Saturday, August 30, 2014

WIPMarathon Report - August

In chapter one of my manuscript, my MC Taz complains that her driver's license is "growing stale and moldy from lack of use." The same is true about my manuscript. If it were a cracker you'd chip your tooth trying to eat it.

Translation: I've done nothing this month.

So onto my pitiful stats.

Last report word count + chapter count/scene count: 108,878. 

Current report WC + CC/ SC: 109,033. I don't know how it's possible that my book grew by 155 words considering I haven't touched the thing this month. Same thing happened last month. I think words jump into my manuscript while I'm sleeping.

WIP Issues This Month: The fact that my work in progress hasn't really been in progress is a pretty big issue. 

Part of my problem is I feel so discouraged about rewriting the last chapter. Every time I sit down to do it, I get this blech-feeling and I make excuses to do something else instead. But it needs to be done! And I feel like I can't really move on to anything else until I do it.  

What I learned this month in writing: Manuscripts can not be revised through osmosis, no matter how hard you try.

Also, THIS, which I am going to *try* to apply for the month of September:

What distracted me this month while writing: August is the month I go back to work. The first few weeks of school are so insane that writing is completely off the table. Now things are stabilizing, and I really want to get back into the writing-groove, but I have to figure out how to bust through this new habit I've developed of avoidance and force myself to type through the 'ick.'

Goal for next month: To have chapter 37 (my last chapter) completely rewritten and final revisions of the book underway. I really, REALLY want to have this book published by the middle of December. I'd be an awesome way to ring in the New Year, plus I could start 2015 with book 2 underway (Aviva's story).

Last 200 words: My last 200 words haven't changed in two months, so I'll go ahead and post an excerpt from the middle somewhere. How about something light that shows all four of the sisters? *searches MS* Okay, here we go:

     Phee’s eyes, still narrowed, turned toward the flowers. The block of ice liquefied, and what seemed like a gallon of water dumped down on the table. Krystal lunged backward, dropping the flowers and nearly falling out of her chair. The bouquet landed on the table with a slop and then burst into flames, turning the puddle of water around it into simmering, hissing, melted-ice-soup. 
     Maybe flowers weren’t the best idea.
     “Phee!” The three girls shouted at once. 
     She batted her eyes innocently. “What? He obviously knows about us. Might as well have a little fun.”
     Stryder looked fixedly at Phee, then reached for the pitcher of iced-tea on the counter. He dumped the tea over the bouquet-torch until there was nothing left but scorched tiger lily mush. Now would be a very bad time for Mrs. Aevos to walk back into the room. He wondered if the four sisters had any idea how closely their powers were tied to their emotions. 
    “Shall we wait for you to levitate them or vanquish them or whatever it is you do?” he raised his eyebrows at Aviva, “Or shall we call it a day?” 
  Aviva smiled, appearing unruffled by the fact that Stryder knew she was ‘gifted.’ Having missed out on the New Year’s Eve drama, she was clearly enjoying herself. 
     “I’m pretty sure this soggy mess is beyond even my abilities.”

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Back to the Grind

I've officially been at work for two weeks now (and have neglected my blog for at least that long). My first day with students went well! Here's a quick summary of that first day:
  • The air conditioner in my classroom didn't work for half the day, then worked beautifully, then stopped working that afternoon (just in time for triple-digit temperatures).
  • My internet wouldn't work. Since we take attendance through an online system, you can see how this might be a problem. 
  • Our bells were't working. 
  • Our loud speaker wasn't working. Very convenient since our school uses the intercom system to instruct 7th graders where to go on their first day of school. Students are also led in the Pledge of Allegiance via the loudspeaker, so we were officially the most unpatriotic campus in America that week (though on day three it occurred to me that I could lead my own homeroom class in the Pledge).  
  • Our copy machines were not working. 
So that about covers it. I was surprised to discover that I loved not having bells! It was nice to not be at the mercy of some monotonous beep to decide when classes were over (though I did accidentally dismiss one class ten minutes early. Oops).

In addition to the first day of school hoopla, Clint and I have been in and out of the ER because Elijah was exhibiting symptoms resembling appendicitis and kept getting sent home by his school. It took three days before the ultrasounds revealed the culprit (what looks like an inflamed lymph node near the appendix). We seem to be out of the woods with all that now, but what an ordeal.

