It's Af-GAGA-stan!

Lolz. Man, if these guys can make light of their stressful ass situation (hello, Afghanistan?) then...yeah. I suppose I could lighten the frig up in my own (cuz, writing, I suppose, is not so much like war. Really.). So next time I'm spiraling downward after a bad, yanno, chapter or something, I'm gonna think of these guys:

But then I'ma get right back to work SSGT William James-style (cuz, verily, while I can appreciate levity in serious sitchiations, alas, I livez in the chaos, and so covetz the chaos when all's said and done. But, hey, I can laff in between.)

Blog Chain: What Keeps Me Writing?

The question asked by Laura D. in this month's blog chain, and answered so far by her, Lydia K., Danyelle L. is: "What Keeps You Writing?" My answer?


And I offer along alongside it my explanation in verse. *clears throat*

Momentum. Em-oh-em-ee-en-tee--oops, this is a dramatic reading and not a spelling bee. Apologies.


Imagine a depth charge set off in a harbor
Releasing its concentric ripples
Each one troubles the surface of the water
and rushes to topple the ships that are left
at the docks.

If the blast was a weak one, set off in those waters
Then the boats at the edge might just nudge one another
Whispering in the wooden way that ships have
Strung together in their fate but not caring so much--
Because small ripples are just that.

But if the charge was explosive enough to
Knock the water near clear of its salt
Like boatmen releasing their ships to tsunamis
You untether your vessel at the dock and dive in
Riding the ripples, but not quite keeping up
Until, kicking your legs to create waves of your own,
You reach the horizon after all.

That's momentum, mighty depth charge
tolling boom and aftershock
So, go on, let it carry you out on its back
lest it splinter you to bits on the dock.

Boom! There's your depth-charge. Momentum - rather, being unwilling to lose crucial momentum - is what keeps me writing. So what are you gonna do with yours??

Why Are There No Letters On My Keyboard?

Cuz I've literally worn them all off by writing. So. Damn. Much. Observe:

*yep*. That's my keyboard. Not to be confused with THIS lovely one. *sigh* I loves the Think Geek precious, I loves it.

Most of it's the freelancing, paying-the-bills type stuff. But sometimes? Y'all. Sometimes it's the type of writing that lands me this:

50065 / 85000 words. 59% done!

And how can you be mad at that? You can't be. Unless you're my husband, who finds himself chagrined when sitting down to use my computer:

Hubs: *hunt* *peck* *hunt. Hunt. Huuunnn--* GOD! I hate typing on this thing!
Me: *innocent* You look at your fingers? *sigh* Move over. I'll drive. Gawd. *smug little smile cuz I gots to fiddy-nine percent on account of them thar letter-less keys. :D

Samurai Jack, the NFL Draft & Building Writing Endurance

Anyone catch the NFL drafts last night? I only caught a snippet cuz 1) I'm a girl and B) I hate football. BUT. The broadcast drew me in for a sec (that nifty silver DESK thing helped, too, cuz I likes the shiny-shiny).

Anyway, you know why it caught me? Cuz, as I mentioned in a comment over on Sara Enni's blog (she, too, mixed beefy uniformed dudes with writing in today's post) some of these players are having the most important and awesome day of their lives.

They got drafted to pro! Players hearing their names called must be just like writers getting that agent call. It. Changed. Their. Lives. For good. Wow. But you know what? It wadn't no fluke, that thar call. Those guys pushed themselves for days, months and YEARS* in college ball to get to that point.

Which naturally brings me to Samurai Jack.
 Zomg! J.J. Abrams *might* be producing the Samurai Jack 3D animated movie! You know Abrams! LOST? FRINGE? CLOVERFIELD (which I sorta hated, but, okay, it had a great monster)?? 

