Monthly Archives: August 2011

On Muses, Procrastination, and Writer’s Block

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There’s a lot of contention in the writing world about the existence of both muses and writer’s block. I happen to fall into the camp that believes in both. However, I don’t believe that either of them are mystical outside forces which control a writer.

My Muse is my subconscious. She’s that part of me that finds wonder and magic in everything. My inner child.  I may talk about her as if she’s an outside part of me. I may bitch and moan and gripe that she’s run off ONCE AGAIN with the hot chick down the street. Or that she’s being a recalcitrant bitch who refuses to work with me. But I’m really bitching about myself. About my inability to get out of my own way. Or about my inability to just sit my butt in my chair and just write.

BIC-FOK (Butt in Chair, Fingers on Keyboard) is not one of my strong points. Oh, I can do the whole butt in chair, fingers on keyboard deal all day every day. Surfing the web and finding all sorts of fun goodness is NOT a problem for me. It’s the focusing on the writing without being distracted that gets me every time.

To help with that, I invested in a program called Freedom. It allows me to turn off my internet connection for a set length of time. And the best part? The only way to disable it before the time is up is to restart your entire computer. Paired with Freedom, I have the desktop version of Write or Die. I set it for 500 words in 30 minutes and wing off on my merry writing way. I can usually get those words done in 15 minutes, but I like having the extra time because it tricks my brain into thinking “You wimpy bitch, 500 words in 30 minutes is NOTHING. I will crush those puny words.”

Of course, I occasionally go through periods where I suffer from writer’s block. I’m not talking about a simple “I have no ideas.” These are periods that make me feel like I’ve got thick, dark wads of cotton instead of brains. It’s a matter of not being able to even *think* coherently never mind write.

Many people dismiss writer’s block. They say it’s all in the head. That a “real” writer doesn’t get writer’s block. That it’s just another form of procrastination. To those people I say “Screw you. Screw you right in the ear.” Just because YOU’VE never experienced writer’s block doesn’t mean it’s not real.

And I resent the implication that I’m not a “real” writer simply because I occasionally experience bouts of writer’s block. Is having writer’s block conducive to being a working, published writer? Of course not. Nobody ever said it was. And believe me, I’ve tried every single suggestion I’ve ever come across to get past the writer’s block. Nothing works except for letting it run its course. Will that hamper me as a working writer? Probably, but I’ve found that worrying about things that I can’t control is pointless and only leads to fewer words written.

Just remember that not everybody does things exactly the way everybody else does them. AND THAT’S OKAY! I don’t write the way Chuck Wendig writes who doesn’t write the same way Ilona Andrews writes who doesn’t write the same way Stephen King writes. We’re all walking our own writing paths and striving to tell the best stories we can and that should be all that matters.

I’d also like to remind everybody about the giveaway I’m doing in support of Rob Thurman. Go HERE to enter for free books by a great author!! And, if you already entered but don’t see your comment, WordPress ate a couple of comments that it had marked as spam. Please repost and I’m so sorry. I think I have the problem fixed. Thanks.

Need Some Help

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I just checked my Akismet stats and it shows that a few spam comments were detected yesterday, but under Manage Comments, my spam folder is empty and I know I didn’t delete them. Could they have gotten auto-deleted by WordPress? Is there any way I can find them? I’m worried because they might have been contest entries. *bites lip and looks worried*

Praying for a Fellow Writer

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One of my favorite authors, Rob Thurman, was in a very serious car accident several weeks ago. She nearly died. It was touch and go for a while, but as of yesterday, she was awake and off the ventilator!

Unfortunately, this extended stay in the ICU is going to rack up a HUGE hospital bill for Rob, so I’m urging everybody who loves dark, gritty urban fantasy with pretty boys who fight monsters and play with swords and guns to go out and buy her Cal Leandros series.

Nightlife

Moonshine

Madhouse

Deathwish

Roadkill

Blackout

Rob also has two other great series going. I will admit to not having read any of the books in either of these series, but I have the first books of each sitting on my TBR pile and knowing Rob, they’re just as great as the Cal books.

The Trickster series which is set in the same world as the Cal series, but starring a completely different cast of characters.

Trick of the Light

The Grimrose Path

And the Chimera Series which are sci-fi thrillers about genetically altered assassins.

Chimera

Basilisk

To do my part in helping Rob out, I will be offering up a choice of THREE of her books to the winning entry.

Leave a comment on this post with your top three choices to enter.

Publicly linking to this contest on Twitter/Facebook/your blog/any other social media is worth an additional one entry EACH. (You must leave a comment on this post with links to your posts for the entries to qualify.)

This contest is open to US residents only and will be open until Friday, September 2 at midnight Eastern time. A winner will be chosen using Random.org this weekend and the winner will be announced on this blog on Monday, September 5.

Manic Monday

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I survived Hurricane Irene. Actually, that’s not accurate at all. Hurricane Irene barely even showed her pimply face around here. The worst we got was some heavy winds late last night, several hours after Irene had passed.

My heart goes out to everyone adversely affected by Irene. Unlike the earthquake from earlier last week (Which I didn’t feel even though everybody else did. I wonder if Mother Nature is ignoring me?), lives were lost and billions of dollars worth of damaged was caused. Clean-up is going to be hellish in many areas and I urge everyone to donate or volunteer if you can.

My hometown had areas of severe flooding and evacuations, but thankfully where my parents live was not affected. Although, I called my mom to let her know they were more than welcome to spend the night here if need be.

Today, I woke up to a story idea pounding insistently at the back of my skull. It was so insistent, it wouldn’t let me even think about When Demons Cry until I’d given in to it’s demands and started writing it. I wrote 2100 words in about an hour on it. I think I’ll take some more time later tonight and work on it some more because it’s fun and dark and it has ZOMBIES! I don’t want to say too much more because I always seem to jinx myself when I do that.

