Saturday, December 31, 2011

A.Word.A.Day drabble – “persnickety”

A.Word.A.Day drabble – 6/22/10: “persnickety”

A Word A Day by Anu Garg
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

persnickety

PRONUNCIATION: (puhr-SNIK-i-tee)
MEANING:
adjective:
1. Fussy about minor details.
2. Snobbish.
3. Requiring keen attention to detail, as a job.
ETYMOLOGY:
Variant of pernickety (the spelling still used in the UK). Of unknown origin.
-----------------------------------


“Clean sheets and towels?”

“Of course, that’s the first thing I did.”

“All of the ESPNs unblocked from the DVR?”

“Yes, but how many football games can one man watch, anyway?”

“I don’t know; he’s your father. What else, what else....Hypo-allergenic soap in the bathroom, decaf coffee and six different kinds of bran cereal in the kitchen....”

“Would you please relax and stop being so persnickety! They’re just my parents.”

“Just your parents. Just your parents! Are you kidding me?”

“They’ll love you. Because I do.”

“Oh. That’s so sweet. Now, go mop the garage floor before they get here.”

A.Word.A.Day drabble – “weathercock”

A.Word.A.Day drabble – 6/21/10: “weathercock”

A Word A Day by Anu Garg
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The French writer and philosopher Albert Camus once said, "Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal." Can you recognize people like that around you? This week's words will help you describe them.

weathercock

PRONUNCIATION: (WETH-uhr kok)
MEANING:
noun:
1. A weathervane, especially one with the figure of a rooster on it.
2. One who changes readily or often.
ETYMOLOGY:
From weather + cock.
NOTES:
The words weathercock/weathervane are especially suitable for politicians who change according to prevailing winds. Quebec's legislature has gone so far as to impose a ban on their use.
----------------------------------------------


“Black T-shirt, three o’clock. So hot.”

“Agreed. You should go for it.”

“No, he’s talking to that blond guy. What about the guy in the red shirt?”

“Ooh, yeah, spicy.”

“No, now all I can think of is the red-shirts from Star Trek.”

“That’s true.”

“There’s Martin, he’s single.”

“And cute.”

“You called him ‘Martin the Martian’ the last time we were here.”

“Did I?”

“You know, you’re supposed to be helping me pick someone to hit on.”

“I am! I’m being supportive! It’s not my fault you’re such a weathercock.”

“Well, if I’m a weathercock, then you’re a weathercocktease.”

Friday, December 30, 2011

AWAD serial, part 4: nimbus (warning for f-word)

A.Word.A.Day drabble – 6/18/10: “nimbus”

A Word A Day by Anu Garg
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

nimbus

PRONUNCIATION: (NIM-buhs), plural: nimbi or nimbuses
MEANING:
noun:
1. A rain cloud.
2. A halo or aura around the head of a person depicted in a piece of art.
ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin nimbus (cloud). Ultimately from the Indo-European root nebh- (cloud) that is also the source of nebula, nephometer (a device used in measuring the amount of cloud cover), and Sanskrit nabh (sky).
-----------------------------------


He’d put his kids on the plane back to their mother an hour ago. Now he was home again, alone, a dark nimbus of self-pity hanging overhead. And he was out of beer.

The cashier at the convenience store smiled and flashed her cleavage when he came in. He nodded and wandered towards the cooler.

When he went to pay, she was talking to some swishy guy who was telling a story about “Michael and Tommy and Nigel.”

The word just slipped out.

“Excuse me?” the guy said.

“Did you just call him a fag?” asked the cashier. “Get out.”

A.Word.A.Day drabble – “pluvial”

A.Word.A.Day drabble – 6/17/10: “pluvial”

A Word A Day by Anu Garg
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

pluvial

PRONUNCIATION: (PLOO-vee-uhl)
MEANING:
adjective: Of or relating to rain, especially much rain.
ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin pluvia (rain), from pluere (to rain). Ultimately from the Indo-European root pleu- (to flow), that is also the source of flow, float, flit, fly, flutter, pulmonary, and pneumonia.

----------------------

I had to cheat a bit and use google for this one. Sort of a follow up to "virga".
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


“Well, you got your rain.”

“It’s definitely not as romantic as the song.”

“Especially when you can’t get home due to the pluvial flooding.”

“What the heck does that mean?”

“It means that when it rains, this road is underwater.”

“You could have just said that.”

“I was trying to impress you with my big vocabulary.”

“And I just wanted to get you home so I could impress you with my big...vocabulary. But the pluvial flooding has put a pluvial wrench into the works.”

“Um...you could come to my place.”

“Really? Are you sure?”

“Yeah. Consider it an olive branch.”

AWAD serial, part 3: El Niño

A.Word.A.Day drabble – 6/16/10: “El Niño”

A Word A Day by Anu Garg
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

El Niño or El Nino

PRONUNCIATION: (el NEEN-yo)
MEANING:
noun: A weather phenomenon characterized by unusually warm ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific.
ETYMOLOGY:
From Spanish El Niño, literally "The Boy Child", referring to Baby Jesus as El Niño phenomenon is noticed near Christmas.
NOTES:
El Niño, which occurs every three to seven years, is marked by warm sea surface temperature along the coast of Ecuador and Peru in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. Its effects on weather are observed around the globe. A counter part is La Niña "The Girl Child" in which unusually cold ocean temperatures are observed in the Equatorial Pacific.
-----------------------


Even the weather hated him. He was alone and depressed, and normally at this time of year the weather would have justified that mood. But El Niño had to go and wreck it by giving him sun, blue skies, and a soft breeze instead of clouds and drizzle.

Well, he sure as hell wasn’t going to enjoy it. He grabbed a beer out of the fridge, popped the cap off, and went to sit on the porch. If Miss Rhonda across the street didn’t want to see him drinking at eleven in the morning, she could shut her damn curtains.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A.Word.A.Day drabble – “virga”

A.Word.A.Day drabble – 6/15/10: “virga”

A Word A Day by Anu Garg
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
virga
PRONUNCIATION: (VUHR-guh)
MEANING:
noun: Rain or snow that evaporates before hitting the ground.
ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin virga (rod, streak).

------------------------------

“You know that old song, “Laughter In The Rain’?”

“No.”

“Infant,” Chris sneered, and Alec laughed. “I used to look forward to the rainy day when I could be ‘waaalkin’ hand in hand with the one I love’,” he sang. “But I’ve begun to doubt that’s ever going to happen.”

Alec felt like he’d been kicked in the stomach. Forcing a smile, he said, “You’re usually so optimistic.”

Chris squeezed his hand. “No, it’s just that Phoenix gets more virga than actual rain.”

“And staying dry is somehow less romantic than being drenched?”

“Well, when you put it that way....”

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A.Word.A.Day drabble – “aeolian”

A.Word.A.Day drabble – 6/14/10: “aeolian”

A Word A Day by Anu Garg
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
aeolian or eolian

PRONUNCIATION: (ee-O-lee-uhn)
MEANING:
adjective: Relating to or caused by the wind.
ETYMOLOGY:
After Aeolus, god of the winds in Greek mythology. As keeper of the winds, he gave a bag containing winds to help with Odysseus's sailing.
-----------------------


The way to most men’s hearts may be through their stomachs, but for Marty, it was through his nose.

He was weeding his garden when Fate decided to take his life in hand, calling upon an aeolian ally to waft the smells of apple pie, tomato sauce, and coconut oil directly to Marty’s nose.

He followed the scents to their source, the house next door, where his new neighbor had a pie cooling on the windowsill, a pot simmering on the stove, and a toned torso glistening in the sun.

“Hi, I’m Flynn.”

Minty fresh breath. Marty was a goner.

A.Word.A.Day drabble – “kudos”

A.Word.A.Day drabble – 6/11/10: “kudos”

A Word A Day by Anu Garg
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

kudos

PRONUNCIATION: (KOO-doz, -dos, KYOO-)
MEANING:
noun: Praise, honor, or credit.
ETYMOLOGY:
From Greek kydos (praise, renown).
NOTES:
The word kudos is a relatively recent addition to the English language. It entered the language as university slang in Britain, in the early 19th century. It's a singular word, in Greek and in English, but its plural-like appearance prompted some to coin a singular form by dropping the letter s. Many dictionaries (including the OED) now list the word kudo, though marked with an "erroneous" stamp. If the current trends are any indication, chances are over time kudo will drop the black mark on its reputation and become a well-respected word in the language, just as no one today objects to using the word pea (instead of pease) or cherry (instead of cherise).
--------------------------------
Non-fiction this time: Married after 64 years together

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


A commenter online somewhere made a good point: it’s not “gay marriage”, it’s just marriage, and therefore, marriage is legal in only a few states.

New York is the largest state, in terms of population, in which marriage is legal. John Morgan and Lou Halsey took the plunge on November 11, 2011, although they’ve been a couple for the past 64 years.

