Saturday, March 27, 2010

Boiling it Down

Awesome, awesome post I found at A Dead Man Fell from the Sky called What's Your Story About. (Thanks, Bane, 'cuz I saw the link on your blog.)

This is one of those eternal struggles... how to boil a 100,000 word novel into a sentence or two. Check out his post - and the story of how he got Janet Reid to represent him. Yes, Janet Reid. THE Janet Reid.

The closest I've been able to get so far is this:

"A Ranger and a lady's maid try to stop a renegade prince with magical powers from murdering his older brother in order to gain the kingdom for himself."

P.S. After I posted this, I turned on the TV and looked up a few movie blurbs on the cable guide. Here are a couple of examples:

Monsters Vs. Aliens - After being struck by a meteorite, a woman develops a unique ability and is taken to a secret underground facility where she meets a group of monsters and is later commissioned by the President to ward off evil aliens attacking the planet.

City of Ember - A generator that has been providing power to an underground city for 200 years is beginning to fail as two teenagers try to discover clues about their city's existence so they can find a way out, but the mayor wants things to keep things the way they are.

So mine seems a little too lean.

How about this?

The Golden Gryphon - An emotionally-repressed Ranger and a shy young gentlewoman try to stop a renegade prince with magical powers from murdering his older brother and gaining control of the kingdom, and discover the unseen forces working behind the throne.

Friday, March 26, 2010

First 25 Words

I hear there's a pretty interesting first 25 words contest going on over at "Miss Snark's First Victim." I didn't know about it until today and I think it's too late to participate. But I thought I'd put up my first 25 anyway on my own blog.

Technically, the first 25 words of the book are in the Introduction.

Long ago, when the mountains were taller and the seas younger, there lived a race of people who were smaller than humans, less magical than...

Are you hooked?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Friday Fix: Anywhere Is

I've got nothing to post. So how about an Enya fix?

This is one of my favorites. It's basically how I feel about my novel:

I took a turn and turned to
Begin a new beginning
Still looking for the answer
I cannot find the finish

It's either this or that way
It's one way or the other
It should be one direction
It could be on reflection

The turn I have just taken
The turn that I was making
I might be just beginning
I might be near the end.

Anyone else know that feeling?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Three Years

I saw this on Myra McEntire's blog this morning.  She has some awesome inspiration for writers there.  And some really funny YouTube videos.

This one hit me in the solar plexus, though.

(Embedded Family Guy video has been removed)

Yes, it's been three years. Three. 3. Trois. Tres. THREE YEARS. 


P.S. Don't forget the Cute Fest is still going on!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Cute Fest!!!

Christine Danek at Christine's Journey posted a Cute Snippit today. It's a scene from her YA novel that is definitely cute. Very endearing. Check it out.

So, I thought, why not have a Cute Fest this weekend and next week? Post a sweet or endearing excerpt or photo on your blog. Then post a link in the comments or tell us how to find it. I'm not savvy enough to do Mr. Linky yet.  You have until next Friday, the 26th, to participate.


Let's get cute.

P.S. Here is how to include a link in a blogger comment:

Suppose I have a blog at and I want to call it Susie's Blog. Then I would type:

< a href=>Susie's Blog< /a>

BUT take out the two spaces that I put in between < and a at the beginning, and between < and / at the end.

The result would appear in the comment as Susie's Blog, and clicking on it would take you to

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

'Tis a Grand Day to Be Braggin'

We all know the Irish have the gift of gab, and love to tell a tale or a boast or two.  So let's all kiss the Blarney stone today and brag a little about our works in progress.

Post a SHORT excerpt of which you are particularly proud in the comments section.  Try to pick something that is illuminating about your characters, your setting, or your plot and will hook us into wanting to read more.

Here's mine:

The gryphon’s eyes caught his gaze and held it, and he knew that it saw everything that was in him, for good or evil, what had been in the past and what would be in the future.  He was laid utterly bare, utterly helpless.

And then it asked him a question. Not just any question, but the One Great Question that cannot be put into words, and is asked of every mortal soul during its walk upon the earth. It is the Question that pulls at the very fibers of the heart, and in answer to which one must either yield, or resist forever.

Faldur yielded, laying his sword on the ground at its feet. His heart turned to water and his bones to straw, but he surrendered himself to Heaven, willing to give up not just his life, but his very essence, in order to serve. The gryphon raised its head and uttered a single, musical cry that seemed to shatter him like glass, and at the same time make him whole.

Monday, March 15, 2010

PG Sex Scene Blogfest

This morning I found, via SaraJayne Smythe's blog, the MG/PG Love Scene Blogfest. I decided to participate because the whole issue of sex in fiction is one that I am very, er, passionate, about.  There are so many gratuitous sex scenes out there that really don't add anything to the stories they tell.  Sex has become a form of cursing, something shocking but meaningless, intended to get the reader's attention but, more often than not, just plain boring.

First of all, let me say that I will not write a MG (middle grade) sex scene.  I don't believe that sexual intercourse has any place in fiction for children in grades 4-6. I wish that sex wasn't a part of fiction for young people under the age of 16, but the fact is that it is a huge part, unfortunately.  I'm turned off by graphic scenes even in adult fiction; I just don't think it needs to be there 99% of the time.  Why?  Because the physical act is meaningless by itself.  The emotions of the characters are what's important, and you can convey those many ways without actually describing the moment of intercourse, or what leads up to it. 

