November 28, 2010

Sunday Pleasures

I haven't spent much time being out and about this week. Writing, getting ready for the holiday, and spending time in the homes of friends. So today's pleasures are internet-based.

"Love is always a palimpsest" by Anton Gourman. I happened upon this on the internet via twitter and I absolutely adore it.

Salacious: A Queer Feminist Sex Magazine. I need to submit to this one! And so do you! It's going to be great!

The Cleveland Review. Nice to see a literary publication emerging from my hometown. And one of my friends from graduate school is the poetry editor. I can't wait for the first issue!

The Sinfest comic from November 24th. (Not to mention the one from November 23rd). They made my whole week!

The Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal comic from November 26th. When did journalism in general stop having standards?

Jonathan Franzen will deliver the commencement address at Kenyon College this year. I am so jealous! Though I doubt anything could ever beat David Foster Wallace's address from 2005.

The Walking Deadline. A meditation on zombies, death, and writing. One of the best things I have read this week.

NaNoWriMo Days 21-27

So . . . I burned out early this year. I haven't touched the novel in a week, nor been to a write-in in a week and a half. I've thrown myself into other projects - drafts that need revising before deadlines, new stories that I want to get down before I lose momentum, etc. And of course, the holiday took away from my writing. But really, it's that I'm bad at pacing myself, and I burned out.

And that's okay. It happens. I still have 55,000 words of a novel completed. I have all the chapters down. It's a very, very rough draft, but it's a draft nonetheless. And though I need a break from it now, and that break might last a long time, I have written something new. I put a lot of work into it, I learned a lot about history and poets and my own process, and I met my goal yet again. - Official Launch

As you might remember, this summer I published a story called "Parting Gift" at, a startup venture that was still in beta at the time. While it can be risky to invest one's work with fledgling ventures, especially when one is still in the early stages of her career and struggling to get paid for her writing, I loved the concept of the site and couldn't resist taking a chance with it. So I sent out a story, it was accepted, and I'm glad such an intensely-personal piece found a home there.

Today, I'm pleased to announce that Tinglemedia is out of beta. Yep! It's now fully launched! I'm glad that founder/editor Scarlett's investment has paid off! Congratulations to Scarlett and all of us writers who took a chance on this one!

November 21, 2010

NaNoWriMo Days 19-20

I admit it. I've been a bad novelist. I took a whopping two days off in a row, and haven't written a word since Thursday. In fact, I've hardly written at all; a few fragments of a short story, but not much else. We've just been so busy celebrating my husband's birthday that I haven't made the time (okay, I've also gotten quite absorbed in Eavan Boland's New Collected Poems and have been spending much more time reading than writing). Hopefully I'll make it to a write-in today, and even if I don't, that's okay; I need to stop castigating myself for taking breaks. And I'll definitely get some writing done on it tomorrow; it's going to be a butt-in-chair day with a friend!

Sunday Pleasures

(Slightly hungover, post-birthday bash edition.)

This weekend we've been celebrating my husband's birthday. The actual day is tomorrow, but yesterday was our primary celebration.

The day started off when his girlfriend came by with breakfast tacos and queso from Tacodeli. (I admit that I'm a die-hard Torchy's fanatic, but I can very much appreciate Tacodeli and their dona salsa.) After breakfast, we went to the grand opening of Pinballz Arcade, a new place in town for classic and new pinball games and other arcade fare. Unfortunately, a lot of the games weren't holding up too well under the stress of the first day, and there were a lot of broken ones. But the owner is really nice, you can tell he's passionate about this place, and I think that once he works through the kinks, Pinballs will be a great place.

Once we were done with games, we headed over to Vino Vino for a wine tasting - $10 per person to taste 35 wines! We got a great sampling of new wines we'd never tasted before, and came home with a few bottles. Slightly tipsy and needing to sober up, we stopped by NewWorld Deli, which is one of my favorite places in town. My husband had never been there before, and was duly impressed.

