Welcome

Welcome to my self-indulgent location for the stories (good and bad) that I can't prevent myself from writing. All comments and criticisms welcome. I post on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Migraine Saga

My husband loves a good rain storm. He's from Arizona, from desert where trees have green bark and the skies come in multi-hued tones. But there's no weather except for the monsoon season, which lasts about a month in July and August. Otherwise, the weather forecaster on the local news has a pretty sweet gig.

For me, though, weather means instant disaster. Changes in pressure result in massive migraines. This has been me on and off for the past several days.

I'm not looking for sympathy. I'm just stating the facts.

Here's the problem: all I wanted to do on Monday was write, but I couldn't move. For half the day I didn't even want to open my eyes. I was so close to being done with my latest revision of Fighting Fate that the sweet flavor mingled on my tongue with the bitterness of personal defeat.

Yup, there's no good, rational reason for it, but I felt defeated. Defeated by my own head, the same location from which all the great ideas for my fiction stem (or "where all the great ideas of my fiction stem from"—you be the judge).

On the bright side, I was 98% pain-free on Tuesday. Admittedly, I write my posts early, and it's actually Tuesday night as I write this, so I have no idea how my Wednesday will shape up. If you leave comments and you don't hear back from me at all, the odds aren't in my favor.

I'm tried of taking my medication for the migraines and am now searching for alternatives. I'm getting a Reiki treatment, I'm looking into acupuncture. Really, I'll take anything that doesn't involve putting more chemicals in my body. I'm not anti-med, but the Triptans I take drug me out so that, even when the pain is gone, I'm not functional. I resemble a drooling zombie, except that I still have refreshingly pink flesh and don't want to eat brains. I just want to smack the crap out of MINE.

So, oh blogity friends, any advice? I'm so far investigating Reiki, acupuncture, and renewing my commitment to yoga and meditation. But, seriously, anyone know of any home remedies?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Review of Veiled in Shadows

Veiled in Shadows by Allan Russell

From Goodreads: 1937, Ebi Gausel is riding high as a member of Germany's elite guard, Hitler's SS. An unexpected romance arrives in Ebi's life in the form of the fiery Katharina. Even with Europe teetering on the brink of war their happiness seems assured. But Ebi's certainty comes crashing down as Katharina disappears, leaving hints of a dark secret. In a war fought in the shadows... those who live may do so at the cost of their humanity. Two lovers united by passion ...and divided by hate. As they fight for survival... their most ruthless foe might be one another.


I'll admit, I don't read war fiction. I don't watch war movies. I don't even like talking about war. Spree, I couldn't even watch the Feed The Children commercials in the 80s without bawling. It's not just because I'm a pacifist, because the best war stories aren't about the war, anyway. I'm not sure what it is about these stories that evokes deep sobs from my gut, but it happens every time.

It can be quite embarrassing in a movie theater, btw.

So, why did I read a novel set in WWII Germany? Just feeling masochistic? No. Because I like supporting our online writing community, and I wanted to read Al's work. It had been a long, long time since I had decided to read or watch anything war-related. I've matured (no, really, I have!). I thought it might not be so bad on the emotional level.

*ahem*

I was wrong. Russell's characters evoked emotions from me on several levels, often requiring me to lay the book down and savor my own tears. I enjoyed the ride through the characters' journey of love and war, and seeing multiple sides and viewpoints along the way.

The story is told in first person, though through several people, which can get confusing over time. The most central character, Katherina (or Victoria), seems to be the only person who doesn't make a narrative appearance, keeping her "veiled in shadow". One character gives his side of the story in present tense--a writing choice I didn't understand and which kind of bugged me, but that's a minor point.

Overall I enjoyed the story. It goes through several unexpected twists and turns, especially at the end. If you like period or war fiction and you're looking for an emotional ride, you should read this book.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Blogfest... Interrupted

Today I'm participating in Blogfest...Interrupted, hosted by Sasha Conte. Thanks, Sasha, for hosting. 

On Saturday, June 26th, post a 500-1000 word scene of your characters being interrupted - doesn't matter what they're doing, doesn't matter what's interrupting them (end of the world, knock on the door, little voice in their head...), they just need to be interrupted.

