Officially Backed Up

After the almost-catastrophe of losing my flash drive, several of my readers helped with suggestions on ways of backing up my work should my spaztasticness ever result in loss of all of my writing again.

First, I tried Google docs.  It worked, but it was frustrating.  It took forever to upload all of my documents and my larger documents wouldn’t upload at all.  Not really helpful for backup when I can’t save my MS.  I had to create a new Google Document and copy and paste one chapter at a time.  It wouldn’t save if I tried to do more than one chapter at once.  And it would only let me save half of Twenty-Five in one document, so for both my first and second draft I have two documents: one with the first half, one with the second.  Again, not very helpful and certainly not efficient.

Next I tried Dropbox.  I liked this so much better.  I had to download the program onto my computer, which I didn’t want to do because I hate saving a bunch of stuff on the hard drive, but luckily I have a Mac and it’s still relatively new, so no slow-goings yet.  Anyways.  I was able to highlight all the folders I had on my flash drive and just move them over to Dropbox- no upload required.  It was so fast and I didn’t have to go through and re-create all of my folders from scratch to keep my work organized.  I’m officially in love with Dropbox!

So you’re probably wondering what the picture above has to do with all of this.  Well, it was one of the sample pictures when my Dropbox was created.  I like it.  Too bad I don’t play chess.

In other news- I added a ton of my friends from TNBW to my blogroll.  Check them out!

I’m Freaking Out a Little…

…because I’ve lost the flash drive that I keep all of my writing on.  And I mean ALL of my writing.  Twenty-Five, The Death Effect, all of the drafts of novels I haven’t finished, ideas I’ve only written a few sentences of, my short stories, my poetry, EVERYTHING.

Now, normally this wouldn’t be such a huge deal, because I post everything on TNBW and it serves as my “back-up” in case something like this happens, but about a month or so ago I had a bit of a breakdown.  I deleted everything from TNBW except for two short stories that I was entering into a contest, Twenty-Five, and The Death Effect.  So the good thing is that Twenty-Five is all there.  There may have been some editing I did without updating the site, but the whole book should be there.  The Death Effect I think is almost completely there, but there may be one or two scenes that I hadn’t updated yet.  Luckily, anything that isn’t on TNBW should be hand-written in one of my notebooks.

What bums me out is some of the poetry and short stories.  There were some I didn’t hand-write but typed immediately.  And I had all of my reviews from TNBW saved in separate documents for every project I ever posted.  I won’t be able to get those reviews back if I can’t find my flash drive!

So, any ideas for the best way to back-up your writing should this ever happen again?

One Happy Post, Seriously

I want to do a happy post, since so many of my thoughts on writing lately have been downers.  So, here you are, one bonafide sparkling happy post!

When I get a book published, I’m getting a tattoo.  I already know where I want it, in fact, I let my MC in Twenty-Five get a tattoo in the same spot, on the outside of my wrist, where my arm meets the base of my hand.  Easily covered up with long sleeves or a bracelet if necessary.  If Twenty-Five is the first book to be published, I’ll get the roman numerals for Twenty-Five, XXV.  If it’s one of my other projects, well, I guess I’ll have to think of something that symbolizes them.  I’m not sure I want anything representing Death on my arm, but I can probably come up with something for The Death Effect.  Perhaps the Greek or Roman letters for TDE.  Who knows.

When I get a book published, I hope I make a little bit of money so I can get myself out of debt.  It would be so nice not to have to worry about going to the doctor, or getting my oil changed, or something like that, because I’m worried the payment won’t go through.  Okay, that wasn’t very happy, but focus on the positive- making a little bit of money 🙂

When I get published, I’m going to let my mother read my book.  I haven’t let her yet.  The MC is so much like me and I don’t know how she’d react to it.  I think she’d like the book and I know she’d be supportive, but there are still some secrets about myself I’d like to keep to myself for now.

When I get published, the acknowledgements or dedication is going to read:

For all those tired and weary souls who sit down at a desk or computer, who balance notebooks in their laps, who fight with their pens- this book is for you.

For all the friends who read my book before I even knew how to write a book- this book is for you.

For everyone who knows what it feels like to be alone, wishing for love and friendship- this book is for you.

