Friday, December 14, 2012

An Article That Makes Great Sense:
melissabradyking: But My Mom Loved It! Why You Need a Good CP

I think I need to find myself a CP (Critique Partner).  Click the link below to read more.

melissabradyking: But My Mom Loved It! Why You Need a Good CP: This is why I love a good CP. Here is a sentence from my new book:  I pick up my suitcase by the handle and follow my mom into the elevat...

Monday, December 10, 2012

This Was Going To Be A Rambling Post....

I just liked the picture...
This was going to be a rambling post, but I've decided not to ramble....  I'm going to get to the point of what I think, then post a little snippet of something.

I noticed I haven't updated this blog in a couple weeks and I'd like to try to update it more regularly.  I actually find it helpful to me.  It documents my forward progress.  I want to complain, but I'm not going to.  My non-fiction piece (that I hope to do more work on) might actually be a lot of complaining, though I hope not.

I need to better organize my time.  I need to not let stress deter me.

Here's what I've been working on:

I had been out of work for three months, (though it became four once I finally started Job #3.)  Job #3 was completely different than the job I had before.  After the horrid Job #2 and before Job #3 came the Casino.  Yup, that's right, I worked at a casino.  I was a server on the gaming floor, then a server and sometimes a bartender in one of the restaurants.  Working for the Casino was a mixture of awesome and awful.  I made some awesome money and had some awesome co-workers.  There were also opportunities to move up and through the ranks.  It was a job where I often had fun.  The hours were awful.  It was hard work.  I was tired a lot.  I had to deal with some interesting/questionable people.  I barely saw my friends and family.  I also didn't really have a social life outside of work.  I barely saw my boyfriend.  We were ships passing in the night, catching an afternoon together a couple times a week, but rarely more.  I don't know how much longer I could have worked there if we didn't move.

My hubby/boyfriend got a job about two hours north east of where we were living, so we had to relocate.  It was time for me to move.  It wasn't just the job.  I was done living in that town.  It lacked a lot of the things I loved.  After what happened with Job #2, I couldn't help but feel this might be a problem I would face again.  

I know it needs editing, but that's for later.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Word of the Week(s)!

*I started Word(s) of the Week ages ago so that I could share all the new, brilliant, crazy words I kept coming across in my readings of fiction, articles, blogs, etc.*

This week (month) I'm thanking two brilliant ladies for words.

From Casual Vacancy, by J.K. Rowling:

Obstreperous (pg 53):
1. Attended by, or making, a loud and tumultuous noise; boisterous.
"The obstreperous mirth swiftly turned into yells of dismay."
2. Noisily and stubbornly defiant.

I think my toddler can be obstreperous.... 

Prurience (pg 216):  The quality of being prurient.
1. Uneasy with desire; itching; especially, having a lascivious anxiety or propensity; lustful.
2. Arousing or appealing to sexual desire.
3. Curious, especially inappropriately so.

From Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley:

Rembrant
Syndics (pg 31)
1. A government official, a magistrate, especially one of the Chief Magistrates of Geneva.
2. (law) An agent of a corporation, or of any body of people engaged in a business enterprise; an advocate or patron; an assignee.


Maybe I should turn this into "new words whenever I get time to share them"....?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What I've Been Working On... (Non-Fiction)

It's been a while since I posted some of my own writing.  It's been a busy, transition sort of time, these last two months.  I'm finally getting a sense of where my time is going to be needed...  I thought it was time I put the focus of my writing energy into the non-fiction project I started while I was unemployed. Here's a small sample...

My hubby (still boyfriend at the time) got a job about two hours north east of where we were living, so we moved.  It was time for me to move.  It wasn't just the job.  I was done living in that town.  It lacked a lot of the things I loved.  After what happened with Job #2, I couldn't help but feel this might be a problem I would face again.

I started to look for work.  Honestly, three and a half months is the longest it has ever taken for me to get a job.  During this time I “temped”.  Meaning, I found temporary employment with various employers for very short amounts of time, for very little pay.  But it was money.  I have to mention that the best job I had during this temp period was one with a book distribution company.  That’s right, books!  It was working in the packaging warehouse and it was labourous, but the people there were really nice… and I could buy books!  Cheap!  I’m talking seriously, I can’t believe how many books I bought with this five-dollar-bill cheap.  I probably spent half my money on books.

I worked there for three weeks.  There were two other temps.  After this three week period, they found they only needed to keep two for the next two months.  Because I needed a day off in that coming time period (for a family obligation), I was let go.  Which was fine.  It left me more time to go on interviews... and more writing time.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

I've Been Feeling Conflicted...

I’m feeling a little conflicted about my non-fiction project.  It’s a memoir, I think.  At least it’s about me.  It’s not my life story, but it’s about a significant part of my life.  A part of my life that when I mention it to people they’re reaction is something like "really?" or “what the fuck?”  I can’t believe it sometimes, but it’s true.  I felt the urge…the inspiration to write it after my recent job crisis.  The crisis is over and the project is a third to half finished (it's difficult to imagine how many more words I'll use to finish it).  I want to finish it.  But I wonder who I’m finishing it for.  Am I writing this for me?  To get the story off my chest/out of my head?  Or am I finishing it for you, the reader?  Either way, I now find myself wondering, am I really interesting enough to be writing about myself for others to read.  (Let’s call this feeling self-doubt.)  Who am I to be writing about my life for you?  Today I feel like I’m not anyone.  But I also feel like this story is interesting and there might be a few people who want to read it.