So, here we go. This is an excerpt from my WIP, Fighting Fate. It's raw, not super well edited, and rather first-drafty. But, nonetheless, people are getting interrupted. All comments are welcome. Hope you enjoy it :)


Marcus arrived in his suite and glanced around. Of course he had maid service, but he still straightened a few pillows on the couches. He walked into his bedroom, making sure again that he had tidied it enough. He hadn’t felt this nervous going to Anabelle’s home. Why was he so restless now?

Finally the door to his suite opened and then shut again. He heard voices, “Is it okay now?” “Yes.” “No cameras?” “No cameras.”
 
Anabelle and Lily began to materialize, at first translucent, until the invisibility subsided.
 
“Marc?” Roger’s voice sounded from nowhere.
 
Of course. It was Marcus’s spell, so he had to be the one to remove it. It disappeared faster than Anabelle’s spell had, and from top to bottom as if a sheet had fallen off.
 
Once he became visible, Lily smacked his elbow. “You scared the frut out of me. How dare you sneak up on us all invisible like that.”
 
“What else should I have done?”
 
“I don’t know, but not that.”
 
Roger glared at her for a moment before turning to Marcus. “Something’s a-buzz. I kept getting calls on my headset, but couldn’t respond. I need to go check in and see what’s going on.”
 
“Fine,” Marcus said. “Go. We’ll be here.”
 
“Great,” Lily said. “Leave me behind as third wheel.”
 
Roger shut the door a little too hard behind him.
 
“You’re not third wheel,” Anabelle said.
 
As she spoke the words, however, her eyes told a different story. Marcus couldn’t believe how lucky he was that this beautiful commoner had had enough gumption and enough personal magic to find him, even if she hadn’t wanted to meet him. And here she stood in his suite again. Fate had played in his favor this time.
 
“Can I give you a brief tour?” he asked.
 
“I’d like that,” Anabelle said.
 
Lily rolled her eyes. “Oh, give me a break.”
 
Anabelle slipped her hand through Marcus’s elbow and he led her around. He had three more rooms off of the main sitting room: his den, Roger’s office, and his bedroom. He showed her the rooms in that order, ending in the bedroom. He slipped the door shut behind him.
 
“It’s very big,” she said.
 
“I’ve heard that before.”

She shoved his chest playfully, and he grabbed her hands, pulling her close. He loved the feel of her body against pressed against his, her lips against his. Pressure hit him in two solid points against his chest where she had the stones tucked inside her bra. How had he gone so many years without her embrace? He couldn’t imagine—

A heavy knock beat against the door. “Marc! Get out here. Now.”

She pulled away. “Is that Roger?”

He would so lay into Roger later. What could be so important as to interrupt them? And so rudely?

The knock came again, louder this time. “Marc!”

Marcus felt his nostrils flare. “Coming.” He inhaled deep into his lungs before leading Anabelle out into the sitting room. “What?”

Roger and Natalie stood outside the door. Natalie said, “You are in some serious kruk right now.” Roger shoved something against his chest. Marcus took it and unrolled the newspaper—tabloid, really—until he saw the cover photo.


Any guesses as to what's in the photo?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Getting to Know Your Characters Blogfest


Welcome to my entry for the Getting to Know Your Characters Blogfest, hosted by Elizabeth Mueller and Jeannie Campbell. Thanks to both of them for hosting and the great idea behind it.

Rules: Pretend you are your MC and answer all three of the following questions.

Preface: (by Rosie)
Anabelle fought me on this. She did not want to answer these questions, and she didn’t want to feel psychoanalyzed. She just wanted to get on with her life and pretend like everything was normal instead of talking about fears and accomplishments and regret. I hope I’ve persuaded her, and she’s not jerking me around here.

