Friday, December 28, 2012

The Weird Left Zombie Leg

I'm not near as flexible as I'd like to be. One arm carries some sort of damage from an injury that I got about seven years ago. Both legs act like rebellious teenagers. The right one sticks to the rules and doesn't ever go out of its way to stretch unnaturally. The left one, which also has a fussy knee joint, breaks all the rules. I can even stick my left big toe in my mouth, if I wanted to. I don't though. Can never equals, should, does, or want to.

That's the one I have shoved up against my desk right now, my Doc Marten boot hovering above my knee and close to my right hip while my left knee is actually above the keyboard. It's a weird situation. I tried actually putting both heels against my desk, but a rolling chair kinda makes that hard. I'm actually sitting basically with my left leg in my lap. My weird zombie left leg, just sitting here, not looking or feeling like it's even attached.

Can you tell I'm having an ADD type of morning? 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Book Review: Stray by Andrea K. Höst

Times are tough, but I really love to read. I'll take the occasional splurge on a nice hardcover that I know I want to read, or that looks interesting. I actually bought Marissa Meyer's Cinder at the same time I bought The Hunger Games, and loved both.

But, alas, my school loans are in repayment right now, and it's a lot of money. I've got some nice savings I'd like to not dip too much into. Being frugal has led me to seek free ebooks by indie authors.

That led me to Stray by Andrea K. Höst, book one of the Touchstone Trilogy.

It was free, and it was awesome.

Stray begins with the main character, Cass, walking out of our world and to another one, unexpectedly. Using an empty diary she bought for a gift to record what's happening, Cass recounts the world she's in, the creatures that inhabit it, her attempts at survival, and eventual rescue by other humans who are more than they seem to be.

Once rescued, Cass doesn't get to return home, but though a series of events, discovers that she's much more than she ever knew herself to be. It's also a very funny book.

Host has built a very detailed, fascinating, and convincing world for her characters to inhabit, and made an alien world seem pretty comfortable, even when it's unusual. I read this book on my phone's Kindle app, mostly in line for a Black Friday sale laptop, and then a lot over that weekend. I honestly couldn't put it down, and I will be buying the sequels, Lab Rat One and Caszandra.

Even if you're not a teen, this book is fun, and as of the time of this post, is $0.00 in the Kindle Store. If you don't have a Kindle, that's cool. I don't either. I have the Kindle app on my computer, phone, and Google Nexus 7, because the app is free. If you're not a fan of Kindle or Amazon, it's also available here at Smashwords in a variety of formats and still wonderfully free.

Can't beat a good book for an awesome price like that.

But seriously, check out Stray by Andrea K. Höst.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Being Old-Fashioned

I just got rid of two characters again, and I could not be more relieved.

The difference is, these two didn't start out as main characters. They were side characters first, in an original version of the book's opening. Then they were cut out from that scene, only mentioned offhandedly by the main characters. Then they popped up again in a new part of the book, and I was gonna let them stay there.

But they didn't do anything and I never planned for them to. They were props, not even useful as diversions to throw the reader off. Just there, existing, at best to force an idea on the reader, and I'm not happy with the idea in question. 

So they had to go. Another guy is staying, but I have big plans for him as this story moves along.

It was a very quickly made, very final decision that came as I was editing the new part the other night. I printed out the manuscript and put it in a binder. I like that better because I get a better feel for things. It's more hands on. I have a red pen, and I jot things down on the page and slap sticky notes at crucial points I want to change. I discover more about the book that way. It's not on a screen, giving me eye strain. It's like working on a sculpture in soft clay. Take away here, add there, and find more hidden in the story. More possibilities.

It's old fashioned, sure. No doubt about that at all. But before I rediscovered this technique, I would always feel a little apprehensive about opening that Microsoft Word file. It was intimidating, I suppose. But with 270 pages of paper, a binder, and a red pen, I feel more comfortable with it even as it grows longer and becomes more.

It made me be able to let go of two characters who offered nothing. It's making my book more of what I imagined it to be, and I love that.

So here's to being old-fashioned. And good books, too.

Friday, December 7, 2012

A Real Excerpt This Time!

Five minutes ago I opened this page to paste an excerpt from the novel. I chickened out.

Then I did it again anyway.

So here's a bit of the book. This part hasn't been fully edited, so don't jump on me quite yet. It's just actual proof that this is a real thing. 

Anya tugged thick string that hung from the attic door. "I think there's some old albums up here." With a squeal of metal, the attic opened like a mouth in the ceiling.
"Why pictures?" Matt asked as she unfolded the ladder.
Anya climbed up. "Sometimes my family keeps more than pictures. Birth certificates and stuff, too. Maybe I'll find something. Maybe more letters."
The clatter of rain on the roof was louder up here, the dark room cooled off in the afternoon storm. The big windows let in the gray light.
A partly smushed cardboard box rested in the corner. The word "Pictures" was scrawled across the side in marker, now faded. She pulled it to a clear area on the floor and sat. Matt settled across the box from her.
The box hadn't been taped shut; rather, the four panels were tucked into each other. Anya pulled them apart, and they flipped open, flicking dust into the air. She coughed, and Matt sneezed.
"Oops," she said.
A layer of creased yellow tissue paper concealed the inside of the book from Anya's view. She pulled it away, carefully, and revealed an old photo album. The word Photographs in gold adorned the leather cover. Underneath where it had been in the box were more books, some a little newer, and newspapers lining the bottom.
"Nice find," Matt said.
Anya grinned. "Pretty cool. It might have something in it, at least." She pulled the book into her lap. She saw Matt move out of the corner of her eye as he sat beside her. The book felt dry in her hands, like the leather was about to crack. She pulled the cover open.
On the very first page an old black and white photo, yellowing at the white edges, showed a middle-aged man and his wife in front of a house, both smiling. In pencil, someone had scrawled "Pop and Mom" underneath the picture. A card with flowers printed on it was tucked into the crack of the spine.
"Think that's him?" Anya asked her friend.
"Could be," Matt said. "What's in that card?"
Anya picked it up and opened it. A short note in neat handwriting took up the inside.

    My parents had this picture of your mama and daddy at the house.
    I thought you might like to have it. Please let me know if you find out
    anything more concerning our conversation last week.

Anya read the note over again. "Who's Mildred?"
"Well, who's Elijah?" Matt answered.
"That one's easy," Anya said. "He's my great-grampa. Elijah Dupree, so Gavin's son."
"So that means his daughter is..." Matt trailed off.
"My granny." Anya cleared her throat. "She married a McCall." Anya placed the card back into the edge and carefully turned the page again. More pictures followed, all of them old and sepia toned or black and white. She paused on one of a little girl sitting on the same porch in the first photograph. A different hand had written "Jeannie" underneath. Anya smiled.
The rest of the pictures, of family dinners and days at the beach and one of her Granny dressed up and standing stiffly beside some boy, filled the remainder of the book. The last few pages were Christmas pictures, all of a tree in a living room. There was Jeannie again, a little older, and a few other young people. Anya's gaze paused on one detail of the photograph, a frame beside the tree. It didn't look like a picture, but there were words. She pointed at it.
"What do you think that is?" she said.
"Any pictures closer than that?" Matt asked.
Anya turned the page. "Might be." The rest of the photos were all of a Christmas tree, and all of Jeannie beside it, older each year. The frame appeared in each one, but the pictures varied in distance. The last photograph of the book was a group picture, with a much older Gavin Dupree seated in an armchair and surrounded by family. A few branches of the Christmas tree protruded into the edge of the photo, and the same frame in the other pictures hung above the chair, just over Jeannie's head. The words in the frame were a nonsense poem.

I'll sell you a riddle for a dime
said the bishop at the chime.
With tables and ravens and eggs on a wall
and diamonds and pennies and keys and all
the top of the tower pressed down to fall
my riddle is finished sir; what is your call?

Matt leaned in closer. "What is that?" he asked.
Anya frowned. "I think it's one of those sampler things." That poem doesn't make any sense... "Wonder what it means?"
Matt shrugged. "Maybe nothing?"
"Maybe," Anya said. "I mean, samplers like that were usually meant to just show off skills and stuff...Might be more, though. Some weird government code or something."
"Think whoever made it was crazy?" Matt asked with a smirk.
Anya laughed. "Maybe." Anya shut the book and peeked into the box at the rest of the stack. The yellowed newsprint caught her eye again. "Sweet, old newspapers." She hefted the remaining books and set them to the side before pulling the soft old paper into her lap.  The date in the corner was March 3, 1972.
"Pioneer 10 Launched" read the headline in big letters.
"Cool," Matt said.
"Seriously." They quieted and read the article silently. The block of text took up half the front page, and at the end, in a tiny bit of dead space, were more words, handwritten.

It wasn't insanity. They found other stars first.

Anya blinked and looked at Matt. He met her gaze.
"What the heck does that mean?" she said.
"Are there any other pieces?" Matt asked.
"Nope." Anya let the paper slide to the attic floor. She reached for another album and pulled the cover open as Matt folded the paper. "Let's look through the rest of these," she said.