For C, J, A to the third power, and V and everyone over at The Next Big Writer- thank you thank you thank you for being my toughest and most loving critics.  Thank you for pushing me to be better.  For telling me that my story had heart, hope, passion, and beauty- this book is for you.

And lastly, for Mom, Daddy, Theresa, Amanda, and Danny, though we fight and argue, tease and laugh at one another, I love you with all the depths of my heart.  Thank you for being my family- this book is for you.

Now THAT makes me very happy.

I had a really good weekend.  I’m going to try very hard to be less of a grumpy, woe-is-me, person.  I hope this is a good start.  I’m determined, I have this dream, I’m going to keep going after it.  What’s the point of having a dream if you just let it die?  Thinking it’s never going to happen isn’t healthy and it isn’t productive.  I’m going to try and have the attitude from now on, WHEN I get published, not IF I get published.

When I get published…

When I get published…

When I get published…

Snow Angel

It’s snowing in North Carolina, which let’s face it, doesn’t happen very often.  The result of which is that I’m probably stuck inside my house all day Saturday.


But, on a happier note, I was inspired by the snow to write a piece of flash fiction for The Next Big Writer‘s current contest.  Since this blog is all about my goal to become a “real” writer, I thought I should maybe share some of my writing with you!  So here it is, my flash fiction piece, Snow Angel.

We walked hand in hand along the side of a snow-covered road.  He stopped and scooped up a handful of ice, packing it together and rounding it out.  I ran as he stretched his arm back, preparing to throw…


He just laughed and hurled the snowball above my head.


He laughed again and ran towards me, grabbing my waist and lifting me off the ground, spinning and twirling us both until we dropped to the earth, the blanket of white fluff cushioning our fall.

“Gosh, how old are you?”  I slapped his arms, he released his grip on me.  Rolling over, he lay flat, flaying his arms and legs out, making a snow angel.  He stood, pulling me to my feet.

“It’s beautiful.”

“An angel for my angel,” he whispered.

“That’s so cheesy!” I smiled, turning to face him.  “But sweet.”

He dropped to his knee and took my hand, pulling a velvet box out of his pocket at the same time.

“What’re you doing?”

He peeled my glove off and let it drop to the snow.  “I was going to wait til we got back to the house, build a fire, light a bunch of candles, and get cozy with you on the couch, but I can’t wait.  I love you so much.”  He popped the top of the box.  “Will you marry me?”  The ring could only hold my attention for a second, my gaze immediately found his.  Tears swam in both our eyes.

“Yes!  Of course!  I love you, too!”

He fumbled with the ring, sliding it on my finger, then jumped up and kissed me.  The box tumbled out of his grasp and slid on the ice into the middle of the road.

“I should get that.”  But he didn’t release me.  His hands were on my hips, his eyes staring into mine.  In that moment, I knew I’d love him for the rest of my life.

Kissing the tip of my nose, his hands fell.  He turned to retrieve the box and I looked at the square-cut diamond and platinum ring on my hand.  The stone was incredible, but its beauty was eclipsed by the love and commitment it symbolized.

I bent to pick up my glove and the sound of squealing tires reached my ears.  Whipping my head around, I saw an SUV fishtailing on the icy road.  He was straightening up, too, putting the ring box in his pocket.  The vehicle skidded towards him, but he didn’t move.  Maybe there wasn’t time.  Maybe the world only seemed to slow down as I watched the car plow into him.

When the ambulance and police arrived, the angel in the snow was tainted with blood and glass.  And he was gone.

Book Review: The Smart One and The Pretty One

I promised I’d let you know how I liked the book from my Barnes and Noble bookshelf browsing experiment, so here it is!

I just finished the book about an hour ago. The biggest compliment I can give it is that the characters were SO REAL. I mean it. I immediately related to both sisters, Ava with her belief that she is always second best to her sister in the looks department while priding herself in her intelligence and non-chalant about looks attitude (yeah, right!), and Lauren who’s up to her ass in debt , but ignores the situation because she just isn’t ready to deal with her own failings.

My biggest complaint about the book is that some of the situations seemed a little too convenient. Lauren calls a man who her family knew when she was a small child, but who she hasn’t seen or talked to in twenty-some years and he’s more than happy to meet with her and her sister, without question or hesitation? I don’t quite buy that, but I liked Russell, so I’m kinda glad that he doesn’t exactly play by the rules of modern social interactions.