So over on Voidwalker's blog, he recently asked what kind of tattoo you might get to celebrate your future publication. I told him mine would be a visage of Samurai Jack, followed by the words "Jump Good." Here's what I said:

"It'll remind me of the episode when Jack saw these creatures who could spring into the air. Jack thought it was all profound and magic and that they could fly. But they said, "No. We just jump good." Then they showed him how to do it -- by months and months of plyometric muscle training (and a music montage. Gotta love the montages). And when his arch-nemesis, Aku, found him and was like, "Wow, you fly!" Samurai Jack was like, "No. Jump good." A profound testament to animated endurance.

So. Endurance, then. Training, then. And for writing? *Some tips, then:

  1. Challenge yourself. Don't go for the easy metaphor, the quick-but-shallow scene. Find that chunky, painful passage and write the hell out of it. Until it hurts. Until it doesn't hurt anymore. And do it again.
  2. Do short reps. Learn to write quickly so you can bust through deadlines and make word count - and get on to other novels so you continue to grow. Short, timed writing exercises will do this for you.
  3. Alternate intensity and duration. Athletes know that interval training builds endurance. So alternate quick, 30-minute writing sessions with day-long marathons where possible.
  4. Rest. Take plenty of breaks and whole days off. No, I'm serious. You need the rest - it's what builds muscle (and writing chops). Besides, living is what gives you material, right?
  5. Crosstrain. Do some actual, yanno, exercise. Focus on other personal goals. You'll prime yourself for achievement in writing by finding success in other disciplines, like fitness. Or welding.
  6. Go pro. The single best writing advice I like is to write some non-fiction. Submit articles to online article sites, write for your local paper, or learn to query and write articles for national magazines. I've been a professional freelance writer for about 7 years and it's taught me to whittle down my writing like nothing else.
  7. Reward yourself. Remember the CWSwoRP? Write for 25 minutes and then go giggle at some tiny tamarin faces at the zoo. Get through a new chapter and then eat some coconut cake or, yanno, waste an entire half-day on the Sims 3.
So, you ready? Down! Set! HIKE!!

TBR: 1 Zoe: 0

*sigh*. You know what this is a picture of?

Why, it's a pic of one of the fine staff at Cemetery Dance Publications packaging and shipping the new Stephen King novella BLOCKADE BILLY.

Which I totally ordered because I'm the girl who cried all over Stephen King when I met him in Atlanta last year. So, while the first photo should have me all agog, like, OH MAN! My copy's finally a-coming! Squee! It's more like. Crap. My copy's coming. *stumbles* You know why? Because the first photo reminded me of this:

What's that, you say? Why, it's my To-Be-Read pile, of course. Not to be confused with this:

Which naturally happens to be my Really-Need-To-Get-Back-To pile. Which isn't at ALL this:

Which is my I-Know-There's-One-Or-Two-Nuggets-Left-To-Be-Read-In-Here pile.

Oh, man. And did I mention THIS??
  1. The Long Trial of Nolan Dugatti 
  2. Lesser Demons
  3. Kraken
  4. Let the Great World Spin
  5. The Grin of the Dark
  6. The Windup Girl
  7. Black Hills
  8. Islington Crocodiles
  9. Welcome to Hell
  10. Daughter of Hounds
  11. House with a Clock in its Walls
  12. City and the City
  13. The Unnamed
  14. Living Shadows
  15. Kaiki
Yeah, that's my To-Be-Ordered pile. So I can go through all of the above once again. Ugh. I'm obviously having a crisis of time management!

So what's on your TBR pile, and how many books do you get through a week?  
How in hell do you balance must-read time with must-write time and must-beta time and must-yanno-raise-the-children time? Ack! Ugh! Ergh! Oy!

I guess the answer is one book at a time. Quickly. SO. Right now, I'm starting on this:

With this quick on its heels:

I'll just have to do it in stages. Quick stages. And do it WHENEVER I haz downtime (ri-iight). Like at the doctor's. OHMYGOD that just reminded me of the paperback in my bag, which means there exists a PURSE To-Be-Read! And the CAR TBR! Zoinks! And the BATHROOM TBR!!! *drowns*

It's Blog Chain Time - Oh, And Here's A Kitteh :)

It's quiet. Too quiet. No sound but the clacking of fingers on keys - or, rather, the noisy silence from fingers hesitating for too long above the keys. Or maybe the faraway sounds of the family chortling over Sue Sylvester hijinks or THIS guy* (find him at the end of the post). But in here, it's just you. And something keeps you there, keeps you writing. 

