Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Best Gift

I know, I said I was on vacation this week and next, and I am, but I had to post, because...

...I'm published!

I'm so excited; this is the best gift I could ask for. Role/Reboot has my first published nonfiction piece! Please stop by and check it out:

It's about the weird world of online dating, and how I almost gave up - right before I met The One. Stop by and say hi!

And otherwise, have a wonderful holiday, and I'll be back for the January IWSG.

Happy Christmannukolstice and Happy New Year, everyone!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

I'll Have A 777 Straight Up, With A Twist

If this is a 777, I'll take three, please.
Photo courtesy of:
When I first started blogging, I have to confess that I didn't understand the purpose of blog hops, challenges, themed recurring posts, or awards. What are these strange, alien customs, and why do people do them, I wondered? What could be the possible reason?

Well, a year and a half in, I look back on my naivete (and yes I am skipping the accent on the final 'e' because I can't figure out how to get it into my post, dammit), and shake my head. I want to tell myself, these things are great, you idiot. When you get tagged in one you don't have to come up with an idea for your post that week!

So I owe Loni Townsend a big THANK YOU, because she tagged me in the 777 challenge last week, and now I don't have to come up with my own idea for this week. She also said some nice things about me, but mentioning them would negate the self-deprecating, snarky tone of this post, so I'll just say she's great, and you should go read her excerpt: it's from her WIP This World Bites, which is releasing NEXT MONTH, and which I can honestly say is hilarious and intriguing and entertaining, because I got to read it a few months ago. So, go check it out!

There - wasn't that fantastic?? Good. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Now on to the 777 challenge. I'll let Loni explain what it's all about: "For the challenge you have to choose a WIP, go to the 7th page, scroll down to the 7th line, and share the next 7 lines or so."

Easy enough, right? Well, Loni sort of requested that I choose one of my nonfiction WIPs, which is a little bit more challenging, because they're all fairly short (i.e. much less than seven pages long.) So I cheated a little bit; or rather, I put a little twist on the challenge, and double-spaced one of these pieces, and hey! look at that: it's more than seven pages long, and usable for the challenge!

So, here it is:
The hike we were merrily attempting with borrowed sneakers, one water bottle, and two apples was nearly six miles round-trip, with an elevation gain of approximately 2,200 feet. It was the sort of hike we usually did with plenty of water and food, proper shoes, and a detailed trail map: a bit difficult but entirely possible for the average weekend hiker, as long as that hiker was prepared.
Of course, we didn't know any of that when we started climbing. We thought we were on a short jaunt that would end in a glorious view, and as time passed and the day grew hotter and the trail showed no signs of ending, we started to privately doubt our trusted informant, then to openly question her, then to wish we’d never met her.
Isn't this out-of-context thing really confusing kind of fun?

Now I'm supposed to tag people, and free them from the requirement of coming up with a blog post. Unfortunately, I cannot remember who has done this and who hasn't, and who's been tagged and who hasn''m (figuratively, not literally) taking a page out of fellow blogger M Pepper Langlinais's book, and I'm tagging all of you. 

That's right. If you're reading this, and you want to do this challenge, I say GO FOR IT. Let me know you did it and I'll give you a shout-out the next time I post...

...which will be in the New Year, because I'm taking the next two weeks off. So, take the challenge if you'd like, and comment here letting me know you did, and I'll visit you and then link to it when I get back.

In the meantime: Happy Holidays, everyone!! Have a wonderful Christmannukolstice and a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Dribbles and Drabbles and Drivels, Continued

I'm doing a tidbits and snippets post today, one more in my little Dribbles and Drabbles and Drivels series. You know, the one I started in October, and decided to make into a series. See how that works? It's nice to be the Supreme Ruler of something, even if it's just a little blog.

Here's what's on my mind this week:

1. I Literally Can't Use Any Other Word. Literally. 

I use this word a lot. In fact, too often. This is in spite of the fact that many literary and writerly types lambast the overuse of the word, lament its misuse, and mourn the loss of its original definition. I know what it means, of course. I know it doesn't mean the same thing as 'figuratively.' And yet, I can't help myself. Is there any better word to use when you really want to accentuate and exaggerate? Is there anything better for expressing hyperbole?

