Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Process, Random

Friday Fare: Links from the around the ‘Net

FridayFare First and foremost – HALLELUJAH, it is Friday!  And secondly – IT’S THE FIRST DAY OF SPRING!  Winter wasn’t as bad as it could be in the hinterlands of Minnesota, but when you’re the mom of two toddlers – any extended periods of time spent indoors is just cruel to all involved.

Without further ado – here’s the articles that piqued my interest this week:

What common editing mistakes are you making?  Lourdes Venard is a member of the Sisters in Crime Guppies (Great Unpublished) online group that I am a part of.  Recently, she wrote a blog post that encapsulated some of the common mistakes that editors see when editing fiction.  Confession:  I know I’m guilty of a couple of these!

Wow – I haven’t read any of Adrian McKinty’s books, but need to start based on the soundtrack for his Detective Sean Duffy’s books alone.

I do a decent amount of research for some of my stories – I’m nowhere near as detailed as someone like Diana Gabaldon is, but some of the things that I write prompt me to consult subject matter experts or look up articles / various sources to find out random things like the history of embalming (don’t ask.)  Sometimes, I’m simply bookmarking articles for future information – storing little nuggets of information in my head that could be relevant in future stories.  Like this article about a super-secret policing gadget that can listen in on cell conversations.  Hel-lo big brother.

***

Listening to:  As I finalize this post today, I have Simon and Garfunkel’s Concert in Central Park playing.  My parents had this album on cassette when I was a kid and I wore it out.  If I ever had to exist on a desert island, this is probably one of the albums that I’d bring with me.  This one and Paul Simon’s “Negotiations and Love Songs.”

Reading:  I have a couple of books that I picked up from the library – Sanctum by Sarah Fine and The Cold Cold Ground by Adrian McKinty (see the link above that got me interested in reading Mr. McKinty’s books).  I am 99% sure that I’ve read Sanctum, but need to page through it to see if that is the case.  If so, I’ll do a quick re-read since this is part of a larger series of Young Adult (YA) fiction.

Fiction update:  Edits, edits, edits.  I’m still on my April 1st deadline.  Just got to keep plugging away to that goal line and not let life derail me.

Also – I’m getting ready to go to the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) conference next month in Minneapolis.  I had been on the fence regarding my attendance, but they have a Saturday pass for $40.  With my work schedule and with my family, that’s going to be the best option for me.  I’ll be writing more soon regarding what I hope to get from the conference, but honestly – I’m just looking forward to rubbing elbows with some of the Minnesota writers that I’ve befriended over the past few years and drinking with my Writer’s Guild at the conclusion of Saturday’s festivities. 🙂

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Editing, Fiction, Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Process, Random

Friday Fare: Links from the around the ‘Net

FridayFare On Fridays, I post a round up of the various posts and articles that have been of interest to me during the week:

Kristi Belcamino, a fellow Minnesota author, gave a shout out to this website for creating graphics.  I’m looking forward to trying this out and integrating into my social media efforts.

Fidgeting = productivity?  The Wall Street Journal had this article regarding how “creative playtime” may spark new ideas.  The note that I made to myself after reading this was that while I didn’t necessarily agree with this idea (I don’t think that I can play with a Slinky and still type at the same time –  not that coordinated), I have found that music is important for sparking creativity.  If I feel like I’m in a slump, changing a playlist can make my mind skip in a productive direction.

And because I’ve re-discovered that my other creative outlet is cooking and because my sons and I are all getting over colds, I riffed on this chicken noodle soup recipe this week.  It was pretty damn good.

***

Listening to: As I’m writing this, I’m listening to a playlist of Alison Krauss from YouTube, starting with her duet with Robert Plant (“Killing the Blues”), wanting to listen to this song on constant repeat, and then getting some gratification that I’m not the only one who appreciates Gordon Lightfoot.

Reading:  Truthfully?  I’m reading some Highlander/time-traveling smut right now, so I’m not going to be proud about announcing my reading choice right now.  I’m working on a Dean Koontz novel, still need to finish “Skellig” (heading to Chicago and spending an unexpected extra night has thrown a lot of my life off).  Stay tuned … on Tuesday, I’m going to share a shot of my TBR (to be read) pile.