Name: Anabelle Michelle Lindsky
Age: 19

Question 1: What is your greatest fear? 
Being alone and being abandoned. In my life, I only have two people, my mother Betsy and my best friend Lily. My father died when I was a baby, or maybe before I was born—my mother’s never been very clear on the matter, and I can’t ask her about it because it’s too hard for her to talk about. I see the pain she goes through every day after having the love of her life snatched away from her, and I know I can’t endure what she does. I try not to let people into my life, though that got turned on its ear and I’ve had no choice. All I can hope is that I withstand the coming events without losing my loved ones.

Question 2: What is your biggest accomplishment?
Ha! Okay. This is great. Lily and I got to start wearing bras in fourth grade, whether there was anything to hold in place or not. Nothing was more important than wearing one, at least among the girls. The boys made fun, of course, because that’s what boys do. And there was this guy, Lionel Davis. He told all the other boys that I had let him see my bra during recess. The next day a bunch of boys from our class cornered me on the way outside after lunch, asking to see my bra. I sucker punched one in the gut, and refused. Of course, if Lionel had gotten to see it, why couldn’t they? I ran away.

No, that’s not the accomplishment. Hold on!

The next day I was so angry. The boys kept teasing me, loud enough for the teacher to shush them. I wanted to die, I was so embarrassed. At lunch, I found a pack of Hostess cupcakes in my lunch, and felt the peck of inspiration, and then made the fateful mistake of whispering the idea to Lily. She found it so hilarious that when I hesitated, she dared me to do it. “What?” she asked, “Are you chicken?”

Lionel sat two tables away. I stood, a cupcake in each hand behind my back, and marched over. I told him to get up, that I had something to show him, which inspired lots of ooooohhs and aaaahs from both the girls’ and boys’ tables. The girls behind me could see what I had in my hands, but the boys couldn’t. Lionel stood, a huge grin on his face. In retrospect, he probably had a crush on me, but it wouldn’t last long. When he faced me, I shoved each of the cupcakes against his chest, smearing brown cake all over his white polo shirt. I mounded the cupcakes as best I could and stood back. “Looks like you need your own bra,” I said, “so quit trying to look at mine.”

I got suspended for three days. My mom wouldn’t talk to me for days without yelling. She had to take off work one day because she couldn’t afford a babysitter. I felt horrible for disappointing her, but something had to be done.

On the other hand, that was the first dare I’ve ever taken from Lily. I’ve never refused a dare since. I just try to make sure my dares don’t affect my mom the way the first did.

Question 3: What is your biggest regret?
This is hard one to answer because I have quite a few. I regret not using magic on Lionel Davis to make those brown cupcake mounds stick, because they fell off before the principal arrived. I regret going to prom with Sammy Gilespie because of his grabby fingers and post-prom expectations. I regret turning James Bunnell down when he asked me to prom because Lily had wanted him to ask her (but so had I, and then neither of us went with him).

But, I guess if I have to pick just one, my biggest regret would be not enjoying time with my mom as much as I should. I love my mom, of course, but when I was in high school I didn’t think it was cool to hang out with her. Now that I’m in college, I don’t see her much even though I live at home. I just wish I’d appreciated my time with her before my life turned upside down.


Don't forget to check out the other entries in the Blogfest. Go to Elizabeth Mueller's blog for a list of all the participants.

What about you? What are your characters' biggest fears, accomplishments, or regrets?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Return

I've managed to find my way back after my sabbatical and have lots of updates for you.

First, if you check out my BuNoWriMo counters to the right, you'll see that I've had great success in the writing department. If I can finish my latest draft of Fighting Fate and get 10K on Seer, I will have written 50K in June. I'm keeping my fingers and toes crossed, but I think it's possible.

If you'd like to see the first 250 words (well, more like 280) of Seer, it will be posted on Carol Rigg's blog sometime today. Go over, help critique, make comments, or just read and tell me how awesome (or horrible) it is :)

Now that I've had some time away, I feel rejuvenated in the blogging department. In addition to having several fun blog posting ideas in my brain (see below for a few examples), I've also reorganized my Google Reader to help me visit my peeps more often. I'm still working on catching up with all my new followers from A-to-Z, so bear with me. The blogging front, though, looks quite promising.

