bookmark_borderIrons in the Writing Fire

I’m not sure how many other writers do this, but I typically work on more than one project at a time. I tend to pound out a lot of words then pause to consider it. See, I don’t plan or do an outline. I start a project because I have an idea, a “what if…”, or just a title. Usually I know the ending, sometimes I don’t. Other than that, the plot for the book just flows. And sometimes that flow takes my characters to places or situations I didn’t expect. And I need to back up and think about it. The more I write, the less I discover it was the WRONG direction. Either I’m becoming a better writer (and trust me, some of my early stuff truly stinks) or I’m getting better at figuring out how to get out of the corner I painted my novel into.

What I do while I think is either play games on my PC (my current obsession is Homeworld Remastered) or I go to another project. Sometimes that thinking takes a while and even if I come up with a solution, the path to getting there is not clear so I gotta think some more. And as some friends will agree so quickly they spit, I tend to think too much and not just freakin’ do.

So what irons are in my writing fire? Glad you asked.

Continue reading “Irons in the Writing Fire”

bookmark_borderShowing Off the Craft

I got this friend/acquaintance (seriously, I have several) who is this crafter/knitter/sew-er/creator kind of person. And a waitress who knows her stuff in that arena, too. I recently “friended” her on FB (wave at Sammi everyone). Most of her stuff on her page is all pics of her craft. Really cool stuff, really creative. Makes me uber jealous. Writers are crafters, too, but we really have no daily pics to show off. Sure, we have books as the final products but…you know, one every six years is just not enough.

So I thought I would share some of my work process.

This is the folder I have for To Dream.
– “Awakening” was its initial name but, obviously, I changed it. When I did the rewrite (Awakening is the raw-arse draft), I saved the original and started fresh, basically. I’m a document hoarder.
– “Beta” is what I sent to the Beta readers, bless their hearts. It also contains their responses in all its brutal honesty.
– “Edit chunks” is when I realized Google Drive had eaten a huge chunk of the manuscript. I was editing heavily, taking out what I had edited and putting it into a new document. I then had to go through both to figure out what pieces were missing. Yes, I saved these, too.
– “Images” are some drawings I did of maps and some houses I built in Sims3 so I had an idea of what their house looked like. Yeah, I am that freakin’ weird.

The rest are the actual current documents. The .doc files are the ones I put on my tablet. The program I use there only uses .doc format, dammit. There’s one that can use .odt but it is awkward as heck to use.
– The “~lock” ones are the currently open documents. It is how OpenOffice works in doing their autosaves and recoveries I think.
– “ack-ded” is the acknowledgements and dedication that goes into the front of the books. I keep track of this so I don’t leave anyone out. I have a short memory.
– “synopsis” is, duh, the synopsis.
– “cuts” is what I remove as I edit. I save those because sometimes there’s a word or phrase I can use later. I said I was a document hoarder, get over it.
– “edit” is, duh, the edit version.
– “wb” is the world build document
– “To Dream” is the final version before I started this edit.
– The .txt file is one that I brought over from the “To Sleep” folder. It contains some quotes about butterflies, mostly.

I use a variety of tools, just like Sammi. Although mine aren’t as colorful, dangit!
WordWeb Pro – way cool thesaurus, dictionary, reference. I have the paid version but the free one has a lot to it.
OpenOffice – a free word processing program that also has a spreadsheet (excel), database (access), presenter (powerpoint), a drawing something, and something to do math equations.
IrfanView – an image program that resizes and does other stuff. Simple and to the point, the way I like ’em
NovaMind 5 – it is called a “mindmapping” program. I call it a “brainstorming” program. Works either way.
SimpleMind – While NovaMind has a lot of bells and whistles, it doesn’t work with my tablet. SimpleMind does. So sometimes I use it instead.
Notepad 2 – a simple alternative for Windoze Notepad. Much better for those who do coding, too.
SyncBack Pro – After my disappointment with Google Drive, I needed some other way to keep everything together. My bro pointed me toward SyncBack Pro and I love it. Syncs, backups, both. Does both via FTP, too.
Dragon Premium – I recently got this again. I don’t expect my hands to completely fail but there are days where typing is impossible. And there are days where sitting is difficult. So I’d be stupid to not give it a go. The problem with Dragon is you cannot edit what you have not used it to write with so I can’t edit with it. I got the Premium because I can dictate into my phone and then load it into the program on the desktop later. My goal is to do one of the Butch Girl books completely with Dragon. One of the characters in BGCFA was Rain who had multiple disabilities including the loss of both legs. I plan on doing her book via Dragon as it feels appropriate to do so. I have two others to do first, probably three. That gives me plenty of time to learn Dragon before I jump on the Dragon Wagon. Heh.

