Wednesday, July 27, 2011

In Which Pepper Returns

Last year around this time, I posted a a garden update Here and in the update I had a picture of snakeskin as proof of the garter snake living in our flower garden.

Here's the pic. We named him Pepper, because he spices up our lives.




Well, I was just thinking earlier this week about how I missed Pepper hiding in our yard, when, low and behold, what did Brother find mucnhing on a toad in the flower garden?









Pepper!!

His eyes are milky blue, which means if we keep out eyes open, we'll probably have another snake skin hanging out in the lawn before long.

He actually let me take quite a few pictures of him, once I sat down and stopped moving. I resisted the urge to pet him and instead just held the camera a few inches away to snap some photos.



I feel bad for the toady that Pepper scarffed up, especially since it could've been one of the toads we saved from the egress window a few days ago, but Pepper's welcome to stay as long as he wants.




Also, a reminder that I am officially on vacay, and probably won't be back to the blog for about two weeks. See you when I get back!

Monday, July 25, 2011

In Which I Heart Storypeople

So, as briefly mentioned last Friday, I will be going on vacation beginning Friday for 10 days. And I am totally checked out. I'm still trying to get some writing in, but man, trying to come up with a blog post when you don't want to do ANYTHING is a bitch.

Anyway, are you guys familiar with Brian Andreas's Storypeople? No? Well you should definitely check it out. I've been a fan for years. YEARS and keep a list of my favorite ones.

It's hard to really explain storypeople, but they're little stories, each one a few sentences or less, and they're just awesome.

You can also get them as sculptures, furniture and prints (I have a print in my room of Bittersweet, listed below)






Some of my favorites are:

Bittersweet - "She said she usually cried at least once each day not because she was sad, but because the world was so beautiful & life was so short."

Raspberry Patch - "My great-grandmother sent us out to pick raspberries in her garden while she watched the first moon walk on TV. You'll have plenty of time to see things like that, she said, but those raspberries were carried overland by your great-great-grandfather. She was very wise. I see pictures of the moon walk all the time, but all I have left from him is the memory of those sun-warmed raspberries."

Enough Time - "Everything changed the day she figured out there was exactly enough time for the important things in her life."

Confusion - "It took me a long time, she said, to stop confusing safety with love."

Duty - "My great uncle shot & killed his own brother for disturbing the peace & I wonder if anyone ever tried to quiet his deep deep sorrow. Duty isn't consolation enough."

Mr. Right - "He loved her for almost everything she was & she decided that was enough to let him stay for a very long time."

No Difference - "There was a boy with skin as dark as the earth & a girl with eyes as blue as the deep & they loved each other so well that people could not tell them apart, for in their hearts, there was no difference between them."

Pillar of Flame - "One summer night, we took my parents' grill & we put in some sticks & paper & soaked the whole thing in lighter fluid & then my friend turned on his shortwave radio & we listened to some scientist in Houston who was saying where Apollo was at that moment & at the exact time it went over us, we lit the stuff in the grill so the astronauts would look out & see this light & they'd say 'What the hell is that?' & we danced around the pillar of flame & sparks laughing wildly because while the astronauts were out there unlocking the mysteries of the universe, we were back home in Chicago making more of them."

Untitled - "Reality is bigger than all of us, he said, but it still gets a lot smaller right before I go in to work"





Take a look when you have a chance!





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Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Fun

Greetings ape-friends! Yvie's back to fire you burning hot into the weekend! Ka-pow!






Now, I know we've talked about the egress window of doom on this blog before and the things we find in it. Two examples Here and Here (the second link was my favorite thing)

Well, the other night, Mom crawled into the egress window again, with the bucket, and this is what she and Anne pulled out:









11 of them! And once again, Mom didn't let me eat any. Sigh. Since my Mom's no fun, I'll just have to spread some for you!

First though, a warning about the below video:

Now, I'm a dog so I don't get too scared about things. One time, though, I got super scared. At our old home I went outside one day and I found a little girl. Except she wasn't really a little girl. She was flat and fluttered in the wind. Mom tried to explain to me that it was "just a dora the explorer doll stroller" but I knew she was a liar. That thing was a monster.

I tell you this story only to prepare you for the frightening thing in the following video. YOU. HAVE. BEEN. WARNED.







funny pictures - When iz mai turn?
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Funny Pictures - Cat Jump Fail Gifs
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funny pictures - ministry ob silly waks:         pretty gud akshully
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funny pictures of cats with captions
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funny pictures - Alice in Wundurland Kitteh.....
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funny pictures - Hon...the filter' s clogged up with hares again!
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Finally, just a heads up. Starting Next Friday, the blog will be on hiatus for a little over a week due to a family vacay. Mom will blog Monday and Wednesday next week, but I won't see you back here until three weeks. Have a great summer ape-friends!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

In Which I Provide An Update

So it's been awhile since I've given an update on my goals and junk and today seemed like a good day to do so.


funny pictures
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I'm still querying Glimpse, though I've decided to take a bit of a break to make a change in the MS, then get back on the query horse. I'm hoping things will be back on track by the end of august (assuming amazing things don't happen before then and I get an offer or something. ohmygodcouldyouimagine?!)

