Archive for 'musings'
Wednesday, December 28th, 2011
Boy, 2011 was a heck of a roller coaster year
…did that all happen?
Read the rest of this entry »
Thursday, December 15th, 2011
Remember those dreaded words: research paper? How everyone in class groaned, kvetched, grumbled and bitched?
Thing is, even though I toed the party line (high school is the bastion of conformity!), when I first discovered/was taught how to do research on a topic, I knew I’d found my holy grail. No. Really. Even now, the thought of researching something has my wee heart all aquiver.
- Discovering new information? Check.
- Uncovering data? Check.
- Learning new things? Check.
Sure, not all research is equal. There’s a world of difference between poring over hundreds of lines of accounting journal entries in a contemporary office setting and reading a sixteenth century ship’s manifest. Though, I will admit, for some, the former makes them salivate. I’m good with that. For me, the latter is both cake AND pie with sprinkles of chocolatey goodness.
Whether researching for a school paper or for a novel or essay, it’s like the best kind of crack; the world’s biggest and most bewitching scavenger hunt. In school, I devoured the “how to”, learning about primary vs. secondary sources, learning to use the card catalog and deciphering the Dewey Decimal System. The library was Mecca in so many ways. Not just as a place for wonderful fiction, but a repository for all this gathered knowledge about us. About people: how the live(d)/work(ed)/play(ed)/exist(ed). How can that not be utterly fascinating?
I could lose myself for hours in the stacks as one research source led to another and another and yet another. Piles of musty volumes at my elbow as I uncovered correlations, relationships, cultural and socio-political intrigues.
Therein lies the bane: the absolute addiction of research compounded by the current ease of discovery with the Internet. How on earth am I able to come up for air? Frankly, it’s really, really difficult sometimes. When I’m immersed in reading, for example, about daily life in the Tudor Court, it takes every ounce of willpower I have not to let myself get dragged into sidelines like women’s medicine in sixteenth century England and how that affected fashion. It’s an ongoing puzzle that begs to be put together like a complex Lego design: bricks upon bricks of data, interwoven and creating a pattern of interlocking information that eventually paints a picture of life.
Because that’s what entrances me: the mundane day-to-day cultural and societal aspects of humanity. How we do things. How we get along. How our tribal groups are/were formed. Egads, I’m doing it now! Hijacking my own blog post to wax rhapsodic about my passion. Hee!
The good part is that world-building and character-building allows me to take this addiction and channel it into productivity. You can see why I write. I have to explore all the things. All the ways we (as humans) fit together in social groups and behaviors. It’s a never-ending range of possibilities and I, as a writer, get to explore how ever many of them I want to.
When I construct my characters, my worlds, even in a short story, there’s a lot that my readers never see. Small bits of knowledge that shape who they are, like what toothpaste they use or their reading habits. It’s part of my research lust: I need to create believable people who seem real, whether they are protagonist, antagonist or catalyst…even tertiary characters get this treatment.
It’s not always fully conscious. I’ve not actually sat down and created a character sheet or biography for everyone, but it’s all definitely in the back of my head, humming along as I write. It’s kind of the DVD commentary version of things.
A while back, I created a “20 Things” list based on an internet fandom meme (e.g., tell me 20 things about xxx character(s) that we don’t already know). This list is included in my recent eBook: Collected Works from an Unrepentant Writer and was written sometime around the third series book. I think it’s time to revisit this and show you a glimpse behind-the-scenes as it were. This time, I’ll borrow from the 4 Things About You meme. Instead of focusing on Keira, this time, it will be all about Tucker.
Tucker Kelly’s 4 Things:
Four jobs I’ve had in my life:
Four places I have lived:
Four places I have been:
- Giza Necropolis, Egypt
- Gullfoss Falls, Iceland
- Hôtel de Glace, Canada
Four of my favorite foods:
Four of my favorite drinks:
Four places I would rather be right now:
- In bed
- With Niko
- Not sleeping with Niko
Four things that are very special in my life:
- My sister, Keira
- My place in the family as Keira’s Protector
- My strength, so I can protect my sister
So what do you think? Tucker can sometimes have a bit of a one-track mind, si? ::g::
Readers, I’d like to hear some of the things that you know about my characters from reading the books and imagining. From your perspective, what’s something you’ve gleaned or thought about the gang? Do you know what kind of toothpaste Keira uses? Or perhaps what Adam’s favorite TV show is? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
I’ll pick one commenter at random and send them a free copy of Collected Works from an Unrepentant Writer in PDF, .mobi or .epub format.
Wednesday, September 21st, 2011
Life continues chez Lima. Busy at the workplace.