On my Samsung Note 10.1 tablet, I use:
Kingsoft Office – good software.
LectureNotes – I am soooo freakin’ glad I found this. What a great program. And makes me glad I got the tablet with the pen! For real students, they have some other excellent software.
OpenDocument Reader – allows me to view (but not edit) .odt documents. But I can’t figure out how to point it to the external card
AndrOpen Office – OpenOffice for Android. Has nearly everything OpenOffice has which makes it clunky on the tablet. Not giving up on it yet though!
WordWeb – yep! Got it on my tablet, too! And my phone! And my iPod Touch! I really love this program.
SimpleMind – the Android version (which I don’t use as often since I found LectureNotes)

Oh, and one last thing. Want to know another reason why I prefer OpenOffice to Word? Go back up to that image. Look at the file sizes of To Dream Edit.odt and To Dream Edit.doc. See the difference? Totally unnecessary.

bookmark_borderWriting Is Much More Funner

I currently have one book in Official Edit (To Sleep). One book in rewrite/edit (To Dream). Four books in rewrite/JGTDTF (BG and Stereotypes, BG and U-Hauls, Simple Sara, Long Lea). Three Four books in the writing stage (BG4, BG5, Butterfly Effect, Centric). One in planning stage (To Die). And several others that have been written (mostly) but are in limbo (’cause they stink).

Yet I have this urge to just start another from absolute scratch. Not linked to any of the others. Not a sequel or prequel or series or nothing. Just brand new.

I love writing. I love watching the screen to see what happens next. When it is done, it is a raw, organic, fresh from the fingers and brain novel. Then I have to edit. I hate editing. I probably wouldn’t hate it so much if I could do it faster. Get the pain over and done with.

But I must stick to the schedule I have in my head.

To Dream MUST be done and submitted by Mid-August. (it was supposed to be submitted by yesterday)
BGaS MUST be done and submitted by the end of October. (sooner would be better)
BGaU SHOULD be written and edit started by the end of the year.
To Die MUST be written, edited, and submitted by May (June at the latest) of 2014.

In between all that, I’d really really love to get Simple Sarah done and submitted. Bless her heart. I started that back in ’02 or ’03. I’ve cat licked it to death several times. Poor Centric will never be finished. I’ve accepted that. Don’t make me any happier, though.

bookmark_borderIt’s Tribbles. That’s what it is.

So I’m trying to finish up the sequel to To Sleep. It’s a good book, in my humble, totally unbiased opinion. When I decided it was getting too big, it was roughly about 120K.

I went through it, really looking at the scenes. Which one belongs, which one doesn’t. I eliminated some characters. I eliminated some scenes. And when I was finished, it was 126K. Yes, it grew.

I then listed all the major events that happen. Then I filled in the events (scenes, really) that lead up to each major event. I am very, very, very visual so seeing the list helped. I trimmed a huge section. My cut file has grown by over 6K words. The book has a better feel so far. I’m on page 264, a little under half way.

But, dammit to heckaroni, the damn thing is getting BIGGER! What the hell? It is now at just under 128K.

I am really hoping that it will start shrinking soon. I didn’t want to do a third book. I may have to, just to make this one light enough to carry.

I wanted some events to happen by now but they aren’t fitting in just yet.

Anyway, just wanted to say I am still writing.

bookmark_borderGetting Larger

So I am still editing To Sleep. Using the advice from the beta reader and Lorna, I’m making some changes and fine tuning.

And it is getting larger. It is now 107,922 words. I added in a scene which got bigger than I intended. I cut a lot (nearly 20K) then put one scene back and added another. Sigh.

