Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tropical Storm StressZilla

My life is a tropical storm of stress right now!

My son has developed a terrible cold resulting in a gross snotty nose that is impossible to keep clean and my daughter decided to take up vomiting as a hobby. I had to rush her to the doctor at 4:30 yesterday afternoon because she's six months old and they couldn't just tell me over the phone to give her fluids. Instead, I had to drive thirty minutes while covered in puke and dragging along a grumpy two year old in addition to the regurgitating baby so the doctor could then, finally, tell me to give her fluids.

Meanwhile, my house is a mess, dishes still have to be done, laundry needs doing but the washer keeps leaking water every time it runs causing me to brave the risk of electrocution in order to transfer the clothes to the dryer. I then cross my fingers that I won't be shocked unconscious while pushing the start button and standing on the recently mopped but still damp floor.

My son has decided potty training isn't for him and is terribly pissed off to be congested with a cold but has found it helps to smear snot in interesting places ... like the remote controls, the sofa, and my shoes. My poor daughter has layered a lovely stench of spoiled milk all around the house with her purging and if that's not enough, I have a terrible sore throat! Normally I'm not one to complain but ... fuck!

I've got a book that needs 15,000 more words to be completed, interviews to fill out and publicity work that needs doing along with the other million things that normally need doing. I feel awful for my kids because they're sick but all I can do is wipe the snotty nose, clean up the vomit, give extra hugs and go on with the day.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

How Do You Find the Time?

How do I find the time to write novels and take care of two children under the age of three? I've been asked this question repeatedly.

The secret is: Determination

The truth is, some days I get no writing done at all. Some days the kids are screaming, the washing machine is broken and there's no way in hell I'm going to concentrate on anything other than making it from breakfast to bedtime.

Sometimes, I'll have three days in a row when the planets align, doves sing, and my children both take naps ... and take them at the same time. Those are the only days I get any writing done during daylight. I cannot be creative or concentrate on plot points/scene changes or anything else withing my fictional world unless I have complete silence so I usually find myself typing away after the kids have gone to bed.

I've learned to do the dishes, fold the laundry, clean the bathroom, all that fun stuff us stay at home moms just love to do when my kids are awake. I used to do those things after they went to bed because nothing makes cleaning a toilet more fun than cleaning a toilet while a baby screams in her bouncy seat and a toddler bangs on the gate to his room while screaming "MOMMY" because the thousand toys he has in there and the juice in his cup and the snacks in his bowl aren't enough to satisfy him.

Nothing makes folding the laundry more fun than a toddler who unfolds everything when your back is turned because he's trying to "help". Or when I realize the dishes aren't clean because some sneaky small person opened the dishwasher just enough to stop the cycle but not enough for me to notice while doing another thousand things.

But, like anything else, sacrifice is the path to enlightenment. So, I write at night, sometimes at 2 am, even though I have to wake up with my children at 6:30am. I often wake up in the middle of the night and scribble notes in the dark on a notebook I keep by the bed and then in the morning try to figure out what it is I wrote and what language it is written in. The language is usually too-dark-to-see, too-sleepy-to-care.

A few hours a week, I'll wrangle my husband into watching the kids so I can work. However, this is a fairly useless tactic because, again, I can't work unless I have silence. Let me tell you, my husband watching the children is anything but silent. There is a grand amount of yelling involved and I normally get nothing accomplished when I take this approach.

However, the actual writing of a novel is only part of the work involved in getting published. There are agents to research, publishers to research, query letters to write, synopsis to write, websites to maintain, social media to consider, writer/agent/publisher blogs to follow for the most current information, and lots and lots of reading of other authors' works. The best way to learn how to write a good book is to read good books.

There really is no secret. It's determination, perseverance and the license to allow that even though I may not get any work done for five days in a row, I'm still a writer, and I'll get back to it as soon as my sanity returns to an acceptable level.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

If Life Were Like Fiction

If life were like fiction, everything would be terrible and amazing.

If life were like fiction, I would secretly be a superhero.

My children would be managed by a squad of nannies.

My husband would be the strong, silent type ... of the supernatural variety.

If life were like fiction, my first marriage would have been a Comedy instead of a Drama.

If life were like fiction, I'd have woken up this morning to some devastating yet revolutionary life changing event instead of the same "stop kids from crying, change kids diapers, feed kids ... repeat until bedtime."

If life were like fiction, I'd be super awesome and super sexy in some understated yet undeniable way.

I'd never have to worry about brushing my teeth in the morning.

An unattractive case of stomach cramps would never plague me.

I'd see people I knew ten years ago and it'd be totally obvious how much more successful and attractive I've become since then ... and how much hair they've lost, weight they've gained, money they haven't made etc.

If life were like fiction, time travel would be a plausible possibility and we'd all be thirty year old virgins waiting for our soul mate to come sweep us off our feet and into bed.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Things I Wish I Could Get Away With

Beyond murder and theft, there are quite a few things I wish I could get away with. *You know you'd totally kill that asshole who steals your lunch outa the fridge at work every Wednesday and then go rob a bank so you didn't have to work that shitty job anymore if you could get away with it.*

First, I would love to be able to wear black. Everyone "cool" wears black. Black tops, black dresses, cute little black chino shorts.