The photographs moved forward in time as they progressed through the books. One of the last ones even showed Anya as a little girl, sitting on a porch swing with one of her cousins. The embroidered sample appeared on the wall in several of the pictures, sometimes only a corner, but always in the pictures of that wall. The next to last picture showed a different room in color, the wood paneling on the walls lending a dimness to the scene of a family together, some in Christmas sweaters. The sampler was on this wall, too.
The last picture had the same room, same paneling, and some of the same people, older now, and a few new faces in the frame.
The sampler was gone. Not replaced by anything; the wall was empty.
She poked at the glossy paper. "It's gone."
"Maybe they moved it." Matt closed the book in his lap.
"Maybe." What did those words mean, and who wrote them? Anya sighed. "Do you know what time it is?"
Matt looked down at his watch. "Two o'clock."
She tilted her head. "Wanna go to the library with me?"
Matt shrugged. "Sure. What for?"
"Family research." Anya grinned and stuck the old newspaper back where it had rested for so long, then followed it with the stack of albums. "Might be some cool stuff." She stood.
"I still swear I've heard Dupree's name somewhere," Matt said as Anya backed down the ladder. "Not sure where, though."
Anya smiled. "Maybe we'll find out."


Rough, but an actual thing I'm pretty excited about. And editing now. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


I'm excited because I've reached the first peak in this stage of the novel, which involves editing. This was editing at its most basic form, correcting spelling errors and problems with capitalization and punctuation that resulted from me only typing fast without stopping to clean things up a bit. So that's done, and officially the book has 58,052 words.

It's one annoying peak, but there are a few more ahead. There's at least one more scene I need to write from scratch, and there's a lot of refining that needs going at the end. In my haste, those parts ended up choppy. Part of that is the main character and how she thinks. A lot of it isn't.

Maybe you've read a little about the iPhone's development history. The phone was almost done. They'd put the thing together. It was a phone, a nice, sleek, gorgeous Apple product that was, on the outside, a whole package.

On the inside, it didn't work.

Steve Jobs said, "We don't have a product yet."

Well, I don't have a book yet. There are almost 60,000 words of what is structured like a book. What looks like a manuscript. The manuscript contains a story. There's even a name, and I toy with cover design ideas in my head.

But I don't have a book yet.

I'm close, but one thing I won't do is publish now. It's not ready. There's stuff I need to say, and although I now have what I can call a rough draft, it needs to cook.

I'm pretty excited, though. The first draft is finished, and the story is cooking.

And, I must say, I'm pretty hungry.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Fun With Editing

As I write this, the second draft of my book, as I proceed through the first round of editing, is 52,027 words long.

I'm pretty excited about that number, because while I'm getting close to the end, I'm not there yet. That means the book will be long, but not too long. The other week I put together an estimate draft of all the rough pieces, not altered at all, copied and pasted into one document, just to see. It had 52,269 words.

Yes, I did add some story at the beginning, to ground the main characters and allow a picture of them at the most normal their life will ever be for the rest of the story.

I'm excited that this book is getting longer than I thought it would be, and intimidated by the fact that other books in the genre have more words. The Hunger Games, for example, has around 90,000. I Googled that, by the way. I don't nerd that much.

Me and editing have a love/hate relationship. I love that the story is taking shape and becoming more of what I want it to be. I hate that I can't just turn out the perfect book in one shot, but that's really not possible.

So it's been quiet on my end because I've been trying to truly finish this book. This draft is for working out all the typos that resulted when I typed from the raw draft and only focused on getting words on the screen. Working at an insane pace means I can get to the meaty editing, where all the story kinks will be worked out. Hopefully that means I'll have some bits at the beginning of the book, which I'll up here and probably on Wattpad or something. Fiction Press, too, if I feel so inclined. Once I'm happy with it, it's time for formatting and cover design, because this baby's gonna be an e-book first. Then I'll dive into print book design.


Also, it's Friday. Who doesn't love that?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

So Little and Yet So Much

This post will be very short.

I'm currently in the editing process, and hoping to have some actual excerpts of the finished product up soon. I found this poem from a Lovecraft story I haven't read yet. When I read it, the poem felt so fitting with my book, its plot, and the ideas therein. It's from the story Polaris. Please enjoy.

    "Slumber, watcher, till the spheres,
    Six and twenty thousand years
    Have revolv'd, and I return
    To the spot where now I burn.
    Other stars anon shall rise
    To the axis of the skies;
    Stars that soothe and stars that bless
    With a sweet forgetfulness:
    Only when my round is o'er
    Shall the past disturb thy door."

Friday, November 16, 2012

Where Was Twilight When I Was a Kid?

 A couple days ago, I read this article on It's called 9 Reasons to be Grateful for Twilight, and it's a pretty good article. (The site's awesome, too. Seriously, check it out if you love sci-fi or anything geekish. It's great.) I'm gonna zero in on one point, though.

Twilight made young adult books cool.

Growing up in the early 2000s, you'd think that publishers just assumed that teenagers didn't read. It's not like the entire young adult genre was non-existant; it just didn't get a lot of attention. Back then I didn't read the Harry Potter books, and even if I had, that was only a few books, because not all of them had come out yet. My local library was pretty disappointing anyway, but even big chain bookstores like Books-a-Million and Barnes & Noble didn't have much to offer beyond those horrible coming of age novels about puberty and survival or some junk. 

I did have the Lord of the Rings books, and I did read them five times. I have The Hobbit, which has been consumed three or four times. I also read a few of the Princess Diaries series. I actually have the first five of those. They're pretty beaten.

And folks, if you're counting, that's a grand total of nine books. Add the Christy Miller series, and that makes twelve, but they were extremely short novels, between 150 and 200 pages each.

So beyond an epic, much imitated fantasy and a blip of teen chick lit, I didn't read all that much of any variety. I was ecstatic when I discovered the first book in the Inheritance Cycle, Eragon, hiding at Books-A-Million one afternoon. But I needed more. I wanted adventure books, with swords and fighting and action and maybe a little romance and possibly some sarcasm. I couldn't find anything I liked at stores because there wasn't anything to find, or at least anything I liked. I mean, I'm picky, but come on. I wanted something more. When I started writing my book, I took it as my mission to provide some sort of epic fantasy to my overlooked generation.

I kept writing my book and looking for stuff to read and chatting on internet forums (though most of that had been LOTR, and didn't last to long after the last movie came out. I'd also probably be more excited about The Hobbit if this year was 2005.) I graduated from high school and headed off to college, met a lot of friends who loved to read as much as I did (and who also enjoyed LOTR) and my angsty, whiny self calmed down and took a backseat and went shopping a whole lot. At some point in 2005, Twilight made its PG-rated debut on bookshelves and became a bestseller. I guess that's when publishers and booksellers began to notice an entire demographic.

When I finished my junior year of college, I decided I needed a break from Bob Jones University. I wanted to take some time off, work, and finish up a correspondence course on the Protestant Reformation. I applied, and finally, late in the summer, got a job at Books-A-Million.

I've talked before about the business effects of the first Twilight film, which came out in 2008, at the same time I was working in the bookstore, and how it led to more people purchasing books (and us running out of New Moon right as Christmas shopping picked up.) By that time, the fourth book was out, and selling crazy. At some point that year, Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games came out. I remember seeing it at B&N in Greenville SC.

Suddenly, what I wished for in high school has come true. Yeah, it took a minute, but the YA section at B&N is much bigger than I ever remember it being when I was a teenager. I still browse every so often, checking out cover design (because I straight nerd over stuff like that.) I like to see where the trend is going. Looks like vampires and werewolves are still pretty solid, but the really cool kids are post-apocalypse survivors

I still read YA, and I'm not alone. No, I'm not trying to reclaim my youth. I'm 26 and I don't feel that age anyway. A lot of YA is just plain good, quick fiction, which is what I've looked for. Something I can curl up with at night, under a blanket. Something that will give my brain a break because I'm working on my own stuff.

I admit, I'm a little jealous. I wish there had been more books for teens when I was a teenager, more of the adventurous stuff that I craved. But I'm glad that demographic is no longer ignored. And hey, if I get some good entertainment out of the deal, all the better.

Because let's be honest. At the end of the day, there is nothing quite like a good book, a warm puppy, and a nice cup of coffee for curling up with on a lovely rainy day.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Tomorrow (or later today, if you like) I will be participating in my third presidential election, and I'll be home tomorrow night to watch the results come in. I'm pretty excited about that part; it's something I've always enjoyed. The last time, in 2008, I was working during the election results.

I was working at a bookstore that is now closed because the economy has gotten so bad.

I did not vote for Obama in 2008, and I really wasn't thrilled about either choice (mostly because I do prefer governors as presidents.) However, I especially don't like when people pretend to be what they are not. I pity those who try so hard for hipness that they lack the substance of a real personality. I didn't like Barack Obama as a candidate (and I still don't) because he carried with him that air of privilege that so pervades the career politicians in the Democratic party. Because I've found that I'm more libertarian than anything else, it didn't sit right with me. He talked about hardship when he had gone to private school; he jogged freaking everywhere; he rolled his sleeves up while talking to blue collar workers, which is something that rubs me the wrong way when baby boomer politicians do it; it reeks of falseness, like Jimmy Carter and his peanut ads in the 70s. Give me a break.

This time around, I'm supposed to care more about $9 a month birth control than keeping my job or paying my school loans back. I'm also supposed to be scared that, because I'm a woman, I have to vote for Obama because I can't take care of myself against the big bad Republican party.

Frankly, I'm insulted. I can take care of myself just fine.

What does worry me is that I've watched government get huge since 2008, and probably before. Either way, the economy hasn't gotten better, and if Obama remains the president, I don't see that changing at all. The worse an economy is, especially the way it's been molded and shaped to end up since sometime last century, the bigger government can get. Yes, that's simplistic logic, but if the American people want a hand to hold, not a person to lead, then absolute control can sneak up on you. I've seen on a very small, very personal level what can happen when local government decides that what they offer is above criticism. It's terrifying.

