Monday, November 30, 2009

I'm a NaNoWriMo Winner!

You'll have to forgive me for posting my normal Monday blog late in the day, but I was under the gun. Now I'm sitting back and celebrating with a glass of red wine and patting myself on the back. I am proud to say that at exactly 5:03 PM EST today I passed the 50,000 word mark for NaNoWriMo (50,025 to be exact - hey, I was on a role!) This was my first ever attempt at NaNo and knowing that I'm the slowest writer alive, I wasn't sure I could do it. But I did and it is such a sense of accomplishment.

So, what did I learn from NaNo?

1) That I can sit my butt in a chair and write, write, write. Is it all golden? Heck no. I'm sure I'll be adding another 50K or so, and editing the heck out of this thing. But since I pantzed most of it (I'm usually a die hard plotter), it was quite freeing and I ended up with some nice surprises along the way.

2) I also learned thanks to Dr. Wicked's Write or Die program that I can spew out 1,000 words in under 40 minutes. Imagine if I did that 8 hours a day. Okay, so that would probably make my head explode. It practically killed me doing the last 5,100 words I needed to finish today.

3) And finally, I learned that when I finally do get published (and I will) I will not be intimidated by the thought of deadlines because now I know I have it in me to write fast and furious.

Okay. I'm done. My brain is now officially fried. I'm going to sit back and not write another word for the rest of the night. Instead, I'm just going to bask in the glow of going after a major goal and achieving it.

Friday, November 27, 2009

THE PIE INSPECTOR GOES SOULLESS


By Annie Solomon

If you're looking for something fun to take you out of the holiday stress, have I got a book for you! It's a little bit Jane Austen, a little bit Twilight, and a little bit Harry Potter. What can possibly combine all these divergent trends?


Soulless by Gail Carriger.


Now I'm no longer much of a reader. Maybe it's hormones (or lack thereof) or maybe it's too much writing (I tend to see the hidden structure and story-telling techniques too easily), but I have a hard time concentrating on books. So when I began investigating steam punk I ran up against a hard obstacle: I don't read.

But someone mentioned Gail to me and I was desperate enough to figure this whole steam punk thing out that I actually went to the bookstore and bought the book.

And it has given me hours of fun.

Set in Victorian England, the book is (I guess) what you'd call an "alternate reality." Like HP, magical beings inhabit the realm. Unlike the unknowing muggles, though, everyone knows about the supernaturals of Soulless . They are "out" so to speak and are kept in line by the Bureau of Unnatural Registry (BUR), a division of Her Majesty's Civil Service. The hero of the book is the head of the BUR, the large, handsome and estimable Lord Macon, Earl of Woolsey, who also happens to be a werewolf.


The heroine, Alexia Tarabotti, is a combination of Elizabeth Bennett and Mary Poppins. She has the wit and forthrightness of the former and the no-nonsense attitude of the latter. Her Italian heritage gives her a tawny complexion that is most undesirable, as well as a genetic inheritance that makes her unique: she has no soul. As such, she can bring down the most blood-hungry vampire or the most vicious werewolf with the touch of her hands. She is also, alas, a spinster, having reached the ripe old age of 26 with no marriage prospects in sight.

Alexia and Lord Macon meet cute in the infamous "hedgehog incident" which happens off camera (and is the funnier for it) but which is referred to often in the book. He is both annoyed and intrigued by her intelligence and self-possession; she is resigned to his annoyance and secretly attracted to his, well...his manly virtues (and who wouldn't be, I ask you?)

The story revolves around the mystery of disappearing rogue werewolves and the sudden appearance of rogue vampires--all of which happen without the knowledge or consent of the BUR.

As a so-called "steam punk" book, Soulless has the requisite science background. Characters wear odd spectacles called "glassicals" that are adorned with practical doo-dads. Carriger makes use of emerging 19th century technology, such as electricity and chloroform. There are plenty of steam-powered machines and gadgets and at least one robotic creature. And the scientific search for the soul that is necessary to transform humans into supernaturals forms the plot's backbone.

But what truly makes the book enjoyable are the characters. Alexia Tarabotti is a wonderful companion and I loved watching her annoy her werewolf. Lord Macon is a fine example of the bamboozled male--strong, confident, and completely undone by his dawning affection for Alexia.