But, I love this story. Not as much as I love poor Simple Sarah but close. The good thing is I am not freakishly attached and am looking forward to setting it free and submitting it to RCE. Yeah. I can do this.

My bro and his family will be here on the 28th. I want to submit this before then. I am fairly certain I will make it. I am on page 374 of 419 and steadily moving forward.

Teasers below. Some were cut completely, others were left in.

Mona touched my arm to get my attention. “I need to return to the Pod’s Infirmary. Do you wish to return with me or shall I leave you in their capable custody?”

“Stay with us, Karen. It is time for us to eat and probably you, too, if Mona’s kept your schedule going.” Tora said.

“If you truly do not mind…”

“Not at all!” Chloe pulled on the hem of my shirt toward an empty table. “I’m starving! I’ve just been polite but I was beginning to wonder if you would taste better fried or baked.”

I did more math in my head and realized that if all of the Firsts and Seconds were present, there would be eighteen thousand women in this room. I looked behind me and could believe that. Over half of them were on their feet and the rest were starting to stand as well. I wondered if they would do riot control now or just let it burn out. My question was answered when the First Mother left the podium and sat back down. No one else stood to take her place. She sat, hand folded in her lap, and stared toward the back of the room.

I had an urge. A strong urge. I didn’t know where it came from because I was not a public speaker at all. I hated talking to groups. Yet, I had the urge to get up and go stand at the podium and tell everyone to shut the fuck up. As I stood, Julie did as well. She took my hand and we stepped out of the aisle and walked toward the front. No one stopped us. As we walked, I stared at the First Mother, daring her to look me in the eye and deny she was influencing me. But as strong as the urge was, I knew I was fully capable of going back to my seat. I knew I could do it yet I chose to follow it through.

We reached the stage and climbed the steps together. I felt her damp palm in mine and I held onto it tightly. We got to the podium and stood there, looking out over the multitude of women. I let go of Julie’s hand and she took one step back.

“Shut. The. Fuck. Up.”

That’s all I said. The sound system was marvelous because my words echoed throughout the room and the shock of them did what I wanted. They shut up.


“We all have questions. We all want those questions answered. We will not get those answers by shouting them all out at once. I am sure there exists a way to ask in a safe, sane, and consensual manner.” That got some laughter. “We are lesbians. We organize Uhaul trucks better than a professional mover. Surely to shit we can organize ourselves and get our jobs done. Those four billion people will need to be woken up somehow. We have been given the task to come up with a list of ways to do that. They respected us enough that THE leader of their entire people is here. Now let’s return that respect and let her take the podium again.”

I turned then and looked her in the eye. All I felt from her was shock. I realized it wasn’t her that had gave me the compulsion to say my piece. I bowed deeply and stepped aside. Julie again grasped my hand and we stood there, waiting for the First Mother to stand. She didn’t. Instead, the Malon next to her did. She addressed the crowd.


I dislike synopsis. Synopsi? Anyway, I hate writing those things. I spent most of the day working on one for my novel To Sleep. It was too wordy, too relaxed, too….something. Then someone over at Lesbian Fiction Forum said to check to see what the publisher requires as some state the length. Whoo Hoo! RCE doesn’t require one! Happy dance.

I’ll still do one, I just won’t make it all pretty. I will submit a brief ‘plot summary’ however. A synopsis is quite useful before and after writing a book. It helps you to see any plot gaps or problems. For one, there’s a lot going on in this novel. Not quite too much, but close. The idea is to not overwhelm the reader but also not put them to sleep. It’s a delicate dance especially with science fiction.

When I have something finalized, I’ll let y’all know. My goal is to have the novel submitted by the end of this month. But I’ve got a toothache and came home from Minneapolis with a stomach bug. Yay. But I am working on it. I am editing and using the beta reader’s input as I go.

bookmark_borderIt’s Off!

My novel, To Sleep, is off to the two beta readers! May their eyes not bug out and may their brains not turn to mush.

After the editing, chapter adjustments, and putting back in a scene, the word count is 99,116. The ‘cuts’ document is 17,745 words.

