Friday, August 29, 2008


There's an Obama rally in Tulsa tomorrow morning. However, it's way, WAY north of me, and will be outside. If not for the promise of sunlight, I'd be there. (Even if The Man Himself comes to Oklahoma, I may have to bow out for the sake of sunlight. Or, y'know, it would be worth spending three days in bed for that chance. We shall see.)

Hmm. Should probably locate the Tulsa County Democratic HQ so I can put in a few volunteer hours. If nothing else, it'll net me an invitation to the watch party come November. Woo, watch party! Always a good time to be had.


I. Heart. Barack. Obama. SO much. I have never seen a public figure half in his league as a speaker, a thinker, or a man of the people.

Also? His kids are adorable, and Michelle is crazy smart and hot.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


I just found out about Del Martin. Poor Phyllis. Anyone worth marrying twice is priceless.

Different Editing

Since I can only go so long without trying to hurt my own brain, I'm paring down a novelette so I can try to sell it to Asimov's. (And, hey, I just checked my "do market research" file, and I've got a short that hasn't gone to WotF yet! This thing's gettin' polished for next quarter!) I've got about 200 words of novelette to go before it's within guidelines. The story is pretty solid, but I can't help thinking it could be a little tighter. It still needs most of its 15K words, because the storyline is fairly complex, but I'm going to sit down, condense the story into a paragraph, and start again from there.

Oh, regarding my sex scene post from a couple of weeks ago, thanks for the feedback, guys. :) I think that I'll leave it in for now. My big concern is that it kinda sticks out after so many revisions. Right now, the book goes, "Plot, plot, plot, plot, plot, plot, TEN PAGES OF SCORCHINGLY HOT PORN, plot...." I may have to tone things down, but I'll see what Colleen says. At the very least, I know it'll have to be shorter. (And, yes, it gives some character and relationship development--hoo, boy, does that relationship develop--but I don't think it gives ten pages worth.)

Knitting goes apace. Nearly finished with Mom's present. With luck, I'll finish the main body tonight, so I can get to work on the detailing. After that, we move into blanket territory. I think I'm going to be lazy and just knit the whole thing in one piece, with blocks of intarsia rather than separate blocks. (That makes sense to knitters, I promise.) I hate finishing, so that really is the cheater's method in my mind. This way, I'll just knit, block, and throw on a single crochet edging. Boom, blanket.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Colleen, my extraordinary (and persuasive) agent, has made another post on word counts. She's getting more and more queries with high word counts again, and, well, that's REALLY, REALLY BAD. I posted this in the comments field, but I'm putting it here, too, because you NEED TO KEEP THIS IN MIND. (The all caps are there for a reason, folks. Pay attention.)

People, KEEP your LENGTH DOWN. I'm condensing THREE HUNDRED FREAKING THOUSAND words into 120K. That's FORTY PERCENT of the original length. Sixty percent GONE. DO NOT PULL THIS SORT OF STUNT. If your book is even good enough to consider at that length, it will be chopped to pieces just to make it marketable. You will learn a great deal from that sort of edit, including the meaning of pain.

Seriously, take it from someone who's learned all of this the hard way. KEEP YOUR BOOKS SHORT. (This goes for books shorter than 300K, too, btw. Anything over 120K for an adult novel is begging for surgery, and anything over about 90K for an upper-grade YA gets the same treatment.)

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Last night, I had a horrible nightmare that I went to I Can Has Cheezburger and all of its sister sites and posted, "FIRST!!!" on every new picture. Now I feel filthy.

I can has breakfast? Good breakfast? I think today might finally warrant that IHOP trip.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I'll get to comments when I can, guys, sorry. I went office-type clothes shopping last night (my Clearance Fu is incredible), and realised this morning that I spent about five hours under bare fluorescent bulbs. This wouldn't be a problem, but now I have a butterfly rash, and I think my kidneys are bleeding. Ow. Much ow.

On the plus side, I've been ordered to put down the editing. This is from someone with actual authority, btw (as opposed to the Import). Hence, I'm gonna go and try to finish my Mom's SAGGD present.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


*breaks down in incoherent sobs*curls up on the floor*becomes a cat bed*

Monday, August 18, 2008

The S-Word

I've got a particular, um, steamy scene that I'd like to retain as fully as possible. However, nothing that actually happens in the midst of the scene is, well, critical to the plot, apart from the fact that it does happen. Do I keep it, or do I edit it to bare bones? As it stands, it's good. It's probably one of the more evocative love scenes I've ever written. However, there are more important things to deal with, such as, oh, I dunno, THE PLOT.

