Friday, December 31, 2004

Spooky Links

In honor of my birthday, here are some great pages from other folks:

Horror! from the Welles-Turner Memorial Library in Glastonbury, CT. A bibliography of recommended titles divided into two categories (a) "Featuring Creatures You Never Want to Meet" (b) "When Hell is Other People." Visit the YA Department.

Horrors: What to Read after Fear Street from the Haverhill Public Library in Haverhill, MA.

Master Shaper: An Interview with Neil Gaiman by David Carroll (first appeared in "Bloodsongs," Issue 8, 1997) from Tabula Rasa.

Scaring the Children by Kyla Ward (first appeared in "Bloodsongs #8," 1997) from Tabula Rasa; emphasis is on mass market rather than literary children's horror.

YA Mystery & Horror Novels from The Cuyahoga Falls Library in Cuyahoga Falls, OH. A bibliography of recommended titles.

What Is Horror Fiction? from the Horror Writers Association.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Angel Wings

Was out for chicken marsala last night with G and spotted at the next table the most exquisite girl with tatooed angel wings on her back (shown to perfection by a strappy sundress--totally do-able on some Austin December days). I simply must put her body art in a book someday. Devastating.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Ten Little Mummies

Austin author Phil Yates reports that his picture book, Ten Little Mummies (illustrated by G. Brian Karas), is now available in Japanese; check out the Japanese-language cover.

Monday, December 27, 2004


Just dropped off a copy for my editor and another for my agent in the Fed Ex box at BookPeople. My theory is the proximity to other books provides a good vibe. Whew.

Turning my attention now to writing up comments for SP on his latest draft.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Mr. Grinch

Boris Karloff absolutely ruled as The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.

Changed the word "foolishness" to "nonsense" both for voice and meaning, which are similar but not quite the same.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2004

Movies and Mistletoe

Wrote, printed, and signed the cover letter! And the crowd cheers!

Spent much of the day watching "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" and "My Fair Lady."

Also fiddled with two pages, rewriting one line to more specifically reflect the antagonist's interests and another to clarify the fantasy universe's motivation of a word choice.

Thursday, December 23, 2004


Merry Christmas Eve Eve (if you celebrate it).

Ah, glorious ink. I'm right now printing the copy of the mss to CC to my agent, having already printed copies for the editor and for my file. I'd hoped to get at least a draft of the cover letter done today, but 'twas not to be.

Things I did instead of writing the cover letter:
printed the manuscript three times;
had lunch at Suzi's Chinese Kitchen on South Lamar;
shopped for AB's gift at Target and Bath Junkie;
picked up a copy of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban;
stopped at Randall's for French green beans and deli turkey;
did laundry, dishes, and many other domestic tasks.

But who cares! I'm yuletidy! Get it? Yule-tidy.


Wednesday, December 22, 2004


Finished reading the manuscript and keying in changes. Yahoo!

(Almost) ready to send back the draft.

Put on my black velvet long-sleeve top, my black lace skirt, my black cowboy boots, and went to Zoot for dinner with my honey, followed by a pick-up of books at Dragon's Lair.

Best Of Intentions

Happy Solstice!

Yes, I know I was going to be done with the revision today. But the fates conspired against me. Imagine every possible interruption. Twice.

The upside, I think I've managed to simplify the antagonist's driving plot and done a bit of helpful rearranging. There's still a continuity detail I'd like to add.

But anyway, after hours of splicing in a page of corrections here and there, I've lost faith in that approach. I need to reprint the whole thing from the file and start over. Fresh. Perhaps--dare I say it--after the holidays?

Monday, December 20, 2004

Children of the Night

Five stars night--stars big, stars bright. Wind howling! Roadtripping followed by divine dinner and show-house via TC; thoughtful, ultra hip and cool gift from SP.

Had SP read, which was a good call and allowed me to hear off beats.

Comments: smiley; "good description;" "good way to explain; checks;" some clarifications; a simplification or two; "it really gives a flavor for this type of life;" "I don't think that's been done before."

Planning to read once more tomorrow and send back.

Did I just type that?

Bela Baby

Watched the classic "Dracula," starring Bela Lugosi (1931), which was apparently the first version with sound. Totally waters down (so to speak) the sexy stuff, especially the gay overtones of the original story. Most distressing, though, since it's based on the Dean/Balderston play, is that there is no Quincey Morris. Texas weeps. See more vampire movie posters. My favorite, by the way, is the Francis Ford Coppola version (1992), which more closely follows the novel than the rest.

Sunday, December 19, 2004


I did absolutely nothing on the novel today.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Revisiting The Letter

I just took a deep breath, walked down to the sunroom, and with my trusty kitten Leo by my side, reread the editorial letter.

First and foremost, I'm grateful for it.

Of course prior to this round, the story had been through more than one incarnation. One entirely from KM's POV. One with a wildly different plot.

But this time when I returned to face the dragon, I was armed with my Excaliber. Not only do I feel as though T has shown great progress, I also feel stronger, smarter, savvier than before.

