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Currently Reading



Completed

The Demon's Lexicon - Sarah Rees Brennan
Shadowed Summer - Saundra Mitchell
solanine: (bleeding ink)
So this past weekend was a blast. I attended my first book release party - this one for K.M. Walton's YA debut, Cracked. The launch was held at a local, independent bookstore which, to my surprise, was rather large and very nice. Unfortunately, it's a 50-minute drive with no traffic (uncommon for that area). [personal profile] shveta_writes  and I were surprised at how many people were there when we arrived (and we got there early!).  We were 55 and 56 in line to get our book signed. I estimate there were about 200 people there, maybe more. Wine, fruit, cheese, cupcakes were all being served (check out Frankie Diane Mallis' blog for pictures of these awesome cupcakes and cake based on the book cover  http://frankiediane.blogspot.com/2012/01/cracked-launch-party.html). Unfortunately, i didnt win a door prize but we still had a blast chatting and cheering on Kate.

As an added bonus, I got to see [personal profile] starlady  whom I hadnt seen in ages!!

Afterwards, Kate invited us to the after party at the Social Lounge in West Chester for a bit to chat with some friends and we were able to congratulate Kate again on a successful launch.


Kate's website

www.kmwalton.com
 

solanine: (bleeding ink)
Back at the daily grind today after almost 2 weeks off. I was pretty anxious last night and did not sleep well at all but things are going smoothly and I'm putting out the fires pretty quickly, as well as writing up a training plan for a session I have to conduct next week.

I did some more writing last night on the latest draft. Not as much as I would have liked but every little bit counts as I wind this up - finally!!

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.

~Ray Bradbury


...

I have a few IRL and online friends releasing books, so I'm trying to keep up with them all. Here's one announcement to start. I'm pretty excited since I get to go to two book launch parties in the next few weeks and hopefully another one in the spring :) I'm so happy for all my writing friends accomplishing stuff!!

http://jpsorrow.livejournal.com/336067.html


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Currently Reading

Completed 2011

Ultraviolet - RJ Anderson
The Complete Guide to Writing Paranormal Novels - edited by Kim RichardsThe Vampire Family - Kristin Battestella
The Shattering - Karen Healey
Dracula - Bram Stoker
Murder at the Vicarage - Agatha Christie
The Body in the Library - Agatha Christie
The Breakout Novelist - Donald Maass

Tithe – Holly Black
The Lair of Bones - David Farland
After Hours: Tales from the Ur-Bar - edited by Joshua Palmatier and Patricia Bray
Wizardborn - David Farland
Hannah Singer, Celestial Advocate - Peter G
Brotherhood of the Wolf - David Farland
Sailing to Sarantium - Guy Gavriel Kay
The Runelords - David Farland
Ysabel - Guy Gavriel Kay
The Nothing That Is and other stories - Stacy Danielle Stephens
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms - N.K. Jemisin
The Color of Magic - Terry Pratchett
The Hero of Ages - Brandon Sanderson

LJ attacks

Dec. 2nd, 2011 05:42 pm
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Looks like I might be making this my primary journal...anyone still reading??
solanine: (goggle cat)
[personal profile] wookiemonster !!!  May the upcoming year be filled with good fortune and happiness!!
solanine: (haunted)
Happy Friday!

This has been a crazy week. For some reason I have not been able to access LJ with any reliability so I know I am behind on my f-list and on replies. Sometimes I am able to read but not able to comment!

For whatever reason, I came down with a nasty sinus infection on Wednesday (my teeth even hurt from the pressure) as well as fever. Yesterday was spent recuperating. Today Im feeling a lot better but I still have some congestion.

...
As you may have seen in the news, Catherine Zeta Jones checked herself into a mental facility to help her deal with her bipolar disorder. Normally the concerns of celebrity do not interest me but this is a subject near to my heart and I've made my issues with the media attention this has garnered known on FB.

As i said there, I know I should not be annoyed or upset by the comments made on web articles due to the high troll volume but seriously, it does upset me to see how people treat or view those with a mental illness.

Bipolar is not a trendy disease. It has a spectrum of symptoms and severity. If there has been an increase in the number of diagnoses for the disorder, then perhaps the cause of this is severalfold - more information for doctors means that more people probably will be diagnosed. In addition, with more poeple seeking help, instead of suffering silence, ashamed, there will also be more people diagnosed.

Bipolar disorder cannot be cured by thinking happy thoughts or through sheer will power. Yes, it can be managed better with talk therapy, a good diet, and exercise but it cannot be cured and if fact, will actually worsen as a person gets older and does not get treatment for it.

Bipolar is not an imaginary disease. It exists. I have tracked my own moods and issues both on and off medications and I can speak from experience that I am a better, more focused, and less wildly irrational person on my medications. This is not a placebo effect or else I wouldnt have gone through so many different combinations to find the right one that works for me.