Whatever it is, it's keeping a buncha other writers doing it, too. They're there with you in spirit, in pain, in characters who are in over their heads, in buffering the madness of the craft with endless Twizzlers/coffee/chocolate/the warm, steaming innards of a Tauntaun. 

Wanna know where they are and what keeps 'em writing? Sure you do, because it's the topic o' the month for THIS batch of awesomesauce:

This week's wisdom is from Danyelle Leafty, who offers some insight by way of an an apt metaphor. (Here's Laura's starting salvo on the topic two weeks ago. And Lydia's take, last week.)  So, go check out Danyelle's blog, then check back here next Wednesday for the scary thing that keeps me writing (and it ain't got nothin' to do with no love, or, unhappily, no Tauntaun from snowy Hoth. But I'm working on that, especially that now you CAN snuggle inside your OWN disemboweled Tauntaun, minus the, yanno, GORE.)

Meantime? Love this kitteh* as I do. Snarf your coffee, as I did.

Paging Seth BrundleFly...

I'm not quite at the point where I can quote "The Fly" word for word (the '86 Cronenberg, not the '58 Neuman - although the '58 had Vincent! Price! Yesh, we love Vincent Price). Anyway, while I can't quote the movie as it unfolds (except for: "I only have one word for you.... *splays giant Goldblum fingers* ...cheeseburger.") I yam a pretty diehard fan of it.

Every time that sucker shows up in some Saturday afternoon or Monday night programming randomness--Man. I have to watch.

So last night, I spot it and tell myself, I'm just gonna peek. For a second. But before I know it, I'm cringing as BrundleFlyPod hefts the end of Geena Davis's shotgun and places it next to his bulging eyeball and those twitching antennae. And I'm tearing up - and am once again thinking, this is one great friggin horror story. So, what makes it work?

There's Seth Brundle, for starters (the man does science at home late at night!). Veronica, the journalist who breaks the science down for us. Then there's foreshadowing! Dread! Guts! Blood! Noisy computers! Lust! Tears! Regret! Icky ex-boyfriends named Stathis! Actual horror of the ack-I'm-actually-yanno-horrified-for-a-moment variety! Smoking inside buildings cuz it was the 80s! Humor!


(Oh. My. God. I had the hugest high-school crush on Jeff Goldblum, y'all. I can't even describe it. And that scene where he's naked after teleporting in front of that skank he brought home from the bar--?? Sigh. No, you don't understand. You. Really. CanSee. Goldblum's. Golden. Buttcheeks. Clenched.)

Anyway, my strange crush* on Jeff Goldblum aside, the movie is a near perfect example of characterization. You know why?

Because at no point in the story did I forget the fingernail-peeling, ear-dropping, acid-vomiting creature was...Seth.  

Gasp! Even now, I weep inside for what he's done to himself! Oh, the horror. The agony. The lost chances. It's poignant yet revolting at the same time. Perfection.

*Waitaminute. What do you mean, "OMG, you actually had a crush on Jeff Goldblum?" You didn't? The height! The gesturing! Those pauses! The swagger! THIS:
I have strange crushes. This probably *isn't* the time to go into my crush on Tim Curry. AS DR. FRANK N. FURTER. Yes, I'm fully aware that he was portraying a bisexual transvestite. But OMG, didn't you see that...pause? In "Sweet Transvestite?" Yanno, the one that went, "antici.........................*widens eyes*.................pation?" You didn't die of that? Cuz it was so freaking hot? Okay, so it was only me. But weren't we talking about Jeff Goldblum anyway? Sheesh.

