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Thursday, April 28, 2011

The *New and Improved* Goddamn Deadline

So, after much deliberation and hair pulling trying to meet my May 1 deadline... I've decided on a new date for having the first draft of The Pendomus Chronicles, Book 1 completed.

{Que sparkles and trumpets}

May 25th, 2011

This time, I know without a shadow of a doubt, this sucker will be done by deadline.

Why May 25th, you ask?

Well, because it's my #1 cheerleader's/co-conspirator's birthday and it seems like a good present to her. While I have number of awesome friends and family who support me, she's the first one who encouraged me to write. She's been here all along the way and continues to push me forward when I need it. Everyone needs someone in their lives like her. Of that, I am entirely certain.

Thank you, Sherry. I would not be sitting on 134,000 words without your pom poms.

So let me ask you something... 

For those of you who have gone the Traditional route for publishing, what was your next step? The first draft is complete-- at what point do you send out query letters? Obviously, I'm neurotic. I probably won't stop looking at this thing until it's being pried from my cold dead hands screaming, "I can make it better!" 

But at some point, I need to get the ball rolling. I know it can take months... years... *gulp* to get into the hands of the right person. At what point do you bite the bullet, feel it's good enough that if someone asked for the whole manuscript tomorrow-- you could hand it over? 

Thoughts? Opinions? Experiences?

For those of you who went Indie... do you ever regret that decision? Or are you completely stoked with how things have turned out?

Right now, I'd like to attempt the traditional route first. I like working with others and bouncing ideas around. I think I'd like the support and help having a team would/could offer. However, I've got an extensive printing/graphic design background. I know could pull it off on my own, if it came right down to it.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

If at first you don't succeed... change the goddamn deadline.

Okay. Fine, I admit it.

Perfectionism and a freakin' cold have been interfering with my May 1st deadline.

That's not to say things are far off... they're really not. That damn light is so close I can almost touch it (or get run over by it), but... it's still further off than I'd like.

See, I'm a numbers girl. I know when I've been had. This just happens to be one of those times and I'm a little pissed about it. I hate LOATHE missing deadlines.

I'm currently in the midst of the edits for Chapter 32-- out of what I believe will be roughly 40 chapters. That means I have at least one last chapter that needs to be written completely from scratch, with six left to edit.

Yeah, this is not gonna happen. Not in FIVE days, anyway.

It's not for lack of trying, though. I've been at this sucker all month, working to have a new chapter edit done a day... Has this ever happened to you? You work your butt off, only to see the deadline approach and know there's no way it's possible?

"I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by." ~Douglas Adams

I mean sure, I could slough off. I was my idea in the first place, right? Most of the chapters are done-- I could just write the ending, pretend I've gone through the last six... I could make this work. You'd never know the difference... but I'd know. And it would eat my brain.

So what to do now? Deadline's looming - I'll probably get another few chapters done between here and there, but it won't be finished. Not the way I set out and intended it to be.

Well, in my world, there's only one thing TO do: Move the goddamn deadline.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Playing TAG--Seven Things You Didn't Know About Me

Some of my new blogger friends are playing this game and I thought "Why not?" It seems like a fun way to get to know you and in turn, for you guys to get to know me! :D

So, without further ado, I give you:

Seven Things You Didn't Know About Me

1. I never thought I wanted to be a writer, it kind of snuck up on me. Well, more like landed in my lap and slapped me upside the head, but okay. I have an aunt who is a writer and has struggled with it in some form or another her whole life. I didn't want to be that person. Obviously, as time has gone on, I realize I'm not her. I have different experiences and a completely different mindset.

Which leads me to...

2. I grew up in an eccentric house, with a fine artist for a mother and a down-to-earth bowler for a father. At least, that's how I perceived them as a child. Of course, my parents transcend both of those labels now, regardless of how much they still are both.

My middle brother was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor at the age of 2 (I was 5), so my world has always been a little skewed. However, it's been through this trial by fire that my fascination with how the brain operates was born. I'm absolutely enthralled with how we perceive the world around us. --Now, having just turned 30, my brother is still as obnoxious as ever-- but he's still around to be so.

My youngest brother is an Über genius (for the love of all that is holy, don't tell him I said so!) and is currently enrolled in the Physics program at the University of Minnesota.

Yes, that's us, circa 1985.
I really should replicate that hairdo some day, it's simply awesome. 

3. I have an obnoxious passion for the organics industry and eating right. (See also my obnoxious obsession with Jillian Michaels) For two years, I was on the board for our local Co-op and did most of the graphic design work. It was one of the few places I felt my talents were put to good use.

Which leads me to...

4. Three years ago, I went back to school to learn Communication Art. (Graphic Design) While I loved working in school, I found the real world of Graphic Arts to be stifling and manipulative. Neither of which I can handle. I'm a straight forward person with a creative edge and I just can't be put into a box where we want to control the masses. Besides that, I'm too much of a rule bender to make this work in the traditional formats.

