Monthly Archives: January 2012

Link Stew

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I have a new story (yes, yet another new story) eating my brain, so today’s post is just going to be a bunch of links to other people’s intelligent babblings.

Jim C. Hines talks about how being a Black Belt and Writing are similar. I’ve been seriously considering taking up some form of martial arts, so this was a very interesting post for me.

Over at Black Ink, White Paper Eden Baylee talks about Rude Behaviour on Twitter. Social media can be a new and confusing place for a lot of people. It would be so much better for everyone if people just followed her simple suggestions.

This story from the Atlantic Wire about An Unpublished Novelist’s Week as Fake Cormac McCarthy is a perfect example of what not to do on Twitter.

Yesterday, Ilona Andrews talked about Inspiration and her trick for becoming unstuck from writer’s block. It’s actually a suggestion I’ve never seen before, so next time I run into a wall, I may just employ this technique.

Kameron Hurley talks about Self-Sabotage:

Failure is always easier than success. It’s easy to say that you failed because of some external thing. It’s harder to get up, dust yourself off, and say, “Next time, I’ll do better.”

Amen, sister. Amen.

And, as usual, Mr. Chuck Wendig has several fabulous posts up. The first is last week’s post about 25 Things Writers Should Know About Agents.  This week he talks about 25 Things You Should Know About Story Structure.

#5 Relic ~~ Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

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#5 Relic ~~ Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

4 of 5 stars

 

Just days before a massive exhibition opens at the popular New York Museum of Natural History, visitors are being savagely murdered in the museum’s dark hallways and secret rooms. Autopsies indicate that the killer cannot be human…

But the museum’s directors plan to go ahead with a big bash to celebrate the new exhibition, in spite of the murders.

Museum researcher Margo Green must find out who–or what–is doing the killing. But can she do it in time to stop the massacre?

 

Ana Says: I started reading this before Christmas, but set it down because it wasn’t holding my interest. I’m so glad I decided to pick it back up and give it a second chance because I really enjoyed this book. Some of the characters (especially the more antagonistic ones) were a bit flat, but the story was so engrossing I barely even noticed them. Agent Pendergast is a charmingly complex character and my biggest gripe is that he didn’t have nearly enough page time.

Dear Readers

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Dear readers of my future novels,

I, as the author of my works, hereby promise that I will NEVER question your right to speak your mind about my books. I will NEVER equate a negative review with spousal abuse or other such nonsense. I will NEVER bitch about negative reviews in public, nor will I allow any of my friends, family members, or colleagues to bitch about negative reviews of my books in public. And I will NEVER allow my friends, family members, or colleagues to attack or in any way try to lessen the validity of a negative review.

I also promise that I will do my damnedest to write the best book I am capable of writing. I know that I won’t be able to please everybody and I know that some people will even utterly despise my books. And I’m okay with that. I just hope that you will be okay with the fact that I am only going to write books that I want to write because anything else will be less than my best.

Sincerely,

Ana Ramsey

Weekend Update (A Day Late)

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I started writing this yesterday and somehow between my ADD brain and some weird time-vortex that stole half my day away I didn’t get a chance to finish it.

Last nightSunday night, after an agonizing nail-biter of a game, the New England Patriots beat the Baltimore Ravens to advance to the Super Bowl! Yay!

We also received a decent accumulation of snow. Finally! However, it looks like it’s going to warm up and be rainy for several days this week, so all that pretty snow will be gone. :( I’m not a big fan of the cold, but I love winter. I love snow. And I love everything associated with it all – sledding, snowmen, drinking hot cocoa as I watch the snow fall. Okay, I don’t love shoveling, but it’s a hassle I can live with.

Unfortunately, Mother Nature is apparently going through some sort of hormonal flux because today, on January 24, 2012 at just before 11am, the thermometer on my porch reads at 62 degrees F. My entire yard is now a pond because the snow is melting faster than the frozen ground can absorb it. I really hope it doesn’t freeze again any time soon. That’s not going to be good for all of my plants. Or the sidewalks. Or the roads.