64 years! Let that sink in a moment.

They dealt with their legal arrangements years ago, the sorts of things that come automatically with a legal marriage, so the only reason to wed was love.

Kudos, New York.

Monday, December 26, 2011

AWAD serial, part 2: shambles (warning: F-word)

A.Word.A.Day drabble – 6/10/10: “shambles”

A Word A Day by Anu Garg
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
shambles
PRONUNCIATION: (SHAM-buhls)
MEANING:
noun:
1. A state of great disorder.
2. A scene of carnage.
3. A slaughterhouse.
ETYMOLOGY:
From oak to acorn, from a little piece of furniture to a slaughterhouse. The word known today as shambles started out as scamnum (stool, bench). Over time the word's sense evolved to "a vendor's table", more specifically, a butcher's table. Eventually, the word came to be applied to a meat market or a slaughterhouse. From the state of disarray of such a place, today we use the word metaphorically to denote a place of complete disorder. That's the story of a slaughterhouse. To know what became of a fish market, see billingsgate.
------------------------

A little continuation of a previous drabble.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The house was a shambles, even though the kids didn’t live there anymore. His wife—no, ex-wife—had taken them with her to Phoenix when she’d gotten transferred there. He supposed he was filling up the house with crap now so that it didn’t feel so empty. If you recognized the insanity, that meant you were still sane, right?

His life was also a shambles. In an attempt to prove his wife—ex-wife—wrong about his being gay, he’d started dating a lot of women. Dating them, fucking them, because getting off with women that meant you weren’t gay. Right?

A.Word.A.Day drabble – “congeries”

A.Word.A.Day drabble – 6/9/10: “congeries”

A Word A Day by Anu Garg
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
congeries
PRONUNCIATION: (kon-JEER-eez, KON-juh-reez)
MEANING:
noun: A collection of miscellaneous things.
ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin congeries (heap), from congerere (to heap up), from con- (with) + gerere (to carry).
--------------------------------

More or less stolen from “The Simpsons”.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


“I’ve got something special planned for tonight,” Jason said. “Go look in the dresser.”

Dane practically skipped up the stairs to Jason’s bedroom, where he found that the dresser contained a congeries of seemingly unrelated objects: a Slinky, a half-eaten box of chocolates, a red satin thong, a copy of Madden NFL 11, one wool sock, some illegal fireworks, a jumbo bottle of lube, and a baseball bat.

Dane stormed back down the stairs. “I don’t know what you had in mind, but count me out!”

“What? Didn’t you find the tickets I left on the dresser?”

“...On the dresser.”

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A.Word.A.Day drabble – “starets”

Knockin' 'em down! If I do two a day, I can be caught up to real time by....April 12, 2013. *facepalms* Maybe the world will end before then.

A.Word.A.Day drabble – 6/8/10: “starets”

A Word A Day by Anu Garg
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
starets
PRONUNCIATION: (STAHR-its, -yits), plural startsy (STAHRT-see)
MEANING:
noun: A religious teacher or adviser.
ETYMOLOGY:
From Russian starets (elder). In the Eastern Orthodox Church a starets is a spiritual adviser who is not necessarily a priest.
USAGE:
"Grigori Rasputin, was neither mad nor a monk, but an unconventional starets."
Cecilia Rasmussen; Shadowed by Rasputin's Evil Reputation; Los Angeles Times; Oct 10, 1999.
--------------------------------


“Dmitri, I have been hearing rumors, and I am shocked and disappointed.”

Tears sprang up in Dmitri’s eyes, shocking him. He hadn’t cried since he was a child, but he couldn’t stand the disapproval in the eyes of the man who had always been there for his family, both as starets and as a friend.

“I’m sorry you feel that way, but I won’t stop seeing him. I love him.”

Sasha shook his head. “I’m not talking about the boyfriend. It’s lovely that you’ve found someone. No, I’m talking about your ties to the Russian mob.”

“Oh. Yeah. About that....”

A.Word.A.Day drabble – “taxis”

A.Word.A.Day drabble – 6/7/10: “taxis”

A Word A Day by Anu Garg
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
taxis
PRONUNCIATION: (TAK-sis) plural taxes (TAK-seez)
MEANING:
noun:
1. Movement of an organism towards or away from a stimulus.
2. Order, arrangement, or classification.
3. The manual repositioning of a displaced body part to its normal position, in a case of hernia, for example.
ETYMOLOGY:
From Greek taxis (arrangement, order), from tassein (to arrange).
NOTES:
1. The word tropism is usually applied to plants. 2. The word for a public vehicle, taxi, is unrelated. A taxi is one which taxes, etymologically speaking. It's short for taximeter, the name of the device that calculates the fare. 3. Also see parataxis.
--------------------------------


“Move over!”

“Mmmr.” Rick shifted closer to Ray, who sighed. Every night, the same thing. The sex was great, and the cuddling afterwards was unexpectedly nice, but once Rick was asleep, the bed became a war zone.

It seemed that every time Ray rolled over, changed positions, breathed, Rick would snuggle up to him, a sort of taxis that made his body move towards Ray, even in sleep. Rick was a bed hog, and Ray couldn’t sleep that close to someone else.

He closed his eyes. When he opened them, it was morning, and he was wrapped around Rick. Huh.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

AWAD serial, part 1: guillotine

A.Word.A.Day drabble – 6/4/10: “guillotine”

A Word A Day by Anu Garg
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
guillotine
PRONUNCIATION: (GIL-uh-teen, GEE-uh-teen)
MEANING:
noun: A device with a heavy blade that drops between two posts to behead someone.
verb: To execute by guillotine or to cut as if with a guillotine.
ETYMOLOGY:
After French physician Joseph-Ignace Guillotin (1738-1814) who recommended its use. Ironically the instrument designed as a humane device has come to symbolize tyranny. Dr. Guillotin realized that hanging by rope or beheading by a sword were cruel and urged a more humane method of execution, one that was swift and relatively painless. Dr. Antoine Louis, secretary of the College of Surgeons, designed a device that was called a Louisette or Louison in the beginning, but eventually became known as a guillotine.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“I want a divorce.”

And just like that, his quiet, comfortable, normal life ended. Now there was only “before and after”, his life divided as cleanly and sharply as if it had been split by a guillotine.

They say the wife is always the last to know, but it counts for husbands, too, apparently. She had to be seeing somebody, even though she’d denied it. That’s why she wanted the divorce, not that bullshit about him being gay. He wanted to erase her words, go back to a whole life, but he knew, somehow, that “before and after” was permanent.

Friday, December 23, 2011

A.Word.A.Day drabble – "Buridan’s ass" (drabble is NSFW)

Definition is safe for work; drabble is not.

A.Word.A.Day drabble – 6/3/10: “Buridan’s ass”

A Word A Day by Anu Garg
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Buridan's ass
PRONUNCIATION: (byoo-RUHD-uhnz ass)
MEANING:
noun: A situation demonstrating the impracticality of decision-making using pure reason, especially a situation involving two equal choices.
ETYMOLOGY:
Named after French philosopher Jean Buridan (1300-1358).
NOTES:
Imagine a hungry donkey standing equidistant from two identical piles of hay. The donkey tries to decide which pile he should eat first and finding no reason to choose one over another, starves to death. This paradox didn't originate with Buridan -- it's been found back in Aristotle's time. A hungry and thirsty man cannot decide whether to slake his thirst first or his hunger, and dies. Buridan, in his commentaries on Aristotle, chose a dog, but his critics, in their parody of Buridan, turned it into an ass. So Buridan's ass was named after a person who neither proposed the paradox nor picked that animal to discuss it.
Buridan studied under William of Ockham (of Ockham's razor fame).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Charles went a bit dizzy for a second, because stuff like this just didn’t happen to him. Identical 22-year old twins lounging naked on his bed, with their identical tousled dark heads, identical cheeky grins, identical hard, curving cocks. He lay between them on the bed, unable to believe his luck.

“Mmm, do me first,” one of them (Barry?) said.

“No, me,” the other (Danny?) murmured.

“You gotta choose,” they said together.

Charles nodded and thought, logically, about where to start.

Ten minutes later both boys threw on their clothes, shouting, “Cock tease!” as they slammed Charles’ door behind them.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A.Word.A.Day drabble – orrery

I was away for awhile, but I'm back, and I'll try to do better with the blogggg....

A.Word.A.Day drabble – 6/1/10: orrery

A Word A Day by Anu Garg
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
orrery
PRONUNCIATION: (OR-uh-ree)
MEANING:
noun: A mechanical model of the solar system that represents the relative motions of the planets around the sun.
ETYMOLOGY:
After Charles Boyle, 4th Earl of Orrery (1676-1731), who was given one of those models by John Rowley, a London instrument-maker. They were invented by George Graham c. 1700. The device would have been better named either after its inventor, Graham, or its maker, Rowley.
------------
Another weird one, but I think I FINALLY got it. Spending way too much time on these, but I still want to catch up eventually.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Jimmy knew that Shawn couldn’t help his sunny disposition or his infectious grin, couldn’t help the way people were drawn to him. Most of the time, Jimmy was content to stay in the shadows with a drink and a pasted-on smile as all the women in the bar – single or not – began orbiting Shawn, turning the dance floor into an orrery, with Shawn the bright star at the center of it all.

