Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Rode Hard and Put Up Wet

That probably doesn't apply to this post, but I really wanted to use it as my title.

1. Thank you for all the kind, supportive comments on my self-indulgent post from Monday! I'm feeling much better about things now. I've reserved a U-Haul truck for Saturday at 8 AM; we're moving out of this apartment this weekend, whether it's to our house or to my in-laws' house. I have a plan now, so I feel loads better.

2. I have a lot more hardcore packing to do in order to move by Saturday at 8 AM. Because of this, and the moving stuff, and if we do move into my in-laws' for a few days, I won't be blogging again until things are settled.  I may still comment and lurk, but nothing from me.

3. I still haven't watched the season finale of Grey's Anatomy. What is wrong with me?!?!

4. I think my sweet little boy cat, who's been neutered since he was 8 weeks old, sprayed in my house yesterday. I was livid. Thanks for waiting until the last few days we're here, jackhole! In his defense, I think the packing and the new cat outside is stressing him out.

5. I'm now officially over 500 followers. I know numbers aren't everything, or even anything, really, but I am humbled and quite frankly surprised that 500 people have decided to follow my blog. I hope I can at least make you smile from time to time, because I'm sure as hell not making anyone informed. :)

So, this is it. Hopefully the next time words appear on this webpage, I'll be a home owner residing in my new pad. Woo!

Monday, May 23, 2011

I Wanna Know

I'm starting to think that the stress of not knowing what your living situation will be not only trumps, but also magnifies all other stress. The smallest things suddenly become Very Important OMG, and I run around thinking How Is This All Going To Work Out?

I don't have a closing date. My contract says on or before June 1. We're moving 45 miles away, so we'd really been hoping to have several days to trickle it out over, especially since there are some minor painting things we'd like to do before all our stuff is there. Our landlord has a family waiting to move in to our apartment.

My in-laws are going to let us crash with them temporarily, if need be, and that's where my worries start to pile up. What will I do with our furniture? How will our now THREE cats get along with their THREE cats? Especially the stray whom I haven't gotten neutered yet because I was waiting until we moved so he'd have an indoor place to recover? What about all our food in the fridge/freezer?


And then I started having writing angst. I finished reading through my first draft of Four, talked over some revision idea with Evan, and then began to wonder if this was really the novel I want to put my heart and soul into right now. At this point, with all my other stress, I can't even differentiate between legit concerns and plain ol' fear.

Also, the mosquitoes are here in Georgia. I'm a mosquito magnet like you wouldn't believe. And yesterday it reached 95, and they're showing temps in the 90's all week.

I'm sorry if this sounds complainy. Sometimes it's nice to write it out. I just really want to know something.

However, in happy news, I noticed that I'm just shy of 500 followers! Holy moses! Never thought I'd see that day. You guys are one of the most integral parts of my routine now, and frankly I have a hard time remember life BB (before Blogger). Not sure if I can afford to run a contest per norm...mayhap I shall send a random box of packed stuff to a lucky person! ;)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Evil Cats, Evil Books

Most days I'm pretty sure my cat Mack is human-level intelligent and capable of reason. And that he uses his intelligence for EVIL. EEEEVILLLLL...

The apartment in which I will not be living much longer has ledges built into the walls around chair-rail height. These ledges are about 5 inches wide--perfect width for cat butts.

Mack the boy cat lives to walk across my desk. Over and over, blocking my view. Occasionally stopping to try and eat my plants. Knocking my candles onto the floor. Stepping on whatever is on my desk--paper, sandwich, whatever. All in the pursuit of looking out the windows...

This is pretty much our daily routine. Especially if I'm eating--the effort goes up a few notches. 

I've decided that I'm tired of waiting for my hubby to finish my rough draft of FOUR before I read it. He has 13% left, and that's close enough, right? So I'm going to start reading today. Let's see, it's been...28 days since I finished? Yes. So, a February has gone by, and I think that's enough time.

Last night I started to chicken out about revisions. I'm a big coward when it comes to revisions--I get so many ideas that they start snarling in my head until I feel like beating it against the wall. That's usually when I scrap the revision idea and start on a new draft. 

But not this time. Thankfully, my stalwart CPs (Lola, Portia, and Tara) are there to talk me away from the ledge. Last night I kept my breakdown limited to just my hubby, and he snapped me out of it well enough, but I know I'm going to need hand-holding. Turns out I'm a little bitch baby when it comes to revisions. (I got the phrase "bitch baby" from Grey's Anatomy and I love it.) 

