Monday, July 31, 2006

Weekends Can Be Cool

Philadelphia band Bloodfeathers played at the Raven Cafe last Saturday night. Prescott artist Adam Schradler sat in on drums during the second set while Newt Lynn played bass, harmonica, along with some vocals. They were pretty damn good, but REALLY LOUD! My hearing was shot for a couple hours after I left. I was gonna post a pic, but blogger's being evil with photo uploads today. Earlier in the day, there was a Navajo rug auction over at the Smoki Museum. I didn't make it, but my husband swears they had the best frybread ever and that the couple vending were great people. Again, got pics, can't post 'em. Went to see Pirates of the Car. on Sunday and can't decide if it's because I've been doing so much critting, but seriously thought the movie needed a hefty edit. Don't get me wrong. It was a lot of fun, and Johnny Depp is as awesome as ever, but that was one damn long movie. And there was more repetion that I like.

Working on the short story for the cozy noir contest over at Spinetingler. It's coming along, but I've got the antsy thing happening. S'all right. Just forcing me to work on that discipline thing I keep hearing about.

Lots of cool discussions going on over at Sandra's blog and Anne's blog. Believe me, they're much more interesting than me today!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Just Stuff

I wanna live in South Park, but I think this is as close as I'm gonna get. Dragging along, but feeling good about the writing. Actually don't think it sucks entirely. That's a shock-a-rooti, but glad for it. Ethel got bored and went to visit her cousin in Cornville. Think I'm safe for a while, though I'm still picking potato chip crumbs out of the carpet.

On the non-writing news front, I watched Donnie Darko today. I kept hearing about it and finally went out & rented the dvd. Honestly, I didn't get what the big was about until I hit the last 15 minutes or so. Then I got it. Kinda weird seeing how many big movies stole stuff from this little cult film. Even weirder was the 80's flash-back. Jeez, I used to have a pair of red plaid pants. I'm sure I looked even dorkier wearing them than Donnie's sister did. Still, have to admit I miss the shoe-gazing tunes.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A Little Blah

I think the heat has melted my brain. Yeah, yeah. It's not a patch on Phoenix, but it's damn hot for the mountains. Too hot to sleep, move or think much past "Iced coffee good, ice cream better." We only have air-conditioning in one room of our little house. Fortunately it's in the office/spare bedroom. Unfortunately the spare room is kinda small and I'm starting to feel like a flippin' shut-in.

I wrote a total of twelve words yesterday before I finally said "self, you're not having any fun so give it a rest." Normally when writing is tough, it's just that way for a day or two. Last week I worked several days on the first three pages. That's not a horrible thing at all as they are much better pages. The problem is that I started getting so hard on myself that I locked up, ready to expect the worst before the word appeared on the page. Hence the no fun. Not to be all "woo-woo, airy-fairy," but it's been my experience that if I expect suckiness, I get suckiness. So yesterday I gave myself permission to stop beating my head against the wall and play. Today feels different. Today feels possible, open. So I'm pouring a giant iced coffee and getting back to the novel. Now.

Thursday, July 20, 2006


Oddly enough, the new hope is emo is on this very subject. Sort of. Okay, the changes I'm talking about don't have a direct relationship to Kafka, or pizza, or calculators. I'm talking about radical changes to the novel. Radical. Changes. To the whole thing. Which is why Ethel keeps trying to come around and cause trouble. So far the duct tape is holding, but I've sent out for extra rolls, just in case.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Ethel 'n Me

Ya know, sometimes writing is just stupid hard. What's worse is when I freak myself out with the ol' mind game of "my writing sucks, I suck, what am I doing?' It's usually around that time that my fear, henceforth referred to as Ethel, pulls up a chair.

I'm not talking lovable, wacky, friend of Lucy here. My Ethel favors plastic pink curlers, ratty bathrobes, and fluffy slippers that should have been thrown out ten years ago. I know because her corns show through and gross me out. She thinks it's funny.

Ethel likes to whisper shit in my ear, and giggle maliciously (Yep! Adverb!) at the words I type. She especially likes it when I freeze up and stare at the screen in abject horror. Definitely her idea of a good time.

So what's a writer chick to do? Kick her ass, duct tape her mouth shut, and shove her in the corner. At least that's my plan. Ya'll do what you want.

Monday, July 17, 2006


Gotta love the Hubble. Pics like this one remind me of how gorgeous the universe is. Not to mention the enormity of it all. Good to help me keep things in perspective when I'm stressing over stupid shit.