A I said on FB, this a complicated issue. Is there a measure of pressure from pharmaceuticals for doctors to "sell" these pills? Absolutely. But as with everything, we should be able to take personal responsibility for our health and not rely on a pill to solve our problems. Are there holes in this nice, neat answer? Again, absolutely. There are people cannot read, or who may not read English well and trying to find a reliable translator can be difficult, or companies do not want to pay for someone who can do this with accuracy. There are people who are not in any position to care for themselves, whether due to physical, mental, and/or financial limitations.

But my main point is that mental illness should not be mocked or side-swept. Mental illnesses are real and it saddens me that so many people refuse to acknowledge the suffering of other people.
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Dear Friends,

Today is a rainy day here in the Philly area and a bit cool. I know they say 'never begin with weather' so I won't bore you with it but I thought I'd mention the weather because it does tend to make me a bit more introspective.

One thing I've been thinking about both consciously and sub-consciously (as I now realize) is what a large undertaking writing a novel, a good novel, is. Subconsciously this has been a major cause of my procrastination on some days and the source of that pit of fear, the tiny black hole, in my belly, where all my good intentions, goals, and self-confidence goes to die or, at least, be sucked into a parallel universe.

Consciously, as I write, I'm thinking how can I make this better? How can I draw the reader in? How can I "add tension to very page"? How do I not write derivative drivel?

It isn't easy.

There is one small clue, though, one tiny bit of hope shines, that keep me going. My characters. Small Town Ghosts was born, not out of the need to tell a ghost story - ghosts, as well as a title, didn't even appear until a much later rewriting - but to tell the story of a teenage boy who is uprooted and moved to a place where the extraordinary is ordinary (sound familiar?). But what's important, what makes the story mine to tell, is the development of my protagonist as he relates to the world around him and to the other main protagonist, in that world I created, not the premise itself.

I really like my two main protagonists. Do they always do the right thing? No, they're teenagers and they're human in the sense that I created them and they are, in some ways, extensions of me. But this story began because of them, because of Aaron's situation, and their relationship. How would it play out, moving and finding out you might not be the person you always assumed yourself to be, that the world didn't fit the snug cubbyholes you had divided everyone and everything into?

So I think about my characters as Im writing. What can I do to them and how would they react? How can I make you love them, root for them, and fear for them as I do? Because ultimately, it is the characters that a writer creates that stick with us long after we turned the last page, paper or electronic.
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The above title is the theme for tonight's meeting of the South Jersey Writers' Group. Does anyone have any links, or even personal tips, they'd like to share regarding the above? You don't have to be a writer to respond you know :)
solanine: (failcat)
Well this was tip #5 from a recent Writer's Digest email I received about polishing your writing:

Limit your use of possibly offensive language.
Reasons exist for characters to swear. But remember that, nowadays, most books are bought by women and many women don''t like swearing for swearing''s sake (even in gritty or naturalistic novels).


Really? Am I truly reading this in 2010?
solanine: (Default)

Spent some time last night, talking shop with the talented [personal profile] shveta_writes . I've been struggling for a few weeks now with my writing and it was good to talk with someone who at least understands some of my hopes and fears.

You see, I have always loved reading. Ever since i was a child, I loved getting to open a new book. When I was younger and we lived in the city, my brother and I used to walk to the local library, which was a children's library. These were simpler days, when two ten year olds could walk a mile or so by themselves. The first thing I remember seeing when I walked in, since these were the days before computers, was the large wooden card catalog across the middle of the main floor. The tall windows, over the bookcases, let plenty of light into the high-ceilinged room but the best days were rainy days, when we could spend hours browsing and reading books, listening to the rain patter on those windows outside.

During my thirteenth year, my siblings went to summer day camp, but I spent each day at my grandparents house. I think i was too old to go to the same program so while my parents worked, i was left to my own devices under my grandparents' pretty minimal supervision. There was a public pool right down the street (ah, the days before budget cuts!) and I knew several kids from the area since we visited there often. On the whole, not a bad way to spend summer.

But the best part for me, was the fact that there was a library just a few blocks away. Again, i could spend hours in the air conditioning, reading. This was the summer I devoured Ian Fleming's James Bond series, Anna Karenina, Fitzgerald plus a bunch of WWII spy thrillers. I loved spies. All we had at home were a few Sidney Sheldon and Joseph Wambaugh books, which I also read much to my parents' dismay, but at the library I had so many choices. I could explore anywhere and anywhen.

It was natural then, as I went into high school, a new school in the suburbs, away from all the friends and people I knew that i would withdraw into books and writing.  I did make friends but never easily. Books were much better friends. They didnt care if you werent a great party socializer or if you didnt wear fashionable clothes.