Oh, and what's all this about the world ending and such on Saturday? I have plans on Saturday, thanks. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

It's That Day Again!

Today is my 3rd wedding anniversary! Sometimes it's hard to believe three years have gone by, and other times it feels like forever (in a good way). We've been together for over 6 years now, and *insert mushy sentimentalism*.

This picture is a good explanation of my life with my husband, Evan:

This photo was taken at the wedding of our friend on the left (the blond one), about a month before the wedding of the friend in the middle (the redhead). Both of these guys were at our wedding, and they're Evan's 2 best friends from his youth. Excellent times were had at that wedding, and truth be told, I was so drunk in this picture I don't even remember it being taken.

Fun times with life!

Out of curiosity, I looked up my blog post from this time last year. Turns out for my anniversary last year, we watched 11 episodes of LOST and grilled steak & veggies. Sweet!

Also according to that post, I had just finished reading 2 excellent books and had just seen Iron Man 2. Living large, huh?

We saw THOR for this anniversary, and I also just finished 2 good books. Man, my life is predictable, huh? :)

Happy Monday!

Friday, May 13, 2011

How Writing is Gardening: a post in pictures



Skeleton draft

First draft


Final draft. maybe this was just an excuse to post pictures of my garden's transformation over the course of 1 year. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Your Knowledge is Greater Than My Knowledge

In personal news: the house buying is coming along nicely! We had our inspection done earlier this week, and while we're going to have to replace the furnace/AC unit, we're still moving forward with the purchase. Our latest closing date has been set as June 1, but we're really hoping to close earlier so we'll have at least a week to make the move.

So if all goes well, this will be my first house! It's not much to look at from the outside right now, but I have big plans for landscaping and some repainting. The inside is very cute with some unique characteristics, though. And the backyard is huge! When I was there for the inspection, I watched two bunnies running around in the forested part of the yard--so cute!

I've been haphazardly packing the apartment, trying to keep some things out and unsure what to do with basically, the apartment is a wreck with boxes everywhere. I like to have neat surroundings whenever I'm working on something big writing-wise, so the chaos isn't helping me think.

I'm still waiting on Evan to finish reading my rough draft, and he's getting closer. I've slowly started my story bible. So far I've got some of the world-building and a lot of the mythology, but nothing much else.

This is where I need help: I've never revised before. I have three messy novels sitting on my hard drive, all worthy ideas, all still untouched because I'd rather write a new messy one than try to clean up an old. But I really want to polish FOUR up and try my hand at sending it out, thus revision looms.

I have Donald Maass' The Fire in Fiction and The Breakout Novelist and am reading through them again with revision in mind, but I'd welcome any and all information you guys think might help me. Personal methods, links, websites, worksheets--anything!

And because it's been so long, a picture of my fur babes:

I was dyeing my hair. They were supervising. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Fit For Life

First off--my 25th birthday was a resounding success! Older brother and I headed to Panther Creek like I'd indicated. We did not, however, run. We hiked at a very steady clip. The entire trail, there and back, is 7 miles of absolutely gorgeous scenery. We've had amazing weather, and Saturday was no exception.

Some photos (my camera died almost right off the bat, but I was able to resurrect it for the end photo):

My brother asked for a less-cheesy smile. This is what I gave him instead.

The photo doesn't do it justice, but this entire bend of the river is walled off by stone. So cool!

This is at the very end of the hike--quite the precarious climb down, but worth it! 

All in all, a fun day in nature. I was (and still am) super sore afterward, though. We followed up with lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant and cooled off with frozen margaritas. 

Recently I've decided that Evan and I need to add some more fitness into our life. Since he got the desk job, his life has become very sedentary. And while I run several times a week, I'm still not as active as I'd like to be. 

Neither of us needs to lose massive amounts of weight, but he's lost a lot of muscle that's turned into some flab, and I've got some softness in places I'd rather not. 

I've already been slowing transitioning us off red meat and more into grains (like quinoa, which I can't get enough of), but it's not been enough. Last year we did a cleanse in which we cut out all processed foods, white flour, sugar, carbs, dairy, etc. We felt really good afterward, but pretty quickly fell back into our unhealthy eating routine. 

I like to cook. A lot. But I'm severely lacking in motivation most days, and our grocery store produce section sucks big time--and there's no where else to shop. Therefore, we have a tendency to go out to eat when we don't feel like cooking, and we all know what a trap that is. 