Fiction update:  My work life is ramping up again and it’s causing me a little bit of anxiety.  I have five proposals due before April 13th.  How do I balance this with my own internal deadline (pages in the hands of beta readers by April 1st?).  What I did was print out a fresh copy of my manuscript and I’m taking another run at reading and making edits as I go.  Mentally, I liken this process to my winter driving adventures during my 16th year of life, when I would have to back my Pontiac Sunbird into the field approach across the road from my parents’ farm and take the driveway at a run if I hoped to get up to the top of the drive.  I usually had about a 50% success rate.  Let’s hope that I’m more adept at driving / editing some 20 years later.

Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Process, Random

Friday Fare: Links from the around the ‘Net

FridayFare On Fridays, I post a round up of the various posts and articles that have been of interest to me during the week:

I loved this headline:  Mansion for sale.  Not cheap.  The Pillsbury mansion is up for sale – if you have north of $4 million lying around, you could be the next owner.  I sent the link to my mom (who is also a kick ass real estate agent) and she was amazed how small the bedrooms were.

This has nothing to do with writing, per se – but I love Cary Elwes.  And although I thought that the writer was kind of lame to bring her niece to the interview, it made me swoon a little bit to think of him fawning over a baby.

And wait … this is a writing blog?  OK – this has nothing really to do with the writing craft, but does have everything to do with the genre that I like to write in the best … crime.  And again – another good headline:  Chopping up a body takes a special type of depravity.

***

Listening to: Don’t ask me to explain why, but I am kind of obsessed with Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’s “Uptown Funk.”

Reading:  As I noted earlier this week, I went to the Fair Trade Books bookstore in Red Wing to see William Kent Krueger.  What’s neat about Fair Trade Books (other than the fact that it’s an indie), is that it’s a hybrid of used books and new books.  I picked up a couple of books while I was there.  One of them was Skellig by David Almond.  This is a kid’s book and I’m breezing through it, but I gotta be honest – it’s a gripping story.  And honestly, I don’t know if I care that I’m reading a “children’s” book.  It still has all of the elements of a good story.

Fiction update:  Edits!  I’ve taken a couple of evenings and I’ve been sketching out story arcs to make sure that all of my characters are getting all of the “love” that they need and that I’m not leaving any loose threads undone or narratives unresolved.  I’m still on target to have a draft to beta readers by April 1.  EEEEEEEK.  I am about to let my baby out into the universe.

Fiction, Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Process, Random

Friday Fare: Links from the around the ‘Net

FridayFare On Fridays, I post a round up of the various posts and articles that have been of interest to me during the week:

I loved this article about Nora Roberts from the New York Times’ “By the Book” feature.  I’ve wrote down many of the suggestions and have added them to my Goodreads.

Sometimes I add recipes of things that I plan to make on this blog, since cooking is one of my other creative outlets.  I made this soup from my writing hero J.T. Ellison this past weekend.  Since my kiddos don’t touch it, it makes a ton of leftovers.  Which means I don’t have to cook for most of the rest of the week.  (WINNING.)  And I got a kick out of this post regarding Joan Didion’s cookbook.

***

Listening to:  I wrote a blog post awhile back about listening to music while I write.  To that end, I made a Spotify playlist of the songs that have inspired me / contributed to the muse for After Life.  The songs are a little all over the place (Bowie!  Off-Broadway!), but they all have a spot in the canon.  (Let me know if the link doesn’t work … I’m new at this Spotify thing.)

Reading:  Still on Deborah Harkness.  Took a (very) quick detour to the first Pendergast novel “Relic” by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.  A boyfriend of mine from high school had loaned me that book during my senior year and it was an absolute joy to rediscover it.  It also reminded me how important pacing is in novels.  I am a fast reader by nature (and necessity – I’m the mother of two toddlers) and I slammed that book in four hours.  It was exhilarating.  I’m going to have to visit the library and read the rest of them as well.

Fiction update:  Editing, editing, editing.  I’m past the “this is shit” phase from last week and I remain cautiously optimistic.  The deadline I have set for myself is pages in hands of beta readers by April 1.  I can do this.

Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Process, Random

Friday Fare: Links from the around the ‘Net

FridayFare On Fridays, I post a round up of the various posts and articles that have been of interest to me during the week:

How to Create a Social Media Posting Schedule from Constant Contact.  This was very interesting … I’m a prolific Facebook user (to a fault).  I just started using Pinterest regularly (although, it’s more to corral recipes that I’ve bookmarked on my browser than anything else).   I like Twitter and I just recently joined Tumblr (although I have no clue what the hell I’m doing.).  This is something to keep in the back of my head for the future.

When am I going to break through?  According to the Telegraph in the UK, it will be while I’m in middle age.  So … whee!  That should be shortly then.  (With lots of hard work and some good luck.)