That was before Shawn pulled Jimmy outside and kissed him up against the wall. "Quit ignoring me.”

“I’m not. I just don’t want to get burned.”

“You won’t.”

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A.Word.A.Day drabble – 5/26/10: cashier

A.Word.A.Day drabble – 5/26/10: cashier

A Word A Day by Anu Garg
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
cashier

PRONUNCIATION: (ka-SHEER)

MEANING:
verb tr.: To dismiss from service, especially with disgrace.
noun: An employee who handles payments and receipts in a store, bank, or business.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Dutch cassier or French caissier, both from French caisse (cashbox), from Latin capsa (case).
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Alan took the beer from Artie and clasped Jim’s hand in a loose grip across the tabletop.

“Awriiight.” Artie nodded. “The undefeated arm wrestling champion of the 38th Division in a rematch against his most frequent challengah!” he announced into his beer bottle.

Jim smiled at Alan, sipped his beer, but didn’t tighten his grip. Artie looked disappointed. “Well?”

“Well, what?”

“Arm wrestle, already, don’t just sit there holding...oh.”

“Yeah. The arm wrestling was a blind. DADT’s dead, so we can’t be cashiered for this.” Alan squeezed Jim’s hand. “Want a real match?” he asked Jim.

“Hell, yeah.”

Artie grinned.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

new restaurant in Norcross -- Dalia's Mediterranean Grill

There was some concern when the GRW meetings moved from Decatur to Norcross that there would be no fun, interesting restaurants to have lunch at following the meetings. BUT! Check out Dalia's Grill, right next to the Mellow Mushroom, in a shopping center almost behind the Hilton where the GRW meetings are now taking place.

The url on their business card is no longer working (or not yet working? they opened two months ago) but they have a facebook page with their address.

They have the usual Mediterranean meat dishes (gyros, kabobs, etc.), but I'm here to tell you vegetarians about the salads. They had tabouli, hummus, baba ganoush, bowtie pasta with pesto, ziti with tuna, beet salad, cut fruit, stuffed grape leaves, Greek salad, Waldorf salad, macaroni with seafood, broccoli salad, spinach, cous cous, chick peas with fava beans, and Italian mix that had chick peas and kidney beans, green beans, carrots, olives and artichoke hearts.

Those are what was out *today*. They change them around and also have things like fried cauliflower.

I got the three-salad plate for $6.49, which included a sample of one of the other salads, and when I asked about the beet salad, the owner gave me a sample of that one, too. All delicious. The chick peas and fava beans might have been the best.

Lots of small tables, and outlet on the side where we sat, and the other owner told us they have wi-fi, when he saw that Bryonna had her laptop out.

Oh, and I didn't try any of the desserts, but they have baklava and tiramisu as well as a few others.

Very nice place, friendly owners. So we know there's at least one good restaurant up there!

Monday, November 14, 2011

A.Word.A.Day drabble – 5/24/10: jactitation. (NSFW)

Missed this one. And it’s a really weird one.

A Word A Day by Anu Garg

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
jactitation

PRONUNCIATION: jak-ti-TAY-shun)

MEANING:
noun:
1. A false boast or claim that is intended to harm someone, especially a malicious claim by a person that he or she is married to a particular person.
2. Involuntary tossing and twitching of the body and limbs.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin jactitation (tossing, false declaration), past participle of jactitare (to throw out publicly, to boast), frequentative of jactare (to throw about), frequentative of jacere (to throw).
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Would have loved to use the “marriage” definition but just couldn’t work out how to do it. Too obscure. So going the easier, more obvious route. Anyone who can come up with a drabble using the "marriage" definition is welcome to post it in the comments. Your reward will be a standing ovation by me in the privacy of my own home.

------------------


“Ow, what the fuck!”

“Sorry! I’m so sorry! Are you okay?” Dave sat up.

“Yeah. I’ve had worse.” Jason rubbed his cheekbone. “Why’d you kick me? You could have just told me to stop.”

“No, it was great, I didn’t want you to stop. You’re so good I just kind of...lost it."

“Yeah, right. I know you’ve had better.”

“No. No one’s ever gone down on me before.”

“...Have I told you your other boyfriends sucked?”

“No, they didn’t. That’s the whole point.”

“Smartass. Now, spread ‘em. And if you kick me again, I’m tying you to the bed.”

“Promise?”

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A.Word.A.Day drabble – 5/25/10: bagman

A.Word.A.Day drabble – 5/25/10: bagman. Trying to keep it happy and sexy, but it’s Just. Not. Cooperating.


A Word A Day by Anu Garg

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
bagman
PRONUNCIATION: (BAG-man, BAG-muhn)

MEANING:
noun:
1. One who collects or distributes money from illicit activities, for example, in a protection racket.
2. UK: A traveling salesman.
3. Canada: A political fundraiser.
4. Australia: A tramp; swagman.
5. Golf: A caddie hired to carry a golf player's clubs.
ETYMOLOGY:
From the literal senses of the words bag and man.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


He comes in every Tuesday and orders the number 78, which doesn’t exist. And every Tuesday, my parents fill a take-out bag with protection money and hand it over, their faces expressionless. His face is just as blank as he gives them a five-dollar bill and takes the bag.

This is the Tuesday that I lose patience. I follow him out of the restaurant and into an alley.

“Hey! Filthy piece of mob shit!”

He turns and reaches behind him. I tense, but he’s holding his wallet. He adds a wad of cash to the bag, smiles, and walks away.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

worse than I thought - so behind on AWAD

It's worse than I thought. I thought I needed to catch up on A Word A Day from May of this year, but noooooo, I left off reading them from May of 2010!! What the hell is wrong with me?!?!

So now if I write TWO drabbles a day, I'll be caught up maybe six months? Must learn to buckle down. It's never too late, right?

In other procrastination news, I still want to send a thank you note to Laura Bradford, to whom I pitched at Moonlight & Magnolias, which was Sept. 30 - Oct. 2. I'm just not sure how to address her ("Ms. Bradford"? "Laura"?) or exactly what to say. It was a really informative meeting, and she was very nice about having to completely shoot me down, even saying to go ahead and send her a synopsis and the first 100 pages despite not being able to sell M/M to any of the publishers she works with. So I did want to let her know those would be coming.

On a more forward-looking note, I recently read again the idea of writing 100 words a day, but in this scenario, you try to write 100 words a day **for 100 days**. That made me think of a friend of mine who will not write on Sundays because she's fairly religious.

I get taking a Day of Rest. I don't like to work on Saturdays; it's about the only religious thing I do. BUT! I realized recently that having Shabbat (and Jewish holidays) go from sunset to sunset is pretty smart -- someone who is very strict about these things could still write every day AND not work on Shabbat if they wrote before sunset on Friday and then again after sunset on Saturday. (As you may have guessed, I'm not that strict. And I don't consider writing to be "work". Maybe if I got paid (more) for it. :) )

So who's with me, at least 100 words every day for 100 days?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

recap: Drag Star at LeBuzz -- Oct. 10, 2011

Let's see if I can make this as pretty as Bryonna Nobles-Stern makes her posts. :) Since she was still out of town on Monday, I decided to go to LeBuzz and take up the mantle of Drag Star blogger.

A couple of warnings: I know I’ll misspell names, so please let me know what to correct, and I apologize in advance for my craptacular photographs. Is it me or my camera??!?!?!!
Also, if there are blogs/fb pages/websites I've missed, please let me know!

BTW, welcome home, Bryonna, sounds like you had a great trip!


Kat was there when I got there,

















and the guy sticking team stickers on our boobs was Paprika Jones, who of course looks completely different out of makeup.

Fiera Ice came over to say hi:

















and she turned 21 at midnight. Happy Birthday, gorgeous!


The first contestants up were from Team Jasmine:

Evah Destruction Antoinette, who performed an awesome Ke$ha mix

















and Coochie Coochie Coo, who tore it up to a mix of Halloween songs

Winner: Coochie Coochie Coo











Team MVP (Monica Van Pelt) was next, with Dynisty, who started out slow and sweet

















 
and then broke into the amazing dancing that is her signature.
(Sorry I don't have a pic of her up on the table RIGHT NEXT TO ME)














 Lyra Lee did not lip-sync, but actually *sang* Lady Gaga’s “Show Me Your Teeth”

















with two super cute vampire backup dancers













Winner: Dynasty


Third up was Team Heather:

Fiera


(it's not blurry, it's artistic)










 
 and Nina Bonita Brown who had some help from Dynasty


They performed some cute song about cars that everyone else knew but I didn’t because I’m old.  :P








 

Winner: Fiera

 The last contestant was Angelique Simmonz, who was the only contestant from Team Destiny that night, and therefore was the winner from her team.




