"Welcome to Japan, folks. The local time is . . . tomorrow."
- from 30 Minutes Over Tokyo, The Simpsons, Season 10

Sunday, December 27, 2009

What Baby Wants

So I think I've encountered the first of many times where what I would pick out for my son is not what he would pick out for himself. Shocking, I know. But it is.

For Christmas, my sister took me on a shopping spree to get whatever baby stuff I wanted. And one of the things on my list was this toy that the kid could push it as they practiced walking behind it, or you could put the seat down and the kid could ride it. Only I wanted the one that had a big lion head on the front where you could push the lion's nose and it would talk to you. But there was another on at the store for half the cost, didn't talk, didn't have a cute lion's face staring at you, and had a whole bunch of things the kid could spin to see different colors or make noise.

When it comes to two items that I'm kind of torn between which one I want to get, I'll show them to my son and have him pick them out. Yeah, I realize he's not even a year old, he's only eight-and-a-half months right now, but I've been letting him choose things for quite a while now.

And really, I wanted the lion walker/rider, but my sister was like, well, this other one's half the cost, so you could buy more stuff. So we set the two boxes on the floor at the store and let the little guy choose which one he wanted.

Of course, he went for the cheaper one.

So we got that one, got some other stuff for him (the usual diapers, wipes, sippy cups, flatware, plates, and toys), and we were good to go.

It was only after I got home, had my husband put together his new walker/rider, go to sleep, only to be woken up by a hungry baby that I started thinking, you know, maybe I should have gotten the lion instead. That was the one thing I wanted to get, but didn't.

Then, this morning, the little guy was playing with his new toys and seemed to really like the walker/rider he picked out. So even though I liked the lion one better, he seems pretty happy with the one he picked out.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I Heart Apocalyptica

Normally, I'm pretty self-centered on this blog, talking about my writing and occasionally about other things like life in Japan or my son. But I found a new band today, so I'll make an exception.

Instead of writing my NaNo novel, I started making a playlist on Youtube for another project I want to work on (Standard Issue). Feeling guilty about that, I decided to add to my playlist for No Leaf Clover. Most of the songs for No Leaf Clover are from Metallica and Linkin Park. Linking Park because it's one of my favorite bands, and Metallica because one of the love interests is based off a guy I knew and Metallica was his favorite band. Plus, the title comes from a Metallica song.

So, I came across this band. And they are amazing. Okay, partly it's because I like Metallica, but mostly it's because the violin is my favorite instrument in the entire world. (Yeah, yeah. I know they're not actually playing violins, but still.)

I've loved violin music ever since I was a little girl when a violinist came to my church to play. I even attempted to play the violin when I was in fifth grade, but gave up shortly after seventh grade because I just didn't have the heart for it. So the violin is kind of a symbol of "What if" for me, of a life different than the one I have now, but it's also very nostalgic. Also when I was a girl, I imagined forming a quartet with my friends. Another friend and I both played the violin, and we had a friend who played the viola and one who played the cello.

There are some Evanescence songs that I enjoy because they have stringed instruments in them. The most notable song is Whisper. I also like that song (Whisper) because it reminds me of Rose (from my Hunter series) who's one of the very first characters I created in the Realm of Shadows.

So here's my favorite Metallica song (Nothing Else Matters) done by Apocalyptica, all with stringed instruments. And yeah, I realize it shows them playing cellos in the video, but still. One, it's such a beautiful song anyway. And two, I like pretty much anything with stringed instruments, but especially violins.

Here's another one, called One.

And yeah, I'll admit. I like just about any song that has violins in it.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The New Adult Genre

St. Martin's Press is holding a contest for "New Adult" novels. And once again, I entered. Just like the other contests I entered, I don't expect to win, but it doesn't hurt to try.

As to what "New Adult" is, well, I'm quite excited to talk about that. It's a genre that's supposed to bridge the gap between young adult and adult novels.

In young adult novels, the main characters are usually between the ages of 14 and 18, they are most often are in high school or of high school age, and it's usually a coming of age story where the main character(s) deals with his or her place in the world.

And adult novels are typically about adults, or deal with adult themes. But the lines get a bit murky when you have adult books about teens or even younger protagonists just because of subject matter. I'd be a lot clearer on this, but I can't think of any examples at the moment.

There there are also "crossover" novels, where the novel was written for the young adult (ages 12+ or 14+, if it's "edgy") or middle grade (around ages 9 to 12) audience, but appeals to adults as well. Two popular crossover series are Harry Potter (which I'm pretty sure started as MG and later became YA) and the Twilight Saga (which is considered YA).

And then there are the novels for those characters who aren't in high school anymore, are looking to college, or maybe just graduated from college and are looking to start a career or whatever. These twenty-something characters are often too old for the young adult genre, but too young for the adult section. Or so I've read on various blogs and message boards.

But then there is some truth to this, since this is roughly the age range that I'm in. When I go to the bookstore or even to my local library, the books seem to be about characters in their thirties or in their teens. (Note that I don't read fiction younger than YA. I never really have, even when I was in that age range. But then, when I was younger, I didn't read all that much since I couldn't find stories about kids my age.) One notable exception being the Heather Wells mystery series by Meg Cabot.

I also remember not finding any college age books during my first summer after college. (Because, let's face it. I had just "escaped" high school, why would I want to read about a character who's still there? Though, my tastes and opinions have changed since then.) And, really, that was what prompted me to start writing semi-seriously in the first place. And I'm pretty sure that's what led me to take my first creative writing class in college, which led to my eventual minor in creative writing.

A few years back, Dorchester Publishing tried to do SHOMI, a line of "action romances" for the 18 - 25-year-old (or the possible "new adult" audience. I really enjoyed the two books I read from the line, and have a third sitting on my shelf patiently waiting for me to read it. Unfortunately, the line folded.