I really like this novel. But, like I just told the beta readers in their email, I don’t want this one to languish in perpetual re-write like poor Simple Sarah.

Now, to work on a synopsis. I hate those things.

bookmark_borderBeta Readers Wanted

I have finished my science fiction novel, To Sleep. I have edited it (twice) and am now going through and putting in chapter breaks. No, I don’t do them as I go. Tried that once. It was a freakin’ mess.

Which means I am in need of beta readers. The novel is roughly 96K words. And, like I said, it is a science fiction.

I am still working on the synopsis so I will put a bit here. If you are interested, email me or use the contact form. Be aware this novel has lesbians in it. And it is not very nice toward heterosexuals on the whole (I’m mad at most of y’all anyway). There are no sex scenes but there is mention of boobs and liking them. Oh, and there’s cussing. The f word flies about quite a lot. So, if none of this appeals to you, don’t volunteer. I really wanted to submit it before the GCLS con in June but I don’t see that happening (forgot I had to do a synopsis and those are things you just don’t whip together at the last minute). So I am aiming instead to submit it when I return. Therefore, I need your opinion no later than June 18th.

So what I am needing is someone to read it through and tell me how it went. Did you get thrown out of the book? Was there something that didn’t fit? Is there something missing? Was it believable? Etc etc. I am NOT looking for a “yeah, I liked it”. I am not looking for someone to edit it (unless something jumps out at you, then sure, tell me).

Below is a bit from the first chapter.

I woke up later to someone was banging on my door. I stumbled to it and looked out the peek hole to see Jose in his rainbow pajamas. I removed the chain and opened the door. “What the fuck are you doing? It’s–” I squinted at the clock. “Three a.m.”

“Comeoncomeoncomeon” He kept saying as he grabbed my hand and dragged me down the hall to his place. His apartment was one of the big ones even though it was just him. He was some sort of computer geek for some big company. He had this huge television. And I mean huge. As in my bed was smaller kind of huge. Watching football on that thing was better than being there in person.

Right then, his big ass television was showing a very tired Ray who was now in what looked like a press room. His hair was still glued in place but his eyes had dark circles under them. Someone really needed to relieve the guy. Unless this news was so big, he’d drop dead before he stepped out of the limelight.

Next to the big television were two others Jose had moved out of his office. One had the “All News, All the Time” channel and the other was on a local station. This one showed downtown Philly where cars were parked in the street and people seemed to be rioting or something.

“I knew you had to be sleeping and I waited as long as I could before waking you. You know about the asteroid or did that happen after you went to bed?”

“Last I heard, it had changed trajectories or whatever then Ray there got interrupted and there was a big ruckus.”

“Ah, well, you at least have some sort of clue. Here.” He picked up a wireless keyboard and quickly typed something in. The screen showing the news channel changed to his desktop screen then to a video. “Poor Ray is rambling through most of this so I’ll keep him on mute. That is the asteroid.” Jose looked at me to make sure I was following along.

“That’s the grainy image I saw, yes.”

“What interrupted poor Ray was telescopes and radar picked up this.”

On the screen was a slow moving white-ish blob. Jose tapped his keys and the recording sped up. As the blob came more into focus, even I could tell this was no asteroid. It was too smooth, too round. And it didn’t tumble or even rotate. It looked like a egg with the narrower end facing the camera. “Amateur astronomers were following this before the other one changed its course. This is their recording of it.” He tapped some more. “This is Spitzer-Webb looking at it.”

There were no crater pock marks on its surface. There were very little shadowing at all. “What is it?”

“This.” He clicked again and this time the image was very crystal clear. It was the biggest egg I’d ever seen. “It is stationary now. Parked itself in geocentric orbit over the Atlantic between the moon and the ISS3. The other object is slower but is coming to about the same area.”

“Ooookay. What the fuck is it?”

“Probably friends of these guys.” He tapped some more and the image changed to show two other whatevers. These were blurry again so I assumed they were either further away or were moving. “This is them an hour ago. Lemme see where they are now.” He did his thing with the keyboard and soon the image cleared. One of the objects was more arrowhead shaped, but instead of being flat, it was fluffed up with projections and angles. The other was a box. A very square box.