I'm in the midst of my first draft of Break Free, and I'm totally loving it. I had a bit of a rough time with it the last week and a half, a combination of a tough couple of scenes to organize and write combined with a ticking personal deadline and a busy dayjob, but I think I've managed to power through the worst of it. I hit 50k earlier this week and suspect I may have hit or passed the half way point of the story. I won't know for sure, though, until its done. Just because I'm a plotter, doesn't mean there's no mystery. There's tons of mystery!

My current goals are to try and finish the first draft of Break Free by August. I don't know if I'll hit this goal (part of the reason I was having troubles with the writing) but I'm still going to try. Once I do finish the first draft, I plan to put it aside and make the change on Glimpse. Once that's done I'll send Glimpse back into query waters and start to revise Break Free. I was really hoping to be able to finish revisions on Break Free before NaNo, but the clock is ticking and I don't think that will be possible. I still have plans to participate in NaNo, at least right now I do, but we'll see how things are going closer to November.

I'm behind on my goal to read 55 books this year. Not too far behind, (by the end of July I should have 32 read and I'm at about 28, 29) but still. It's no big deal if I don't make this goal. It's just for fun.

So how about you? I want to know where you're at with your writing goals? TELL ME!

Monday, July 18, 2011

In Which I Wrap Up

This will be the last post regarding the 4th Street Fantasy Conference Hannah and I hit a few weeks ago. There's no real rhyme or reason to this post, I'm just going to list remaining quotes or comments I wrote down made by the authors at the conference. They're all interesting but weren't strong enough for a whole blog post (or I just got lazy. Probably both)



Patricia C Wrede - She suggested that as an author, you should really hire an accountant to help out with the taxes and junk. She doesn't have one, but that's only because she was an accountant until she could support herself with her writing


Elizabeth Bear - "Nobody with a clean house ever wrote a book"


Patricia C Wrede - "There's only 2 rules to writing. You have to write and what you write has to work"


Lois McMaster Bujold & Steve Brust - both touched on the term Burn Story, which meant writing through the story points as fast as possible, trusting you'll come up with more.


Steve Brust - in regards to Burn Story - "If you're saving something (a plot point, etc) for later, you won't come up with something new"


Elizabeth Bear - "Writing is too hard to do well, which is why we have to do it in stages with revision"


Sherwood Smith - In regards to derivativeness of Eragon and Christopher Paolini - It's possible the people who published Eragon did so purely for financial reasons and the money, but we mustn't forget that Christopher Paolini wrote Eragon out of joy, because he loved those aspects of the genre.


Emma Bull - in response to Sherwood Smith's above comment - Joy, though, doesn't necessarily = readable fiction. That's where craft comes in.


And to wrap it up, Elizabeth Bear shared a motto she and her CPs had in regards to getting that agent or book deal - "Right Day, Right Desk, Right Story, Write Better"

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday Fun

Yvie's back! Are you ready for the weekend? I know it's like harry potter weekend or something, but there's never enough screen time for fang.

Anyway, I’ve decided to change the name for a "Walk" again. Yes I know, previously I had changed it from a "Walk" to a "Run" and I taught all you how to jerk on your leashes etc. But to be honest, my Runs ended when Mom and Anne bought the Easy Walk Harness for me. Don’t get me wrong, I still dash about, but with less force than before, due to the harness.


But anyway, that was in the past. I have decided to rename the Walk again – it will now be known as the Buffet.

That’s right. Because, seriously, what do I spend most my time doing when I go on a Buffet? That’s right, eating stuff. I start off with the long grass by the driveway. I check out all the pebbles to make sure they’re not edible – I eat more grass across the street, then I start to scarf down worms. Form there I transition to bugs on the sidewalk, maybe some garbage (once there was melted ice cream) and of course, the ubiquitous goose poop.

Once in the woods I move on to sticks or leaves.

Honestly, pretty much anything can be eaten if you can put it in your mouth.
So next time you go on a Buffet, eat up! Who are we to turn down a free meal?

Onto the fun!



Funny Pictures - Cute Kittens
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funny pictures - friends through thick and thin
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Funny Pictures - Lolrus, War Face
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funny pictures - RELEASE DA KRACKON!
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Funny Pictures - Cats Nod Heads Gifs
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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

In Which I'm Held Accountable

If I says it on the interwebs, then I follow through. Fact. That's half the reason I keep this blog going. I've become a much more prolific writer since I started this baby up, because it keeps my goals in the forefront of my head. Also the routine helps.

So, as promised, a post about audience and writing for yourself and junk.

Back when I was at the conference (yes, another post generated from the conference. I've got at least one more left, too.) There was a discussion on the panel regarding writing for your fans. Lois McMaster Bujold had admitted she'd written her last book because a good friend, whom she owed, straight up asked her for it. Otherwise, everyone pretty much agreed that you shouldn't really write for your fans. Let me 'esplain.

Steve Brust said that he'd had a conversation (and I believe he actually said it was almost knock down drag out fight between the two of them) with Harlan Ellison who stated that as a writer, it's important to be hostile to your fans.

