Getting published is a real be-yatch! Hear about my ups, downs and a few random rants in between.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Countdown to...ARC Who Goes There? Contest

In ten days, Teens Read Too will launch a contest for So Not The Drama.

Ten lucky readers will get an advanced copy before DRAMA officially hits shevles at the end of February.

What's cool about TRT is how easy it is to enter the contest. Just:

Send your name, mailing address, and
email address to

That's it. Which is why they're doing it instead of me.

You know me. I would have made up a few rules like...tell me your ten favorite high school diva's - in honor of So Not The Drama's Teen Queen character, Jessica.

Or, maybe I would have said list your fave teen "princesses," in honor of my MC, Mina.

I don't know. But it's safe to say it would have probably involved the number ten, a little bit of leg work and some convoluted doings on the contestants part.

But Jen over at TRT is all - dude, just send me your name and I'll pick one at random.

::waving to Jen::

Well, since I'm not allowed to do any of that I'm forced to countdown. Because daggone it, somewhere along the way someone's going to share 10 somethings. So, it may as well be me.

As we wait...

Ten TV Shows Worth Mentioning

The Hills - The internships are more glam than I remember internships being, the girls drive high-end cars and everybody's too fuggin' skinny. BUT when the West Coast Editor of TeenVogue said, "So, Lauren you decided NOT to go to Paris to be with your boyfriend. How did that work out for you?" in this smart ass tone, it shot the show from my "might watch list" to Tune in next week, list.

The Apprentice - I like the new changes: The PM stays in place unless the team loses. Losing team sleeps outside. PM sits in on board room. Subtle but just enough to drive the contestants over the edge earlier. Not really loving the move to LA though.

Split Ends - I caught this Friday night, on Oxygen I think. A stylist from a high end salon switches places with a "Local" hair stylists. Yeah, I know. I hear that loud ringing of the reality TV death knoll too. But ya know, it wasn't that bad.

Man vs. Wild - One day he bit into a dead zebra carcass. Once he peed all over this rag and tied it on his head to keep cool in the heat. Another time he stripped down butter buck bald naked and jumped into a frozen lake to teach "us" how to survive the ordeal. What? You aren't watching yet?!

Dancelife - Confession, I have a frustrated dancer pent up inside of me. At a party I'm doing the "same ol' two step" as Fifty said in his song. That's all you need to get your party on. But I've always admired dancers - from ballerinas to today's hip hop groovers and their impossible contortions. So it was a no brainer that I'd watch this.

Medium - I hate that they've moved this show to Wednesday. Not only do I keep forgetting it's on, but my Wednesdays were already spoken for. Yet, when I remember to tune in, I'm reminded what a good sci-fi/procedural type show is about. Makes me miss X-Files before it jumped the shark all those years ago.

30 Rock - Four words: Hi-lar-i-ous! I swear, Alec Baldwin became laugh outloud funny overnight. Tracey Morgan is just insane. Tina Fey plays a good straight woman. And besides, any show that gives writers some love, I love. Which brings me to...

Studio 60 - Admitedly, I haven't tuned in regularly. But I (mostly) enjoy it when I watch. I'm on the fence about making it one of my must-sees.

Lost - First two seasons, I had a strategy. Watch the first two episodes and the last two. It worked for me. I loved it. So what happens? I go against my strategy for the third season and decide to watch all six episodes or whatever ridiculous number they bothered to show this Fall. Bad idea! The eps sucked. Likely I'll only watch the last two eps when it returns next month.

Cold Case/Without A Trace/CSI/Law & Order: Criminal Intent - Okay, okay I'm cheating by lumping them all into one. But let's face it, they're all crime procedurals. Cold Case and Without A Trace have such similiar casting that I often confuse them. Despite having a formulaic style that makes it easy to drop in and out when I want, these are among my favorite shows to watch. If I had to choose one, it would be Law & Order: CI. It's the closest of the L&O's to the original when the original was in fighting form.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Confessions of a Hoar...der

I don't know when it happened.

I used to be a voracious reader who prided herself on finishing every book I started. Even after having my oldest daughter, I still managed to read a book a month, if not more.

As a matter-of-fact, I remember how sweet Sundays were. Me reading all day, Princess A drawing or playing nearby, the hubster watching, fill-in-some-sport.

Life was good.

But somewhere between becoming a writer and having my youngest daughter, I went from constant reader to grade A hoarder.

It's a serious problem.

Part of it's lack of time. I know that's lamer than lame, but it's the truth.

Another issue, dinero or rather lack of it. I'm meeting so many great authors. Even if I had the sort of time I used to five years ago, my wallet can't withstand the number of good books at my fingertips.