So I'm really interested to see if St. Martin's new adult genre catches on with readers and other publishers. I hope it does, not only because that's primarily what I write and would like to get published, but also because I think there's a lot of potential for characters and stories to be told that aren't seen in either the YA or adult genre (or at least not that I've seen).

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Comments That Make You Go, WTF?!?

Here's another comment cross-posted from the Den of Shadows message board.

From day 15

My main character is sort of an athlete because she's in martial arts, but that's not really the same thing.

Though I think I finally reached a point in her story where all the characters are acting randomly and without my control.

It probably doesn't help that I tried to read through my notes for some ideas.

I came across this one: What do faeries want with an ancient Korean sword anyway?

Yeah, so I have no idea where that came from. And as far as I know, there aren't any faeries in this story. They exist in the world as a whole, but I didn't think any of them made any appearances in this story.

Also, I have my main character fighting these magical constructs and I came across this other note that they're reanimated demon skeletons.


So I have no idea where it's all going, I just hope that it still makes sense to me once November is over.

More on this later. Hopefully.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

More Random Comments

I have a few more random comments from NaNo that are cross-posted from the Den of Shadows message board.

From Day 11

I didn't get any writing done today, but I didn't think I would. What with trying to get a flu shot for my baby only to have them tell me that there weren't any left. And with going up to the Mall of America with my friend so she could get an autograph from some of the actors from New Moon and go to the Q & A session. It was a long and fun day, but didn't help me get any writing done. Oh, well. Hopefully, I'll have better luck tomorrow.

I was at least hoping to get some more planning done, so I had an idea where the next couple chapters are going, but I didn't even get that far. Though I realized that one of the other students in my main character's tae kwon do class has the same name as the main character of last year's NaNo. So I get to decide if they're both the same character, two guys who just happen to have the same name, or change one of their names. I might go with the first one, because it seems like more fun at the moment. But, we'll see.

From Day 12

Things have been going too easy for my main character. I've been focusing too much on the relationship aspect of her life, and now I need to get to more fighting. The next chapter's from my villain's point of view, which should mean more fighting and less romance.

Monday, November 9, 2009

My Little Niche on NaNo

I probably should have posted this before, but I didn't really think about it.

For those curious, here is a link to my little spot on NaNoWriMo.

There, you can read Chapter 1 from No Leaf Clover.


Friday, November 6, 2009

Writing Commentary

These are cross-posted from the Den of Shadows message board.

I've decided to add these here for the curious, the bored, and most for my own amusement. But here's some of my commentary that I've written on the Den of Shadows message board. They are comments about my writing and life during NaNo.

From Day 3

It's been nearly ten years since I was in high school and I'm having a difficult time remembering exactly what it was like. It didn't seem so hard three years ago when I was first working on this story.

Also, my main character who I think of as non-violent (even though she's in martial arts) decided to pick a fight with her best friend. So we'll see what sort of repercussions that has for her.

I forgot to mention earlier, but yesterday my husband and I decided to set up a mini competition for us: to see who gets published first (which will also include finishing our novels, revising them, and sending out queries and all that fun stuff).

From Day 4

Well, what I plan to write today was originally going to be part of the chapter I wrote yesterday. Only, one of these magical constructs that the villain summoned is supposed to narrate the chapter. I'm not sure how a magical construct is supposed to think or feel or even narrate what's going on around it, which is probably why I haven't started the chapter yet. But I guess the only way to find out is to actually write it. And if it turns out that you really can't have a magical construct narrating, then I'll just have to change the chapter's point of view during revisions.

On to figuring out how constructs think.

And from Day 6

My plot's going remarkably well. Of course I haven't gotten to any of the stuff that wasn't really planned out prior to NaNo, so we'll have to wait and see what happens with the vague scene impressions I have for later on.

When I went to bed last night, I was just over 15,000 words in, and roughly one forth of the way into my plot (I'm aiming for 60,000). But, I have a few missing scenes (mostly fight scenes that I haven't felt like writing yet) and a missing chapter. Once I finish those, it'll put me well past the 15,000 word mark, but I don't mind. I'm sure I have a lot of empty filler words that will be removed during revision.

P.S. I never actually wrote the chapter from the magical construct's point of view. I think it would be a fun exercise in writing, but I think the prose and thought process of a magical construct would be a lot worse than that of a zombie. At least zombies can think/say, "Braaaiiinnnssss!!"

National Novel Writing Month

I signed up for my fourth NaNo.

I had plans to finish Kitsu's story by November 1, but those kind of fell through when I went a couple weeks without working on her story. Instead, I read. Then I started revising my vampire novel. And since I got through the first half of it in just over a week, I figured it would take just as long to revise the second half of it. Not so. So now I have two partially edited novels awaiting my return.

Originally, my idea for NaNo this year was going to be about the Mage's daughter from my and my husband's Standard Issue universe. I was really excited to work on it too. There was the mage's daughter who is just about as powerful as the mage himself is, and the only thing that stopped her from using magic to screw with people (just like dear old dad) was whether or not she felt like it. I mean, she was going to high school after all so she didn't have as much free time on her hands, what with homework and extracurricular activities and all.

And in response to some of the teen paranormal romances out there that included a vampire werewolf love triangle, my mage was going to get involved in one. Only she would end up with the werewolf instead.

Then on one of the message boards I frequent, people started talking about zombies and the zombie apocalypse. And I thought, Hey, wouldn't that be fun?

So here's the one sentence summary of the novel I'm not writing this month.