Dudes. A romp with Goldblum would be like a fleshstorm with a 90% chance of satisfaction (at least around the 4:24 mark). Oh, man. And now I can't even watch LOST, on account of Alex, who apparently has taken my strange crush on a now 57-year-old actor and made him her strange crush on a now 57-year old actor. *sigh* Bet she hasn't even seen MR. FROST. Or TENSPEED AND BROWNSHOE (Ben Vereen--!!). But let's hope she's at least seen THE FLY.

Because I have. Caught it on television last night, and it brought up all the aforementioned emotion. Which makes it pretty freaking great entertainment. That is all.

Living Just Enough...for the City

Dang, those lyrics just took me all the way back to 1991 and New Jack City. Who doesn't remember bad-ass Wesley Snipes (before he went all Daywalker on us??) What, you don't? 'Scuse me while I drive-by-Snipe ya:

ANYWAY. So. I'm a recluse. (And I'm bi-racial, which makes me a BROWN recluse, heh heh.) I tend to hide myself away by being a freelance copywriter while actively pursuing a transition to working novelist - and the lifestyle? Yeah. A lot of keyboard, a lot of couch, a lot of novels, and a lot of me. Inside. Which suits me fine.

I'm sorta like the chupacabra: many claim to have seen me, some grainy photographs may have made their way around the interwebz, but few are really sure if I exist.

SO. All these months and weeks monk-ed away in my home office/library/personal bell tower are wonderful for writing. But they're also detrimental to writing because, yanno,

you have to live to be able to write.

Which for me is sorta insanely difficult, because of aforementioned reclusive-ness. BUT. Today, I'm gonna let my hair out of its usual corral - POW! (no, y'all don't understand. It's like a sheep exploded on my head so...explosively that it may or may not require a zoning permit in certain zip codes.)

Permit secured, I'm gonna put on my flowy-est sundress, toss on some shades and spend the weekend in gaw-juss Savannah with one of my oldest, dearest and bestest friends. May or may not involve mint juleps,  rocking chairs and hundred-year-old oaks. Will definitely involve carbs. And hopefully, yanno, some Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil-style inspiration, cuz that's what going outside and living is supposed to do (wise-cracking trannies optional) for a writer.

But before I go, and speaking of friends, I got this lovely, vibrantly green award from the also lovely (but ye gads I hope not vibrantly green) Lindsay a.k.a. Isabella (thanks, Lindsay!! Did you receive the book??):

Per official-style rules, I'm 'posed to forward on to seven other bloggers, and link to the original award post, and enter my deets in the Mr. Linky at the bottom of that original post :D Have you checked out Lindsay's blog? What? Get thee to Adventures in Writing post haste!! And then check out THESE seven wonders of the blogging world, cuz they're awesome like that:

Thanks, Lindsay, and the seven bloggers for blog experiences I always look forward to :D Now if you'll excuse me, cobblestones and a riverwalk beckon...

So, I Interrupt Myself to Say...

So, I just posted, like, twice in one day - but I have good reason. First: boy, do I like this post.

And second: don't you know it, but, crikey, I like this one, too.

In the first, Lilith Saintcrow offers the "Five-Minute Trick," which so totally gels with my Chunkable Writing Schedule (CWSwORP). I mean, five minutes? Dudes. I can do five minutes.

In the second, holy-COW-he's-a-proLIFic-bugger-of-an-author Matthew Hughes gives you two words to remember - and them's fightin words, too.

You can bet your typin' fingers I'll be using both to bolster some word count today. Instead of five minutes, I'm giving myself an hour to improve on this:

47184 / 85000 words. 56% done!

Back in an hour (12:19 p.m.) to post how I did. Which'll be, like, awesome, since Lilith's given me permission to suck and not care :D

EDIT: So, here's what I did with my hour:

48014 / 85000 words. 56% done!

Them thar's 830 new words! Not bad for an hour. Okay, I'm giving myself 30 minutes more, and then I have to do some paying freelance work. Long live the CWSwoRP!