Fortified by excellent sandwiches, we went to BookPeople for a reading by Gabrielle Faust and Skyler White. They were there promoting new books, and it was a great chance to hear some great writing, drink tea, admire steampunk outfits, and hang out with friends. And then after the reading, it was time to head home and prep for the party we hosted, which lasted till nearly 3:30 a.m.

Today will be more laid back. We're going to GameStop to pick up the copy of Donkey Kong Country Returns that I ordered him as a birthday gift. At which point, he will probably play all day. I might play a bit, but I don't like most video games other than Tetris. I'll probably go to a NaNoWriMo Write-In at Cafe Caffeine before heading to my fiction group to have one of my new stories picked apart so I can actually fix the problems in my draft.

Tomorrow, on his actual birthday, we're celebrating by going to an open mic at House Wine, and he's going to play some new stuff. Should be a great set! I haven't seen him play live in a long time, and I'm looking forward to it.

November 18, 2010

NaNoWriMo Days 17-18

Well, yesterday, I worked on various projects, sat down in the afternoon to work on the novel - and just didn't feel like it. At all. Just going into my Documents folder and clicking on the document to open it seemed like a momentous chore. So I took the day off, and focused entirely on other projects.

This morning, I woke up still not wanting to write. But I had a write-in to attend, darn it. And I wasn't about to let that go. So I got my butt out of bed, drove to south Austin, and parked myself in a chair for 2 hours. And wrote a little over 2,000 words. Go me!

The weekend forecast is not conducive to writing: party prep (including housecleaning) tomorrow; a party on Saturday as well as a number of other things during the day; and recovery on Sunday. I'm hoping to knock out another 2k over the weekend, though. We'll see!

Thankful Thursday

Good week this week! Lots of writing, lots of fun, lots of things to be thankful for!

  1. Finishing NaNoWriMo! Well, sort of. I got to 50,000 words, meaning I completed the challenge! I still need to finish the rest of the story, though, so I'm still writing! Hopefully I'll have finished the book by the end of the month!
  2. Job interview this afternoon, for something part-time that won't probably interfere with my writing or dancing schedule too much. Here's hoping it goes well! I could use the money.
  3. An excellent story acceptance and contract sent out this week!
  4. Husband's birthday this weekend; fun plans all day Saturday, with something special on his actual birthday Monday night. I absolutely love birthdays, more so than any other holiday.
  5. Good hang-out time with a good friend, and a fun evening with someone special.

November 17, 2010

NaNoWriMo Day 16

Up to 54k as of yesterday, and my goal is to get to 55k by the time I go to bed tonight. Yes, my progress is much slower, but as I mentioned yesterday, I am trying to strike a balance between the novel and other projects now that I've gotten the initial words out of the way.

The novel is still going in fits and starts. Some chapters still aren't complete, even foundational ones - for some reason, I haven't been in the mood to write the big sex scene. I've written plenty of smaller ones, but for whatever reason, I'm intellectually and emotionally resistant to the definitive one. It's a fear thing. I need to get over it. Maybe I will commit to writing it at the write-in tomorrow.

Funny how I've managed to write so much in such a short time, and yet I'm still having hang-ups that revolve around fear. Some things never change. And you just have to deal with them as they come.

Wordless Wednesday

November 16, 2010

NaNoWriMo Days 14-15

Progress has slowed substantially since crossing the 50k mark. I want to finish the story, of course, but I also want to strike a better balance between the novel and my other projects - this isn't the only piece that requires my time and attention. I'm now content to write 1,000 words per day for the novel, leaving the rest of my writing time for short pieces, a new nonfiction project, and some poetry. I've managed to stick with this goal, and it's working well for me. I plan to attend at least one write-in this week as well. As I've said before, those are my favorite part of NaNoWriMo: coming together as a community to write!

Confession Tuesday

I confess that my room/workspace has become such a mess that I'm having trouble functioning in it, and yet, I'm still not motivated to clean it.

I confess that I moved the plants indoor for the winter, because I'm trying to grow avocados and they don't do especially well in cooler temperatures. The only place where I had room for all of them was my room/workspace, thus contributing to an already-cramped environment. On the one hand, this compounds my frustration. On the other hand, it's really nice to have all that green in my room!

