the lysee plant only grew in the Old Country, and it was a powerful relaxant that most, if not all, practitioners of the first and second powers employed to help them deal with the stress of their abilities. The botanists at the Meris Order had developed a fairly decent imitation, though it came nowhere near the real thing.
    “Hey, crime pays,” she told him, taking the roll back, and felt a little tension leave her shoulders when he chuckled.
   “Yeah, we're big-time criminals, alright.”
   “Hell yes.”
    They passed the lysee roll back and forth a few more times. Jason groaned softly.
    “That's some potent shit.”
    “Worth every penny,” she agreed. Between the roll and the liquor, she felt like she was made of liquid.
    “You want to head back?”

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Answers, etc.

I'm going to be scheduling the next post, which will be my entry for John Paul's Drunk At First Sight Blogfest, as I'm leaving for Florida for my grandfather's memorial tomorrow night. Looking forward to reading all the entries when I get back!

I haven't made any progress on the 50k/50 day challenge; between the stress of Granddaddy's passing and doing the big haul of moving the rest of the way out of our old apartment over the weekend, I can barely remember my own name, let alone write, but I'm hoping to catch up once I get home later this week.

And now for the answers to my lies... But before that, let me just say that I loved your answers, but only ONE person got it right...

I was born in Germany and did not move to the United States until I was 6. FALSE. I was born in Berlin, but my family moved back to the US when I was one.

I once stopped traffic to rescue a wild turkey out of the road. TRUE! Congrats, DL--you got me pegged! I saved the turkey and stashed it in my trunk wrapped up in a jacket until animal services arrived. 

I have given mouth-to-mouth (nose) resuscitation to a bulldog and saved its life this way. FALSE. But my supervisor at work actually did, and I thought it was a great story! I'd totally do it, just FYI...

I used to compete in ballroom dancing competitions during college. FALSE. Totally. I don't know how to ballroom dance really well, but I did take a course with my brother. I like to tango! 

I taught myself ventriloquism when I was 12. FALSE. I tried, but failed miserably. 

I love clowns! SO, SO FALSE! I frickin' HATE clowns. Gah...

I'm a huge movie buff--you name it, I've seen it. FALSE. Quite the opposite, in fact. You name it, I probably HAVEN'T seen it. Books, though...different story. 

So there we have it! I got a kick out of your answers, though. :-) 

Tomorrow's post will be only my Blogfest, but when I return, I'm planning another big helpful list from The Writer magazine. 

Evan, me, Granddaddy, and Grandma at our wedding, May 2008. 
He was quite the little leprechaun. :-)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Lies, I Tell You! Lies!

A favorite in the blogging community, Mr. DL Hammonds , did me the honor of bestowing this award upon me recently:

Now that I have my DSL up and running (celebrate!), I can give this award the love it deserves. I've enjoyed seeing this one pandied around the blogosphere and can only hope to do it justice. I believe the rules call for 6 lies and 1 truth? We'll see if I can even come up with 6 decent lies; if not, I may alter the rules. 

  1. I was born in Germany and did not move to the United States until I was 6. 
  2. I once stopped traffic to rescue a wild turkey out of the road. 
  3. I have given mouth-to-mouth (nose) resuscitation to a bulldog and saved its life this way. 
  4. I used to compete in ballroom dancing competitions during college. 
  5. I taught myself ventriloquism when I was 12. 
  6. I love clowns! 
  7. I'm a huge movie buff--you name it, I've seen it.
Okay! I managed to come up with six let's see what you think! 

Now, I'm going to pass this on to the lovely Jen Daiker. Looking forward to her response!

I haven't done my 1k words for the day yet, but I'm planning on getting on that as soon as I'm done with this blog and before PT @ 3:30. Don't forget to check it out and join the madness!

Thursday, March 11, 2010


I am currently sitting at a table between two rows of Shakespeare reference material. I think the Bard would approve of blogging, don't you?