I honestly haven't worn anything black in YEARS. Why? Because I have a cat. And a dog. For some reason, even though my dog has mostly black hair, he apparently made a deal with the devil to only shed hair from his small white spots ... and shed in obscenely massive and never-ending quantities.

How do goth and emo people deal with pet hair and all those black clothes? I can't imagine that none of the chubby, sad, spinster goth ladies own a cat. I would think they'd all own a large number of cats that they force to sit around the candlelight at night and listen to poorly written poetry. How do they keep the cat hair off those xxl black velvet corsets? Maybe they just don't care and walk around with a fine pelt of calico on them at all times.

Next, I would love to be able to have sweet multi-colored hair. I manage to rock a few pink stripes now and then but I wish I could have super bold punkish hair and not look like I was patiently waiting for Halloween. These ladies know how it's done.

Finally, I'd like to get away with having crazy-awesome-everywhere-tattoos without looking like the trashy tramp left behind by a motorcycle gang. I have quite a few tattoos already but I'm talking like full-sleeves and breastplate tattoos. Some women can get away with this look. Kat Von D can pull this off and make it sexy.

Sadly, I have two children and I somehow think that excludes me from Gothic Corsets, Punk Hair and Full Body Tattoos. *sigh*

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Best Series I've Read This Year

I'm thrilled about my recent discovery of author Adrian Phoenix.  I'm not sure how I managed to overlook her until now and I'd like to kick my own ass for it.

Adrian's Hoodoo series and Maker's Song series are by far some of the best books I've read this year. Gritty, Dark, Sexy Urban Fantasy and based in Louisiana. With charming Creole/French phrases and sometimes disturbing sensuality, I'm completely addicted to Adrian Phoenix.

The characters in the Maker's Song series are my favorites. The Heroine is 31, not the 22 year old that usually rules as queen of the paranormal genre, which is great because it doesn't make me feel so freaking old. The Hero is incredibly strange with his bondage collar and leather/latex wardrobe but remains totally edible, perhaps because he's so odd and damaged.

Phoenix isn't afraid to dive into the shaded corners of criminal minds or walk the lonely streets with victims of abuse. If you're looking for something haunting, sexual and gripping ... pick up A RUSH OF WINGS by Adrian Phoenix and start reading now!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Coffee and Cat Pee

Yesterday, deafened by the sound of my screaming children, I decided to hand the reigns over to my husband for a few hours and take my laptop somewhere without so many interruptions.

Granted, the screaming wasn't the heart-wrenching I'm-super-upset-with-everything-and-my-life-sucks kind of screaming but the "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! I know you're in the other room! Why aren't you in here with us? Why won't you come and stare at us all afternoon? Mommy!!!"

Alas, I cannot concentrate with my children clamoring for my attention, which they get more than enough of the other six days a week. So, I packed up my notes and my laptop and decided to head into town and find somewhere cool and sans my children to get some work done.

First, the freaking library was the most happening place in town on this fine Saturday afternoon. Apparently the librarians all rushed into phone booths, ripped off their beehived-hairdos and polyester pantsuits and donned their "we're here to party" super-hero personae sometime before I arrived. Unfortunately, along with their I'm-a-grandmother-ten-times-over fashion sense, they also left their crabby "shushing" voices and wagging fingers behind as well. It was so f-ing loud in there!

Where else do writer's go? I've heard of people writing in coffee shops so I thought, why not?

The first shop I entered, I did a round of the place and walked right back out. The place was a fire hazard there were so many people crowded into the too-hot room. Since half of those people were under the age of 5, it totally ruined any chances of me getting work done.

Finally, I settled on another coffee shop. No children, but the in-depth discussion of "Cats are mystical, intellectual creatures" that was going on in one corner of the joint was a bit distracting. It was, however, humorous because while they argued for the probability that cats domesticated humans and not the other way around, I watched a stray cat on the sidewalk pee on the tire of mustang convertible like a dog, then crawl on top of said tire, stretch out, and begin to nap surrounded by the comforting aroma of urine in 90 degree heat.

Needless, to say, I did not accomplish any significant writing.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Hey! That's Not Your Name!

Pen names. Many more authors use Pen names than you would think.

My mother recently went a little crazy over the fact that I've chosen to use a pen name for my first novel, A LIFE BEYOND YESTERDAY. I chose a pseudonym for one simple reason: The story is written for an entirely different genre than I intend to do most of my future work.

Why can't I use the same name in Women's Fiction and Urban Fantasy? Marketing. It just doesn't work. However, there are countless other reasons for using a pseudonyms.

Stephen King wrote as Richard Bachman to avoid criticism over publishing too many books in the same year.

Emily Bronte wrote as Ellis Bell because, in her time, being an author was a man's game.

Joanne Rowling became JK Rowling to entice more young male readers to her Harry Potter series. And, after publishing an exorbitant amount of books as Nora Roberts,  Nora now also writes as JD Robb. Nora has also been published under the names Jill March and Sarah Hardesty.

Does it bother me that my first book won't be published as written by SJ Drum but rather as written by my pseudonym, Clara LaVeaux? Not. One. Bit. All that matters to me is that it's a good book that people want to read ... and hopefully recommend to their friends.