Anyway... To this day, my husband's favorite piece that I did is this one:

We had to create a wine label for an assignment and after snooping around the local liquor stores, they all bored the hell out of me. I decided to be myself and go a little nuts. I drew the Banshee in Illustrator and went wild. Notice the organic label? See, told you I'm obnoxious. 

This actually won a Silver Addy Award in 2008.

Despite having forsaken the Graphic Design industry in lieu of writing, I still do web banner design on the side. So my own recent favorite is this one:

Those of you in the know, know why it had to be done. ;)

5. I actually inherited my mother's artistic abilities. When I went back to school for Graphic Design, I found that I have a knack for pastels. Who knew?

This also won a Silver Addy Award in 2008.
Yes, I'm a Whedonite and proud of it.

So did this one. 
This is a based off a picture of my son interacting with our crazy dog, Jedi. (Yes, that's his name.)

6. I love to be creative in just about any form. That includes interior design. When my son was born, I knew without a shadow of a doubt -- he was going to be a Harry Potter boy. (Much to the dismay of my Baptist mother-in-law, but that's a whole different story.)

This is my origination sketch for my son's nursery. No, none of the cutesy bugs and trucks. 
This kid was gonna love Harry, come hell or high water.

Lucky for me, now at 5 years old, the kid's as much in love with Harry's world as I was. He can't wait for bedtime so we can continue to read! (I think I must be doing something right)

My amazing acrylic-painting-fine-artist mother did the detail work for the mural--
The rest was me pretending I knew what the hell I was doing. ;)

My daughter, on the other hand, got the cutesy room. How could I resist fairies and trees, I ask you?

7. I'm openly Wiccan, however, not obnoxious about it. (See also: freakout of mother-in-law)

Every person has an obligation to utilize the philosophies at their disposal to rise above the chatter and find a way to your authentic self. I don't care what that is- as long as it means something to you. I'm not in your head or living your life. If that's Jesus or the Science textbook on your desk, so be it. Mine just comes in the form of the Wiccan philosophies... though, there are some who would look at my beliefs as not Wiccan at all. I tend to have an Atheistic slant and how can you be Wiccan and Atheist at the same time, right? Like I said before, I'm kind of a rule bender and I don't generally find myself needing to adhere the beliefs of others. I march to my own drummer and I'm damn proud of that fact.

As a side note: If you'd like to have a lively discussion about any of this, by all means! I do not however, take kindly to evangelizing. Be forewarned. I demand the same kind of respect you would expect for yourself.

So that's it! Carry on and have a lovely day!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I am an author.

Period. End of sentence.

Okay, seriously, I titled this blog the way I did to hammer home the point (at least in my crazy head) - I'm an author. Sometimes, I need to remind myself of that. I may not be published yet, but I have a world I've been working diligently only for the past 7 months. I have more faith in this story than most people have in humanity. I don't need some sort of outside recognition of that fact to accept the label of author for myself.

Here's my logic. Our subconscious mind is powerful. It is, in many ways, the magic driving this machine that is life. It's just under the surface (Duh -- it has the prefix sub in it! HA!) and we can't escape it. So, why not then, make it work for you?

There are a lot of people out there who are working just as hard as I am, yet want to downgrade their work. "I'd like to say I'm an author, but I think I'd have to have something published for that..." Yada, yada.

So what?

You're setting yourself up for failure -- or at the very least, a long ass wait to get published. Why? Because in the back of your mind, you've given yourself permission to feel inadequate. To not push yourself to the brink of greatness. And guess what? You're great. You feel the desire to write for a simple reason: we need to hear your voice.

I know I bring her up a lot, but Jillian Michaels is amazing. She reminds me everyday in my workouts (Because I own every damn DVD she' ever made. Call me nuts, I can take it.) of what it means to go after something.

"Why would you choose failure, when success is an option?"

Why, indeed?

Recently, I've gone back to earlier chapters of my novel and found myself hating most of what I wrote. Not because it's necessarily bad... but because I've grown as a writer. It doesn't stop me from shuddering at it and wanting to drop everything to go back and make it perfect. (In case you missed it, I've a bit of a perfectionist at times. It's a condition I would happily pass off to just about anyone who would take it!)

However, I'm also deadline oriented. I've given myself this deadline of May 1 to get a full first draft done and I keep pulling myself back into that goal. The goal is not a perfect draft. The goal is a first draft. I want to be able to sit down, read it straight through and it makes sense. I can tweak afterwards, give myself a new goal, etc.

I am also really damn impatient. I want to share this world and the hardest part is having to wait. I think the universe is laughing maniacally as it teaches me patience.

"Ha ha, silly girl. You think you can tame me, you pestilent being!" ~Can't you just hear it? No? Just me, then? Wonderful.

Honestly, I know 7 months and counting is not a long time. In fact, there are many authors out there who's first novel took them years. Even J.K. Rowling. Especially when you are creating a whole new world from scratch. (Did anyone else have flashbacks to Disney's Aladdin right there? Yeesh.)

Anyway... What about you? If you're an author, how long did your novel take? How long is it taking?

It's days like these that I regroup and refocus. What's my goal? Why am I questioning things? Is there an answer?

