Happy 2012!!!

It’s finally here! January 1st!

Happy Birthday, 2012!

My family experienced a great deal in 2011. Some very good stuff, some not-so-good stuff, and lots of just stuff. In the past few weeks, I found myself reflecting on it all. From my current perspective, the good outweighs the not-so-good, and for that, I’m profoundly grateful. As the year closes, my loved ones are relatively healthy, safe, and happy, with enough. I’m sorry more people can’t say that.

As I contemplated what 2012 might hold, I planned a few goals, both personal and professional. I can’t call them New Years Resolutions because in elementary school, we were made to write down 10 Resolutions each year. Because we weren’t taught the significance of a resolution, and it was treated very casually, I promptly forgot them as soon as I turned my paper in. So now, I have that little “homework assignment” connection in my brain, and I haven’t been able to break it, but I always break New Years Resolutions. If I want to follow through and achieve them, I have to call them goals.

So, here we go. First, the personal stuff. It’s a fairly short list, mainly because I’m focused pretty exclusively on my family and on writing. Yup, I’m boring. 😀

  • I want to be more accessible to my family, especially my daughter, who’s going through some pretty intense personal stuff right now, and my little grandsons, who need all the stability and love they can get.
  • I want to be sure the boys have a solid foundation for education, so I’ve started supplemental home-schooling for the eldest, who’s in preschool – nothing intense, but enough that he knows the importance we place on learning. In 2012, I want to expand those efforts into all the developmental areas, and do more focused activities with the middle and youngest boys.
  • I’m a little… shall we say… domestically challenged. I’m pretty good with the laundry and dishes, but I tend to get lax with some things. I want to stay on top of it all, so my house isn’t merely presentable. Over the last few weeks, I’ve worked on eliminating a lot of no longer useful things we’ve accumulated, and getting the remainder organized. I want to finish that, and maintain it. Hubby has always taken care of the essential outdoor work, but a lot of things  have slipped through the cracks. So, that needs to be addressed and dealt with.
  • There are several home repairs/improvements we’ve been dragging our feet on, so one of our family goals is to take care of the most essential of those – new flooring, new rain gutters, and hopefully, a new bathtub.
  • Hubby needs to lose a few pounds, and I have a few extra this year ( I was skinny up until about a year ago when a med change made me gain some), and our whole family needs to eat healthier. Since our daughter and her boys live almost next door, we often eat together, especially if she or I actually cook. The entire family needs a healthier, less meat-centric diet. To that end, D and I both will be cooking more from scratch. We’ll give up some of the time-saving and convenience of packaged prepared foods, but it will be worth it in more ways than one.
  • We all need to get more exercise. My health problems can make “exercise” impossible, so I have to be careful to use daily physical activity to maintain some level of fitness. The rest of the family is capable of intentional fitness building activity, so using the boys’ need for physical activity, and for positive fitness role models, should spur them on. Hey,  I’m not above manipulation, especially for a good cause. 😀

And now, professional stuff. This list is a lot longer, and I had to cut it to keep it reasonable, and hopefully, achievable. There are far too many things I want to accomplish with writing, and I have to force myself to work deliberately toward each goal. Otherwise, I’ll end up with a huge mess, and nothing to show for it. So this list is the result of cutting down the three pages of my original goals.

  • Get Blood Dragon out there, and find a publisher. I’m winding down the last leg of some much needed revisions. There’s been a little interest in it already, so I’m pretty optimistic for it.
  • Get Blood Dragon II finished and out on submission. The first draft is halfway there. Just a couple weeks of my usual 5k/day production will get it done (if I can ever get it together enough to do that consistently again!). So far, it’s my cleanest first draft, so editing will be mainly story level stuff, I think.
  • Rewrite the two trunked Blood Dragon stories and get them on submission. They both have solid stories, but I’ve learned so much since I wrote them. I need to integrate all that before anyone sees them.
  • Finish building the new creature and write the first draft of the foundation book of the series. It’s coming along, slowly, but I haven’t devoted enough time to it. A couple dozen hours of solid work, and it will be fleshed out, with a complete evolutionary and natural history, just waiting to step off the page into your life.
  • Self-publish a few of the short stories sitting on my hard drive, and write more. Currently, I have several contemporary erotic romance shorts, and a couple of horror shorts just sitting here. So, I’ve decided to clean them up a bit, and self-pub them.
  • Post here more consistently, with more interesting, helpful, and thought provoking content. I’ve already started the Writer Wednesday series, Nailing Down the Essentials, where I’ll cover different story elements and techniques, and hopefully how to make the most of them – stuff I wasted a lot of time looking for when I first started writing fiction seriously again. I’m also going to be hosting other writers in an Author Spotlight feature, beginning in mid-January – so watch for some fantastic writers you might not be aware of yet. And I’m planning posts for roughly once a week on pretty random topics, though most will be relevant to readers and writers. I’m working on an overhaul (again) for the blog, which will include some expansions, but I’m not sure when that will go live. Still a lot of work to do.
  • Use Social Media more consistently, building tighter relationships with other writers, and especially with readers. I’m pretty consistent with Twitter, but I need to work on other platforms a bit.
  • I attended my first Writers Conference in April 2011. I want to attend at least 2 in 2012, with at least one of them being a bit larger than the free event in Bowling Green. It was fantastic, with some really useful workshops, and I learned a great deal, but if I’m going to travel several hours and spend 2-3 nights in a hotel, I’d like a little more bang for my buck.
  • And over and through it all, continuously improve my writing and increase my productivity.