I stopped other projects to write this non-fiction piece and maybe that’s part of what’s getting to me.  I was working on a novel (that I wonder if ever will see the light of day).  I was also working on a short story collection, querying it, actually (I know it’s not the most lucrative form of writing, but I love it.)  I have other things I could be working on.  I have an idea for another novel that's been poking at me.  I have more short stories in me, waiting to burst out.  I just don't think I'll be... satisfied until this non-fiction project is finished.  

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Useful Link: Heroines with Hearts: Query Letters

I read this post about Query Letters the other day.  I thought it would be helpful  to share.  Click the link below.

Heroines with Hearts: Query Letters: My query letters follow a standard formula that I’ve found useful. First of all, the tone--I approach publishing as a business; therefore,...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

What Have You Been Saying To My Daughter?!?!

He's climbing, she loves climbing!
I'm a little mad today.  Someone, perhaps another student, told my daughter that she shouldn't wear her Diego underwear because it's for boys.  Ok, when we take our daughter shopping, for a lot of her clothes, we let her pick out stuff she likes.  When we were picking underwear, it was part of the potty-training thing and we wanted to make sure that she had stuff she liked. They don't make Diego underwear "for girls". Whatever, right?  We buy the underwear she wants and all is well.

So, this morning, my hubby is helping our daughter get dressed as I change our son.  He tries to hand her the Diego underwear she normally loves and she says, no, that's for boys.  What???  Who told her it was for boys?  She loves these underwear.  I have to wash them ALL THE TIME to keep her happy.  I know it's just underwear, but it made my hubby and I both sad that someone made her feel bad about something so simple, but makes her so happy.  Bah!

Look!  They're practically the same.
We talked to her this morning and tried to convince her that she can wear whatever she wants.  Mommy and Daddy bought all these things for her, Dora and Diego, so it doesn't matter if someone says that they're for boys.  (She has a Batman shirt that she loves, is someone going to tell her that it's for boys too?)  After talking to her some more, I think it was another student (a three-years-old girl) who told her it was for boys.  I can't really be mad at a little girl for saying something her parents probably told her.  Should I be mad at the parents?  I don't know.  Our genderized society?  I don't know.  I'm upset, but I can't focus my anger on anything.  I just don't like my little girl to be sad or made to feel bad about herself.  I thought it would be at least a few more years before I had to deal with her feelings about her self-image.  Am I reading too much into this?

She loves to watch Dora too,
but Diego usually wins.
I guess that I'm also upset because it has marred what was supposed to be a pretty good day. - It's my birthday and my hubby bought me a Kinect with Just Dance!  It's actually something I plan on playing with my daughter because she LOVES to dance.  I just want my children to be happy.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Word of the Week!


I have words!  I'm so happy to share a few words this week.  Thanks you Ms. Moran!

From How To Be A Woman, by Caitlin Moran:

Ebullience (pg 5):  The quality of lively or enthusiastic expression of thoughts and feelings.
(I thought the tree was ebullient)

Deleterious (pg 13): Harmful often in a subtle or unexpected way (as for example deleterious effects, deleterious to health).

Pilloried (pg 13): Simple past tense and past participle of pillory.  
Pillory (verb):    1. To put in a pillory.
2. To subject to humiliation, scorn, ridicule or abuse.
3. To criticize harshly.
(noun): A framework on a post, with holes for the hands and head, used as a means of punishment and humiliation.

Did you learn anything new this week?


*All definitions come from the Wiktionary.
*Both pictures are public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction: 6 Steps To Writing and Publishing Your Best Seller



Philip Athans' The Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction:  6 Steps To Writing and Publishing Your Best Seller is hilarious. It's filled with great advice that I think can be applied to writing any story, not just science fiction and fantasy.  A lot of what Athans said, I knew, but it was nice to be reminded.

This is the first "How-To" book on writing I've ever read.  It was a gift and I was happy to receive it.  The steps are six, but they are not simple.  They are broken down and then broken down again.  The steps are summed up at the end of each section, but if that's all you read or remembered, you wouldn't be getting the full benefit of this book.