Soulless is described on the book's cover as "a novel of vampires, werewolves, and parasols." It is the first in what I hope will continue to be a wonderfully imagined series. Kudos to Carriger for thinking it up.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Got Turkey?

Since a large portion of our customers are off doing some massive home cooking or preparing to do some massive home cooking -- or at the very least preparing to do some massive home eating -- Thanksgiving (US) at the Otherworld Diner we tend to close our doors and enjoy our families. On Black Friday we're open, serving up tasty desserts to soothe the stress of harried shoppers, but not on US Turkey Eatin' Day.

Now, not everyone who celebrates Thanksgiving has turkey for dinner. Vegetarians, turkey haters, people watching their income and outgo, folks just plain bored with gobbler -- they might mix it up on this fourth Thursday in November. I've heard of people trying everything from salmon to rattlesnake (ew!) on Thanksgiving instead of turkey. For more information about the traditional US Thanksgiving dinner you can visit our own Brenda's post from last week here:

http://otherworlddiner.blogspot.com/2009/11/thanksgiving-feasts-facts-you-may-want.html'

A lot of us do stick with the big bird for our big eating. Here are some more non-traditional turkey recipes and recipes for turkey leftovers you might like to try:

Whole turkeys:

http://www.cooksrecipes.com/poultry-recipes/whole_turkey_recipes.html
http://cecisartandothermagicaladventures.blogspot.com/2008/11/best-non-traditional-turkey-recipe.html
http://www.eatturkey.com/consumer/cookinfo/twist.html
http://www.bbq-fyi.com/turkey-dry-rub.html
http://www.food2.com/blog/2009/11/12/thanksgiving-beer-can-turkey-aka-turkey-on-a-tall-boy

Turkey leftovers:
http://southernfood.about.com/od/turkeycasserole/r/bl40330e.htm
http://southernfood.about.com/od/turkeyrecipes/r/r81130h.htm
http://www.pottstownmercury.com/articles/2009/11/25/life/srv0000006914899.txt
http://members.cox.net/mmcnalley/Archives/turkey.htm
http://www.eatturkey.com/consumer/thanksleft.html

***

Jody W.
http://www.jodywallace.com * www.meankitty.com

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Keeping it Short...

Hi all,
I've been in the throes of wrestling with a short story I need to finish...um...like...yesterday. I don't have an official deadline, but since I'm writing as part of a group of writers (and the concept was my bright idea) it would be nice if I actually got my story completed. I'm finding this a huge challenge and I have great respect for those of you out there who can write short.

The first thing I ever wrote (for publication) was a 18K short story. Alpha v Alpha pretty much wrote itself. Boy how I wish my current project would just write itself. I'm over 10k words and yet I struggle. Part of my problem is indeed my own fault. I have trouble forcing myself to write when nothing seems inclined to sprout from the end of my fingers (in terms of typing on my laptop). If the story isn't flowing, I have trouble forcing myself to keep going. BUT...that's what I need to do right now. I guess the willingness to write crap just to get something written (that you can edit when you're done) separates the men from the boys...or women from the girls, in my case. I've always had issues with the "sit down and write even if it's crap" attitude. I hate writing crap.

Does anyone have any tips for forcing yourself to keeeeeeeep going? Do you offer yourself rewards? What? Help me? I'm melting... melting... Oh my beautiful world... Ooops sorry - that something else. Anyway, I'm sure you get the idea. Suggestions anyone?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thanksgiving Feasts: Facts you may want to gobble up!




What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Thanksgiving? For me, it’s food. Oh, sure, I also ponder family and things I’m grateful for but soon my mouth starts to water and I’m back to contemplating the food.
If you’re like me, even though the holiday is weeks away, you’re already anticipating the traditional turkey dinner featuring cranberries, sweet potatoes, green- bean casserole, rolls, gravy and corn, topped off with pumpkin pie or maybe cherry or apple.

Thanksgiving has always meant a feast – typically a super-sized one.

Even before the Pilgrims and Native Americans celebrated the first Thanksgiving in the fall of 1621, people gathered to share food and to express gratitude for their blessings. I don’t know when turkey became the traditional main course. Perhaps it happened around the time President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving an official holiday in 1863. He established a date for the holiday -- the last Thursday in November. Or perhaps turkey became the holiday’s unofficial meat when President Franklin Roosevelt formalized Thanksgiving on the FOURTH Thursday in November.
Ever wonder how much food goes into that feast and where – besides your garden -- the ingredients for this delicious meal probably originate?