What do I do? Anyone? Bueller? Should I retain it for now? It's going to hurt if I have to remove this one.

Must run. Have an appointment across town in half an hour. Thank Elvis for highways.


I'm at the point where I'm convinced the book sucks, the edits suck, and the whole dang project should be scrapped. While I understand that this is a normal part of the process, it doesn't make things any easier. Also?
Dear Particular Character,

I love you. I love you dearly. However, please stop licking blood from your hands. I understand that blood gets you off like nothing else, but it's making me crave IHOP. No, really. IHOP pancakes with artificially flavoured strawberry syrup. Have you any idea how incredibly disturbing that is?

Now go back into your Special Character Cage and please--oh, Elvis, please--stop making me think of Sonic strawberry slushies. You know, the ones that taste like paradise but look like an especially bad and snowy accident.

Far, far too much love,

Rrr. Before I decide to make an IHOP run, I'm goin' to bed.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Allergy attack. Twenty-four hour long headache, complete with asthma attack. Thought I was having a migraine. Friggin' exhausted. Editing done today: NIL.

I think everything's settled down now. Keeping fingers crossed. About the only thing I've come anywhere near succeeding in today is a possible decision about my holiday knitting.

I'm committed to two projects, one for my mom and one for my family. I'd like to knit scarves for all my nephews and nieces, save maybe the eldest, who's considered a grown-up now. (This isn't the one who might be deployed, btw; at 22, he's still just a baby IMO.) However, we're going to come down to a matter of time and sanity. Which means I have three options:
  1. Knit my nieces and nephews scarves, for a total of either six or seven. There needs to be a toy for the great-niece as well.
  2. Knit myself a sweater and just shop for the kids.
  3. Knit them all scarves, then knit myself a birthday sweater in January. If I do this, I'll have to work a 32-row or 32-stitch repeat into the pattern. If I could work in 2^5 instead, that would be AWESOME.
I'm leaning toward Option 3. Time, apparently, is not a factor. Nor is sanity. Sigh. Oh, well. Scarves can be easy, at least. When I don't get fancy-pants ideas in my head.

Tomorrow: housework, editing, trip to the store. Knitting in the evening. How is it that someone so wholly unemployed and non-parental can feel so overwhelmed with all there is to do?

Friday, August 15, 2008


My insomnia's back, my dad needs cataract surgery, and my nephew's reserve unit may be deployed to Afghanistan before the end of the year.

Screw today. I'm goin' back to bed.


It's time for me to buckle down on my Secular Atheist Gift-Giving Day (aka Christmas) presents. Yes, I know, it's August, as the Import frequently reminds me. However, I need to finish the rather elaborate gift for my mother, an even more elaborate gift for the family gift exchange, and at least one more scarf. In the midst of all that will be random projects intended for me, because I'm a selfish knitter, including a red-and-brown metallic shawl or stole, depending on the amount of yarn I've actually got. I suppose I could always get hold of a third colour if necessary--gold would be nice.

Keep in mind, I knit in order to relax. I love writing, but it gets so overwhelming that sometimes I just need a completely (or almost completely) unrelated creative venture to let me vent. One reason it works so well is because it's not purely creative. It's basically engineering. Hence, I get to use my math skills, my problem solving skills, and my design and construction skills, not to mention that I get to let my Inner Rainman run wild. Anyway, it takes forever to finish a novel, and even longer to sell one. Knitting is far more immediate. Hell, on Sunday morning I started an eight-foot-long scarf, and by Monday evening, it was finished. Don't look so impressed; I double stranded two fairly bulky novelty yarns and used size 11 needles. The whole thing was only 12 stitches wide.

