Monday, April 29, 2013

Some Things Just Can't Be Stopped...

Some things, once set in motion, are unstoppable. Nothing you do or say will deter either the person or the action.

It's like that with the hubs and his weedwhacker. The man is a menace to all things green. Take my clematis vine, which is supposed to wrap around my mailbox post. It should look something like this:

But it doesn't; it's been chopped down. Whacked. Annihilated.

Yes, I've put netting, a metal stake, and mulch around the plant so it's OBVIOUS something's there.

No matter, he still mutilates it. (Don't ask me how many butterfly bushes he's murdered.) In revenge, I wrote a scene about a character's dad who tortures his landscape--yeah, that's the hubs. Now his cruelty to my clematis is immortalized.

It's come down to me issuing an ultimatum: STAY AWAY FROM THE MAILBOX. If my clematis gets whacked one more time, I fear I will have to visit the nursery and buy the biggest, most expensive replacement so that if he goes near it, he will get sick at the thought of harming one little bud, a single leaf, or even disturbing a piece of mulch because of the $.

Wishing safety for all your plants,


Monday, April 22, 2013

To Inifinity- If You Can Get Beyond...

Infinity: Without end. Endless. Never ending. Get the pic?

Right now I'm stuck in an infinity loop (actually two, but we'll get to that in a bit).

I'm queasy. I think it's from the headache; not quite a migraine (yet) but I had it when I went to bed and I think I had it all through sleep. I can't take any medication because I feel queasy. Where do I break into/out of the loop? I could take the chance and swallow a pain reliever, hoping it won't upset my stomach further, or I could try to wait out the headache.

It's like that with writing (my second loop), but it could be anything that poses a conundrum. You have a tough situation, but the cure/solution seems just as bad.

Sometimes we have to make tough decisions, take a chance. In my writing, I faced a block. I could start the project/chapter over which seemed so drastic, even painful.

I decided to wait it out. I raked my yard, cleaned out gardens, cleaned up the pool area, did laundry, etc; everything but face the problem. Somewhere between hauling a garbage can full of leaves to the compost pile and fixing the rosebush trellis which had broken and fallen over, the answer to my plot problem came to me. Now I knew how to make a good guy into a villain without being obvious. (I hate the obvious.) So after I post this, I need to revise that scene. Waiting brought the answer to my puzzle.

Waiting will not bring the cure to my headache/nausea. I fear my headache will only get worse, becoming a full blown migraine leaving me incapacitated. and then I really may puke my guts out. For this, it's better to put something in my stomach, swallow some medication, and take my chances.

If we all knew when to wait and when to jump in a tough situation, we could always make the right decisions and take the right actions. Most of the times, we just have to go with our gut.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Can We Just Be Friends?

Oh, those dreaded words--especially when directed at you by someone you're interested in. In other scenarios, this is the best thing that could happen.

A blogger friend who has a critique group is in the midst of a war of words with a former prospective member that was asked to leave the group. I won't get in the middle of the conflict, but will offer general words of 'Do This, Don't Do That' guidelines for critique or any other groups.

1. Not everyone's going to like you--and you're not going to like everyone. As long as you're polite, brush off any comments or critiques that don't sit well. You're not all going to be best buds (or even buds), so don't make a big deal of it. This is not elementary school where you cry, wondering why someone doesn't like you. New member or group lifer, personalities will clash.

2. For the newcomer: you're coming into an established group. The other members know each other and it may be a little hard trying to fit in, but you've been invited into the circle so your foot is in the door. Coming off like a know-it-all is not going to endear you. Remember, you're the person changing the status quo. Be polite, listen, and learn the group dynamics before you stir things up.

3. For the group, the new person is like a kitten, trying to mark a bit of territory for him/herself. Everyone needs stake a bit of 'space' in the group. You invited this new person in, so give him/her a chance to step into the waters. They may be in defense mode because you're all strangers, and he/she is unfamiliar with hierarchy, procedures, etc. in the group. Chill, lean back, and let them get their feet wet as you all familiarize yourself with the new dynamics.

4. Politeness matters--for everyone. What will you accomplish by insulting the group? You will get asked to leave. What benefits are there to disparaging a newbie? There's going to be a blog post ranting about your cold welcome. Professionalism counts! If you must vent, do so at home, with a non-writing pal, family members, or your partner--in private.

5. If the worst happens and the invite needs to be rescinded, when the newbie (or even an established member because circumstances change) walks out the door, end of discussion. For those getting 'uninvited,' swallow your anger and hurt. After all, if the group isn't a comfortable fit, do you really want to stay and be miserable? Of course not, so just move on. There is a group that works for you out there, keep looking. Neither side should run to Facebook, Twitter, blogs, or websites heaving their guts about what went down. It doesn't look good or bode well for the person spewing the vitriol.

