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Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Magazinista's Big News

She's told me that I can shout it from the rooftops, so here it is folks.

My dear friend and critique partner Suzanne Johnson has sold her urban fantsy novels ROYAL STREET and the sequel RIVER ROAD to Tor as part of a two-book deal. ROYAL STREET is scheduled to be published in fall 2011.

Here's what Publisher's Weekly thought when ROYAL STREET was just a wee babe.

"This suspenseful and ticklish tale of a wizard fending off disaster in post-Katrina New Orleans is rich with historical and fantasy-filled fun. Female Wizard sentinel Drusilla Jane Jaco, or D.J. to her friends, finds herself in the eye of a supernatural storm as Hurricane Katrina rips apart the divide between the natural world and the Beyond, allowing lingering ghosts like the pirate Jean Lafitte, Huey Long, and, worst of all, the voodoo god Baron Samedi, to wreck havoc on a devastated Crescent City. ...This playful fantasy novel is grounded by the strong and sympathetic narrator and protagonist, D.J., as she interacts with a cavalcade of diverse supporting characters. In clean and sturdy prose, the author delights in exploring New Orleans' colorful past and employing the jagged backdrop of post-Katrina devastation as a metaphor for the chaos of a world on the brink of madness." -- Reviewed as a quarterfinalist, 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition

Check her out at http://www.suzanne-johnson.com/

Monday, November 9, 2009

NaNoWriMo Day 9: Maybe we should just be friends...

Dear NaNoWriMo,
 You have spent the first week of November torturing me. I still have to lead my life, you know. I can't put the world on hold and devote my every waking hour to you. I know that's what you want, but it simply can't be done.

Frankly, you're behaving like a petulant child. When life drags me away from the keyboard, you've taken the opportunity to kick me when I'm down. As if I'm not already frustrated enough by the fact that I am several thousand words behind the curve. You set impossible standards and, barring the elimination of eating and sleeping from my schedule, I'm giving you my all.

What more do you want from me?

No, the pressure of a deadline doesn't bother me. That fact is you're needy and a nag. Knowing those unreasonable expectations you have for me has kept me huffing and puffing and generally overwhelmed. I am requesting that you cease and desist.

I think our relationship should remain strictly professional. That means no more late night phone calls or following me home. I have to admit I've been waiting for the horror movie scene where my laptop powers on by itself at four in the morning and the NaNoWriMo screen comes up.

Please don't be hurt. I know this seems sudden, considering that we share a common purpose. All I've ever wanted to be is a fiction writer. All you want to do is help me become one. It's your unwillingness to compromise that's come between us, so unless you have the means to pay my bills we have to break up.

The word-centric world you create each November lured me in, full of shiny promises. Full of witty words and turns of phrase. You smelled of hope and well-worn pages. Pages I hoped would be mine.

But I don't blame you. It's not your fault that you're attractive and intriguing, or that you can make or break a girl with the click of the "Update" button, which puts our private business of under public scrutiny. I simply can live on your terms.

I do hope we can still be friends. I'll stop in from time to time and let you know how I'm doing. I'll hit that "Update" button and think of you fondly. Hopefully, you'll be supportive. Remember NaNo, it is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.


P.S. - I think I left my dignity at your place, and I'd like it back.

Friday, November 6, 2009

NaNoWriMo Day 6: An H1N1 Interuption

I know what you're thinking and no, I don't have swine flu. I am not stuck at home drinking juice and resting, but some part of me wishes I was.

Okay, I don't really wish I was sick. But if I was quarantined and my butt was firmly planted on the sofa, a whole hell of a lot more would be getting done on this novel. Instead, I am tied to my desk in the office writing about swine flu, school flu closures and vaccine clinics. My cup runneth over.

*sigh* Back to the daily grind....

Words: 3,100-some (I don't know because I'm not allowed to open my file until I write something  for work.)
Mood: Apathetic
Music: Holly Brook - "Like Blood Like Honey"

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

NaNoWriMo Day 4: Groove Thang

Today was encouraging. While I'd like to say that I totally ignored the world and wrote until I could no longer feel my fingers, I didn't. However, I was productive for the roughly three hours that I spent glued to my computer chair.