EDITED EDIT: Had to post this again, since I dragged it up a bit - but it's a whole percentage point, so I'll take it!

48166 / 85000 words. 57% done!

Are You An Artist, Or What?

The following video of lovely songwriter and singer Corinne Bailey Rae may appear to have absolutely nuffink at all to do with writing. But I beg to differ; it's actually a lovely discourse on owning your creative process. Observe?

She finished her newest album, The Sea, (seriously, buy it, it's an amazing thing to behold), after her husband's death. What I found myself responding to in this video was that, even in the midst of such grievous emotional turmoil, she owned her creative process, *led* it according to her vision as an artist. She says things like, "I wanted this song to reflect this, I wanted to record this part like this, I decided to sing this bit like this" -- it's clear that she owned and trusted her creative process.

And I thought, well damn, Z. Where the hell is the trust in yours? I mean, are you an artist or what? Of course I am. So why this lack of confidence, lack of leadership and ownership in my creative process - the very one that seems to plague so many of us writers? I dunno, but I'm caging THAT unproductive bastard. Because what I do know is that


This is my book. It's my vision. And it'll turn out how it's supposed to.

(An aside: it helps to think of publication as an afterthought, dunnit? The craft is the point. Building writing chops is the point. Tucking years of experience under your belt is the point. Snagging an agent and getting pubbed? Merely footnotes, y'all.) So, on to owning and trusting my process, because, yanno, I'm an artist. Are you?

Tip from What I'm Reading: The Infinitesimal Flashback

So how are you doing with your To-Be-Read pile? I'm sure you're reading widely in your genre and others, right? Daily? Poring over new releases and historic heavy-hitters alike? I try to get through 3-4 horror/dark novels a week (though sometimes it's only 1-2, since I can read ponderously slow, especially if I'm studying the book as I go.) This week, I've been working over a 2003 Straub - LOST BOY LOST GIRL and a much older Ramsey Campbell, THE INFLUENCE (1988). 

As usually happens, I ran across sections of these books that sloshed with great tides of awesomesauce or writerly devices that made me think. So in the spirit of sharing, I'd like to maybe introduce a regular blog feature (which the disorganized blog-pantzer part of me will probably come to regret) called Tips from What I'm Reading. So this week's tip is from:

(And even if you don't read horror, you should check Straub out. Literary and resonant and supremely character-driven, Straub also knows how to pull taut that string of tension.)

Anyway, one tactic from this book that wowed me was what I'll call The Infinitesimal Flashback. During the beginning of the novel, Straub gets you all comfortable in one person's POV and time-slot. Then you realize he's nipped into another time-slot and POV, but it's not a huge, far-away flashback. He just plucks you from the now and drops you back, say, a few weeks ago. Or a few months ahead. And this isn't info-dump stuff, y'all.

These tiny time-jumps are full of tension and action and brilliance. And just when you're all caught up in that moment - he drops you abruptly back into the initial timeslot, so you're all but eating the pages in agony over WHAT THE HELL'S HAPPENING back in the other. Brillz, y'all. Freakin brilliant. (Not to mention Straub's vigorous-as-hell prose. One of my favorites? "Mark raked him with a glance." Nice.)

I did successfully deploy the infinitesimal flashback in my current WIP (once in the same chapter, using itals to note the different time-slots) - and it's no back-story info-dump either. It solved a minor plot problem for me, while adding some interest, and allowed me to drop in a necessary fact or two while also hinting at newer, fresher problems to come in future chapters - and ALL couched within action and tension, not simple exposition. It was great fun.

So what about you? Read something lately that inspired you, device-wise? Share!

Cat-urday Wisdom - Hurdling that Obstacle

And you thought you couldn't overcome the obstacles in your manuscript.

Apparently, this guy couldn't ever see the birds outside the window. So, he found a way around above the problem. (This Caturday Wisdom might become a regular thing. Huh.)