So, anyway, here is my entry for the Blogfest.  One of the rules was you can't 'fade to black.'  The rest of the rules are here. To clarify, I am not writing a scene with teenagers in it, but a scene that I feel is acceptable for teenagers to read.

Sam leaned her head against Pete’s shoulder as the light from the Coleman lantern grew dimmer.  He put his arm around her. She was shivering.
“We’re going to die here,” Sam said. “A hundred – no, a thousand – years from now, some archeologist will find our bones and think we were trapped by accident.”
“We’re not going to die.” He squeezed her shoulder encouragingly.  “Bradley will find us.” 
“C’mon, don’t pretend.  This is serious.”
“I know, but I'm not ready to give up yet.”  The lantern dimmed again, the battery so low that he could just barely see the sheen of moisture on the tunnel walls.
“I’m so glad you’re here.  I don’t want to die alone in the dark.”  Her voice cracked.  “But I don’t want you to die, either.  God, I’m so sorry.  I’m so sorry for everything.”  She began to cry softly.
“Shhh.  It’s not your fault.”  Without thinking about what he was doing, he kissed her wet cheeks.  Then his lips moved to her mouth, and his hands began to caress her.  He felt he should say something, ask permission, but it was like his body had a will of its own.  He expected her to pull away but to his great surprise she melted into him and began to kiss and caress him back.
The lantern went out.
They clung to each other in the darkness, kissing passionately, desperately, as if to prove they were still alive and kicking.  Despite the chill, they unbuttoned and unzipped their shirts and jeans, shivering as their skin touched, immersing themselves in the joy of physical discovery. The darkness no longer mattered, and their fear was swallowed up in the intensity of this moment, now, together.
At last they relaxed, still twined around each other, sweating and content.  Sam said, her voice curving with a smile, “What would the archeologists think if they found us like this?”
“Damn the archeologists!”
Then a faint voice echoed through the passage behind them.  Not in front where the rockpile was, but in the deep recesses of the mountain.  “Sam! Pete! Are you there?”
It was Bradley.
“Here we are!” cried Pete.  He began to laugh – a deep, resounding laugh that echoed off the rocks.  Sam squealed and began to wriggle back into her clothes.  Bradley always did have terrible timing.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Weekend Ramblings

The past month has been crazy.  I took a third part-time job, my husband is still unemployed, we've been snowed in a couple of times, and we've all been sick off and on.  And when I get sick I don't get over it in a few days; it lingers a week or more.  This thing I've got now requires mega-antibiotics that have to be taken every six hours, so I'm totally exhausted from staying up to take the last dose in the evening.

It's so frustrating to have all these things I want to do and not be able to get them done.  "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak," indeed.

My sister and I often say that if we had been born in the 1800's and our husbands had decided to go west, we would have been little white crosses on the side of the trail.  We're not exaggerating.  Thank God for modern medicine, and hospitals, and drugs.  I often wish I could have served my country in the military, but I would have been sick more often than I was healthy, and the sand would have really bothered my contact lenses.  Not to mention allergies and sun-poisoning. I have no taste for combat, but I would have liked to have done something behind the scenes.

So I try to use my talent for writing instead. I refuse to give up!  This book will get done somehow, sometime.

I did get my laptop finally!  It cost twice as much as I had budgeted, but that's okay.  We're getting a nice tax refund to cover it.  I'm so grateful that the Bush tax cuts are still in effect.  I did my taxes a couple of years ago (about 2006, I think) using an old tax schedule from 2000 and then compared it to the then-current number.  Do you know that the Bush tax cuts saved us, a middle-income household, about $3,000?  It really gets me riled when people go on and on about Bush just helping the wealthy.  Wake up and smell the numbers, people!  And the money we get back goes right into the economy; we have used our tax refunds and rebates for things like new carpeting, energy efficient windows, electronics and down payments on new vehicles.

But, I have to give credit where credit is due... the "making work pay" credit helped us this year, too, so Thank you, President Obama!  And I think I heard that the senate may be extending the Bush cuts a little longer.  They expire this year, so I'm hoping we don't get slammed in 2011.  Didn't we fight a war for independence over excess taxation?  So what is up with this now?  (scratches head) Anyway, enough about taxes.

Let's talk about Laptops!!!  I did a lot of research, and chose lightness, portability and battery life over some other features.  Let's face it, all I basically need is a word processor with Internet access, although I ended up with much, much more.

My laptop is a little 4 lb. HP Pavilion notebook.  I love, love, love it!  The battery lasts 4+ hours, and would last longer if I could resist using the Internet.  It's much faster than our PC, which is about five years old now.  And it's ALL MINE.  I was able to take it to work with me yesterday and work on my novel while my students were taking a quiz, and then I went to the library and continued to write until I had to pick up my son from school.  Then I sat at the dining room table and wrote while he and his friend played online games with the PC.  I'm just thrilled to have this independence!

And, to quote Sabretooth, "Ohhh, shiny!"
(insert gratuitous Hugh Jackman photo here:)