It doesn't seem terribly productive by the numbers, but trust me. I now have my wheels on the road and am committed to following it wherever it leads me. As my critique partner the Magazinista told me earlier today, "You have to kick your inner editor out on the front lawn and let her cry." (It's easy to give advice when you've got 10,000 words in the bank.) But that's what I did.

I booted the nagging witch, and I found my groove.

Her backseat driver style won't keep this novel from being written. No amount of weeping will make me let her back in this car. She can wail like a banshee. She's not getting her grubby little paws on my deathless prose, at least not until December 1.

Words: 2,954
Mood: Hopeful
Music: Super Furry Animals - "Hello Sunshine"

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

NaNoWriMo Day 3: Unwanted Words & Conspiracy Theories

I wrote thousands of words today... And not a damn one is NaNo related. It is well after 11 p.m. on the eastern seaboard and this tired reporter has only just gotten home.

Today was ELECTION DAY. If you're a journalist on the first Tuesday in November you can pretty much kiss your life goodbye. The worst part is that it's not over when the polls close and the votes are tallied. Oh no, that's when it begins.

But today couldn't have been just a normal evil election day full of ridiculous political showings, hand-kissing and baby-shaking. (Or is that the other way around?) No. I started my morning with a server outage at work. With the exception of lights and Microsoft Word, I was effectively Amish. Phone, e-mail, internet -- KAPUT!

That lasted until nearly 1 p.m., so, needless to say, I didn't exactly get a jump on things. I crawled along, making do with my cell phone until technology was restored. Then I finished my non-election-related stories in time to serve as Pizza Wench for my office. We always order on election night and the boss pays, so that's a plus.

By then it was nearly 7 p.m., the polls had closed, and we waited anxiously for votes to appear on the State Board of Elections website. If you're thinking, "So you sat in front of the computer clicking refresh every 30 seconds in a futile attempt to make votes appear?" You'd be absolutely correct. Four reporters. Four computers. Four incessantly clicking mouses.

That's because the county I work in is one of the slowest in the Commonwealth of Virginia for tallying votes. Despite the advent of electronic voting machines, I swear this county still counts votes on an abacus. An hour after the polls closed they were still dusting the thing off.

The clicking continued. Random bits of information were shouted across the office. "Chris has 36% in Powhatan." "I think Phil could lose this one." "Still nothing in the school board race."

Finally at 8:45 p.m., with only one precinct outstanding, I ventured out the the winners party to take photos and talk to the happy crowd. They were mostly gone when I arrived, but I snapped a few shots, grabbed a few quotes and was on the run again. Back to the office with 30 minutes to write a story before the guys on press start to get antsy.

Long story short, today was anti-NaNo. The world conspires against you sometimes and, on this particular Tuesday, it went over and above to make sure I didn't so much as open the file containing my novel.

Thanks for that World. You've really out-done yourself.

Words: 1,765
Mood: Exhausted
Music: Lily Frost - "Enchantment"

Monday, November 2, 2009

NaNoWriMo Day 2: Hymn for the Downtrodden

That's right kids. I've only been at it two days, and I'm already suffering under the weight of NaNoWriMo. It's been a sloooow start. The Word document is open, I'm highly caffeinated, and I just... can't... get... writing.

So what's my problem? I haven't the foggiest. I can tell my story over and over again. I can describe each scene in detail. I can't put pen to paper. The car's in gear, but the parking brake is still on.

Yes, I've been able to eek out words. They're good words. Some might be great. But this, my friends, is NaNo and quantity is an issue. If there were ever a time when size matters, it's now.

Participants, also known as WriMos, who take the plunge as supposed to fly free. They take to the keyboard with wild abandon and write. Judgement be damned. Give your inner editor 30 days off. You write whatever gobbledygook comes to mind. Sure, it's no Shakespeare, but revision can work miracles.

Not me. When I told my inner editor to shove off, she choked up on the keyboard and threatened to do bodily harm. Needless to say, she's running the show right now. I have to shake her or this novel is DOA.

Words: 1,588
Mood: Indignant
Music: Ian Broudie - Song for No One