Tag Archives: bloggery

Carrying the TOURCH in the #mywritingprocess blog hopchaintour

Funny story:
One day on October 4, 2012, I was perusing The Bloggess’ latest post and noticed the first commenter, a guy named Nic, had the word “garlic” in the bloglink under his amusing reply. I love garlic so I clicked over to his blog, found that it was quite enjoyable, and I left a comment. This is not an uncommon habit of mine – I like to spread myself over the internet like black mold invading a grimy bathroom. However, I took the extra step of stalking him (I started following his blog) which is rare because I typically only stalk people I’ve already met.

For months, I read his blog from the shadows and then one day, I just started commenting on posts as if we’d been friends our whole lives. My ruse, it worked. He accepted me into his tribe but I only just found out how much he had accepted me last week when he passed me the #mywritingprocess TOURCH (<–click that word to find out why I keep saying “TOURCH” and also to see Nic’s answers to the questions I am about to answer) and said really nice things about me! I was all, “Awwww!” and then I realized that he was just setting me up to do work. Then I was like, “DAMN YOU, NIC!” with my fist shoved angrily into the air.

So from what I can gather, this is a blog tour/hop/chain. It’s been done by both real, actual writers as well as play writers (like me) (no, I don’t mean I write plays, I mean I’m playing at writing. It’s what I do here on this blog) I don’t think there are any stated rules anywhere, but it looks like you answer the four questions (below), say something about it on Twitter with the hashtag (which you’ll automatically do if your posts send themselves to Twitter and you put the hashtag in your title. I think), and then tag some other bloggers you admire to do the same!

That sounds about right. Let’s move on now.

1. What am I working on?

Blog answer: I am currently working on three drafts and four scheduled posts. They’re in various stages of editing.

Non-blog answer: I am working on a YA horrordomesticfictionparanormalsomethingorother novel. It should take me about 10 years to complete at the rate I’m going. I am also working on some sort of friendship/chick-lit (though not really) piece but that’s all vague and hazy right now.

2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?

It…doesn’t, actually. Blog-wise, I come from the same writing school as the admirable aforementioned Jenny Lawson as well as Tina Fey. It is sort of the Open Mouth, Words Come Out, Then You Listen to Them After You Realize What You Just Said school. Yes, yes, I understand both Lawson and Fey do lots of editing and don’t just go all willy-nilly but their art makes them look like they’re all willy-nilly and I always look that way because I am that way, so…see? Same/Same.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I don’t know what else to write. I think I’m a storyteller so I tell stories. I might not actually be a storyteller and am, rather, a hoarder of words which I then collect on a page and call it a blog post. I’m not really sure what I’m doing, actually.

I can tell you why I write YA horrordomesticfictionparanormalsomethingorother novels, though: It’s because I’m working through crap and this seems to be the most user friendly way for me to get it out of my system.

4. How does my writing process work?

Writing process? I’m supposed to have a process?

Oh, well, actually, with the blog, I am fairly organized. I think of things I want to write about or I remember stories I want to tell or Noelle says, “You should blog about that!” and so I jot notes on scraps of paper or, if I’m near my computer, I type sentences into a document. Then, when I’m in a super-writey mood, I compose all these stories and post them as drafts here on WordPress. I organize them according to when I want them to appear and then edit as needed. I like the editing part because I like making my jumbled writings more cohesive. I mean, you wouldn’t know any of my work is edited because it all seems so scattered but you should see it when it’s still in rough form. That said, I have a long way to go, obviously.

For the novels, though…I have to wait until my brain is ready to write. It comes and goes. If I force it, I just get crap. But if I wait until it tells me it has stuff for me, then I will sit for hours and pour words out of my fingers. When I’m not busy doing that, though, I edit. I really do like to edit. The YA horrordomesticfictionparanormalsomethingorother novel has actually become something I enjoy reading, too, and I keep getting frustrated that there’s not more done because I want to know what happens next. I think that’s a good sign, though I will obviously never know what happens next if I only ever work on the writing part six to eight weeks out of the year.

