Chat Today (Fri. 7/25)

Thursday, July 24, 2008
Jenna Kay Francis and I will be guest chatting at The Haunt at PNR email list tomorrow.
Stop by and join us for excerpts and fun!

http://groups. yahoo. com/group/The_Haunt_at_PNR/

Bits & Pieces

Today is a variety of things. I've got "Love & Brimstone" submitted to several review sites, so keep your fingers crossed! None of the peer critiques told me it was crap, so hopefully the reviewers will like it too. *LOL*

Have you taken a look at the "Love & Brimstone" book trailer?

Feel free to stop by my MySpace page and show the llluuurrrrvvv. (Uh, metaphorically speaking, of course.) If you have a non-creepy page (ie you're not a hate-mongering freak or trolling for sexually-related or other sales products) feel free to send me a friend request!

I'm off the Celebrex. *pout* I loved it, but it doesn't love me. I started having annoying little side effects like skin rash, chills, and feeling sick to my stomach. *sigh* Now I'm back on OTC until I see my doctor again next week. Needless to say, I'm back in pain and bitchy.

And I found this great video through Anne Douglas' blog. Enjoy!



"Love & Brimstone" Book Trailer Video

Saturday, July 19, 2008
Here's how I spent my Saturday today. I hope you enjoy!

*drumroll, please!*

Friday, July 18, 2008
I just received word that "Love & Brimstone" will be released by Amira Press on August 8th! Whoo hoo!! Mark your calendars and don't forget to stop by the Love & Brimstone blog for more updates, pictures of locations used in the book, and more!

Now if I only had a brain and courage!

Apparently, like the Tin Man, I have a heart. Contrary to what my ex has said in the past, I'm not a heartless bitch. (I might still be a bitch, but I saw my heart on the echocardiogram, so I have proof positive that yes, I DO have a heart.) The tech said that he didn't see anything "alarming" (which is his way of saying, "I can't tell you anything, so don't hold me to this, but you won't drop dead in the next five minutes.") and now I have to wait for my follow-up with my doctor in a couple of weeks to figure out why I've got chest pain. The Celebrex samples are fantastic, but now my insurance says they won't pay for it until I sign over my left arm, my right pinkie toe, and whistle Beethoven's Fifth backwards while standing on my head drinking eggnog from a demitasse cup.

Sigh.

So apparently I will have a fight on my hands. I don't WANT to plow my way through a bunch of damn prescriptions that won't work just so I can FINALLY get my Celebrex. And that's stupid on my insurance company's part, because THEY'LL be paying for the trial and error portion of this war while I work my way through other scripts that WON'T FRIGGIN WORK! How do I know they won't work? Because half of the "alternatives" the Aetna rep listed to me on the phone I've already tried and are about as effective on my pain as popping Sweet Tarts. (At least the Sweet Tarts give me a mouth-puckering sugar buzz.)

Argh.

I'm not asking for vicodin or oxycodone. (I can't take that stuff anyway, I'm allergic to anything with codeine in it.) I'm not asking for narcotics. I'm just asking for something non-surgical in nature that will keep my pain away the way the Celebrex is currently working.

On the good news front, I received business cards I'd had made for "Love & Brimstone" and they are slick! Glossy on the front, with text on the back. Excellent! I ordered them through Vista Print and they look just like they should. Whoopee! AND...final edits are in and being sent to the proofer. So we're down to the final wire on the release of "Love & Brimstone." Eeek! I'm so excited!

I'm a number! :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Yes, I'm a number and I'm happy about it. My RWA membership came through today and I got my confirmation email with my membership number. Woo hoo! I can now update all my query letters. *LOL* (This is one of the things our "economic stimulus package" check paid for, my membership. *LOL*)

Now I feel "official." *LOL*

&^%$#@!!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008
I just got home from playing human voodoo doll. At least, that's what it seems like the lab I got my blood drawn was doing. The air conditioner was set to about twenty below zero, for starters. So all my limbs are pretty much numb (or so I thought). Then the girl comes in to take my blood, and she can't find a vein. She tries, stabs me, withdraws to get another lucky contestant in the "Find a Vein" contest.

This guy comes in and finally elects for one on the back of my hand and they need to collect three gallon-sized tubes worth of blood. He's wiggling the needle around and I'm making faces and trying not to scream.

"Does that hurt?"

"Well, it sure as *&^% doesn't tickle!" It felt like he was trying to yank the damn vein out of my hand.

Argh!

This topped off my morning, which started at my doctor's office. Let me preface this by saying I am not a person who runs to the doctor at the drop of a hat. I also have a VERY high pain tolerance threshold. I love our doctor, I just hate seeing him for me. My left shoulder has been messed up for years, and I know I've got arthritis settling into my fingers (I'm only 37 but spent nearly 7 years working with my ex in an automotive engine shop, and it runs in my family.) but lately I've had some chest pain on my left side that's different. I decided to get an appointment. I know from a previous appointment I have mitral valve prolapse (whatever that is). After my grandmother's death in May from a heart attack, I thought it prudent to get this new pain checked out...now that it's been going on for about two months. Not to mention I've got a history of breast cancer in my family (father's mother) but a mammogram less than a year ago was clean.

