Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Kinda Lost

I.... don't know what to do right now. I finished the edits of my first novel. I'm very, very happy about that. It took me so long to do. Far too long. I sent the manuscript off to my two beta readers. I've even written the query letter, revised it, and chosen the agent I'm going to send it to. Now...... what do I do?
I've never gotten this far in a project before. Never. I'm a starter, a notorious starter. (Ask my high school friends who put up with all of my story snippets and unfinished drawings.) And now I've finished a novel. Not just the first draft, but it's ready to go out to other people.

And be read by an agent.

And possibly be read by complete strangers.

A daunting prospect to say the least. It's like a phantom over my life at the moment. Now, after editing for so long I have to go back to writing in the moment. I think I've forgotten.

Let's find out.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

So. Much. To Do.

So today I attempt to finish the fastest novel edits in human history. Okay, that's probably not true, but that's what it feels like. Hopefully, I can find my inner Superwoman.

Monday, October 13, 2014

So Much to Tell

Heya folks. It's been forever and I won't make excuses for my absence, but I will tell you all what's been going on since my last post.

First, I finally finished my book! *happy dance* It's entirely too short and needs desperate revisions but it's done! I can finally say what I've never said before in my life and what many would be writers never accomplish. Once my creative life slows down a bit, then I'll get back to editing it, but I'm just going to bask in my elation for a while. ^_^

Secondly, I'm the official artist of a comic book! Ta-da!

Based off the book by Milton Davis, it follows the adventure of the young Amber to the hidden African city of Marai.  Hopefully, (meaning if I bust my butt for the rest of the year) it will be out soon enough. I'm having a ball drawing it and it will be a true test of my skills as an artist.

Lastly, there's another sekret project (shhh!) that I'm also working on. More on that later. Needless to say, I've been busy. I'll be better about keeping everyone up to date. But now,.....

To work!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Foodie Mondays: Black Bean Soup (w/ a twist!)

I don't usually have much time after coming home from work to get dinner on the table, so my black bean soup has become a staple. It takes roughly 30 minutes to prepare, it's easy to take it vegan*, and it's frickin' delicious! My family, including the kids, eat it without complaint so that's a winner in my book.

But one can get tired of the same ol' version over and over again. So recently, when I stumbled across a package of panchetta in my local grocery store (and at a reasonable price) I couldn't resist. I used it as my base flavoring agent and viola! An old favorite with a twist! Perfect for a chilly winter's night.

Here you go:

-one handful panchetta
-one medium onion, chopped roughly
-one bell pepper, chopped roughly
-two stalks celery, chopped
-1tbsp cumin
-1tsp coriander
-1/2 tsp oregano
-freshly cracked black pepper
-2 15oz. cans of black beans, drained
-4 c. chicken or vegetable stock (or 2 c. stock & 2 c. water to make it stretch)
-salt to taste
-shredded sharp cheddar cheese, tortilla strips, sour cream for garnish

In a large stock pot, saute the panchetta until crisp and the fat has rendered out. Remove from pan. Add chopped onion, bell pepper, and celery. Saute until vegetables are soft and onions are translucent, about 7 minutes. Add in cumin, coriander, oregano (crushing to release oils), pepper, stirring. Gently stir in black beans. Add stock and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Afterwards, puree with stick blender or transfer to blender and carefully puree until smooth. Season with salt to taste. Garnish with panchetta, cheese, tortilla strips, and sour cream. Enjoy!

*To make it vegan, take out the panchetta and use 1 tablespoon of olive oil to saute the vegetables and use only vegan stock. We're meat-eaters, but we love this version just as much.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Writer Fridays: The Long Awaited End... of Nano.

It's the last day of Nanowrimo.

There are many people who have already passed that wonderful 50k word threshold. Some passed it today. Some yesterday. Some lucky bastards incredible writers passed it near the middle of the month. Kudos to them all. I am not one of those people this year.

No, I am not looking for your pity or condolences. Not this year. As of 3pm today (November 30th, 2012) I am still at barely more than 30k. Many years before I would have lamented it or given up a week ago. But not this year. You see, I've done this before.

Two years ago I began writing the Agara Saga. It was easy. The words flew from my fingers. I only had one day where I had to push out more than 5k. This year was different. It was a story I'd started writing the year before but failed. I had to scrap chapters before starting Nano and the ideas just wouldn't come after a while. How could Agara have been so easy while this one was like pulling teeth?