Anyway, so what are you doing to overcome YOUR writing obstacles? My method is to 1) figure out exactly what the obstacle IZ and B) find a realistic, yet simple way to overcome it.

My main two writing obstacles seem to be fear of uncorking suckitude all over my pages and fear of tackling an emotionally exhausting scene (which, since I'm writing a character-driven horror novel, is, like, ALL of them). Wanna know my method for overcoming them?

The Chunkable Writing Schedule with Optional Reward Plan. 
This is merely setting a goal of finishing a small chunk o' the MS (say, a specific chapter or even one scene) and then writing the hell out of it until it's done - no matter if it's good, bad, or complete suckitude (since, as author Elizabeth Gilbert alludes to in her TED talk, whether it's any good isn't actually my business, lol). After the obstacle has been faced, I can haz small reward (i.e., I get to play the Sims 3 for an hour). Or I agree to tackle the media pitch letter of an author press kit, and then I can read my latest Straub novel for 45 minutes before having to start drafting the press release part of the kit next. And so on.

This week, CWSwORP entails getting past the mid-way hump of the novel. For a few weeks now, I've been flirting with the last third of it, but never really getting started (blame endless re-tweaking of some sections and one disastrous left turn at Albuquerque when I shoulda turned right. THAT took a coupla weeks to rectify all on its own). Now that I've missed my first draft deadline once and am SO gonna miss my second, I'm anxious to get solidly in the last third. My goal, then, is to get past this:

45199 / 85000 words. 53% done!

and reach 75% by next week. And I hope to do it via the CWSwORP. Wish me luck! I know I wish you luck in getting past YOUR obstacles this week - just let me know what they are in the comments and I'll send you a personal bit o feline wisdom to help you do it :)

So cheers on reaching your level best - or, yanno, at least standing on your hind legs to catch a glimpse of it.

In Which Zoe Transforms into SWAMP THING!

So, I'm back from spring break in Daytona Beach with the kids, and you know what four days off means:
 *RAWR* or, yanno, DC Comics' Swamp Thing illustration by ALTbladerunner at

Seriously, y'all. You know I'm a freelance copywriter. In my world, the feast-or-famine rule applies, like, eighty-gazillion-fold. So I leave last Sunday with no. projects. atall. and come back Wednesday all sun-burnt and rested, only to find all KINDS of freelance havoc in my inbox.

But since it pays the bills, I'm going all DEEP COVER on yo ass (man, that was back when Laurence Fishburne was merely Larry Fishburne!) and pretend like I'm JUST a copywriter, and not, yanno, a blogger, a beta reader, or an aspiring horror novelist for a few days. (I'd love some comments on what you do when you have no time for your MS or your blog. This is gonna be painful!)

But take heart, me...well, me hearties. Here's some MAYJUH tomfoolery:

1. Wanna know how writer Bryan Lee O'Malley took over the world, one teenage reader at a time? Including my 15-year-old, who can't talk about ANYTHING ELSE?? Read it, buy it, wield power-ups in your next MS.

2. Take a break from all that text and check out Monica Gallagher's KICK-ASS selection of comics, cuz from GODS AND UNDERGRADS to the new WHEN I WAS A MALL MODEL, this Gallagher girl knows how to tell one SERIOUS story. And did I mention she's a freakin' roller derby girl? Yeah.

3. What? Monstrously cheerful, butter-covered vegetables, you say? Cheshire Cat plushies?? Yoda in a bicycle basket?? It's awesomeness from the Super Punch blog.

4. Get thee to the Sunflower Express Etsy shop cuz, yanno, you need more felt jewelry in your life. Fo realz.

5. Last, but certainly not tomfoolery is THIS. SUPER. IDEA. OF. A. BLOG. CHAIN!!! OF WHICH I GETZ TO BE A MEMBER!!!

Mosey on over to the ever-cool Laura Diamond's blog for the first post in the series, then migrate weekly (on Wednesdays) to check out Danyelle's, Lydia Kang's, and my own rotating musings on the chosen monthly topic. Current subject =  what keeps you writing.