After the contestants, the Divas performed

Jasmine Antoinette


 

 Spot on with her lipsync AND hilarious












Monica Van Pelt




You can't tell how gorgeous this dress was from this photo.  Beautiful autumn colors.














Destiny Brooks




 Nikki Minaj's cuter sister












and Heather “Double-D” Daniels



 Classic showgirl with nine-foot long legs.  Yes, I know there are breasts, but I couldn't stop staring at her legs.  Ladies, when the judges tell you to wear fishnets, this is what they're talking about.












 then some of the contestants who weren’t competing this week

Kaymen Syder who is such a magical performer that I’ve decided my drag queen story needs a drag king in it






















 SO artistic.  Not blurry or too dark or off-center or anything....









Annayiiah Lyden



















Alexia DeeKay



 

Everyone did a great job, including the DJ and the staff. The cigarette smoke makes me want to burn my clothes after I leave, but it's always a fun time and a lot of lovely people.

Who's up for their Oz tribute this Friday?  Next Friday?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A.Word.A.Day drabble – huzzah or huzza

Today's drabble uses characters from the pirate novel, but it's rated G, which I can hardly believe myself. A post about Moonlight & Magnolias to follow later today, I hope.

A.Word.A.Day – Sept. 7, 2011: huzzah or huzza

A Word A Day" by Anu Garg
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

huzzah or huzza

MEANING:
interjection: Used to express joy, applause, encouragement, etc.
noun: An instance of appreciation or applause.
verb tr., intr.: To cheer.
ETYMOLOGY:
Of undetermined origin. Perhaps used originally as a sailor's hoisting cry. Earliest documented use: 1682.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And that is how I shall use it for the daily drabble I’ve been putting off.
--------------


“One, two, three—”
“Huzzah!”
“One, two, three—”
“Huzzah!”

The sail crept up the mast in increments, Nate and Jeremiah pulling the line with all their strength after every count of three while Barnabas dealt with the slack, coiling it neatly several feet away to keep the younger men from becoming tangled in it.

He was no longer one of the young, strong men who hoisted the sails, but it took many hands to keep a ship afloat, and he’d be shrouded and dropped overboard before he shirked his duties. He grinned, shouting the last “Huzzah!” with the others.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A.Word.A.Day – Sept. 7, 2011: gesundheit

A Word A Day" by Anu Garg
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

gesundheit

MEANING:
interjection: Used to wish good health to someone who has sneezed.

ETYMOLOGY:
From German Gesundheit (health), from gesund (healthy) + -heit (-hood). Earliest documented use: 1914.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Borrowing the characters from another story that isn’t finished. The only people I’ve heard say “gesundheit” after someone sneezes are either Jewish or German (or both, I suppose). YMMV.

-----------------------------


“Mom, I told you, we’re not putting lights on the house.”

“But it’s Christmas!”

“But David’s Jewish; I’ve been over this with you—”

“Niall.” David rubbed Niall’s arm. “It’s okay. Your parents are here, we’ll have lights this once.”

“I hate doing this to you. It’s your house, too.”

“And I hate arguing with family.”

“Thanks. I owe you.” Niall smiled, then his face contorted and he sneezed.

David said, “Gesundheit!” just as Niall’s mother said “God Bless you!” and they each offered Niall a tissue. Niall hesitated, then took both.

It was going to be a long holiday.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

drabble on A.Word.A.Day – Sept. 8, 2011: bada-bing

Still catching up. Even if I do two each day, it's going to take awhile to get through all of them sitting in my inbox.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A Word A Day by Anu Garg

bada-bing

MEANING:
interjection: Used to suggest something happening effortlessly, emphatically, or predictably, implying "Just like that!" or "Voila!"

ETYMOLOGY:
Of uncertain origin. Perhaps imitative of the sound of a drum roll and cymbal crash or a rimshot (hear it). Earliest documented use: 1965.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Notes: The following drabble is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead, is entirely unplanned and coincidental. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.
Oh, and I apologize if this comes off kind of racist. But doesn't everyone make fun of Italians? ;)

--------------------------------


“Ya know, Vinnie, I don’ know if I’m happy or sad that it’s finally over.”

“I know, right? It’s like, we’re not gonna be famous anymore, but then we don’t got those fuckin’ cameras in our faces every second.”

“Exac’ly, like, now we can do whatever we want, even if it don’t go down so good wit’ the producers.”

“There somethin’ you been wantin’ to do, Mikey?”

“Yeah.” Mikey put his hands on the back of Vinnie’s neck and kissed him. Vinnie didn’t hesitate. He kissed him right back, and bada-bing, there were the fireworks Mikey had been waiting for.

AWAD -- "attaboy"

ETA: I forgot! Anyone reading these drabbles is welcome to post their own drabble based on that day's word, either in the comments below or on your own blog. No prizes planned currently, but maybe there will be random drawings sometime in the future.

---------------
Going back to my attempt to kill three birds with one stone: 1) catch up on my A Word A Day emails by 2) writing a daily drabble (based on that day's word), which I then 3) post to this blog.

I've been getting further and further behind. Seriously, it would take 30 seconds to read the damn Word, its etymology, the usage examples, and the quote, but...see the name of this blog? Yeah.

I was going to use the AWADs to drabble once before, but it was a week of depressing words and I just couldn't do it. So here's to new beginnings. Plus, I'm going to start with the most recent and work my way back to those depressing ones waaay down in my inbox.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A.Word.A.Day -- Sept. 9, 2011

attaboy

MEANING:
interjection: Used to express approval or encouragement.

ETYMOLOGY:
Alteration of "That's the boy." Earliest documented use: 1909.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Not fiction this time, but I’ll try to keep it drabble length.

The first thing that came to mind when I thought about the interjection “attaboy” was Will Phillips, the ten-year old (twelve now) who refused to say the Pledge of Allegiance in school because he doesn’t believe that America does have liberty and justice for all. Specifically, he feels that LGBT Americans are denied certain rights that straight people have.

Ten years old. He saw what he felt was an injustice and he spoke out against it. How many kids would do the same? How many adults? Attaboy, Will.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Dragon*con 2011

Yes, Dragon*con ended two days ago and I still don't have a post up about it. You *have* seen the name of this blog, right?

I did want to mention that I met a bunch of lovely M/M writers at our promo table, and one other at the Same-Sex Fiction panel that was part of the Writers track.

At the promo table were:

Silvia Violet, who was also at the Rainbow Flag party,
Helen Pattskyn, who really needs to consider cosplaying a mermaid someday,
Pearl Love, who I sat with at the S-S Fiction panel,
Kerry Freeman, who is pretty quiet but is probably just writing books in her head,
Nessa Warin, who took the stairs ten flights up on Saturday and was barely winded,
T.C. Blue, who brought chocolates with her name on the labels (!!),
Ellen Holiday, a fellow "Cross Bones" author who put together some great flyers for a few of us, and
Shae Connor, who organized the whole thing (the promo table, not Dragon*con, although she is on staff for that) and also brought Pixy Stix, two of which are still in my backpack if the rain on the last day didn't dissolve them into a sticky mess.

The promo table also included
Kiernan Kelly and Adrienne Wilder, who were also on the Same-Sex Fiction panel where they spoke with passion and humor about our genre. I spoke briefly to another author on the panel, Kage Alan, whose books I'm looking forward to reading, since I like humor way more than angst.

Meeting all of them was probably the highlight of the con for me!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Excerpt from Cross Bones story: From A Simmer To A Burn

Description and excerpt I posted at the Literary Nymphs chat for "Cross Bones" a couple of weekends ago. Lots of other good stories in the anthology, so check it out! :D

--------------

"From a Simmer To A Burn" is a short story about Sule, a former slave who escaped from a Dutch plantation and is now the steward in a pirate crew, and Olaf, a Dutch-speaking carpenter who joins that crew more out of necessity than from a wish to plunder. Sule lives at a constant simmer of anger, and Olaf threatens to set Sule's temper alight just by being there.

In this excerpt, Sule has found Olaf in the hold the night after a successful raid on another ship. Earlier that day, Olaf's disapproval of the "We want something, we take it" philosophy had set Sule's teeth on edge, and he's ready to push things to a breaking point in order to get Olaf kicked out of the crew.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


“What are you doing down here?" Sule asked, looking around quickly to determine if any of the crates had been opened. If the man was a thief, he‘d be thrown off the ship before he could blink.

“I was looking for a blanket, sir.”

“What did you do with the one you had?”

“No, sir, I was hoping to find another. It‘s… I‘m… never mind.” Olaf started to walk toward the hatch, but Sule grabbed his arm.

