Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Time for the blog post I knew was coming. In fact, I probably could have written it a month ago.

I got an e-mail from my “dream” journal today that my manuscript (scientific, not fiction) didn’t suit their needs. Sad. I think the exact words were: “Thank you for your submission, and…. Rejected! Oh, yeah! Sick burn! Sincerely.…”

Actually, the chief reason for the rejection was that my sample size was too small, and some of my results were not significant. Small sample size? Maybe because cases are going undetected? Maybe because this is a neglected disease? And, it’s going to be neglected until people start hearing about it, because how can they hear about it when these articles get rejected from the big journals? Whew, feels good to get that off my chest! No more complaining. *cracks open a “Punkin” beer* On to the next journal!

But, don’t worry, I’m not the only one in my apartment dealing with a harsh rebuff. I’m the only person, sure, but inanimate objects can know the “sick burn” of rejection too. (Right? No? They can’t feel emotions? Oh.) Anyway, to the point, I brought home a cat tree last night expecting my two cats to be thrilled. At the door, I was greeted with large saucer eyes of terror. Apparently, I own the only two cats who are completely terrified of cat trees. When I got home from work today, I added a little catnip to spice up the deal. The younger one “enjoyed” her catnip, and I think is coming around to the tree, but the older one is still giving it the cold shoulder. He partook of his catnip and then proceeded to bite at everything in sight, focusing mainly on the other cat and my ankles. Maybe he just needs more time?

So, now that I’m getting into the fall spirit (yum, October beer), here’s a toast to rejection!
And here’s hoping I don’t spill this drink on my computer!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Importance of Punctuation

In honor of National Punctuation Day tomorrow, I decided to take a stab at one of these. I really like the way it turned out. Hope you do too!

Dear John,

I’m expecting to spend my life with you. Would be dreadful to keep us apart! I would do anything you say. Stay with me. I don’t want to quit trying. I’m not going to keep this secret, baby. Tell your friends! Tell my parents! I’d die without you!



Dear John,

I’m expecting. To spend my life with you would be dreadful. To keep us apart, I would do anything. You say, “Stay with me.” I don’t want to. Quit trying. I’m not going to keep this secret baby. Tell your friends, tell my parents, I’d die.

Without you,

Sunday, September 19, 2010


I should be sleeping, but I'm addicted to http://unhear.it/.

I have now had the pleasure of hearing not only the "Bed Intruder" auto-tuned song, but also the theme song for a 1980's cartoon entitled Ulysses 31.

"Ulysses, Ulysses, soaring through all the galaxies, in search of Earth, flying into the night!
Ulysses, Ulysses, fighting evil and tyranny with all his heart and with all of his might!
Ulysseee-eee-eees, no-one else can do the things you do!
Ulysseee-eee-eees, like a bolt of thunder from the blue!
Ulysseee-eee-eees, always fighting all the evil forces, bringing peace and justice to all!

It's me Nono, small robot you know, friend of Ulysses!
It's me Nono, small robot you know, friend of Ulysses!"

 A small robot friend?! The Odyssey Cliff Notes sucked! I don't remember Nono at all. But I got pretty bored after he spent all that time with Calypso.

Expert Tip: If the 'New Song' button is giving you problems, refresh the page. After my ninth song (which I needed to get that eigth song out of my head, which helped with that catchy seventh song), I started to have some trouble.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

I'm a PC?

I've been hesitant to spend money on my writing, because honestly up until now. This was just something to do for fun, because I had a neat idea, and I wanted to write it down. But now, two years in, I really really really reaeaealllly want to finish. And, I’ve hit a wall.

I have plenty of excuses. I work full-time. I volunteer two or three days a week with an animal rescue group. (Please spay and neuter your pets!) I have to clean up after my boyfriend, two cats, and three fish. But let’s be honest. Everyone’s busy. There are people way busier than me out there who find the time to finish their novels.

And really, I don’t think time’s the issue. I’m sitting here blogging, watching Man vs. Food (Netflix instant streaming is my best friend and worst enemy- what kind of world do we live in that everything I want is at the touch of my fingertips?!). I have time to finish. But lately, I’ve been opening my WIP, staring at it for 30-45 minutes and then running off to do something else (can we say Atlanta Anime Con?).