Moonlight, A Standard Issue Teen novel
The all powerful Mage's daughter gets tangled up in a vampire werewolf love triangle until she summons her dead boyfriend from his grave and has to stop the impending zombie apocalypse all while going to high school.

What am I working on instead?

No Leaf Clover
17-year-old Pai must defend the Ancient Korean shortsword, Byung, from a Korean mummy, her new swordfighting instructor, and her crush--all to prove she's the sword's true heir.

It's a young adult novel I started in 2006 during my last semester in college, and I've been wanting to work on it ever since. I didn't work on it in previous years for NaNo because silly me thought it wasn't suitable for NaNo. Apparently, the story is proving me wrong. At the end of day 5, I had just over 15,000 words. that even surpasses my 2000 words a day goal.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Another Contest

If you haven't done so yet, you should head over here and vote for your favorite entry in the Scarlet Boa Contest. Don't have time to read all the entries? You can always just vote for mine, number 132.

I entered The 3rd Sort-of-Annual Stupendously Ultimate First Paragraph Challenge over on Nathan Branford's blog. My entry, the first paragraph of Pai's story, No Leaf Clover, is number 1318, on page 7 of the comments.

Friday, September 25, 2009

I Did It

Well, I finally did it. I entered the first scene of Butterfly Mask in the Scarlet Boa Contest.

I have no idea if Butterfly Mask would be considered paranormal or not. I'm pretty sure fantasy and sci fi/futuristic romances fall under the broad grouping of paranormal romance. Either way, it can't hurt to try.

My scene, along with all the others that were entered, will be posted on October 1, then people can read them and vote for their favorite. And the winner will be announced November 1.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

So Many Stories, So Little Time

Semi-cross-posted from the Den of Shadows message board.

There are so many stories I want to work on, I don't even know where to begin. There's the story that I'm trying to revise right now, and I'm slowly making progress on that. But then there are all the other stories that I could be working on. I keep telling myself that I should just finish Butterfly Mask, then I can work on any story I want.

But I keep getting distracted by thinking about which story I could work on next. Do I want to write the next book in my vampire trilogy, even though the first one needs so much work, it's not even funny? Should I turn the screenplay for Awaken back into a novel just because it was the first story I ever came up with in this world? Or should I just revise it as a screenplay and try to market it that way? Do I want to work on another adult novel after this, or do I want to work on my young adult novel, No Leaf Clover? Or do I really want to go back to my angel and demon story and try to submit that for an anthology? Do I want to pause in my revisions and work on a short story just so I can feel like I've accomplished something?

Plus, NaNo's just around the corner. So I know I want to work on something for NaNo, the only question is what. Should I go back to my vampire trilogy? Since book 1 was the only time I completed NaNo, and I'd really like to do that again. Or should I work on Awaken, since it is the first book in this world and I'd really like to get that one published.

Of course, I should just think of this logically.

1. The angel and demon story would need to be completed by November 1.
2. NaNo starts November 1.
3. I've been working on this version of Butterfly Mask (then called Kitsune) since August 2007. I think it's well past time to finish it and send it out the door.

If (when) I finish Butterfly Mask before November 1, I think it will depend on which I want to write about more: vampires or hunters. Or if I've had time to revise book 1 of the vampire trilogy before then (which seems unlikely). My hunter will probably win out just because I've been thinking about his character more than my vampire, and because I'd prefer to get his book published first.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Can You Read My Manuscript?

I generally read a lot of agent blogs, mainly because I find them to be interesting, entertaining, and educational. Eventually, I'd like to link to some of the blogs I read (not just the agent ones), but that would require a slightly different layout of this blog, since I think the sidebar is overcrowded as it is.


Today, I came across this article, "I Will Not Read Your F*ing Screenplay", about taking your screenplay (though it could apply to any other manuscript for that matter) to an industry professional (other writer, publisher, agent, etc.) and having them read your manuscript and commenting on it or just using them as an "in" to the business.

I guess for me, I never really thought about asking a professional to consider any of my manuscripts, for a number of reasons. 1. I'm a shy person. So first I'd have to actually work up the courage to talk to someone. 2. My first drafts are far from perfect. I get embarrassed just having my husband read my first draft. How embarrassed would I be if a professional were to look at something that is, for all intents and purposes, incomplete? 3. I think 1. and 2. covers it quite well. Plus, I think it's just rude.

One of my friend's uncles lives in New York and is involved with the plays there. I don't know exactly what he does, but he hates it when some random person who might have some connection to him (like one of mine and my friend's teachers from high school who never even met the guy) ask him (or try to get someone else, like my friend, to ask him) if he'll look at something they wrote.

Sure, this may sound like a good idea. I mean, a connection into the business is still a connection, right? There's that saying that goes, "It's not what you know, but who you know," that I think some people try taking just a little too literal. Plus, I think some people are so focused on getting "in" themselves, that they don't think about what it's like for the person who's already "in". Someone on the outside might think, "Oh, it's just one manuscript. How much time could it really take?" What that person doesn't think about are all the other people thinking the same exact thing and how that one person still has a job to do. And no, it's not reading some random person's manuscript.

Aside from the three points I mentioned above, I guess I'd like to add, that if I ever made it "in", I wouldn't want random people coming up to me, asking me to read something they wrote, just because they think I'll somehow magically be able to get them "in". If I have to work hard to get "in", then I think other people should have to work just as hard.

I guess, maybe I'm just weird since I actually rejected an opportunity similar to this. While still in college, I finished the rough draft of Butterfly Kiss (kind of the precursor to Butterfly Mask). I was so proud that I actually finished something that after typing it all up, I printed it off, and showed it to one of my creative writing teachers. I absolutely loved this teacher and he taught my favorite class (Screenwriting). He asked if I wanted him to read it for me. And I was so embarrassed that it was just a sloppy first draft that I actually told him no. But he could have read it, he could have commented on it, and I might have had an "in" into the writing industry, but I said no.

