Monday, March 28, 2011

Another story accepted!

So I followed a friend's advice about writing a short based on a novel I'd written for Nanowrimo in 2009. And the publishing company I submitted it to liked it and wants to include it in an anthology for stories that embrace the horror cliche, stories along the lines of "Shaun of Dead."

Well, mine was basically a blonde version of that, I guess you could say. It was a continuation of my original story. Kind of a sequel. Perhaps I can churn out a bunch of shorts with this character in the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse.

And after submitting two more stories today, I'm already on the hunt for my next one. Taking on this Write 1 Sub 1 challenge has accomplished exactly what I wanted: writing is now part of my daily life.

I think I can now officially call myself a writer and author.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Write 1 Sub 1 meltdown

Ever since my vacation, I've floundered keeping up with my weekly story writing and submissions. I'm down two stories and two submissions right now. The story I started writing during my vacation is finally finished, but I know I rushed the end just to get it done and out of my hair so I can move on. It will need a real mucking out before I consider submitting that one anywhere.

I've received a couple of rejections of stories that I have high hopes for. I know it's a matter of finding the right home, but I think it's hilarious that I got an Honorable Mention for a story I didn't like. I'm thinking my own opinion of my writing doesn't really matter a whole lot. Just the opinions of the people reading my stories.

I submitted my only completed novel to a contest. Won't be hearing the results until May, but wouldn't that be a fantastic birthday present! I believe the prize is editing and feedback for the novel and consideration for publication (as well as a bunch of the publishing company's books). Just getting some professional feedback would be wonderful.

And now I'm searching for another story idea. There's an anthology that's looking for cliche horror stories. Along the lines of Shaun of the Dead and all that. I was thinking my novel "Zombies Don't Eat Blondes" would be perfect if I did a short story version. But if the short story version gets published, will that cause problems for the full length version I plan on finishing some day?

I'm starting to feel overwhelmed again. Sooooo many things to consider, to keep track of, to write and rewrite.

I have more stories available to shop around now. So I've started using my Resubmissions checklist so I can keep track of those. I think the best thing to do right now is to ... is to write now. (Hyuck)

Off to find a new story idea!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

New kitty!

My husband and I have not adopted cats since we've been married; they've adopted us.

Before we married, I adopted four cats, three of which remain at my parents' home in California. They lived with us at my husband's parents' home until we moved out and got an apartment much too small for so many outdoor cats, so back to my parents' home they went. We lived closer to them, so I got to visit them whenever I wanted until we moved to Alaska.

While living with hubby's parents' we met many strays, bums who came to eat and sleep for a while before moving on. One wild cat hung around so long, he got used to humans and discovered he loved being petted. He'd crash his head into your hand so hard, like he never knew how wonderful it was to be petted before. We called him Snaggletooth because of the one tooth sticking out his mouth.

The two who adopted us permanently are with us here in Alaska. Asuka, the little girl, just appeared on the back porch one day. When I opened the door, she didn't run or hiss or anything. She just mewed at me, so I brought her in.

Dusty was crapping on the deck where I'd feed the cats, and we had no idea who was doing it. Until one day, when he jumped onto the deck with a thump while I was feeding. It was like he said, "Here I am! Feed me, love me!"

These two get along all right, except Asuka is a bit temperamental. She doesn't really want to play with Dusty, or cuddle with him, though occasionally she'll tolerate is attentions. So we discussed getting a third cat for Dusty.

We never really had to go out and adopt a cat because they seemed to be finding us just fine.

But here in Alaska, things are different. We've only seen two cats since we moved to our house almost two years ago. Both were clearly owned by someone else in the neighborhood. If we were serious about adopting another cat, we would have to go out and find one.

This past Sunday we went to PetZoo to pick up some dog food. That's all we went in there for, really. But we discovered they were having a big sale (they even had someone walking around in a dog suit handing out sample bags of Yummie Chummies). In the back, there were cages where Clear Creek Cat Rescue (I think that's their name) had some of their adoptable cats. Hubby said I can't go over there, and I said, "Over where?" because I hadn't noticed yet. So of course he led me over there himself. (I turned my hubby into a bigger cat freak than I am!)

We talked to the nice lady of CCCR about our home situation, the other animals we have, and what we were looking for. She introduced us to Daisy, this pretty little tortishell, mostly brown with orange flecks, who snuggled in our arms without any problems. The lady told us about how she loved to play and had lots of energy. She was estimated to be 11 months old, not a kitten, but not a full adult either. We decided to go on with our shopping and discuss it.