Brust thought this was ludicrous, but he also understood the meaning behind it and kinda agreed. Brust stated that if you write what the fans who are in contact with you ask for, you will disappoint and lose the fans you truly care about.



This goes back to writing for yourself. If you cater to others, it can stifle your creativity. BUT (yes, there is a but) Brust also felt there was a problem with writing just for yourself. He felt if you only write for yourself, it becomes self-indulgent. His solution was to pick a person or two, and write for them. For him, it was typically one of his CPs. He'd write to entertain them.

The last thing he said was, if you worry about your audience, you won't have an audience to worry about because they'll be bored.

I tend to fall in the middle somewhere. I definitely write to entertain myself (otherwise, I get bored and then I wouldn't write) but also I have a few specific people I write for. Twin especially - I often write scenes that I hope will entertain her.

What about you? Do you write for yourself? For someone else? How does it work for you?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sigh. I have all these blog post ideas, but man, I am just not feeling the blogging today. I'm sleepy and I have to make some salads for my and Twin's cooking club this evening (and by this evening, I mean Sunday evening, since I always write blog posts a day in advance). Mostly I just want to sit on my ass and read.

So instead, you get this for today. I know it's not a new video, but it seems apropos since most of us will be hitting up the theater this weekend to see the VERY LAST Harry Potter video. Sniff.




Anyway, I should have a real post on Wednesday. Something about audiences and writing for yourself and junk. Yeah, that sounds good. And now that it's out in cyberspace I'M HELD ACCOUNTABLE.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Friday Fun

Yvie's back, ape friends!

How has your summer been going? Good? Are you nice and toasty warm?

I actually got too warm the other day. I was playing Frisbee outside, and then Anne and Mom got worried I was too hot. So they stuck me in the bathtub and got me all gross and wet. And then! Horrors of horrors! They took my temperature - in my bum! TWICE!

Jerks.

Anyway, for being such a good girl, I got a homemade pupcicle, which was absolutely divine.





This is how I actually sit quite often. Mom and Anne didn't even have to teach me. I learned it all on my own.





OK George and Tula got pupcicles too.







Onto the fun!!



funny pictures - Ten o'clock and all's well, except Frank's about to go psycho for a bit.
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Funny Pictures - Kitten in a Mailbox Gifs
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funny pictures - Ok, now you're just creeping me out!
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funny pictures - Introducing Basementcat's newest minion:
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Funny Pictures - Bunny Bumper Cars Gifs
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Funny Pictures - Cute Kittens
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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

In Which We Discuss Writing Groups

So at 4th street, the writing seminar this year focused on writer support networks.
Patricia C. Wrede said writing groups are broken down into 3 different types:

Critique Group
Support Group
Social Group

A crit group would be a group focused purely on getting everyone's stuff read and critiqued by other members of the group.

A support group is a group that focuses on commiserating about the difficulty of being a writer and supporting each other during the highs and lows.

A social group is a group where writers get together discuss gardening. Or movies, or anything they want as long as it's not really related to the business or craft of writing.


She went on to state that all writing groups have aspects of these three categories. You're not going to go to your crit group and get absolutely no social interaction or support, but it's not going to be the main focus of that group.

The key, she said, to being happy with your writing group, is to decide which one of those three categories you want and make sure you join or form the correct group.

If you want/need crits from people, you'll be frustrated by a support or social group. And if you want support, you may feel hurt if you join a crit group.


Regarding a crit group, Lois McMaster Bujold stated that it's very important to be in a group where there's at least one person who's better than you, so you can grow as a writer. But she also stated what most of us already know, that providing critiques for others also makes us better writers.

She said, in regards to reading someone's work who is way below you in skill/talent, or the work is just not good, the key thing to remember is to:

Be on the side of the story. To remember that there is something in the story that is worth being written.

And to focus on that if you're having a rough time with a rough MS.
And lastly, to remember that it is their story, not yours, so try to keep that in mind if you're thinking about all the cool stuff you could do with their MS.







So how about you? Are you in a writing group? And if so, which kind? Mine is 50% crit and 50% social, split right down the middle.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Friday Fun

Hi blog pals! Yvie's back to stick my foot out and trip you right into Saturday.


YOU'RE WELCOME.






Weather's been nice lately, so we've been going on a lot of walks. I don't think walks are as cool as they could be so I like to zazz them up and change them into "runs". It's a very simple process that I'll explain in a few easy steps.

Instead of walking you go like this ...FWOOSH until you hit the end of the leash. Then maybe you pick something up, like a stick or a leaf. Get creative. If you can carry a squirrel then go for it. It will just convince your people that you're all the more cool. Then you go ZAPOW in the other direction until you hit the end of that leash.

If you can do this constantly on the whole walk you might reach the same super cool level as me. I warn you though, it's not for the faint of heart.

Onto the fun!


Funny Pictures - Hipster Kitty
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funny pictures - TALK TO YOUR CAT ABOUT HITLER.  OR SOMEONE ELSE WILL.
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funny pictures - Prepare for  Otter annhialation!
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funny pictures - My Name is Inigo Montoya
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funny pictures - Support ur local Search and Rescue unit
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Funny Pictures - Happy Kitten
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