See ya on the flip side!

How Do You Catch a Unique Rabbit?

First things first, me hearties:

Q. The one truth hiding amongst the six lies of my "Creative Writer" award entry?
A. I went bowling with Colin Powell.

This was when I worked for him at America's Promise. WAYYYYYYY back in the day (what, '98, '99?). So one day he shows up in jeans and a chambray shirt, driving that shiny blue PT Cruiser of his, and we all go bowling, and I shared a lane with him. Also got to go to his house one year for his Christmas party, and THAT was inneresting. Downstairs? He has this really shiny, nifty study, and in it are some great framed pictures, like the one of him on the phone in the Oval Office, like, ending the Gulf War.

EN. EE. WAY. So how do you catch a unique rabbit? Why, unique up on it, of course. *audience groans* But what if it's a unique manuscript? There's no sneaking up on that - because if it's anything like my current MS, it's too busy stalking you everywhere you go. And, sometimes, fo realz, y'all? I wish it weren't hunting season. Then I could lounge, eat a bunch of Swedish Fish, and watch the WHOLE DAY go by.

So how do you escape that ever-present WIP? I know we should take breaks, a night off, etc. But I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about what do you do AFTER you take that night off, but the plot of your MS, the stress of it, the pressure to finish it--it all still won't go away. Take yesterday. Yesterday, I literally ran away: I went jogging cuz my head was about to explode from all the MS ideas in there. And while I felt better like I always do after a run, I came panting back into my driveway with my head full of NEW ideas for the MS. So I can't escape. Even when I'm escaping. *goes barking mad*

So what do you do when this happens? How do you unplug your BRAIN from the MS when it's always there, looming, gibbering--stealing all your Swedish Fish?

A Contest Winner, a HUGE Thank You, & How Laura & Tahereh Made My Day

So - what a flood of advice! Thanks to you, I've figured out what to do with these short story ideas that keep chirping at me like that FREAKIN cricket in the room [you know who you are, you cheeping bastard]. Anyway, I now know what to do (I'll tell you down after the shiny yellow "Thank You", and also share what Laura did and what Tehereh gave me, it's all down there, I swear). Whew. Big couple of days for this new blog...Level UP!! Thanks, thanks, thanks!

SO. The helpful commentator and (randomly selected by winner of her choice of four writing books (BIRD BY BIRD, ON WRITING HORROR, HOW TO GROW A NOVEL, or NO PLOT NO PROBLEM) is:

Thank you for participating! Please send me an email with the book you'd like and the mailing address I should send it out to. And with that, we go to the huge thank you to everyone:

The outcome? I'm staying on the fence about the necessity of short stories, but I will try my hand at writing some. Strategy? I'll focus on them ONLY between key MS stages, i.e. when the MS is marinating after a draft; when it's out with betas; etc. I'll keep you posted on the process.

And concluding this whimsical bit of bloggery are TWO MORE THANK YOUs - this time to Laura Diamond for so AWESOMELY featuring me as this week's Up and Coming Blogger! Also to Tahereh for dropping THIS award on a sista (see below for rules and bloggers I'm passing the award on to):

RULES: Tell six lies and one truth, and pass it on to seven other bloggers.

MY LIES (and one troof):
  1. I absolutely *love* G4.
  2. I have five cats.
  3. I was born in Maryland, but grew up in Droitwich, England.
  4. I just learned how to drive at 34.
  5. My father was 56 years old when I was born.
  6. I went bowling with Colin Powell.
  7. I'm allergic to hamsters.
  1. Laura Diamond
  2. Danyelle Leafty
  3. Lydia Kang
  4. Lisa K.
  5. Shain Brown
  6. Pauline Thomas
  7. Justine Dell
Thanks for participating in my little ACK! HELP AND I'LL GIVE YOU A BOOK! contest - and thanks for reading :)