What makes me sound like a know-it-all (and I don't, I'm just a 'know-some-of-it')? I've had a critique group for a number of years and people have come and gone. Some I was sad to see leave, but they had their reasons. Others, I couldn't wait to shut the door behind them (and lock it so they couldn't get back in). That's the human condition--agendas, personalities, expectations, needs, perspectives, and experiences lead to conflict (as if the world situation/history weren't proof of that!).

Group not working out? Say thank you for the invite, but you need to go elsewhere for what you need/want. Individual not working out? Apologize for the situation that leads you to ask them to find another group that is better suited for them. Then, everybody HUSH! See, easy!

The publishing world is tough enough without us turning on each other like cannibalistic piranhas.

Be good to each other!


Monday, April 8, 2013

Big Things Happening Here!

I've done this before, but I'm doing it again- with a different set of writing buddies: The Next Big Thing.

I have to thank my friend and fellow writer (who's also an illustrator magnifique!) Leeza Hernandez. Leeza is also our regional advisor for the New Jersey Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. Here's her link, so check out her work and show her some author/illustrator love:

 My 'Next Big Thing:'
1) What is the working title of your next book? Hopefully Sirenz 3, Myth Appropriated will be out in ebook in the fall, and Blonde Ops (Thomas Dunne) will be out in winter, 2014. As for solo stuff, I'm working on a sci fi titled Lethal Dose.
 2) Where did the idea come from for the book? Sirenz is a collaboration of Natalie Zaman's and my ideas, the basic premise of Blonde Ops was our editors' (yes, 2 editors! Peter Joseph's and Kat Brzozowski's idea. Lethal Dose was my 2012 NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) project.
 3) What genre does your book fall under? Everyone knows Sirenz is Greek mythology in a contemporary setting. Blonde Ops is a spy thriller adventure set in Rome. Lethal Dose is an NA (New Adult) sci fi.
 4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition? For Sirenz, Nat & I agreed that Ian Somerhalder IS Hades. (sigh). I would have liked Candice Accola (Caroline) for Sharisse but by the time Hollywood calls, she'll be too old (no offense, Candice!). As for Meg, Nat like Selena Gomez. For Blonde Ops, we haven't decided yet (maybe we should do that asap!). For Lethal Dose, I would so love Nicholas Hoult (Warm Bodies, Jack the Giant Slayer) to play Dalen Steele.

For Adara, I want  Ksenia Solo (Lost Girl, Black Swan).

 5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? Sirenz 3: When the girls need him, this time Hades appears--but there's always a price to pay and Sharisse and Margaret will have to commit the perfect burglary--quickly--or they miss the prom and die. Blonde Ops: Thrown out of yet another school for hacking, Bec Jackson's skills come in handy when in Rome--because someone's after the First Lady. Lethal Dose: Little more than a nomad, Earthling Dalen Steele helps support his family as a poisoner--but someone's targeted him and the prime minister of the Planetary Council.
 6) Who is publishing your book? Sirenz: it'll go to ebook and we'll get back to you when it's finalized. Blonde Ops: Thomas Dunne (St. Martins). Lethal Dose: stayed tuned! 
 7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript? Sirenz: still working on it! Blonde Ops: six months. Lethal Dose: one month! (That's the joy and terror of NaNoWriMo!)
 8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? Sirenz: the Goddess series by Aimee Carter. Blonde Ops: the Heist Society series by Ally Carter (maybe I should change my name to Carter...) Lethal Dose: hmmm. I don't know at this point, this is my first sci fi. I'll let you know when I broaden my reading pile. 
 9) Who or what inspired you to write this book? Sirenz: it's just so much fun; Hades is deliciously bad, and my character is so snarky; I wish I was that cool. Blonde Ops: our agent was approached by Peter and Kat about this project and she suggested us! For Lethal Dose, I'd been wanting to write a sci fi because one of my fave authors, Sherrilyn Kenyon, has a badass sci fi series called The League and it gave me the courage to try since she started in fantasy/mythology.
 10) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest? Sirenz: more Hades, of course! Blonde Ops:  think teenaged 'Jane' Bond, computer hacker, Rome, sexy Dante, mysterious Taj, and a First Lady in danger. For Lethal Dose, Dalen Steele is a guy no one can touch- he's literally poison to everyone, but Adara's  not lettting him go, he's got to answer for attempted murder...

So now I tag Zoraido Cordova: I met her at the Romantic Times Convention in Chicago, but she lives in New York. Her first book, Vicious Deep, was just coming out.

And Ami Joan Pacquette: author and agent, Ami and I know each other through the SCBWI and she's got lots of stuff coming out.

Monday, April 1, 2013

And Now It Begins...

So I got the revision email from my agent for my Sci Fi manuscript. Let's just say that while the word "badass" was involved in some way, so were words like "long," "POV switches," "needs more world building," etc.

So this is what I'll be doing this month:

Feel free to send care packages!