Back to that bookstore. I read an article the other day that put forth the idea that people like me, who self-publish, who price their work lower in order to get it into readers' hands, and who have decided to do something different than the old way, are responsible for the death of the publishing industry. We deviants will single-handedly destroy publishing and maybe books because we want to get our ideas out there for others to see without having to gain the approval of whatever intern or acquisitions editor is dealing with insomnia or maybe a hot flash that day.

I can assure you, not one of us caused that bookstore to close. Books are a luxury. In an economy where it's food vs. Stephen King, as far as your wallet's concerned, guess which one wins for most people?

Right now, my country doesn't need a buddy to hang out at the gym with. I sure as heck don't. I don't need a few people running the country and telling the majority what to do. That doesn't cut it where my book is concerned, and it certainly doesn't cut it for my country.

And that is why I will not be casting my vote for Barack Obama.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

It's Halloween for Reals!

And so begins the Christmas season.

I'm not even joking. I'm seeing Christmas commercials y'all.

And I really really love it.

Tonight, we'll prop the door open for any  kids who will actually be trick or treating, assuming the weather is good. It was pretty nasty last year, rainy and cold. This year it's just cold, which is perfect Halloween weather.

I don't do the whole Reformation Day thing. I am neither Catholic nor Protestant, and besides, my faith holds that salvation comes through Christ, not your denomination, creed, music preferences, or Sunday morning traditions.

So Happy Halloween!

I'm planning Christmas presents out right now, including the big one to myself, the goal of having my novel in print by Christmas. No, I didn't manage it by my birthday. It'll still be good, and maybe even better now.

I'm also getting together ideas for desserts on Thanksgiving. It's gonna be held at my house again this year, and I have a couple of additions to the usual chocolate chip cookies.

This year, I will be making what have been lovingly named Unicorn Poop and Angel Turds (the latter of which was spoken last year.) Don't worry, they're harmless. Unicorn poop is rainbow sugar cookies, with all sorts of sparklies and color and shimmer. Angel turds are mini red velvet cupcakes, with regular white icing, green sprinkles, and mini-chocolate chips. You can see where the name might have come from (and I didn't make it up.)

The sugar cookies are a recipe online. They actually look like less work than the kosher apple cake I made one year, which was delicious, but time-consuming.

So Happy Halloween and here's to an awesome upcoming Christmas season!

Friday, October 26, 2012


I think it's the law of how things work.

Yes, I'm back. I really really hate the fact that I haven't been doing the warm-up writing I'm used to doing now that I don't feel like I have to, or now that I don't have a chart to fill out.

The book is finished in the most raw form it will ever be in, at least in regards to its current incarnation. (And yes, I think I will put some excerpts from the original creation up again. That was fun. Humiliating, but fun.)

I've taken the time to make some pre-named Notepad files to get what I have now in a typed form. Once I finish the last couple pages of the chapter I'm typing now (currently titled "Alien Planets"), I'll have six of those Notepad files left.

The fact that I'm so close is thrilling. It's yet another peak I've reached.

The higher peak is definitely going to be the editing, and formatting, and cover design, and all the other parts of a book that everyone takes for granted, but which are important and which give a book the real feel it needs.

The fact that I can do nothing but read business articles, completely uninterrupted, for something like two hours, while an attempt to type longer than a paragraph is met by constant interruptions, is immensely frustrating.

But there's only six pieces to go.

And since we're talking about things that make books into books, I will add that I agree very much with Stephanie Meyer on one thing regarding music that she put in her acknowledgments (and pay no attention to the nerd behind the green curtain that reads stuff like that)...

Muse is awesome.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Family Reunions and Weddings

The concept of the family reunion is a funny one to me. How do you reunite with people you don't really know, and therefore were never united with?

I went to my mom's family reunion today. None of the cousins I actually know were there, mostly because of work, life, distance, birthdays, and other things. I usually see these family members at Christmas. Last week was my dad's family reunion. I see that family all the time, because they live around where I do. I ended up talking a lot to my cousin, who told me all about her cousin's (on her mom's side) wedding, then I played with my other cousin's kids.

Today, in the crowded, small, hot Ruritan club meeting house, I suddenly realized why the state of etiquette is the way it is today.

Back in the day, when family reunions were probably not as often a thing as they are now, it was an easier thing to invite family to a modest wedding. If they lived pretty far away, odds are they weren't gonna make the trek back from Oregon or wherever it was they carted themselves off to.

Today, we have cars. Or planes.

I looked at this huge crowd of people, most of whom I did not know, and realized that some of them will be wedding guests.

And it scared me. Suddenly, I have people I don't know showing up, maybe, if they do the gypsy thing, which I understood, from that gypsy wedding show, to mean that word is spread and people just show up. That's normal. That's expected. It's probably exactly how things used to be done everywhere.

Family reunions are probably included in the reasons why people get freaked out about wedding guest lists. What used to be uncomplicated has suddenly become quite a bit more tricky. Suddenly, you realize your parents existed before you entered into the world like a shrieking banshee, and they have cousins and relatives who you might not know and who will expect to get an invitation, even if they don't know you.

And now, what was once a situation of "fix enough for everybody" has now become "oh no, broke me now has to pay to feed 200 people" and even though every single one of the people your age goes "it's your wedding, do what you want" you know they probably don't quite get the way family can be and what is expected of you. I mean, my grandmother thinks it's improper to sit on a bed. We differ on that. I turned my bed into a makeshift couch.

I think I see the point of destination weddings now.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Not A Lot To Say

I worked all day today. I didn't do any typing, but I'm going to do some now. Tomorrow is the last day of 14 days to book. I should have worked harder and longer on typing it. At least the raw draft is done. That's something at least.

Basically, today I played with using MyPaint and Gimp together and actually came up with some nice designs for the book cover. One element I want on the cover looks good as I did it in Gimp and MyPaint, but it also looks hand-drawn, which isn't what I want. It's a small, simple thing, so I'm thinking I'll have to make one out of polymer clay, photograph it, edit it insanely, and then add it. Also, I came up with a title for the book yesterday, to be revealed later.

It's going well, and I'm still pumped.

Friday, October 12, 2012


The other week, for a few brief, panicky moments, I literally forgot what a VCR was called. My mind scrambled to recall the correct name of "that thing that played tapes."


It came as a surprise to me, because when I was growing up, I used our VCR a lot. So much so, that as a still very young child, I knew how to adjust the tracking to clear up the picture, even if I didn't know exactly what it meant.

Tapes were a thing. Back then, we didn't go to Blockbuster, choosing instead to frequent a placed called The Video. The building's still there; in the years since the movie store left, it's been about five restaurants. Another strip mall (torn down now)held a small video store that we also went to. This one, I remember vividly, had a large picture of Chucky on the wall and a sign that said "Even Freddie and Jason were kids once too." Apparently it was from a horror movie called Mikey.

The result of all this is that I took to indiscriminately shoving tapes into our VCR. This included some home movies, my mom's copy of Dirty Dancing, and a Denise Austin workout tape from 1986. Also the Wizard of Oz and 101 Dalmatians, the latter of which was later taped over with an episode of Regis and Kathy Lee, because someone at some time had the bright idea to make the record button bright red.

Anyone remember the movies that McDonald's used to sell on VHS at Christmas?

Man, where's my Rudolph tape? I am in serious need of a 7UP commercial right now.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Vampires Make Good Business Partners

And they won't bleed you dry, pun quite intended.

Knowing that this book, when it's done and ready, will be shoved out of the nest and into a crowd of other self-published books, is a scary thing. I mean, I like my ideas. I like that I have control over the project. I sort of relish the idea of producing this book by myself, because I promise I'm gonna make it sweet.

But it's scary and off-putting to most people because they're afraid they'll never experience what I call (and there are probably other names for it in this line of work) the Twilight effect.

It has very very little to do with vampires, and a heck of a lot to do with how the publishing business works at its best and most organic moments.

In the fall of 2008, I worked at our local Books-a-Million while taking a semester off of college. If you remember, that was the year that the first Twilight film was released, in November, just before Thanksgiving. I honestly didn't know much about that series except for that they had vampires and were really popular.

I was working the day after the movie came out, and I obviously hadn't seen it yet. A lot of customers who came in that day requested at least one of the Twilight books, often the first one. Why?

They liked the movie.

They liked it so well, they bought the first book, and maybe the second. Eventually, we actually ran out of copies of New Moon (which was frustrating, because Christmas.) We sold a lot of copies of Twilight that season. The best part was that people who enjoyed the first book would come back and buy all of them. This meant a larger audience for the next film. That meant more books sold.

It did help that the series was already a bestseller, of course. Money was spent to produce the book and film series.

I'd say they got a return on their investment. That's how business works.

One of the hesitations in the decision to self-publish is knowing that it's very, very likely that there won't be a film franchise to boost sales.

But seeing that demonstration of how the publishing business works is encouraging, because ultimately, during that Christmas season, that bookstore did really well because of word of mouth business.

It's exciting because communication is at the heart of society now. Of business. When given two differing reviews of a product, people are autonomous enough that they want to find out for themselves. And maybe they'll talk about it.

People talk.

And that's awesome.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Typing is Fun!

I just typed a new part. Completely new.

I feel like that's pretty significant because for the last year, I've been typing things in a disjointed, unorganized way. It stunk, and I didn't connect with any of it.