Since our move to the new house is fairly imminent, I'm trying to empty our pantry, so I've been cooking at home about 90% of the time the past few weeks, and the difference we feel even there is amazing. I always try to cook healthy. We don't have snacks hanging around the house, except for stuff like nuts and fruit. So I figured it's gotta be the fast food junket we've been enjoying. 

I follow Women's Health Magazine (@WomensHealthMag) on Twitter, and today I saw that they're cross promoting the Fit For Life Summer Challenge with Men's Health. 

Check it out! There are some interesting things to think about in there, plus workouts for all kinds. I don't know if we're actually going to partake in the challenge itself, but I printed out the eating guide and some of the workouts. 

Are you active? How do you try to incorporate fitness into your daily routine? 

Friday, May 6, 2011

It's a Numbers Thing.

I never used to listen to songs on repeat while writing certain scenes in my WIPs, but things changed during FOUR. A lot of things, actually.

In many ways, FOUR is a first novel for me. It's the first novel I've written that did not start during NaNoWriMo. It's the first novel that I approached with almost-professional dedication. It's the first novel that I outlined, and due to that, the first novel that I never hit a roadblock.

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this recently, but I actually started writing FOUR in January of '10, around the same time I started this blog. When I brainstormed ideas with husband about it, it was originally intended to be a rewrite of the '09 NaNo novel, but soon took on such a life of its own that that didn't work anymore (thankfully--I've come up with a much better redirection for that novel).

For three weeks in that January, I wrote 2k per day, without fail. At the end of the stretch, I had 33,200 words. I can't remember now why I set it aside--I think I wanted to finish writing the NaNo novels I'd left hanging, which I did. Over the year, I kept reading through it from time to time, and each time I read I'd be pleasantly surprised by the content.

So, in early February of this year, I sent the 33k to two of my CPs and asked for their brutal opinions--was it worth continuing, or should I scrap it? Thankfully, the answer was yes--keep going.

Out of empirical interest, I kept a note beside my desk of how many words I added each day that I wrote. It's fun now looking over the list and seeing the numbers jump. I officially started writing again on February 10. By March 10, I'd added 30,000 new words. And by April 10, I'd added another 20k. And of course, I finished on April 21.

Now, I didn't actually write every day during those roughly 2 months. In fact, I had several long stretches where I didn't write at all, which is another reason I'm glad I kept the list, since I only wrote the days that I added wordcount. According to El List, I actually only wrote for 32 days. In 32 days, I wrote 63,263 words, an average of 1,977 words each day.

I'm proud of that. I feel like with this novel that I've finally proved to myself that I can do it--I can write a full-length draft without the hype and competition of NaNoWrimo, with just the BICHOK method and Taurean determination.

I got lots of practice telling my husband that I was going to be writing instead of playing video games or doing something with friends. Not always an easy choice, but one that you see dedicated writers making again and again.

Anyway, since this post is all dry and about numbers and stuff, I wanted to share the official repeat stats on my FOUR playlist. Unlike some of my other works, I actually listened more to iTunes than to Pandora for the writing of this novel. I just couldn't find quite the right Pandora station (though my Delerium station got a good workout).

The official playlist has 63 songs for 4.9 hours of playtime. I rarely listened to the whole thing, as there were songs on there that ended up not being quite right.

So, here are the top ten songs and their repeat numbers:

  1. "The Day the World Went Away"-- Nine Inch Nails (38)
  2. "Degausser"--Brand New (34)
  3. "Undisclosed Desires"--Muse (28)
  4. "Imma Be"--Black Eyed Peas (24--this was mostly for the awesome bass beat)
  5. "Sabotage"--Beastie Boys (22)
  6. "Dragula"--Rob Zombie (19)
  7. "Knights of Cydonia"--Muse (18)
  8. "Uprising"--Muse (17)
  9. "2-1"--Imogen Heap (15)
  10. "United States of Eurasia"--Muse (15)

Seeing a Muse trend? Me too. 

Thanks for suffering through this numbers post!

What's your number one repeated song on iTunes? 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Story Bible & Trail Runs & Houses

Late last night, I finally got the email I've been waiting for (for 3 weeks)--we got the executed contract back on the house we're trying to buy, so we can finally move forward with the inspection/appraisal/etc. We're very happy about all this.