I guess the difference is that I didn't go to him with the intention of having him read my manuscript and possibly take advantage of his contacts. I just wanted to show him that I completed something outside of my creative writing classes. I wanted to share that joy of actually completing something with him because I felt that he had a pretty big impact on me as a writer, and I guess it was kind of like saying thank you. Because of him, I was able to complete something.

But now that he's no longer one of my teachers, and even though he may have "industry connections" (he did publish a couple young adult books), I wouldn't go up to him with the same manuscript, or any other manuscript, and say, "Hey, can you read this for me?"

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Writing ... Is Slow

I'm still working on revising chapter 4. Just as I think I'm done, I think of something different/new/better to do, causing me to rewrite the whole chapter. I'm on my fourth try, and between that (all the tries) and taking care of the baby and now housesitting for my in-laws (making it so I also have to watch their dogs and cook all my meals), it's taken over to months. Kind of pathetic, actually. But at least I see the end (finally finishing chapter 4) in sight. Though when I went to type up the new scene 1 of chapter 4 yesterday, I realized that I still have some changes to make.

On the plus side, this whole writing and rewriting of chapter 4 has forced me to learn/discover/figure out more of the nit-picky details of my world. The downside is that those details don't always show up at the best time, causing me to rewrite the chapter yet again to include them in their proper spot.

Oh well, I just have to keep telling myself that the end product will be worth it. And that even if ultimately those details don't make it into the final draft, I still know them so it makes the world that much more alive for me and hopefully, eventually, that much more alive for the reader.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I Love My Baby

Sure, it shouldn't come as a surprise that I love my baby, but it's not as simple as you might think.

When I first saw my baby (and I'm not talking about the alien-in-the-ultrasound baby), I had no idea what to think of him. Sure, I had spent the months prior to his birth wondering what it would be like to be a mom, what it would be like to finally hold him and have him in my arms. And I didn't believe the teachers at the baby care classes I went to about the whole bonding thing and that the first moments after birth were important to both mom and baby. I thought, what would be so hard about liking him?

Well, was I in for a shock.

The first time I held my baby was after three and a half hours of labor and delivery, and nearly twenty-four hours practically strapped to a bed (sure, I wasn't strapped down, but they wouldn't let me get up). So I looked at my baby and after thinking, you know, he really does look like the little alien from his ultrasound photos, he was just that to me: an alien.

And truthfully, I wanted nothing to do with him.

I had no idea what to do. Luckily, the nurses knew what I had to do, and soon it was time to feed him. Then everybody left, and it was just the three of us (me, baby, and daddy). The last thing I thought before falling asleep was the first thing I thought when I woke up: I have a baby (with a sense of dread) and I am way too young for this.

Now, almost five months later, I can look at my baby, look at the way he's sleeping so peacefully, and still think I have a baby. But instead of that same sense of dread as I first had, I have more of this calming, relaxing, sense of peace.

Sure, there are time when I still think I am way too young for this (being a mom), but I'm starting to get used to it. I don't know if I'll ever get used to it, but there's no going back. There's no changing what has happened. It's simultaneously the scariest and more awe inspiring thing that has ever happened to me. I worry about the future, and what kind of boy, and eventually what kind of man he'll be and know that that will be a direct result of how I raise him (and sure my husband will be helping too, but I'm the one staying home with him day after day). But then I think of all the work I had to go through to get to this point, all the nights of hardly any sleep, all the difficulties feeding him, all the thoughts of having absolutely no idea what to do with him, and yet, I think, if I can make it through all that, what can't I make it through? Some days, that thought is barely enough to keep me going. Especially when I think that there couldn't possibly be any end to whatever's happening.

But then, the baby falls asleep. And it's like the world is so peaceful, time slows down, and it seems like this should never end.

And those are the moments that make it all worth it.

When you can look at his sleeping face and know that after all the fussing and all the crying and all the not knowing how to help him and all the feeling helpless and not knowing what to do that you know that there will eventually be a moment where it's all over, where he's sleeping, and there's just this sense of rightness with the world.

It's those moments that allow me to realize that everything I do for him, all the stress I put myself through, is just because I love him.

It's those moments that I look forward to. When I look at my baby, think I made that, and smile. Where sometimes I want nothing more than to just let his sleep peacefully on my lap because there's nothing else I have to do with him.

Monday, August 17, 2009

What a Cute Kitty

Okay, I don't normally post stuff like this on my blog, but it was just too cute. Plus, it reminds me of my kitty.

The kitty in the video is either smarter than my kitty, dumber, or just plain more determined.

When we lived in Japan, our kitty was obsessed with the printer. Every time I pulled it out to print something for one of my classes or to print my novel, the kitty knew what we were doing and he was right there. Since the printer was kind of old and not working as well as it used to, we could only load in one page at a time, unless we wanted a paper jam. And since my novel was about 340 or so pages long . . . yeah, that took a long time to print. But the kitty was always right there, curious as to what we were doing, trying to stick his paws in the printer to either play with it, see how it worked himself, or just figure out where the high pitched screeching sound was coming from.

Those were the good old days when our kitty was still entertained by things other than us, and when everything was a kitty toy. Now, he mostly sets up kitty traps and catches either our puppy, my in-laws' puppy, or our hands or feet in his carefully laid kitty traps. Of course, our puppy will try to protect us from the kitty traps. And the last time she got caught in one, she harangued the kitty for quite some time afterwards.

Friday, July 31, 2009

This and That

Mostly cross-posted from the eHarlequin message board.