I think not.

And as you may have guessed, I sort of kind of like hyperbole. A little tiny bit.

So I'm going to just keep committing diction crimes and using it when I shouldn't.

Oh, and The Oatmeal has the best take on this that I've ever seen. Go read it.

2. Don't Be Such A Trope.

Because we all need more reasons to waste time, procrastinate, and get lost in the Internet Wasteland, some idiot genius (idiot-genius?) created an entire website about common modern tropes, and now I'm going to share it with you! I know, you can thank me later. Gifts are welcome, too.

What's that word again? You know, tropes: "commonly recurring literary and rhetorical devices, motifs or clich├ęs in creative works."

I dove into while doing some research (once upon a time when I used to write fiction) and could not get out again to save my life. At least I enjoyed drowning. Go on, go for a swim. You know you want to.

(Disclaimer: you probably have to be a giant movie/book/TV/creative nerd like me to enjoy this sort of thing.)

3. It's Christmannukolstice Time!

Yes, I got another table-top tree. Yes, I'm still Jewish. No, I don't care that I'm not supposed to have one. It just makes me happy.

One year, I'll get a real tree ('real' as in 'enormous', because this tree is not plastic. No, thank you.) And then the heavens will open and pigs will fly and writers will all use the word 'literally' all the time and I'll be a real girl and there will be world peace and prosciutto will be prescribed to treat headaches and heart disease and I will have a magic tool that freezes time so that I can get enough sleep AND work AND write and...

What was I talking about?

Oh yes. Trees make me happy.

What are you up to this week? Do you have a tree/bush/item with holiday significance in your house? Literally?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Insecure Writers: More Confessions

It's the first Wednesday of the month, so it's time for The Insecure Writers! The IWSG is an online group created by Alex J. Cavanaugh for writers. You, too, can join us anytime!

Happy IWSG, everyone. I hope you had a great, food-full, friend-full, grateful Thanksgiving, and have recovered from your tryptophan-induced overeating-induced comas!

I have something to confess today. This is hardly new: I'm Jewish, so I often feel guilty. Weekly, in fact. I wake up and feel that squirming in my stomach, and know that it's one of the days when I'll have to figure out why I'm feeling guilty. Sometimes, there's an actual cause, but a lot of times, it's just general life-guilt. When that happens, I root around in my personal pile of vices, minor misdemeanors, mistakes, and small faults, until I come up with one I can confess about. Since today is IWSG day, I thought it was a fitting time for this particular confession, which I've been putting off for a couple of months:

I'm not working on my novel.

I know, I know, I'm sorry! I'm beating my chest in guilt and repentance. I spent an entire month talking about it and pushing it and trying to get everyone intrigued about it, and then I continued complaining about it and posting about it and whining about research, and now I'm telling you it's sitting in a file on my computer, collecting virtual dust.

Here's what happened: I got distracted. No, it's really true. I was having trouble querying Cloudland, and I realized a few things: 1) I wanted to do something (anything) to make the querying process easier, and thought a few publishing credits couldn't hurt; 2) writing novels takes a really long time (if you're me, that is); 3) so does building a writing career (that includes getting paid); and 4) I'm impatient. Really impatient.

So I decided to change my approach, and took a creative non-fiction class. And I loved it. I started working on writing, editing, and polishing personal essays; on researching places to submit; on compiling lists of places to submit each piece; and then on submitting. Wash, rinse, repeat.

It's fun and time-consuming, and for a while, I tried to rotate working on non-fiction and fiction, but it turns out, I'm really bad at switching tasks like that. Also, to be honest, I'm enjoying the non-fiction. And not enjoying the fiction. Much. Or at all.

So last month I put my novel aside, and I'm leaving it there.

FOR NOW! For now. Not for always.

I'm a firm believer that in order to be a writer, you have to write, no matter what, but I'm also a firm believer that if it's not any fun, not even a little bit, you probably need a break.

So I'm taking one.

Whew, I feel better.

Don't worry, everyone. I will get back to the novel. Just...not right now.

Do you write anything besides fiction? Do you have more than one job? How do you juggle everything?