I’m excited about the fall season. Glee was most fun last night. I’m looking forward to a bunch of season premieres, including Grey’s Anatomy, The Good Wife and Amazing Race 19.
Blood Sacrifice got a lovely review from Amberkatze. Amber’s been great, promoting the books and also helping me with the Welsh in my books. She’s totally awesome.
One thing I love about the Intarwebz is the ability to connect with, correspond with and befriend folks from all over the world. Over the years, I’ve made friends from as far away as Australia & New Zealand, from all over the US, Canada and the UK, and even from exotic places like Nepal. I’ve reconnected with family, with friends from high school and college and former coworkers.
Physically (in meat space), I tend to be a hermit (on purpose). In cyberspace, I can enjoy all these lovely friendships. And yes, it’s great to meet folks in RL, too. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting quite a few of my far-away friends/fans at cons. But cons cost money & time, and the internet is free (okay, well, I pay a connection fee which is worth every penny).
Readers, where are you from/where do you live? If you could choose a place to live, where would that be (money no object).
My dream place would be Vancouver, BC. I fell in love with the city three years ago during my birthday trip. Sadly, I don’t have Canadian residency (though that could be gotten) nor the funds (Vancouver is expensive!). But, I dream on. You never know, it could happen!
Thursday, May 27th, 2010
This is something I’ve struggled with for years–how to stock my writerly toolbox. From research books to notebooks to pens and finally to the Ooh, Shiny of the computer world.
Folks who know me in person for more than a month already know I’m one of those people called “early adopter”. I LOVE technology. I LOVE the shiny. In fact, in FIRST GRADE, one of my report cards mentions how much I enjoyed working with the tape recorder.
This was in 1964 in a Catholic school. The nuns were working with me on my English. So we’d work one-on-one with a reel-to-reel tape machine. I listened to words and sentences and repeated them. To this day, I remember being absolutely fascinated by the equipment.
My fascinating hasn’t waned. Instead, it’s grown exponentially stronger. I bought my first computer in 199-something and never looked back. Today, I’m a MacGeek, all Apple all the time. I wrote my first 4 books on laptops, while sitting in my recliner in my wee studio apartment. Now that I’ve moved, I’ve got a couch (no recliner), a real desk/work area and a dilemma.
I LOVE LOVE my iMac. It’s a 27″ screen, so crisp, clear and gorgeous. I splurged on an Aeron chair and loads of elfa drawer units and folding shelves so I can organize all my research books. I can haz office! I’ve never really tried to write a book in this office area, after all, I’ve only lived here 7 weeks. I’ve written a short story and several essays, plus loads of tweets, Facebook and blog posts.
I figured I’d go back to writing on an Air. I sold my sister the first gen Air that I had (she needed a new ‘puter) and purchased a brand new one, all spiffy and shiny. Guess what? The couch is NOT conducive to writing. Instead, after I opened the laptop, turned out all I did was use it twice to look something up–something I could have easily done on the iPad.
As my buddy Dana Cameron said on my Facebook post–it’s about the environment. Now that my office is getting really close to being “done” (bulletin board is hung, white board paper on the wall for notes, printer set up) – it’s more like a writing place. The atmosphere is right. The chair is right. The computer is right. So, really, it’s not just about the tools. The Air is a fabulous laptop for writing, but doesn’t work in my new digs. I’m sure I’d love any of the newer Apple laptops, but the same would apply.
So now, it’s time to divest myself of the extraneous and sell the brand new laptop on eBay, in hopes of recouping as much as I can. (I bought it 3 weeks ago, and the return policy only allows for 14 days).
Perhaps next time, I’ll let the situation settle in for a bit before I make such an expensive purchase. Live and learn!!
I’m curious to know what other writers have experienced regarding tools and their writing environment. Was there a lesson learned for you?
Sunday, November 12th, 2006
I’m keeping a low profile this weekend, mainly because in 10 days, my parents, my sister and brother-in-law arrive for turkey day and their first visit to me since I moved to the DC area.
Since I live in efficiency-land, they’re all staying in a nearby hotel and plans are to do the touristy thing while they’re here.
Next weekend, I’m off to NJ to visit with starrcat and whomever else shows up. Just needing to get away for a couple of days before the ‘rents descend. I’m taking my spankin’ new Sony Reader with me. Spent all day Saturday setting it up and copying files. I now have 475 “books” – which means, the pre-loaded books and excerpts and a bunch of lovely fiction. It was a little tough to get set up, the Connect Reader software only works on PC, so I brought home my work laptop and got it set up there. My fic files are on a flash drive, so that was fairly easy. Only real caveat is that the Connect Reader ties up a LOT of resources on the machine and froze up several times before I got the hang of how to transfer files.
I really like the format – it’s the size of a paperback book and the text can be made small, medium and large. There are some minor usage details that I’d have changed, but nothing that made me want to throw the thing against a wall. At some point, I’ll check out the e-bookstore, but not until I’m ready to spend more $$.
Other fun things:
Just got added as a Library Thing author – be sure to stop by and comment (you can do that on my profile page). My page looks so lonely. ::g::
Yay to the CKR Bravo interview – what a lovely lovely man. Thanks to those of you that made it possible for me to watch it…over and over again…yes, I am an obsessed fangrrl, why do you ask?
Just finished reading Lois McMaster Bujold’s A Civil Campaign. Really happy that I finally dove into this series. Also just ordered a bunch of books from my cousins at Mysterious Galaxy (my favorite indy bookstore).
The day’s been all rainy and gray here, which is fine by me, since I’ve been cocooning – reading and resting. At some point, it’s naptime, even though I have yet to watch Friday’s BSG ep. Will do so sometime tonight.
Cheers to all.
Monday, September 25th, 2006
I’m back, she says, and all cabled up with Intarweb access – totally of the good.
Celebrate Banned Books Week – why don’t you buy one of these listed or check it out of the library?
ETA: Oh yeah, a really good article by the author of The Geography Club, a lovely YA novel about gay teens.
For Rocky Horror cultists and aficionados: Shock Treatment is being released on DVD!
I spent most of Saturday musing on where Book 2 (now officially Blood Bargain) is going and will need to go to make it work. Also read more in the Vorkosigan series by Lois McMaster Bujold. Why the heck hadn’t I discovered these already?
I managed to catch Studio 60‘s premier episode and am loving it so far. <3s Aaron Sorkin.
My DVD set of The Book of Daniel just shipped! (again, of the very good!)
Alas, I will not be at Bouchercon with my mystery peeps this year. (of the sad)
SG1 – haven’t seen the ep
SGA – yes, more, please. I’m not liking the hiatus thing at all, but am pleased to know that there are ways of not waiting.
Eureka – very glad they’ve been putting the episodes on iTunes – just caught up last night through last week.
A bit of medical news – not bad
Monday, June 26th, 2006
Feel free to totally skip the whingeing. Really.
The power went out about 10:00 p.m. last night. No worries, I have a flashlight. I can handle a wee power outage…except, not so much with the wee and more of the OMG, it’s still fucking out.
I Slept horribly as it got extremely warm and humid inside b/c no power = no a/c.
This morning, I wake up to, you guessed it, no power still.
Freezing cold shower, then a 10-story walk down to the ground level…in the DARK with my flashlight because the emergency lighting doesn’t last past a couple of hours.
Many storms wreaking havoc all over the place, but hey, I got to work. Work, which is on an “iffy” grid, is actually fine – no power outages. Go figure.
Once at work, though I find that I have no team today. One guy is on vacation. (this I knew). The other guy called in. Arrgh. And this is the last week of the month, and the last week of our fiscal year.
The weather is still sucky – thunderstorms predicted all week – just started to rain again.
Tried calling my apartment building – only got the weird busy signal, which usually means no service. This does not bode well.
Good thing is, I followed the 5 Ps – I packed an overnight bag, with changes of clothing and toiletries and put Blanche in the backpack along with my PDA and assorted power cords. So, if I have to camp out at a coworkers, at least I have clean clothes, a computer and stuff to read.
Of the good:
Over the weekend, I watched Entourage, season 1 (thank you, Netflix); Kinky Boots (really cute) and caught up on The Closer and Saved. I did not, however, get any writing done.
I still want a do-over, though. ::points to new icon:: Tardis, please take me away!!
Monday, June 12th, 2006
I’m still ticking, still just fine. Doc visit on Friday yielded nothing but a bit of anemia, a sinus infection and a request to follow up with more bloodwork. Uhm, seriously, I *write* about vampires, I don’t want to hang out with them. ::g::
Thanks to all of you that sent me get-well wishes, it was a crazy crazy week last week!
I spent the weekend fighting with Word, trying to get my edits back to my editor. Seems like the stupid “track changes” function wanted to just remove chunks, when I hit “accept all changes”. ARRGH. I ended up spending nearly three hours having to go change by change and accepting them individually. Sigh.
Note to self: never use “track changes” on a manuscript EVER again.
Watched Transamerica on Sunday (yay Netflix) and enjoyed it immensely. Spent the rest of the day vegging.
This week will be full of work stuff that I need to get done before Friday b/c yay, Con.Txt!! In my infiinte not-wisdom, I reserved a room for me and bheerfan for Friday and Saturday nights, not realizing that I probably wanted to come stay on Thursday. (yes, yes, I know, I did this LAST year, too. The brain, she is losing it.) So in any case, I’ll be there first thing on Friday morning. Looking forward to hanging with folks I rarely get to see in person and meeting new folks.
Now that my edits to Matters are done (at least until I get more feedback), I’ll be concentrating on Book 2 – which I believe I’m going to go back to calling Blood Bargain. I’ve screwed around with titles and I really like this one best. I’ve already done a lot of preliminary work, notes, etc. – filling in holes about Keira’s world, how things work, etc. Now I get to the tough and most exciting part – writing the damned thing. I have about 35,000 words from a previous incarnation of which I can salvage most of it, but really, it’s the sitting down and doing it. Ah well, the trials and tribulations of authors. ::g::
If I don’t post again, catch many of you at Con.Txt!!
Wednesday, May 31st, 2006
It might be bheerfan‘s birthday, but I got a pressie today, too – Black Powder War, the third in naominovik‘s fabulous trilogy.
I’m so tempted to RUN home and read, but I must work tonight on revisions to Matters and some notes I jotted down over the weekend for Book 2, now titled Unnecessary Evil. Getting back into the swing of writing all the time will be tough, but I tend to work better when I have deadlines looming.
I should be getting the contract this week, and then will return back to them shortly thereafter.
There’s something energizing about attending a convention, whether mystery, SF/F or just fannish. Conventions and gatherings of like-minded peeps tend to make me want to dig right in and be creative, making words dance. I regret not having brought my laptop to Mayhem, but maybe it worked out for the best. I don’t know. Editing a printed ms (e.g., Matters) is not something I’ve done for a while and it required me to really concentrate. I’m so used to reading/editing on screen, that I was a bit taken aback by the slow process. I do think this allowed me to see things that I wanted to tweak – maybe more easily than reviewing on screen? I don’t really know.
My query to an agent fell flat – got a very quick rejection note. Oh well, once I’d re-read my query, I realized that I hadn’t mentioned that the upcoming contract would be for the Matters reprint, and the next 3 books. Eep – my bad. I’m not sure if it makes sense to send a reply (this was all via e-mail), and explain. Or if I should query the next agent on my list.
Sigh. I hate this part.
In any case, life goes on. The writing goes on. The contract will arrive and then things will happen.
One of the next things I need to do is to look up 2007 SF/F cons, especially any within driving distance. Since I hadn’t yet made any concrete plans for mystery cons, this is a good time to figure out which SF/F cons I need to attend. Definitely think that Balticon will be on that list, since it’s right nearby. I don’t know if I mentioned it, but my work will be marketed as paranormal romance, so I need to set my sights on venues that will have fans of this genre. Probably need to look at Romantic Times, too and possibly Romance Writers’ annual convention, too. I’m a member of RWA, but haven’t been one for long. Over the past 7 years, I’ve been so tied into the mystery community, it’s time to get myself back out to non-mystery events.
If any of you have any suggestions as to good genre type cons that have author guests/speakers/participants, please let me know.
Monday, May 22nd, 2006
Thanks to all of you lovely people that sent me notes, commented on my entry, etc. re: my publisher news.
I’m so psyched!
Viggofest, yep, I dug out the pirate flag, and it’s definitely yours. ::g::
My apartment looks like a bookstore exploded in it – more or less. I’ve got at least 3 or 4 tote bags of books I’m taking in to work for the gang, not to mention at least 2 that are for me alone.
I’ve managed to do a lot more this morning than I’d planned:
(1) Quick trip to Borders to find missing Sherrilyn Kenyon book: check (I snagged the brand new one at BEA, but was missing Sins of the Night, 2 books back. I’m such a stickler for reading stuff in order, I had to go get this, plus Charlie Huston’s first book, Already Dead.)
(2) Staples stop to buy new laser printer: check (My very nice Lexmark printer is still in great shape, unfortunately, the toner cartridges just won’t work for me. They last up to 2500 pages and cost $90+ – since I tend to print out at least that many pages in a month when I’m writing, that’s cost prohibitive. Upgraded to a Brother HL-5140, which has high-yield toner cartridges that will do 6700 pages and cost less than the Lexmark cartridges.)
(3) CVS stop for sundries: check
(4) Set up new printer and print out copy of Matters for editing/taking to Omaha: check
(5) Read through email and post to LJ: check
Now it’s decompress, nap and reading time. I’ll pack for Omaha later.