***

Listening to: I just discovered Kacey Musgraves.  (Yes, I spend most of my days under a rock.  Well, in my basement, but you get the point …)  This version of the classic Elvis song just kills me.

Reading:  I’m rereading Deborah Harkness starting at the beginning with “A Discovery of Witches.”  (And I’m celebrating the news that the BBC will be adapting the All Souls Trilogy!  I think they will do the series justice.)

Fiction update:  Editing, editing, editing.  I’ve run into the scary part of my WIP and see that I need to do some structural work.  So I’ve been reading some fascinating stuff regarding the three-act structure and trying to sketch out what my story needs to work and proceed in a forward motion.  I also got some good advice from a mentor of mine. 🙂

Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Process, Random

Friday Fare: Links from the around the ‘Net

FridayFareConfession:  I love the Internet (affectionately known in my household as “the Interwebs.”).  On Fridays, I’m going to post a round up of the various posts and articles that have been of interest to me during the week:

I am about 40% through the latest round of edits on Afterlife (AL) and I’m really excited with how it’s going.  I feel like the edits I’m making are helping to make a more cohesive story and it’s getting the story closer to beta readers.

Articles like this  help:  http://latenightnovelwriting.tumblr.com/post/101646227591/8-words-to-seek-and-destroy-in-your-writing

J.K. Rowling’s notes!  (I came across this a few years back and I loved how she did this – I’ve used something similar and really like how it helps track characters.)

And here I thought I was just lazy: http://elitedaily.com/money/science-simplicity-successful-people-wear-thing-every-day/849141/

I thought that this looked like a useful tool:  http://writerswrite.co.za/cheat-sheets-translate-emotions-into-written-body-language

And because I like to add a recipe onto these round-ups, here‘s what I am hoping to bake this afternoon.

***

Listening to:  I had a couple recent road trips lately.  While I usually have some mixed CDs on hand to help the miles go by, I also like to listen to radio stations and see what’s new.  This song by Hosier is haunting and the YouTube video gave me absolute chills.

Otherwise, my musical tastes reveal how late I am to the game … I’ve just discovered Old Crow Medicine Show.  My eldest loves “Wagon Wheel” and that’s on frequent rotation, along with “Fuzzy and Blue” and “C is for Cookie.”

Reading:  When I originally started drafting this post, I was re-reading Stephen King’s “Bag of Bones.” I was reminded once again why I want to be a writer.  And because it’s brain candy, I’m re-reading Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series.  (This might be the fourth time through??)

Fiction update:  Again, when I originally drafted this blog post, I was in the midst of letting AL marinate (I let my drafts rest between edits so they have a little bit of time to rest).  During that time, I started outlining another story that I had started (and abandoned) a few years back.  My thought process was that I’d have a decent outline ready for when my next round of edits on AL are done and while AL is out with beta readers, I’d start getting more words on the page for my next project.

While I didn’t completely finish my outline, I made some great progress on that project.  But, as it turned out – this past week has been a quiet one at work.  Since I never know when things are going to be quiet on the work front, I decided to go ahead and jump into edits.  (If I wait until there’s a “perfect” time to write / edit, I will never pen another word again.)

I am hoping that this finds you all well!

Accolades, Editing, Fiction, Process, Random

Is this microphone still on?

I’m sorry for my absence. I recently read a statistic that said that nearly x(*)-percent of blogs were abandoned within the first year of their founding and honestly – as someone who has written and contributed to a number of blogs over the past several years, I was not surprised to see that number. Blogging is a commitment. And while I’m going to grant myself some grace in regards to my blogging practice (Demanding full-time job! Two toddlers! Good fiction is going on from my fingertips!), this space is important to me.

So … haaaaaiiiiiii. Happy New Year! How are you all? What’s good that’s going on in your worlds? What is inspiring you?

My family has gotten through the first part of winter without succumbing to flu or other crud (*knock on wood / strikes head*). We had a great time with our family members over the holidays, ate too much food, drove many miles, and just had a good time seeing people we don’t get to see as often as we like to. (My parents are about 2 hours from where my family and I live; my husband’s parents are 3 hours away.)

And things are going gangbusters on the writing front:

Version three edits of Afterlife (AL) were finished before the Christmas Eve deadline that I set for myself. AL is currently resting on my brain’s back burner and will be picked up again in a week or so to start the next round of edits.

AL also received an award! Right before the New Year, I received an email from Mystery Writers of America Midwest Chapter (MWA Midwest) that the critique of AL that I submitted was one of the entries selected for the Hugh Holton Award!

