Saturday, March 8, 2014

I am me

I think Marilyn Monroe said it best: "Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are."

My immediate inclination upon logging back into my blog after over a year's abscense is to apologize. To say sorry for not keeping up with it and for not being able to come back with amazing news about finishing my book and querying and publishing. But I can't say those things, and I'm not going to apologize. For starters, why would you all want to listen to my lame excuses? And I spend too much of my life (not just here online, but at work and with friends and family) apologizing for things that don't need to be apologized for.

I'm terrible at keeping up wtih a blog, and I need to own it. It's me!

What I've come to realize in the last year is that we all have our own journies and we're all moving at different speeds and in the end when we reach our destination, it doesn't matter if we sprinted or took a decade because it will feel just as sweet. I'm not a fast writer, as it turns out. And that's okay. I don't have to be anything I'm not. I'm doing it because it fulfills me and makes me smile, and I'll keep at it for as long as it takes.

Not to say that I shouldn't hold myself accountable in some way. I need to be better at working on my story and checking in on my blog, but apologizing isn't going to make that happen. So, I'm going to pick up from here.

Maybe my blog and book suffered a touch, but in the last year, I:
  • got married
  • became a vegan (after 15 years of vegetarianism)supported my husband as he left his job as a librarian to become a full-time musician
  • traveled
  • worked hard at my day job (9 scientific publications!)
  • entered my 8th year as a volunteer at the cat shelter I love so dearly
Whew! It's been great
. And I'm sure you all have done some amazing things- I can't wait to get caught up.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Ancestoral afflatus

Nope, my post today isn't about old relatives farting. Sorry to disappoint! But it is about finding inspiration. I don't think I've talked about this before, but one of the other activities I use to distract myself from chores and working on Power Trio is doing my family's genealogy.

In the 1980s, my grandmother (dad's side) typed about a thousand pages of genealogy .. on a typewriter! She traced everyone back to Sweden in the 1600s. I've had the book for almost two years now, and I've been slowly transcribing the information so that we can share it more widely, be able to search, and update it. Selfishly, I'd really like to update it, since it was done the year before I was born, so I want to put myself in there.

[Random tangent: Here's a little note from my cat Winston for all of you: hoR^tg/y. I'm impressed he got a capital letter and a few symbols in there. Maybe he's the real writer in the family.]

Back to the family tree- there's some really great stuff buried among the pages of basic demographics (date of birth, place of birth, date of death, place of death, and marriages). My grandmother took a trip to Sweden to visit the extended family still living over there and went to a place called the Horn and Pipe in Ljungby. This estate is fabled to be home to trolls. She brought back tons of documents with info about the legends and the home, and I've been typing and translating those too- thanks, Google Translator! I also had some family who went to Alaska for the gold rush. There are a ton of great photos of them with their huskies. As I've expanded and dug into the my mom's side of the family, I've been able to trace my ancestry back to Samuel Wardwell, one of the few men killed in the Salem Witch Hunt.

What's been really neat is seeing how these bits of family history have manifested in my writing. I've given a few of my characters interesting family stories and tied them to historic events. I like to think of everything I do as "research," but learning about my family has probably served me better than all of the hours I log watching cruddy television.

Anybody else out there have an interesting person in their genealogy  Any skeletons from your closet that have made it into your writing?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Watching The Carrie Diaries is like reading, right?

Like any aspiring writer, I spend a lot of time researching. Reading books on craft. Checking out self-editing books. And, of course, reading tons of fiction. And since I write YA I must also research "the youths." I'm always looking for great YA reads. Just finished Ready Player One, and it's one I definitely recommend.

As a devoted follower of Sex and the City and fan of solid works of YA, I was drawn to Candace Bushnell's The Carrie Diaries back in 2010. Then, like most things on my to-do list, I didn't do it. How convenient that they have now turned it into a TV show!

Because, somehow, in my head watching an entire year of TV takes less time than reading a 400-page novel.

I lie to myself everyday.

Anyway. Tonight, I watched the first two episodes of the show. I liked seeing AnnaSophia Robb in the lead role. I've been picturing her as one of the characters in Power Trio since seeing her in the Race to Witch Mountain reboot. I was surprised to see Knives Chau from Scott Pilgrim is still in high school- someone should get that girl a tutor. But, did anyone else watching notice that some of the cast strangely resemble other actors?

I took me a full 60 minutes before I realized that Austin Butler wasn't Chord Overstreet.
Austin Butler PictureChord Overstreet Picture
Austin Butler (Sebastian in The Carrie Diaries) and Chord Overstreet (Sam in Glee)

And another 15 before I figured out that Katie Findlay wasn't Madeline Zima.
Katie Findlay PictureMadeline Zima Picture
Katie Findlay (Maggie in The Carrie Diaries) and Madeline Zima (Mia in Californication)
And now I'm thinking my relentless TV and movie watching might be the reason Power Trio has lain dormant for the better part of a year. Time to enact some no-tech nights.