We'd just gone on to Fred Myer and all we could talk about was this sweet little kitty. When we were checking out, we decided to take her home, so hubby got $60 from the ATM and immediately walked over to PetZoo while I took the groceries to the car and drove back. He was worried she would be adopted before we got back.

Of course there have been problems since we brought her home. Asuka hates her, and Dusty seems bewildered. Daisy didn't eat, drink, or potty the whole first 24 hours. The cats get into tiffs if they get too close to each other.

Now, on day four, they still get into small tiffs, but I'm usually standing over them when they are near each other. But Daisy is eating, drinking, using the litter box, and has her favorite cubby hole on top of the washer/dryer behind the hanging clothes. I brought some toys home, and she plays with them. She's investigating the house, she's talking to us all the time, she loves attention. The dogs don't even make her twitch.

Right now it seems impossible that the three cats will ever get friendly with each other. But at least we can now live (relatively) quietly and happily together. And maybe some day Daisy and Dusty will be playmates. I pray for this every day.

Here is the link to Clear Creek Cat Rescue. Daisy's profile was still on there at the time of this blog posting.

Every time a cat gets adopted from them, they can rescue another cat from being put down at the shelter. For those readers living in Alaska, please consider these kitties for adoption.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Heading Home

Tonight I hop on the plane to head back home to Alaska. I was kind of hoping it would be pouring down rain today so I wouldn't be leaving such gorgeous sunshine behind. Ah, well.

I've got my hair tied back for the first time this week, since the nasty winds are blowing at home. I still have all my hair; I haven't decided whether I'm going to cut it off or not. The weather here in California is so mild, hair length is not the issue that it is in the Mat-Su Valley. We shall see what I decide later.

It was a week packed with delights. I finally reached a point where I felt like a normal person. I mean, I would eat and feel satisfied. I teach so many exercise classes I'm usually in calorie deficit, so I'll be full but still hungry most days.

Of course, my diet has been horrendous and I haven't exercised a bit. Monday is going to be hell. I'll be subbing for a lot of classes and practicing my new routines when I get back.

I got to see a lot of my family and friends. I managed to reign in my spending this year. I'm hoping my husband and I will be able to visit home together this summer. We may actually be able to use our companion ticket for the first time.

I'm extremely grateful that the weather was so nice while I visited. But it will be nice to return to my hubby, home, animals, and "normal" routine.

Normal. >snort<

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Wowza! Oh, and California, too.

That Japanese monster hunter tale I submitted back on the 14th gave me a real surprise. The website said to allow three months before querying, so I had that written into my spreadsheet and fully expected that time frame before knowing whether they liked it or rejected it.

And I got an acceptance email in two days. Which means I am officially going to be a published author. Can I scream now?!

I sent the contract in last week. I think I'm still in shock. I think I will continue to be in shock until I see it in the printed anthology. And then it will just morph into a different sort of shock.

Right now I'm writing this from California, using my parents' computer. The sun is shining outside the window, quite a change from the single digit temps and gusty winds of home, or so I've been hearing. When I first arrived in California and my best buddies picked me up, it was raining hard. That turned to snow by the time I was walking up the driveway to my parents' house. Dad met me halfway and I said, "Look what I brought with me, Dad!"

Very early spring here is like summer in Alaska. The difference is amazing.

I brought a notebook with me in my backpack. I wasn't able to bring much because you no longer get a free checked bag on the airplanes anymore. The first bag costs $25 to check, so I just brought what I could fit into my backpack and my guitar. That means I'm now behind in my Write 1 Sub 1 process, but I haven't stopped writing completely. I began plotting another story in my notebook last night, and wrote the first scene today.

I'd forgotten how quickly the hand starts to hurt when one is used to typing on a computer keyboard as opposed to handwriting.

I also miss my Scrivener program, where all the formatting is done for me, there are files for research, word count, and a bunch of other things.

But the nice thing about the notebook is that it's just you and the pen. No computer distractions, like Internet or games. The story seems more vibrant written that way for some reason.

By the time I get back, I will be behind a story and two submissions, but I plan on catching up very quick. Publication is quite a motivation when you get your first taste of it. I have no idea when the anthology is coming out, but I'm practically screaming with impatience.

Oh, wait, no I'm not. I'm acting very professional and serious.

I think I better go eat another piece of cheesecake ...