I have a new room this year, and I could not be happier with it. You see that door right there in the corner? (Ignore blanked-out poster--I had to censor that for privacy reasons).

That's an interior door leading to a small storage room--a space I share with two of my friends/coworkers, Naomi and Jen. Basically it's like a "secret passageway" into each other's rooms. Maybe it's typical for classrooms in the Midwest, East Coast, etc., to connect in a similar fashion, but it's rare at our school. 90-some percent of our classrooms are islands unto themselves, with only one door leading outside. Jen, Naomi, and I all teach 7th grade Language Arts, so this set-up is perfect for us to be able to pop in and out of each other's rooms throughout the day for quick collaboration (or just to say 'hi'). But for me, I love having colleagues right there that I get to see every day. It seems like such a small thing, but teaching can be a very isolating profession, and now I'm really enjoying that daily human-contact (okay, 7th graders are human too, sort of, but you get my point).

As far as writing goes, I haven't got anything done. I told myself I would allow myself a two week break from revisions so I could get reacclimatized with work. Now that two weeks is up, so I guess I better get crackin'.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Magical Pin

Imagine a "pin" gets repinned on Pinterest over 2000 times. What do you imagine that pin to be? Some awesome home decor item? A cover-release from Stephenie Meyer? An awe-inspiring tattoo from renowned tattoo artist so-and-so? (I really need to research stuff better before starting a post). Words of inspiration from Oprah?

WELL--I happen to have a pin on Pinterest that, as of right now, has been repinned 2,085 times. This amount seems absurd to me, especially given the fact that I am not an active Pinterest user, nor do I have bazillons of followers (unless 217 counts as a bazillion). But this pin gets repinned so many times on a daily basis that I actually had to turn off my real-time Pinterest notifications. 

Curious what it is? (Okay, you're not, because you've already seen the picture below, but pretend you can't see it and you're feeling all intrigued).

Drum roll please.........

Interesting, huh? Out of all the things that could ignite Pinterest-peeps' interest, for some reason THIS is the magical pin. And even I'll admit that this steampunk pistol looks pretty awesome. But, guys, this IS NOT A REAL GUN. I even made sure to clearly state so in my description--it's a laser light made to look like a gun. But people are re-pinning this thing left and right, plastering it all over their "Cool Firearms" wall, or "My Next Gun," or "Stuff I Can't Live Without," or whatever. Are they not paying attention to the description, or do they just not care?

Either way, I told myself if this pin worked its way to 2000 re-pins, I'd post it on my blog. Perfect timing too, because I'm still swamped with work and have no time to write anything meaningful.

You can view the actual pin here. Feel free to repin it yourself...and then you, too, can watch this sucker get repinned to high heaven.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Comic-Con 2014

I am SO swamped with work, but luckily I had this post on reserve (aka: sitting in "drafts" where I forgot to publish it):

I've noticed I have the tendency to avoid posts in which I have TOO much to say. Like our cruise to the Bahamas over Thanksgiving break way-back-when. We did sooooo much...everything from lounging on a beach right on an airport to visiting an iguana farm. But to write about it would take twelve pages! So I never wrote about it. Never posted pictures--nothing. A whole trip to three amazing islands with no record of it! It might as well have never happened.

Now I'm feeling that way about Comic-Con. Even though it was only a one-day event for us, it was ten straight hours of complete over-stimulation, and to write a blog entry about it would go on and ON. So I've been avoiding it.

In order to break this cycle (because even though recording family memories sometimes feels boring, three years later it's awesome to read them), I'm going to simply write down three things about Comic-Con. Three ONLY. My favorite thing, my least favorite thing, and what we'll do differently next time we attend.

And then of course I'll post a few pics.

Here we go:

My Favorite Thing about Comic-Con: This sounds funny, but I'd have to say the people. Comic-Con is ridiculously crowded--like, I can't believe it's legal to stuff that many people into one building. According to the news (I can't remember which station), over 160,000 attended Comic-Con this year. But, despite the crowds, everyone I encountered there was SO friendly, whether it be worker or attendee (except for the security guards--they could be jerks). Overall it was a very spirited, happy group of people.