The challenging thing I face with my writing at the moment is figuring out how to balance my writing with caring for my 3-almost-4-month old son. I would have thought I would've had that all figured out by now, but just as I think I'm beginning to figure out his schedule, he changes it on me.

It kind of sucks because I really enjoy writing everything by hand before typing it on the computer, but since I spend so much of my time just nursing him, I really only have one free hand. On the (not-so?) plus side, I'm getting really good at typing one-handed again.

Urban Fantasy

This is cross-posted from the Absolute Write Water Cooler message board.

Are you an UF fan?


If so, for how long and what authors did you start with?

I've been reading urban fantasy since high school. Probably the first UF I read was Christopher Pike's Last Vampire series and Amelia Atwater-Rhodes' novels. I got hooked on UF when I read Dime Store Magic by Kelley Armstrong in college.

Who are your favorite authors?

Amelia Atwater-Rhodes continues to be one of my favorite authors, but I've also read Kelley Armstrong, Lillith Saintcrow, Meg Cabot's Mediator series, Laurell K. Hamilton, Patricia Briggs, Melissa Marr, and others.

Are you writing urban fantasy?


If so, what or who inspired you?

I've been inspired by real life, dreams, movies, anime, manga, books, and role-playing games.

What stage are you at with your UF novel or short story?

I'm still trying to figure out this whole revision thing with my current WIP (Butterfly Mask). I have a YA vampire novel (Like a Frothing Rabid Dog is Adorable) that needs to be revised and kicked out the door. A screenplay (Awaken) that I'd like to turn into a novel. The first draft of a MG (or young YA) novel (My Life as a Magical Girl). The first couple chapters of a YA UF novel (No Leaf Clover). A completed angel and demon short story that may or may not become chapter 1 of something longer (Angel Love, Demon Love). I'm about 3/4 of the way through a YA werewolf romance (Wolf Eyes). And a completed short story about a psychic.

Also known as, I need to get off my butt, finish all these stories I have lying around and kick them out the door so I can get working on all the new ideas that keep popping up without feeling guilty over not finishing my other stories.

I should also look also look into a market for my short psychic story to see about getting a publishing credit for when I finally finish Butterfly Mask and start submitting it to agents.

What's been the most difficult challenge for you?

How to make my vampires, shapeshifters, etc. different from everybody else's. How to add more "cool tech" and general sci fi to my far futuristic world.

Does your story include other genres like sci fi, romance or mystery?

Almost all of my stories have a guy and a girl who eventually get a happy ever after. I think of my YA vampire story as a bit of a murder mystery. And my current WIP takes place in the far future, so I'm trying to mix sci fi with UF.

What's your definition of an urban fantasy?

Vampires, shapeshifters, psychics, witches, faeries, and other supernatural creatures existing in "the world as we know it". "The world as we know it" can be Earth's past, Earth's present, an alternate past, an alternate present, or the projected future from one of these times.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

It's Been a Long Weekend . . . And an Even Longer Week

So I was going to post this last Monday (like over a week ago), and am now just getting around to finishing the post. As as aside, I find that I have no problem starting things, like blog posts or a load of laundry, I just have a difficult time finishing things. Especially when the baby's demanding my attention, then I tend to forget about everything else. So here goes the post from last week, with some changes to account for the delay in posting.

A week ago from last Thursday, I got to meet the newest member in my husband's family. Which means my little guy is no longer the youngest grandchild on his dad's family. I knew he wouldn't be for long, but still. There's something about him being only three months old and already having a younger cousin that makes him seem old. I mean he's only three months, and he's still pretty young, but still he seems older somehow.

At least he's still the youngest grandchild on his mom's family.

Saturday started fun. One of my friend's from college who just got married in October had her first baby on July 14. So I finally got to meet him. It would've been more fun to visit him in the hospital, but it was easier to go up on the weekend, given my husband's work schedule.

While visiting her, I realized that there's a lot of difference in my perspective as a mom in just three months. My baby was born at 5 pounds, 13 ounces. And he seemed tiny when he was born. Now he's around 12 pounds. But these last three months, he's just always weighed what he weighs, so even though I know he's getting bigger, he doesn't seem like it. As I mentioned before, he seems to be exactly the same as he was the day before and the day before that. Even though the numbers tell me he's getting bigger and I'm lifting more than I was, you don't really realize how much bigger he is until you lift a baby that about half his weight.

My friend's baby weighs about 6 pounds, 11 ounces (at least when I was holding him). Just looking at him, he seemed pretty small. But that's to be expected. He wasn't even a week old. But when I went to hold him, it seemed like there was nothing to him. He just seemed so tiny. The weirdest thing about it was that he was born bigger than my baby, and I just couldn't imagine my baby being smaller than him. I mean, I knew that's how it was because my baby was born at 5 pounds, 13 ounces. But there's something about holding a baby smaller than him and considering how big my baby is now, it just seems like it was impossible that there was a time where he was smaller.

At least I'm out of the needing to feed my baby every three hours and needing to wake him up even though he's sleeping so peacefully and I'm so tired just because he needs to eat and gain weight. And I don't envy any new parent for that experience. But somehow, now that I'm past that phase, it seems like it didn't even happen. Probably by the time I have another kid, I'll have completely forgotten all about what that felt like.

After visiting my friend, her husband and her baby, we went to a mini going away party for another friend of ours who's going to Japan. Though now he should be there. But it was pretty fun getting to talk to him again, since I hadn't seen him since Christmas time.