I'm a better writer than I was in mid-September.

This has been a thoroughly magical, transforming (pun intended) experience.

What with 60 percent cut and 40 percent new, I'm sure there will still be work to do, and I look forward to it. But I honestly feel as though the process is clicking, and I'm bursting with joy at my writing life. When I read Tuesday, I'm going to have fun doing it and celebrate this step in the journey.



So Greg wanted to write last night, and I read again. Ended up with maybe 43 pages with some stray mark on them.

Changed one chapter title and switched another (they'd fit better before the revision). A few lines cut, killed a couple of adverbs, changed some names to pronouns or vise versa, fixed a bit of too-close repetition of words, snipped a "sigh," fussed at a bit of formatting, reduced the blood in DM's room, and that's basically it.

I keyed in but didn't even print a whole new copy (just the corrected pages). I'm going to reread this one instead on Tuesday and that should do it. Hope to mail Wednesday. Printing two scenes to bring to crit group on Monday.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Worth The Pain

Whew. Okay. Keyed in. Printing now. If Greg wants to write all weekend, I'll read it again. If not, I'm just taking those two new segments to group and then reading--drumroll, please--one more time. I'm that happy!

On the downside, the massage therapist tells me my neck muscles are a mess from staring down at my laptop for hours at a time. And I still don't care!


Format And More

Finished reading again last night. Fixed the formatting. Split one of the chapters into two, changed one of the chapter titles. Cut some detail that seemed confusing--to me, if no one else. Smoothed language. Found a couple of missing!!! words. Cut a bit of the Spanish because I was worried about having used it incorrectly. Varified the Italian. Cut any repetition of words too close together. Cut a little more Junk DNA. Added a line of character backstory on DM. Decided I had one too many "no matter" and/or "raising eyebrow." A "sigh" is always suspicious. Fiddled with my characterizations of Shelley and Hawthorne. Need to key again, read, and do the whole thing one more time. But not right now. Right now I am going to Daya!

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Again With The Time

Read through all the first-to-second pages of the chapters, and really, spotted very few that didn't have some kind of time/date marker. I added one line at the end of p. 28, saying that Q was off to K's house, so when you turn the page, you know that next scene picks up immediately afterward. Also added: "That Thursday" to p. 96, "after school" to p. 98, "Friday's" to p. 105; "still Sunday" to p. 186; and slipped in a transition page before the author's note. I also cut a reference to "Waterford" on p. 176 because I have a reference to "water" seven lines farther down.

Planning to read again this weekend, then print extra copies of new scenes for group.

Key In

Managed to key in last night, and didn't bother to put on a movie. Did it upstairs in bed on the laptop instead. Took only about a couple of hours--remember when it used to take three movies worth? Another sign that it's almost done ("done" being relative). Woo woo!

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Time Transitions

Read through today, and really, the only nagging thing I'm seeing is time transitions. One reader suggested doing some kind of countdown headers, but I'm not sure about that. Many chapters are on the same day, and I think it would start to look redundant.

I need to look at that again.

Keying in tonight while watching The Haunted Mansion. I don't have hugely high hopes for it, but if you've been steadily reading this blog, you know that my keying-in movie standards are not high.

Monday, December 13, 2004

The Plan

Will read once more, bring to group new scenes a week from today, read once after that and send. Period. The end. No more angst.

Dinner at Houston's (chicken and brown rice with beans) and drinks after at the Driskill hotel. Tea at Sweetish Hill with AB cancelled due to family crisis (hers, not mine).

Also, good news, DW liked her scarf!

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Reality Check

Now, I'm rereading the same eight pages, adding additional paragraph returns. This is ridiculous. I'm showing the new pages to AB tomorrow, making whatever changes, and then line editing to send back.

Beyond The Numbers

Printed out about eight pages of new writing or rewriting and have been playing with them.

Tendencies I need to watch: making sure I'm not the only one who can see the cinematic quality of the scene as it passes (or, not getting so comfortable with the image in my mind that I forget everyone else can't see it); over explaining (not trusting the reader enough).

Yes, the fact that these are contradictory competing interests makes it much more difficult/subtle. Most writers I know struggle to varying degrees over this balance.

Thinking I need to augment just with a line or two the characters who die before the final showdown so they feel a bit more real, resonate.

The death count, btw, is up to twelve now.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Someone Like Q

Keyed in this morning while watching "Someone Like You" with Ashley Judd, Greg Kinnear, and Hugh Jackman (of The "X-Men"/"X2" and "Van Helsing" fame) on DVD.

Current count is 45,500 words. Also identified eight pages to bring to group, which is a week from the day after tomorrow. I wish it were tomorrow.

I should probably read through once more, key in, field the new scenes, make any necessary adjustments, read again, and--gasp--look once more at the editorial letter.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Labor Day

Did another read-through today and am reasonably pleased. Greg says he wants to wait until the next round, assuming there is one, so I'm just about ready to resend. Probably in early January, given my level of compulsiveness.