I think that’s enough for now, don’t you? Periodically through the coming year, I’ll post an update to let you know what kind of progress I’m making.

What kind of goals and resolutions do you have for 2012? Do you have plans in place for achieving them? Or are they just “I’d like to someday…” things? Do your goals depend on someone else in any way, or are they your sole responsibility?

Advertisements

Thursday Throbs 12-15

It’s been a long week, trying to get my family ready for the holidays while also trying to finish revisions for Blood Dragon, and sneak in a little time to continue working on BDII‘s first draft. I really need to come up with a title for that one – getting sick of calling it “BDII“. Oh, yeah, and I’m slowly working on some changes here, too. And I just remembered, I need to send out Christmas cards… Oh, well, you get the idea. I’m sure your week has been just as busy!

So, I took a little eyecandy break and dug up a few pics for you. I’m a some-time tattoo artist, though these days I mostly limit myself to creating the art (and not much of that, too busy), leaving the actual tattooing to my daughter. As a result, I love looking at tattoo pics. It’s even better if the tat is attached to a sexy guy – not a balding, middle-aged, overweight, mid-life crisis dude with stretch marks who’s suddenly decide he’s always wanted ink. Seen enough of those, thank you very much!

These tats have sexy guys attached! Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NaNoWriMo FTW!

Wheew!!! It’s finally OVER! All over the world, NaNoers are frantically copying their novels, pasting them into the wordcount validator, and hitting submit. With hard work, and a little luck, aching fingers and worn-out keyboards, some of them managed to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

I really didn’t think I was going to make it this year. Last year, I passed 50k on the 18th, and completed the entire first draft by the 30th. Not this year. I only passed 50k around noon today, and I still have a lot of work to finish this first draft. I was lucky to get near 50k, let alone pass it, but I managed 53,094 words this year.

As a result, I get to do this:

My project this year was to pick up the stalled first draft of Blood Dragon II. With luck, I’ll manage to finish the draft, and complete the revisions on Blood Dragon by the end of December, and get them both moving on to the next step in the road to publication. Not to mention, there’s another Blood Dragon story waiting in outline form, demanding to be written. It’ll have to wait until these two are on the way, though. 😀

Excerpt Party!

The members of my blogging network are having an Excerpt Party today! Unfortunately, I missed the posting deadline to participate officially. If you’re looking for something new to read, search #excerptparty on Twitter and check out the postings of a bunch of amazing writers.

Even though I’m not participating officially, I’ve decided to go ahead and put up an excerpt – more than my Six Sentence Sunday posts.

The following is from the first draft of Blood Dragon II, Chapter 2. The point-of-view character in this scene is an involuntary antagonist, forced to go along with his brother’s plans. All the antagonist scenes in this story are told from his POV.

* A word of warning before you read: This passage is from a first draft, and is still unedited, except for a quick spell check.

 

Cam Darcy was getting sick of waiting. His sore knee was stiff as hell, and he wanted nothing more than to get out of the car and stretch his legs. He ran his hand through his short hair. Needed to get the shit cut again before the weather got really hot.

He risked a glance at his twin. Ryn’s stony gaze met his, and he quickly turned his eyes away. Bastard wouldn’t give an inch. When Ryn said they’d sit there watching until King got home and called the cops, he’d meant every word. King came home an hour ago. They’d seen him arrive.

But for some reason, King still hadn’t called the cops. It made no sense. Any sane man coming home and finding his apartment trashed would call. But only one guy had gone through the main doors of the expensive apartment building since King arrived. No cops. No lights. Nothing.

Damn, his knee was killing him. “Okay, Ryn, this is crazy. He’s obviously cleaning up the mess himself. Not going to call anyone.” Probably shouldn’t have said that.

Ryn’s heavy fist stopped a hair short of his cheek.