I’m on Day 5 of my No Poo regimen and it’s going well. Yesterday was my second time washing with the baking soda and apple cider vinegar. My hair is a bit more staticky than normal, but that’s the only difference so far. Oh, and it’s making my split-ends stand out quite prominently. I guess that means it’s time for me to get my hair cut.

I read that this method is NOT kind to people who have dyed hair because it strips the dye out. I’m hoping that’s true and that it will get rid of the last of this purple that just won’t go away. For a dye that was supposed to fade within two months, it’s certainly doing a damned fine job of sticking around for almost six months.

Next up on my list of hair care treatments is a Crunchy Betty Hot Oil Treatment.

In writing news… well, there isn’t much new with the writing. There is still writing happening and my brain keeps throwing new story ideas my way. One of them seems to be a non-paranormal romance which is just completely messing with my head because I’ve only written a non-paranormal story ONCE. And that was when I was in high school.

Also, it seems like I’m now being forced to step into the 21st century. Both of our house phones are completely dead. Neither of them will hold a charge, even while on the charger. That means either today or tomorrow we’re going to have to go shopping for a cellphone for me. Do they even make cellphones that just make phonecalls anymore? The one my husband has is almost eight years old. The only options it has are call or text. We’re obviously not big on upgrading to new technology. ;-)

No, that’s not true. We’re not big on needlessly upgrading to new technology. If what we have still works and does what we need it to do, why get a new one?

 

#4 An Artificial Night ~~ Seanan McGuire

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An Artificial Night ~~ Seanan McGuire

4 of 5 stars

 

HOW MANY MILES TO BABYLON?

 

 

 

Everyone in the Bay Area knows about Blind Michael, the unseen, dangerous figure whose Hunt sweeps the Berkeley hills on full moon nights. He’s a familiar hazard of life in the Kingdom of the Mists, and most people don’t waste time worrying about him. October “Toby” Daye certainly doesn’t. She has better things to worry about, like paying the electrical bill on time. So it’s understandable that she’d be upset when Blind Michael suddenly starts taking an interest in people that matter to her, like the youngest children of Mitch and Stacy Brown.

 

Tasked to find the missing children, and with the stakes growing higher by the minute, Toby has few choices and fewer allies to help her through the dangers yet to come. With the Luidaeg’s help and a candle to light her way home, there’s a chance that she’ll come through this latest danger…but the sudden appearance of her Fetch doesn’t give Toby all that much in the way of hope…

An Artificial Night is the third book in the October Daye series, a modern urban fantasy set in both the San Francisco Bay Area and the Faerie Kingdom of the Mists which overlays Northern California.

 

 

 

 

No Poo For Me

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No, not THAT kind of poo, but shampoo. As an occasional follower of the Crunchy Betty blog, I’ve been meaning to make my life more crunchy for some time. I’ve been trying to put healthier things INTO my body and now it’s time for me to start putting healthier things ON my body. If I’m going to attempt to be a healthy, balanced person that means I need to be healthy in all (or at least most) aspects of my life.

I’m also trying to reduce my ecological footprint and many of the chemicals we slather on our body are bad for the environment. If they’re bad for the environment, what makes us think they’re good for us?

After reading Betty’s post on going No Poo several months ago, I stuck it in the back of my brain as a “nice idea”. Well, it may be a nice idea, but ideas are meant to be implemented. The “breaking in” period sounds like a rough transition, but I’m hoping that because I only wash my hair once a week as it is, it won’t be as bad. That said, if my hair and scalp DO freak out it’s winter which means it’s hat weather. Also, I work from home. I don’t have to impress anybody with wonderful hair unless I want to.

Here’s a picture of me and my limp, split-end riddled hair right before my first No Poo cleaning. I’ll try to remember to post update pictures once a week for the next couple of weeks.