I still buy plenty of books. But I'm reading less then ever before. Worse, I'm starting the books, but few get finished if I don't read them in one sitting.

Finishing them in one sitting isn't an issue. It's usually how I read a book. I'm one of those people who gets completely engrossed and hates to put it down. So on a good, long Saturday or Sunday with few interruptions - finishing an entire book (no matter the length) is really not a feat at all.

It's finding that good long Saturday or Sunday with few interruptions that's near impossible. Think needle in a haystack.

The result - a lot of unfinished books!

Don't ask why I start a new one instead of finishing the one I started - that's part of the hoarding sickness, I guess.

There's, I was a Teenage Popsicle, sitting atop my desk.

Now and Zen, sitting next to it.

Drama High waiting in the wings.

The Salem Witch Tryouts - which has gone MIA, victim to one of the hubsters massive clean ups. I have a sneaky suspicion it's in the downstairs coat closet.

And, Golden, which I started right before my last set of edits and have yet to get back to.

Some of the hottest books of '06 await my attention. I mean, some of them I've had since summer! So, what did I go and do Saturday?

Yup. I went and bought more!

I picked up Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr and, because I can no longer resist the ravings about it, Scott Westerfield's Uglies.

Here's what I've learned about myself, recently...

I love going to the bookstore. I love being around books and around people who like books.

It's near impossible for me to pick up only ONE book, each time I go...thus, one of the reasons the books are piling up.

Note to self, consider really only getting one. The reward for finishing - ding,ding,ding,ding,ding - another one!

When I'm working on a manuscript I cannot read YA fiction. Ummm, yeah, that's a problem since writing is ahh, my job! But when I find time to read at all while deep on a project, pretty rare, that's when I squeeze in my adult fiction faves.

I'm becoming overwhelmed with my choices. Used to be I kept to my horror, suspense, true crime and detective novels. Broadening my horizons has led to some great finds. Still, I need a better system.

First let me say, the thought of requiring a system to ensure I a) don't go broke buying so many great books and b) actually read the ones I purchase, freaks me the hell out.

Reading is about escape. I have enough fuggin' systems to help keep my life in semi-order. I do not want one for the one luxury I've always cherished.


Thursday, January 04, 2007

Climbing Mt. Killanocontract

First, I thought it was my muse playing games.

She'd been on vacation or something because my head hadn't been 100% focused on writing since right before Thanksgiving. Not that I hadn't attempted, but I couldn't seem to buckle down.

After a little soul searching, I realized that it's not that I'm uninspired. I'm unmotivated and somewhat unwilling to climb Mt. Killanocontract - that steep incline of writing novel after novel purely for the creative release. Maybe you'll sell it one day. Maybe you won't.

Don't get me wrong. Usually inspiration carries me through. I've written several manuscripts on I-juice alone!

But, after finishing first draft re-writes on TWISTED, I found it hard to kickstart my motor and do what I needed to do on my third manuscript, which is not under contract and totally unrelated to the DRB Clique series.

Maybe it's burn out from the three-year grind I was on trying to get my manuscript agented and then acquired. I was a mad writing dervish, non-stop. And it paid off!

Or, maybe it's a new realization that there's another way to sell novels besides writing them full out and hoping someone will buy them.

Or perhaps I'm just a greedy capitalist. But I enjoy getting paid to write and I'm finding it hard to pour the amount of time necessary into an uncontracted novel.

I'm not proud of this. It goes against the grain of my true feelings for writing. I loved doing it before I got paid to do it and I love it still.

Hands down, it's the first job I've had unconditional love for.

But I'd be lying if I said I felt bad about preferring to work under contract.

(Wo)man cannot live on love alone.

Truth is, my love and passion for writing isn't always able to conquer the fatigue that comes from holding two full-time jobs, and spending the time and attention needed to nurture my family.

Even when I want to, I don't always have the time or energy to sit in my office and riff with my muse.

So many days I've said, "Okay once everyone goes to bed, I'm going to get in there and..."

But by the time I get the girls settled and the hubster off to bed, I'm tired. And either I'm ready to crawl in bed too or I'm ready for some good ol' mindless TV time (i.e. alone time).

Plus, I've always had this insatiable need to work smarter, not harder.

It isn't that I can't hold my regular FTJ and write. I've been doing that for three years.

From August right up until Thanksgiving I was burning the midnight oil on DRAMA edits and TWISTED re-writes.

I never had a problem getting into the office, no matter how full my day had been. I'd be up late, wired. Normally I had to force myself to bed.

But once I turned in both, the pilot light blew out on my motivation.

I guess I'm a little slow. But I realized that I enjoyed working on projects that were a sure thing. It was like tasting a forbidden nectar.