My second biggest complaint is that the book ended too soon! There is still so much I want to know about the characters!

I know a book is good when I get lost in it. That’s what happened with this book. I started reading it around 9:00 pm on Saturday night and didn’t stop. At 1:46 am, my mother came in my room “You still up?” I had completely lost track of time and gone 3/4ths of the way through the book. With the TV on the whole time! The book just sucked me in!

I have to admit, it was really nice to read a book where I wasn’t looking for typos, grammatical errors, or awkward sentences. Lately, all I’ve been reading have been works in progress on TNBW, so I am constantly in “review mode.” But I was able to turn my inner editor off for this one and really just get swept up into the story.

I liked that the book dealt with a family I felt could live down the street from me and that the issues they were dealing with (sibling rivalry, sisterly affection, a parent with cancer, debt, loneliness and romantic troubles) were all sincere, real life issues. No end of the world in sight and no one acting like any of their problems were going to cause the downfall of humanity. It was simple and sweet and truthful.

I’m so glad I choose to buy it!

Why I Love Hand-Writing My First Drafts

I don’t hand write everything. But I think I get in a better flow when I’m writing by hand. Mainly because I don’t have the distraction of Facebook or TNBW or Absolute Write or even the dashboard of my blog!

Also, when you write the first draft of something by hand, you get a second shot at the first draft when you type it. For example, I hand wrote part of a chapter of The Death Effect during down time at work the other day. Shhh, don’t tell my boss! (Not that it really matters that much because down time at work is literally seconds in between phone calls and guests checking in and out and stylists needing help with their schedules and the purchase order being checked in, etc. etc. etc. And, my last day is January 9, 2010, so, I think it’s a moot point anyways.) Here’s a few sample sentences that I hand wrote:

They each dropped a rose into the grave. Donny took Geri’s hand and put his other arm around her waist to lead her back to their seats.

Okay those are sooo not exciting. But! When I typed it into my draft I saw how unexciting it was and my inner editor changed it to this:

Her fingers trembled as she loosened her grip on the roses meant to be the last gift to her daughter. The stems rolled out of her hands and tumbled into the grave, a few petals breaking off as the flowers struck the casket. Her husband’s touch replaced the roses as he took her hand and put his arm around her waist to lead her back to their seats.

Still not amazing, but can’t you see the VAST difference! Handwriting is great because it gives you a chance to have 2 first drafts. If I had been typing my first draft, I probably wouldn’t have gone back through and changed that sentence until a couple of months from now, if at all, once I’ve finished the whole book.

I wrote the entire first draft of Twenty-Five by hand and didn’t start typing it until it was 75% complete.  I think that’s how I even finished it in the first place.  It feels more tangible when you can hold the pages in your hand, and it feels more like your work when you see your hand writing expressing the words making up a story.  I feel like I need to stop staring at a computer screen and pick my pen back up if I want to have any shot of finishing another book.


I found this quote online the other day and I have fallen in love with it: “I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.”  ~Agatha Christie.

It’s just so damn true.  I’m in the middle of probably the hardest time in my life right now.  I’m financially drowning and my social calendar has never been bleaker, but I still know that life is this precious gift I’ve been given.  Yeah, life sucks once and a while and lately it’s sucked all the time, but even days of 99% shittyness (sorry, spell check refuses to tell me how to properly spell this word) there’s always at least 1% greatness.

Take today for example.  I just logged on to my dashboard to check things out and even though I haven’t posted anything new in a while, there hasn’t been a single day in the past 2 weeks where this blog hasn’t gotten at least 6 views.  That’s pretty cool.  I know it doesn’t seem like a lot, but when I first started I’d have several days in a row with 0 views, so I feel like I’m moving up in the world.  Especially since I don’t really know how to advertise myself very well yet.  And, I checked the search terms people used to find my page and this was one of them: a give stick a pen up her virgin.  I’m TOTALLY serious about that.  Someone typed “a give stick a pen up her virgin” into google or yahoo or some other search engine and then clicked on a link to my blog.  Isn’t that just the most hilarious search term you’ve ever heard?

Makes me kind of glad that even in cyberspace I’m the first virgin people think of!