First of all, I'd like to thank everyone for their kind words concerning my grandfather. He's still hanging in there, to the doctors' surprise, but I'm not sure about anything other than that. My parents are driving to Florida right now to be with him and Grandma, so I'm hoping to know more this evening sometime.

Secondly, you all are a prolific bunch! When I was getting my feet wet in the Blogger world, I went for the blogs with frequent updates, as my blogging routine is a big part of my daily schedule. As you who've recently taken hiatus(es? i?) know, coming back even after a day or two gives you a HUGE reading list. I'm in the college library right now with my netbook, so I'm not going to be able to read and comment on all of netbook is too awkward for that. But you all should give yourselves a big pat on the back for putting tons of reading material out there for my personal pleasure and entertainment.

DL Hammonds gave me an award last week, which I'll get around to once I have my desktop up and running HOPEFULLY tomorrow evening. Also, I'm trying to remember John Paul's Drunk At First Sight Blogfest--that's next week!

For realz, there is nobody in this library. I'm on the top floor looking out over the quad, admiring the daffodils and crocuses and I could be doing it butt-nekkid (like that redneck spelling? Trying to fit in.) for all the library staff knows. Know how I know? Because I worked here once! Yes, back in my freshman year of college, before I transferred to UGA, I went to this little liberal arts school and worked in this very same library!

If I remember correctly, there's a room on the 2nd floor where you can go get free books. I'd like to check it out, but I think Evan might kill me if I walked in the door with MORE books. So far my books box count is up to 9. Teehee.

Am I the only weirdo who gets an excited little thrill when entering a tome-filled floor of an academic library? It's all about the smell of old paper and mildew--just gets me right in the gut. Like a jittery, anxious feeling...when I worked here, I used to imagine as I was doing closing rounds that I'd get into a ninja-style altercation up here on the 4th floor, and no one would find us. It's the same feeling I get when I go outside into the woods at night. Like the physical tantamount that ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN. It's exciting stuff.

I've had to convince Evan to lay off Supernatural for a few days. We watched 3 discs over the weekend and are now solidly in Season 4, but it's giving me nightmares again.

Not that I need much help with crazy dreams; last night I dreamt that my best friend's ex-boyfriend was proposing to her on top of this skyscraper, and I didn't want them back together, so I killed him.

Better watch out for me!

I'm hoping that things will be getting back to normal for me in a few days, and then you can have my regularly scheduled weirdness to look forward to!

Oh, and before I forget:

Sarah at Confessions of the Un-published is starting a self-motivating contest: 50k in 50 days! For those of you who are mathally challenged (hehe...and I made that up), that's 1k per day. A slightly less robust schedule than NaNo, but still noting to sneer at.

J. Kaye and I are joining her, because are crazy and like to torture ourselves. So get thee hie, get thee hence, get your ass off the waffling fence...and join us! (Gah, I know that was bad, but please forgive me. I've been in dire withdrawls from sharing my particular brand of goofy humor.)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


This is going to be short, yet again, because my pirated internet connection has been getting spottier and spottier (imagine that). DSL is coming Friday, and then I'll be surfing the high web seas at 12Mbps! Let the Batman effects begin! *POW* *ZOOM*  Can't wait. Until then, this. *CRY*

So these stupid hillbilly birds don't know shit about a good feeder. I set it up right outside my lovely office window so I could admire the pretty birds while I write (and surf the webz with my fast 'nets), but not a damn single bird has come. In fact, I haven't even seen anything other than some robins. I was standing on my patio talking to my brother yesterday when these 2 robins started EITHER mating...or dueling to the death. Not sure which one, but it was quite disturbing either way.

I saw another super awesome mullet yesterday--this dude's hair was so curly...I've never seen such a curly mullet.

Started with my new hand therapist, and I don't like it as much, as I was fearing. My old place was just so comfortable and friendly and it smelled like coffee. Plus the clientele was nice... This place does NOT smell like coffee, and the clientele is hillbilly/redneck especial.

