Monday, July 25, 2011

On Blogcation

I won't be around the blogosphere this week since I'm in Brittany with the fam.  So, I thought I'd point you all towards some popular Creepy Query Girl reruns till I get back!  Enjoy and I'll 'see' you soon

The Truth Behind Your Profile Pic : I know most of you through the smiling faces of your profile pictures.  Some of them look professionally done.  Others look they were taken in a natural setting when you just happened to be smiling...

 OMG!  You Can Totally See Her Double Spaces!! :  Up until recently, I had no idea that double spaces after a period were so offensive to many industry professionals...

Under The Knife :  I’ve got some good news and some bad news.  (Don’t you just love it when people start a conversation this way?)

My Name is Katie And I Suck At First Person POV :  As many of you know, I started my current wip last week and so far the writing is going…okay.   

I Feel Like A Sperm :  In competition with the millions of other sperm struggling to get to that big fat publishing egg at the center of it all.  

The Waiting Game : I am the first to admit that I have the patience of a shitzu with bladder control issues. It’s my ‘tragic flaw’.

'Snuck' Doesn't Suck!!! :  (yes, today’s title is pure poetry isn’t it?) I’m not an unreasonable person.  I’ve never chained myself to a tree or picketed working conditions. 

Friday, July 22, 2011


As you can imagine, I have noticed some cultural differences between American men and French men.  But today I’d rather talk about something they have in common.  The sport might not be the same.  In the U.S. it’s usually either football, basketball, or baseball. The leading sport in Europe is soccer, of course.

And while I guess you could say American men might be a bit more athletic than Frenchmen (organized sport isn’t part of the school curriculum in France and there are no inter-school competitions like in the U.S.)- there are exceptions.

But in general, I’d say about 80% of American men and Frenchmen alike prefer to enjoy their sports from the comfort of a nice cushy couch, accompanied with an ice cold beer and the companionship of their guy friends.

All of this is fine and good, of course.  Except for one little detail whose logic escapes me:

By some inexplicable trait of universal male-brain damage; men actually believe they are playing the sport.  They sit there, beer in hand and ass firmly planted while they watch the actual athletes exhausting real physical effort for the win-and yet act as though their cries of  “Yes!  Yes! GO!” and “What are you DOING???? Left!  Left!  Look he’s open dammit!”  and “That was a foul!  Off SIDES!!!!!”   --will actually, by some intricate magic or prayer, influence the game on the television.

*Newsflash dudes.*

 It doesn’t.

I mean, I can understand getting swept up in the game.  Sure.  They lose themselves in the moment.  It’s entertainment after all.  But what I can’t understand is how after said game, men like to make triumphant statements like:  “We totally kicked their ass.  We’re going to the finals!”

We’?  what is this ‘we’?  You didn’t DO anything!?  You just sat there and shouted at the screen for an hour!  What the hell is wrong with you?

Of course, when you actually state these thoughts aloud, the men look at you like ‘you’re’ the one who’s gone nuts.  (again.  Brain damage.)

And then-to make things worse, some men will actually nurture an everlasting and undying hate for any supporters of a rival team with the logic that anyone who plants their ass in front of the television and routes for the opposite team is a traitor to mankind and must be bad-mouthed, degraded and, in some of the most extreme cases to date- actually die.

It’s madness.  Pure and simple.   And they say women are irrational.  But you don’t see us yelling obscenities at people who can’t hear us and hating others for doing the same.  We don’t take out a baseball bat when we’re Team Jacob faced with Team Edward, for god’s sakes.  Give me a break. 

Male.  Brain.  Damage.
It’s universal. 

Have a great weekend everyone!


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Writer Un-Educated

Yesterday I went to a job interview for a teaching position at a bilingual elementary school near where I live.  The interview was going well- my teaching experience and the kinds of things I’m used to doing were a perfect match for the vacancy.  The interviewer seemed to like me a lot and we had easy conversation.

Until she saw I didn’t have a college degree.

I’m used to it by now.  Seven and a half years ago I dropped out of college my last semester.  My daughter Lily was born in February and after her birth, I just couldn’t keep up with my classes (it was 20 credit schedule-the mad dash towards the cap and gown).  It was probably one of the hardest decisions I ever made- officially leaving a school that had taught me so much without the certificate to show how much work I’d put into it for three and half years.  I was so upset that even the secretary arranging my withdrawal shed a couple tears with me.

The hubs and I moved back to France shortly after so that he could support us.  Babies number two and three came along and time started to slowly but surely chip away at the credits I’d accumulated during those years.

To be honest, I’ve made my peace with it, although it took a long time.  And usually I just tell myself everyone’s paths are different and I took the road less traveled.