It was sometime during that going away party that the "fun" of the weekend started. Back in February, I ended up getting gallstones and they chose that weekend to "attack" me. So we went to the emergency room that night because I couldn't stand the pain any longer. Okay, it didn't hurt as bad as when I was delivering my baby (because I did that sans painkiller), but it still hurt. And worse, I had no idea why it was hurting. After spending the night at the emergency room, they wheeled me upstairs where the surgeon pretty much said, "You can have surgery now, or you can have surgery later." And since I was already there, I went with the surgery now option.

But apparently getting my gall bladder removed wasn't enough, since there was a bit of scare last week about needing to go in for another procedure. So I got an MRI. And I don't know what it is, but the writer in me was like, "I gotta use this in a book somehow. I don't know what I'll do with it, but it would work really well in a sci fi." The MRI came back clear. It's been over a week post-surgery and everything's all better (well, except for the incisions, which are still healing). What's best is that the pain's gone and it'll never be back. At least not because of gall stones.

The only annoying thing is that I was given a weight limit of 15 pounds for two weeks and all of last week, I couldn't even pick the little guy up. I was pretty glad to have my father-in-law around to help me while my husband was at work. But I am definitely much happier now that I can pick the little guy up again. And when you go for a week not being able to pick up your baby, so you're just limited to holding him, you actually realize how much weight he really does gain once you are able to pick him up again.

But still, when you're picking him up on a daily basis, he weighs the same as he did the day before and the day before that.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

YA Book Meme

I got this meme from Melissa Marr's blog.


Put an “X” next to the books you’ve read
Put a “+” next to the books you LOVE
Put a “#” next to the books you plan on reading

1. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy / Douglas Adams X
2. Kit’s Wilderness / David Almond
3. Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian / Sherman Alexie
4. Speak / Laurie Halse Anderson
5. Feed / M.T. Anderson
6. Flowers in the Attic / V.C. Andrews
7. 13 Reasons Why / Jay Asher
8. Am I Blue? / Marion Dane Bauer (editor)
9. Audrey Wait! / Robin Benway
10. Weetzie Bat / Francesca Lia Block
11. Tangerine / Edward Bloor
12. Forever / Judy Blume X
13. What I Saw and How I Lied / Judy Blundell
14. Tyrell / Coe Booth
15. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants / Ann Brashares
16. A Great and Terrible Beauty / Libba Bray #
17. The Princess Diaries / Meg Cabot #
18. The Stranger / Albert Camus
19. Ender’s Game / Orson Scott Card X
20. Postcards from No Man’s Land / Aidan Chambers
21. Perks of Being a Wallflower / Stephen Chbosky
22. And Then There Were None / Agatha Christie
23. Gingerbread / Rachel Cohn
24. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist / Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
25. Artemis Fowl (series) / Eoin Colfer #
26. The Hunger Games / Suzanne Collins #
27. The Midwife’s Apprentice / Karen Cushman X +
28. The Truth About Forever / Sarah Dessen
29. Little Brother / Cory Doctorow
30. A Northern Light / Jennifer Donnelly
31. Tears of a Tiger / Sharon Draper
32. The House of the Scorpion / Nancy Farmer #
33. Breathing Underwater / Alex Flinn
34. Stardust / Neil Gaiman
35. Annie on My Mind / Nancy Garden
36. What Happened to Cass McBride / Gail Giles
37. Fat Kid Rules the World / K.L. Going
38. Lord of the Flies / William Golding
39. Looking for Alaska / John Green #
40. Bronx Masquerade / Nikki Grimes X
41. Out of the Dust / Karen Hesse
42. Hoot / Carl Hiaasen
43. The Outsiders / S.E. Hinton #
44. Crank / Ellen Hopkins
45. The First Part Last / Angela Johnson
46. Blood and Chocolate / Annette Curtis Klause X +
47. Arrow’s Flight / Mercedes Lackey
48. Hattie Big Sky / Kirby Larson
49. To Kill a Mockingbird / Harper Lee X
50. Boy Meets Boy / David Levithan
51. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks / E. Lockhart
52. The Giver / Lois Lowry
53. Number the Stars / Lois Lowry
54. Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie / David Lubar
55. Inexcusable / Chris Lynch
56. The Earth, My Butt and Other Big, Round Things / Carolyn Mackler
57. Dragonsong / Anne McCaffrey #
58. White Darkness / Geraldine McCaughrean
59. Sold / Patricia McCormick
60. Jellicoe Road / Melina Marchetta
61. Wicked Lovely / Melissa Marr X +
62. Twilight / Stephenie Meyer X
63. Dairy Queen / Catherine Murdock
64. Fallen Angels / Walter Dean Myers
65. Monster / Walter Dean Myers
66. Step From Heaven / An Na
67. Mama Day / Gloria Naylor
68. The Keys to the Kingdom (series) / Garth Nix #
69. Sabriel / Garth Nix X +
70. Airborn / Kenneth Oppel
71. Eragon / Christopher Paolini
72. Hatchet / Gary Paulsen X
73. Life As We Knew It / Susan Beth Pfeffer
74. The Golden Compass / Phillip Pullman
75. Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging / Louise Rennison
76. The Lightning Thief / Rick Riordan
77. Always Running: La Vida Loca / Luis Rodriguez
78. How I Live Now / Meg Rosoff
79. Harry Potter (series) / J.K. Rowling
80. Holes / Louis Sachar
81. Catcher in the Rye / J. D. Salinger #
82. Push / Sapphire
83. Persepolis / Marjane Satrapi
84. Unwind / Neil Shusterman
85. Coldest Winter Ever / Sister Souljah
86. Stargirl / Jerry Spinelli
87. Chanda’s Secrets / Allan Stratton
88. Tale of One Bad Rat / Brian Talbot
89. Rats Saw God / Rob Thomas
90. Lord of the Rings / J.R.R. Tolkien
91. Stuck in Neutral / Terry Trueman
92. Gossip Girl / Cecily Von Ziegesar #
93. Uglies / Scott Westerfeld #
94. Every Time a Rainbow Dies / Rita Williams-Garcia
95. Pedro and Me / Judd Winick
96. Hard Love / Ellen Wittlinger
97. American Born Chinese / Gene Luen Yang
98. Elsewhere / Gabrielle Zevin
99. I am the Messenger / Markus Zusak
100. The Book Thief / Markus Zusak #