I’ve found some interesting statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau.





1. In 2007, American farmers raised 272 million turkeys, many expressly for the purpose of Thanksgiving dining.
2. Again according to the 2007 census data, Minnesota raises the most turkeys, followed by North Carolina, Arkansas, Virginia, Missouri and California.
3. Surprisingly enough, those millions of turkeys didn’t meet America’s demands. Americans spent $9.5 million on importing live turkeys. The majority of those turkeys came from Canada.
4. In 2007, in cranberry states such as Wisconsin, agricultural workers harvested an estimated 690 million pounds of cranberries.
5. Other states such as North Carolina, California, Mississippi and Louisiana contributed 1.6 billion pounds of sweet potatoes.
6. The breads, rolls, pie crusts and Thanksgiving delights were created from the 1.8 billion bushels of wheat produced by states such as Kansas and North Dakota.
7. If you’re making or devouring the traditional green-bean casserole, it might interest you to know that about 841,280 tons of green beans are produced yearly by states including Wisconsin.
8. What about the pumpkin pie? Where do all those pumpkins come from? The 1 billion pounds of pumpkins were grown in patches mainly in Illinois, California, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
9. The 294 million pounds of tart pie-making cherries originate in such states as Michigan.
10. In 2005 the average American ate 13.1 pounds of turkeys. Whether it was all at the Thanksgiving meal wasn’t specified, but we certainly hope not. But then, if they were referring to my nephew Drew, I can tell you he ate at least a third of the 13.1 pounds. That guy l-o-v-e-s his turkey slices.
11. Americans consumed an average of 4.5 pounds of sweet potato every year. Again, back to Drew. He didn’t make this average -- at least at Thanksgiving probably because of all those helpings of turkey.
12. There are 114. 4 million households in the United States. God willing, we’ll all find a place to gather together for the holiday.



Happy Thanksgiving.


Source
http://www.census.gov/PressRelease/www/releases/archives/facts_for_features_special_editions/010763.html

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Words of Thanks


No, this week is not Thanksgiving, so please don't think you're a week behind!

BUT, since this is my Tuesday of the month to post and Thanksgiving is next week I thought I might make use of it.

At the risk of not being politically correct, I'd like to offer up some thanks for the year that's past and hope for the year ahead.

While we sit down to our tables laden with goodies (and calories) it's a good time to reflect on what we've done and we hope to do in the future. So in honor of the day and the spirit in which the original pilgrims gave thanks for their plentyful harvest, I offer up a few things I'm thankful for this year.

Health. Something heathly people take for granted, but when illness strikes a family, it touches everyone. As the Mom of an autistic 18 yr. old son, I can tell you any illness - physical, emotional or mental - takes a toll on a family and their everyday life.

Family. Sometimes this isn't obvious and I think we all tend to take those around us for granted. I'm guilty to paying more attention to my writing life than my personal life too much of the time. I focus on plots and characters, sometimes missing the characters running through my real life and for those people I need to stop and take a deep breath, give thanks and show how much they mean to me.

Friends. Similar to above. How many people haven't I called back while on a deadline? How many dinners or lunches or shopping trips have I postponed? I'm the first one to chant to my kids "to have a friend, you have to be a friend" - this year I'm not only giving thanks for the friends I have, but adding a promise to spend more time reconnecting with them!

Writing. Over the last few years I've devoted more and more time to my writing. I love it. I'd been a closet writer for years and can't remember a day I didn't have characters and storylines running through my head. Finally getting them on paper has been an experience I give thanks for everyday. It's my sanity in an insane world. I create happy endings - could anyone ask for a more satisifying job than that? (Now only if I could actually start paying a bill or two with this "job" my husband would be thrilled!)

And last but not least, I want to thank the paranormal community at large. Readers, writers and believers who enjoy that little bit of magic we call fun paranormal romance!

