Thursday, October 25, 2012

Homeward Bound

This Sunday I'm going back to my hometown of Fox Creek to talk to people about my book. Sigh...The very idea makes me want to curl up into a ball and go to sleep.

I haven't been back in at least a decade. I like city life too much.

I'm going as a favor to a friend. She has a book club and has been bragging up Thoeba for months. She's told her peeps not to sugar coat anything, and to feel free to criticize at will. After all, this is to be a learning experience for me. I hope they remember to be nice about it.

THEN, my friend is arranging for me to come to my old school and talk to kids about writing. Lovely. I don't know which will be worse--If all 700 kids for an assembly or if only two show up at the library. Do I prepare a speech or just wing it? How do I emphasize the importance of education when I never graduated myself?
I'd like to ramble on about how this scares me more than anything Halloween can throw at me, but I've got a million things to do. I will leave you with a picture of the treats I'm handing out this year.

Pretty cool, eh? The bag says "Treat without the Sweet."  I think it's a pretty good idea. Who doesn't love Playdoh? I got this from Shopper's Drug Mart in with the makeup and decorations.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

My Creativity is Frozen

Today I'm getting my furnace replaced. More gargantuan household expenses, but definitely worth it.
But this means for pretty much the entire day, I have no heat running through the house, and I'm freezing.

Photo by: Liz Noffsinger/
I'm sitting here distracted and shivering, and it's only 7 degrees Celsius. My goosebumps are the size of gumdrops. All I can think about is the blanket on the couch....but I've already spent an hour and a half under it--not getting anything done. I'm hoping once we replace the ole' Flamemaster my days of sofa-burrowing will come to an end. I just can't function when I'm cold, and it's getting worse as I get older.

Of course, when I'm too warm, it makes me sleepy. I've been crashing just as much under that cozy sleeping bag behind me as I have been in my own bed. I can't win. Whole lot of getting nothing done.

There's got to be a happy medium. Surely, I'm not the only writer distracted by the temperature of their own atmosphere? I often hear the question asked, what do you listen to when writing? I honestly don't care. I just want to be toasty.

What about you? What comfort level do you need to work? I could use a few pointers here.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

You're Fired!

  On Sunday, I did something I've never done before in my novels, short stories, or any of my works. I fired a character.

I can admit all this out loud now, because I think I'm past it.

I've been struggling with my third novel, 'Chasing Monsters'. Granted it was a rough summer, with many upsets and sadness, but it felt like more than that. For awhile I couldn't put my finger on it.

As the reviews of 'Thoeba' roll in, I've been getting a little nervous. Four and five star ratings should make me happy, right? Well, they do. But now I'm feeling the pressure. If everyone thinks my debut novel was that awesome, everything that follows should be MORE so. Eep.

So last week, after a few too many Palm Bay Red Grapefruit coolers, I told my loving and ever-so-PROUD-of-me hubby that I'm secretly worried that Chasing Monsters is just a rehashed version of Thoeba.

There, I typed it.

Oh sure, there's new faces with different lives, a new plot, and different villains...But we're still in Alberta, and we're still dealing with angels and demons.

I couldn't shake the feeling. Devaki is not Thoeba, and my hero is not Peter. Noelle isn't anything like anyone I've written before. Much to my delight, my villains are doing things I wasn't expecting.

So what's the problem? More like, WHO is the problem. It's Max. Max is Noelle's little brother. He's a teenaged computer geek. Sound familiar? If you've read Thoeba, you will recognize that personality as Zach, Peter's teenaged computer wizard son.

But no, I thought. He's different! He's only thirteen, and he's got a snarky attitude...just like Kayla, Zach's little sister. Hand smacks forehead moment. Plus he complicates the story. I don't want to give spoilers, but I can tell you he won't be with Noelle when the feces flies.

You know that feeling you get when someone useless you work with or employ finally leaves or gets the boot? Yeah, I haz that. I can move forward knowing I deleted something the reader wouldn't appreciate. Usually I'm attached to my characters, and maybe I should feel bad. But the truth is, I barely knew Max. He was an acquaintance, and when you write people, that just won't do.

I can't believe it took me nine chapters to figure this out.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

I am an Unwashed Heathen

I'm sitting at the edge of my chair, watching the clock and sniffing my armpits. My brand new hot water tank has just been installed, and I can't WAIT until the water is ready for a steaming hot, lingering shower, so I can scrape the day off without having to boil water first. It's like camping, without the secure knowledge of WHEN you can go back to civilization.

I know who my friends are...the ones that don't seem to mind that I don't smell the freshest, or that my hair looks and feels like playdoh. But the best ones are the kind that let you come over to borrow their shower.

It's either sneak showers when you can, or sponge-bath no-pants. And dry shampoo? I think I'd rather shave my head.

We don't plan ahead in this house. We wait until something completely, unfixably croaks before we get new stuff.  Replacing a fridge is also like camping...with more coolers. Need a new stove? Hello Take-Out week and barbeque. Don't ask about the furnace. I'm trying not to jynx myself.

If the world ends in 2012, and I survive it, shoot me anyway. I don't think I could ever adapt to a world without hot running water. Or internet. Or toilets. (Insert long Thanksgiving list of things I'm grateful for here.)

P.S.-Alyssa Suzanne, contact me. I still have your contest prize.