Monday, June 30, 2014

In Which I Need A CPA

I have an appointment today with a CPA.

Which, is kind of scary.

Only because I don't like doing new things that I haven't done before, and seeing a CPA is one of those things. I mean, you can't even imaging the drama I invented just to set up the appointment (which of course, ended up being fine and easy and then I feel dumb, but there you have it)

I know it will be fine. I'm a social person. I do well in social situations. But this is a business situation, so therefore me = nervous.

But, I definitely need to have this appointment. With money coming in now from my writing, I know I need to pay estimated taxes and some such stuff and the idea of handling that myself gives me all the NOPES

So, yeah. Not much else to say today. Just trying to get some papers in order before I have my appointment.

How about you? Ever had to use a CPA for writing income?

Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday Fun

Friday, Friday, Friday!
I begged for the weekend, and it showed up!

We've made it to the weekend, ape-friends. Which means it's time for some Friday Fun!

Let's get this show on the road



frozen Minnehaha falls, MN

Reasonable response


Tree camping



Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Wednesday Weird: Rudoph Fentz

In April, 1951, a man appeared out of nowhere in the middle of Times Square. He had mutton chop sideburns and was wearing Victorian clothing.

Witnesses said he looked shocked and startled, and then a moment later he was struck and killed by a car.

Morgue officials searched his body and found the following things:

  • About 70 dollars in old banknotes
  • A bill for the care of a horse and washing of a carriage, drawn by a livery stable on Lexington Ave, which was not listed in any address book
  • A copper token for a beer worth 5 cents. It had the name of a saloon which was unknown, even to elderly residents of the area
  • Business cards with the name Rudolph Fentz and an address on Fifth Ave.
  • A letter sent to this address in June, 1876 from Philadelphia
All of the objects showed limited wear and age.

Captain Hubert Rihm of the NYPD missing person's unit, tried to use these objects and clues to identify the man. He was able to find the business related to the business cards, but the owner didn't know and had never heard of a Rudolph Fentz. Fentz wasn't listed in the address book, no one had reported him missing and his fingerprints weren't on file.

Continuing his investigation, Rihm finally did locate a Rudolph Fentz Jr in the phone book. Unfortunately Fentz had died 5 years earlier but Rihm was able to get ahold of his widow. He learned that her husband's father had disappeared in 1876 at age 29. He had left the house to go for a walk and never returned.

When it gets twisty. In 2000 a researcher concluded that the tale was a work of fiction, though he couldn't find the original source.

In 2002 someone else claimed that the original source of the tale was a Jack Finney story, called I'm Scared published in 1952 in the Heinlein anthology TOMORROW, THE STARS.

Where it gets turny:

In 2007 a researched for the Berlin News Archive supposedly found a newspaper article dated from April 1951 reporting the story almost identically to how it's reported today. The article was printed almost 5 months before Finney's short story was published.

So, what do we think?

Monday, June 23, 2014

In Which I Got Nothing

I spent the whole weekend at a local con (4th Street Fantasy (I maaaay have spoken to Scott Lynch more than once, this year)) and so I've got nothing for today.

So instead, you get this.


Friday, June 20, 2014

Friday Fun

Friday! Friday! We made it through to Friday!

Garlands and flowers for all!

Time for some Friday fun!









Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Wednesday Weird: The Dighton Rock

Sitting in the riverbed of the Taunton River in Berkley Massachusetts, facing the bay, rested the Dighton Rock.

Discovered nearly 300 years ago the 40-ton boulder is covered in puzzling petroglyphs, primarily made up of lines, geometric shapes, and schematic drawings of people. There is also writing on the rock, some of it verified and some of it not.

And English colonist first described the boulder in a writing:

Among the other Curiosities of New-England, one is that of a mighty Rock, on a perpendicular side whereof by a River, which at High Tide covers part of it, there are very deeply Engraved, no man alive knows How or When about half a score Lines, near Ten Foot Long, and a foot and half broad, filled with strange Characters: which would suggest as odd Thoughts about them that were here before us, as there are odd Shapes in that Elaborate Monument

Even before that another colonist drew a picture of the boulder (the drawing is preserved in a British museum), though is picture was not overly accurate since he couldn't see the whole thing due to the tide.