“What‘s the matter, are you ill? If you‘re ill, you‘ll be put off this ship straightaway.”

Olaf shook his head. “I‘m not ill, sir. I get cold at night. It‘s all right, if there are no extra blankets—”

“Shut up.” Sule made his way through the crates until he got to a trunk stowed just inside the bulkhead. He opened it and pulled out two blankets that he threw at Olaf, who caught them. “Will that be enough? Are you quite satisfied?”

“Yes, sir. Thank you.” Olaf nodded, but he didn‘t leave; he just stood there, looking at Sule and clutching the blankets.

“What? Do you need something else?”

“No.” But still he didn‘t leave.

Sule‘s anger spiraled, spinning up through his body and out the top of his head. “Then why are you still here?” He slammed the trunk shut and moved to stand right in front of Olaf. “And why do you keep staring at me? You‘ve been doing it since we raided that ship. Do I disgust you? Is piracy not to your liking? Do you think you‘re better than the rest of us?”

“No! It‘s not that. I‘m, um, you‘re....”

But now Sule was on a tear. “Then what is it? Why do you keep looking at me every time we‘re in the same part of the ship? Don‘t try to deny it, I‘ve seen you.”

“I‘m sorry, sir, I won‘t do it again.”

“You didn‘t answer my question, ox,” Sule snapped, and gave Olaf a shove, or tried to; it was like pushing against the stone face of a cliff. He snarled and shoved harder, this time causing Olaf to stumble just a bit.

“Stop it.” Olaf growled, frowning, his heavy blond brows drawn together.

Finally, a reaction. “Stop what? Stop this?” Sule asked, slapping Olaf on the shoulder, then on the chest. “This?” A kick with his instep to the side of Olaf‘s calf. “This?” A cuff to his head.

“Stop!”

“And if I don‘t?” Sule stepped back, lifted his fists into position for a serious fight, began shifting his weight back and forth from foot to foot. It was too bad there would be no witnesses, but fighting on board would probably be enough to get the oaf expelled from the crew. It would be his word against Sule‘s.

“I don‘t want to fight you.”

“That‘s too bad,” Sule said and shot out a fist. It caught Olaf on the chin, knocking his head back but not causing nearly the impact Sule was hoping for. Before Sule could hit him again, Olaf threw the blankets aside and rushed forward, his shoulder hitting Sule in the chest, driving him backward, slamming him into the bulkhead. Sule‘s head banged against the wood, and then his body was pinned there by Olaf‘s. No room to kick, Olaf holding both of Sule‘s wrists tight against the bulkhead as well. Sule snarled and looked up to meet Olaf‘s eyes—it infuriated him that he wasn‘t quite tall enough to look directly into them. What he saw there wasn‘t anger or hate—he would have recognized those emotions in someone else‘s eyes—but he didn‘t care. He jerked his right wrist free, or tried to, but Olaf kept it pinned to the bulkhead. He pulled harder, but he could not break the grip on his wrists.


Sule knows how to fight. He likes to fight. Sometimes when he‘s on land, he‘ll make his way to the dirtiest, darkest tavern he can find and make bets with the white men drinking there that he‘ll fight all of them, one by one, and be the last man standing. He almost always wins because he‘ll do anything to win.


Olaf curled his fingers around Sule‘s left wrist. Sule swore, tried again to pull free, but Olaf just tightened his grip. “We want something, we take it,” he growled, then leaned over and licked Sule‘s arm, his tongue slipping under the cuff of Sule‘s shirt and lapping at the skin there.

Sule went still, all anger and resistance utterly wiped away by shock. Olaf‘s hand was cool against Sule‘s skin, but his tongue, moving across his own fingers and up to Sule‘s unresisting hand, was hot and wet. When that tongue slid across his palm, in between his fingers, Sule gasped, started to say, “What—“ but Olaf‘s mouth had left his hand and moved to his neck, and all he could do was drop his head back against the bulkhead and shut his eyes.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

"Cross Bones" chat today at Literary Nymphs yahoo group

Okay, so I never did get a blurb/excerpt up from my story in "Cross Bones", Dreamspinner Press' pirate anthology.

BUT! Today's chat at Literary Nymphs yahoo group is dedicated to the anthology, so authors will be there posting excerpts, answering questions, and actually, I don't know what else will be going on, since this will be my first "author" chat.

I should be there from mid-morning until 1 PM, and for a few more hours after 6 PM.

You can join the group if you have a yahoo account, and if you don't have one, you can sign up for one for free. Hope to see you there!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Pirate porn! Get yer pirate porn! Fresh off the presses/servers!

"Cross Bones", an anthology of pirate-themed M/M romance stories from Dreamspinner Press, is releasing today! My story is called "From a Simmer to a Burn". I haven't read any of the other stories yet, but I'm sure they're all better than mine, so have at it, mateys! :D

You can buy the e-book and/or paperback from Dreamspinner Press.

(I'll try to get a blurb up later today)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Distractions. And, oh yeah, procrastination

I'm not going to get that short story done for Dreamspinner's "Higher Learning" anthology. Just too many distractions right now, and too much to change/fix from the original idea I had.

And since I was spending my time and energy on that story, I didn't get anything submitted for the Halloween free reads before those slots all filled up.

So now my goal is to write what's in my head and FINISH that instead of chasing new ideas. If I'd written the sequel to "What I Learned From My Roommate" when I'd originally thought of it, I would have had a finished story ready to submit to "Higher Learning". (Of course, it would have been a completely different story than what I'm working on now, but that might've been okay....)

Yes, my mini-goal was to submit something for every DSP call for submissions, but I need to be more disciplined to be able to do that, since I'm not getting them written AND I'm not getting my novel written. Curse you, laziness!!

Friday, July 29, 2011

anthology on the Upcoming Products page of DSP

"Cross Bones" Anthology listed about 2/3 of the way down this page. Sorry, I don't know how to make the link go to that part of the page.

Release date is indeed August 15.

Or go directly to e-book and/or paperback.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

cover art for Cross Bones

Cover art for the anthology coming out in August:


It's almost exactly like the cover I wanted for my *novel*, if I ever get that finished, so now I don't know what to use for that. But since this short story is actually finished, submitted, accepted, and being published, I'm not going to complain. ;) BTW, the galley proof looked amazing, they picked a perfect font.

Friday, July 15, 2011

DH2 -- no spoilers

End of an era tonight. I'm a HP fan, although not a very good one, but it was still a big part of my life. If it hadn't been for HP, I never would have started writing. And while the movies aren't as important to me as the books, they still held out a thread of the magic to grasp even though the books were done, and now that thread has come to an end.

I'm sure I'll pick apart the movie in the days to come, but for now, I'll just say that they did a good job wrapping up the series. And now, off to bed, "For in dreams, we enter a world that is entirely our own." -- Albus Dumbledore (movie canon, but it seemed appropriate.)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Summertime in Georgia: those little bastards

The problem with mosquitoes is that by the time they're big enough that you can feel them land on you and kill them, they've already bitten you about five times, which is why they're that big and heavy. That is all.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Grammar-type question

So....

inside of
off of

Do you need to include "of" or not, or does it depend on the object/sentence?

Moonlight reflecting off of the water
Moonlight reflecting off the water

Which is correct, or is it entirely a question of writing style?

Monday, July 4, 2011

interesting POV thing

I'm working on a short story for the next Dreamspinner Press anthology, Higher Learning. I don't think I'm going to get this one done in time, it's just not coming.

BUT a weird thing happened while writing -- I started a paragraph, writing in 3rd Person omniscient, I think it's called, and the words were usual, ordinary. Then I remembered that the story is told in first person, and as soon as I switched, it was like a blast of color onto the page. My narrator is SO much more interesting than my 3rd person POV. His expressions and way of speaking is so much more fun.

So now I'm wondering, how can I get that "voice", that liveliness to come through in all my other writing that IS in 3rd person POV? Obviously this character can't narrate every one of my stories, but there must be a way to get that interesting sound onto the page. Unless the problem is that other stories CAN'T be told in a fun way, if the subject matter is not fun?

Monday, June 27, 2011

The good life

I don't want to jinx it or put a kennahara on it (thanks, Will & Grace!), but I really do have a great life. The things that bother me are minor, the house isn't falling apart THAT much, we have enough money, our health is good, the cats are healthy and not killing too many things these days.

I have a few friends, or maybe a lot of friends, who cannot say the same. So just taking the time to say I really lucked out in the life lotto, at least 99% of the time.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Setting a goal doesn't mean not changing it

Ever since the Kelly Stone workshop on June 18, I've been trying to tap my subconscious just before falling asleep at night and just before getting up in the morning.

This morning as I thought about how I'm not hitting my "realistic writing schedule", I realized that setting a goal doesn't mean you can't change it. You might have to tinker with it until it really is realistic.