Writing let me express myself and i threw myself into my English classes and began my first novel on an old manual typewriter (we wouldnt get a computer for another 2 years). I will admit it was a bad ripoff of a bad scifi movie but at least I tried. I wrote poetry. At first it was all about love and beauty but soon, as I got more involved in alternative music and the more fringe-types at school, it got more angsty yes but also I became more influenced by the great poets, especially T.S. Eliot. My friends and I would sit by candlelight in the woods, reading poetry, discussing books (Sadly, my love of poetry didnt last long after high school).

So writing and reading. My two great loves. I turned away from writing for a time in college as I tried to find out what I wanted in life. But something drew me back and by my mid-20s I was writing again.

Unfortunately, I've never had formal training, although I attended a weekly workshop/critique group run by an author for several years, under whose tutelage I learned many things. I don't know why I never took writing classes. I thing I thought it wasnt something that could be taught. It was something to be learned by doing yes, but you didnt need a teacher, a class, a grading system to teach you. So maybe I missed out on something important.

But to the current day.  I read great books and I wonder if i will ever write something so wonderful.  How can i ever write any thing so smoothly plotted, so wonderfully populated with characters someone could care about, so smart, so entertaining.

Even blogs. I read entertaining blogs and I question my own skills when I see such insight.

What dont I know? What am I missing? What should my next step be? I really dont have any talent. Who am i kidding?

All these thoughts, rattling around my head. Strange little creatures they are. 

(to be continued)
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OK, Elf Trap has been sent out of the door!  Now if I can get Murderous Apparitions out by the end of August/beginning of September, I'll be on a roll.  Still waiting for word on Need though :/

Also, good to note, I found someone to assist me with the TV production details for the novel finally. In fact, I need to email him this week.
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It's such a good feeling to finally be done another piece.  Editing on Elf Trap has been completed.  I just need to determine the best place to send it.

Now I'm debating whether to finish the zombie short story or get working on the finishing Small Town Ghosts (working title of the urban fantasy) since I set myself an end-of-September deadline.
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My head! It hurts! How can I be informative and entertaining at the same time??? Why would anyone want to read this drivel spluttering from my zombie-fried brain??? I must have been insane to volunteer for this AND make it publicly known so that I can't back down without trying. Really? Am I a mental masochist or what?
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I just sent a query to a writing blog about writing a guest post (in response to their call for guest writers).  I'm excited and happy because, even if I don't get accepted, I've done something that I've been afraid of and that is exactly what I've been striving for this year - to get past my fears, to get past my illness and move forward. To accept rejection as a part of life but also as something positive, not negative. After all, one can't be rejected unless one lets down the walls and stands naked (or just partially unclothed to start) before the world.

BUT - isn't there always a but? - I'm extremely nervous. After all, writing about writing means that I believe that I have something to say about writing that will teach or inspire someone else.  And that, my friends, requires a certain amount of self-confidence.  It requires me to move past being solely a student of writing. I say solely because one never, or should never, stop learning. So the question remains...am I qualified to make such a step?

I want to at least try. I recently gave a small presentation to a group about writing and selling short stories. It was well received as I was given many compliments but boy, was I scared the entire time (in addition to technical writing, I teach adults how to do their jobs for a living so I can't blame it on stage fright). All eyes were on me as if I had the magic formula for publishing stories. Really I just tried to provide solid commonsense advice and make the process a little less like a maze with a minotaur waiting for them at the end.   One or two of the group had published and they complimented me at the end so obviously I did something right. 

Does this and a few small writing credits make me qualified? I guess one way to answer that question is to say that we learn something even from the worst teachers. Now that answer does not inspire much confidence I know. But it is still the truth. The short of the matter is that I'll never know if I have anything worthwhile to say or teach unless I try. And if I try and fail once or twice, or many times, I will have learned something each time. Experience is a great teacher.

Like the crew of the Enterprise, in all its various incarnations, I will boldly go.

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So for Do It Day, I have:

- completed conducting an awesome class that I was very worried about

and will be tonight:

- finishing the final edits for Elf Trap to send off by Sunday
- reread the first chapters of Small Town Ghosts (estimated completion date: September 30, 2010 - HOLD ME TO IT!)

(still no word from Weird Tales *mock sob*)
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Last night I had a dream that an editor called me to tell me that my story was accepted for publication and that she had to call me because my story was just so awesome. Wishful thinking lol.
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A fellow writer convinced me tonight to try my hand at Twitter as a tool to connect with other writers (and agents) as well as promote myself. I'll give it a try but I don't want to get too caught up with that and not write! Anyway, here is a twitter-sized story for you (my first try at micro fiction)...

She waited at the bus stop. He never arrived.

...
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