Six books I think should be added:

1. In the Forests of the Night / Amelia Atwater-Rhodes X +
2. The Mediator (series) / Meg Cabot X +
3. Wake / Lisa McMann X
4. Thirsty / M.T. Anderson X
5. The Last Vampire (series) / Christopher Pike X
6. Shattered Mirror / Amelia Atwater-Rhodes X +

Saturday, July 4, 2009

4th of July

This was the first year I was able to watch fireworks in my hometown in quite a while.

2008 - Yamaguchi, Japan. If you remember, I was in Japan where my husband and I had to buy our own fireworks for a mini 4th of July celebration.

2007 - Gumi, South Korea. I honestly don't remember what we did. Aside from we were in Korea and nearing the end of our stay there.

2006 - Mankato, MN. This was the year we graduated from college and went to visit our friends who weren't into watching fireworks. Even though I thought the Mankato ones were better.

2005 - Mankato, MN. I think we celebrated the 4th at our appartment. Or at least we tried to. Maybe. Honestly, I don't remember.

The last time I know for sure that we watched fireworks here was in 2000, the summer after we graduated from high school and our first summer together. We tried to watch them from a small boat on the river. Unfortunately we had too many people on the boat for its size and not enough life jackets.

But this year we were finally able to watch them at home again. And either I don't remember them being so good or they increased their fireworks budget, but I was really impressed with them this year. Then again, maybe it had something to do with being glad to be home, and glad to watch the fireworks with my husband, my son, and my puppy. Especially since I'm pretty sure Baby Nate enjoyed watching them just as much as we did. And my puppy didn't get scared until towards the end of the grand finale.

All in all, it was a pretty good time.

Also, my husband and I wore our yukata. And one person that we passed while crossing the street on our way to the Levee Park actually recognized them for what they were. And said, "What beautiful yukatas."

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Bithday Present to Myself

I'm finally revising Butterfly Mask with the "if it doesn't fit with the story, chop it--don't worry if you like it, just get rid of it" attitude and so far it seems to be helping.

A few key factors are helping me with it, though.

1. I want to have it finished by my birthday, which is only a few days away. And for some reason, I tend to get pretty motivated the closer I get to a deadline. And part of me just really wants to get this done since I've been working on it off and on since 2003.

2. I was complaining about how I didn't know "what the book's about" to my husband. As usual, he was able to provide some much needed insight. And even though I'm just working with "what's on the page" (like one of our English teachers always told us ot do), it feels like the story's going in a completely new direction. What's best is that I don't have to add tons of new writing to get it there. (Weird how that works, huh?)

Apparently I've Been Busy

Well, I know I've been busy. I mean, I have a little baby who was just a few weeks old when I last posted and is now two and a half months old. But still. I guess you don't realize how quickly time's going by when you think you posted "not too long ago" and find out that it's been over two months since you last posted.

But don't worry because all this time, my little boy hasn't changed. Sure, he's cooing now and playing "Monkey hear, monkey say" with simple things like "ahh" and "goo". And he's grown four inches and gained five pounds. But still, he hasn't changed. I look at him every day, and today he looks the same as he did yesterday, and the day before and the day before that. Even though I know he's gotten bigger. Just like I always know how old he is (now he's just about 11 weeks), so I know how much time has passed. And yet, it doesn't seem like any time has passed.

Next thing I'll know is he'll be having kids of his own, and I'll say, "But wasn't he just a baby yesterday? If he's never changed from day to day, then how did he get so grown up?"

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Our New Arrival

My baby boy was born at 9:38 AM on Friday, April 10, 2009. He came about two and a half weeks early, but that was because I got incredibly high blood pressure during the last two weeks of my pregnancy so the doctors decided it was better to induce. On the plus side, my labor and delivery only lasted about three and a half hours. Baby Nate weighed 5 pounds, 13 ounces and was 18 inches long.

So needless to say, with balancing taking care of our newborn, round the clock feedings, doctor's appointments to got to, not having enough time to eat and sleep, and still needing to clean our bedroom to make room for all the baby's things and all the stuff my husband brought back from Japan with him, I've had no time to write. Of course I knew while I was still pregnant that I wouldn't have much time to write once the baby was born, which was why I wanted to finish Butterfly Mask before he was born, but I just didn't realize how little time I would actually have once I got done with doing all the baby things.

I still want to finish Butterfly Mask and send it out into the world to get published, but it'll have to wait until I have a little more free time. If I'm lucky that'll be when the bedroom finally gets cleaned. If I'm not so lucky, that won't be for quite some time.

Though something I can find somewhat amusing is that I wanted to go to grad school and be a student again because so I could keep a busy schedule and better manage my time. Because when I had so much stuff I needed to do, like all the classes I needed to attend and all the writing and studying I needed to do for those classes, whenever I finished my schoolwork, I was very eager to work on my book, even if it was for just five minutes before my next class started. And I think I just realized that with how busy my schedule has just become with the little guy, I might start taking advantage of those precious five minutes a lot more often than I used to. And who knows, maybe I'll have my book done in no time.

The only set back is that I can't do much typing or writing for the next couple weeks. Not that I'll really have time. But, due to the high blood pressure, I retained a lot of fluid in my fingers, especially in my right hand, so I have to wait for that to go away before I can go super gung ho with the typing. I just hope that by the time the numbness in my fingers goes away, I'll have a little more time to slowly work on my book.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Genres I Write In

I've written in a couple different genres. 