I did have my 4th post-op appt. with my surgeon this past Monday. He gave me two cortisone shots (one in my thumb tendon, the other right in the back of my wrist--ouch!) and is hoping that they're going to help me start turning the corner. Still doesn't think I'll be back at work for at least 2 more months...

It's raining today, and is supposed to continue raining through at least Saturday. Normally this makes me happy, you know, but with us still trying to move stuff and unpack, it just makes me restless.

And...just on a personal note for my friends in real life who read, and for anyone who gives a crap, my grandfather in Florida is about to pass away. He's been suffering from COPD and emphysema for years, and it's finally caught up with him. He's been resuscitated 5 times in the last three days and is refusing any more treatment. As of an hour ago, he was in respiratory failure. He's a hilarious, mischievous, wonderful man, and I'm going to miss him.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Notes from Hickville

Well, we survived the main leg of the move. I'm currently hijacking a wireless connection at a 2Mbps connection, so this will be brief. (Though I'm calling for DSL tomorrow.)

The new apartment is wondrously big and empty, and I'm going nuts wanting to unpack everything right away. Evan keeps making me stop and watch Supernatural. Okay, so he doesn't have to force me too hard.

I've already seen 2 mullets and about a million hillbillies...ahh, I love this place. :-)

Haven't read any blogs in 2 days, but hope to be back in the game as soon as I get that lovely high-speed connection!

Hope all are well. :-)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Heavy Topics


Do I have your attention now?
Today I'm continuing my Lily theme, just because I can't get it off my mind.

When I was in high school, I remember answering a poll concerning "foul language" in literature--basically, for or against it? I voted for it, of course, even though I still lived under my parents' roof and hadn't had the chance to fully develop my swear vocabulary. I mean, what would "Damn Yankees" be without the Damn?

So, how about the other heavy topics?

Personally, pretty much nothing content-wise will make me put aside a book; at least, I've read nothing yet, and I've read a lot. I mean, I don't watch overly-graphic horror movies, mostly because I'm a big fat chicken and am home alone too often, but reading violence? Sure. Writing it? Even better.

Sex? Love it. Writing sex? Just read my mss.

Language? Hells yeah (I toned my initial answer down.)

When I started writing Lily, I had no intention to be exploring any sort of heavy topics, but they grew naturally from the narrative, and now everywhere I turn, there's something big to be dealt with.

Some themes from Lily:

-Child molestation
-Graphic sex
-Mental illness

   If I were to read this as someone else's list, would I immediately say, "Gee, I'd really like to read that book"? No. Not necessarily. Though I tend towards writing dark stuff, it's usually not my first choice in reading. By actively including all these themes and more, am I limiting my audience? Absolutely.

But I don't believe in censorship, especially self-censorship for the sake of a maybe-someday-potential-reader. Life is ugly, and so should be literature, which is most often a reflection of life. At least, I try to make mine that way.

Do I have experience with any of those? No (except for the sex, of course). Is it going to affect my ability to write those themes? I honestly don't know. I've already written a few of the bigger scenes concerning them and haven't gotten negative feedback on believability, so maybe not. Having experienced something first-hand certainly lends one authority on the subject, but then again everyone's experience of the same thing is different, so I don't think there's any one such way of writing about something.

Anyway, I'm starting to ramble, so let me end with this: Do you shy away from any "heavy topics" in your writing? If not, do you stick to topics that you know about first-hand, or do you give yourself the liberty to explore? And if you haven't done any yet, would you ever consider writing something that includes any heavy topics?

Monday, March 1, 2010


I'm in a weird mood this weekend. It's hormonal, but that doesn't make it any less real. Just ask the husband. And I realize it's no longer the weekend, but my conception of days is different than those working the 9-5 with the house and the 2.5 kids and the dog and cat. In my mind, it's still the weekend.

Anyway, an old project is on my mind, has been for about a week. In actuality, the project never really leaves my mind.