Oh, and to continue my ramblings of randomness, I’ve started work on a new project called The Death Effect.  I’ll create a page for it along with my other projects in a day or so.

And I got the nicest rejection email today.  Here’s a little snippet: “I’ve read your sample pages, and while I think you show great potential as a writer, I’m sorry to say that the project just isn’t a perfect fit with my current needs. This has less to do with your strengths as a writer and more to do with my goals as an agent and the trends of the current literary marketplace.”

Well, thank you, Ms. Super Agent.  I would have really enjoyed working with you, but how can I be upset when you tell me I have potential?  I might just print out that one sentence and stick on the wall behind my desk so I can stare at it when I’m writing.  That’s not weird, right?

OH!  And, Twenty-Five has made it to the #9 spot on the All-Time Rankings at The Next Big Writer.  I’m pretty happy about that.  I’m waiting for the administration to realize it so that my novel is given a spot on the All-Time Top Ten list.  When he does realize it, I’ll get access to a cool logo that I can use when marketing/advertising/selling my book, and you can bet I’ll be re-writing my query to include it’s shiny new status!

So, that’s what’s been going on in my life.  Oh, and I’m looking for a new job, but I may have mentioned that before.  Keep your fingers crossed for me.  I have to have one by January 1st.  Anyone out there in cyberland looking for a freelance editor?  I’m pretty kick-ass at finding grammatical errors and I can use a comma with the best of them!  I don’t have any “education” or “experience” but I can give you several references of writers on TNBW who love my editing skills!

Man, this post has really lived up to its title!

Other People’s Happy Moments

That’s what pops up on my laptop screen when it falls asleep.

You see, for some reason, I have my screen saver set to play a slideshow of my iPhoto gallery.  So whenever I step out of the room for five minutes and come back, there are pictures of weddings looping over and over on the screen.  Now, were I also happily married, I’m sure I’d ooh and aah at each successive picture, and hey, sometimes I do.  But not lately.  Lately, it’s just depressing.

What is it about looking at other people’s happy moments that makes me want to stick a pencil in my ear and jiggle it around?

The fact that it has never been me?  Or the fact that it will never be me?

Or both?


On a happier note, NANO is going really well for me.  I have seven chapters written already and 11,381 words!  Not bad for day six!  I posted my first chapter on TNBW and it’s gotten really positive feedback so far.  I know the TNBW-ers well enough to know they don’t give false praise… at least not all the time 🙂

I guess that’s a happy moment, right?  I should take a snapshot of my reviews and upload it to my iPhoto gallery.  Not exactly the same as a happy shot of a bride and groom smashing cake in each others’ faces, but it will have to do for now.


Oh, I got my second rejection from an agent yesterday!  🙂  I’m really feeling good about it.  More letters going out today!


Oh, and on the financial trouble front, I’m looking for a new job.  I told one of my bosses yesterday.  I don’t know if I’m going to be able to find one, but I wanted to be upfront with my boss about it.  I don’t really want to quit either of my jobs, but I can’t keep going on the way things are.


So, yeah, now you know what a basketcase I am…


Whenever I have work I have to do, or a goal I’ve set for myself to meet, inevitably I will procrastinate down to the last possible minute.  Anyone else out there like me?  What are your favorite methods of procrastination?  Here are mine:

PACMAN. Oh my goodness, I love playing Pacman online.  Here’s a free site: Pacman


Facebook. I know, its so sad to stalk your friends and people you haven’t talked to in years, but still its a helluva lot of fun.

The forums on TNBW.

Re-reading my writing. For some reason rather than doing any actual writing, I will spend half-hours at a time reading over chapters I’ve just finished.  It’s not so I get to know the story better.  It’s because I think I’m going to suck at the next thing I write.  That’s really why I procrastinate!  I’m afraid that the next thing I’m going to put down on the paper is going to be so horrible that I’ll ruin everything that’s come before it!

How to prevent that fear?  I don’t know.  Keep writing, I guess.  Put it out there in the universe.  Realize that something is going to suck at some point and that maybe something else is going to be phenomenal.  And that when something sucks it can be fixed.  Or I can at least attempt to fix it.

Oh, I forgot a new thing I’ve been doing to procrastinate.