The thing I caught today was that I'd completely spaced off any mention of Labor Day. Fortunately, I don't have it timed out as a key school scene or anything, but I still think a nod is in order so I added one.

Also picked up a copy of Hunter's Moon by C.J. Adams & Cathy Clamp at Randalls; who appear to be a set of Laurell K. Hamilton mentees.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Another Bat

It is sad how many Post-It notes must die so I can write a novel. Scribbled up another one today, this with a (final?) decision on a minor, though classic, fantasy element. I'm cutting it because the science behind it is applied inconsistently. I know I could just say "it's magic" and be done with it, but that sort of feels like cheating. Planning to reread again tomorrow. Wondering if I'll be ready to resend after the first of the year. Not able to sleep tonight.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

"I Did it!" -- Henry Higgins

Feeling full of bravado at the moment, but not hesitating to point out it wouldn't have been possible w/o AB's help.

Finally figured out to do with the one plot thread that has been nagging at me for weeks. Again, the simplest answer is the best one. Drafted the scene, too, and feeling pretty good about it.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Initial Skim

Great critique from AB. Main things that she thought that I'll focus on are making B more consistently icky, clarifying why Q keeps trying w/ K, bring back the police (merits a whole new scene, I think), plus some more minor time, character, role tags.

From the margins: marked the first few pages "perfecto!" Liked/got of the passing jokes, caught some junk DNA, lots of smiley faces, "so Austin!", "oooo" "ah," some stars, "!", "go horns," "ha!", "cool," "could be taken literally," "sorry, I don't get it," "oops," "wow! this is a surprise! good good," "or that still loved her," "yuck!", "oooo la la," "gross," "creepy," "yuck-o-rama," "yikes!," "oh, yea," also wants me to cut those (I thought) clever lines closing the author's note.

Much of it is just clarification of stuff that's in my head but not on the page. This is the hardest thing for me, trying to write tight and keep it moving and tell the reader everything he/she needs to know which is so obvious to me after having written the whole thing in the first place, revised, revised, revised...

Plan: one more draft, bring new cops scene to group, polish, and let G read.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Needles and Pins

Heard from AB who says she started the mss and expects to have comments for me tomorrow or Monday. Didn't say anything flattering. Obviously can put down mss to call. Am stressing. Am also obviously SO pathetic.

Revised S&TS today with Greg, though. Big fun. About to read KC's mss.

On the Horizon

I'm starting to think about what's next. I love the manuscript in the queue, but it's really quite dark, and after T, I'd kind of like a bit more gothic levity (not an oxymoron). I do have an idea in mind. I'm also interested in a companion from K's POV. Basically, I'd like to do all three, but there's the question of what would be the best order creatively and career-wise. Still pondering.

In the meantime, T is still at the reader, I have KC's revision on my nightstand to be read, and I have a revision request on that pb with G to get to.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Critiquer Ready

Skimmed through twice more, mostly notably cutting the scapbook references. They're sweet/scary but seem a bit out of character for Q and, besides, there's zero mention of it between page 11 and page 201, which generally doesn't make for a compelling prop.

I'm wondering today if I need some attribution here and there for some of the narration. Maybe not. Maybe. Hm.

AB offered to read again, which was hugely generous, so I'm going to key in changes one more time and drop it off over at her place later this afternoon. No movies. Just me, the desktop, and whatever cat happens in (currently Mercury).

There aren't even enough changes right now to justify a whole new reprint but rather a page here or a few pages there. Saving trees and all.

I'll drop it off later this afternoon and can only hope she likes it.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Weird Science (And Mythology, Too)

So thankful to be back at it again. It was almost physically painful not working on the mss over NCTE/Thanksgiving. I even bought a journal in case I had some brill insight that simply couldn't be lost and (I think) got only the opening quotes out of it. Which, really, in rhetrospect is not that minor.

Did a read through last night in the sun room with the three little cats and then keyed in changes while watching "Weird Science"--"She's alive!"--for the first time in ages. (You've gotta love a John Hughes movie, especially an '80s Frankenstein retelling).

The good news is that the read is nice and smooth. Caught a major logic error in the weaponry function though. Very good Cyn; carefully explain how weapon works only to highlight massive glitch in sequence of events narration. At least I caught it. Not that someone else wouldn't have, but how embarassing!

Did a bit more tightening and killed my favorite (sob!) mythology backstory exposition paragraph. Ouch. So clever, so innovative, so not needed. Anyway, it was slowing down the scene too much, and I have a hint elsewhere that flows better and accomplishes much of the same thing.

Still a little worried about needing to nip/tuck in the middle. Going to read once more with an eye toward pacing there and then perhaps pass over to AB who has generously offered to read for me. I'm also considering asking one more person, but I know I'll have one more sweep--at least line edits--and I'll need some really fresh blood for those.

Current word count: 44,670; author's note: 280