Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Another year, another un-Resolution Post

It’s become a tradition with me now – my un-Resolution post, my end of the year sum-up and I’m really starting to like it.

Last year’s un-Resolution post was fairly chirpy and upbeat and unfortunately this year’s won’t have quite the same tone. Last year I had a lot to crow about – the best seller lists I made, landing an agent, my first book signing were all badges of honor in the long, hard climb to literary success.

2008 has been about back sliding to a degree – and though I’ve always maintained that I wanted to achieve success slowly, because it’s better to slide back a wrung or two than do a spectacular swan dive from the top to the bottom – sliding back is still discouraging.

This year, though my sales exceeded last year, my joy in writing did not and that’s something I need to address in 2009. I’ve noticed in my travels around the web that I’m not the only author taking stock this year and making hard decisions about my career. With the economy such as it is all over the world, many authors are realizing the success they’ve fought long and hard for is being dragged even further out of their reach. I realized a few months ago that I had a choice for the coming year. I could knock myself out trying to be one of the few authors who will beat the odds and sell, sell, sell despite the global financial crisis, or I could take a step back from the rat race and look at my long-term goals.

What I want, and what I’ve always wanted, is to find contentment. One thing I can say about spending three years as a full time author is, despite it being my dream job, I was never, for a single moment, content. I was always striving to do more, write more, accomplish more, earn more, find ways to get what I wanted, scheme and plan and I ultimately ended up berating myself for never feeling like I had made the right decisions. I’m tired of that life and I’ve realized it’s time to forge a new one.

So 2009 marks a return to a simpler lifestyle for me. I’m not going to quit writing, but I am going to quit worrying about when I will finally make it big, or how I can do promo without feeling like I’m wasting my time, or what marketing plan I need to craft to make it to the top. I’m not going to worry about putting more sex in my stories so they sell better, or learning new ways to write kink or order to latch onto the comet tail of the ‘next big thing.’ I’m not going to worry about how much money there is to be made or not made in publishing.

In 2009 I’m going to worry only about what story I want to tell and how I want to tell it. I’ll worry about submitting a story when I’m ready to submit a story and not when it’s a good time according to the calendar. I’ll worry about eating right, exercising more and maybe finally planting that garden I’ve always wanted to plant. I’ll worry about feng shui and inner peace and going green. I’ll worry about donating to worthy causes and making the people in my life happy and healthy and comfortable and I’ll worry about my royalty totals and my sales numbers...umm...never.

So there it is folks. The good, the bad and the ugly truth about 2009. I’ll still be here, blogging about things that make me go huh? I’ll hope you’ll drop by and say hi now and then and I hope you have a happy, healthy New Year and a wonderful and productive 2009.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Measuring up and Taking Stock

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday! Mine was quiet, comfortable and creative.

Today I'm visiting Shelley Munro at her blog. Come over and say hello!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The day before the day before Christmas

...and all through the house, every creature was stirring and chasing a mouse...

Big Cat and Baby Kitty have been fully integrated and seem to be getting along - amazingly. Now I just fear the Christmas tree won't survive the week.

Today is a half day of school, I've got a full day of work and a few little things to finish before the holiday.

How about you? Are you ready for whatever you might be celebrating this time of year?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Is Black the New Green?

I've noticed something new this year while doing my holiday shopping. I'm wondering if it's a sign of the times or just because retailers are constantly looking for something new and different - but I must ask - what's up with all the black ornaments and decorations?

In Wal*Mart the other day, I noticed sets of all black Christmas ornaments [I looked for a picture but I couldn't find any to post to the blog]. Not that they didn't look rather cool, but I've never seen all black ornaments before.

Today in A&P I noticed Christmas wrapping paper with a black background. Now I've done purple Christmas wrap, blue and silver, etc, but never black. It didn't look bad - candy canes and Ho Ho Hos on a black background, but nevertheless - what happened to traditional green?

Today in the mail I got a Christmas card from a friend - silver snowflakes on a black background. Again the card looks cool. It's not ugly or depressing or anything, but again, it reinforces the theme. Now I've got the idea of a silver Christmas tree decorated with all black ornaments. Would that be cool or just weird?

Since pink is the new black [or so I've heard] and now black seems to be the new green - will next year's Christmas theme color be pink, I wonder?

Friday, December 19, 2008

15 Degress Off Cool

Wanna laugh until your head pops off?
Try this. DH and I watched this the other night - it's Bill Envall's comedy DVD - 15 Degrees Off Cool- and it's HIL. AR. IUOUS.
We used to think Jim Gaffigan was the funniest thing since sliced bread - and let's face it, sliced bread is pretty funny, but this guy - this guy makes Gaffigan look downright emo.
I've watched Bill Engvall's sitcom which is pretty funny, but his stand-up is outrageous. If you need a good healthy dose of hysterics - try this. It's gauranteed to make you wet yourself.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Visible kitty settles in

The new prince of the house has made the transition from hiding under the bed at the slightest noise to throwing himself at the bedroom door in an effort to get out and explore the rest of the house.
Saber couldn't care less about the new tenant. He took one look and sneezed on Onyx, then walked away. Topper has lost a few of his marbles, and sits outside the bedroom door all day staring at it. I assume his trying to use his Jedi powers to make it disappear.
I, on the other hand, have abandon all other activities in favor of entertaining the "baby" and devising creative ways to allow Onyx and Topper to interact without getting too close to each other.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Visible kitty appears

Got him! He eats like a champ, so luring him out of hiding took little more than the offer of kitty treats.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Invisible kitty is here to follow, as soon as he sits still long enough to be photographed.