Doctor isn't sure if it's my heart, but he's leaning to it being related to my shoulder. He asked how I sit when I write (um, hunched over *LOL*) and said that could be contributing. He also asked if I drank a lot of caffeine.

When I finished laughing my ass off, I said, uh, I'm a writer so the answer to that would be hell yes.

So he prescribed me Celebrex for my shoulder and hands on a trial basis to see if that helps (he didn't like that I'm eating Ecotrin and arthritis strength Tylenol like Pez for some reason *LOL*) and scheduled me an echocardiogram on Friday just to rule out any heart problems.

Getting the script filled will be a challenge, apparently. Fortunately he gave me samples to tide me through. Because the pharmacy tech couldn't tell me how MUCH my copay will be on my script until after they fill it. (How are you supposed to know if you can afford it or not?) She said call the insurance company. I called the insurance company, who gave me a ballpark (between $30 - $50 for a month's supply after I spent twenty minutes in their voice-activated phone tree hell trying to get a REAL PERSON) BUT informed me that since it's a "tier 3" medication, my doctor has to jump through hoops and sacrifice a chicken to get the approval "unblocked" so they'll pay for it and I can get it filled.

Ugh.

Between the doctor's office and dropping off the script, I treated myself to a McD's large caramel iced coffee. YUM. Then the lab. Then I called my husband and ranted and said I was going to get me ANOTHER large caramel iced coffee since I was still in town.

He encouraged me to do just that. *LOL* God I love that man! He said I more than earned it.

Then I came home to bury a guinea pig. *sigh* This was the second one to pass in a few weeks. Our other one (her son) died a couple of weeks ago (she was pregnant when we bought her, we got a buy-one-get-one deal apparently). They were about seven years old (the son was, not sure how old momma was) so they had long, good lives.

Later today, I get to bathe our bulldog with her medicated sulfur-lime shampoo and the whole house will reek of rotten eggs for hours.

Oh joy.

This is a pretty sucktacular day so far, all things considered.

Sucktacular Synopsis Stigma

Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Most fiction writers will probably agree on one thing if nothing else: writing the synopsis sucks.

Period.

In fact, it's a current discussion in The Romance Room email list.

In that same vein, I found some helpful links on writing a synopsis (obviously this is more geared to fiction writing than non-fiction).

Feel free to post in the comments any tricks and tips you have for writing your fiction synopsis. Do you write the synopsis before or after? (I was surprised and a little disturbed to find some write it first... *LOL*) How do you condense a 75k or more word novel down to 2-5 double-spaced pages of text and have it make sense? What do you do? Let's have it, don't be stingy with the advice.

I personally have used the condense each chapter/section down to one sentence, see what you have, build it from there and smooth it out method. That works well for me.

On Editing...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008
The editing process, as I’ve found, is always a learning curve. One can never know too much about editing. The more you edit, the more you learn, which leads to better writing.

Participating on a peer-review critique group is a huge help for me. Not just in terms of getting feedback on my writing, but also seeing how others write, mistakes they make (in turn pointing me to look at my writing for those same issues when I might not have seen them before), and how others interpret the same work in different ways.

One of my weaknesses is commas. As a touch-typist I tend to write like I speak. That means it’s not unusual for me to insert commas where I would naturally take a pause in my speech, and that’s not always where a comma should be placed, grammatically speaking. Add to that every manuscript I write seems to reveal a “repeat” word, one I overuse for whatever reason. Some of my biggest offenders: really, finally, just, And (used at the beginning of a sentence). Not that any of these words, in and of themselves, are bad. But if I overuse them it weakens my writing.

Find and replace is my friend, I’ve learned. *LOL*

Ironically, I don’t struggle with passive sentences as much as I used to. I tend to catch them sooner in the writing process now. Not saying I’m perfect by any stretch of the imagination, just more aware than I used to be.

I’m also one of those writers who will edit up until the manuscript is ripped out of my desperate hands, while I’m still scribbling and crying, “Not yet! Just one more read-through, please!” *LOL* I would probably edit the thing a gazillion times if given the opportunity. There comes a time when I have to let it go, however, and finally do.

I sent Christine, my editor on “Love & Brimstone,” my latest round of edits. I’m preparing to head for the bunker when I get yelled at. *LOL* I’m kidding (I hope!). She’s been fantastic, very patient, and I hope she gets assigned to me for the other books in the series. (And no, that’s not just me sucking up to her either. *LOL*) I’ve heard plenty of horror stories about bad editors, but she’s sharp and knows what she’s doing. I was extremely fortunate that she was assigned my manuscript.

So now back to the grind on another manuscript while I chew my nails. Not only in anticipation of completing the process of seeing “Love & Brimstone” to print, but I have two other manuscripts (unrelated to this one) out in queries. Waiting, waiting, waiting. And other books in the Brimstone Series to complete.