But today, I'm totally connecting. Despite some moments in the past few days where I've felt like the book isn't going to work, actually seeing these words on a screen is pretty cool.

Last night I wrote out a last scene to close the first book. It needs work, but it's there, and I like that it's there.

I have this warm and fuzzy feeling about it. Granted, that also might be because it's October, the weather is gorgeous, and my fiance is moving down here next week.

I think I'll just say that this book is one of the many reasons for the warm fuzzies right now.

I am hoping that in the next few days, I can have some excerpts up for you. Some good ones. Not from the first version of the book, but from this new one.

It's really looking like I will have this book ready by my birthday, and it will be available on Smashwords and Amazon for the digital version. I'll announce when it's ready.

Which will be soon.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012


I was so ambitious to see the end of the book that I finished.

And then today, at the doctor's office, I thought of another scene I need to add. At the end. It's important, and would wrap up the plot while providing an opening for the sequels.

But where was it the other day, when I left the two main characters sort of hanging?

I don't really know. I took a day off from my book to do some professional stuff. In all honesty, I'm a little frustrated with myself. I got all excited, but there's a couple of pages stil to go, at the very least.


I guess, it did serve as a warning that I said I was sort of finished.

Back to work.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Finished. Sort Of.

I did it.

Today, I finished the raw draft of my book.

Don't get me wrong. It needs a heck of a lot of work, and right now, I have some professional writing that needs to be done before Wednesday. That is money I will make, and it comes first for right now.

But I finished the book.

It took me almost six years, but I finished. I sat in my desk chair in a chilly old building on a gorgeous fifty-degrees and rainy day, my favorite kind, and wrote the last scene.

I've gotten over one hill now. The typing hill is a little shorter, and the editing mountain is even taller, given that I have the need to constantly improve until I can step back and say "one more word would ruin this."

But it's done. I still have half of 14 Days to Book left, and I'm going to use that to type and edit. But there's no rush now, unless I want to rush at the birthday present I said I'd give myself, the gift of a novel, published (at least in digital form) by my birthday. If it's a couple days late, that's okay. It can be a Halloween present.

This version of the book took a lot longer than its predecessor.

And it's finished.

And I like it.

So coming soon, as the book is being typed and edited, are some excerpts. Short ones.

I do hope you'll enjoy them.

Today, I'm just excited about the milestone. And let me tell you, the view is amazing.

The World's Worst Kids Book


Not even joking.

When I was in 6th grade, we were assigned a book report that had to be done on a book from this one certain series. The series' concept was pretty cool; it was aimed at tweens and had the characters interacting with famous figures in history. One I particularly liked was where the girl escaped from slavery and traveled with Harriet Tubman. That was cool.

The next choice, unfortunately, was the one where the kid had some contact, briefly, with Marcus and Narcissa Whitman. If you don't know much about them, that's okay. They were missionaries in Oregon, to the Nez Perce tribe, and were murdered. In the book, the boy never hung around with them for long and actually, not much was mentioned of them. I think they may have died during the events of the plot, but it was just said, not pictured. The protagonist was off getting lost or something. You know. Kid stuff.

Well great, fine. Interesting book. Typical G-rated kid adventure, only for a required assignment.

The next assignment was to read a non-fiction book about the historical figures presented in the novels. I could dig that.

Except for Marcus and Narcissa Whitman were the historical figures.

Remember how the novel didn't go into detail?

Well, the biographical book, which came from the kid section of my school's library, and was written for children, did.

Horrible, horrible detail.

Marcus Whitman apparently died of "hatchet to skull" disorder. Okay, sure, I get that. A little gross.

It gets worse.

Narcissa Whitman was, apparently, shot several times in the chest, after which the murderer picked her up by the hair and whipped her corpse in the face a few times. There may or may not have been more gunshots. Also, they threw in some descriptions of children being shot and/or hacked.

You'll understand if I don't remember much more of the book.

But someone looked at this book, at some point (because it was from the 1960s, when schoolchildren were apparently way more hardcore) and said "buy that sucker."

Oh, the wonders of childhood.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Day My School Exploded

Kind of.

My school didn't literally explode. It's still there, just a little private Christian school sorta out in the country. This particular story takes place when I was in the second grade, which means either 1994 or early 1995.

That was a tough year. In addition to the jarring introduction to such grown-up supplies as red pens and notebook paper, my teacher died (not even joking) and the school year went extra long because we had a lot of ice storms that year, which meant schools were closed either because of the roads or power outages (and I don't remember which one.)

One particularly cloudy, chilly winter day, during a fairly normal class time, my classmates and I found ourselves pressed up against the windows, looking at the smoke rising from down the road. I couldn't see it against the clouds. Next thing I know, we were being let out of school. It also snowed, and I remember watching little bits of snow landing on my coat as I walked with my dad out to the car.

Down the road from my school, there used to be a gas station, or all of one.

Part of it, for some reason, and I'm just guessing a gas fire here, literally exploded that day.

Like boom.

My dad told me that he had seen a mushroom cloud in the same direction of my school, and probably thought, for just a bit, that the school exploded.

But no, we were good and hey, half a snow day. The rest of the gas station stuck around for a few years, I think until I was in college. I used to pass it every day going to school, back when we lived just off Highway 301. It closed, and I think the building is still there.

Definitely something pretty unforgettable.

I did write today too. Not as much as I hoped, because yard work. Oh well.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Yet Another Late Post

This one will be short.

I got well over ten pages written today. The climactic scene is in sight! Not even joking.

Like I said, I expect to be done this weekend.

This is fun.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


I watched the Presidential debate last night. Good stuff. President Obama relies heavily on a teleprompter and prepared speeches, and that showed in the debates. The local paper had a quote from a citizen here who is head of the Democratic party. This man's logic decided that because the president talked more than Mitt Romney, as in an actual measurement of time, he did better.

Literally, this man believes that the President of the United States won a debate simply by talking more. That was not the case. He was very rarely clear and concise, and he often defaulted to saying the same things over again, using sentences that were basically means of stalling and giving him time. Mitt Romney was concise. He used four words when four were needed, and he didn't stumble.

Believe it or not, you can actually learn a lot about writing from this.

I totally remember padding papers in college, or trying to. It doesn't work, because that is transparent and shows you didn't even try. At worst, it produces work that's lacking in substance and meaning. At best, it leaves you with prose that's just a bit purple. Making the case that your book is good, that it's worth reading, that it means something, means you probably shouldn't go on and on about what a flower looks like in detail, unless the plot pivots on it. Usually, it doesn't, and I've seen flowers before.

Another way a debate can teach you something about writing? Arguments.

When you are preparing for a formal debate, you have to take time to think about how your opponent will argue. You have to look at all angles, and understand their argument without necessarily accepting it. You have to know where they're coming from and why. You literally have to play devil's advocate with yourself. It still allows you to have a passionate belief in something, but it also causes you to view it rationally.

This helps you write because you get to think as the reader. While you won't necessarily be defending yourself in a fantasy novel about zombie elves in the court of Henry the VIII (though you might at some point; that's a pretty iffy plot right there), you do want to make sure you write clearly without over-explaining anything. They can't read your mind. When someone says "I didn't get this part..." you shouldn't be all "uh, duh, Edward VI totally is a zombie." You should have made it clearer. Thinking like your reader ahead of time will help.

So if you're in high school or college, and the opportunity is available, take a debate class. It's fun, it's brain stretching, and it will likely make you a clearer thinker and a better writer.

In other news, I wrote twelve pages today, and I am not exaggerating at all when I say that I feel like this raw draft could be finished this weekend.

I'm incredibly excited.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Slower Day

Today, I only wrote four pages in my book. I'll probably work on it a little more before I go to bed, but I'm starting to think that maybe the raw draft will be done sooner than even the time frame I set. That means I can finish typing it.

Which means I can edit it.

Which means formatting.

That means distribution.

So I might be able to give myself the birthday present of a finished book after all.

Hey, that frees NaNoWriMo up for the second book. Nice.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Closer and Closer

It's the last day of 30 Days, 30 Posts, 30 Chapters. I have not written thirty chapters, but I did write every day. I'm quite glad this turned out as well as it did.

It's also the second day of 14 Days to Book. I stayed up way too late last night watching Red Dawn, finding a stopping point, and making a chart with crayons.

Sorry, I just love charts. And the 80s. I tiredly informed my fiance last night as well that, alas, in an alternate universe, his town didn't survive the 1980s.

I am that kind of tired, ladies and gentlemen.

And yes. I have written today, in the speckled white and black notebook. I have now reached the exact middle of it. Literally. The stitching and all. It's looking more and more like the end of the book will need to be finished in another notebook that's got some nice big space and a lot of messiness at the front. But for today, counting the double-sided sheets plus two half-pages put together, I've written five pages in a notebook, and will continue to write some more after lunch. Yesterday I got something like ten pages written. I haven't done that in forever. It's paying off. I am seriously so excited, because I am so close to the end. Not within five pages or anything, but this is building to the climax.

Horror Vacui is still free, and you don't even have to have an account on Smashwords to download it. I only ask that you review it if you can.

Now that the end of the book is in sight, you know what comes next...excerpts! Good ones, I promise, though I may have some horrible little bits of the original novel posted this week. That's just too much fun.

Monday, October 1, 2012

There I Go With Another Goal

It's the second to last day of 30 days, 30 posts, 30 chapters. I have one more day where I am obligated, by myself, to post here and work at least one or two pages in my book.