We brought Onyander Dax home yesterday from the Maywood Vetrinary Clinic where he'd been for the past month after being found on a local high traffic road. He'd been hit by a car and was in critical condition, required surgery to fix his back leg.

Healthy now and in need of a good home, we got him! He's five months old approximately and he's the spitting image of Topper, but very shy and retiring. As soon as I can snap a pic of him I'll put it up. Until then, he remains Elusive Cat.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Holiday Crunch

Remember one day last week how I said something about being relatively stress free considering it's almost Christmas?

Well, I lied.

That was just the Thanksgiving Turkey talking. Now that it's almos the middle of the month, I'm starting to freak. Do I have all my shopping done? No. My cards aren't all written out. I'm not sure who else I need to buy for. I need things I don't know where to get, and to top it all off - we're going to have another mouth to feed around here in a day or two.

Yep. There's another kitten coming to live with us. Heaven help me - I must be stopped before I adopt again!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

I fell in love with a pig

Meet Miss Diamond [left] and Contessa Le Pig [right]. They were born on my kitchen table last night during a marathon of 'sock animal' craftiness - all of which I owe to my good friend, Jen Baum.

Jen knows I can't resist crafty things, so she evilly sent me a book on how to make stuffed animals out of socks.

Fortunately DD confiscated the book almost immediately and she and her friend Blondemo spent last night creating the divine Miss D and the Contessa.
I [well, we] are now obsessed. And since I have so little to do these days, what with only three or four manuscripts to edit, revise and/or write, the holidays to prepare for, housecleaning, two outside jobs and Mount Everest of laundry taking over the bedroom - I can now fill my copious spare time with creating an army of sock creatures. Which I intend to do because they are so darn [no pun intended] cute, I can't stand it.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Elusive Voice

As a writer, I’ve heard and been involved in numerous discussions about ‘voice’ that elusive quality every author tries to find and hopes to have. As an editor, I’ve been involved in a number of disputes over ‘voice’ with authors who felt changes to a manuscript impacted upon their ability to weave words in a specific way that defined their ‘voice’.

Like a lot of authors out there, I can’t give a concrete definition of voice. Sure it’s ‘the way you put words together’ but it’s a lot more than that too. I do believe it’s more ‘invisible’ than many people believe. You can have a voice without realizing you do…and I think a lot of writers who are certain they have a distinct voice, really don’t.

I have to say this, finding your voice is something you absolutely cannot do with a dirty page…if an editor is busy correcting your grammatical and spelling errors, you shouldn’t be concerned about having your ‘voice’ ironed out of your manuscript because it’s not visible to begin with. It’s a lot like drawing in pencil on a black piece of paper, or painting a picture on a torn, wrinkled canvas. The picture you create may be lovely, but it’s not visible with all the background darkness or mess. Dirty copy – typos, awkward phrases, grammar nightmares hide your voice and make it impossible to tease out.

Before you worry about voice – or losing your voice to a brutal edit, consider how clean your work is. Is the background [your grammar, your spelling, your punctuation] as clean and error-free as possible? If it’s not, don’t worry about losing or finding your voice. Clean your brush, sharpen your pencil and start with a fresh canvas and your elusive voice will emerge over time.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Don't try this at home

I've got to ask, what is it with advertisers lately? It seems to me they're going out of their way to encourage bad behavior in pursuit of their products.

The other day I was shocked by a phone company commercial [I think it was for Verizon but I'm not sure] where one woman shoots another in the neck with a poison dart to keep her from getting the last phone on sale. This one is pretty bad, but the ones that take the cake for me are the fast food ads where some idiot jumps out of his car and lets it crash into a line of parked cars so he can get into the restuarant faster. Another one for the same company shows a nitwit rear-ending the couple in line at the drive through and pushing their car out of the way so he can order.

Sure these ads are supposed to be funny, and I imagine in small print they contain the necessary legal disclaimers, but seriously. Do companies want to encourage people to commit crimes in the name of their products? Don't you think there should be BIG LETTERS on the phone ad proclaiming: If you shoot your friend with a poison dart, there's a good chance she will sue your ass off?

Those fast food ads aren't accompanied by a voice-over saying: Before this guy gets his sandwich, the police will show up and drag him away in handcuffs, or That couple with the whiplash has already called their lawyer.

I just don't get it. Do these companies think these ads really make people want to buy their products? Personally, I'm afraid to go to a phone sale. Some psycho may dart me if I reach for the wrong cell phone. And now I'm paranoid about going to the drive through at the fast food place - plus I can't even park and go inside because some wing nut might be sailing his car across the lot as he jumps out and rolls into the place to get ahead of me in line. No thanks. I'm staying home. According to the advertisers it's just too dangerous out there to go shopping.

No wonder we're in a recession.