In the next couple of weeks, I have some exciting things planned.
  • On Friday, I'll be participating in the Getting to Know Your Characters Blogfest, hosted by Elizabeth Mueller and Jeannie Campbell
  • On Sunday, Sasha Conte is hosting the Blogfest... Interrupted.
  • On Monday, stop by to read my review of Veiling in Shadows by fellow blogger Al Russell
  • Coming sometime in the month of July I will post my review of A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. I've joined the Goodreads bookclub for it, and can't wait to dig in. 
  • I'm also planning (tentatively) a review of the Millennium series by Stieg Larsson. The popularity of these books drove me to read them, and as I've developed as a writer and read other comments about them on Goodreads, I have discovered lots of things I want to say about them. 
I also have ideas for non-review posts, so stay tuned.

Finally, I returned from my trip to find this in my mailbox:




EEK! I'm so excited. My first ARC. I'm participating in Michelle Davidson Argyle's book tour to celebrate the release of Monarch in September. I can't wait to dig into this one, either.

Oh, and the reunion? It was great. We had fun seeing all kinds of family, and getting outside a bit. Here's a tidbit, straight from the land of corn :)


How have you been? Any fun things to share? What have you read lately, or what do you have lined up next?

PS--Today is my hubby's and my 9th wedding anniversary. I love you, J!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Still on Sabbatical, but Blogfest Alert

Hi folks,
I'm not really here. Really. But I wanted to tell you about the cool blogfest that Tara is hosting on Saturday, June 18th.

It comes with prizes, so please go check out her post about it. It looks like fun.

No promises that I can participate (even though I signed up). Here's hoping I can get a post up on Friday.

Hope you enjoyed your weekend. The reunion was busy but pretty fun. Now off to work. Catch you next week!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sabbatical

So much for being back to regular posting...

Ever notice how your mojo slows down? Even when you find the muses again, it feels like you're wading through chocolate pudding (both in the sense of slowing down and in the oh-man-I-just-want-to-eat-chocolate sense)?

How do you deal with these situations?

My plan right now is to recharge by unplugging for a while. That's right. I'm going somewhere untouched by the internet (though it does have satellite TV). Partially, it's a family reunion, but that will be over by the weekend.

My husband and I have decided to stay longer for a self-induced work retreat. He's polishing his dissertation at the moment, and went up to visit this part of the family a few weeks ago--with stellar success. So now, he wants to try and regain that momentum, and I need to get some with my writing and my freelance editing working.

All that being said, I will be on sabbatical from the blogosphere starting today until around the 22nd. Hopefully the time off will help me recharge my blogging batteries, get a jumpstart and/or finish the first part of my BuNo challenge, and get some significant hourly time in to make some summer moola.

See y'all in a couple of weeks.

Monday, June 6, 2011

What's the Score Blogfest Winners

Thanks so much for everyone who came out to celebrate my blogiversary with me on Wednesday. I love blogfests, I love writing, and I love music, so what better way to celebrate? It was great fun learning about how people consider the music for the WIP, and what music people deem worthy of representing their work.

So much fun!

If you missed it, I put the Linky List at the bottom again, just in case :)

Now, as promised, there are PRIZES!



Based on the number of entries per person, I plugged the numbers into Random.org. Out of a total of 50 entries, Random.org picked numbers 2, 23, and 9, in that order. So...

The winner of a chapter or query critique is: 

Charity Bradford!

The winner of the $20 Amazon Gift Card is:  

Trisha from WORD+STUFF!

And the winner of the book of her choice from Amazon is: 

Alexis Fittinger!

I will get in touch with you in the next few days to make arrangements for you to get your prizes.

Thanks again to everyone for celebrating with me! I'll be back to regular posting on Wednesday.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Sex/Gender in the Writing World

By now, you've probably seen it--the article in Jezebel about V. S. Naipaul's comment, or the one in the NYT, which mention the man's comment that he can detect the gender of a writer before he finished the second paragraph. In response, if you still haven't seen this, there's also the quiz hosted by the Guardian so you can see if you're as "cool" as Mr. V. S.

I'm thinking one of those initials is a tad off.

Naipaul commented that this knowledge is based on how he (mis)understands women, because they aren't "Masters of their own house" and sentimental, and thus will never reach his personal greatness.