This is just a small list of what I'm thankful for this year. I know not everyone will be sitting down to a table as full as in the past or maybe loved ones have lost jobs or face an uphill road battling an illness. I hope everyone has a glimmer of light somewhere on that table, someone's hand to hold and a smile to share.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 16, 2009

NaNo Progress

This post is going to be short and sweet. I'm writing it on borrowed time, working on two manuscripts at once. I was doing pretty good with my NaNo ms. Got a late start because the kids were out of school for two days, but thanks to some write-ins, I was on my way to catching up. Then life got in the way -- but in a good way. I just received a request for the full of my last manuscript from a query I'd sent out in July (go figure). The problem is, between then and now I had been revising the behemoth in order to get the word count down to a saleable level. Then in October, I started researching for the NaNo book and put the other manuscript aside leaving it in a big, tangled mess. Now I'm trying to clean it up so I can send it out AND keep up with my NaNo word count. Guess this is what it's going to feel like when I have a new book due and revisions for the one before it land on my desk at the same time. Ugh, time management, not my strong suit.

NaNo book: 16,000 words as of 10:45 this morning

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Nap Conundrum

I came across a rough draft of a post tonight that I think I never shared. My life has changed since I wrote the post in that my at-home child is in the process of GIVING UP her naps. That's an article in and of itself, but it's not the one I'm sharing today.

Today this is dedicated to caretakers of young persons or former caretakers of young persons who have ever stayed home with said young person. And even caretakers who only stay home with their young person sometimes. I am sure you at some point received the piece of assvice, I mean, advice, that you should complete this or that task while your young persons are napping.

This is, of course, compounded if you have more than one young person, since small children are incapable of napping simultaneously. I think it's one of Einstein's lesser known laws. Either way, let's list all the things you've probably heard you should complete while the young persons are napping:

1) If you are so ambitious as to have a second career and conduct any business while in the home, it has probably been advised that you do this work while the child is napping. Since you would like to keep this second career afloat, this seems wise.

2) If you are responsible for household tasks that involve chemicals, hot stoves, high places, scissors or other aspects that are not child-friendly, it has probably been advised you tackle these while the child is napping. Since you would like your home to not be condemned and you would like food on the table (aside from the oatmeal crusted in the cracks), this seems wise.

3) If you have important telephone calls to make and you would like to do them with nobody screaming in the background, it has probably been advised that you wait to dial until the child is napping. Since you would like to be able to hear the customer service rep putting you on hold, this seems wise.

4) If exhaustion or illness affects you during the day and you would like to reduce your degree of physical discomfort, it has probably been advised that you nap while the child is napping, particularly when said child is an infant and you are running on two hours of sleep. Since you can't take care of anyone if you're a puking zombie with a migraine, this seems wise.

5) If you want to add exercise to your regimen of exhaustion and illness and you find that wakeful small ones are not conducive to a work-out, it has probably been advised that you aerobicize while the child is napping. Since you don't want to have a dangerous toddler/treadmill/tae-bo accident, this seems wise.

6) If there are any aspects of your personal hygiene that might distract you from monitoring your inquisitive small person, it has probably been advised that you shower/shave/etc. while the child is napping. Since you would like to do SOME things in private and in safety, this seems wise.

7) If you have, for some insane reason, volunteered for something you can do in the home but the presence of small children hinders your ability to fulfill this promise, it has probably been advised that you keep your promise while the child is napping. Since you don't want to be a total shirker and get a bad reputation, this seems wise.

8) At the bottom of the list, if you have any hobbies that are complicated by wakeful small persons (beading, woodworking, meditation, internet trolling, I don't know--it's your hobby), it has probably been advised that you indulge while the child is napping. Since you would like to have some personal pleasure in your life, this seems wise.

9) In that vein, if you partake of media (TV, movies, music, broadcast news, porn) that is inappropriate for small persons but you'd like to stay up to date what's going on in your chosen entertainment venue, it has probably been advised that you partake while the child is napping. Since you don't want to warp your young persons too soon but you're unwilling to give up your demon hunting brothers, this seems wise.

Note: All these recommendations have to take into consideration the fact that if your task is crucial or otherwise time-delimited, the child will be much more prone to wake up in the middle of it, so whatever it is, you'd better be able to put it down without ruining everything.

These same recommendations apply to any minutes you squeeze out of your day before the kids get up and after they go to bed, with added conflicts like spending quality time with a spouse or older child so they don't feel neglected and you don't forget what they look like.

I agree it's wise to do these things while the child is napping. It's safer, easier, smarter and more efficient. However, the child only naps so much, and yet there's so much you need to accomplish. How do you choose? Me, I pretty much always choose "career"--I'm an author, and trying to cram writing, marketing, promotion and paperwork into 5 naps a week, when I'm lucky, is a struggle, but it's the only way I can come close to making it work. Hobbies and housecleaning all have to take a back seat right now--if they can find room in the back seat the exercise equipment and personal hygiene! I have hopes the tide will turn once both children are in school, so if you have all your kids in school and you know better, please don't burst my bubble.