Though the book is nearer to being finished than it was, I'm not exactly in the last chapter. I've worked out some problems and discovered the joy in writing again, with a pen and a piece of paper and my bad handwriting and tendency to scribble notes where they'll fit.

Before I started this, one of my excuses for why I wasn't any closer to finishing was that I had some things about the story that were bothering, and that needed fixing, and that I was stuck. Looking back after the past month, I could have fixed that all by just sitting down to write like I used to. Now I'm closer to finishing than I ever have been since starting the rewrite a few years ago. I'm pretty excited.

Also, in just a bit, a character I liked but previously deleted will show up, for just a bit. I think she'll be around later, too. We'll see.

So here's my new thing, since the book isn't actually finished like I wanted, I'm going to set a goal. I will be finished with this book, in this raw draft, by October 14, and I will post my progress here. Every day. For two weeks.

This should be good.

Old Knees Tell No Tales

No fictional tales, that is.

On October 28th, I'll turn 26.

It's weird.

As much as I still feel like a teenager, I'm not one.

Ugh. I feel old just typing that.

The weirdest thing about getting older is what happens when you do certain things, like go crazy on the elliptical at the gym. I mean, there's nothing like the endorphins that result from a great workout. But every so often (like all today today) my left knee will decide to be That Chick and be all "hey!"

"Hey you!"

"You in the Galaga t-shirt."

"Yeah. You."

"You're old." *troll laughter*

Maybe I'll buy a brace or something.

I refuse to get old on purpose.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Third Book

I filled in the blocks last night on my chart, and I only have like five days of this left in which there is any way to track myself writing and posting and stuff. I think maybe I should make a similar chart for planning my wedding and workouts. I like feeling accomplished each day that I write something, so I'll probably keep this up.

It's a dim and dreary Saturday, perfect for a cup of coffee and a nice thick book about dragons or vampires or magic schools. I love days like this. It was a cloudy, gloomy day one January when I finished the second draft of my second book. I didn't start typing it yet. In fact, that one was never typed. I do still have the notebook with the second draft in it, as well as the notebooks, tied together with yarn so I could easily reference, that contained the first draft.

I'm not sure when I started work on the third book. It was sometime my senior year of high school, I'm sure. What I'm not so sure about is what happened between my perky, cheerful, cliche-ridden second book and the beginning of the third one. I can specify one point where the story turned. A character died. Not a main character at that point, but the man died of cardiac arrest after running into the throne room and declaring that war had begun. Sometime after that, I decided, while a classical station was playing in my room, that a central character, a blind girl who was an archer, would die in the third book.

That was before any of the third book was even written.

The story took a darker turn. Not in a bad way, of despair and hopelessness, but I definitely reached back to my roots with it. I was raised on spooky stories and legends. I liked to be spooked. Not terrified out of my mind, but I appreciated a good chill now and then. Note that I didn't like horror movies, and didn't watch them. My first experience with the genre was Jeepers Creepers, which was disappointing. That whole movie was based on a Batman arc where Batman mutated into a bat thing. Seriously. It was bad. Give me zombies any day.

While the book didn't turn suddenly scary, my mind held on to the ghost stories and legends and pictures of spooky houses. It was random as far as the stories go. There had been no foreshadowing of this part, no mention of it in passing, no gun on the table when one went off. Suddenly, my two main characters were exploring this creepy old house in the countryside, because they'd heard rumors, and there had been disappearances.

I didn't hold back. Dust, dirt, freaky graffiti on the wall, broken old toys arranged meticulously on shelves, and an old doll that stared. I still think it was a legitimately creepy scene, like a good H.P. Lovecraft story.

And it was nothing like the original. At all. Somehow, between finishing the second book and starting the third, it all changed. The story, the tone, the scale of the story. Suddenly it was dark and intense and urgent. The main character questioned at all why she did anything that happened in the first book, and whether it was pointless.

I never finished that book. By that time, the work had changed so much that I simply decided to start over in college. I remember passing the time at the bookstore job I had, writing down book stuff when I wasn't outlining reports for my correspondence class, sometimes on paper circles in the cafe, when I didn't have my little notebook on me.

Thing is, I know exactly where the book was headed. I knew that a lot had to be done to get there, and that a lot had to be rewritten to provide the characters a way to arrive there.

So I started over.

At some point, I think I let my writing grow up with me. When I started, I was the same age as the main character. I think the story wasn't ready then, just as the rewrite isn't quite finished, though for different reasons regarding both.

I'm glad I didn't finish the third book, but I sure am glad I started it.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Babies and Aliens

A couple of weeks ago, I was just hanging around with family in our living room. At the time, the movie E.T. was on.

Have I mentioned that I love 80s movies?

Anyway, I had this random memory come of this time I drew a picture of the aliens when I was a kid (because every youngish adult alive today has seen that movie, and don't pretend otherwise because I know you watched it voluntarily or were made to watch it at some point.)

I used to pretend I was an artist of sorts. Most of my work when I was very young was, for some reason, some slightly terrifying pictures of a baby standing in a crib. I can picture them exactly in my head, because I drew like a million of them, all the same, all on white construction paper, and mostly in red pen. Also, the baby sort of looked like E.T., but skinny. And terrifying. At this age, I also remember drawing a picture of the aliens from the movie near their ship.

Using the same sort of logic that led me to once bring a hushpuppy home as a pet, I deduced that the aliens were all named similarly, with initials only. The next part's a little fuzzy, but one of the aliens was E.T.'s brother, and was given either "A.B." or "B.A." as his name. I dearly hope it was the latter. I guess he would have been a biker alien.

I also once convinced my mom to let me watch Raiders of the Lost Ark on TV, despite the gruesome content at the beginning, because it "went nicely" with my "It's a Small World" read-along cassette. I think I was five.

All that, and I was in college before I figured out that Fievel and his family were Jewish mice, and that the beginning of An American Tail depicted a pogrom.

We all gotta start somewhere.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


I guess you could call it fall cleaning.

Today, after finishing up assignments that are due tomorrow (money!) I decided to clean up my documents a bit. They were starting to take on the air of dirty laundry tossed on the floor and put in the corner.

So that's done.

While I was cleaning a little, I saw the mess I'd made of my book. I'd been writing it in bits and pieces, so I could get through it and hide it. It's a mess right now. I'm not even sure how to piece it together. Another good half of it is on Google Drive.

Ultimately, that's why I started back with ink and paper. It feels more organic. Shoot, it just feels neater. I feel like the finish line is just that much closer. This story that has grown and changed and been so near and dear to me is finally almost near the end, at least as far as the first part is concerned. I can see myself holding the finished product in my hand, even though there's still a lot of typing and editing to be done after now. But the point is, I'm close!

Messes notwithstanding.

I think I've decided on a cover design now, something not too ambitious, but sort of beautiful in its simplicity, at least in my mind's eye. Also, part of the story changed. Just a small part of something, but it's very big for the story. I'm pretty ecstatic.

Pretty tired too.

I think I'll go do some more organizing now.

P.S. Check out my tags to see some elements that will be present in the finished story.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Hushpuppy

When I was a little kid, like four or five, I very much wanted a puppy. I would play with the dog next door through our fence, and my parents had had a dog named Sam when I was a baby, but at the time, we didn't have any pets.

One night, we went out to eat at some barbecue restaurant or another. (There's a wealth of them here, trust me.) I'm not even sure we whether we were eating with friends or family. I don't know what I ate.

But I remember the hushpuppy.

I'm not sure at what point I was aware that the fried cornmeal was called that, but I knew the word, apparently. During the course of the meal, at which many hushpuppies were served and consumed, I managed to get attached to one. For some reason.

I decided that it was my puppy (being literal here) and declared to my mom that it was my pet and I was taking it home. Mom warned me it would rot before long. I kept it anyway. I must have had a balloon, because I had a balloon string to tie around the hushpuppy as a leash, and I took it home.

To keep it hidden from parental eyes, I stuck him under the edge of my bed, so happy to have a pet.

After that, I have no idea what happened. I went looking for the hushpuppy one day, and it had apparently run away. Or rotted, as my mom said. Or maybe fed a nice family of mice. I don't know. I don't even think I reacted.

And that is the not so tragic tale of the hushpuppy.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I Swear I Saw It

I randomly got really excited about my book last night, because for the first time, I can really visualize it.

Okay, maybe not so random.

I also had a dream last night about spaceships crashing and genetic testing. Anyway, back to the random excitement of memory.

I may have told this story before, but here it goes again. Sometime this summer, I was reading Ragecomics when I came across one that had a girl with a Poker Face seeing a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey on her teacher's desk. When I saw that, I pictured in my mind a copy of my novel, finished. Printed. Bound, with a dust-jacket.

I think that little glimpse of finishing has really been a motivator. I thank God that He gave me that little gift.

I'm getting closer to the end, and I know where the story is going. I literally didn't two weeks ago. I'm so thankful for the idea to do this 30 day thing. I might keep it up even after the 30 days are up.

I'm now looking at the daunting challenge of self-publishing. I mean, not just uploading it to Kindle. That's not too hard, because Amazon isn't strict about how it looks. Smashwords is, but not even that's horrendous. Formatting and making a cover are about all you need to do for a digital book. It's not comparatively that much.

Not when you put it up against a print book.

I've been comparing different companies. CreateSpace versus Lulu versus Lightning Source, all of them with pros and cons. The biggest issue is cover design. I'm not a graphic designer, but I'm also not one to make something terrible and just throw it out there. I'm picky and meticulous and too broke to hire someone to design the cover, so I'm going to tackle it myself.