Now, I'm finding it a challenge to go back to the "other side."

I'm not saying that I'll never write another word until someone pays me. But the thought of writing novel after novel with no notion if they'll ever be acquired, wreaks havoc with my motivation.

Would I feel differently if writing were my sole job? Not sure.


All I know is, now, going into my office after a full day to work on a project that may or may not see the light of day in the publishing world...feels like a chore.

With the work under contract, the knowledge that I have a deadline (imposed by someone else) and am fixing the mss based on my editor's insight are great motivators.

Having a clear direction defined by a person who has a vested (financial and otherwise) interest in the novel is, apparently, the best motivation for me.

Not to mention, writing under an editor's direction is much more productive than my own scatter-brained attempts at "fixing" holes in a mss, which can sometimes be akin to a dog chasing its tail.

As long as I still have to punch the clock at another job, writing under contract is a smart way to work.

Without a contract...I'm fairly certain that keeping my FTJ while trying to churn out new (good) work is my Everest.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

New York Loves Them Thugs

Let me say this, right off the top: I think New York (Flavor of Love) is an over the top Drama Queen with a skank attitude. In other words, she's the perfect person to pull off the trashy, no-holds barred shows that VH1 is quickly becoming known for.

Ahhh...for the days when you could catch a good old-school vidjo on VH1.

Oh well, times change, right? And either change with them or become a dinosaur.

So I'm peepin' the sneak preview of I Love New York (mind you I'm disgusted the entire time I watch, ha ha)and my first thought is - Where in the hell did they find these dudes?

I swear, these are 20 of the most ordinary, men ever.

T-Bone, who New York called "greasy" is a head scratcher. In a confessional she cracked on his comment that ladies say he has dreamy eyes (yeah, okay!). Were the producers like, Hey, let's pick a guy who doesn't have a snow ball's chance in hell of making it past the first night.

Bonz, who seems like a nice enough dude and damn near gorgeous compared to some of the other contestants, bored New York out the gate. As soon as he said he was "god fearing" and started quoting scripture you could hear the little voice in NY's head hollering, NEXT!

T-Weed (and I have no fuggin idea what that nickname means)had New York's momma salivating. I have no idea why. He looked like a five cent pimp. But Momma said, "He dresses nice and has money." Ummm...alright. I guess he dresses like that to throw you off track.

Geez, where are the hotties?

Oh men do NOT want New York. So the mere existence of this show reinforces the cliche there is someone for everyone. The producers of I Love NY went out of their way to keep this real.

No plastic surgery, artificial abs male models here.

Okay, so now that we've gotten that out of the way...New York's ability to carry a show on her own is going to be interesting, to say the least. When she's not ranting, raving and bullying these guys she has little to offer in the way of intelligent or even interesting insight.

A few New Yorkism jewels:

"Chance is a real thug. He's dangerous...baggy clothes...drinks alot, I like that."

"Pootie's got a few screws loose...but that's okay."

"I'm feeling the f*$#% outta you."

"Well, I'm not from Latin."


Based on New York's low standards, she didn't have to go on a reality show to find some broke down, crazy ass thug. It's plenty of 'em available in every city.

But then where would the fun in that be?

Another, WTH, issue...a few of the guys who did have a little in the looks department (and by looks I mean half-way decent physically in the face or body and/or dressed well) seemed gay.

New York's mom picked up on that, as well. So I'm not alone wondering what's up with that.

Maybe they're there to hook up with Chamo, NY's giddy-gay assistant and personal stylist.

New York's momma can be straight ignorant sometimes. But her disdain for Chance, the thug New York immediately fell for, is gold. Pure Reality TV Gold! She called dude a "freakin' big mouth punk" and blew smoke in his face.

Go momma!!!

Sadly, I'm sure he'll end up in the Top five because NY was practically creaming herself the second he opened his mouth.

Sorry momma.

I Love New York is everything trashy TV should be: loud, wrong and raw. Granted, I won't be juggling anything to watch it. But if I run across it and nothing else is on, I'll tune in. Nothing wrong with rubber necking at a good train wreck as long as noone gets hurt.

Ooh which, by the way, didja watch Dirt last night? Courtney Cox's new show.

Parts of it felt contrived as all hell (Lucy's one nighter, blackmailing the young hungry actor for juicy celeb dirt, and Lucy firing a staffer for calling her a bitch via text), still, not a bad way to spend a hour. I'm curious if the storylines will get a tad more believable.

Then again, what do I know? I'm about as far out of the Hollywood loop as you can get. For all I know the portrayal could be dead on. Still, my gut says if they don't tighten up the storylines and characterization they'll lose people...probably to something mindless and (just barely)less contrived like I Love New York.