In 1963, due to dam construction, state officials removed the boulder and kept it for preservation.

No one has been able to solve the mystery of the writing on the rock and theories abound about who could have carved the petroglyphs, the more popular theories being Indigenous peoples of North America, who have historically carved petroglyphs in Vermont, ancient Phoenicians, the Vikings, the Chinese or the Portuguese.

Still, after 300 years, the mystery still remains.

Any theories?

Monday, June 16, 2014

In Which THE MASKED SONGBIRD Starts Its Tour!

Woo! Today is the Tour Kickoff day for Emmie Mears and her book THE MASKED SONGBIRD!
I luuurve this cover
Emmie and I met on QueryTracker Forum so I'm happy to have her here today on my blog.
Take it away Emmie!
Writing is Cheaper Than Therapy

...But sometimes I think it might cause me to need a shrink.

When I wrote the first draft of THE MASKED SONGBIRD, I didn’t realize how cathartic it would be.

The initial idea came to me in a flurry of inspirational indignation when I saw that the still-warm Spider-Man franchise was getting rebooted. I wanted to write a novel with a female superhero. I always loved the messy ones, the Logans who had people issues, the Peters who grew from being stomped on, the Rogues who struggled to combat things they didn’t understand.

A lot came out in that first draft, which I wrote in a measly six weeks. It was the fastest book I ever wrote. Some things (like Gwen’s spandex-y tutu) survived to the final product. Others (like a scene I wrote while processing my own recovery from sexual assault) did not, and for good reason. Yet other things I’m only noticing now as possible manifestations of my own subconscious.

It wasn’t until the final readthrough of the manuscript that I started realizing how much writing the book had allowed me to work through some of my own issues. Writing (and creative endeavors in general) has always been a cathartic process for me, whether it be journaling or fiction. While I didn’t base Gwen Maule on myself, she does have some traits with which I empathize. My whole life, I’ve struggled to assert myself, and Gwen, at the outset of THE MASKED SONGBIRD, is very much treated like a doormat.

In some ways, writing Gwen’s character helped me realize my own assertiveness and confidence. If she, a nobody from a croft in Sutherland, could become a hero, maybe I could at least manage to get through the next year -- and maybe others who struggled with fighting a learned tendency to let things slide would learn to stand up for themselves too.

How does writing (or reading) teach you things about yourself? Which characters have you read or written who have brought out latent traits in you?

You can preorder THE MASKED SONGBIRD here (! Released in a box set, you get four great paranormal and urban fantasy books for less than $4!

Follow Emmie on Twitter @EmmieMears and join her on Facebook!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday Fun

Yesssssss!  We've made it through the week which means today is the beginning of the weekend!

I can practically taste it

And you know what that means . . . Friday Fun!
Let's DO this!









Wednesday, June 11, 2014

In Which I'm Over At YA Confidential

Hey all!

Today I'm over at YA Confidential doing a tandem interview with Matt MacNish about Steve Brezenoff's new book GUY IN REAL LIFE.

It should be up in about an hour or so. It's a great book so stop on by! 

Monday, June 9, 2014

In Which I Hodge-Podge

Here we are, another Monday. Yay?

On the plus side, I've turned in my final assignments for my first semester of my MFA, which is awesome. Now I have a month off until semester two starts. Which is good because I'll be working on revisions and edits for ALL THAT REMAINS.

Also it will give me some time to try and get ahead on my required reading list. I'm reaching the end of the books I can find at my county library system. Soon I'll need to start asking about interlibrary loans.

June for me is the first month that starts to feel like summer. It's been warm and sunny enough that I've resumed eating my lunches outside while reading whatever I'm reading at the time. At least until the sun makes me too hot and I have to go inside. And unless it's raining, of course.

And June means one of my favorite local conferences: 4TH STREET FANTASY. It's small, it's single panel, and it attracts some big names in the fantasy and sci-fi community. It's also completely affordable (I think I paid $60 for my early registration, and that wasn't even the earliest price).
So I'm definitely looking forward to that next weekend.