The first novel I wrote was probably historical romance (Running Water). (I didn't think in terms of genre when I wrote it.) The set of novels (two and a quarter books of a trilogy) were modern day science fiction (WhaleSong), with some fantasy thrown into the mix. And that trilogy's prequel (DragonRose) was probably the closest I've come to high fantasy.

I co-wrote a number of comical short stories with one of my friends that were a mix of "real-life" and semi-science fiction. The short stories I wrote for school were mostly animal stories, with one attempt at horror.

But now my writing tends to have some element of the supernatural. Mostly, I write urban fantasy. I consider my main world to be urban fantasy, but some of the stories I'd like to write vary a little. For instance, within the urban fantasy context of the world, I have a story that's historical (The Emerald Dragon), a series and a stand alone that are young adult (No Leaf Clover and Wolf Eyes), biopunk (Psychic series), humorous and/or light (Rosaline DeLiney's series), and futuristic (Butterfly Mask), in addition to straight urban fantasy (Awaken) and possibly horror (Like a Frothing Rabid Dog is Adorable).

I also have an apocalyptic story I'd like to write with angels and demons (Angel Love, Demon Love), a YA high fantasy, and others. 

Copy-Paste Problems

There have been a couple posts I've wanted to write this last month. They're written, just for some reason I'm having a difficult time copy-pasting things. (I think it's the computer that I'm using because I never had a problem copy-pasting with my laptop.)

As soon as I have access to a computer that will allow me to copy-paste, I'll add a couple posts about some of the worlds I've created, namely their government systems.

But for now, I'm going to post here first, and then copy-paste my post from here to the message board I'm trying to post to.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

More Death

My dad's family hasn't been doing too well this year. First, in October, my grandma died. Then within a week, two of my uncles died. Both of cancer. 

The first uncle was my dad's brother-in-law. From what I understand, he wasn't diagnosed with cancer until Friday, February 20th. Then he had to go in for emergency surgery that Wednesday night and didn't make it.

The second uncle was my dad's brother. He hadn't been doing too well for a while. My mom called me tonight to tell me that he was in a coma and they weren't waking him up or something, then as I was on the phone with her, she got another call from my sister saying that he died.

It's one of those times where, as a writer, I can imagine emotions for different characters to feel. And depending on the character who dies, I can imagine how different characters would react. But right now, the only feeling I have is no feeling. And I think it's this no feeling that some of my characters would feel, but as a writer, you think, but characters are supposed to feel something, without realizing that not feeling anything can be a perfectly reasonable feeling.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A Difference of Opinion

So I finally read through all the notes my husband wrote about Butterfly Mask. The thing I'm surprised about most is that when I tried revising Butterfly Mask before, I made this huge list (sort of, it was mostly kept in my head) of all the things I figured I would need to change about the book in order to make it readable for someone else. So I had a ton of notes and things that would need to change, and an outline of where everything would be moved around to. And I think I gave up revising it at the time because all these notes I wrote and all these expectations I had just made the whole process so overwhelming. 

But after reading my husband's notes, I realized that it doesn't have to be as complicated as I thought it would be. Which is good. Especially since now this whole revision thing seems like something I can tackle and it doesn't seem so overwhelming. So hopefully things will work better this time around. Like actually getting the book finished.

And aside from adding more detail, taking out a lot of my main character's rambling narration, and being more specific about what's happening, the only thing I'm keeping from my list of things to be revised is to write a new chapter 1 with a stronger hook that has more action.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Finally Revising Butterfly Mask

After months apart, I'm finally getting around to revising Kitsune/Butterfly Mask. This last fall, my husband read it and wrote almost twenty pages of notes on what he liked, what he didn't like, what didn't make sense, problems with my main character's logic, etc. So with his notes and all the notes I've written at various stages of writing the first draft, I have a lot of notes to go through. Worse, I have to try to make sense of them all. 

I think with his opinion to kind of help keep mine in check (since when I'm trying to fix a problem, some of my ideas can get pretty far out there and can make my work harder than it needs to be), the revision process won't seem so overwhelming this time. Or at least I hope it won't be. And even though he's still in Japan and I'm back in Minnesota, he's still willing to stay up late to help me decipher his notes and mine and offer new suggestions when I get stuck.

Hopefully, I'll get the second and subsequent drafts finished before something else distracts me again.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Realm of Shadows Blog

Want to know more about the Realm of Shadows, the world where most of my stories take place?

I started a new blog that's all about my world.

I don't know how often it will be updated, but I hope to eventually include all the notes about my world, including types of supernatual creatures, how the world is different in the future, character bios and more.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Quick Update

It's a short post, but I thought I'd give an update of what I've been up to.

I'm still working on Wolf Eyes, which I've been working on since November. Yesterday I finally got past block that comes every time I get to the second half of Act 2 of whatever novel I'm working on. When the worst of it is that I think, "This is nothing like what I want it to be or thought it would be. How on Earth did it ever get here?" Then yesterday I had this idea for how I could tie what was turning out to be the primary plotline with the secondary plotline that was supposed to be the main plotline. And all of a sudden, I'm back to enjoying my story, my characters, their world, etc. Most importantly, I'm back to wanting to work on it. And revise it once I finally get the first draft finished.

I hope to have this draft finished by February. And after that comes typing it, reading it, revising it, and sending it to friends, then revising some more, etc., until I finally get around to writing the synopsis and query so I can finally submit something to agents.

Then I can get back to all those projects that have been enticing me while I've been at the bottom of the this-story-sucks pit.