The End.

Those are my answers. I would have been more cheeky but I’m fresh out of cheek this week. Sorry.

And now, I would like to have the following published authors share their processes because I think that would be really interesting:

My beloved Internet Boyfriend: The Reverend Doctor (and his whimsical adventures)
Tyler is a fellow #Lawsbian (those who follow The Bloggess; we’re almost a cult, really, created the day she had a book chat on GoodReads, broke the site, moved the chat to Twitter, broke that, too, and we were all left in a heap of giggling and silliness afterward) and a published poet! He’s like the antithesis of me in that he’s kind and gentle, thoughtful and good-hearted, and impressively talented when it comes to crafting things such as hats, tiny taxidermied creatures, and words. Yet, somehow, we are so alike and I’m not sure why. I am sure, though, that I adore him. So, Tyler, it’s your turn to share your writing process!

Also, four-time published novelist and BEST. TWELLER. EVER: Suzanne Palmieri — Oh, look! She already did it. Here it is. She’s always one step ahead of the game because she is magical and one day, I will meet this amazing person. Go read her words because they are delightful, much like the author, herself. And then, you can go buy her books, especially the new one that was just released yesterday!

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Filed under My journey to writerhood

NaNoWriNO! (Not rhino) (maybe rhino, actually)

I’m writing a book

I know, who isn’t, right?

It’s a young adult novel about witches and stuff and I’ve come upon a…well, it’s not really a problem but it is an obstacle.

See, when I first started my work, now over a year ago, I checked out stories about witches, from compendiums to picture books. There’s a lot of witchery out there and yet it’s never really gone mainstream in the young adult (YA) fantasy world, despite the efforts of Harry Potter and his ilk. For some reason, vampires and werewolves still have the limelight while angels/demons and fae traipse right behind. I’m cool with that but I still wonder: Why not witches? It’s like they’re always the tagalong little sister.

So I started writing, declaring to myself, “I will bring witches to the forefront! Single-handedly! Because I am just that good” and then I stopped writing for a long time. I began again this past summer and found that during my hiatus,  a lot of people were able to get their witch stories out into the world. I’ve since read four different stories that have elements I had incorporated into mine or are, at least, similar. I have five chapters of Part I finished and three chapters of Part II and now I have to go through and change a lot of things because I don’t like thinking the few potential people to read this book of mine will be all, “Oh, she totally stole that from that OTHER book I read” and it will really look that way because everyone will be able to see, via Goodreads, that I read those books before publishing mine.

I’m going to dial back and ask a more broad question: What’s going on with this hive mind think thing? I see it all the time in entertainment but always figured some entertainment guru gives each medium an annual assignment. For instance, Entertainment Guru says to Movie Industry, “We want to see flicks about turn of the century magicians battling a newfound sense of disbelief and cynicism amongst their audiences which, in turn, turns the magicians murderous” and then three movies with that theme all pop up. Think “The Prestige” and “The Illusionist” (Right, that’s only two. I know that) They were out at the same time and about old time magicians. What are the chances? Well, probably pretty good if that’s the assignment the Entertainment Guru gave at the beginning of the year. This also happens with books, it happens with music, with video games. I’ll bet it happens with plays, photography, mixed media art, fashion, paintings, sculpture, and every other form of artistic expression. I’ve always just assumed that someone was putting the idea out there and everyone was picking it up and following but when I had my own ideas and kept them mainly to myself and then I saw them cropping up other places, well, I might have been wrong about the Guru giving out assignments. Maybe it’s a form of hive mind. Maybe we’re connected to others who think like we do, maybe we share a wavelength and the information travels between all of us even if we’ve never met, even if we don’t live in the same city, state, or even country. Maybe that’s why pieces of my story are showing up in other people’s books?

Another explanation of course, is that since I’m playing with witchcraft, magic is involved. When my book goes live, some new writer will read it and go, “Damnation. There goes my great idea. Back to the drawing board,” because that’s how magic works. According to me, at least.