I confess that I want to make tea, but since the plants are in the way of the kettle outlet, I can't at the moment. At least not until I clean the room enough to find the 3-prong adapters so my kettle can work in the 2-prong outlet.

I confess I might be blogging when I really should be cleaning my room.

November 14, 2010

Sunday Pleasures

It's been a busy week, filled with various life stresses, more computer problems, and winning NaNoWriMo! (but not being finished with the story yet). Here's a look at some of the things that brightened my week.

The Lenovo X-Series. Boxy and ugly, but with just the specs this writer needs, it will be saving me from my ongoing computer woes in approximately 10 days. Those 10 days cannot come soon enough. And I can upgrade that boring black exterior with a custom skin. I'm thinking leopard print.

My spouse's new LG computer monitor. He got it for the PC he's building piece by piece, but he's already hooked it up to his laptop, so he currently has a dual-screen setup. We use the LJ to watch TV online, and it is lovely.

Red Table Coffee. This is the coffee shop that hosts my regular Thursday morning write-ins during the month of November. It's on the opposite side of town, but it's totally worth the drive for the super-friendly wait staff, the company of NaNo-ers, and the 20% discount they're giving to write-in participants.

Opal Divine's. I've probably put it in Sunday Pleasures before, but if I have, it bears mentioning again. This is by far one of my favorite bars in Texas. I spent last night there and had some fantastic drinks.

And while I'm mentioning Opal's, I should mention that I love Geeks Who Drink trivia nights. We had a blast last night drinking at Opal's and playing the trivia game. And our team took 3rd, which got us $10 off our bar tab! A truly excellent Saturday night.

NaNoWriMo Days 11-13

Truly epic!

Things really took off for me over the start of this weekend. I went to a write-in on Thursday morning and knocked out about 2,500 words in two hours, then added about 1,500 more throughout the day. Friday was not actually a great writing day - my husband has Fridays off and we spent this one getting tacos, going for walks, and going to the movies - but I managed to get in just a little over the 1,667 word minimum (not that I needed it at that point). Yesterday morning I woke up in the vicinity of 38,500 and breezed into 40,000 words pretty easily - and then did not stop writing. Yes, I put in just 12,000 words in one day, and crossed the finish line. Currently sitting at just over 50,000 words!

Of course, I plan to keep writing. The story is not done yet. I have a bunch of half-written beginning chapters, and I still don't quite know where the end is going. But I won the official challenge!

As my computer problems seem to be getting worse before they get better, I probably won't work on the novel much today. (I only have computer access at the moment right now because my husband is asleep and therefore has no need for his machine's power supply.) I was hoping to go to a write-in, but barring someone being able to loan me an A/C adapter (I'm not borrowing one for a loaner laptop that is not exactly in the greatest shape ever), it looks like I'll be spending the afternoon reading rather than writing. Which is a bummer, because I love going to write-ins and hanging out with NaNo people. But it isn't too terrible, because I think I could stand a day off before I forage ahead to figure out how this book is going to end.

Literotica Holiday Contest

I'm participating in the Holiday Contest this year! This event will run through December with new entries being added daily. My story, "Spin the Driedel," is a sexy take on the celebration of Channukah. I encourage everyone to read it and rate it - even if they don't love it, any rating helps!

What I like best about the Literotica contests is that you don't have to vote for just one story. You can read all the stories and give them ratings, but if you have two or three strong favorites, you don't have to choose just one; you can give them all high marks. So please go through the stories and rate them. Help make this contest a great one!

Bad Girl's Sweet Kiss now available!

Huzzah! Just a reminder that The Bad Girl's Sweet Kiss is now available for sale on Xcite! I am so proud to be part of this anthology, especially because it's exciting to have some nonfiction erotica out there. Writing "Reclamation" was a great way to stretch my creative muscles, and I'm glad I have had the opportunity to tell my story for anyone interested in

November 11, 2010

NaNoWriMo Days 7-10

I had a mammoth writing day on Sunday the 7th, knocking out 5,000 words in 2.5 hours and putting me squarely at the halfway point of 25,000 words. Since then, the writing has gone a bit slower, as other projects have occupied my time (plus after writing that much on Sunday, my brain was totally shot on Monday). But I continue on, and finished at just over 32,000 words yesterday afternoon.