I think I'm going to edit for a little while longer, then go and, I dunno, work on a sock. Or Mom's present, since I really do need to finish it so I can block the thing. She's had a rough year, including major spinal surgery, and she could use something nice and handmade. She's one of the few people I know who really, genuinely understands the work that goes into a handmade item, and who will appreciate it and treat it with care. That said, if she just folds it up and only takes it out for special occasions, I'm pulling it out of its box and making her wear it. ;) Knitting is to be used, not hidden. So sayeth the person whose favourite (cheap yarn) shawl is currently wadded on the floor, where one of the cats dragged it off to make a bed.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Jewish Graphic Novels

Today, I finally got to visit the Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art, for the Jewish Graphic Novel exhibit. It closes Sunday (and the museum is never open on Saturdays--Shabbat, don'chaknow), and I'm seriously considering going back that day to see it again. The exhibit covers the history of comic books and graphic novels from a Jewish perspective, and focuses specifically on several novels by Jewish authors and artists that pertain directly to Jewish history, culture, and religion. Will Eisner's work was featured heavily, of course, and I was unspeakably happy to see a whole panel on Magneto. The writer who really developed his character was Jewish, and it was his idea to make him a tragic hero as much as a supervillain. (Magneto is one of my favourite fictional characters simply because he is so complex.)

My happiest discoveries were three comic artists whose work I was previously unfamiliar with: Joann Sfar (The Rabbi's Cat), Steve Sheinkin (the Rabbi Harvey books), and J. T. Waldman (Megillat Esther). They have radically different styles of both art and storytelling, and their work ranges from enchanting (Sfar) to hilarious (Sheinkin) to breathtaking (Waldman). Megillat Esther in particular is intriguing because it retells the Book of Esther (ha'Megillat Esther) in graphic novel format. The artwork is beautiful, and Waldman did a wonderful job of not only bringing the characters to life, but of combining ancient Babylonian symbolism with Hebrew calligraphy.

If anyone in the Tulsa area is free Thursday, Friday, or Sunday, the exhibit is well worth the price of admission. The museum has two permanent exhibits as well. The Holocaust exhibit is subtle and chilling; it's jarring to realise that the enamelled tin cup on the other side of the glass belonged to someone in one of the camps, and several examples of American anti-Semitism are displayed at the beginning of the exhibit, demonstrating why the Nazis were able to get away with so much for so long. Upstairs, they have their general exhibit on Jewish history, which includes a lot of beautiful artwork, several very delicate Torah scrolls (with eeny, weeny writing, agh, my eyes), and some incredible examples of embroidered and quilted religious items, like challah cloths and a beautiful bar mitzvah outfit that had belonged to a boy in Poland.

Definitely worth the admission. If anyone is interested in travelling to Tulsa to see the museum, they'll have a new exhibit opening September 21: In A Different Light: The Book of Genesis in the Art of Samuel Bak. I'm considering getting a membership so I can wander to the museum with a sketchbook every once in a while.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Portrait of the Author

It's a well-known fact that I hate having my picture taken. I even tried to wheedle out of wedding photos at my own wedding. Hence, I have no author photo even remotely available.

I have turned to the South Park Studio for a chillingly accurate pictorial depiction of myself. Please note that, in Real Life, there is no possible way I could fit behind a single book, save maybe those gargantuan medieval tomes you see in museums. In any case, I now present to you the South Park version of moi.

There. Wasn't that exciting? I'm sure your lives are enriched beyond comprehension. (And, yes, this really does look eerily like me. It's possible to recognise me based on this picture.)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Ding, dong, the heat wave's dead...!

Our highs are currently in the 80s (Fahrenheit), with lows in the mid to upper 60s. This makes me happy; I can start taking my bike out at night again. In a few months, "night" will mean anytime after about 6:00. I'm not up to my 2-3 mile regular course yet, but I did over a mile tonight, with some fairly significant uphill climbs, and I didn't dismount once. Rather than pushing for speed, I pushed for stamina. Going slower helped a LOT.

That said, some lower humidity would help, too. I feel like I've been for a swim. *holds shirt away from chest* Yech.

Still plugging along with edits. Have also finished the novelty yarn scarf I started on Saturday, when I'd Harvey Wallbanged myself beyond taste. It actually looks really cool. It's also about eight feet long. Since it's stockinette stitch, it curls into a tube. Wearing it is like wearing a very warm python. A very warm, very tacky python. I fear that any snake with this particular colouration would very quickly fall prey to survival of the fittest.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


The Mario Scarf. An exceedingly ambitious knitter is knitting the entire first level of Super Mario Brothers. I think this is the geekiest, most awesome thing I've ever seen. To hell with (wonderful, amazing) Tom Baker scarves; this is the new face of nerd knitting!

Saturday, August 09, 2008


I'm editing a scene to accommodate an excised subplot. It's intensely personal to the point of making me (and the main character) uncomfortable, and I'm trying to work out how to fully integrate it into the rest of the story. I suppose my wine and knitting session tonight should help somewhat.

