Monday, January 31, 2011

January Progress

Since the month is ending today, I decided to compare my monthly totals to last year. 2010 didn't feel like my most productive year overall, so I was curious to see if I was off to a better start. And yay! I am!

Nitty Gritty
This month, I wrote 3541 words of nonfiction and 32,058 words of fiction.
Last year, I wrote 1232 words of nonfiction and 19,311 words of fiction.

Last year's nonfiction was all client work. This year I included blog posts I've been preparing for the March Madness promotion I'm doing with MJ Fredrick. So you kind of have to shrug off the difference there.

But the fiction? That I'm proud of. In 2010, I wrote pretty steadily on Full Fusion, the paranormal YA adventure I'd started during NaNo, but it took pushing hard on a retreat the final weekend to get it done. This year, I not only finished my second YA (featuring ghosts!), I worked steadily on an adult romantic adventure, too. That one's almost done.

I like writing first drafts. They're so easy to quantify. If I meet my goals and finish Entanglement this week as well as my synopsis for Hummingbird, my next project will be revision, and that doesn't lend itself to comparisons. Sure, I can do X number of pages per day, but might not increase the word count. Might decrease it.

Which is fine, of course. The important thing is the quality of the book that comes out at the end. Wish me luck that I 2011 is the year of quality as well as quantity. :)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I've Loved Thursdays Since 1992

My first full-time job out of college was for a call center, and Thursdays were the slowest days for inbound calls. It meant I could get a ton of my other work done, which took a lot of pressure off and was very satisfying.

Thursdays were Must See TV for years, with the comedy block that started with Friends. I wasn't watching much TV during those years, but that was TV night with my husband, shared time that meant a lot.

Then Thursdays were BS days, when none of us had to work and we could get together for the whole day, hang out and vent about life and industry and share experiences and everything.

They were also Supernatural nights. My SPN-watching friends and I would be excited all day, watch the show live, and hook up online afterward to talk about the show.

My chapter's annual retreat always starts on Thursday.

My employer is closed on Thursday, so even though I always have tons of work and errands and stuff, I'm "off" that day. Today! :)

Times change. Some of my BS friends have to work Thursdays, so we can't get together any more. SPN has moved to Friday. But after nearly 20 years of reasons for Thursday to be a favorite, I have a feeling it always will be.

What's your favorite day of the week and why?

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Peek Into My Brain

How on earth do some people find something to say on a blog every single day? Especially super busy, super stressed people? I can barely think of something every week lately.

When you don't read blogs for 3 weeks, they pile up. Duh. And when you read "I can't believe it's Wednesday" and get excited, then realize it's really Monday, you're just way behind, well, that's sad.

I don't find as many stinkbugs as Vicki, but I have found one every couple of days for the last few weeks. My question: It's been 20 degrees or colder since before Christmas. Where the hell are they coming from?

I miss Doctor Who. And Supernatural. But that's coming back this week, and I have to wait wayyyyyyyyyyyyy too long for Doctor Who. And Torchwood.

I'm loving this:

It heats water so blazing fast, I've used it for a few weeks and it still delights me every time. :)

Two hours later and that's all I've come up with. :( I'm so boring.

The Gab Wagon: Satisfied Relief

The Gab Wagon: Satisfied Relief: "I just finished a book! I know, this is a blog of writers, so no big deal, right? Happens all the time. But it hasn't happened for me in almost..."

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Stupid HTML

I really hate when I screw up my HTML, and then forget to check it and let it stay screwed up.

This question makes a lot more sense with the strikethroughs, no?

I have a whole page on my own website dedicated to my obsessions passions. They include Harry Potter, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and the New England Patriots (but we're not talking about them this week). What are your own obsessions passions?

Interview with Susan Gourley

I want to welcome Susan Gourley, fantasy and fantasy romance author!

Sue, you have two romance series (The Chronicles of Solonia and The Tigers of Salubria, under Susan Kelley) and a fantasy series (The Futhark Chronicles, under Susan Gourley). You're also a teacher and mother of four VERY active kids. How on earth do you do it all?

Well, the kids are a little older now. The youngest earned her driver's license a few weeks ago. That frees up lots of my time. I usually write in the evenings and on weekends. The first book of The Tigers of Salubria is available now, and the second one is coming out in March. Promotion is the biggest drain on my writing time but it has to be done.

The second book in The Futhark Chronicles came out January 1st. Tell us a little about it.

Beyond the Gate takes up the tale of Cage Stone and Sabelline Shelton moments after the first book, The Keepers of Sulbreth, ended. As the duo travels into the cave system where they must reset the magical seals keeping the demon invasion from Futhark, they discover their mission has been complicated by unexpected obstacles and the ignorance of the people who trained them. Cage will discover things about his past he would rather have never known, and Sabelline faces a decision that could save the world but destroy her. The kingdom of Futhark, in the meantime, is rocked by a civil war when the king is at his most vulnerable. Only Cage suspects it is all connected by an evil stalking Futhark beyond any they could have imagined.

I have a whole page on my own website dedicated to my obsessions passions. They include Harry Potter, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and the New England Patriots (but we're not talking about them this week). What are your own obsessions passions?

I wouldn't think of mentioning the Pats. (Thank you!) I really don't obsess about things. Despite the large role of athletics in my family, I'm not a fan of professional sports. I like various shows, books, music, but I don't obsess over them. Even my hobbies are extremely varied. There are so many things I like, reading, writing, jigsaw puzzles, gardening, baking, hiking, and many more. I love what I'm doing when I'm doing and only wish for more hours in the day so I could do more.

You build really amazing worlds in your storytelling. How do they come about? Do you figure out details as you go, or develop the world before you start writing?