I think this book awakened in me some sort of fascination with “how-to” books.  (Though, I wonder if it’s just a way to procrastinate with my own writing.  Do I actually need to read them?)  Before I was finished with Athans, I entered to win The Fiction Writer's Handbook on Goodreads and I actually won it.  It’s less of a “how-to” book and more of a reference, but I plan on going through it soon.  I’ve also seen another contest on Goodreads for yet another book, and I downloaded a [temporarily] free ebook (You Are A Writer) on my Kindle app.  I also have a strong urge to read Stephen King’s On Writing.  Except for the King book, which I also want to read because he’s one of my favourite authors, I wonder if I need to read these instruction manuals on writing.  I don’t know…

In the end though, I really enjoyed Athans’ The Guide To Writing Science-Fiction and Fantasy.  It holds a lot of great advice, layered with humour.  He uses real-life examples of some prolific authors.  I also really enjoyed the short story by R.A. Salvatore at the end.  I like how Salvatore and Athans dissect the story so the readers/writers can learn why it was rejected (even though at this point Salvatore was already writing about Drizzt).  I think the lesson is that any writer can still have their story rejected, even if they are already established and/or famous.   One of the most important things I felt from this book was encouragement.  Athans says that if you’re a writer, then write.  If you can be persuaded to not write, then you aren’t/weren’t a writer.  Keep writing.  Don’t do it for the money, because, like him, many published authors still have day jobs.  Do it because you love writing.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I Am Trying To Pick A Path


© Copyright Thor Beverley licensed for reuse
under this Creative Commons Licence
I was querying recently for my short story collection.  I stuck to agencies in the area where I live.  What are the rules with querying?  Can I query agents far and wide?  I guess I’m going to have to do a little more research.

I’ve also been considering looking at small press publishers myself.  There are a few in Canada, willing to take a risk on new writers (so I hear). Then there is self-publishing through Kindle or Smashwords or some sort of combination. 

I’m also considering breaking apart the collection and submitting the stories to various literary journals and magazine.  I’ve done that before with little success.  Many of the stories have been edited/revamped since then, so I might be more successful this time around.

I’ve also been considering using Wattpad, but I don’t know….

Bah!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Word of the Week!

Hurricane Isabelle!
I don't have any words!  Nothing.  For the last two weeks.  When I first was doing this, just over a year ago, I was finding words all the time.  I found words in fiction, non-fiction, newspapers, blog posts, everywhere!  I might skip a week, but never two.

Where have all the good words gone?



Sunday, September 2, 2012

Word of the Week!

It’s been over a year, but I’ve decided to start up my Word of the Week again.  I miss it.  I miss sharing all the words that come up in my various reading.

Haploid vs. Diploid image from here
All of this week’s words come from Forty Stories, a collection of short stories put together by Cal Morgan from Harper Perennial.  (My thoughts on the stories will be posted on Monday.)

From Barnacles of the Fuzz, by D. Foy (Forty Stories)

Jitney (Kindle location 742):
 A small bus or minibus which typically operates service on a fixed route, sometimes scheduled.

Haploid (Kindle location 742):
 Of a cell of nucleus having a single set of unpaired chromosomes.

From Djeser Djeseru (Splendor of Splendors), by Paula Younger (Forty Stories)
Corniche image from here. (c) Arnaud Clerget
Corniche (Kindle location 1876):
A road cut into the edge of a cliff, esp. one running along a coast.

From Eighty-six Way to Cross One Desert, by Alexander Lumans (Forty Stories)

Alacritous (Kindle location 2207): Brisk, speedy, with alacrity, quick and eager.

Everyone Loves a Person Who Doesn’t Give a F*$# About Anything, by Laura Jane Faulds (Forty Stories)

 Pulsatile (Kindle location 2346):
Pulsating or vibrating. Characterized by pulses.

Tinnitus (Kindle location 2346):
The perception of noise such as a ringing or beating sound, which has no external source.
Rung, jingled, having been jingled.
Cried, screamed, having been screamed in a shrill voice.
A ringing, jingling, tinkling.
(I didn’t realize this was going to be such a complex word.)

Granaby, by Brandon Hobson (Forty Stories)

Dyspneic (Kindle location 3382):
Afflicted with Dyspnea; possessing unhealthy breathing.

Impetigo (Kindle location 3444):
A contagious bacterial skin disease forming pustules and yellow crusty sores, chiefly on the face and hands.
It is common in children and infection is often through cuts or insect bites.

Head Down, Palm Up, by Mitchell S. Jackson (Forty Stories)
Semaphore

Semaphore (Kindle location 3745):
A system of sending messages by holding the arms or two flags or poles in certain positions according to an alphabetic code.

Hers, by O.A. Lindsey (Forty Stories)

Sclerotic (Kindle location 3943):
Of or having sclerosis. Becoming rigid and unresponsive; losing the ability to adapt.
Of or relating to the sclera.

That’s a lot of words.  I doubt each week will have that many.  In Forty Stories there are so many great authors writing fantastic stories, that I’m not surprised I had to look up more than a few words.

Learned any new words lately?

*Definitions from Wikitionary and Kindle app.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

I Can't Believe This Is Real!

There's a clothing store in India called.... Hitler.  Seriously!  WTF????  Click the link below for more information.