[Images from]

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Working 9 to 5. And then 5 to 9.

Winston, when he still lived at the shelter. He gave a great
stink eye, which really didn't help him get adopted (but
it did wonders with me obviously!).
Hi everyone. I'm back with a vengeance. As the title says, I've been a busy lady lately. Work is going well and filling a lot of my time with SCIENCE! And about two months ago, after losing Wildman in April, I adopted another cat. Winston was a long-term resident at the shelter where I volunteer. He is a shy, adult cat who frequently hid or ran away, which made him not so adoptable in most people's mind. I decided to give him a chance. He took A LOT of work to get comfortable enough, but he's doing so great now. I couldn't be prouder. His first reaction when we move towards him is to run and hid, but a few seconds later, he comes bouncing back over, trilling and chirping. He gets better every day. Winston and my other cat, Marvel, are still working out there stuff. He likes her a lot, and she likes to chase him into corners and make him hide. There's probably a story in there.

I finally took the writing class as part of Emory University's Evening Learning courses. It was a really great 5 weeks. I learned a bit about the craft, although a lot of the material is similar to what's available online on all of the amazing writer's blogs, but I think what was really good for me was to share my writing with folks and to receive feedback. It's reinvigorated my desire to find a critique group. That'll be a goal for the new year.

Also, I don't know if you guys know this, but it's November! When the heck did November get here! This is the first time in three years that I'm not doing NaNoWriMo, and the biggest reason for it is that I seem to have completely lost track of time and forgot what month it is. I think I'm still back in September...

Hope all of you are doing great out there in the wide, wide world. Happy writing!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Lack of commitment

I was just rereading my post from March and laughing to myself about my resolution to finish the Hunger Games series. I didn't! Another one of those unfinished things on my growing to-do list. But, not to worry, I have found a way to rationalize my decision, so that I don't have to feel like the laziest procrastinator on the planet. When I saw the first movie, I enjoyed it. It was true to the book and fantastic to see the images come to life. I saw it with librarian bf, whose read the entire series. The theater was crammed full of people, most of whom seemed to have been long-standing fans. Which is totally awesome- I love how many kids are reading now! But as much as I liked the movie, I did wonder what someone who hadn't read the series would have thought. Soooooo, the scientist in me has arranged an experiment. I've read the first two books, and I'll see those movies. And then, I'll see the third movie without reading the book. Then, I'll know how both sides feel. See, it's perfect. I meant for this to happen. But the third movie (and forth, since they're doing it as a two-parter) is still a ways away, who knows what will happen before then....

I've also been tearing through a fantastic graphic novel: Bakuman. Even if you aren't into manga, if you're a fellow writer or artist or creator, you should check the series out. I think they're on book 11 or so now, and I'm reading 9 today. It's the story of two young boys who want to become serialized in Jump, a weekly publication. The creators of the story have been in the business for a while (they did DeathNote together), and this manga shows the behind the scenes aspects. There are meetings with their editor, deadlines, writer's block, and all the other aspects of publication. Realistic and really fun. I will finish this one- I promise!

Reading now: Awkward by Marni Bates, Bakuman by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday - Power Trio

I haven't been keeping up with whether or not this is still happening, but I wanted to try my hand at the Six Sentence Sunday posts I used to see all the time. This is part of Power Trio. It was harder to find six sentences that make sense out of context than I thought it would be!

     Sofie tossed a bottle of hand sanitizer over her shoulder. "Be careful you don't use too much," she said. "You can get nasty drunk from the alcohol absorbing through your skin and into your blood stream."
     "That's ridiculous," Addison said.
     "No, it isn't. I read it online." She slammed against her seat, which smashed into my already tingling legs.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

I'm still writing a book

Let's get the sad news out of the way. My wonderful foster cat passed away. Towards the end his medical care was very intensive and very emotionally/physically draining. I wouldn't trade the time with him for anything, but I found that I didn't have much energy to do anything else. He lived a very full life and I was happy to have him for the time I did (although I find myself wishing I could have seen what he was like as a kitten).

In happier news, my real-life job is going well. I got to travel and I'm publishing a manuscript this month (I seem to be able to get writing done at the office!).

Not much progress to report on the writing front, but I'm still working. A few of the other writers I know have gotten book deals- I'll be sure to tell you when their stuff comes out. In the next few months, I think. Seeing them achieve their goals is actually inspiring me to keep going. I hit a bit of a lull, but I've moved to a new writing spot (an adorable tea place) and the change of place is helping me thing of some solutions to the things I'd been tripping on before. Here's hoping the rest of the summer is even more productive.

Happy Fourth everyone!