Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Dogs dogs dogs

So, I am not really a dog person. I've never had a dog. They're a lot of work, frankly. But there are aspects of dogs that I like - particularly, I like dogs that like to just hang out with you.

My husband wants a dog.

Now, he's wanted a dog for a long time. He's wanted kids for a long time too, but I'm just not up for that. Sweet man that he is, he'd rather have me.

Last night a friend told us of a dog that was going to be put down unless someone could find it a home TODAY. So we thought about it. But it's a high-energy dog, which we both agreed was a non-starter. But that got me looking into dog breeds, and I found the mastiff.

From what I've read, mastiffs are good indoor dogs. They need their daily walk or two just like any other dog, but they are generally happy to hang out on the floor next to their owner. Say, like while she's typing.

I could get behind that.

I would love to hear from any other mastiff owners out there about their dogs. Basically, we have an 1800-square-foot house, with a small yard, and two older cats. The yard is not currently fenced but we can fix that easily enough. Preferably we want a female shelter dog over one year old.

Ideally, I want a dog I can walk once or twice a day, take on car rides or to the dog park on weekends, that will not beg for my attention all the time when I'm at home, and that will ENJOY just hanging out with me in my office or on the porch while I work. Mastiff owners, does that sound like I have picked a good breed?

(Yes, I'm aware of the slobber issue. I'm not fond of dog slobber, but I don't think I'm going to find a breed that is a better fit that doesn't have SOME sort of issue. If you know of one, please post!)

Ok, back to writing.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The strange paths of inspiration

So, Monday again and I am getting through the weekly chores. Dishes are done and laundry is going, next is the checkbook and then hopefully I'll get a little writing in today as well. I have three short stories minimum that I want to have done by the end of the month, and next week is probably going to be an unproductive writing week as it's our tenth wedding anniversary and my husband has half the week off. Plus I had a job interview last week and hopefully (fingers crossed) I'll have some good news next week along those lines.

I was discussing writing with a friend over drinks last night, and she made a comment to the effect of "see, that's why I couldn't be a writer. I don't have all those ideas and stories in my head."

Inspiration comes from odd places. My mind gets bored easily, so I make up stories. All the time. Most of them are not all that interesting to anyone but me - things like conversations I could have if I ran into a particular person, or how I would explain something to someone who didn't know anything about it. But sometimes that "practice" of "if-then" pays off, and I get an idea that's interesting enough that I might be able to do something with it.

I think part of the trick is being able to open yourself up to the story ideas that are all around you. Ask yourself "what if?" and then just run with it. Or see an interesting location and start making up a history for it. (Or just make a mental note of it and use it later in a story that needs more atmosphere.)

For example, I was driving home late one night from out of state, and I had been following the same person for something like an hour and a half. I found this other car's presence kind of comforting on the lonely dark road, and after awhile was feeling a wholly illusory sense of connection with it, like the other driver was a buddy of mine. And I could see where, if something happened to that car, I might go the extra mile, as it were, for that person because of that illusory feeling. So what if they hit a deer? (Very common in Wisconsin.) And once I started in on the what-ifs, I had the beginnings of a neat story in no time. All from my mind wandering on the highway.

(I don't recommend driving distracted, but I can't seem to help it. Something about being in a moving vehicle gets my story gears going.)

Enough rambling, I have a checkbook to balance. But all you would-be writers out there, just keep your inner ears open. And carry a pencil or pen and paper with you to write ideas down. Just not while driving.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Monday, Monday

Glad I hadn't planned on doing much writing today. (Although I had planned on getting more laundry done...)

Got another rejection today, but I'm ok with it. The editor sent a long paragraph of feedback, which was awesome. Writing that particular story was like pulling teeth, so the feedback should help me clean it up a bit before I ship it out to the next market.

I'm in the odd position of having too many projects brewing in my head. There are six anthologies I'm targeting by the end of the month (and unfortunately, the story I just got back doesn't fit any of them). I've got one of the stories written already and out to my test group, one story idea that I'm waiting to hear back from the editor on (they requested idea queries), and one mostly planned in my head. Plus a couple non-fiction book proposals I've been meaning to put together, the prequel to my novel, a YA series, a historical fiction novel, plus a few other stories that haven't decided how long they want to be yet. It's like, man, how do I pick what to work on first?

I think tomorrow I'm going to spend some time outlining stories. I tried doing that on Friday with index cards, but that doesn't seem to be working well for me. I did find some old outlines I did though, which were in summary form. I think I'll try that again. Short expositional summaries just to get things straight in my head, and then I don't have to worry about getting lost if I jump from project to project.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

My first fiction sale


I've sold reviews before, and that first writing sale was a very good feeling.

I sold a short non-fiction book, and that sale was an awesome feeling. It'll be even better when it hits print and I can hold it in my hot little hands.

But just now I made my very first pure fiction sale. A short story for a print and ebook anthology.


I'm so excited! And it's so funny, because as the email came in from the editor I was IMing my husband that I had just gotten another rejection on a different short story, and that I had sent it out again to someplace else, and he was telling me that he had faith in me.


It's all about perseverance, folks! Now I'm going to have a celebratory lunch of BBQ ribs, and head to the bookstore to make a list of agents to send my novel out to.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Best laid plans...

So far, it's been a mixed day. I didn't get behind the keyboard until 1pm (again), but I did three 500-word character sketches for a new project, resubmitted one of the rejections, and reworked a story I wrote in 2005 and submitted it. Can't complain about that. Plus did research.

I'm still 1000 words down for what I hoped to accomplish today, but I think I will do some more revision instead. I still need to add in a little more on the novel before I start shopping it again, and I'd like to get that query out tomorrow.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Mondays are chores days

So, I'm back. Momma and baby are both doing well, although poor Momma is still having a hard time with walking too much or sitting on hard things for very long. Ouch! Hope she heals up quick.

I got back two rejections while I was away, yeay. I'll have those two works back out hopefully soon, I need to do a little research on my next targets.

In the meantime, I've realized that I'm having such a hard time getting a full day's writing in because I'm not looking at it like a job. I let myself get distracted by chores, and then I don't get upstairs until after 1 or 2pm. So this week I'm going to experiment with designating Monday as my chores day and then spend the rest of the week (as much as possible) behind the keyboard.

Of course, I have to take the car into the shop tomorrow morning, and my diabetic cat has a vet appointment on Friday, so we'll see how well this works. But such is life.