KiSS 92.5 | Toronto's #1 Hit Music Station

*I didn't include the picture because I didn't want it to appear on my blog.
**Seriously, how could this guy think it was a good idea????
***I had a difficult time even typing the name out.  So very offensive.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Good To Know: FREE iTunes U Courses for Writers and Readers

Did you know there are free courses you can take via iTunes U for writers and readers?  I didn't until recently.  Now I'm sharing the info.  I may take one (or more) of the courses....  Once life settles a bit.

http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/itunes-u-courses-for-writers-readers_b47396

Monday, August 27, 2012

Maternity Leave Infographic, or I'm Proud To Be Canadian


I know this Infographic has been making the internet rounds.  I know that it's supposed to be for Americans because of their awful (sorry American friends) maternity leave policy.  It just made me realize how lucky I am to be a mother in Canada.  I thought that France and the UK had better policies than us, but apparently not.  Click the links below for more information.

How The Zero Weeks Of Paid Maternity Leave In The U.S. Compare Globally: pOut of 178 nations, the U.S. is one of three that does not offer paid maternity leave benefits, let alone paid leave for fathers, which more than 50 of these nations offer. Here’s how the U.S. stacks up to 14 other countries: In comparison, Canada and Norway offer generous benefits that can be shared between [...]/p

http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/05/24/489973/paid-maternity-leave-us/

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Little Bit of What I Wrote Today

During all this, I celebrated my twenty-third birthday.  I invited two of the girls who were a bit older and I was close with.  She overheard us talking afterwards.  She wanted to know why I hadn't invited her.  Seriously?  Why the fuck would I invite someone like that?  Was she delusional?  I could never relax around her at work; I was never letting her into my home.

I know it needs some editing, but I just wrote it, so there.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Update!


I have a job!  Yay!  I’ve been tense about being unemployed and that my money was going to run out soon, but I don’t have to worry about it anymore.  Thanks to everyone who sent me kind words.  It’ll be nice to finally relax and not wake up and job hunt every day.  I don’t start for another few days, so I’ll actually get time off to enjoy with my family!  Yay again!

I’ll miss the writing time though…

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

August Update: or, No Job = More Writing Time


August 1st, it seems like a nice day to do an update. 

I still have no job.  It's been just over a month since I was laid-off.  I've been on a few interviews, even got called back for a couple second interviews.  I've turned an offer down because of the distance it would take to travel there.  I'm waiting to hear back from a job that I think would be nice for me. 

Distance makes a difference.  Some of you know that I have two small children, three and one.  They are my priority.  As much as I need to work, I will not travel so far away that I can't get to them in an emergency.  I've heard of children who are spending eleven or twelve hours away from home in daycare.  I'm not judging the people who do that. It's necessary in many cases.  It is just not in mine.  If I'm spending eight hours at work, I plan on having my children only spend eight and a half or nine hours away from me.

Okay, I didn't plan on this being a post about how much I want to be near my children.

I'm using this unemployed time though.  I've been writing like mad.  I've gone through all the short stories I have for my collection.  I like them.  Actually, I love them.  I've also been working on my first non-fiction piece.  It's chronicling the journey I'm on, looking for work.  I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but this isn't the first time I've been laid-off.  It wasn't my fault (honestly).  It was work shortage.  The company I was laid-off from before this actually went out of business.  I think part of what I'm doing is trying to figure out how I could pick a job that would again put me in this situation. 

How long does non-fiction have to be?  Novel length?  Novella length?  I don't really know.  Right now, I have about ten thousand words.  I'm not aiming for a particular word count.  I'm just writing what I feel.  When it's done (or at least close to being done) I'll go through, edit and make it more coherent.  I know there is at least one passage that's just my mad ramblings.  I don't know if it'll be publishable when it's done, but I'm going to write it anyway. 

Wasaga Beach *
To refer back to my Image Use post, I've gone through a lot of my blog pictures, but not all.  I think this blog is good.  I've started going through my Pins and I've deleted a few pictures I felt unsure about (it made me a little sad).  It's still going to take me a while.  Honestly, if I'm feeling the urge to write or I'm in the middle of a good flow, I'm not stopping to check pictures or Tweet or anything else.  When I'm writing, all I see are the words on the page and images in my mind.

The summer is half over.  I wonder what the rest of it will bring.

A quick addition, the last sentence I’ve written (so far) this afternoon:  “The sad talks were taking its toll, the logic of his words made me feel a bit better, and a little less panicked.”

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Image Use


This image is public domain.
I know I just started it, but I'm not continuing with my Pin of the Week.  It seemed like so much fun and something that I would enjoy doing, but I recently became concerned.  I read a blog post from a writer who was sued for using a photographer's picture.  The photographer sent her a "do not use" notice, so she promptly took the picture down.  This was not good enough for that person and they sued her.  She may be a published writer, but many of us know, that unless you're a select few, Stephen King, Cassandra Clare, Charlaine Harris, etc., you're not making a lot of money.  She was being sued for much more than she had.  She was also just doing what most other bloggers seem to do.  Google search an image and plop in a blog post.  As long as you're not making money from the image, what's the harm, right?  Apparently, though some people (most, it seems) don't mind, there are those that do mind and they might sue.