Which brings us to:

10) If you have been working on a solution to the whole 24 hours a day thing and you're nearing a breakthrough, it has probably been advised you experiment with your tricky mathematical theorum about the space-time continuum while the child is napping. Since you would like to have enough time in the day to do everything you need to do during the precious minutes your child is safely asleep, this seems wise.

Jody W.
So much cyberspace, so little time!
www.jodywallace.com / www.meankitty.com

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Brainstorming

Today, I went on a road trip with another writer who was having a problem with their current novel in progress. We drove down to the Lake of the Ozarks, and on the way, we talked about the issues involved. A character who started out as a one-time appearance had become bigger and more interesting, and we had to create a mythology for this paranormal story.

The character, for all intents and purposes, after 45 minutes of brainstorming, has become an integral part of not only the second book in the series, but will now also appear in the rest of the series as well... not just this character, but his "job" will affect the main character in what he is doing and trying to accomplish.

Brainstorming is a great way to get your story moving, surprise the reader and create characters that keep readers coming back for more. So where do you find someone to brainstorm with? I suggest going to your local writer's groups, conferences, online Yahoo groups like this one, or asking a writer friend. It will help you recharge and get motivated to get back to your writing - and you know who you are :) Some of us need a little push here and there - I know I do.

If you need help finding a brainstorming buddy, start looking around or just email at mdntvoices@yahoo.com and I'll see if I can help you find the right place to connect with a group or person who's right for you.

Happy writing!

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Hype of Twilight

Fortunately or not, depending upon your point of view, Twilight has become a bona fide cultural phenomenon, thrusting vampires into the limelight like nothing else in recent years. Now, I love vampires as much as the next gal, but I'm not sure I understand the complete madness that surrounds this particular set of vampires. Excuse me, this particular set of *sparkly* vampires. It seems that just the sight of Rpatz (that’s Robert Pattinson for those of us gratefully beyond our teenage years), with his tasseled, unwashed hair and suspiciously dilated eyes, can send tweens into a state of hysteria unseen since Beatlemania.

To be honest, I read Twilight. I enjoyed it too, at the time. It’s somewhat hard to remember that innocent enjoyment now, what with my allergy to over-hype. But it seems we’ve finally reached a point in all the Twilight-mania where my enjoyment can return. That point, my friends and patrons, is the backlash.

Oh, how I love snark.

On November 4, The Harvard Lampoon released the Twilight parody, Nightlight. The first chapter is available online through Entertainment Weekly, and proves to be mildly entertaining. For those familiar with both Stephenie Meyer’s infamous series, and the movies it’s spawned, Nightlight may prove to be a breath of fresh air in a fandom that's getting rather stuffy with fanaticism.




My favorite part of this parody? Waiting to see the outraged response from the Super Fans. Now THAT will be amusing.

~Lily

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sick of Being Sick? 13 Suggestions to Get You Better, Quick!


Header by Samulli


I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of being sick. Weeks ago I caught a doozy of a cold. I shared it with my family and we passed the virus around until I caught it again. After feeling sorry for myself, I decided to use my computer to find ways I could speed my recovery. I found these suggested remedies and ways to stay healthy.
I figured you’d want to know. …

1. Wash your hands. WebMD states, “Amazingly, about 80% of contagious diseases are transmitted by touch.”
2. If you sneeze, don’t cover your nose or mouth with your hands. You can spread germs that way. Use a tissue instead or the crook of your arm.
3. Get fresh air. Inside air may be re-circulated and may actually expose you to even more viruses.
4. Drink water. It’ll help you flush out the virus and keep you hydrated.
5. Don’t touch your face. You don’t want to spread the germs from your hands.
6. Exercise. Being active bolsters your immune system.
7. Get rest. Getting enough sleep is another way to boost your immune system.
8. Eat vegetables. Especially the dark green leafy ones. They contain phytochemicals which build up your body’s immunity.
9. Don’t smoke. You already know that smoking’s hard on your lungs, but did you know smoking dries out your nasal cavities and prevents those little cleaning hairs in your lungs from filtering out viruses?
10. Drink less alcohol. Alcohol dehydrates, which makes it harder for your body to rid itself of the virus.
11. Take cod-liver-oil tablets. They’re loaded with Vitamins A and D, which help the immune system.
12. Take Vitamin C within the first 24 hours that symptoms appear. Again, the idea is to rev up your immune system.
13. Consider herbal remedies such as garlic, ginger, oregano, lemon or even horseradish. For generations people have applied these home cures and many still claim they work.