I'd never heard of NaNoWriMo until about 9:45pm, October 31, 2008. I saw a mention of it in a friend's status on Facebook and was intrigued. I followed the links and officially signed up at 10:01pm. I didn't have an idea, of course, since I'd had no clue about it.

The next day at work I told the other tech Dan about it. I'd brought a notebook to record any ideas I got.
This is what I wrote:

"Tom Quillian asked about you today at church," the sweet, high-pitched voice of my only Aunt Julie informed me over the buzz and crackle of her Walmart cellphone. It was just after noon; she would be in the kitchen fixing gravy for the Sunday pot roast, Baptist-best dress covered with the floral apron I'd given her five years ago.

I don't know where it came from, but that sentence, that cobbling together of words poured out into an idea, a story that gripped not only me, but everyone I let read my work. I didn't win NaNo that year; I did my best and ended around 38k. It was the most I'd ever written. 

The protagonist's name is Lily St. Martin. 
My co-workers still ask me about once a month, "When are you going to finish Lily?" 
Everyone calls the story Lily, even me, even though it has a working title. 

I've never really been a rebellious person. I've always been smart, and I've always been stubborn, and I've always done things my way. And they've always worked out. I grew up in the South in a very religious family. When I left home for college, I stopped going to church and didn't apologize for it. I wasn't rebelling, I was just doing what felt right for me. I was taking the opportunity to act on my feelings.

I'm not going to talk about religion, don't worry. I'm still talking about Lily.
Lily isn't about me, even though some might question.
Despite the religious aspects, I had a good childhood. My parents were supportive and loving. Still are, even though we still butt heads about religion.

Getting this apartment is exciting, but once the initial glow faded, the fear starts kicking in. I'm moving closer to my parents. I've been living about 1:15 away from them for 4 years now; when we move, they'll only be about 20 minutes away.
The fear about the inevitable religion question comes up again.

Whenever I start feeling this way, I always think about Lily.
In some ways, Lily is my darkest feelings. In other ways, Lily is my feelings on hope and renewal.

Lily is semi-stream of consciousness, and Lily often flows best when I'm buzzed (and drunk).
Lily isn't based on anything I've experienced, except in the broadest of terms. She goes to college at the same college I went to, lives in the same town I lived in during college, of course. She's from a rural community, like me. She was raised in a religious household.

The similarities end there.
Lily's story is very dark in many places, but it ends with light, with hope. My boss, one of the people at work who read the story, told me, "I can't wait to see Lily finally find happiness."
I can't either.

I think about Lily all the time, because I'm not finished writing her story.
In many ways, I feel like it's the one story I'm supposed to write. It sounds strange, but it's almost like a biography.
I've never been one of those people who has characters talk to them. I get strong ideas about stories, but I'm more visual. I see scenes like movies, see the setting, see the conflict, see the climax. I don't have conversations with characters.
But Lily.
Lily shares part of my mind. If I see something or experience something, Lily does too. And Lily processes it differently than I do, of course. We have completely different backgrounds.

I realize this makes me sound a little schizo, but that's not I mean it. Lily doesn't talk to me--she lives in me.

That's kinda creepy, huh?

Anyway, I'm thinking about Lily a lot the last few days.
I have the manuscript open most of the day.
I've read through a lot of it.
There's even a scene I'm going to use for the Drunk at First Sight Blogfest.
I haven't started typing quite yet.
I did make some notes in my sketchbook (because I like the weight of the paper for idea processing.)

Here's my one-sentence plot summary, in the barest of senses: Lily St. Martin gives up her dream fellowship and returns home to take care of her mentally ill uncle after her aunt's sudden death.

Sounds boring as hell, huh?

Do you ever use epigraphs for your novels? I never have, but one of my good friends uses one for every book he's written, and I'm always impressed with how fitting they are.
I thought an epigraph would be fitting for Lily's story, and the epigraph I chose is from the song that I feel most encompasses the story.

The epigraph is this:

“I said yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah
You'll never make a saint of me.” 

And the song is this:

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones