Archive for 'writing'
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.
Monday, October 3rd, 2011
I confess. I hate, hate, hate summer. All that sun, surf, heat–it’s enough to drive me indoors for good. Not for me the swimming, boating, outdoorsy activities that have hordes of the rest of you pining for Memorial Day weekend.
Kind of weird considering I was born on an island. Would I have been more of a beach bunny had we remained there? Maybe. Maybe not.
All I know is that my own particular chemical makeup yearns for cool weather, the crunch of fallen leaves, the evocative scent of wood smoke from a fireplace. I pine for the sharp autumn air, the gorgeous promise of sweater weather, honeycrisp apples and hot tea (though I will admit to a fondness for summer fruits).
How did an island-born, Florida & Texas raised gal get to be a lover of autumn?
I will lay a huge portion of the credit down to reading Trixie Belden as an impressionable 10-year-old. Trixie was so awesome! Thirteen and going on adventures in the wilds of White Plains, NY. They rode horses and had this thing called “Indian Summer” (a term which I promptly looked up, but confused the heck out of me). I fell in love with this world (even more so than Nancy Drew, who, at her advanced age of 18 seemed so out of reach).
I wanted to be a Bob-White and have adventures, too. I wanted to go to White Plains (so exotic!), learn to ride English style, and eventually, I wanted to live at Crabapple Farm, have brothers and a best friend like Honey Wheeler.
Eventually, I learned to ride a horse (Western, not English). I visited my late father’s ranch (in Mexico) and never have made it to White Plains…though I’ve been several places in New York state.
Instead of living Trixie’s adventures, I write my own–and set them in the Texas Hill Country, which, in retrospect, became my version of Trixie’s world–a small town, semi-isolated from the hustle & bustle of the “real” world, populated by a close-knit group of friends and family. Yup. I got the pattern, and I owe it to Trixie and her friends.
Readers, what book(s) or stories influenced you someway in real life?
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!
Friday, January 14th, 2011
…of 4:56 a.m.
Woke up sick yesterday – some sort of intestinal bug compounded with sinus issues. Did a lot of sleeping. I woke up about 3:30 this morning, my brain brimming with scenes and dialogue for a short story. My belly seems to have subsided a bit, but my head is still pounding with sinuses that are very unhappy. Normally, I would’ve just rolled over and gone back to sleep, but I knew that if I didn’t get up and write down my thoughts, I’d lose them forever.
So that’s what I’ve been doing in between bouts of sneezing & coughing: writing down the bare bones of what’s becoming a short story. So far, I like the premise. It’s something different, more noir than fantasy, though with definite paranormal elements.
Diana P. Francis talks about the “shinies” – all those story/plot/novel ideas that dangle themselves in front of you like so many diamond encrusted baubles, begging you to touch, feel, grab. Like her, I’ve got my own set of shinies–a list on my white board. Six story/plot/novel ideas that continue to whirl in my brain. This morning, it was Idea 1 that forced its way forward (I’ve numbered them on the board, though they are in no actual priority order. This is just how I jotted them down).
At some point, I need to stop whirling and grab on to one of them, writing up a formal proposal for my agent. Not for the short story, but for at least one of the other four that could become novels. The final listing is for a short piece, as well. As Di said, there’s all that shiny, all that glitter and temptation. I love them all. I want to do them all. Only right now, my brain is only capable of holding a jotting of notes, especially as it’s soon to be muddled with sinus meds.
HOW TO CHOOSE?
Maybe I should go back to bed and start to drift off…After all, that’s usually when the ideas hit. Only–the cable guy is coming as early as 8 a.m. to disconnect cable TV. Just my luck, I’ll fall back asleep just in time for him/her to arrive.
Maybe I’ll just take the sinus meds and hope for the best. ::g::
Sunday, December 5th, 2010
The most beautiful, gorgeous, wonderful words in the world….(at least for right now): THE. END.
Yes, friends and fans, I typed those words at about 11:45 p.m. last night EST. BLOOD SACRIFICE draft is DONE* after a Power!Writing day consisting of peanut butter sandwiches, lots of water, diet coke, veggie pizza, 16 hours at a hot keyboard and a grand total net for the day of 18,834 words.
My brain, though not broken is rather numb right now. On a good day, most writers get about 1000-2000 words accomplished. Me? I’m a freak. I tend to write in small spurts at the beginning, then when I get about halfway or a bit more, then I have these insane marathon sessions where the words that have been forming in my brain just force their way out and onto the electronic page. That’s how I roll. (though, frankly, I’d be a lot less crazed if I could do the steady 1k-2k daily, but my brain just doesn’t seem to process fiction that way).
Today, I am going to rest.
I’m going to ignore the clutter in my apartment.
I’m going to ignore the wee voice in my head that wants to go back and tweak the book right nao.
I’m going to lay on the couch, watch my recorded episodes of Supernatural and whatever else I’ve missed, then watch some more of season 2 West Wing.
I’m going to read something that I did not write. Fiction, not research.
I’m going to nap.
I’m also going to give thanks to the powers that be for all you fans, who allow me to indulge in my insanity and get paid to do so. Thank you.
*Done: all values of done which equal complete story delivered to nitpicky beta for review. Final tweaks to be done at the end of this week before delivery to editor.
Thursday, September 2nd, 2010
Win a book!
Though I may be shaped like a hobbit, I’m not actually one…however, since my birthday approaches (Saturday!), I’ve decided to follow hobbit custom and give out presents to my fans/friends.
Comment below (or on my LiveJournal) on what you’d like to see happen to any of my characters (or how you envision the future) and you’ll be entered to win one of the following: (your choice)
A copy of MATTERS OF THE BLOOD
A copy of BLOOD BARGAIN
A copy of BLOOD KIN
A copy of BLOOD HEAT (hot off the presses on 10/26/10)
Contest will run through September 15, 2010. Winners will be chosen via random drawing.
Other cool news
For those of of you who follow my non-fiction work, I am pleased as all get out to announce: Whedonistas: A Celebration of the Worlds of Joss Whedon by the Women Who Love Them. Edited by the same wonderful team who brought you Chicks Who Dig Time Lords, Lynn M. Thomas and Deb Stanish. My essay: “I am Joss Whedon’s Bitch” is included in the anthology, along with essays by such fabulous writers as: Elizabeth Bear, Sharon Shinn, Jeanne Stein, Emma Bull, Nancy Holder and many more.
Whedonistas will be out March 2011 via Mad Norwegian Press, but is available for preorder now. Amazon B&N. The book is not yet listed at Indiebound, but I’m sure it will be shortly.
Hope all my US and Canadian buddies have a fabulous Labor/Labour Day weekend!! Please make sure to tell all your friends about the contest.
Thursday, August 19th, 2010
Author buddy Jaye Wells speaks in her recent post about the shame in not blogging regularly. I can only hang my head and agree with her. I *meant* to blog last week. I really, really did. But then there was work, and writing and cat acquisition and sinus migraines, and well…yeah, you get the picture. Next thing I knew, it was already a week later.
So, here I am with no excuses, just a bunch of random items that I found fun, amusing, awesome or just worthy of a look.
Best Rolling Stone cover EVER. (But I agree with Jaye’s sentiment that we can remove Sookie and add Alcide in the middle…yum!)
Hipmunk – a new way to do a travel search. I love the Gannt chart. Love the way you can sort the various trips. By agony, anyone?
A WordPress plugin update seems to have eaten, munged or otherwise destroyed code that produced some of my site pages. I fussed with it last night, but this is WAY above my not-so-l33t coding skills. I can pretty much troubleshoot ColdFusion and some .net, but .php + WordPress, not so mmuch. I’m going to have to take this to an expert.
Summer is nearly over, thank all the powers that be. DC area keeps getting hit with record-breaking weather events. I’m truly ready for Mother Nature to stop pissing on us. I mean, what did this town ever–oh wait, never mind. Uhm, just remember Nature, regular people live here, too, *not* just politicians!
The sister and I are already planning next year’s vacation. We won’t be going until sometime in early fall, probably September/October, but part of the fun is the planning. We’re going to Scotland!! Instead of hotels, we want to rent a cottage or something like that as our base of operations (somewhere in the countryside) and then drive/train to other sites. Top of our list: whisky tasting tours, Loch Ness and Orkney (for the standing stones). If any of you folks have suggestions, please pass them along. We love historical sites most of all! Oh, and we’re definitely taking the Jacobite steam train from Ft. William.
I’m going to do my best to blog more often and more regularly, but won’t make any promises. I will be doing at least some sort of giveaway nearer the BLOOD HEAT release day (October 26, mark your calendars!), so keep an eye out.
Also, look for my guest blog at the Lipstick Chronicles on August 29, where I muse about homonyms.
Wishing everyone a good end-of-summer!
Wednesday, July 14th, 2010
In less than 5 days, I’m going to be in San Diego to attend what I consider one of the greatest geek events of all time: Comic-Con International. It’s long been a dream of mine to go and finally, it’s here. My first year attending and my first as an attending professional, w00t! Did I ever dream that part? Actually, yes. I’m not shy about knowing what I want out of my writing career.
A writer friend once marvelled at a statement I made: that one day, I wanted as long a line at our local Borders as Laurell Hamilton has when she visits. She seemed surprised that I’d say that. I was surprised at her surprise. Why not dream big? Why not aim high? If you don’t shoot for the stars, you may just end up at Starbucks instead–not a bad place for a cuppa, but certainly not the NYT bestseller list.
Sure, there’s a heck of a lot of work involved in this dream. I’ve got to write books that people want to read. I’ve got to network and market and get my name out there. But you know, it’s totally doable. I’ve already achieved so many of my dreams–this year alone, several wonderful things fell into my lap. Why not the rest?
It’s not luck, really, it’s a matter of being out there, being a part of the writing community, befriending people and keeping up the quality of your work. It can be done. So if you’re out there, dreaming of seeing your name on a bestseller list, of appearing at Comic-Con or Thrillerfest or any other event, I say go for it! You have nothing to lose. Work hard, write well and target your goals. It can definitely happen!
For those of you going to be at Comic-Con, here’s my official appearance schedule:
Thursday, July 22 | 3:00 PM | Room 25ABC
Kiss Them or Kill Them? Conflict Management for the Creatures Among Us
Urban fantasy and paranormal romance authors discuss when to kill the monster, date the monster…or both and in what order.
Authors include J. F. Lewis (ReVamped), Maria Lima (Blood Lines series), Adrian Phoenix (the Maker’s Song series), Kat Richardson (the Greywalker novels), Diana Rowland (Kara Gillian — Detective and Demon Summoner series), Samantha Sommersby (the Forbidden Series), Anton Strout (the Simon Canderous urban fantasy series), Linda Thomas-Sundstrom (Wolf Moons series), and Rob Thurman (author of the Cal Leandros Novels and The Trickster Novels). Moderated by Maryelizabeth Hart of Mysterious Galaxy.
4:00 PM: Signing in AA, table AA2
Saturday, July 24 | Noon
Signing @ Mysterious Galaxy Booth #1119
sponsored by Pocket Books
Other than that, I’ll be geeking out with the rest of the gang plus spending a lot of my down time in the pro room, working. (I’m on deadline!)
For those of you interested in what else I’ll be doing while I’m there, I’ll post my Comic-Con panel viewing list within the next couple of days–which means, I’ve scoured the schedule, consulted with my sis (who is going with me) and we’ve pooled our interests. Don’t know how many of the panels I’ll make it to, but there are definitely some that are *must-see* on my list.
Monday, July 5th, 2010
I had this goal once–to do a blog post once a week. Obviously, it totally hasn’t happened. ::g::
Summer’s flying by. July 4th came and went with little fanfare, except for the fireworks I could sort of see on the horizon out my window. I spent the long holiday weekend resting, reading (finished THE WHITE ROAD by Lynn Flewelling, the latest in her most excellent Nightrunner series) and writing.
Final revisions done and turned in on my essay for SmartPop’s fall anthology: FILLED WITH GLEE.
Loads of work done on Blood Lines #5, still title-less.
Prepping clothes and travel toiletries for Comic-Con (woot!). Leaving on July 19 and meeting with my sis & BIL in San Diego that afternoon. We’re doing the San Diego Zoo on Tuesday, then spending Wednesday hanging out at the hotel pool until Pro badge pickup at 3:00. Then, it’s CCI craziness.
It’s our first time there, so I’m glad loads of friends are going to be there for support and information. I know the main key is to not try to schedule too much. Totally good with that. I’ve got a panel on Thursday, followed by a signing, then at some point Friday or Saturday, signing at Mysterious Galaxy‘s booth sponsored by my publisher, Pocket Books.
It’ll be a crazy 10 days, but I know I’ll enjoy every insane moment of it.
Hope all my fellow Americans are enjoying our holiday Monday–or what’s left of it!