I should mention at this point that I'm now officially writing the whole novel without my outline. Although some wonderful professionals were able to recover my data from my broken computer, the outline file got corrupted at some point - meaning I have no outline. And it would take up too much precious writing time to actually try to re-create it. But I'm totally writing without a map. It's a little scary. But I seem to be doing okay.

Thankful Thursday

It's been a rough week. But there are definitely things to be thankful for.

1. A wonderful, supportive husband, sister, and friends.
2. Finding a stray unopened bag of my (now discontinued) favorite rooibos in the back of my tea closet
3. Having written 32,000 words of my NaNoWriMo novel
4. Having a write-in to go to today
5. Being sore in the good kind of way from strenuous yoga and dancing last night
6. Skipping a write-in last night to go have drinks with one of my closest friends, and getting to play skee-ball at the bar
7. An overwhelming amount of creativity at the moment
8. An idea (and a draft!) for the next round of Smut Marathon
9. Not needing to shower today if I don't want to

November 7, 2010

NaNoWriMo Days 4-6

Still moving steadily along! Thursday the 4th, I attended a write-in and generated about 2,300 words in two hours, and managed to add another 1,000 words to the novel throughout the rest of the day. But I burned out pretty early, around 5 p.m.

On Friday, I was stuck, and struggled to get my 1,667 words. Granted, I could have taken time off, since I was already ahead, but I try to meet the minimum wordcount every day, no matter how big my buffer.

I had insomnia on Friday night/Saturday morning, so got up at 5 a.m. and wrote about 1,000 words in an hour. After a little more sleep, I went to a writer's conference, where I did a lot of writing, but none of it related to my novel. I came home emotionally and intellectually exhausted (one of the pieces I started drafting is a sort of letting-go piece about my recent breakup, and while it's good for me to write, it's also draining), but managed a few hundred more, putting me squarely at 20k last night.

I've taken Sunday off so far in order to recharge my batteries, but I'm gearing up for a 3-hour write-in. I'd like to get 5k done today, but even if that doesn't happen, I'm proud of myself so far.

Sunday Pleasures

I was out of town for most of last weekend, but got home in time to catch the premier of The Walking Dead, AMC's new series about life in a zombie apocalypse. It's graphic, gruesome, and a fantastic piece of television. I look forward to see where this is going! I also closed of Halloween by attending the Austin NaNoWriMo Midnight Write at the Dragon's Lair. As usual, a great way to start of November, see friends I pretty much only hang out with during NaNo, and kick-start my novel!

Yesterday, I attended the TexAROHO Day Conference for Women Writers 2010. I attended a workshop on short fiction (with Barb Johnson), poetry (with Liz Belile), and creative nonfiction (with Meredith Hall), and generated a bunch of drafts for new pieces. My creative nonfiction piece in particular has some excellent potential. The conference also allowed me to meet lots of other Austin-area writers and generally get inspired. And I'm looking forward to learning more about the AROHO organization and getting more involved.

Today has been a lazy day. Did yoga before my spouse got up, and then he made migas for breakfast. I read the newest issue of the Kenyon Review while he played around on the internet, and then we went for a walk and got lunch at Chipotle (with a gift card! yay free burritos!). Now we're catching up on Boardwalk Empire (probably one of my favorite shows this season; also, huzzah for getting HBO On Demand for free). Then, we're going to a NaNoWriMo Write-In at Mozart's, one of my favorite Austin coffee shops. I'll round the day off by sparring with my printer before heading out to my writer's group, and then have a quiet evening in.

November 4, 2010

By the skin of my teeth

Wooo! I made it through Smut Marathon Round 7. . . but just barely. The competition is getting fierce! We're down to 6 authors for the next round, as well as back to the 250-word maximum for our stories. It should be interesting! I'd better get writing . . . . At some point . . . when my novel allows me to pay attention to any project other than my novel . . . .