Then I realized something. This novel (which has become known as Blood and Shadows) is in the middle, the dreaded middle, the messy middle, or whatever you want to call it. This was new to me. All of my other novel attempts (and there have been SEVERAL) have been ditched at about this point. Left at the wayside when the going got tough. The beginning is always a fun breeze, a romp into the wonderful world I've created. The middle is where the real work begins. This is where you prove yourself as a writer.

That is why I'm not looking for pity this year at the end of Nano. I'm not sad at all. I may be nearly 20k shy of the goal, but I'm farther along in this project than any before and I can see the finish. I can actually see the end of this book. I will finish it and type those wonderful words that bring such relief and joy to every novelist.

The End.

So, if you've written 50+k or just 1k this wonderful November, give yourself full permission to celebrate. This year we're all winners because we've tried. We've put in the effort that many don't even care to. We've put words down on paper, telling stories that only we could tell. If this was your first attempt at writing, celebrate! You just became a writer. If you're a seasoned vet, celebrate! You weave the stories that keep us coming back for more. If you're just doing this for kicks, celebrate! That piece you just wrote will entertain you for years to come.

So, it's the end of Nanowrimo for another year. We all have a reason to be proud of ourselves. Until next year!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Crafty Wed.: Gearing up for RoundCon

I have now entered crunch time. Welcome to the time of year (it actually happens several times of year) when I realize that I don't have as much time before a show than I thought I did. Yes, I am a procrastinator to the nth degree. I should have a PhD in it by now. Yes, I have better organizational skills than this. Yet, it's at this time that my creativity seems to get an extra jolt of energy.

Right now I'm furiously getting ready for RoundCon Expo. It's probably the oldest convention in Columbia, SC. It caters to geeks of all sorts from tabletop gamers to otakus (that's anime geeks including yours truly). After attending last year I was determined to get a table in their artists alley. I mean, after all, this was the crowd I'd originally intended to sell to. Somehow (*wink*) I ended up going from just intending to be part of the alley to being in charge of it. So now, my table has to look stellar.

Which brings us back to crunch time. RoundCon is in a little over a week: August 3-5. My inventory has yet to fully recover from Crafty Feast earlier this year and the sales I've had since. But between my day job, writing, and general life, I've had little time to prepare. We're now down to the wire, but somehow I'm not worried.

As usual, I've had a million ideas for new projects that get me even more excited about the ones that have been stewing in my head for weeks. It's like having no time sets my creative brain into overload with a redbull/jolt chaser. I thrive on this stress and added pressure and I have no idea why. It's just always been this way. I would pull all nighters when I was younger and produce fabulous work. At crunch time before Crafty Feast I had my idea for my super cute headbands which I didn't expect to get much attention, but boy was I wrong!

There's a part of me that wants to change. I really do, but this works for me. I try my best to get a little work here and there done, but when I have that looming deadline, more gets done. My creativity lives on stress. I guess I'm going to have to find a way to feed it without raising my blood pressure.

What fuels your creativity? Are you a careful planner or do you rush at the last minute like me?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Writer Fridays: It's a Sword and Soul Celebration!

I need to tell you about a little sub-genre named Sword and Soul. Like me, it was born in the seventies and, like me, it had a really great father. Sword and Soul was nurtured into being by the great Charles R. Saunders when he penned his Imaro books. You see, while the country had made great strides towards equality, fantasy novels and their characters were still in a mostly Euro-centric world. Mr. Saunders created a black character to be a hero in a black country (something still missing from a lot of fantasy today).

Fast forward a little bit and many other writers put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, to create new, fantastic imaginings of Africa and African characters. One of the greatest is Milton Davis who wrote the Meiji series. Together with Mr. Saunders, they created a new anthology of Sword and Soul short stories called Griots.

It contains fourteen stories, including two by Mr. Saunders and Mr. Davis. The plans were made for a second one, this time concentrating on tales featuring female protagonists. It will be titled Griots II: Sisters of the Spear. The call was put out earlier this year for submissions. I answered it.

And made it in!

After much toil, and gnashing of teeth, I made my first fiction sale! It is such an honor to be included in an anthology with masters of the craft. The book with be in both print and electronic versions. So look for it early next year. I have the story titled, "Marked."