I should wrap this up by saying that I’m NaNoWriMoing my book, that I’m going to spend this month creating a roughly-formed novel that I can then edit to my heart’s content over the next several months. Yeah, no. I’m not doing that. I don’t actually work on my writing for the last three months of the year because all my creativity is channeled elsewhere. When I’m a famous author, that will sound cool and well-rounded instead of like an excuse, as it does now.

But if you are NaNoWriMoing, GET ON IT! Get that idea out and on paper – virtual or literal. You can totally do this! Just, please, don’t take any more of my ideas. I won’t have anything left.

Rhino_5

And here’s a rhino.

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Filed under Adventures, My journey to writerhood, My Opinions on STUFF

My big, bloggy excuse

There’s supposed to be a blog post here about shaving cream and toilet paper complemented with more of my homemade pictures. You’ll note that this is not that post.

There’s a reason: We don’t have internet in our house.

Not even joking.

No, no, we’re not part of a cult and we’re not being all wholesome and this isn’t a sociology experiment, though you’d suspect otherwise if you also knew we don’t have cell phones (well, ok, we have pre-paid phones but we only put deposits in them when one of us will be away from home for an extended period of time). We don’t have television programming, either. We have a TV, never fear, but we only use it to watch DVDs. It’s like we’re Amish. Or stuck in 1986. Scratch that, the Amish have smart phones so they’re way ahead of us.

Not having the internet in the house is mostly fine by me because I’m on it all day at work and I don’t really miss it at home except when the world is burning down around me and I want to follow its progress on Twitter. Anyhow, I have a fine work around for my blog-making: I’ve got a tablet and it has the WordPress app so I can build an entire post, edit it throughout the week, then go to work and it will upload itself via the magic of wifi. Seriously, people, that’s how I’ve been doing it this whole time. Because I’m quite clever and resourceful (and internetless)

Only now there’s a glitch. As I whined in my last post, I’m working out of a warehouse for the summer during spatial renovations. Those left behind call our place Camp Perry. Those of us in the trenches call it The Gulag. It’s not ideal, as far as working conditions for 40-some people go, but it’s not as bad as it could be, either. Except you know what? The magic of wifi does not exist out here in the little Warehouse On the Prairie.

Last week, I left work and went to sit in the patron part of the library in order to get my post to upload. I tweaked it from there and all was well. This week, however, I can’t go to the library after work because I have plans each night. I will not have a chance to beam my brilliance from the tablet to the interworlds and so, instead, I’m using my break to write this quick, off-the-cuff post explaining why there’s nothing awesome to look at today.

Now you know. And knowledge is power and it is also the winning of half the battle (the other half, as we all know, is not getting killed)

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Filed under Adventures

Memories of a white trash childhood

So, you know my sister Noelle? I was talking to her on the phone and one of the things we discussed was my brother’s very recent discovery that we were those little white trash kids. She was all, “How did he NOT know?” but to his credit, we did have a pretty fun childhood so he probably just didn’t notice our white picket fences had peeled and turned gray and were full of missing slats or the packs of neighborhood dogs that chased us through our yard because they wanted to eat us (thankfully, we were always able to save ourselves by climbing into a broken washing machine or defending ourselves using staves from the pile of discarded wood full of rusty nails) The thing that clued him in was his daughter’s family tree project. The two of them came over to my house to look at old pictures and apparently, when he saw the haircuts we received under a bowl in the kitchen and the third-time hand-me-downs that didn’t actually fit in addition to our ever-dirty, ever-snotty little hands and faces, it became glaringly obvious, our history of classlessness.