I know that sounds like slacking off, setting a goal so low you can't possibly NOT attain it, but maybe that's the idea. If you constantly set goals you don't achieve (for whatever reason, even laziness), you're not ever going to feel like a success. Thought-feeling-action, or any permutation of those three, right?

So I need to change my "realistic writing schedule" since it's not getting done. If I set the bar low enough to be attainable, even for my lazy self, then maybe I can work my way up from there, until I'm one of those "N number of pages/day" writers.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Notes from June 18 GRW meeting -- Kelly Stone!

The Galley at the GRW forums will have more details about the first part of the meeting; I'm going to post only what I wrote down at the time.
~~~~~~~~~~

Does anyone have any connections that/who can give us cool stuff for the gift bags at M&M? Promotional materials can also go into goody room/gift bags.

If you do want to put promotional materials into gift bags, keep in mind that there will be ~250 registrants. You can email cahamer@gmail.com – coordinator of promotional/goodybag gifts. [I hope I got that address right.]

Someone had the idea of purple dresses as a theme for M&M, for the awards banquet. [I say, let's do it!]

And probably the most tweeted line of the meeting, from Nikki, describing the appeal of a man in a kilt: “Kilts are like hooters, for ladies.”

-----------------------

Kelly Stone workshop
Motivation and Mishaps: How to build resiliency into the writer’s mindset.

These are psychological techniques that can be applied to your writing life.

[again, just a jumble of what I could write down. The problem with taking notes at her workshops is that EVERYTHING OUT OF HER MOUTH IS WORTH WRITING DOWN. I should just buy her books already.]

What are mishaps? babies, surgery, health, job changes, health, losing loved ones.
What motivates: Money, success, other writers.

How to keep going, how to sustain yourself over the course of many years it might take to get published, how to stay published. A lot of challenges you face before published morph into similar problems after you get published [so it may never be entirely smooth sailing].

Promotional activities eat up your time after you’re published.
How to sustain drive once you’ve finished and face that next blank page.

“The burning desire to write.” It’s what you’ve got to do, then life barges in. Without action behind the desire, you won’t be able to sustain it/overcome mishaps/generate motivation.

The writer’s mindset: thought/feeling/behavior cycle: how you think is how you feel is how you act, or any variation of those three things.

Determine which of those components is the strongest in your life. Can you think/feel your way into doing something? For most people, strongest component is acting your way into thinking/feeling. Sit down to write even if you don’t feel like it, after awhile, you WILL feel like it.

Alfred Adler: “Acting as if”. (Dr. Phil: “Fake it ‘til you make it.”) Over time, you will become that. It influences your thoughts and feelings and it programs your subconscious mind. You can change your beliefs about yourself, but it takes some conscious effort.

Keep a journal for a few days -- any time you have a thought or feeling about writing, jot it down. Takes effort – things flit through your mind, have to pay attention to write them down. Usually the “flit” things are negative.

Look for the subtle, negative thoughts that will sabotage you.
Pick a day to pay attention to all those thoughts.
Enough positive thoughts will cancel out a negative, AND they’re more powerful.
If you catch yourself with a negative thought, switch it immediately to a positive. If you think, "Look at all these books in the store -- I'll never get one onto a shelf", you need to switch it to, "Look at all these books in the store -- someday mine will be here, too."

Feeling to go along with it: feel what it’s going to be like when that positive thought becomes reality. “It’s going to feel great when _______.”

Have to have enough repetition to re-program your conscious mind.
(Based on Napoleon Hill’s work. “The psychology of achievement.” Power of subconscious, how to reprogram it to manifest goals you have for yourself. “Think and Grow Rich” is his most famous book.)

Actions stem from your thoughts and your feelings, and you can act your way into thinking and feeling.

Have to give your subconscious mind a structure of goals that you’re pouring your actions into. BUT THEN you have to back your goals up with actions.

This is why you need a writing schedule. Even if it’s “I’m going to write when [something small]”, it has to be scheduled. Write it down – visual things are powerful to subconscious mind.
Whatever schedule is, FOLLOW IT. If you can’t, you need to get a new goal.

Actions must match up to goals, or it trains your mind in the wrong way.
If you can’t match, find out why: unrealistic goal, wrong genre, style/time doesn’t work, etc.

Actions are the only constant you can control to any degree. Thoughts and feelings about all kinds of things will change, but actions are controllable. That’s why they influence thoughts and feelings.

[Then we did this exercise:]
Write on paper: think about a trait of resiliency or motivation, or think of an author you admire who is resilient, motivated, etc. Think of a trait you would like to instill in yourself.
For example: Discpline, persistence.

If you could instill it in yourself, how would you feel? how would a writer like that act?

Write “I am” and then the trait.
Then write “I feel” [fulfilled, successful] when I am (trait)
Then write an action you’ll take to feel and act that trait.

[Mine was:
I am diligent.
I feel like I've achieved something when I am diligent.
I'm going to set a writing schedule that's realistic.]

One thing you can do this week to do those things above.
Hang this by your computer and read it every day. It's a way to program your subconscious.

Repetition: replace negative with positive, repeat.
This process is cumulative in nature. Takes repetition.

Feelings are fleeting. The subconscious has to have it [feel it?] over and over to make it a reality.
Make # [hashtag] in your journal for [negative] things that come up a lot – that’s what you need to tackle first.

Read statements into your own eyes in a mirror.
“I’m a best-selling author.” Nothing wrong with having that as a goal. Need the actions to back it up, but it’s a good goal.
Or a goal to write: “I’ll write X days/week for the coming week.” Put on a card under your pillow – giving the subconscious a concrete [thing] to hook onto.

Visualize lots of details for this goal BEFOREHAND. Every day. Visualize the details the night before for morning goals, visualize details at work for evening goals.

You have to believe that this process will work for you. Or at least try to be neutral towards it while you try it.

Hypnagogic state – the state just before sleep and just before wakefulness. (Hypnagogia on Wikipedia.)
You can induce it – lay down, but hold one arm up so you don’t actually sleep. Keep a notebook nearby. If you have a question, this is a good time to address it to your subconscious mind. Blocked? Ask your subconscious in the hypnagogic state. If will work IF YOU TRUST THE PROCESS.

Put together pictures on a bulletin board or make a collage that supports the writer’s self-image that you want. Anything that calls to you – don’t think about it too much. Pictures, words, anything related to that word you want to be [from the previous exercise]. Anytime you’re stuck, or when you get up, before you go to bed, just look at it. It will seep into your subconscious mind.

Write an author bio for yourself [as if you're already a successful author] and read it every day. “S has sold 50 books, won a RITA,” etc. It gives your subconscious something to grab onto, BUT then back it up with action.

Role-modeling: pick an author you admire. What would she do when faced with a problem in your writing? List traits that that author has. If you don’t know her traits, make them up.
WWND? (What Would Nora Do?)

That’s the hook to give your subconscious the images that you’re striving for.

Image incorporation: take traits of role model, get into alpha/relaxed state, ask your subconscious, “Help me to write every day like A.” “Help me to get great ideas like B.” Have to stick with it, have to suspend judgement. And you have to trust what comes.

Relaxation technique. Pick a role model, think of a question you want to ask her: What should I write next? How do I get an agent?

The point of this exercise is that your answers are within you. Also to give you an image of your subconscious mind.

[She said that she's reassured people in the past that tapping into your subconscious won't turn you schizophrenic or crazy. One woman said, "I can imagine I'm asking someone else, but any answer I get will be coming from my own mind. Kelly replied, "That's right. If you're getting those answers from someone else's mind, then you can start worrying."]

[I tried to visualize a writer I found online two days ago, but I haven't read anything of hers yet, haven't seen a picture, I just thought her books look really good and she's had quite a few published. What I saw was a kind of pixelated computer icon, which didn't give me any answers. So, not a good choice for this exercise. Maybe once I've actually read something she's written.

As the exercise was ending, I decided to go for a last-ditch effort, so I visualized Jayne Ann Krentz as she looked in one of her book jacket photos. The words came up immediately. She told me, “Have fun with it.”]

Last piece of action: Hold yourself accountable. Write down writing goal for next month, exchange with someone at your table. Email after a month, see if you’ve met your goal.

I exchanged goals with Anne Lovett. Her goal for the next month is to write 2 new chapters. [Hi, Anne, if you see this! :)]

My goal is to write something in the novel every day, even if it’s only 100 words. [It didn't happen yesterday, but it will happen today! Positive thoughts! :)]


[Something that Kelly Stone's workshop at last year's M&M influenced me to do -- my passwords for various writing sites used to be variations on statements like, "Don't write that" or "My writing sucks", things like that. But a month or so after really getting into RWA/GRW, I changed my passwords to more positive statements.]

Friday, June 17, 2011

Hi to everyone from Dreamspinner and Rainbow Romance Writers!

I've told only my husband and my critique group so far, but the short story I was working on in May did get accepted to Dreamspinner Press' anthology, "Cross Bones".