Yet having an employer look at me with such disappointment kind of re-opens the old wound.  She basically told me the only reason they’d hesitate in hiring me is because on the day they present the teachers to the parents they like to be able to say where I graduated and what certificates I hold.  If they can’t -then the parents will ‘chew me up and spit me out’- yes.  Her words.  And I decided maybe working with people like that probably isn’t my cup of tea.

It occurred to me on my way home from that interview- Writers don’t have to be college graduates in order to get published.  They don’t need to even be published in order to get published- like the vicious cycle sometimes suggests.  Writers are judged for their words.  In the here and now. 

Their thoughts, creativity, and endurance are what matters. Writing is a pure profession that doesn’t discriminate by background, age, culture, or ethnicity.  On the contrary- it brings so many different kinds of people together.  If I can’t be proud of my educational past- I can be proud of who I am today.  I’m proud to be a writer, even if I’m still unpublished.  I’ve stuck with it for almost as long as it takes to get a college degree and I’ve learned so much.  And I’m especially proud to be a part of this community and to have met all of you.

What part of your writing journey are you proud of?

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Week Alone

By some powers of fate and destiny, and maybe some mis-aligned planets or something, I find myself at home this week.

Completely alone.

The in-laws offered to take my girls with them to Brittany to visit family there.  I would have gone with them except they’re leaving for two weeks and I didn’t want to leave my hubs here (who just started a new job and can’t get away) or the dog (who has dependency issues) for all that time alone.  So we compromised.  I’ll stay here for a week with the hubs and then go join my girls and in-laws in Brittany next week.

Except the hubs is still working long hours and doesn’t have a day off till Friday.  Which gives me the house, basically to myself, for one whole frickin’ week.  

Imagine the possibilities!

I could write a whole novel in a week of un-interrupted Kate time!  I could do non-stop exercise and finally tone this flappy nearly-thirty figure back into it’s pre-child form.  I could (re)learn how to play guitar!  Sing at the top of  my lungs!  Dance around my house butt-naked! 

Hey- I could do all three at the same time!

And yet.  Here I am, mid-morning, sitting on the couch in my pyjamas and eyeing my tae-bo video like it might jump up and bite me.  I don’t even remember how to accord a guitar.   I have a whole manuscript that needs revising and no new flashy ideas so the manuscript-in-a-week project is out.  The idea of getting naked for no good reason makes me cold just thinking about it.  *shiver* The weather here sucks right now so no tanning in the backyard.  *sigh*

I’ll probably spend the next week editing my MS, getting through every single book on my  nightstand, watching whatever the hell I want.  Oh!- and eating whatever the hell I want when I want to, enjoying the fact that I don’t have to make meals and clean up after five people for once.  I should probably deep clean my house and re-organize our closets now that there are no little hands to tear the place apart.  (*sniff*  Though I must admit I miss those grubby little hands quite a bit right now.)  And yes, maybe some exercise in between couch potato sessions would be a good idea too so I’ll probably take our helpless dog for a run in the mornings.   

What would you do if you had a whole week to yourself? 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Details, Details, Details!!!

I’ve noticed while reading the Sookie Stackhouse novels that Ms. Harris drops quite a few details that some might deem unnecessary.

For instance, we always know not only what Sookie is wearing- but what everyone else is wearing too.

We spend some time in each novel eating.





Reading.  (Yes.  Sookie likes the library)

And working at Merlotte’s- where we follow Sookie as she picks up people’s orders (we get a detailed account of what most people eat too.  The chicken basket.  A salad.  Or burgers Lafayette.)

And yet... I wouldn’t change any of that for the world.  While binging on these books, I really feel like I’m in the small town of Bon Temps.  Like I’m having a mind-vacation in the Louisiana bayous.  The small details about Sookie’s everyday life not only help me relate to the character but really pull me into her world. 

Part of this might have to do with the fact that there are always so many conflicts, and tension, and things going on around Sookie that the small details describing her ‘downtime’ are a nice break from all of that for the reader. 

But I’m not convinced this would work as well in say, your normal contemporary romance where the plot is more level with less suspense.

What kind of details do you include in your writing?  What kind of details drive you nuts?  And what details can’t you live without?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Saggy Back Ends

Hello.  My name is Katie and I write saggy back ends.  

Usually an idea will come to me almost fully formed- with the main conflict in sight, characters, and a couple scenes ready.  It takes awhile to add onto that and build up until I have myself a reasonable outline.  And then I start writing.  But of course, somewhere between the first chapter and the middle, things change- scenes get added, cut, or moved around as my imagination dives into the story head first.  I make the same changes on my outline- looking ahead and making sure everything adds up.  The climax comes and goes, I’m almost done!!!!