Cam knew better than to flinch. It would just infuriate Ryn and the beating would be ten times worse. Not now, but later. At home. Where there were no witnesses.

“Shut the fuck up. When I want your opinion, I’ll tell you what it is.” Ryn returned to glacial silence, gaze never wavering from the door of King’s building.

Like it or not, the beating was inevitable now. No use holding back. “What if he’s not a vampire? I know Fite and his buddies say he is, but what if he’s not?”

“Can you really be that stupid? Of course he is. Why else would he have all that blood hidden in the back of a broom closet? There’s a ton of other signs, too. He’s a fucking parasite is what he is.” Ryn fell silent once more, as if that were the end of it.

Cam let it drop for now. King wasn’t worth it, anyway. His twin was a pit bull when he latched onto an idea, and he wouldn’t let go of this one. Cam wasn’t even certain their sister was worth it. But that was Ryn’s obsession. Anytime a guy got close to their younger sister, Helen, Ryn went off the deep end until he found a way to destroy the guy.

King wasn’t easily accessible, though, and Ryn hadn’t been able to find anything in his past to make King back off. It didn’t help that the big man had just laughed when Ryn challenged him. An attempted mugging resulted in King wiping the alley with both Cam and Ryn. Hence Cam’s fucked up knee. Then Ryn came up with this bullshit.

A resident left the building, jogging past their car, and started a steady stream of people leaving the building for the day as they headed to work. The car parked in front of them left, to be replaced immediately by a dark green SUV with blackout windows. No one got out for a quarter of an hour, then a pretty woman with dark red hair and long legs encased in snug jeans got out and crossed the street. She entered King’s building.

“Go grab us some fresh coffee and a sandwich or something.” Ryn’s voice broke the silence.

Cam couldn’t prevent the surprise from showing on his face. Ryn never allowed him to leave like that. Not in the middle of an “operation”. This departure from the script didn’t bode well for Ryn’s grasp on reality, or Cam’s health in the near future. Arguing wouldn’t do any good, either, so Cam climbed out of the car.

Grateful for the chance to stretch his legs, he took a moment to appreciate the feeling of using muscles that had been forced to inactivity for long hours. Just wished it wasn’t daylight yet.

He started off toward the corner, long legs eating up the distance. People he met took one glance at his face, and looked away fast. Not that he could blame them. The knife wound that made the scar that ran from his forehead to chin had also ruined his right eye. The right side of his mouth lifted in a permanent sneer. The scar was wide, and angry red, stark against his tanned skin. He would look away, too, if he could.

Self-conscious, he lowered his gaze so he didn’t have to see the disgust on people’s faces. Acute memory of receiving the wound, and its aftermath, surfaced against his will. Ryn had been drunk, angry, and Cam had dared try to take his car keys. Ryn reacted by pulling a knife and cutting him. Their father refused him more than basic medical care. The wound wasn’t even stitched closed. Wonderfully durable seventeenth birthday gift. So far, it had lasted a decade.

A little boy clinging to his mother’s hand stifled a scream when he saw Cam’s face, and jolted him out of the memory. The mother clutched her child to her, scolding him for being rude, and hurried on past.

Cam lowered his face as much as he could, wishing for a baseball cap or something, and quickened his step. The sooner he got this over with the better. That kid was exactly why he didn’t go anywhere during the day if he didn’t absolutely have to. Which brought his thoughts back to King. How the hell could the man be a vampire, even if such a thing existed? He went out during the day all the time. It made no sense.

He finally reached the McDonalds and shoved through the door. Cram packed full of morning breakfast buyers. Shit. He groaned. The rush could take hours to clear, so he couldn’t just wait it out in the restroom or a secluded booth. Ryn would have a conniption if he took longer than half an hour to get back. He was going to have to face the crowd and hope he didn’t scare anyone so badly they screamed or fainted.

Chewing his lip, he joined the back of the line, and studiously stared at the floor. Even with four workers taking orders, the line was incredibly slow. Finally, he drew near the front, and nobody had screamed or fainted yet.

His turn came and he stepped forward, when something small and soft and sweet smelling careened into his right side. The force shifted all his weight onto his bad leg, which gave way. At the same time, scalding heat splashed over his chest.

Cam struggled to keep himself from falling, and instinctively grabbed for support onto the person responsible. His hand encountered the soft fullness of a breast, and he yanked it away as if burned. “Sorry.”

But the quick movement of his arm finished the unbalancing the collision had started. He went down. Hard. On his bad knee. A groan that wanted to be a scream ripped from his throat as fire slammed through his knee and up his leg.

Small hands grasped at his shoulders. “Oh, my God, are you okay? God, I’m so sorry! It’s all my fault.” The voice was silky soft, laced with something that instantly made Cam hard despite the pain and mortification.