Things to do while waiting for my agent to email

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I’m still waiting to hear back from Cameron on my revisions. For the first few weeks I was able to wait patiently because I had both the trip to Vegas and the trip to my aunt’s house to look forward to. Now that both of those are over with, I’m starting to get a bit antsy and am looking for things to distract me so I don’t go completely insane.

1. Work on new material. This one’s a given – you should always be working on something whether it’s writing a new piece or tinkering with an old one. Right now I’m working on book 2 of the series, When Demons Cry.

2. Garden. It’s getting to be time for end of summer maintenance work on my gardens. There are dead and dying plants to be cut back, weeds to be pulled, and areas that need tilling.

3. Work on the house. My office still isn’t done. The floor in the front entranceway needs to be sanded, buffed, waxed, coated with polyurethane, and whatever else goes into refurbishing a hardwood floor. We need to get a plumber in to take out some extraneous pipes and fixtures (but I think that’s going to be  hubby’s project since I got the contractor for the roof and windows).

4. Clean the house. With all of the running around we’ve been doing, the housework has been woefully neglected. From piles of clean laundry to be put away to tumbleweeds of cat hair skittering across the floor, my house is a disaster.

Link Soup

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Since I’m tired and the post I was working on is taking too much brain-energy right now, I’m going to make today’s post all about what other people have to say.

Chuck Wendig answers your emails.

He also lays out the 25 Things Writers Should Know About Social Media.

How to not take things too personally.

Sarah LaPolla shares a beautiful story called The Rental Heart on her blog.

Jane Yolen is under attack by the Tea Party for pointing out their hypocrisy.

And publisher/editor Jason Sizemore clues hopeful authors in on the Five Emails You Should Avoid Sending to Editors.

I’ve been plagiarized.

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Okay, it wasn’t anything more than a Twitter status, but it’s still wrong. Don’t take somebody else’s words as your own. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Twitter status or a work of fiction or a newspaper article. And if you do, a simple apology is a million times better than making excuses for why you did it. And please, please, please do not accuse the person you just plagiarized of being “officially way too upset” because it was just a “cute joke”. That just makes you even more of a dick.

Stacia Kane’s Downside Series

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If you like dark, gritty, very flawed heroines then Stacia Kane‘s Downside series is for you. And best of all? The first three books of the series are on sale as e-books. Get all three for only $11.
UNHOLY GHOSTS only $0.99!

THE DEPARTED HAVE ARRIVED.

The world is not the way it was. The dead have risen, and the living are under attack. The powerful Church of Real Truth, in charge since the government fell, has sworn to reimburse citizens being harassed by the deceased. Enter Chess Putnam, a fully tattooed witch and freewheeling ghost hunter. She’s got a real talent for banishing the wicked dead. But Chess is keeping a dark secret: She owes a lot of money to a murderous drug lord named Bump, who wants immediate payback in the form of a dangerous job that involves black magic, human sacrifice, a nefarious demonic creature, and enough wicked energy to wipe out a city of souls. Toss in lust for a rival gang leader and a dangerous attraction to Bump’s ruthless enforcer, and Chess begins to wonder if the rush is really worth it. Hell, yeah.

UNHOLY MAGIC only $4.99

For Chess Putnam, finding herself near-fatally poisoned by a con psychic and then stopping a murderous ghost is just another day on the job. As an agent of the Church of Real Truth, Chess must expose those looking to profit from the world’s unpleasant little poltergeist problem—humans filing false claims of hauntings—all while staving off any undead who really are looking for a kill. But Chess has been extra busy these days, coping with a new “celebrity” assignment while trying on her own time to help some desperate prostitutes.

Someone’s taking out the hookers of Downside in the most gruesome way, and Chess is sure the rumors that it’s the work of a ghost are way off base. But proving herself right means walking in the path of a maniac, not to mention standing between the two men in her life just as they—along with their ruthless employers—are moving closer to a catastrophic showdown. Someone is dealing in murder, sex, and the supernatural, and once again Chess finds herself right in the crossfire.

CITY OF GHOSTS only $4.99

IT’S A THIN LINE BETWEEN ALIVE AND UNDEAD.

Chess Putnam has a lot on her plate. Mangled human corpses have started to show up on the streets of Downside, and Chess’s bosses at the Church of Real Truth have ordered her to team up with the ultra-powerful Black Squad agency to crack the grisly case.Chess is under a binding spell that threatens death if she talks about the investigation, but the city’s most notorious crime boss—and Chess’s drug dealer—gets wind of her new assignment and insists on being kept informed. If that isn’t bad enough, a sinister street vendor appears to have information Chess needs. Only he’s not telling what he knows, or what it all has to do with the vast underground City of Eternity.

Now Chess will have to navigate killer wraiths, First Elders, and a lot of seriously nasty magic—all while coping with some not-so-small issues of her own. And the only man Chess can trust to help her through it all has every reason to want her dead.

Manic Monday

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My family was invited up to my aunt’s farm in New Hampshire for their annual pig roast this past weekend. Aside from the inevitable drunken drama that took place Saturday night, it was an enjoyable weekend. The last time my husband and I were up there was about ten years ago, so seeing all of the changes they’ve made in that time was amazing.

On our way home, hubby got on the highway going the wrong direction and we ended up adding an extra 100+ miles to our trip.

In writing news, I somehow missed an interview with my agent, Cameron.

Meljean Brook has a contest going on to win one of fifteen copies of Demon Marked.

Jim C. Hines gets his rap on. (I swear I laughed until I cried!)

And so many congratulations to all of the Hugo Award winners this weekend.