Dreamspinner has been amazing with their support, and I'll soon have an author bio up at their site (if I can ever decide on the wording).

I'm also a new member of Rainbow Romance Writers, an online chapter of RWA, recommended by Suzanne Brockmann when I told her I write M/M romances.

So hello to anyone from those groups who gets over here!

Since submitting that story, I've been reading the RWR magazines, catching up on GRW forums, going through the dreamspinner author and RRW yahoo groups, reading articles and blogs, finding out all kinds of fascinating author-y stuff.

The only thing I haven't been doing is writing.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Rain

Yes, we need the rain, but right now I'm stuck at work, in what's basically a trailer because of the remodeling, during a massive thunderstorm. Umbrella is in the car. It should let up really soon. Any second now.

Last night I stumbled across some big news back in November of 2009, about Harlequin Enterprises starting a vanity press line and basically getting booted out of RWA's good graces because of how they set it up. But it all seems to be sorted out now?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Maybe I do believe in myself, just a little

I was ranting in an email to Evangeline, one of the members of my critique group, and I realized something important that I'd like to post here as well:
------------------
I was reading last month's RWR article about believing in yourself, and I was thinking about how I *don't* really believe in my talent as a writer.

I mean, there are so many writers who write so much better than I do. I tried to tell myself that there are writers who get published who write *worse* than I do...but that didn't really help until I realized that some of my favorite romance novelists won't ever be nominated for Pulitzers, BUT! I love their stories and their characters.

I have fun reading those books, re-reading them. And other people enjoy them, too. I didn't want to write romances to get a Pulitzer, I just wanted to write stories that I like and that other people might like. And I think maybe I have enough "talent" to do that.
------------------------------

I don't aspire to be a NYT best-selling author, I just want to have fun and tell stories. Is that a bad thing? I think if I can rise above "dilettante", I'll be ahead of my own curve for once.

Monday, June 6, 2011

M&M Registration: check!

Just registered for Moonlight & Magnolias, at the GRW rate this year. Yay, me! If you haven't yet, go do it now!!

Did quick research on the editors/agents; hope I picked some good ones. I've come so far since last year -- now I know the difference between an editor and an agent. *headdesks*

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Notes from May 21 RWA meeting – Dianna Love and Barbara Vey on Building Reader Loyalty

(Let's see how big of a post Blogspot will take. I put all of this in a facebook note, but I'm trying it here as well. And something I forgot to include in the facebook note: Nancy Knight asked people to email her, since she's become an agent as well as everything else she does. nancycknight@gmail.com, I think. She said she'll represent pretty much anything except YA erotica, which I don't think is a real genre. At least, I hope it's not. I know teenagers read erotica, I just want plausible deniability.)


Dianna Love and Barbara Vey on Building Reader Loyalty

Q: What does reader loyalty mean?
A: That they’ll buy your book, and they’ll buy your book again.

(Throughout the talk, Dianna and Barbara mentioned lots of things I’ve never heard of – sites, blogs, publishers. It made me aware of how many resources are out there if you’re looking for ways to promote your books. Actually, the flow of previously unknown information was kind of overwhelming....Also, as I transcribe these notes, they seem kind of all over the place, but maybe little bits here and there will be useful.)

Things that you as an author can do to build loyalty: sign books for everyone who shows up at signings. Dianna and Barbara told some stories about staying past closing time at bookstores just to make sure everyone got their book signed, even if it meant doing it in the parking lot after dark. Also stories about authors who were unpleasant at their own book signings.

You’ll get loyal readers BEFORE you write your book – times have changed. Social media, conferences, book signings. [Not sure why I wrote that down; maybe the point was that people will know/meet you online or at writing-related events, not necessarily after you’ve published.]

YOU HAVE TO BRAND YOURSELF before your book comes out so that you have a built-in audience. The way to do this is by blogging, online book.[Can’t remember what that means, sorry.] Don’t wait for them to find your book in a store and THEN find you.

Go to conferences, got o Barbara’s blog party. Get known on blogs that readers read – they’ll know your name (and then when your book comes out, they’ll go, “Hey, I remember her!”).

Giveaways can jumpstart a loyal reader. “Giveaway Mondays” on Barbara’s Blog. If you have free stuff to give away, email her a one-sentence description of the item, which must be free. It’s free advertising.

Ask readers what THEY would like as giveaways.

Readers and writers have to form a community. [I meant to ask how you avoid stalkers, but I forgot.]

Publisher’s Weekly has a blog and/or facebook page, and they also have a Romance Newsletter that comes out twice a month. Talk to Barbara if you want something mentioned in that.

E-books: some sales are growing faster than paper books’ sales are dropping. Readers read, and they love to talk about books they read, no matter how the medium changes.

If you don’t like meeting people in person, learn to do it online. New York (i.e. traditional publishers) don’t meet readers, they have surveys done and look at results.

Not all readers have e-readers (so giving away free e-versions of your story isn’t always helpful?).

Give readers a reason to read your book, even if they “don’t read that.”

BE a reader: if they don’t read your genre, recommend someone else’s books that are in a genre they DO read. They’ll remember you, your name.

Don’t ever assume someone reads or doesn’t read your genre. If they don’t, their friends, spouses, parents do.

One reader at a time. The business credo: It’s less expensive to keep a client than to get a new one.

Carry your book or a bookmark to show/give away. Dianna and Barbara told a story about giving away a book to a waitress, who got all excited, held up the book so everyone in the restaurant could see the free book she just got. Now the whole restaurant knew about the book.

Find a common ground with your readers and talk about it in your blog. Write how you talk. Talk about embarrassing stuff, funny stuff – find that common ground. Barbara told a story about blogging about a publishing conference she’d been to, and she mentioned a weird combination toilet/bidet in her bathroom at the hotel, and of course, that’s all the readers of her blog wanted to discuss.

You are a business now, you’re a commodity. If your writing is a hobby, you don’t have to market yourself. BUT if you want to do this as a business, you need to do this stuff.

Keep your website updated, have contact info available. Use your writer name/pseudonym in your blog, facebook page, website. It’s a pain to maintain a website or build a new one, but readers go straight to the website.

If you don’t keep up with a blog, don’t do it at all. Guest blog if you don’t want to have your own. If you do guest blog, reply to your comments and questions.

If you do guest blog or post on other people’s blogs, don’t say, “BUY MY BOOK, BUY MY BOOK”. But you can mention that you have a book coming out IF you’re already known on that blog.

HOW TO LOSE READERS: think little of your readers, don’t want to meet them.

When you walk out the door, you’re ON. You never know who you’re talking to – it could be current or future readers. It won’t always be convenient to meet with people, but make the time. [A question that came up as I was transcribing: what if you’re exclusively an e-author? There won’t be book signings. Do you still have to meet people in person?]

HOW TO BUILD LOYALTY: Readers want a good story. But they also want authors who take the time to interact with their readers.

Readers like to meet like-minded readers, at websites, blogs.

When you’re talking to your readers, give them your entire attention – over other authors, publishers, agents, whoever.

If a reader says something positive about your book, no matter what, you say, “Thank you.” Barbara’s example story for this was about a fan, so excited to meet Jackie Collins at a book-signing that his hands were white-knuckled on his copies of her books. When he got up to her, he told her, “I love your romances!” She replied icily, “I don’t write romances. I write relationships.” Barbara said she could SEE the excitement go out of that guy, and she will not read another Jackie Collins book ever again.

Dianna said that she and Sherrilyn Kenyon (sp?) don’t charge for photos with fans – it’s almost like a giveaway.

If you do blog, know your audience. If you blog for other authors, don’t expect readers to be interested. If you blog for readers, make it for readers. Barbara said that she will often get “reader blurbs” for books, which gets other readers to read them.

Do fun contests – T-shirts, books. Something like, “Everyone who comments today gets put into a drawing for a giveaway.”

Post pictures, anyone going on, not just about your books.

Link your twitter and facebook. Maybe do one thing a day (twitter OR facebook OR blog), then be done for that day. You don’t have to read everyone’s posts.

Get Dianna Love’s book “Break Into Fiction”. [I bought it, so if any of you want to borrow it, just let me know.]

Q&A towards the end:

Q: Review sites – should authors go there?
A by Dianna: She will not go on anything that’s negative or attacks anyone. We should support ALL authors. So check review sites before blogging [for them?] or sending your book to be reviewed there. Decide what you want to support. Find reviewers of your books and thank them.
[I used to go to a review site, for readers, that does give poor reviews when they feel it’s warranted. The last time I went there was after reading the first part of a book that was so bad, I had to stop reading it. I wanted to see how they’d reviewed it. They hadn’t reviewed that particular book, but the reviewers on that site consistently gave that author Ds or Fs and finally said they weren’t going to review any more of her books because of those low ratings. Since my taste was similar to most of the reviewers, I valued their opinions.