This got me thinking about all the random pictures and images on my own blogs.  For Loni’s Eye, where I talk about books, movies, babies and life, most of the pictures on my blog seem safe.  There are book covers, movie posters and pictures either I or friends of mine have taken.  I’ve started to go through the blog, but for the most part, I think I'm okay.  (It’s going to take a little while though, since I started blogging in 2006.)  On Loni's Storm, where I talk about my writing, writing articles and other writing/author related subjects, it's a little different.  Many of the posts have no images, but many do, to make it look more interesting (it's one of the first things bloggers learn).  Now, after reading this and a few other similar articles, I'm going to go through the blog thoroughly and either use my own photos or use images from a free source.  I've read about using Creative Commons and Wikimedia Commons, but I need to read more about them first.

From what I've read, it seems like getting sued is very rare.  On one blog I read, the blogger wrote about mixed messages.  This person ran a fashion blog.  They were at an event and someone actually told them to just take pictures of their site, even though on the site it says not to lift any images.  I don't think this category of blog could even exist if the bloggers didn't take the pictures off designers' and stores' websites.  It is much easier to critique something (positively or negatively) if there is an image to refer too.  The same sort of thing goes for other types of blogs too (I love/hate this travel destination, I love/hate this restaurant, I love/hate this book).  I think anything that’s an advertisement is okay because, you’re only spreading the word (whether positively or negatively).

You can use the Pinterest logo only
if it links back to their site.
Pinterest has copyright rules too.
Where does that leave sites like Pinterest and Tumblr?  They exist because of photos.  I’m not sure how Tumblr works since I’ve never used that site.  I do have a Pinterest account (which I’m a little addicted to.)  I’ve pinned over a thousand images.  They range from yummy food to fun geekdom.  I have places I want to see and things that make me think.  There’s humour and of course, there are books.  I hope I’m not infringing on anyone’s copyright.  For legal reasons, but also because I would hate to take someone’s work.  So I’m going to go through all my Pins.  All one thousand-plus of them.  It’s going to take a while.

I figure I’m okay if I repin from publishing houses like Random House or Harper Collins.  I also hope I’m okay if I repin from George Takei and Nina Garcia.  Then there are some other people, authors, bloggers, friends and randoms that I follow.  Those are the repins that I’m going to have to look at most closely in the future.  I will also only pin something from sites with “pin it” buttons or if it says that it’s okay to share.

That’s a lot of pictures to go through.  Two blogs and Pinterest.

If anyone has any thoughts on the matter, I’d like to know.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

What I've Been Working On Today...

This is just a sample of something I've been working on.  The bulk of it is actually very emotional.  I had to take a break.  I just want to share a short sample:

"Basically, she was telling a group of people who are supposed to listen to me, not to.  Was she purposefully trying to undermine my authority?  Did she believe what she was saying?  I don't really know.  All I knew was that I had hung on long enough.  I had tried hard enough.  No matter what I did or said, I couldn't change her opinion.  I was tired of going to work everyday and dreading it.  I was angry that she had passed me over, when I was hired by her superiors for a purpose.  I don't know if I was ever more unhappy. "

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Write Words


These weren't the words
I was looking for. (c) Loni
Write words.  What are the right words?  That's what I'm looking for.  Everyday I turn on my computer or open up my notebook and I search for the write/right words.  I look for words for the short stories I love to write.  I search for words for the novel that is frustrating me.  For my chronicle/memoir/non-fiction piece about my search for a job, those words seem to flow most days.  Maybe because the situation is so pressing.  Maybe because I have a lot of emotions mixing around.  In the end, though, are they the right words?  Will I read them in a month and wonder what I was thinking?  I don’t know.  I have so many words inside me, waiting to get out.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Forty Stories, Free!!


A while ago, I started reading the site, Fifty-Two Stories.  Each week they (Cal Morgan) would post a new short story.  Well, some time ago, this stopped happening.  To make up for it, Cal Morgan and Harper Perennial put together Forty Stories.  It is a collection of short stories from various authors.  It was on their site (and still is) as a free PDF download.  As of yesterday, it is available for Kindle, iBooks and other retailers that I don’t use.  There’s an article about it on The Atlantic Wire.  


I think I might start reading a short story a week again.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Pin Of The Week #1


I joined Pinterest a little while ago.  Maybe it’s just a fad, maybe it’s here to stay.  Right now, I’m addicted.  There are so many beautiful, hilarious, amazing pictures being pinned (many of them on my own boards J), that I want to share them.  I’ve decided to choose my “favourite” Pin of the Week and showcase it on my blog.

Now, I say “favourite” because it is sincerely difficult to choose.  Mostly I picked the Pin that called out to me.

This week I give you the Surreal Forest of Romania.  I pinned it from someone else’s board, but the original site is Colossal Art and Design

Happy Pinning!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Sending Out Pieces Of Me

I'm working hard.  I might have no job, but that doesn't mean I'm moping around the house (at least, not all the time.)  I am taking this "extra" time and I'm putting it to good use.  After a very busy Canada Day, I'm back at computer trying to make it happen.

I have sent out five query letters about my short story collection.  That's not a lot, but it's a beginning.  I'm taking a break from making my querying to explain how I'm feeling.

Scared.

Thank you.