_Hugh Holton
Being called a “promising writer” will never get old.

From MWA Midwest: “Hugh Holton was a Chicago mystery writer and member of MWA Midwest. He wrote eight books about Chicago Police Detective Larry Cole, all of which drew on his experiences as a Chicago cop. When he died in 2001 the mentor program was launched to remember his contribution to the writing community.”

To say that I’m honored and thrilled is an absolute understatement. (I just made my news Facebook official and I’m getting a little verklempt as the “likes” are rolling in from my friends and family, as well as the awesomely random comments I’m getting from folks. Getting. Teary.)

What’s next?

So while v3 is marinating in its own weird thought process, I’ve decided to treat myself to a little bit of a diversion. No, I’m not binge watching old episodes of Quantum Leap. (That was at the tail end of November. And yes, that did get in the way of the deadlines I had set for myself. Darn you Scott Bakula!) I’m going through and outlining a story idea that I had a few years back and have a few chapters written on.

Although AL is a marriage, I’m having a wonderful little fling with this story that I call “Summoned.” Again, I want to give AL a month’s worth of rest, so I’m doing a little bit of research on Summoned, working on an outline (I’ll talk about my crazy writing process in a future post. I always thought I was a pantser – and I am! – but man, there’s something seductive about writing an outline too.). I am aiming to be done with the outline by the time I pick AL up again.

So … life is good. Life keeps rolling on. And I keep setting deadlines. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

(*) Of course, now I can’t find that random statistic regarding how many blogs are abandoned in their first year. But if you Google “abandoned blogs,” various articles state that 95% of blogs are abandoned.

Editing, Fiction, Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Process, Random

Friday Fare: Links from the around the ‘Net

FridayFareHere is my random group of random Internet musings and links that I’ve discovered
recently and want to curate for the rest of the world:

Ha!  I knew there was a reason beyond the fact that I’m the mother of two toddlers that I wear the same thing everyday.  I’m trying to achieve simplicity!

I’m a huge Stephen King fan.  The recent articles in Rolling Stone magazine are lush with details and research. (As a bonus, the first sidebar linked to this story about King’s sons Owen King and Joe Hill.  I’ve read Joe Hill and have enjoyed his work, need to read Owen King’s debut novel.)

I only caught the tail end of the whole “Alex from Target” … phenomenon … thing?  New York Times takes a look at the flip side of achieving viral fame.  I said this in a Facebook comment – I will never understand death threats.  You hate a guy because he’s on the Interwebs.  So you make a death threat?  Seems a little irrational.

And because no Friday Fare is complete without some offering to foods that I hope to cook someday (see my note about being the mother of two toddlers above), here’s something that could make a great addition to any Thanksgiving table.

***

Listening to: I’ve been binge watching/listening to YouTube playlists.  Alan Jackson singing at George Jones’ funeral?  Old 1990s country music videos (think Reba McEntire with BIG HAIR, Vince Gill with a pseudo-mullet, and Mama Judd herself in what looks like a cross between pleather and latex.)  Why 1990s country music?  Well, this happened:

Garth Brooks. Minneapolis. Fourth Row Seats.

After seeing Garth Brooks and attending one of the best concerts of my life, I’m feeling pretty nostalgic for the music I used to hear on the radio – on the school bus, while busing dishes at my great-aunt’s diner, in my dad’s barn …

Reading:  Just finished the final book in Nora Roberts’ “Dark Witch / Cousins O’Dwyer” trilogy.  I read it in a day, so it must have been good.

Fiction update:  I’ve hit something of a wall.  After reading this blog post from Chuck Wendig, I’m taking these words to heart:  “And that, I think, is one of the things that separates the Aspiring Not-Really-Writers from the Really Real Writers — the latter group writes even when it’s hard, even when the motivation is a dry well, even when the inspiration seems like a dead or dying thing. They hook the car battery jumper cables up to the coyote’s car-struck carcass and rev the engine and make the damn thing dance yet again. Seems dead, but isn’t. Every day then is an act of revivifying your own abilities and motivations. The act of writing becomes clarifying to the act of writing. To restate the principle for the third time: momentum begets momentum.”  I work to be a Really Real Writer, even when that means I have a little voice parroting in my head: “This is shit.  These words … shit.  You are shit.  Still shitty.”  One foot in front of the other.  One word at a time.

I’ve had some incredible moments during revisions – I’m not currently experiencing that.  But I can do this.  And if I show up every day, I’ll make progress.  Progress can be revised.  Progress is the goal.  Completion is the goal.