I feel like readers have the right to know if a book is good or bad before they buy it, although “good or bad” can be very subjective. That same author had glowing reviews on Amazon.com, so like I said about fanfic: no matter how bad the story, there’s someone out there who will love it.
Anyway, I suppose I get what Dianna was saying – as authors, we should support other authors.]
Also sort of on this topic: Barbara will not allow a negative blurb [on her blog]. If a reader doesn’t like the book, Barbara will pass the book to another readers, because someone out there will like the book. [Hey, my point again!]


Blog tours (i.e. guest blogging?) – check the site, make sure they have a lot of readers.

DO NOT ENGAGE if someone says something negative about you.

Keep in mind that a reviews is [just] an opinion.

Ask readers about blog sites, review sites.

Anyone sees your name often enough, they’ll remember your name in real life or online.

Blog entries/movies [?] – keep them short! Don’t work on a blog post more than 20 minutes. Another general rule is to keep them to 350 words or less.


A few things I wrote in the margins: Friends from Beyond Her Book Party

Publisher’s Weekly blog

Seekerville, a blog for unpublished writers?

Pioneer Woman (I hope I have the right site). Example of how a blog about living in the country struck a chord with readers.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

June!

Went to Charleston for Memorial Day weekend, not realizing that Spoleto was still on, but amazingly, it wasn't horribly crowded. Hung out with a friend from elementary school who is also on facebook and moved to the area about four months ago. We had a great time catching up!

Monday, drove down to Beaufort, which I'd picked off of googlemaps to set part of that Dreamspinner story in. Nice town, great coffee shop called City Java and News, carriage ride, old houses.

Massively busy week at work -- still have some stuff to finish tonight or tomorrow morning, but had critique group meeting today, yay! Lots of good stuff as usual, and now we all have our goals for next time. BTW, everyone hit their goals from the last meeting, so double-yay.

BTW, anyone know how to post pics to these blogs? Thanks.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Pirate Anthology deadline -- 23 hours and counting

At least, I think it's 23 hours. Website says deadline is May 23. Does that mean midnight on May 23 or midnight on May 24? Or noon, or 10 AM, or 3 PM on May 23?

I'm taking it to mean midnight on May 24, but here's the thing: I'm not quite done with the first draft. I'll have to make time for a very basic edit, I'll have no time at all to polish. So, do I

a) submit it tomorrow anyway, risking that they'll publish something that is less than my best work,

or

b) hang onto it, finish it, polish it, and save it for an opportunity at a later date?

If I choose 'a', I could be mucking up my reputation in the future. If I choose 'b', I may never have another chance.

How many times in a row can you say "bugger" before your head explodes?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

May GRW meeting -- Dianna Love and Barbara Vey

Great meeting today (well, they're all great, aren't they?!). Pam got PRO-pinned by Nikki, who didn't beat her or do anything else terrible. Dianne Love and Barbara Vey spoke about reader loyalty: how to get it and how to lose it. I took copious notes that I hope will make more sense than last meeting's notes, when I go to transcribe them. Which will probably have to wait until after Monday. Tick, tock, tick, tock, and I'm not talking about Ke$ha.

Might go take a nap first, though -- got up early and drove home in toasty hot car and fighting a cold that had better not be what G brought back from CA a week ago and is still sick with.

Achievement for the day: learned to put links into post (if it worked). ETA: Yay!!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

working on short story -- panic setting in

I'm trying to write a pirate short story for the "Cross Bones" Dreamspinner anthology: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/pages.php?pID=7&CDpath=0 (sorry, I don't know how to do links in blogspot), and I'm 2700 words in with a 12,000 word limit, and no porn yet. Am I in trouble? The romantic leads don't even meet until over 1000 words in. Am I in trouble?? The deadline is May 23. AM I IN TROUBLE??!?!?

I've had the story pretty much mapped out on the hard drive and in my head for a few weeks, but I need to stop futzing around and write the damn thing. And then when I do, stuff changes.

Once I'd written the beginning, I thought I might cut most of it, but now I'm not sure, I might need it for later stuff to make sense. But it seems a long way in with no sexual tension yet, no first kiss yet, for a short story.

Eh, just needed to whine/vent.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Critique group! And book recs

Had the first meeting of our critique group today, and it went way better than I could have hoped. Tiana, Cheryl, and Evangeline are all very nice, smart, and encouraging, so I have great hopes for the group.

Currently reading Suzanne Brockmann's "Prince Joe", one of two books in a combo that I bought at the GRW meeting she spoke at. The other book is "Forever Blue", and the combo is called "Tall, Dark and Dangerous". The cover shows a guy in a white shirt with a six-pack: the good kind, not the beer kind. The last romance novel I read was so awful that I was worried that maybe I didn't like the genre anymore, but her characters grabbed me and I was totally sucked in. I'd never read anything by her before, but now I understand why she's so popular.

Before that book, I read "The Help", by Kathryn Stockett. I don't usually read literary fiction, but I like Emma Stone and she's in the movie version that's coming out in August, so I decided to read the book first. It grabbed me the way few books have recently.

And if you want a lesson on "voice", read that book! It's told in first person by three different characters, each of whom narrate a few chapters at a time, and it's very clear, even without the labels at the top of each new section, whose story it is.

So who wants to go see the movie with me when it comes out?!?!?!!

And now I'm going to go back to working on that story with the May 23 deadline. :)

ETA: trying to change settings so the time comes up correctly....

Sunday, April 17, 2011

assignments from Nancy Knight's workshop, "Well Begun is Half Done"

Nancy Knight gave a great workshop at the April GRW meeting, talking about how to make the opening of your book compelling. She gave us a few exercises.

First assignment:
Write three openings of a novel.
One must be dialogue,
one cannot be dialogue,
and one must be combination of character and setting

Here is what I came up with. I'm not happy with the first, but I like the other two pretty well.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
1.

“Bite me.”
“Oh, THAT’S mature.”

2.

Chas was falling, wind rushing past his face, buffeting his body. He’d heard that people falling to their deaths would mercifully pass out before landing, but he was vividly, horribly aware that he was seconds from a terrible, painful end.

3.

Stephen inched past the stacks of sailcloth and coiled ropes, gripping the railing to keep from slipping on the wet deck, then leaned far over the gunnel and vomited his breakfast into the sea.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Second assignment: Setting
Write a paragraph – Use these items in your setting:
silver chalice
a jewel-handled dagger
an Aubusson carpet (fine, french carpet)
A bible
and a skull

I didn't realize we were supposed to write an opening scene using these items, so the scene I wrote could take place towards the beginning of my story, just not AT the beginning of the story.

The final product did not turn out like my first idea: [Heh. William’s cabin!!! offering meat at the end of the dagger, drinking from the chalice, lying on the carpet, *not* swearing on a bible, rapping on Philip’s skull.]

I'm also not sure if I really completed the assignment correctly, but maybe everything didn't have to show up literally?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Come sit with me.” William sprawled on the carpet that covered the floor of his cabin, a platter of meat and fruit next to him. He lifted a silver chalice off of his desk and held it out to Philip. “Perhaps some food and drink will take the edge off of your temper.”

Philip frowned at the chalice and the carpet. He had seen a similar carpet in the home of Dr. Cordray, the richest man in town, and he knew that a pirate would not have come by such goods honestly.

“Stolen.”

William raised his eyebrows. “I beg your pardon?” He withdrew the chalice and took a sip himself.

“All of these items once belonged to someone else, and you stole them. I will not condone your actions by using them!”

“Well, then, lad, you’d better heave yourself overboard.” He set down the chalice and stabbed a bit of meat with the point of a jewel-handled dagger. “Surely you’ve brains enough in your skull to know that this boat and everything on it once belonged to someone else?

Philip gaped at him. William grinned and ate the meat off of the end of the dagger. “Besides, you’ve told me you don’t believe in God or the Bible, so what have you got against a little honest thievery?”

---------------------------------------

And the last assignment (details below) was to show how, using the same genre and plot device, everyone is going to come up with a different idea.

Exercise:
The premise of your story is horror. Use a blush-pink rose as a primary plot device.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There’s Serial-killer who kidnaps women, ties them up and bleeds them slowly while he scatters blush-pink rose petals over the blood that runs out of them. The Heroine works in a flower shop, sells him a rose one day or roses every couple of weeks, she thinks he’s taking them to his mother or girlfriend, or maybe to a hospital or oncologist’s office. Not until the rose petal part of the crime is reported or leaked that she realizes what’s going on.

--------------

It was all good fun, hearing the creepy things that people came up with, but later that day, when Bryonna and I were walking around Decatur, everywhere we went, there were blush-pink roses, rising up in horrible, threatening clumps, reaching for us with their hideous thorns, choking us with their perfume....No, actually, they were pretty and all smelled lovely.

The first ones we saw were in front of the courthouse, where a wedding took place around 6 PM. A fitting end to a romance writer's meeting day. :)