I'm not worrying anymore about it being all for nothing. It's all for something. Someone will read my book. I've sure as heck enjoyed writing it.

I'll be happy if I can just fill a gap for a reader somewhere.

Because before anything else happened, that was why I started writing.

I hope someone enjoys.

Monday, September 24, 2012


I was healthier in high school. I know I was. I remember what I ate and what I did.

First came the "burn 3500 calories a day" thing the summer before my freshman year. I literally sat for hours on the exercise bike we had, because there was nothing else to do. I couldn't drive, and we lived out on Highway 301. Not exactly within walking distance of a pool, and that summer, the pool we went to wasn't even open that much until mid-July. So I read a lot and sat on that bike and tried to burn off a pound a day while watching A Makeover Story on TLC. It didn't work, but hey, exercise, because we lived on the world's shortest dead-end road and didn't walk the dog much.

I started to go to the YMCA to work out when i was in tenth grade. Every day after school. It was good stuff. I also played softball, but let's be honest, it's not exactly an aerobic sport except for the ten seconds you're running to a base.

Okay, so, yeah, pretty general self-improvement, right?

Well, I also turned into sort of a hippie around the same time I got into Lord of the Rings. I gave up pork, avoided red meat, didn't drink soft drinks (at all, ever) for like a year, and ate a whole lot of veggie burgers and tofu. I gave up dairy milk in favor of soy milk, and I drank a ton of tea and water.

Lately I've been missing those days.

I know I was healthier then, mostly because of what I didn't eat. I felt good most of the time, except for the times when I was sick. I mean, the exercise helped too, but the human body is a whole thing and needs completeness in nutrition to make the exercise work. What gets  me is, I moved less then. I was in high school. I sat for seven hours a day, five days a week.

I'm gonna go back to how I ate back then. It really shouldn't be too hard. I still don't drink a lot of soft drinks at all. Maybe once a week. I just know that the terrible food at BJU didn't help (and there weren't options unless you wanted a salad that took a chance on being slimy from wilted lettuce.)

So, I guess I'm going to give the hippie thing a try again. Feels pretty awesome.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Post Worship Munchies

I grew up in a church that started at 11:00 A.M on Sundays. When I started going to a new church, their second service started at 10:30. I'm really good at getting ready fast in the morning, so I'd get up at 9:30 on Sundays that I actually went to church.

My church now has switched to one Sunday service, which starts at 9:30. I have to get up at 8:30, but that's not too bad. (No, I'm not used to it because I didn't go to Sunday school all that much growing up.) With the new schedule, church lets out around 11:30 or before.

Today we were planning to eat lunch with our aunt, but her church starts at 11 and ends around 12:30, so we had a nice window of time between getting home and changing clothes.

Bring on the Sunday munchies.

I think I know why, too, because all my life, I grew up with the rigid schedule of church then lunch. And today, we had Triscuit crackers, which would be more accurately named Triscuit crack. Yes. I munched them along with two small cups of coffee. After actual lunch at Taco Bell, I crunched some numbers and figured some life changes out.

It's been a strange day of munching and crunching and making decisions that I won't divulge here quite yet. But I'm pretty excited.

Bring on the awesomeness.


When I'm at the gym on the elliptical, listening to Pandora on my phone, my thoughts turn to the story I'm writing.

Like a lot.

And I realized some time back that my favorite songs form a sort of soundtrack to my books. I imagine scenes in my head to correspond with the songs, and that really helps.

Now, I don't absolutely have to be plugged in to my music to write, especially where pen and ink are concerned. The other day I got a lot done just because of the peace and quiet at work. It was great. But today, in the car on the way back from a family day trip to my Gramma's house, I turned on my Pandora app, which is constantly set to an Angels and Airwaves station, and went at it.

I got a lot done and left somewhat of a cliffhanger for myself. There's some definite character stuff and I'm almost to the end of that chapter. It was a really great part I was happy to get finished, because I liked it so much. I accomplished something today.

I guess all this to say, when the book is nearer to being ready, I'm going to put up a list of the songs that have found their way into my story, and I'll link to any videos I can find. You've probably heard them before; even better. It's really just an insight thing.

Anyway. I'm just excited about the amount of work I got done today. Along with the stuff I've figured out lately, it seems like it's all coming together.

It's a great feeling.

Friday, September 21, 2012

I've Got That Friday Feeling...

I have always loved Fridays. I know I'm not alone in that. The reasons have changed over the years, of course.

When I was younger, it meant I could stay up late, since I didn't have school in the morning. It kept that meaning as I grew, but added on that autumn Fridays were best, and there was nothing quite like football and hot apple cider. When I got into college, it meant hanging out with new friends, and the potential of Saturdays, because Greenville South Carolina is pretty cool if you like to shop, which I do. Even now, despite the fact that I work every other Saturday, there's just something about Fridays.

The potential, I guess. The feeling that Saturday is coming, and that's one day with no rules or alarm clocks (though I set mine sometimes for fun, in order to defiantly turn it off, because I'm weird like that) and nowhere you really have to be, and plenty of time to do fun stuff, like working on a book. I remember doing that as a teenager, when the first draft of the second book (yes, I wrote two whole, terrible novels and started a third one that improved) was penned.

Tomorrow, I'll be doing the same at some point. Last night, I finished up a part I'd been working at for several days, in which the characters encounter a creature I wrote when I was in high school and honestly never thought I'd see again. While it's in the text for only a short time, it's nice to have it back. I look forward to using it in the future, because in the original short story (same universe as the two novels) these things were scary, the one break from utter unintentional goofiness.

And about that third book I never finished...

It was the turning point. The story became darker, the need more urgent, and the situation more intense. It differed so much from the original, in a good way, that it became the major catalyst for rewriting the entire story from the beginning. 

I'm glad I didn't finish it, because you know that always means the story's not over yet.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Last night I made myself stay up and write. I was about this close to going to bed without pulling that notebook out of my computer bag and writing at least a page.

But I did.

I'm pretty tired, because I sort of tend to get lost in the moment when I'm writing by hand, but I'm glad I did it. I was desparate to get it done enough that the scene doesn't drag, not at all, because at that part, the main chararacter is pretty desperate herself.

This 30 days thing is not so easy. I mean, I talk all the time. I have a rant ready for every occasion, according to family. I should be able to do this every day, but it's harder than I thought it would be.

A visit to Target last night got me all ready for Halloween and Christmas. I know, I know, those aren't that connected, especially depending on what church you go to. But for me they are.

See, a huge chunk of my family was born in the fall and winter months. For my dad's side of the family, it's one big celebration from the beginning of October (dad's birthday) to the end of January, during which time there are a lot of birthday parties, burgers on the grill (let's face it, I live in North Carolina; it's still hot until November), and pizzas consumed.

And that's all separate from Thanksgiving and Christmas.

That's why I love Halloween. Something in the air changes. My birthday falls three days before. All the shows I watch have "Halloween" episodes. People in my neighborhood decorate, which means lots of twinkling orange lights and grinning pumpkins.

For me, Halloween officially kicks off the Christmas season, and that's when the real decorations come out.

Christmas will be tougher this year. I mean, physically. While Minnie used to prod at the tree skirt and rough it up to make it comfortable, Pippa will, I believe, enjoy drinking out of the stand. I mean, she's discovered the joys of toilet water this week, so sap water should be even better. She also will most likely yank ornaments off the tree and possibly will unwrap presents.

Oh boy.

So, here's to the start of the Christmas and Halloween seasons.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Book Review: Grimoire: Lichgates by S.M. Boyce

Today you get a book review.

Ever since my hometown library and local bookstore both displayed a depressing inability to stock the books I liked when I was a teenager, I looked for the perfect "young person goes on epic adventure" book. I've been able to find books that I've massively enjoyed, of course, but I still like the coziness of a nice, warm adventure. It's like a great cup of chai in paper and glue form.

Or, in this case, digital.

I actually bought the Kindle version of Lichgates because it was pretty affordable, but Boyce also has a paperback version available. I used my phone to read most of the book and, eyestrain notwithstanding, really enjoyed it.

The book starts out with Kara, one of the  main characters, going on a hike in the mountains and stumbling on something called a Lichgate that leads somewhere else. Before this even happens though, the reader is drawn in by the main character's emotional struggles, the reasons for which are revealed slowly. We also get into the head of Braden, a dude from Ourea, who first forms a friendship with Kara that hints at something more. Lichgates is far from being a romance, though. It's just sheer adventure.

One thing I liked was that it was free of long, drawn-out explanations of every moment in a duel between two swordsmen. It described if the characters were fighting, but the author really seems to understand how to keep the audience interested.

I very much recommend Grimoire: Lichgates to anyone looking for a good book to read this weekend.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

This Is Getting Harder

Man, I'm writing every day but I don't feel like I'm saying anything. I mean, I could get political, but that's a little too easy right now, and I need some time to get that post together.

The book's going well, but right now I'm staying up too late and writing far too little in it each time. But a little bit of writing is getting done, which is more than I can say for before I started this thing. I wish I had a long time ago. I guess I just didn't think about it, and I figured "oh well, I love to write, it'll just come automatically."

It doesn't.

Even when you enjoy something creative, it's never automatic. You'll want to put things off, and you'll get things wrong, and suddenly it's a week later and you haven't done anything.

I think this is why people get stressed over weddings.

Well, that clicked.