But then comes the ending.

I freeze.

I almost never like my original endings.  And I have to ask myself 'how the hell do I want to end this?'  I mean, it’s done.  The conflicts have all been resolved.  Resolution achieved.  But there’s that final scene that’s supposed to...I don’t know.  Uplift us?  Like a happy ending?
Give us an idea of how the characters will go on living their lives? Like in JK Rowling’s epilogue?
Surprise us?
Or what about those cliff hangers in sequel-coming novels that have us biting our nails and wondering how the characters will deal with the brandy-new conflict they present right at the closing?

I’ll be honest here and tell you I have no frickin’ clue how to naturally end a novel.  I don’t like endings one little bit and I’m constantly second-guessing myself.  My back ends are saggy.  They lack toning and firmness.  I want my endings to feel like the natural close of the story- everything’s been worked out and all is as it should be.  You should be able to bounce a nickel off my back end, dammit!

But choosing the right scene, the right closing’s like a puzzle I never feel is completed.  Or it’s missing a piece.....Or there’s one piece left and you’re left sitting there, staring at the extra piece wondering what the hell other puzzle it came from... 

What do you do about endings?  What are some of your favorites?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Uh...I got nothin' but love for ya today

Sorry for the late post.  The hubs and I took the kids to the Natural History Museum in Paris today.  Since we aren’t going on vacation, a big weekly outing is pretty much essential if we wanna keep the three kidlets from driving us nuts.

I’ll hopefully be back to my usually scheduled posts next week! 

 Hope you all have a great weekend!


Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Well, this morning I finally wrote those two words we all struggle and strive for :


Which in other words, means the beginning of revisions.  The first draft of KISSING FOR COFFEE is officially done- topping out at exactly 70k but it will be another month or so before I've finished edits, revisions and overall polishing.  I might have finished the first draft sooner if my husband hadn’t gotten me a kindle for my birthday.  (Thank you for all those wonderful birthday wishes btw!  Sorry I haven't been around this week- hubby ordered an updated internet box which left us with no internet for two days.  Total torture.)

The kindle is everything I’d hoped it’d be.  So easy to use!  I ordered and downloaded a couple Sookie Stackhouse novels in the blink of an eye wheras before I had to order them through pray they had the books in english, pay shipping, and wait two weeks before they arrived in the mail. 

For those of you who have a kindle, you know how different graphics pop up when you aren’t using it- kind of like a screen saver.   Some of the images are of famous authors, or paintings, or book covers.  They kind of remind me of those intricate etch-a-sketch portraits some artists are capable of.  Really neat.  Except when you wake up and Emily Dickenson is staring back at you.  Her picture creeps me out.
So I’m officially on summer vacation!  And now that the first draft of KISSING FOR COFFEE is completed, I’m going to let it marinate for awhile.  It’s a good idea to stay away from your work for a short time so you can come back to it with new perspective.  This is probably one of the most difficult steps of revision-  You want it done now!  You’re addicted to the story and the characters and aren’t ready to leave them!-  So you fiddle.  And fiddle.  Re-read it until nothing else jumps out at you.

 That doesn’t mean there isn’t more to revise.  It probably means you’ve read yourself blind to any other problems the manuscript may have.  Which is when it’s time to finally take a step away from it.  You might send it out to initial beta readers. Or let it sit alone for a few weeks and go back to it yourself first. 

But staying away from it is key.  To speed up the process I’ve been saving up some books on my nightstand. 
And then there’s my kindle.  And I’ve got a project I’m going to start beta-reading.  All of these are great ways to keep busy AND add to your editing-arsonal for when you go back to your manuscript.

What do you do during manuscript ‘down time’?  What are your plans for this summer?? (I’m staying home with the kids this summer – hubby just changed jobs so let me live vicariously through your plans please!:)

Friday, July 1, 2011

The First Day of the Last Year of My Twenties...

Today I turn 29.   And to be truthful, I’ve been kinda freaking out about it for the last couple of weeks.  After this year, my twenties will be over (technically).  And even though I hear thirty is the new twenty,  I can’t help feeling like it’s time to start playing offense with mother nature.  My biological clock is pointing me towards the anti-wrinkle creams and SPF50 products.  It’s also telling me I should start doing things like drinking green tea.
Eating organic.
Joining gymnastics for adults.
And drinking that glass of wine every night to ward off heart disease and other such rot.  I’ve never felt a bigger anxiety about getting a year older.

What age in particular had you sitting up and paying more attention to the passing of time?


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