From there, Noelle and I turned the conversation to all the crap we did as children and how I was pretty much the meanest big sister in the world. Oh, the delightfully awful things I did…or didn’t keep others from doing…to my siblings; those memories warm the evil black cockles of my heart. I let Chris pour Tabasco sauce in Noelle’s eye because I didn’t want to put down my book so instead I just yelled at the top of my lungs for them to stop it. Also, I made them smell my feet. And I got Chris into trouble when I blamed him for de-nuding the prize-winning rose bushes when it had really been all my doing. And Noelle always had to be the evil witch in whatever game we played while I always got to be the hero. And I got Bear in trouble because I found a glass of cereal and even though it was gross cereal, I didn’t want anyone else to have it so I hid it behind the curtains and when Mom found it, she blamed Bedot and Bedot blamed her stuffed bear…which actually worked out well because it made Mom do the Stupid Laugh (you know, when your kid does something bad but hilarious and you know you’re supposed to chastise said kid so you’re trying to maintain Angry Face but it’s not working because you’re suppressing the laughter? Yeah, we always knew we were in the clear when that happened) and no one got in trouble.

My favorite part of these conversations is when we really get going and are cackling full-on, Noelle says, “You should blog about that!” and she’s right. I should. These are great stories! They’re hilarious. But they’re only hilarious because we’re telling them together and cracking ourselves up which is what makes everyone else laugh.
And that’s when I realized: I think Noelle is going to become a contributor. I don’t know if she’ll do full posts or if we’ll tag-team it like Gabe and I did for our Christmas story, but I really think we need to share our cacklery with everyone. It will make the world a better place because we will be making people feel better about themselves by comparison.

Also, when we’re old and senile and can’t remember a damn thing, this will be our family legacy and generation upon generation can come to this blog and read about our antics and wish they’d have been alive to share in our white trash childhood.

You’re welcome great-great-great-great grandchildren and nieces and nephews and cousins. Now go clean up our gravesites, you little monsters.

Oh, by the way? Today is Chris’ birthday. Happy Birthday, favorite brother! Without you, I’d have 1/4 fewer hilarious stories.

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Filed under For my short story collection, My Dearly Beloveds, White trash childhood

And then I got a Liebster Blog Award

Well, well, well. It looks like Normal For Norfolk got the best of me again when she awarded me a Liebster.

This is a Liebster Award and I have one. You may now be impressed.

I suspect she knew that I had not prepared for such an event, had not even envisioned something like this happening. I can only imagine how she chuckled with glee, knowing I would have to write an extra post and have a bit of “Oh, crap, what now?” when she nominated me. I hear her chortling, “Let’s see how THIS makes your nose hairs grow! Mwahahahaha!” because that is totally the type of thing she would do which is pretty much why I adore her. Well, that and the fact that she gives me awards. Thank you, NFN. If I were allowed to tag back, I would totally nominate you because I feel your blog is full of genius. Some of it is evil genius and I like anything evil.

I poked around the internets a bit to find an origin story for this award. I couldn’t find anything prior to 2006 so I suspect it wasn’t really a “thing” until after that time. Or I was just typing in the wrong search terms. Also, I kept getting distracted by all these blog posts that would come up, some of which were funny and had pictures. Have I mentioned now not-good I am at research? Well, unless it comes to stalking, in which case I shine like a little star in the stalkerly sky.
The person who nominated Normal For Norfolk for her Liebster mentioned that her own nominator went through some actual effort to uncover the history of the award and found German stuff. Neat!

Apparently, there were original rules and they went something like this:
If you get and accept a Liebster, you must:
-Thank the person who gave you the award;
-Display the award on your blog;
-Give the award, in turn, to 3 to 5 up-and-coming blogs (less than 200 subscribers) <–I don’t think that includes the subscribers you automatically get if you hook your blog up to Facebook and all your FB friends become “subscribers” whether they like it or not.