NaNoWriMo Days 2-3

Although my pace has slowed gradually over days 2 and 3, I'm still surpassing the minimum word count each day, meaning I'm still quite ahead of schedule. I closed out day 2 just over 10k, and I finished day 3 with 12,712 (for those of you keeping score, I needed to finish yesterday with 5,000 words).

I'm a little surprised how easy the writing is going considering I am still working without an outline, but I'm not complaining! I'm noticing also that these first three days have had me focusing almost exclusively on the latter third of the novel. This is also the part I had outlined the least before my hard drive died. I'm nervous to touch the beginning, the part I'd outlined heavily, without my guide, but I'm fine to wing it with things that weren't quite so established. Definitely interesting.

I haven't written yet today, but I'll be off to a write-in in South Austin pretty soon. Looking forward to it! Since I focus exclusively on noveling at these write-ins, I'm using the time beforehand to focus on other things which tend to get neglected. So far today, it's been showering, feeding the pets, and blogging. Whee!

Thankful Thursday

This week, I have gratitude for:

  • My cooking abilities. It's nice to know that I can feed myself well, and I always feel great when people compliment what I've made.
  • The luxury to take time off from projects if I need a bit of a break or am feeling burned out.
  • Scorned Woman Hot Sauce - it's the best hot sauce around!
  • How far ahead I am with my NaNoWriMo novel, and how easily it's coming out, even though I am still writing without my outline.
  • That the computer repair place was able to extract my data at all, even though it's taking longer than I'd like.
That I survived another round of Smut Marathon!

November 2, 2010

Bad Girl's Sweet Kiss available tomorrow!

Just a reminder that The Bad Girl's Sweet Kiss will be available from Xcite Books tomorrow! And it looks like the Kindle edition is already up at Be sure to check it out! I've read the contributors copy, and all of the stories are just excellent. This is a fantastic e-anthology and I'm thrilled to be a part of it.

NaNoWriMo Day 1

I closed out Day 1 of NaNoWriMo with 6,830 words. Not as epic as 2009, where I hit 10k on the first day, but certainly a strong performance putting me several days ahead of schedule. Which is good, because my weekend is not looking conducive to writing.

Things are going better than I hoped, considering my dead netbook is still at the computer shop undergoing data extraction, and I probably won't have it until the end of the week. The problem with this is that while I was pretty diligent about backing up all of my NaNo prep work, for whatever reason, I never backed up my outline. Not once. My only copy was on my netbook. I don't know why I never bothered backing it up, but whatever. It happens. I'll have it back soon, and at the moment, I seem to be writing just fine without it. I will need it eventually, but at the moment things seem to be going okay. Perhaps I want it more as a security blanket than anything else.

Of course there are nagging thoughts about my abilities as a writer, but those come with any project. I can already tell I am doing better as a novelist than I was last year. Maybe this will be the year I write a truly strong, publishable novel. And if not, that's okay too. Practice makes perfect. I can see I'm improving. Someday I'll get there.

Already did some Day 2 writing and I'm up to 8,577 words. I would love to get up to 10k today, but even if I don't, that's fine. I'm still doing really well.

Confession Tuesday

I confess that NaNoWriMo is going pretty well! I'll give it a post of its own, though.

I confess that I've realized that cutting out all caffeine really does help me sleep better, but I'm really bad at avoiding it. I'm not addicted; I don't get headaches when I go without it. But I already struggle with insomnia, and even a little caffeine doesn't help things. But I'm a tea fanatic. I have herbal teas all over the house, and I've been taking care to only drink those lately, but if I go to a restaurant, I order hot (caffeinated) tea without even giving it much thought. And then I have another cup. And then I have some chocolate. You get the idea. I'm working on it.

I confess that while I hate the way insomnia makes me feel, I love how productive I can be when I am suffering from it.

I confess that people are confusing and complicated and it's difficult to remember that. I try not to judge, but I'm still working on it.