What kind of stupid shit? Well, I'll tell you. Rewrote the first three and a half pages of my wip. Three and a half down, approx. 300 more to go. Added a character that now has to be threaded into the rest of the story. More sound here, a little more texture there, do I really need this section? Nope. Repetitive. Etc., etc., etc. That kind of stupid shit. So yep, it's good to remember that when you step back far enough, just about everything looks better!

I'm not big on jokes, but I really liked these. Nice to see folks doing a good job with a good sense of humor.

After every flight, Qantas pilots fill out a form, called a "gripe sheet,"which tells mechanics about problems with the aircraft. The mechanics correct the problems; document their repairs on the form, and then pilots review the gripe sheets before the next flight.
Never let it be said that ground crews lack a sense of humor. Here are some actual maintenance complaints submitted by Qantas' Pilots (marked with a P) and the Solutions Recorded (marked with an S) By Maintenance Engineers.

By the way, Qantas is the only major airline that has never had an accident.


P: Left inside main tire almost needs replacement.
S: Almost replaced left inside main tire.

P: Test flight OK, except auto-land very rough.
S: Auto-land not installed on this aircraft.

P: Something loose in cockpit.
S: Something tightened in cockpit.

P: Dead bugs on windshield.
S: Live bugs on back-order.

P: Auto pilot in altitude-hold mode produces a 200 feet per minute descent.
S: Cannot reproduce problem on ground.

P: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.
S: Evidence removed.

P: DME volume unbelievab ly loud.
S: DME volume set to more believable level.

P: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
S: That's what they're for.

P: IFF inoperative.
S: IFF always inoperative in OFF mode.

P: Suspected crack in windshield.
S: Suspect you're right.

P: Number 3 engine missing.
S: Engine found on right wing after brief search.

P: Aircraft handles funny. (I love this one!)
S: Aircraft warned to straighten up, fly right, and be serious.

P: Target radar hums.
S: Reprogrammed target radar with lyrics.

P: Mouse in cockpit.
S: Cat installed.

And The Best One For Last !!

P: Noise coming from under instrument panel . Sounds like a midget pounding on something with a hammer.
S: Took hammer away from midget

Sunday, July 16, 2006


Ah, the joy of crits and edits! Yes, I am experiencing the existential angst of the editorial chopping block - both as the one wielding the blue inked ax and the one screaming "owwww!" Learning tons, but have had little time for anything else this week.

Why, oh why is it so much easier for me to spot errors in the work of others than to pull the plank from my own eye, er WIP?! For someone who loathes cliches, I sure use an awful lot of them! And don't even get me started on stuff like pronouns, ellipses, em dashes, pet words (love "just" and "really" - not sure why), not to mention the overuse of "um" and "ah" in dialogue. Yes, people do talk like that, but many readers don't want to read it. And the whole dialogue tag issue. Plot moves too fast, too slow, repetitive info, lack of clarity, not enough sensory info. Ack! Eek! Ick!

And with that, I dive back in for round two.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Early Morning Visitor

Ah, nothing like a javelina first thing in the morning to really piss the dogs off. This little guy showed up just before 7 a.m. in our backyard & drove Zuzu and Zelda absolutely nuts. Fortunately my camera batteries hadn't died yet so I could record it for posterity! The critter looks bigger in the first photo because it got freaked when I came outside and shook it's bristles out - makes it look a lot bigger. Once he realized I wasn't going to try and chase it away (emphasis on try, these dudes like to think they're badasses), he calmed down for pic 2. Wish I'd been able to do that the time we had 14 of the little buggers show up and take over the yard.

Yesterday was a gorgeous cloud day - another side benefit of monsoon season!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Queen LaLa Holds Forth

Do I really need to say more? (Mindy's gonna kill me and I don't care!!!)

Weekend Stuff

Other than the power lines, I've got a kick ass view, no?

Busy weekend ahead. Writing away at the first draft, working hard to stop overthinking every swinging thing & just get the damn thing on the page, er, screen. Already well aware that major rewrites will be in order, but if I keep focusing on what needs to be fixed, I'll never get the overall story arc down. So damn the torpedos and all that.

Will finish up the sound edits, sound effects & incidental music for chapter 2 of Alice & hope to get it posted in the next three or four days - yes, Stephen, I'm going to do the entire book in audio format. God bless public domain! Going into the studio this afternoon or tomorrow to record the voice for chapter 3, label mic cables, re-cable the hard-disc recorder, etc.

Then there's the whole gotta clean up all the mud the damn dogs keep tracking in. Monsoon season has started - thank goodness we're actually getting a little rain this year. The downside is the aforementioned mud tracked into the house by said critters. When we first moved to AZ and I heard about the monsoons, I imagined something like a raging storm a la the Phillipines, or some other tropical-esque location. Umm, not exactly. Still, in a good year, the dry gulches turn into little raging rivers and inevitably some dumbass thinks they can make it across in their car or SUV or truck only to end up getting swept away. Ah, good times, good times.