I couldn’t help myself. I guffawed. “The Borg?”

Jose laughed, too. “Yeah, the ‘Net is all over that theory.”

“Do I want to know whose system you are tapped into to get these images?”

“Doesn’t matter, I don’t think.”

“So, what, aliens?”

“No, dumbass, it’s the Russians.” He elbowed me. We had long debated that Russia’s continued failures to go further than the moon was because they were hiding something. They couldn’t be that bad at it. “Ray is waiting for a news conference to start. Meanwhile, the nutjobs are out in force.” He nodded toward the other small screen that showed the rioting downtown.

“Let’s show the aliens how stupid we are.” I mutter. “I probably should head to the hospital. They’re going to need all the help they can get.”

“No way. You can’t get there from here. Not even on your bike. Look.” He did some more with that magical keyboard of his and the big screen changed. Ray was put into a box in the upper middle while the rest of the view was about a dozen traffic cameras. Traffic jams, burning cars, accidents, rioting. Every road was blocked.

“Holy shit. How long has this been happening?”

“An hour or two. Like I said, I figured you’d need your sleep. Then when these things showed up, I knew it was time to wake you.”

Wake me. It seems as though I am still waking up. Something new each time I open my eyes.

See, soon after that, my alarm went off. Jose looked at me. He was kind of sad and I started to ask him why but he waved me toward my apartment. He told me I ought to go turn off my alarm and I moved to do so. Before I got to the door, I felt a buzz and it was as if I got lighter, like I’d stepped into a bees nest and they were lifting me.

Then I woke up.

bookmark_borderYes, Editing

Still at it. Eegads.

I just cut a huge scene (over 4000 words) and finally got the thing below 100K. It is now at 99,367. The document where I put all the cut stuff (I save everything) is just 11,680 words. Doing some math, I’ve added over 10,000 words, almost as much as I’ve cut.

This is good.

I hope it doesn’t feel choppy. It does now so I’ll need to keep an eye on that. I keep having to check stuff because things have changed. Meaning the big plot change. Pain In The Arse.


I did not recognize the Malon at the podium. Not that I had personally met that many. Like Mother Maya, she was a woman of power. Her clothing was a dark blue with white accents. It looked very similar to the brown uniforms of the security folk. Behind her sat four others, one of which was Mother Maya. I did not see Arrogant Bitch and Secretary but I did notice the four brown uniforms nearby. The speaker waited until there was silence before she began. She had her device in front of her but never looked at it.

“I am First Captain Rema. We who are the crew of Mother Five bid you welcome. We wish we could have met under different circumstances. The ship and her crew have traveled across a large portion of the galaxy you know as the Milky Way. During our travels we have met many sentient beings. Some we have assisted, others we merely observed and reported. We have seen planets with four moons and tides with waves higher than this room. We have seen planets with two suns that gave them just two seasons. We have met species who walked on six legs and built cities that would dwarf this ship. We have met species with mouths with four rows of teeth yet sang songs that would make us weep. This ship and her crew have visited your solar system on a regular basis as it is part of our route, for lack of a better word. When it was decided someone needed to be watching you more consistently, Mother Five volunteered with enthusiasm. For over fifty of your years, we have watched humanity in both its beauty and its horror. It is good to finally meet you in person.

bookmark_borderUntangling the Twisted Plot

Oy. What fun I am having. Not.

Still working on fixing the plot issue. It is going well, just tedious as I take out scenes or cut them up. I’ve taken out over 6,000 words so far. Not too bad but the bigger chunks are coming.

And the novel is still growing. Even with the words cut, it still is higher than when I finished. 103,810. I added in a scene so that helped. I need to read it over to make sure the seams fit.

Meanwhile, I am going to be buying my plane ticket for the Golden Crown Literary Society’s conference. Yay! I am looking forward to it. Except for the flying part. Me flying is a big adventure due to all the equipment and crap. And the flight times are so very strange. I can leave Minneapolis at 5am, 7am, or 5pm. So get there 2hrs ahead of time….what a PITA. But the Con looks like it will be fun. There’s some workshops I am looking forward to. As usual, there’s several workshops I want to attend but are at the same time. Never fails, does it?