Tuesday’s Random Tidbits

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  • We finally got an accumulation of snow!
  • It’s not much of an accumulation and it’s all going to melt today, but it’s SNOW!
  • Somewhere between the time all the snow melts and the first new snowfall, everybody loses their ability to drive in the snow.
  • I spent the day yesterday hanging out with my sister-in-law and her two kids.
  • I suck at playing Wii games.
  • My six-year-old nephew kicked my butt at most of them.
  • Neil Gaiman posted a video of Tori Amos’s first television performance from TWENTY YEARS ago. Oy! It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years already.
  • Many internet sites are going dark tomorrow to protest SOPA/PIPA.
  • Betty White turned 90 yesterday. Happy birthday, Betty!
  • I have to do laundry today and I DON’T WANNA! /whiny voice
  • It’s taken me almost three hours to come up with these random tidbits. Time for me to get back to writing.

 

Edited to say that I’m wrong about when Betty’s birthday is — it’s TODAY!

Remodel Woes

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For those who don’t know, my husband and I bought a gorgeous Victorian house back in 2010 and have been busy remodeling it ever since. The one room we thought was going to need very little remodeling was the one I had chosen as my office. We had planned on simply updating the wiring, stripping the paint from the woodwork, and refinishing the floor.

Alas, the house gods have deemed that it not be that easy. Yesterday we started pulling off the baseboards in order to sand them down and the old horsehair plaster wall started to crumble away. Fuuuuck… This makes me sad for several reasons.

1) I really liked the wallpaper. It’s an orange, yellow, and brown plaid from the 60’s or 70’s that actually made the room feel very cheerful and cozy. I’m one of the only people who actually like it, but that’s okay since it’s going to be my office.

2) It means that my office isn’t going to be done before Spring like I’d hoped. Now, we have to wait until the weather starts warming up so we can tear down the walls.

The good news is this means my office will get some actual insulation along the outer walls so I won’t freeze in the winter. And maybe I’ll save a piece of the wallpaper and use it for artwork or something.

 

#3 Raven Cursed ~~ Faith Hunter

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Raven Cursed ~~ Faith Hunter

4 of 5 Stars

The vampires of Asheville, North Carolina, want to establish their own clan, but since they owe loyalty to the Master Vampire of New Orleans they must work out the terms with him. To come up with an equitable solution, he sends an envoy with the best bodyguard blood money can buy: Jane Yellowrock.

But when a group of local campers are attacked by something fanged, Jane goes from escort to investigator. Unless she wants to face a very angry master vampire, she will have to work overtime to find the killer. It’s a good thing she’s worth every penny.

 

Changing Myself

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Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.
Leo Tolstoy

My post the other day about possibly shutting down the blog initiated a massive worldview shift for me. It made me realize that I need to make some changes in my life. I’ve become a bit of a hermit lately, both by necessity and choice. I spend most of my days either in front of the computer, on the couch, or working on a house project. As I’m sure you all can see, that’s a lot of time spent inside the house.

Here’s a very embarrassing confession for you all — I don’t remember the last time I stepped outside my house to do something other than check the mail. It was some time last week… or possibly the week before. Sad, yes? That really needs to stop. I live in a beautiful neighborhood and the weather lately has been gorgeous for January, so why don’t I get outside and take a walk. The fresh air and exercise would do me a lot more good than sitting in front of the computer monitor refreshing Facebook for the millionth time.

I also haven’t been eating properly. I usually eat one maybe two meals a day and wonder why my brain is mush and I’m so tired. How lazy is it of me that I can’t take five minutes to make myself a couple of eggs for breakfast or throw together a tuna fish sandwich for lunch? Yet I spend so much time simply watching my Twitter feed scroll past. Am I really that afraid I might miss something important? On TWITTER? It would also help if we didn’t put off going grocery shopping until our cabinets are starting to go bare.

After talking with my husband, we’re going to start looking into things we can do together outside the house. Maybe even things that involve being around other people.

It’s a lot of work, I know. I hope I have what it takes to see it through to the end.

Wish me luck!

 

P.S. I also blogged about this today over at Black Ink, White Paper.