But then the rest of the world found out about it and turned it into a sort of chain meme (we used to use the term “meme” back in the day to describe a viral chain letter type activity in which you had to say all these things about yourself or the person who tagged you. Now it just means “popular and probably funny picture/video with hilarious caption/soundtrack that can be found all over the internet even if you try to avoid it” That definition comes from the dictionary I keep in my head)

So  now, in addition to those original three rules, we also must incorporate the new and not-at-all improved prankster’s Rules of 11, which supposedly state:
-Award winner must post 11 things about her/him self;
-Winner must answer the 11 questions created by the nominator (probably found in the post that nominated the winner in the first place);
-Winner must choose 11 recipients for this award AND LET ME TELL YOU, I WILL NOT BE DOING THIS BECAUSE I LIKE THE 3 TO 5 RULE BETTER AND THAT RULE SHOWS UP EARLIER ON THE PAGE SO IT TRUMPS THIS RULE and send them the link to your post to let them know you’ve awarded them a Liebster;
-Winner must create 11 new questions for the bloggers who have been nominated by the winner;
-No tag backs;
-Roll your eyes at how we can’t have nice things because people have to take the simple and muck it all up with the complicated.

Regardless, I will mostly play along because I’m not quite that crotchety. Yet.

I’ve said thank you, I’ve put the award on my blog and I’ve listed my winners below. Now on to the Shenanigans of 11!

11 Things About Me
1. I have one green eye and one brown eye (and don’t get cute with the whole, “No, I think you  have TWO brown eyes” *wink wink, nudge nudge”* not-funny-any-longer commentary)
2. My first imaginary childhood friends were called Plubbies;
3. As NFN already knows, I loathe and detest my own nose hairs, every single one;
4. I was David Bowie’s love child for a whole summer until I found out I wasn’t;
5. When I was a kid, my favorite name was “Cindy” but I grew out of that when I was 8 or 9 and my new favorite name became “Cassandra”;
6. I was inadvertantly tear gassed in a riot and it hurt like hell;
7. I illegally saved and grew to love a 13-lined ground squirrel;
8. I am always thinking up new and exciting ways to kill my  husband;
9. I don’t like diamonds;
10. Gabe and I save our leftover change in hopes of buying a smidgety-bit of property in northern New Mexico and building a little cabin on it so that we have a run-away-to place;
11. We grow our own garlic because it’s waaaaay yummier and because I am against vampires.

My 11 answers to NFN’s 11 questions:
1.  What is your favorite brand of toilet paper and why?
My favorite brand of toilet paper is Cottonelle because I feel it is both price- and quality- competitive.

2.  Comfort or cost? Do you put saving a few pennies over anal nicks?
It’s not that simple! It completely depends on the situation. For general, everyday use, I’ll try to get the mos cost-effective toilet paper but that often means finding coupons for my beloved Cottonelle. However, if my budget allows no wiggle room, I will buy the horribly cheap stuff and just try to constipate myself until I can afford something better. On the other hand, if there are dire things happening in my butt and I know there will be many wipings in one day, I will skip the TP altogether and go straight for the baby wipes, which I always have on hand because baby wipes (now available not just for babies…and also made by Cottonelle!) are the most useful tool in the universe after duct tape. And gum. And Sharpie markers.

3. Manners. What is the rudest thing someone could ever do in front of you?
Uh…well. Hrm. I can’t think of a time when I went, “GASP! How UTTERLY mannerless! You should be ashamed of yourself.” I guess I don’t hold much stock in manners and am something of a heathen.

4. What is your most disgusting habit?
I asked Gabe to answer this because I am not aware of my disgusting habits. He couldn’t think of one off the top of his head, citing my penchant for smelling my hair when I’m reading or thinking as my weirdest habit but nothing came to mind for “disgusting”. I mean, I do some gross things like examine the contents of a freshly-used tissue as if “pearls and rubies had fallen from my head” and I rage against my unruly nose-hairs and I pick at the fish flakes that cover my scalp when I lie in bed reading at night but those are just icky habits, not truly disgusting. It’s not like I bite my toenails or collect snake poop specimens to showcase in my bathroom.

5. Something about you that you haven’t yet admitted too. for example do you shave your toes? (except don’t put “I shave my toes” be original).
How should I know? I haven’t admitted it yet, apparently not even to myself. When I do, I will let you know.