After a fantastic suggestion from half of my blog followers (!), I decided to investigate some software to help with my "closet dilemma."

But my quest for software is at a standstill. Last night, I dropped by Best Buy to check out my options.
Here’s how the conversation went:

            “HEY! You’re that guy from ***** (my boyfriend’s band).”
I am practically shoved to the ground, as the Best Buy employee drools over my boyfriend.
*15 minute intermission, while Best Buy employee and boyfriend talk music*
“So, can I help you?”
I get to chime in, finally. “I’m looking for some writing software.”
He leads us to a very small aisle in a dark corner of the store. We have to pull cobwebs down as we walk. He shows us the four boxes of scrapbooking software. I shake my head slowly.
“I need you to be more specific.” He scratches his chin while looking over the software. My boyfriend is goofing around on his iPhoneTM.
“Novel writing software. I want something to help me finish a book. The first two-thirds went great, but this last third is all out of whack. I need help. There are these programs for Macs that help you arrange stuff, with sticky notes and stuff.” He gives me a look, like I’ve just dropped a few billion f-bombs in his face.
“Well, this is all we have.” The selection sucks.
I’m a PC.

We went to two stores, with the same outcome. No one carries PC software other than the Microsoft SuiteTM products, SimCityTM, and  Cake ManiaTM. Time for the online search to begin. I’ll keep you posted. Hopefully, I’ll find some decent, downloadable software.

Okay, I’m off to watch my boyfriend judge the Anime Convention Rock Band battle of the Rock BandsTM or not.

Happy Saturday!

Addition: I forgot to mention, my song-writing, musically-creative boyfriend owns a Mac. One store suggested I borrow his computer. So apparently, that's the solution. Are you creative and own a PC? Make friends with someone who has a Mac!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I Write like a Closet

I have a cat????
This is my junk closet. It was once used for storing fun items (board games, CDs), but over the last two years it has been filled with every miscellaneous thing that entered my apartment, so that I could maintain the outward appearance of a clean and organized home. When company visits, everything that doesn't have a home gets tossed in here.

My writing is like this closet:
I never show it to anyone (except maybe you someday, lucky reader… don’t judge).
Every time I open it, I find something cool (and then immediately lose it again).
I can never find a place for everything I want to fit in there (maybe because it all shouldn’t be in there).
It’s a little embarrassing (yes, I still own Dream Phone).

I am probably not normal in thinking this, but the hardest part of writing for me is all the words. It’s not finding the time to write or thinking of ideas. It’s that I can’t keep track of what the heck is happening in my book. I think the issue is my “method” (I am using the term very loosely).

I see things in bits and pieces. I write scenes out of order. And then when I try to piece them together I can’t figure out when each should happen. I get lost and overwhelmed. After two years of hard labor with my WIP, I’ve hit 100,000 words (yay). I know I’ve got everything in here, but I have to find it and figure out where it goes.
I want to print the whole thing and lay it out so I can look at it. I feel like if I could just look at it, feel it, and move it around, I could find the order. But, despite the fact that I have three printers, not one of them actually print.

What about you all out there in the interwebs? Do you have a technique for keeping things in order (or putting them in order after you’ve let them go wildly out of control)?

Bonus Fun!
Can you find:
a microwave box?
an origami ball?
Apples to Apples?
a fishbowl?
a Christmas present I forgot to mail last year?
an SNL Holiday Special VHS tape (where in the world did that come from)?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Someone else's computer + good time = bad time

So, last night, I was enjoying a nice glass of red wine (you know, for the antioxidants) and using my boyfriend's Macbook, when suddenly, out of nowhere...

My adorable cat leapt onto the coffee table, swished her tail sassily, and knocked the glass of wine across his keyboard!

Or, wait, was it...

An earthquake halfway across the world gave my apartment a little shimmy. The table shook and, through no fault of my own, the wine splashed across the clean white keys!