I’m determined to get over my cold as fast as possible. Do you have any suggestions? What has worked for you?

Sources
http://www.preventtheflu.com/ http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/cold-guide/12-tips-prevent-cold-flu http://nutrition.about.com/od/foodfun/a/flu_foods.htm

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Meet Gretchen Stull

This past couple of weeks, we've added 2 employees to the Diner Staff. Last week we met Annie Solomon and this week we're meeting Gretchen Stull, who's our special Graveyard Shift waitress. Gretchen doesn't work full time -- we only open for the late shift on special nights -- but her first post will be this coming Friday.

***

1) Briefly, who are you as an author and what do you write?

As an author, I am dark and mysterious. Wait no, no that's not me, that's someone else entirely.

I'm pretty much the same, as an author and just as myself. I like to venture into dark territory at times, but only if there's humor to be found in it. I'm more of a cynic than an optimist, but I fully believe in happy endings. I prefer anti-heroes to heroes, and alpha males to any other kind, but I still like characters who are intrinsically good and who'll do the right thing when presented with a choice.

That's what I like about paranormal romance, which is what I write. It can be dark, it can be gritty, it can be emotional, but it can be funny and reaffirming at the same time.

2) What do you do (voluntarily) when you're not writing?

I like to sleep. I'm a big fan of sleep!

When not writing, slaving away at my day job, or sleeping, I like to sew and make clothing, watch movies, read for fun, attend concerts, and travel.

3) What's your favorite deadline snack?

As much as I hate to admit it, when I'm on a deadline I head straight for the junkfood. Deadline snacks have to be fast and easy because I don't want the act of cooking or going to a nicer restaurant to waste any potential writing time. So that means hitting up a fast food establishment for meals (McDonalds fries and iced coffee often became the meal of choice during thesis-writing hell), and as for actual snacking, I like the snacks that mix salty and sweet. Kettle Corn has often kept my laptop and I company on those long, lonely deadline nights.

4) What is it about paranormal romance? How do you feel paranormal elements enhance the romance and vice versa?

Paranormal romance captures my imagination like no other stories out there. I think paranormal elements enhance all relationships and interactions within paranormal stories, not just the romantic relationships. No matter how mundane an action or interaction may be, when it's skewed by a paranormal element (be it a paranormal being or setting), the stakes are upped. Paranormal stories usually contain closely guarded secrets and life or death stakes. A wrong move doesn't just ruin a relationship, it can jeopardize a life or even the safety of an entire group of beings. I think those kind of stakes make characters more cautious of entering into romantic relationships and render the final decision to make that plunge into a monogamous romantic relationship an act of bravery all its own.

5) Authors also tend to be devoted readers. What authors do you read for inspiration and/or enjoyment?

I love JR Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series. To be completely honest, her Dark Lover was the first true paranormal romance book I ever read. It's what got me hooked! I think Neil Gaiman is nothing short of brilliant, I read Stardust as a teenager and it's been my favorite book ever since. Max Brooks' World War Z is a book I recommend to everyone, it just works on so many levels. Those are really at the top of my list, though I also greatly enjoy the works of Charlaine Harris, JK Rowling, Lauren Willig, and Janet Evanovich as well.

6) What is your biggest "collection" (besides books)?

DVDs. I have an embarrassing amount of DVDs lying around. I've always loved movies and I used to freelance as a film critic for a small newspaper in Alabama. I also studied film in college and grad school so, yeah, I have more than my fair share of movies.

7) What were your favorite childhood (as in pre-teen, even) books or movies? Can you spy the seeds of paranormal romance budding even then?

Oh, the seeds of paranormal romance were sown early, even if I didn't realize it at the time. When I was 9, NBC decided to revive the old soap opera, Dark Shadows. It was an abysmal failure that lasted only 13 episodes, but the damage was done. I was hooked. Ive been a vampire addict ever since.