My birthday is Saturday. I'll be 25. Since hubby works for a college, and their graduation happens to be Saturday as well, he's going to be gone pretty much all day. I made a sad status thingie on Facebook, and my big brother casually mentions that he'll come over to keep me company. So then I (stupid, stupid!) say, "Are you really going to come over? We can go on a trail run or something."

My brother ran cross country all through college, and while I had my track & field days in high school, that was a long time ago, man. I started running against last summer, strictly on the treadmill, then had to stop around September. Started back up in January and have been running steadily (outside) an average of three days a week since then. However, my cardio endurance is still crap.

Big brother has been pestering me for us to run together for ages now. Might as well die of a heart attack on my birthday, right? I mean, I did just get CPR certified. Maybe I can give myself compressions.

But the upside is there are beautiful places to run here.

Anyway. We'll see how it goes. I always thought I'd die before I reached 25, so maybe this run will do me in.

(I was trying to find a good segue picture for "writing related," and when I Googled that phrase, four pictures of Twitter came up. Ha. And now this will serve as my segue.)

My hubby is still reading through the rough draft of FOUR, and I'm getting a bit antsy. So I thought maybe I should work on some sort of story bible? Like, a 3-ring binder with all the pertinent information that I love to forget.

Do any of you guys do that? Got any tips for me?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Thank You and How to Help

I'm not sure I can adequately express my thanks for all the comments left on last week's post about my personal experience living through a tornado. It wasn't an easy thing for me to write, but I'm glad I did.

Several people who live on the West Coast mentioned that there is hardly any coverage over there about the disaster.

One of our own in the blogging community, Courtney Barr (the Southern princess), lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, which was one of the harder hit towns. She and her family survived just fine, but are surrounded by the  ruins of hundreds of others' lives.

Courtney sent out an email yesterday to many of her friends and acquaintances in the blogging/writing world. If you didn't receive it, this is the text:

Most of you know me as The Southern Princess. Well it just so happens that on Wednesday, April 27, 2011 my Kingdom's surrounding lands was devastated by an EF4/EF5 Tornado.
It destroyed the main sections of Tuscaloosa, my city. It erased neighborhoods from the city map. We have over 1000 injured and 475 missing as of today - that is just my city. Alabama was the hardest hit of the 7 states affected by this storm. Due to national coverage of this breathtaking, in the ugliest sense of the word, tornado my city is receiving so much aide from other states & the national guard. Well, we are not the only town hurting. I was raised in a small rural town in south Alabama. I know what its like to only have 1 grocery store, a few locally owned eateries and very little access to larger cities. There are towns like that affected by this storm. Hackleburg, Alabama is destroyed. They are not easy to reach from the outside, they had only one grocery store and one gas station. Their government are gone and the people there need our help. Sawyerville, Snoddy, Phil Campbell, Gordo, Reform...the list can go on. These rural communities NEED our help.
I created a blog called ALL 4 ALABAMA and another email address to handle communications .
I am hoping that through all of us we can possibly set up an auction much like Do the Write Thing for Nashville did. These people need us. I am sitting right now comfortably within 4 walls, with my dog at my side and my husband safe & sound. Two streets over, literally, everything is gone. No houses stand, no laundry flaps in the breeze, no music from bedrooms, no mailboxes, no children playing in the streets - the children sift through what is left and parents smile as they are thankful to be alive.
I did not know where to start or how to help, when the outpouring of help came for Tuscaloosa & the radio calls for these small towns began to flood in, I could not stop thinking about how I could use my own resources. I have been welcomed into this writing community and have found such great comfort with each of you - please if you can help, if you know someone who can donate goods to auction, services, information - anything is welcomed and appreciated.
I am new to this (I am normally just bidding with everyone else) I want to help. If you cannot, I completely understand. Just email any ideas, direction, etc. to the new email account. I will be working on the site in the meantime.
No matter what the outcome of this endeavor thank you all for reading, for welcoming, for being such amazing people.
Lots of Love,

Please support Courtney--and the true recipients of her outreach, the victims--in any way you can. 

I found another group setting up an auction: Help Write Now. This is being spearheaded by this group of well-known people.

As always, the American Red Cross is set up for simple donation. From their website:

If you would like to help, there are several ways that people can make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief: Visit to donate online, call 1-800-REDCROSS, or by texting REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.
Additional information is available on

Again, thank you for your outpouring on my personal situation, and please consider finding some small way to help others who are like I was 17 years ago.