Oh yeah, and the costumes! And all the awesome art! And all the freebies! (Okay, I'm trying to cheat by squeezing in more than one favorite thing, but I'm done now).

My Least Favorite Thing about Comic-Con: In addition to the above-mentioned crowds (seriously, by afternoon it was elbow-to-elbow gridlock), I hated the lack of seating. If you attend one of the panels, that provides you a great opportunity to sit down and relax for a little while. But in the convention hall itself, you're forced to walk around for hours amongst the various booths with no relief. There were a few tables near the snack bars, but they were always occupied. Always. And anytime we tried to sit down against the wall in one of the side-corridors, the security guards would come by and tell us that we needed to keep moving. At one point we had ordered a couple trays of nachos, and with no where to sit, we took our food outside of the main convention hall and sat against a wall FAR AWAY from foot-traffic to eat our food. We still had a security guard come hassle us, telling us we needed to move along. It was beyond frustrating, because there was no way to eat nachos while trying to balance our conference bags and purchases. We ended up having to exit the convention center completely just to sit down.  Because of teaching, I'm used to being on my feet all day, but even my legs were throbbing by the time we left. So if you ever attend Comic-Con, wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to be on your feet indefinitely.

What We will Do Differently Next Year: Despite the crowds and lack of seating, we still plan to go next year. The thing is, Comic-Con actually wasn't that crowded from 9:00 to about noon. At those hours, there were even tables still available near the Snack Bars. So next year, our plan is to go for three days instead of just one. The problem with this year is we only had ONE DAY, so we were forced to put up with a lot of craziness for the sake of getting to see everything. Going for three days will allow us to take our time, take breaks during the really busy hours, eat lunch at a "real" joint, return to our hotel as needed to recharge, etc. Overall it should provide us with a more relaxing experience. Clint already booked our hotel room, so we're ready to go.

Okay, some pictures:

Trin and I getting ready to leave--her as a TARDIS and me as a Dalek. 
Her wig only lasted about an hour, and I switched over to jeans and flip flops in our parking structure when I found out we were walking nine blocks.

We made it!

 Entering Comic-Con

 Arghhh, blurry. Clint and Elijah were characters from Assassin Creed. 

 Trinity was so thrilled to get her Welcome to Night Vale poster. She got it autographed later by four voice-actors of the cast, plus the creator of the show. According to her, it was the "best day EVER." She repainted her entire room this week to match her poster.

 Clint and his new BFF.

 One of Trin's best friends happened to be at Comic-Con the same day as us. The girls ran off on their own for awhile and had a blast,

Trin and Tris in one of their favorite booths: The Dr. Who store.

 Elijah in his favorite booth: Skylanders

View from the window of the Starbucks two blocks away from the convention center.

My favorite--the Outlander booth! I haven't even read this series, but I SURE AM now! (P.S. I love that young woman's quite authentic-looking period-dress).

Trin and I with an Outlander guy.

 Clint has had a down payment on one of these since March. It's called an Elio. He was so excited to discover they had one on display at Comic-Con.

That counted as only a few pics, right?

Okay, sticking with three things wasn't so bad.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Where's the Publishing Store?

This was my tweet from two days ago. I may have been a little bit giddy. But to give a little perspective, it took me THREE YEARS to write this book.

Just to be sure, I dug through my personal blog until I found this excerpt.

I started a novel.  I know, big whoop--everyone does.  But this one's different...(insert long-winded explanation here). I can't explain it.  It just feels different.  This is the one.  The one that's going to get published, or the one I'll die trying on.  Either way, it feels good to feel this passionate about something.

This was from an old post called "Self-Imposed Challenges" written on June 6, 2011. Three summers ago. Reading this made me feel a wee bit emotional. I guess I'm just happy that silly ole' past-me dared to follow a dream through a period of three ridiculous years.

Now Chasing Echoes is finally getting published, and the real fun begins. The writing and revisions and tearing up paper and tearing my hair out.

Thanks for stopping in and sharing at least a tiny bit of this process with me. Hope you don't trip over my rubble (I was going to say "hope you don't slip on my blood, sweat, and tears," but that seemed a bit, um, morbid, and a little gross).