Also, I've officially taken over the From the Vault posts at YA Confidential.

Every Monday the bloggers answer a question and anyone who comments on the Vault posts for the month have a chance of winning a free book at the end of the month. I'm not kidding here. Every month we give out a free book (winner's choice), and it could easily be you and all it takes is a comment.

So that's it! What's up with you?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Insecure Writer's Support Group

First Wednesday of the month means it's time for IWSG

I'm not really feeling insecure right now, which is good of course. I mean, maybe I should be feeling the weight of things and junk.

My second MFA semster will be starting in about a month. I'll be working on ATR revisions for my editor (tee hee). I'll be planning and doing pre-work for the ATR sequel which is due next year.

And yet, I dunno. None of that is really weighing on me. For a big chunk of it I'm actually excited, which helps.

I mean, maybe by this time next month i'll be feeling the heat but right now things are A-Okay.

How about you? How's things with you?

Monday, June 2, 2014

In Which I've Been Tagged

So, as the title says, I've been tagged by the awesome Rena Rocford! Don't know her? Check her out because I already told you once she's awesome. And she is. I pretty much luuurve her and that's no lie.

Anyway, this is a "Talk about your process" game and I'm in, so here we go.

What are you working on right now?

What AREN'T I working on right now, right? Nah I'm just kidding. Mostly what I'm working on right now is MFA work and a new WIP. The WIP is cleverly titled WIP right now (because no matter how hard I try (like, maybe a medium amount?) I haven't been able to come up with even a working title for it. But I've been thinking of it as Howl's Moving Castle meets Sherlock Holmes, and whether it's actually like either of those things, I dunno, but it's got a boy who's a cavalry cadet and another boy who's got a demon living inside him, granting him magical powers, and there's a looming war and secret weapon plans that must be discovered and feels and junk.
So yeah, I'm liking it.
I'm only about 40K in. I wish I was farther, but what can you do?

My first MFA semester is allllmost done. Next week, actually. And then I have a small break until Semester 2 starts in early July. So right now I'm doing some voice work for my mentor Anne Ursu to finish out my semester.

How does my book differ from others in my genre?

Shit, these aren't like easy question are they? Hell, I don't know. Maybe if I was, like, done with it, I could tell you? Nah, probably not. I guess I would say it's not often you get cavalry cadets and wizard boys mixing it up together, so I guess my fantasy and world building is what separates it out.

Why do I write what I write?

Because it's fun, natch. And even though I love YA contemporary, I don't think I could ever write it because I'm sure I'd reach a point and write "and then the monsters show up" or something. I mean, the backdrop of teen emotions and drama is made even worse when you have to deal with magic and murder and some other clever "m" word I can't think of off the top of my head.
Mystery? meh.
So, yeah. I write it mostly because it's what I want to read. I think that's pretty much the most important reason to write anything, you know?

How does my writing process work?

I usually spend months brainstorming an idea. Thinking about characters. About specific scenes, all that fun stuff.
Then when it's marinated enough, I'll tackle the first 4-5 steps of the Snowflake Method. Mostly I'll just come up with a one sentence description of the book. Then a one paragraph description.
Then I'll come up with 4 disasters and an ending and plan out what the inciting incident is.
Then I'll work through the MCs motivations, goals conflicts and epiphany.
And finally, when all of that is done, I'll write a query. It doesn't have to be a great query, but I try to make it, you know, not shitty.
Finally part 2, I'll make a list of scenes, which functions as an outline for me, and I jump in.
Jumping in is usually pretty easy because during all of the pre-work I usually come up with an opening scene or at least an opening line, so I know where to start.
Then I'll write the whole thing, beginning to end, chronologically.
Bam. Draft one is done. And because I allow myself to edit every day, after I've hit my word count, my drafts are usually pretty clean, which means revising doesn't take me forever.
And that's my process in a nutshell.

And that's it! I have to tag someone and I'm going to tag Matt MacNish, because, you know, we're pals.
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