And on that note, I need to brush my teeth and find some socks.

Friday, August 08, 2008


I think I've just figured out how to remove the majority of my remaining 42,000 words. I should know by now that when I stop working--come to a dead halt and start knitting and playing Bejeweled instead--that my brain is on percolate. Within fifteen minutes of pulling up my Word window, I had figured out how to remove a huge chunk of unnecessary information. There's one more major section to whittle down, but it shouldn't be too difficult. I'd like to work on the denoument a bit more, too, but that'll fall into place.

Ohh, I hope this is as effective as I think it'll be. One other subplot needs to be removed and a couple of scenes moved around to accommodate it, and then I just have to choose between two characters to see which one--well. That's a spoiler, that is.

Seriously, I feel like I'm playing with Lego. "Yeah, it looks cool on the box, but if I do this...."

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Yes, it worked! Not that it's actually working. Stupid technology. Stupid heatwave.

Just had a mental discussion with myself regarding one of my characters. "Hmm. He's an alcoholic. What about other drugs? Marijuana was available then--Wait, what am I saying? This guy's not laid-back enough to know what toking is. Thousand pound a day coke habit, though? Totally."

Ladies and gentlemen, the inside of my head after I've been watching reruns of House.


Will my useless connection work this time?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


1. At three in the morning, I had an epiphany as to how I could remove a good 20K words from LLTD. I remember how, and it includes moving a scene later in the book AND removing two unnecessary subplots that were, in previous incarnations, very necessary. However, I want to give Colleen a chance to give some input, because I could be completely and utterly wrong.

2. My DSL has been flaky for two weeks. This is seriously pissing me off. Note to self: get Windstream's number in one of my connection's lucid moments, call to complain. I know it's the heat, but some piece of their equipment is damaged--probably by the insane heat we're having--and it needs to be repaired.

Oy, vey.

The Import got back from Annapolis on Friday, and we've basically goofed off ever since. I really don't have that much of a goofing off tolerance these days, and I've napped as much as anything. That said, we've done anniversary stuff--it's tomorrow, but he has to work--and eaten out way too much. He has Guitar Hero and a Nintendo DS case he actually likes (and some more things on the way), and I have a lovely Lush box set and something else coming. Oh, and the A/C in his car died ten minutes into today's trip across town and back, and he said, "No, we'll be fine," when I asked about going back for my one.

Today's high was in the range of 106°. That's a little over 40&deg: Celsius. This is considered normal where I'm from. I dream of the day when I can retire to either England or Minnesota.

Finally saw The Dark Knight today. OMFZ. Talk about a kick in the teeth, laid bare and put on a movie screen. Yes, Heath Ledger was amazing; his Joker was the embodiment of Death. The whole thing, though, was great. There was a moment about two-thirds of the way through when I went, "That's the whole thing?" But no, no, it wasn't, and, yeah. Fantastic. I know there's a thesis or fifty there. My personal favourite would be titled something like: "Batman and the Joker: The Psychological Interplay of Humanity's Drive for Meaning in the Face of Death." If anyone more educated than I would care to write it, please feel free.

Going to edit for a bit longer, then get some sleep. After a day of driving around in the heat, I need it. Note to self: get up early enough to take his car to the shop.

Friday, August 01, 2008

I want to go back to school.

Dr. John Huehnergard of the Harvard Semitic Studies Department is officially the coolest professor in North America.

That is all.

Useless? You decide.

I feel like I've accomplished absolutely nothing today. I know that's not the case, even if I still have to clean litter boxes and haul trash out tonight. So far, I've finished editing a short and gotten it ready for submission, done grocery shopping, bought a bunch of girly stuff (lip balm is my cosmetics boyfriend), worked on pronoun issues for two or three more chapters, and knitted the toe of a lace-and-cable sock. I know that a toe doesn't sound that impressive, but I'm using tiny yarn (about a third the size of that Red Heart stuff you get at Voldemart) and US 1.5 needles (about the same size as the yarn). My joints are KILLING me, but it'll be so worth it in the end. Mmm, socks.

All right, what haven't I done? Apart from the litter boxes. There's laundry, exercise, cleaning, lunch, dinner....


This is why I shouldn't be left on my own for long periods of time. Food becomes my bottom priority. Wonder if I've got time for a sammich?