Or, uhhhh...

Aliens invaded Earth and one of their drone ships slammed into my apartment building and shattered the ceiling, knocking a small piece of plaster into the glass which caused it to tip onto the computer

You believe me, right? Okay, so maybe this isn’t exactly what happened.

Sadly, as is so often the case, the truth is far less exciting. As I reached for the glass, I hit the far side with my hand and spilled the entire contents across the keyboard. Red wine smeared across the pristine white keyboard, like blood on a doctor's white coat. I turned the computer upside down as quickly as I could, but in those few deer-in-headlights moments, a good bit of wine had already seeped in. In one quick moment, I nullified both his computer warranty and the 'honeymoon' part of our relationship.

Update: Today, we took the computer in to the Apple Store. When we pushed the on button to demonstrate how the computer wouldn’t come on, it proved us wrong by actually booting up. We were able to back-up all of his files, music, movies on an external drive. We’re not in the clear yet. Wine is corrosive, so there’s a chance it damaged (and may continue to damage) the motherboard, but at least I don’t have to buy him a new computer today!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Manuscript out on submission

But not my YA novel! You didn’t really think I had time to finish writing, edit the entire thing, research potential agents, and start querying in two days?

Actually, last month I submitted something from my “real life.” Three years after graduating, I’ve finally turned my master’s thesis into a journal-ready manuscript.

Even though I haven’t been through the process, I imagine submitting a scientific manuscript is similar to submitting queries. I have a number of journals in mind, but one dream journal. Ever since I clicked send, I’ve been waiting by my inbox like a poodle-skirted sock hopper by her pink Crosley phone the day before the big dance.

But despite the similarities, there are some big differences. For one thing, with a scientific manuscript, complete submissions are sent to one journal at a time- no query letters, no slush pile. Also, this is the best part, I’m fairly certain that my article will be published; so long as I keep at it, this publication will find a home.

I think the biggest difference has to do with how exposed a writer feels. I wrote my science manuscript based on observable facts that I collected over two years. While my scientific merit is out there for criticizing, the process feels strangely impersonal and, consequently, less risky. I doubt that a rejection, even from my dream journal, would leave me broken-hearted. On the other hand, criticism about my novel (even when constructive) stings, because I created the world and filled with characters I imagined into existence. I wish I could say I was great at accepting criticism, but I can't. It’s hard not to take it personally. Recognizing you have a problem is the first step to recovery, right?

I’m sure many before me have pointed this out, but isn’t there more than a touch of honesty in the multiple meanings of the word ‘submission’?

Merriam-Webster defines “submission” as:
1. an act of submitting something (as for consideration or inspection)
2. the condition of being submissive, humble, or compliant
3. an act of submitting to the authority or control of another

Nothing like opening yourself up and exposing all of your gushy bits for someone else to throw rocks at. Along those same lines, maybe I'll put up something from my book sometime soon. Just promise not to be too mean.

Friday, September 3, 2010

I wrote-ish a book?

I should start by clarifying. My blog title is a lie. I haven't written a book. But I am trying. And I hope by staring at that title, I'll finally get motivated to finish this sucker.

I'm a left-brained, science-loving girl who's exploring something new. My adventure began at a particularly boring conference two years ago when an idea for a story suddenly sprung into my head. I tried to shake it, but it wouldn't go away. So, somewhere in between the PowerPoint slides and the networking reception, I jotted down a quick outline. After some encouraging, I decided to write it. It hasn't been easy so far, but it's been fun.

This isn't my first attempt at writing (I wrote a story in sixth grade called 'The Magic Ring' -spoiler alert- he marries the princess and they live happily ever after), but I think it's my best so far.

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.”- Mark Twain

Status Update
Current Project: 102,916 words (74,764 words that are part of a coherent, linear story line + 28,152 additional words to play around with to try and finish this thing).
Other story ideas that I'm seriously considering working on: 1
Cats currently begging for treats: 2
Boyfriends playing a video game: 1
Boyfriends not playing a video game: 0 (That's right. I've only got one. But don't tell him that. I like to keep him on his toes.)