6. A celebrity that you would quite happily punch in the face and why?
Oh, where to start! There’s such a list. I think the first one that comes to mind is Scott Stapp, lead singer of Creed, because he has always rubbed me the wrong way and after cataloging his autobiography, I couldn’t get over how not-at-all humble he sounded and I wanted to push him down a flight of stairs, which is funny because I’m not humble, either, yet I never want to push myself down a flight of stairs. That guy just bugs me.

7. Have you ever got your own back on someone who has pissed you off? What did they do and how did you get your revenge?
The answer is called My Marriage. Gabe and I are always exacting revenge upon one-another, so much so that I can’t even remember a single incident of a good Got Ya Back! It’s just like daily life by this point.

8. Favorite curry?
The kind with curry powder in it. I think this is a non-American question because while I understand there are many foods that employ a curried sauce, I don’t really know the types of curries from which I could choose. Also, I love love LOVE the flavor of curry powder so I’m pretty much good with anything curried.

9. Most treasured possession?
Honestly, it’s my house. I love my house so much, it’s embarassing. I don’t mean the items IN my house, though I have several things that I would be heartbroken to be without, but as far as out-and-out possessions go – and I am not counting the cats, the dog, the husband, or the heirloom Christmas cactus as possessions – my house tops the list.

10. What piece of technology can you really not live without?
Oh, ha ha ha! As in current technology? Because I can and often do live without almost all technology. But if it’s just general technological progress since the 1500’s, I probably would have a hard time living without the water heater. How miserable would it be to take cold baths or to always have to warm up pans and pans of water, especially in the winter? I’d just stop bathing.

11. Favorite TV show and why?
My all-time favorite is “The Muppet Show” because it was the one show we were allowed to watch while eating dinner. My mom would set up a blanket in front of the TV and my siblings and I would eat, picnic-style, from the floor while my parents ate on the couch and we’d all watch the Muppets together. More current? Well, this week, it’s “Modern Family” because we just finished watching Season 3 on DVD. However, we also voraciously watch “Dexter”, “Big Bang Theory”, “Mad Men”, “30 Rock”, “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia”, and “Adventure Time” among others.  The show I find myself rewatching over and over on DVD is “Bones” but only Seasons 1 & 2. I was ok with Season 3, disappointed with Season 4, and totally lost interest midway through Season 5 and have seen nothing since. The answer to the question is in there somewhere.

11 Questions for the people to whom I’ve just given this esteemed award:
1. What is the first radio song you remember loving?
2. If you could have a sponsored vacation, no holds barred, where would you go and what would you do?
3. Do you intentionally collect anything? If yes, what is your favorite collection?
4. Favorite holiday food (any holiday)?
5. What smell do you love most? Why?
6. What is the one article of clothing you cannot do without? Accessories count!
7. What was your childhood nickname?
8. Which words in the English language do you find particularly loathesome?
9. Do you hold to any superstitions?
10. What’s your dream job?
11. What’s one thing you really REALLY hope to do before you die?

Closing remarks: I would like to give the Liebster Blog Award to the following bloggers whose blogs I enjoy and read even if they don’t know it:

Matronalia – I find you make life sound exciting and romantic and I want to live with you. In a purely platonic way, of course. Or perhaps a winetonic way?

Everydayjill – I realize this is only the most recent incarnation of your personal blog and it will probably change again, but I enjoy following your ups and downs and all arounds. And I like that you post pictures of our town.

Smell My Paw -Anything starring Kitty Drunk Drunk deserves awards! I’d give you more if I had them!

This Mama Is Crazy – I’m sure you’ve already been nominated by someone else but I didn’t see the award on your blog so I’m giving it to you and you know that it really means something coming from me. Also, I’m hoping this motivates you to put up a new post, maybe about your current battle with temporary insanity which shouldn’t be funny but is because I’m cruel.

A Village Mama – You know I only love your blog because it gives me yet another way to stalk your adorable children. MLLE. L WILL BE MINE!

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Filed under My Dearly Beloveds, My journey to writerhood, My Opinions on STUFF