He got his bearings enough to attempt to rise to his feet. Those little hands were still there, trying to help. Finally, he stood, trying to keep his weight off his injured leg. A tiny slip of a girl, head coming just to the middle of his chest, stood, flustered and fussing over him.

No, not a girl. Woman. Slim, but with a grown woman’s curves. Pale blonde hair straggled around her elfin face and shoulders, having come loose from whatever arrangement she’d made of it on the back of her head.

With an alarmed expression, she touched his chest where the scalding liquid still burned. “Oh, my God. I spilled the coffee on you! Come on, you need to get that shirt off before it burns you worse.” She started tugging his shirt from the waist of his jeans and pulling it up.

“Uh… Miss, it’s okay. I’m fine.” He had to do something to make her stop. Every eye in the place was on them. He didn’t want that kind of attention. He caught her tiny hands where they had successfully pulled his T-shirt up to armpit level. “Really. I’m okay.”

Vivid turquoise eyes widened and traveled upward, taking in hard abs and sculpted chest. They didn’t stop there, as Cam would have preferred. No. Instead they continued up until they were gazing into his one good eye. “You can’t be fine. I heard your knee crack when you hit the floor, and you have blisters starting on your chest from the coffee. You need to see a doctor.” No trace of fear, disgust, or revulsion. Just genuine concern for another human being.

Cam’s heart turned over in his chest. Why couldn’t he have met her another day and another way? But a woman like her wouldn’t notice someone like him unless forced to do so. Heart pounding, struggling to keep his breathing even so his voice didn’t scare her, he tried to reassure her. “Seriously. I’m okay. No harm done. Let me get you another coffee.”

National Novel Writing Month

November. Each year in November, tens of thousands of writers from all over the world chain themselves to their keyboards for the entire month. It’s National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, and the goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. It breaks down to 1667 words per day. Those who finish get bragging rights and a nifty badge to display.

Anyone who ever dreamed of writing a novel can use NaNoWriMo to realize that dream. Beginners can get caught up in the excitement, and with the support of other NaNo-ers, both in real life and on line, and before they know it, they’ve written a book! Experienced writers can use the momentum to help them break some habits that stand in the way of productivity.

Some writers get hung up on making sure each sentence is perfect before moving to the next, so they have a hard time meeting word count goals. In NaNo, there isn’t time to edit. Even if it’s crap, the words have to get on the screen. Editing comes in December. Others have a hard time writing on a consistent basis, but most people have to write every single day in order to complete NaNo. A month of establishing productive habits can be long enough for the old habit to be broken.

Some agents and editors regard NaNo as a waste of time, probably because their inbox is inundated with NaNovels on Dec 1st, sans editing. If I were on the receiving end of all those submissions rife with typos, spelling problems, bad grammar, and plot holes big enought to drive a tank through, I might not be such a fan of NaNo either. Remember, the hard work starts Dec 1st.

This year, I’m using NaNo to finish the stalled first draft of Blood Dragon II. I have around 13k written, so I’ll need 63k total to finish NaNo.

It’s not too late to sign up! If you’re interested, head on over to NaNoWriMo and get started. If you’d like to be Nano buddies, here’s my profile.

Now, it’s 11:15pm on November 1st, and I still haven’t written my first NaNo2011 word!

Six Sentence Sunday

This week’s Six is from BLOOD DRAGON II, which is really needing its own title. Ardrianna is searching for evidence of whoever broke into King’s apartment. Difficult when King’s body keeps sidetracking her. The worst part? He knows she wants him for a fact. Weredragons, both male and female, emit a distinctive scent whenever they are sexually aroused. So she can’t hide it.

King must be wondering if her arousal scent meant she would be receptive to his advances. In a word, no. She had to keep telling herself that. “We need to finish this up as quickly as we can manage, and get out of here.”

He nodded, his left hand absently rubbing his thigh, distracting her. “Okay. Tell me what you want me to do.”

Lucky for her, as badly as King wants her, he’s being a gentleman. Despite knowing exactly what she wants, he isn’t pressing the issue. Yet.

Six Sentence Sunday

This week’s Six is from BLOOD DRAGON II. King is trying to convince Ardrianna to allow him to kiss her. He promises that if she doesn’t like it, and can honestly say she doesn’t want more, he’ll back off trying to seduce her, and let her do her job. Then it occurs to him that she might be involved with someone else.

Ardrianna couldn’t stop the burst of laughter. “No, not hardly.” Missed opportunity. Telling him there was someone else would have put a stop to this whole ludicrous thing.

Before she could say anything more, he pulled her closer. “Then let me kiss you.”

Of course, once he starts kissing her, she can’t resist him.