Anyone feel like boycotting yet? I have some ideas about what he can do with that personal greatness....

Of course I think he's wrong. In fact, I tried much too hard to look for these silly indicators when I took the Guardian's quiz, and only got 5 of 10 correct--which, if thrown into a probability meter, means that I have mastered the art of random guessing and no more. At least I've got that going for me.

Every writer has his/her own voice, which may lean toward the sentimental or the... what's the opposite of sentimental in this context? Analytical? Anyway, Each writer has her/his own leanings in how they want to narrate a story. Each voice is unique, with different levels of sentimentality v. the-opposite-of-sentimentality.


What do you think? Without foreknowledge, do you think you could tell the difference between men's and women's writing? Do you even care enough to try?

I wonder, however, how much our own experience and the societal limitations of our genders play into our writing. I only bring this up because I'm struggling with male-male dialogue. Frankly, and this shouldn't surprise you, I've never been involved in a conversation that only involved men. How could I? I'm not one. I pondered this on Facebook about two weeks ago. Male buddies I haven't heard from in years stumbled from the woodwork to add their 2+ cents (really, their words were worth more than measly pennies). Of course, they're all different, too, so the answers conflicted, sort of. And perhaps I came out a little more confused than when I began.

So, despite the sexism that prompted me to write this, do you think our genders and the social "restrictions" associated with them affect your work? How do you get around it? What do you do to make your characters' conversations authentic, even if your own gender isn't present for said chit-chat?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

What's the Score Blogfest, and Some Thanks

Happy June 1st. Today's my nephew's birthday, so I want to send a shout out to him.

Happy Birthday, Gabe!

Also, yesterday was my one-year blogiversary. It's hard to believe I've been blogging for a year, and I can see a huge difference in the way I blog then and now. Also in the way I write. I'm lucky to have stumbled into this bloggy world, to have made the friends I've made, and to have learned everything I've learned so far. You're all a part of that, and so I say

THANK YOU!

I could go in to thanking particular people, but that would take the entire next year, and the music just started playing, and they will soon usher me offstage. So, please know that you're all awesome and amazing, and I appreciate each of you for your individual creativity and spirit.



So, uh, Blogfest anyone?

In celebration of my blogiversary, I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate than with a blogfest. There are even prizes, and there's still time to play. Haven't signed up yet? Is it past midnight in your timezone? No worries. Send me an email at rlconnolly [at] gmail.com and I'll add your name to the Linky List.

What can you win? Check out the announcement. And stop by on Monday, June 6th, when I'll reveal the winners!


What's My Score?

I love my WIP. I've spent years with it, so I ought to. I think about it when I'm walking to and from classes and work, and the soundtrack makes it easier for me to concentrate (and aren't you glad I'm thinking about my WIP instead of oncoming traffic?).

Here are a few of the best songs from my soundtrack. While I have a huge one for the entire three-book series, I tried to stick to songs that apply to book 1, since that's what I'm slaving over right now.


"Had to Go" by the Heartless Bastards
A few lines in this song sound as if they had been written with my WIP in mind.

"Winter Blue" by Heather Nova
I had my iPod on shuffle and this came on. I just about stumbled with how well it seemed to fit, and then I added it to my playlist.

"Everything She Does Is Magic" by the Police
Cliche? Maybe. I don't care. :)

"Starlight" by Muse
This song sounds like my male MC talking to me.

"Paparazzi" by Lady Gaga
Minus the line about eyeliner, this works pretty well, too. (I didn't pick the official video to link here, though, because I just don't get it.)

"Fool's Gold" by Lhasa de Sela
It's not so much the words to this song (although they kind of work) but the mood. Not to mention that her voice is one of the most amazing I've heard in my lifetime.

"Weird Fishes" and "15 Steps" by Radiohead
Wish I could explain these. They just move me and make me think of my WIP.

"Conspiracy" by Paramore
Okay, maybe this one doesn't ONLY apply to the first of the three. It applies to the whole thing.

What about you? What's your score?

Don't forget to visit the other participants today!

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