I'm actually doing a class on that later and I've blogged on it a number of times. I do general details before I start and add more as I need them. The most important thing in a fantasy world is to know how the magic works. The magic influences nearly everything else—government, commerce, medical care, weapons, society and class distinctions. Geography can also be a big factor. I always draw a map before I start even though I'm not much of an artist.

What's next for you?

I have another fantasy romance coming out from New Concepts Publishing in March and am working on the next one in that series. Beyond the Mountain, Book #3 in the Futhark series, is due out in early 2012. I also have a second fantasy series I'm determined to find a publisher for this year.

Thanks for having me, Natalie.

I have no doubt you'll find that publisher, Sue! Keep those awesome books coming! :)

Sue's been doing a blog tour this month, so you can find out more about her here, here, here, here, and here! Check out yesterday's post for her website, Facebook, and Goodreads links.

Thanks for guesting, Sue!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Quick Hits

Tomorrow Susan Gourley will be interviewed here in relation to the second book in her fantasy series, The Futhark Chronicles.

About Sue
I write fantasy using my real name, Susan Gourley, and romance under the pen name Susan Kelley. I've been writing for nearly ten years and have two romance series and so far one fantasy series published or being published. I read as much as I can across many genres, including YA, suspense, thrillers, and of course fantasy and romance. I love for fans to contact me at: my email address. Or connect to me on Facebook. Or on Goodreads.

I went to an event yesterday called Chocolatefest 2011. My father-in-law's neighbor gave him free tickets that he passed along to us. It was a cool event, with TONS of chocolate stuff. Candy and pastries and, the most creative, chocolate braised pulled pork with cocoa-infused Carolina barbeque sauce served over white cheddar/jalapeno grits. I didn't try that one because of the jalapeno. :)

I felt a little guilty, because the tickets were $50. The event was not worth $155 (Number Two qualified for the kid's price of $5), though it was well worth free! :) But it was for charity. So I bought a lot of raffle tickets for the big lovely gift baskets (and won nothing).

I was pretty chocolated out by the end.

This interminable hiatus (aka hellatus, as we Supernatural fans call it) is killing me. A few of my shows came back, then left, and other shows came back, and now they left again and the first few are back. These fits and starts... I really, really miss Supernatural. I dreamed about Sam and Dean last night. They were letting me hunt with them. I think they were just being nice because I was about to die.

We tried The Cape. I really liked some of the origin details that ground the story in reality, despite the superhero factor. His trainer is a circus guy who's a thief! I'm pretty intrigued by Orwell, and am happy to see Summer Glau again. I was also eager to see J. August Richards (Charles Gunn from Angel, but very disappointed that he's a bad guy. Kind of. He'd better get redeemed.

I deleted The Event, because I'm just not interested, unfortunately. Surprisingly, I started watching V again, though I didn't intend to. So far, okay. I'm sad that The Good Guys got canceled (and I didn't even realize it before it ended!) and that Human Target is on TV Guide's endangered list. But happy that Castle and Modern Family (and Glee?) got early renewals.

I swear, it feels like the season just started. Must be a factor of getting old. I am 40 now.

That's all for today! Make sure to check back tomorrow for Sue's interview!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Oh, Yeah, I Forgot About Those

Yesterday I posted about unfinished manuscripts. I totally forgot two more!

I started Stealing Pain and Taking Action last May during the retreat, along with Entanglement, because I wasn't sure which idea I wanted to most work on. Neither TA or SP was progressing that well.

I think I know what to do for Taking Action, which is potentially the first book in a series and features a computer geek heroine who works for a special investigations agency who recruits an actor to help her with a case she's really not supposed to be working.

Stealing Pain has a very different tone and is not at all going in the direction I'd originally intended. The premise deals with enhanced soldiers whose enhancements turned them into berserkers, who were then hunted by regular special ops. The heroine was a scientist involved in the original enhancing, the hero one of the clean-up soldiers, whose brother was enhanced. Hmmmm, this might be the next one I work on. I'm getting that tingle at the base of my brain...

We'll see, once I read through them, if they're redeemable! :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

History of Creation

A little while ago, I read a couple of blog posts where the author talked about the books she didn't sell or maybe even complete, and whether or not they were on her list to revisit someday. At the end of her posts, she asked the usual "what about you?" question. I didn't comment. I was too busy going "hot damn, a blog topic!" LOL

So here are the Books I'll Never Revisit and the Books I'll go Back to At Some Point:

Thursday, January 06, 2011


MJ Fredrick and I are teaming up for a month-long promotion in March, to celebrate our releases. Her Road Signs comes out March 14, while Fight or Flight will be available March 28. We'll have hunks, fun, and prizes, so stay tuned! :)

Cover Art Copyright @ 2010 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited  |  Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books SA. Cover art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Freaking Eyeballs

In about 22 years of wearing contacts, I had never lost one down the drain. This is a more amazing statistic if you know I wear rigid gas permeable contacts. These are not gigantic and soft and sticky like soft contacts that cling to your fingers and anything they touch. These are smaller than your iris, hard, and bounce when they hit a hard surface. So I broke a couple, back when I was a teenager, and I lost one or two when they popped out unexpectedly (always when I was rubbing), but I never sent one down the drain.

Then, last year, I dropped one into the sink while I was cleaning it. I always stopper the drain, but you know how hard it is to catch something small in swirling water. It eluded me, sank to the bottom, wedged under the stopper, and kept going.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Goodbye 2010

And good riddance.

It's not that 2010 was a bad year for me. It just sucked for people I care about, and was not good enough for other people I care about, and that makes me mad at it, even if it was good for other people I care about and pretty decent for me.

I started going through my date book and recapping the good and bad, but it got long, so I'll list it instead of recapping.