Friday, June 29, 2012

I Am Without Job


I’m on maternity leave.  It ends today.  When did I find out about losing my job?  Officially, yesterday.  Yup.  That’s right.  They day before my maternity leave ends, I find out I’ve lost my job.  Well, that’s not entirely true.  Tuesday is when my supervisor called me to come in on Thursday (yesterday) so we could “discuss” my job situation.  We talked for a minute and he basically said that they were “restructuring,” making cuts and one of those cuts would be me.

So, I will be actively looking for a job with no money coming in.  They did give me my severance and I have unused vacation time to be paid out.  So, it’s not like I’ll have no money, but once that’s gone, it’s done.  I better find a job before it runs out.  The longest you can be on Employment Insurance is one year.  That’s how long maternity leave is and EI is what pays that.  I don’t qualify for anymore because I haven’t worked in a year.

I’m not getting laid off because I was on maternity leave.  If I thought that, I would be way more angry and calling the Ministry of Labour.  I know that it’s a legitimate lay-off, one of many that they’re doing at the company.  Honestly, while it is extremely upsetting to be laid-off in general and specifically now, I don’t want to disparage the company I was working for.  I especially don’t want to say anything bad about the individuals I worked for and with.  I had some great supervisors.  I felt that they were unhappy about letting me go and having to let other people go too.

What is making me crazy is the fact that I won’t get any EI money.  I mean, I was on mat leave!  I wasn’t unemployed for a year.  I went on mat leave expecting to have a job when it was done.  If I knew they were going to lay me off, I would have looked for a new job, but I didn’t know.  According to them, they didn’t know either.  But it doesn’t matter, because the money maxes out at one year, no matter the circumstances.  Even though I expected to go back to work in just a handful of days, and now I’m not.  Now, I have to scramble to find something to pay the bills.  I know that there are rules, but my “good-bye letter” states the date of my termination as after the end of my Maternity leave.  Again, that doesn’t matter.

So if I’m stressed out, unable to concentrate on anything, this is why.  I finished my last book days ago, I had even started writing the review, but I haven’t been able to focus enough to finish it.  I haven’t read anything, watched a movie or really done anything fun.  I was writing a fair amount.  I was sending out queries.  It’s so hard to focus on trying to get published when all I can think about is that I’ll have no money soon.

I’m trying to be my normal self for the children, but I think they can tell something is wrong.  I’m just trying not to freak out.  I’m trying not to get overly emotional.  I’m trying to hold myself together and figure out what to do.  I know what to do, find a job ASAP!  Am I going to be able to?  I don’t know.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Making Story Changes

I'm making some serious changes to a short story that I've had puttering around for a few years.  I think it's better now.  Here's a quote from one of the new scenes I wrote.  (It probably needs editing.)

"I don't know what Gabrielle is doing.  She grabs my hand instead of a towel to clean my mess.  She turns it over.  It is red.  There is blood everywhere and I didn't notice.  It mixes with the wine, though the blood probably has enough wine in it already.  I didn't think I was that drunk.  Now that I see the gash, I start to feel the pain.  My hand burns and aches."

Image by Francesco Pappalardo via Wikimedia Commons.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

How Does This Sound?

This describes the short stories I've gathered (written) to make my [hopefully] first book.

"Whether it is physical violence (Another Day, Tired Lovers) or violent emotions (Withered Flowers, The Lie), the characters contained within Preoccupation With Violence have to deal with difficult circumstances, also known as life.  A man drives a car through a front window.  A woman comforts her grieving child.  A girl fights against an abusive parent.  A young woman contemplates ending her life.  Whether physical or emotional, the characters in Preoccupation With Violence are shaken.  They are stunned, punched, drunk and crying."

Ack!!


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I'm Trying It On

I've got a new look today.  A new background picture and a slightly different colour scheme.  I wanted a change, but I also liked the old look.  Any thoughts?

I have another background picture I want to try.  Maybe next week.  We'll see how this one feels.

Monday, June 11, 2012

What Do I Do?

I've been looking up how to best write a query letter for a short story collection. Most sites say don't. Really. I was able to find one site with a bit of advice, which is good. However, the adivice was short and not too specific. Basically, all the sites said collections don't sell. Apparently, the only way an agent or publisher will look at you is if you either also have a novel or you've been published somewhere with a lot of exposure, like The Atlantic or The New Yorker. Not very encouraging. I'm thinking of forging ahead... While working on a novel.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Looking Back At May and Title Search

May was a busy month.  I had two Mother's Day events to attend.  I had a long weekend filled with my daughter's birthday and another family picnic and something else....  I can't even remember last weekend....  We drove... somewhere.  It was a busy month.  Writing, like the housework, has suffered.  I'm hoping to catch up.

To start my June off right, I'm starting it early.  I've re-edited a story of mine.  The language was too sentimental, so I've toned it down, while (I hope) still keeping the love of the two main characters present.  My real problem, the title.  I've had this story floating around for a while and I can't seem to find a title that makes me happy.

Here is what I have right now:  Tired Lovers, End The Day, The Happy Couple, Hot Sun, Yellow Car, Stop Calling Me and Falling on the Concrete/Sidewalk.  What do I pick?????