Well, the vaccuum cleaner is calling my name, and unfortunately I must answer.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Goals and Goblins

I finally crossed the theoretical three-quarters mark in the first draft yesterday. Yay me!!! 60k down, approx. 20k to go. Shit. That's still quite a ways to go.

I wish I was one of those fab jackrabbit writers, the kind that can sit down and pound out a first draft in two months or less. But I'm not. I'm an agonizer, a double-thinker, a perfectionist. I'm working on that. And it's a good thing, 'cause the first few chapters? They're pretty damn cringe-worthy.

Setting goals is a good thing for me - as long as I'm willing to move the goal posts early and often. I started out with the (for me anyway) ambitious goal of 2k words per day. And it worked. For a few weeks. And then it didn't. So I said to myself, "Self, you're freaking out. Let's do 1k a day." So I did, and it went swimmingly for about a month. And then I got stuck. I wrote an emotionally tough scene and my mc stopped talking to me. (No, I'm not crazy - at least, not like that - I know it comes from me...oh, never mind, either you get it or you don't.) Anyway, for two weeks I had nothing. It totally sucked. Back on schedule again, but sometimes I could only get a few words down. Then another stoppage - more of a crisis of confidence because I hadn't the foggiest idea of what was going to happen next. As in no clue at all. And that was kind of scary. No story, movie, song, whatever is as scary as my mind's ability to mess me up. But the past few weeks (before and after TFest) I've been working pretty steadily and got a little over 10k done. Not much by jackrabbit standards, but pretty damn good for Angie standards.

And that's pretty much how my process has been. So today, I'm still going "wahoo!" I'm also wondering what the hell's going to happen next. I'm getting a little more comfortable in the land of "I don't know," though. Still freaks me out, but sometimes it's good to get freaked. Right? Right!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Home Sweet Home

Saguaro cactus. And yes, it is damn hot in the desert. Get over it.

Still recovering from ThrillerFest - met some cool people, got to hang with Mindy again & attended some decent panels. TFest was my first writer's con, and although I was indeed a shy freak girl, I did introduce myself to a few of the folks that I had previously only known from the blog world. Great to hang out with fellow Arizonan writers M.G. Tarquini (aka Mindy) and Elizabeth K., although they spent most of their time carting Barry Eisler & JA Konrath around Phoenix on their "drive-by book signing" tour or hanging out in the infamous Biltmore Bar. Also great to meet Killer Year writers Brett Battles, and (very briefly) Toni McGee Causey and J.T. Ellison. Also great to meet Mr. L.A. Noir himself, Stephen Blackmoore, Best First Novel nominee David Terrenoire (I managed to get his autograph on one of only 2 copies of his book available at the TFest bookstore), and Derek Rogers - he's new to the blogosphere, but was a pretty cool guy for an axe murderer. There were probably others that my poor, tired brain can't think of, but I honestly was not super social. I didn't hang out at the infamous Biltmore bar as much as I would have liked, although I think it helps to be independently wealthy to get a good drunk on there. $30 + for 2 margaritas? Puh-leeze. It was pretty cool, overall. Mental note...have secret emergency bar fund stashed for next writer's con & don't hide in hotel room as much.

Sunday I was completely worn out and didn't do a whole hell of a lot. On the other hand, I've been writing my ass off since I got back. I think I have Mr. Lescroart (just because I can spell it doesn't mean I can pronounce it!) to thank for that. His whole 'get out of your own way' thing during the brunch was exactly what I needed to hear. It's not like it's a new concept, but I think I reached critical mass & was able to get writing w/o getting hung up on it not being perfect the first time around. As my husband likes to say, "are you trying to the perfect novel NOW, or finish your damn draft?" Uh, I'll take option number 2, please. And on that note, I'll get back to throwing rocks at my protag.

Oh yeah. Here are a few links for some non-crime fic. stuff. If you'd like to hear the 1st chapter of me reading Alice's Adventures in Wonderland for my Bedtime Stories podcast, you can here it here. Just click on the bar under the photo - I had to ask Drew how to play it 'cause the bar was so small I missed it the first time. That's me narrating, and I also did the sound editing (only one nasty bobble) and added the music and sound effects. Also, if you're in the mood for a good spoken word/poem adventure, you can click here to hear Northern AZ poet Christopher Lane reading "If This Poem," recorded (by me!) at this year's Slab City Slam at Arcosanti. Same deal as above, click on the media bar under the photo of Chris & his son. And now I'm really truly outie.