After Dark Shadows, I became obsessed with the X-Men cartoon that showed on Fox in the mid 1990s. During my freshman year of college, it was Dark Angel, followed soon after by Smallville, Special Unit 2, and Firefly. Futuristic, paranormal, and science fiction shows, laced with romantic tension, have always been my favorite. Im eagerly awaiting True Blood, season 3.

8) What paranormal book or movie would you like to be dropped into the middle of, to experience the world if not the entire plot?

Honestly, if I could only choose one, I would choose the Harry Potter world. Even though that probably sounds a little juvenile, the world Rowling created in those books is so multilayered and fascinating. I would love to experience that world as a witch, I doubt it would be as much fun as a muggle.

9) If you had to have a lifesize standee of a character in a paranormal tv series, movie or book in your bedroom at all times, who would it be and how would other residents of your household probably feel about it?

If I had to have one, which is the only way I would, it would likely be a lifesize standee of Vampire Eric Northman from True Blood, and likely it would be a present from my friend Kristen who tends to turn up with odd things like that.

As for the other residents of my home? My boyfriend would probably notice it once, roll his eyes at me, and then promptly begin using it as a clothes hanger. Brady the dog would be terrified of it, because he is terrified of everything. And Simon the cat would use it to sharpen his nonexistent claws while glowering menacingly at the dog.

10) What is some of the most unusual research you've done for your fiction?

For my nonfiction writing I've gone to some lengths, including becoming a regular at a Georgia strip club, but my fiction research has been far tamer. A lot of reading up on mythology from around the globe and using Google Earth, nothing too exciting or bizarre.

11) If you were deprived of your computer for a year and had no looming deadline, would you write your next book in longhand anyway or keep notes and wait until you had a computer again to finish it?

I tend to write a lot of my stories and ideas longhand now, so I'd definitely write longhand. I find it slows me down enough that I can really flesh out my characters as I'm writing. Now, when I'm really on a roll I prefer typing it out, but if I'm experiencing writer's block, writing longhand is one of the ways I get through it.

12) If you could have a little-known superpower, what one would you pick and why? What one would your friends and loved ones pick FOR you?

If I could have any little-known superpower, I'd choose Super Insomnia. I would be able to exist without ever sleeping (unless I chose to sleep) and would have no ill effects like sleep deprivation to cloud my judgment. Do you have any idea how much I could accomplish in a day if I didn't have to sleep? It would be wonderful. I'd call myself Productivity Gal.

When I asked my boyfriend this question, he said he'd choose flight. We like to travel, and if I could fly we'd get places more quickly. Of course, continuous motion tends to put me to sleep (which should further explain my desire for Super Insomnia), so he put in a stay awake while flying addendum to the power of flight.

13) Anything else you'd like to share with visitors to the Diner?

Hmm, I think the patrons are just going to have to stop by to know me better :)

***

Jody W.
www.jodywallace.com * www.meankitty.com

Monday, November 2, 2009

On Your Mark. Get Set. Go!

Yesterday, at 12:01 am, NaNoWriMo officially began. For those of you not in the know, that’s National Novel Writing Month. Registered writers have until midnight Nov. 30th to write a 175 page, 50,000 word novel. That’s technically more like a novella, but the folks at http://www.nanowrimo.org/ wanted to make it a doable goal for people. The majority of writers could never churn out a true 100,000 word novel in a month (Sherrilyn Kenyon, Gena Showalter and other author goddesses are the exception – they are paranormal creatures themselves, requiring little, if any, sleep to live).

This is my first ever attempt at this undertaking. Yes, I’m a NaNo virgin. Please be gentle with me. In order to meet the 50K goal in a month, authors need to average 1,667 words per day to stay on track. For me, I know my weekends are often iffy for writing productivity, so I have to try to get more like 2400 words a day, 5 days a week to keep up. I don’t think I’ve ever written that much on a daily basis in my life, but I’m gonna try. Afterall, the writing is not expected to be perfect. It's not called the shitty first draft for nothing.

So how did I do my first day? Not so well. I blame it on a rainy, miserable day with both my husband and two bored children trapped in the house with me. I only got 393 words done yesterday. But I just have to remember that I’m aiming to hit my writing goals during the weekdays while the kids are in school and anything done on the weekend is bonus material. Yesterday was Sunday, so technically NaNo in my household starts today and I’m already 393 words ahead. Yippee! Now let’s just see if I can do my 2400 words today and keep it up for the rest of the week. I’ll let you know how it goes.

So, have we got any other NaNos at the diner?
 
ja