*Attribution: Lykaestria at the English language Wikipedia

Monday, May 14, 2012

Behated

Be.hate.d, n. - something hated deep within the heart.  Opposite of beloved.  Examples:  Peter Pan is beloved, Captain Hook is behated. Sleeping Beauty is beloved, Maleficent is behated.
     - My behated enemy

I think that's the clearest way to explain my new favourite word, behated.  My hubby used it today.  My hubby is a teacher.  He is participating in a fundraiser where the students buy tickets for a draw.  The winner of the draw will get to throw a pie at my husband tomorrow.  More than one teacher is participating.  My hubby has the most tickets in his bowl.  He said that either means he is beloved or behated.  Then we talked about whether behated is a word.  We were pleased with ourselves.  It is not a real word, but it should be.    (Wiktionary was the only place we could find an entry.  I don't think that counts.)  I may start using it in future posts.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Tweet, Tweet....

I've joined Twitter.  You can find me @LoniStorm.  Why did I join Twitter?  I don't know.  So I can waist more time?  I'm hoping to find a voice, I think.  I want to know not just my voice, but the voices of the characters I create.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

What’s in a Name?


How important are character names?  I think they’re very important.  They should convey part of the character’s personality.  Coupled with other aspects, I think they should evoke a desired feeling from the reader.  I don’t think names should be taken lightly.

Sometimes naming a character comes easily to me.  I don’t have to think about it, the right name just pops into my head, part of the flow of the story.  Other times, I agonize over the name.  I search meanings, I make lists, I write out variants.  It can take ages; the entire time I had planned to spend writing can be taken up with finding the right name.  Sometimes, I’ll just insert a ____ to hold the space until I decide.  Or sometimes I’ll write out He/She and other pronouns until I decide on something.  Sometimes, like today, a name I’ve used in a story for over a year will seem wrong to me and I’ll change it.  Finding the right name after ages of searching feels so good.

Am I spending to much time with names?

Monday, April 30, 2012

Breasts and Oreos

I've talked about breastfeeding before on my other blog.  I'm a mother.  I have two kids, one of whom is still being breastfed.  (The other is long past being breastfed.)  Apparently, there's a controversial Oreo ad in South Korea featuring a breastfeeding baby.  My concern over this ad would have more to do with a baby that age eating a cookie, not the breastfeeding.  Facebook has taken down all content showing this ad.  For more information, see the link below.

 peaceful parenting: Milk and Cookies: Breastfeeding and Oreos: If you're in North America you'd almost have to be hiding under a rock somewhere to have missed the hoopla that is rumbling across the U...

Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Little Bloody Today


I did some writing.  A short story I got the idea for about a month ago.  It was March and it was unseasonably warm.  I don't know why this came to me, but it did.  It's been itching to make in onto paper. 

Below is a sample of what I wrote.  It's around the middle of the second page.  It definitely needs to be edited, but I hope tone is right.

The mother fell to her knees, confused, gripping the stroller and her eldest child.  She could feel the blood leaving her body.  She was losing focus. Her daughter’s tears soaked her face.  Her son continued to cry, but she knew it was a cry of fear, not of pain.

The pealing tires of a car brought her thoughts into focus.  She needed to call the police.  She tried to let go of her daughter, she didn’t want to hurt her, but the little girl wouldn’t let her mother go.

“Mommy!  Mommy!”  She felt Keira being pulled away from her and she held on to her arm again.

She looked up.  The woman with the dog was there.  She was saying something, but she couldn’t hear her.  Keira clutched at her mother.  She watched the woman moved to the front of the stroller.  She was looking at Evan.  The woman let out a sigh.  She was checking Evan and he appeared fine.

The mother’s grip was weakening.  The blood leaving her body was taking her strength.  The stared at the woman, her dog following dutifully at her heals.  She finally noticed something; there was a phone at her ear.  The woman with the dog was talking to someone, describing the scene, telling them how much blood was covering the sidewalk.

I'm not sure about the ending.  Should the readers find out what happens to the mother?  Should I just have her taken away?  I'm not sure.  Should the villain be caught?  Should this be a short, eight page story, or something that keeps going for twenty?  I don't know.  I just know that it'll be on my mind until it reaches its conclusion.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

April Goals – Update (2012)


So April is half over and what have I done?

I definitely have not written for ten minutes every day.  I wrote a couple of times, but not enough.

I finished editing the short stories in my folder.  The problem is with one story.  I want to add a new scene, maybe two.  I just need the time to write them.

I have not applied the hard copy edits to the computer files.

I haven’t had a lot of time this week.  My daughter has croup.  It’s not fun.  She’s getting better, but I wasn’t sleeping much and I’ve been trying to make sure my son doesn’t get it.  She’s getting better, but taking care of her has taken a lot out of me.

I might have a go at the new scenes I want to write.  We’ll see after I finish tidying up.

*Photo from the Wikipedia article on croup.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

April Goals

So, I haven’t been writing everyday.  March was a busy month.  Much of the progress I felt I had in February didn’t continue.  Now, I am looking to get it back.  To that end, I’ve decided to make a list of goals for the month.  It will not be a long list.  If I give myself too much to do, I know I’m just setting myself up for failure.  The two little children aren’t going away.  Neither are my husband or my friends and family.  All of whom I love.  What I want to do is pretty simple.