Monday, September 17, 2012

If I Could Do That Every Day

So last night, between the last posting and the time I went to bed, I got out my pen and notebook and went to work. Though I had to make myself stop since it was getting quite late, I made myself stop at a good pause point, with an idea of what's coming next. That's the best part.

The hardest part, honestly, is staying in my main character's head. I don't go into any other characters' heads; they are revealed through dialog and action. It's a good thing the book's a raw draft. That means I can fix it later. I'm up to the challenge.

Tonight I hope to sit down a little earlier with my notebook, especially now that I have an idea of what's happening next. I mean, I know how the book will end, but the details are super important, especially what comes next. It's finally exciting. There's a home stretch, and even if the raw draft isn't quite finished by the end of this 30 day thing, then a good huge important part of it will be. And that is truly exciting.

And Again

So, technically, y'all will be getting two posts on this date. Oh well. I stay up too late.

So far, I've faithfully taken some time every day, before I go to bed, to write a blog post and work on the book. It's honestly getting a little harder, but I like filling out the chart, and knowing I can each night is really cool.

I know, it's sad, isn't it?

Anyway, it's really getting good. Because I've exclusively been working in pen and paper, writing is fun again. I feel like there's no such thing as writer's block when I'm doing it the old-fashioned way. I don't sit and stare at a blinking cursor or scroll desperately to look for things or get distracted and start editing. I just write, and it feels good to be doing that again. It would probably be a whole lot quicker to only write on the computer, but that's not me.

When I'm working on the novel, I use a speckled composition notebook and a Pilot pen. I don't use anything else. I even replace the cartridges, because it is cheaper than buying new pens, and Walmart started carrying blue again. I think it's the little ritual there that feels so good, or maybe the way the ink flows so well and how the blue just jumps off the white page.

The first version of this book, for the first and second drafts, were completely handwritten in whatever ballpoint I could find, on stacks of paper stapled together. Literally. I kept the sheets in my pocketbook and I carried backups. I still have the paper, and I have no plans to get rid of them. Most of the book was written in my ninth grade World Geography class. When the second draft was finished, I typed it on my family's Gateway desktop.

Things have come a long way since then, but there's still nothing quite like putting pen to paper and just writing. Such a good feeling.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

This is Awesome

So I had this one character I wanted to show up at some point, and I wasn't sure where to put him in.

He showed up last night, right where I didn't know I wanted him.

Like I literally wasn't sure where he was going to pop up, and now that he's there, I also have more of a direction for a part I was getting increasingly nervous about approaching. And now it's working out.

I love this.

In other news, there's some more (non-fiction) writing work opening up for me, which will hopefully allow me to make some changes. I'm excited. It's a little stressful to think about, but hey. At least working for myself means I spend little to nothing on gas.

I really hope I'm as inspired as I feel, because I seriously have some wedding stuff to do.

Also Doctor Who is on tonight.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Unique Just Like Everyone Else...

When I was in kindergarten, I somehow got ahold of and understood the whole "bring the teacher an apple" thing.

I gave my teacher an orange.

I thought I was terribly unique.

I think since then, I've been seeking that same feeling of triumph, the pride that comes with knowing you're different than everyone else.

When I'm working on my novel, and things are getting tedious, and it's starting to seem like some really slow spy movie that could hardly be called a "thriller," I still sometimes push on. Even when I know a scene doesn't belong and I don't like it anymore, because hey, it's different.

I don't think I'm going to do that anymore.

I'm also not going to change things just because they aren't different enough. I think I may have included, by accident, a creature in the story that could possibly be confused with a certain mythological creature (and I'll let you figure which one.) While looking something up the other day, I realized that this creature might be in my story, by accident, and that my turn off some people.

But I love that part of the story way too much, and not in a bad way. It's a major piece of the plot. It's important, it's terrifying, and without it, well, there might just be a drama about two high school kids facing the perils of college applications and standardized testing.

Plus I have not once, since that realization, thought "oh, maybe I should change it..."

It's my story. It's unique because it's my voice, because it has substance, and because there's much more to it than uniqueness for the sake of being different.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Weddings and Book Covers

Okay, so one of the weirdest things I've been mentally fussing over lately is cover design. Books need covers, even if they're only published digitally. There still needs to be something that says "hey! check me out!" and while I'm great at decorating myself when the mood arises, I'm stressing a little over the cover.

Thankfully, I've been able to put it out of my head for a bit while I concentrate on the actual writing, which I guess is the whole point of doing the 30 days thing. The novel is what's important, ultimately.

Still, I've seen some really awful covers out there, and I really don't want that for my work.

I glance longingly at the covers of Harry Potter, Eragon, Twilight, and others, because, like the book or not, the art for those books, and many others like them, is just so gorgeous. They have the benefit of a professional designer working for them.

I don't, nor can I afford one.

So I do worry a little.

But, I guess it's like my mom said to me the other night when we were watching an episode of Bridezillas and the awful person of the week was freaking out. I had said something like, why get stressed over stupid stuff. (I think I might have spoken too quickly...I sorta forgot about bridesmaid dresses amid all the goal-setting and book writing. Bleh.) I got a reality check when my mom told me to remember that when things did get a little stressful on my future wedding day, but that, regardless of what happens, you're still married.

I'm so applying that to my book. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

On Setting Goals with Little Boxes

So things are looking up, changing for the better and all that. I've picked up a lot of writing work lately, plus definitely motivated to keep submitting articles to Constant Content.

It's pretty awesome.

Also, this 30 Days thing is working out. I have a little chart with 60 squares, 30 for posts and 30 for actually working on my novel. The novel's been coming the slowest, but it's happening. It's actually happening. Because I can't stand the thought of leaving one square empty, this thing works.

I hope it becomes a habit. I've picked up a few more readers here, too. So thanks, guys.

I'm really hoping I could turn writing into something I can do full-time. I also want my book to be successful, of course. I can just visualize it, in print and on Kindles and iPads and computer screens.

So definitely gonna be setting little mini-goals that can be monitored using crayons.

So pumped.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


The other night, my family had a cookout at my uncle's house. At the end of the night, when everyone was breaking up and about to go home, someone put it on the History Channel. It was playing that thing they put on every year around now, with no narration, only time stamps and video.

Since it was the beginning of the program, it was showing glimpses of a normal Tuesday. I think there were some parts of Good Morning America, some clips of President Bush jogging, all pretty early in the morning, before anything happened.

The first time I watched Star Wars Episode I, it struck me how that high voiced, pretty naive little boy in the movie would become Darth Vader. It's a weird feeling, because you already know what will happen later.

I got a feeling like that watching those clips.

Only it was for real.

When I see those clips and videos of the hours and minutes before the planes hit the towers, I know what's coming. I know that in the story, very soon, the nation will be rocked to its core. A chill will go down my spine, the cell reception will buckle under the weight of so many trying to just reach someone, and life will change forever. Irreversibly. It's the point of no return, and if we knew what was coming next...

The pre- and post-9/11 worlds do not come one without the other. In the future, when people are curious enough to ask my generation what it was like, we'll tell them what both times were like. We may have been shaken to the core, and a shadow cast over the future, but shadows aren't permanent, and the light came first.

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Sort of Bonus!

So last night, I ended up posting quite late, so technically, y'all get two posts today. But still, the 30 days, 30 posts, 30 chapters thing is totally working out. I really need to work earlier in the day, though. Writing the actual novel is pretty addictive, and I have to make myself stop when I'm tired. Anyway, that part went well last night. I'm getting into the groove with the novel again by writing things on pen and paper. My handwriting is awful, but I can read it, so later I can type it. Happy me!

Last night, I found out I sold the usage rights for an article. I also heard back about another writing job that looks like it's going to have a lot of work available. Things are looking up money-wise...maybe some other changes are coming soon? I hope so. I also got eight hours of sleep last night and the night before, which I definitely plan on doing more often. I feel awesome!

Alright, so I have officially posted. On to more writing.

More Badness

Not the good kind, either.

Here's some more of the strange weirdness I wrote when I was fifteen. Tonight it will be short.


[Here we pick up in mid-paragraph. She just petted the dog's head.]

That day, Anya's parents were away shopping in the next town with her baby sister, so there was nothing to do. [Is anyone surprised at the potential child abandonment going on here?] Then, Anya remembered the woods. she had been wanting to explore them ever since she had seen them a couple of weeks ago. [For reals, what is with this family?] Those woods appeared to be the only good aspect of the move. [There is something wrong with these people.] And since there was nothing else to do [kudos to young me for totally thinking of the audience and reminding them of things over and over], Anya put on her shoes. [How exciting.] At least there's the woods, she thought. [THESE PEOPLE NEED A HOBBY.] Probably the only good thing about moving to this town. [*sigh*]

Anya walked out of the house and toward the woods [JUST IN CASE YOU FORGOT], with Tiki [he's her dog] following. She found a trail and followed it. [Maybe she'll find the bodies?] Anya loved to explore places just as her mother had. [Oh dangit, another one.] Perhaps even more so, and she had gotten lost more than once. [Mom was apparently the brains of the operation.] And every time that Anya had gotten lost had been slightly frightening. [No crap, Sherlock.] But still Anya loved to explore.

She strolled slowly [repetition just to drive the point across], looking around the woods [not even gonna bother here], and suddenly [DUNDUNDUN, or ELLIPSES!!!], though Anya had thought the path continued, she was in a clearing. A gray, dead looking clearing, filled with rocks, shriveled fruit on the branches of a gnarled, ancient tree, and some gray vines. [I actually like the way the tree sounds.] But, in a few seconds, the place brightened astoundingly [ASTOUNDINGLY GUYS], and everything in the clearing turned a slightly blue color. [The heck is "slightly blue"?] The wrinkled fruits plumped up and turned a deep, royal blue. [LSD is a heck of a drug.]