Then I remind myself: I am an author.

Time will tell if that means anything to the outside world, but it means something to me. I enjoy what I do and even if I chuck out the entire second chapter... I'm cool with that. ;)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Downside of Social Networking for a Bookaholic

So, for those of you who don't know, my first job was working for the local bookstore in my town. At the time, I thought I was in heaven, until I quickly realized that I was paying them to allow me to work there. Every cent I made was going to the new books that seemed to magically gravitate toward my fingertips.

Now, though I'm older and wiser (and I'd like to think more capable with my money), books still have a soft spot in my---- er, checkbook. Ever since launching my platforms to get my name out there and to introduce the world to my own world, Pendomus, I've found my book addiction growing exponentially.

I've been connected to some funny, intense, talented and amazing writers. Some are indie or self-published. Others are traditionally published. Others are like me, a work in progress. All make me want to read their works.

So, what's the problem with that, you ask?

Nothing... If I had time! HA!

I'm nearing completion of the first draft of my novel. I work two other jobs and have 2 young kids tugging at me any time I take a seat at my laptop. (In fact, one's climbing on me as I type.) I'm up at 5am every morning and crawl in bed at 10pm, but not before setting at least 25 minutes aside to read someone else's work. But that doesn't really get me very far, very fast and I want to support you all! Dammit!

I think I've forgotten what the TV is for, since I don't turn it on for anything other than Sesame Street and my morning workout. Shows I once loved have been collecting on my DVR for months and I'm seriously considering turning off the satellite dish. (I've got Netflix, for crying out loud!)

Additionally, I'm frightened to take a good look around my house. I think the dust bunnies have set up a metropolis and my dog is trying to reconstruct himself with all the fur he's left behind. To top it off, April is evidently the triumphant ending to the manic spawning nine months prior, since I think I have 20 birthdays just in the 1st two weeks alone.

I'm beginning to wonder why on Earth I chose May 1st as my deadline, but it's too late now. I'm committed. 

I want to thank all of the fabulous new people I've met in the recent weeks, especially through Twitter. You inspire me, challenge me, entertain me and most of all, remind me why I'm doing all of this. I also want you to know that your books all sound fabulous and my wish list on Amazon is overflowing. I'll get there... I will read them...

But first, I need to get this crazy world of mine written down before my head explodes.

Mostly, because I don't think that would be very ladylike of me. Nor a very organized way of sharing my world. ;)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I work best under stress...

Okay, I've decided.

No more slow meandering through this rewrite and smoothing process. I've made it to the final stretch and I need to give myself a deadline. I work best under stress anyway. Just ask my husband during NaNoWriMo! HA!

My goal/deadline is actually twofold. Personally, I think I could quite possibly be done with this novel sometime mid-month (especially if I really apply myself) but I do also have a number of distractions - birthday parties to plan, for example. So, just in case... I'm going to have a default.

So, here and now, I proclaim that I will officially have the first draft written by May 1st, 2011 and ready to be sent for editing.

If, by the graces of the universe, I'm able to finish it sooner, I'd like to have my queries ready to send out to possible agents by May 1st.

Either way you look at it, May 1st is a big day in my world. Both literally and figuratively.

Wish me luck.

Better yet, skip over to my facebook fan page and press LIKE. :)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Wonders of Writing

It never ceases to amaze me how much of a release writing a novel has been for me. Before I started this journey, it never occurred to me just how many pent up thoughts, feelings and messages I carried around with me.

Every day is a new day. Some days I've written less than a paragraph, others days-- entire chapters. Sometimes even more than that. But the thing that has remained constant since last November is the habit of writing.

I've gotten up nearly every day at 5am to sit down and write. Why 5am? Because I'm so far from a night owl, it's practically ridiculous. Plus, I have small kids. It helps that I find the wee hours of the morning is when my brain is functioning optimally for my creative flow. Especially if I've managed to get enough sleep the night before. Additionally, I still work 2 other jobs and as much as I'd like to focus solely on writing, it can't happen. Not yet. (Fingers crossed for the future, though.)

Another fascinating thing to me, is in this short amount of time (6 months), I've noticed the internal ups and downs within my own mind. How too little sleep affects my writing-- or not enough water. If I try to skip workouts or had a drink the night before. If I'm sick or I'm not being present enough with my kids. Even if I become too obsessed, spending too much time in my world of Pendomus. There have been times when that world has seemed more enticing to be in than the real one! The characters are so real and so loud in my head some days that I can't seem to make them stop talking, even if I tried.

But it's this journey of writing that amazing me. How it's brought into sharp focus the need for balance. Balance in writing, balance in home life. Balance in EVERY aspect of life. Something as seemingly insignificant as not drinking water can mess with my brain -- and I've noticed! It's revealed so much about the inner workings an makeup of my mind and for that, I'm extremely grateful.

Even if my book were never to be published, I can take heart in the fact that it's brought me into focus. Probably better than any other single thing I've done.

Of course, the optimist in me really hopes that you all will love my world as much as I do.

And I think you will. ;)