1. Write for 10 minutes everyday.  (I already know I’m going to miss a few, like the first three days of April, but I can still try.)

2. Finish editing the last short story I have in my folder.

3. Apply all short story hard copy edits to the computer files.

There, three simple goals.  Can I do it?  I think I can :)



Saturday, February 25, 2012

Another Writing "Tool"

I've come across a new writing tool. It is kind of like 750words.com except cuter.  It is called Written Kitten.  For every on hundred words you write, you get a new kitten.  How awesome is that!  I love kittens.  I want to get a new one soon, actually.  The site doesn't do anything else, there's no other prizes or badges, no stats or analyses.  But with a new kitten every one hundred words, it doesn't really need anything else.  It is for people who want a bit of cute in their day.  There is no saving on this site either, so if you want to keep what you have written, you have to remember to copy and paste to an external source and save. So what am I doing instead of being productive? I'm writing until I hit the word count to get my next kitten!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What Should Happen Next?

The slap was hard. Heat rushed to her face, as she staggered back. Water filled her eyes. She raised her hand to her cheek, numb, but there would be more pain soon. It would be a lingering pain, one that wouldn't let her forget this moment.

She stared intently at her would-be lover, trying to figure out why he thought this was acceptable behaviour. Anger filled eyes that once drew her in with love. The knuckles on the hand that hit her were now white, as his fist hung at his side. His dark hair was out of place, a few strands in his eyes. She had run her fingers through that hair, she had held his hand and kissed his soft lips.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A New Writing Tool... Aid... Prompt... Push...

I signed up for 750words.com.  So far, I really like it.  I like that the site sends you an email reminding you to write at a time you specify.  I like the monthly challenges to write everyday.  I like that it gives you points based on some algorithm.  It hasn't been long, but I'm enjoying the site.

One of the features that I think will be really helpful is the stats page.  It gives you an idea of the tone of your writing.  It also shows you what words you've used most. I might run the risk of over analyzing on the stats page, but for right now, I find it quite helpful.  I think I might also copy and paste a piece of writing just to see what the stats say.  It might be a helpful editing tool.

I was doing pretty well with the site.  I wasn't getting 750 words every day, but I was trying to write for at least ten minutes.  Then my daughter came down with the stomach flu.  She's two and a half.  It was not fun.  I also started feeling unwell.  We're better now and luckily no one else in the household got sick.

I digress.  Anyone who needs a little motivation or wants to find out a little more about their writing should check out 750words.com.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Input versus Output

I think that I might be guilty of this.  Check out the article at Write For Your Life.  I'm always wondering where the time went.  I think it's nice to unplug occasionally.

The dangerous effects of reading Write for Your Life

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Is It Appropriate For Bookstores To Have Bad Grammar?

I have an extreme dislike of bad grammar.  Accidental typos and honest mistakes are one thing; you learn from them and move on.  To choose bad grammar makes my skin crawl.  Click the link below for more information. Also, I don't think and apostrophe really makes a difference to a search engine.

Let It Read: Book Mark: And There Goes the Apostrophe: I came across this article a few days ago by Lindsay Johns for The Daily Mail and had to share. Waterstones: O apostrophe, where art thou...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Tone or Is It Always About Me?


I'm worried about the tone of what I'm writing.  I’ve written everyday for the last five days, which is great, but I'm concerned that my characters sound too self-indulgent.  In two of the stories I worked on this week, they’re told in first person, so they are naturally going to have more "I" in them.  The other one is third person, but still focusing on one character.  In each story, the character has a problem they have to deal with or some sort of conflict.  What do I do?  Do I think about it as I write, or deal with it later?  Is it okay to have a self-indulgent main character?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Turning Something Old Into Something New... Or At Least Refurbished

I did some writing yesterday. If I can get ten minutes today, maybe I'll be on my way to writing everyday. What I wrote I think is the ending to a short story I had left for dead. I liked the premise of the story and the basic storyline, but it would just not come together for me. I added a love triangle because I wanted to make it more interesting, then later realized it made the story childish. Instead I'm mostly removing the other woman and I am instead going to focus on the man's extreme behaviour. I wrote this story, ten years ago, tried re-writing it five or six years ago, and now I'm trying again. Is this too much? Should I not even bother? Or if I think the new re-write could work, do I go for it?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Does this sort of news affect new writers?

McClelland & Stewart is now 100% owned by Random House of Canada. They used to own only 25%, with the rest owned by the University of Toronto. Click the link for the full story from The National Post.
http://arts.nationalpost.com/2012/01/10/random-house-becomes-full-owner-of-mcclelland-stewart/

What does this mean to a writer like me? A writer like you? Writers in general?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Writing Every Day

I want to write everyday. Now that my baby boy is sleeping thought the night, I feel like I can finally have time for me. The question that has been burning me these last few months while I merely thought of writing: Do I work on my novel or vomplete my short story collection?