"Wow," Anya said in awe. This place had smelled old and stale; now it smelled good, but not a heavy, flowery smell. [Totes glad it didn't smell like old lady perfume.] Something fresh hung in the air, something like lemon, but earthier. [So Lemon Pine-sol, I guess.] Anya picked one of the fruits off the tree and inspected it. "It looks alright," she muttered to herself. [I knew the psychosis was a family thing.] So she took a small bite. [Because that's always a great idea.] The taste was wonderful; sweet, spicy, sour, cool, and oddly warm all at the same time. [Apparently it tasted like General Tso's Chicken.]

"Well, Tiki, we've found somewhere to go when we get tired of that house," Anya remarked to her dog. [Gee, Anya, bitter much?] So that day, she and Tiki stayed there in the clearing. they were playing with each other, jumping around, [what the heck kind of game is that?], when Anya tripped over a rock, turning it over, and fell. She sat up, laughing to herself, thinking how stupid that had been. [Good, because in real life, all of that that happening at one time would pretty much just, like, explode a human ankle.] But suddenly [DUNDUNDUN] there was a loud creaking noise, like some ancient, rusted door had just been opened once again. Anya got up and turned around. In front of her was a door. [Because we didn't see that coming.] Or a large hole in the shape of one, anyway. [So a door.] Beyond stretched a long, dark tunnel. Even though it gave her spine chills, Anya was curious. So she whistled for Tiki [and I don't know why, because he was literally right freaking there], and the two of them stepped inside.


Okay, that's all I can take for now.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Novels Are Like Little Businesses

I was a little mad at myself last night. Through no fault of my own (and I won't elaborate...) I barely got a couple of paragraphs written yesterday, in the novel. Before I went to bed, I made sure to write something, just so it was done, even though I had to work this morning.

I read Rework this week. Yes, it's about business, but I felt like it applied a lot to me as a writer, especially in the context of writing a novel. I've gotten a nice little chunk of the story done, and I've cut things here and there.

I guess a novel is like a business, sort of.

I think a lot of small businesses fail because they dont understand their customers. Case in point, there's a small restaurant where I live, in two locations, one downtown. It's been there for years. We got the cake for my brother's Eagle Scout reception from there. They do cakes and such, but a huge seller is their lunch box. This consists of an entree (sandwich, chicken, chicken pie, etc.) chips, another side, and a dessert. They are literally two doors down from a bank that employs hundreds of people. This place doesn't even have a dining area, but the food is awesome, quick, and affordable.

We've also had a French cafe, a fancy Mexican restaurant, and a bed & breakfast try their hand at success in the same area.

They all failed.

Where I live, no one goes downtown for the experience. Most of the people there are working. After dark, people go home to the other side of town or wherever they live in the county. The Mexican place failed despite the attraction of live music. The bed & breakfast closed because a) this isn't New England and b) it had a great view of an old hotel that probably has hourly rates. I'm willing to bet that the French place didn't quite understand its customer base or possibly priced itself out of the running. It may have been that rent was too high and the food was too special (because for real, my town will stiff you on downtown rent.)

Know who you're targeting for your writing. Mostly it's subconscious, but readers like to have that "they get me!" moment when they read. No, they won't say it out loud, but they also probably won't put your book down after five pages.

Anyway. I highly recommend Rework.

Friday, September 7, 2012


Alright, so more excerpts and snark are coming this weekend.

This 30 days thing is actually working out okay for now. I have gotten loads more done than if I hadn't set this thing up. That said, I really would love to write full time.

I've also been reading Rework the past couple days, and it's been pretty inspiring. My brain feels like it's going overtime. I definitely haven't found any contentment with daytime TV lately, which does signal a personal change. I did try to bounce some ideas off my fiance last night. I was basically too tired to attempt a toss, but it's nice to know my brain wants to do stuff that late at night.

Yesterday I actually cut out this disgusting part of the book where the characters find that they have to go through an animal carcass that's roughly the size of an elephant. When I wrote the scene, quite a while back, the squelching and crunching just seemed like a great fit.

When I went to type it up, it just grossed me out. It was also tedious and boring, and relied on something gruesome to make it interesting. As that's the reason I don't like slasher flicks that much, that scene had to go.

I'm still a little afraid of this venture. I'm scared to fail, because why bother if most self-published (and even house-published) novels aren't wildly successful?

I bother because I have a story to tell, and I intend to do just that.

This story's been cooking for over ten years. I think it's funny when there are YA book trends, because you know only one or two of the probably twenty on the shelf are honest. Sometimes there are reprints (like the Vampire Diaries, which was first published in the early 90s, and reprinted because, well, Twilight.)

The most honest stories are the ones that you must tell. Not the ones that the market says are hot, but the story you cannot get your mind away from. Tell the story that's chasing you down.

In other words, bother.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


Just kidding on the bad excerpts thing. I didn't bring my old manuscript to work with me, so I think I will save that for tomorrow or the weekend. Not entirely sure...

So anyway.

I'm pretty good at dialogue between characters. In fact, I had that noted at least once in a creative writing class I took for my minor. In writing, it is the thing that comes most natural for me. That's the part that ends up the most believable, and that is helpful because dialogue reveals a lot about characters whose heads you can't get into.

My four characters have helped loads in making my story more believable. When a character is lifelike, it's easier to see their world as real.

I started thinking of this the other day when my brother was watching the Lord of the Rings movies. I seriously have seen the first one no less than twelve times.

Personally, I blame the work that went into the making of the movies.

Those three films weren't slapped together hastily in front of a green screen. The filmmakers took their time to make Middle-Earth as real as it could possibly be. Tolkien did them a favor when he made up an insane history for Middle-Earth.

I had never thought about that before my brother said it.

And I realized it applies very heavily to writing.

I wonder if I lost that for a little bit. Did I believe my story? Am I trying to copy anything? I mean, the book has in no way lost its roots. I worry a little that I tried to put too much grittiness in it and lost...something. I've sometimes described the story as "this, plus this, with a little of that."

I tried to make it too small. Problem is, we live in a very big universe.

I believe my stories now. I believe the world in which they're set.

That doesn't mean the story's perfect yet. But it's really close to being good enough for me.

I think now I've recaptured what I lost, the honesty of wonder.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Keeping Up with Me (And a Preview!)

Okay, this 30 posts thing is harder than I thought it would be. I did write a chapter yesterday, and now I'm frustrated as to where it should go, because I don't like it much. It's literally hard to visualize, which usually means nothing good. Once a scene become tedious and boring to write, or a character stops speaking for long periods of time, when they started off well, I know that's just about the end for that scene or character. I recently dropped a character and I feel a little relieved.

I also feel a little spooked.

It's not a superstition thing. This character was just too easy to replace. Dropping her tightened the story up. Thankfully, none of my other characters have been able to shut up for the time being, so I'm happy. I now know where this chapter is going.

But writing this novel was so much easier when the whole thing was terrible.

Speaking of which, I think I'll post another excerpt tomorrow.

I need a good laugh.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Remakes, or I Think I'm Old Now

So this past weekend, Season 7 of Doctor Who premiered. We get BBC America. Naturally, I commandeered the TV for watching a little Who. I won't spoil it for you, I promise, but there were Daleks (the name of the episode mentioned them, so really, not a spoiler.) After that, I watched Sherlock Holmes (the 2009 movie.) The night before, I had started watching The Hitcher (from 1986) on Youtube, and finished that movie up.

That's quite a lot of input into my poor little brain. I ended up having some dream in which there was a suicide note and I was turning into a Dalek. Pretty tame, actually. I had a dream with bandaids that made me gag, so I'll take the Dalek thing over that any day. (I hate bandaids.)

Lately I've been on an 80s kick. That happens every couple of years. Literally I will possibly soon be all about the 90s, which is when I actually grew up. But the 80s fascinate me right now, and coincidentally, a lot of my favorite movies were made then. I'd read some good reviews of The Hitcher (the original) and checked it out.

It was a decently creepy movie. There was gore, yes, but not a lot of it, no more than anything I've seen watching any of the crime shows I watch. It wasn't a slasher flick, in other words, but very psychological.

But they made a remake in 2007.

Sean Bean played the antagonist.

I haven't seen that one, and I don't really want to. For one, I can never really take that actor seriously as a bad guy. He's too human. He might play a criminal, but he's never unlikeable. Also, 2007 is possibly one of the worst years you could have picked to make a movie in which a lower antagonist is the absolute isolation of the highway, with no cell phone and no one you can trust. The original was scary because if you were driving alone, then you were really driving alone and unconnected.

So I wonder how the approximately million remakes coming up will hold together. I mean, they already remade Footloose. I don't know if it was any good, but it appeared to be all about country music and line dancing, with all the fun of a CW "next week on" promo. Pretty in Pink is most likely next, and I've already heard that they're remaking Dirty Dancing, though that may be just a rumor. (Hopefully a rumor, because it would probably be just pretty much one of the Step Up movies, and uhm, ew.) They've already remade Red Dawn. I saw the trailer, and it looks to be pretty good, from a technical movie standpoint. But is it believable?


I feel old. I'm defending movies older than me.

I'm gonna be like one of those kids I knew in college, who were born at the age of like 85, only unlike Benjamin Button, never got younger.

Someone get me some sugary cereal now. I need to grow down.