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I finished the draft of my 4th story last night! Hooray! I have one left, then its another round of edits for the whole thing. I'm not sure how I feel about this story. The others flowed very nicely, but this one came with a bit more hesitation. Of course, it might just feel that way because I was working on it when I was sick. I'm going to let it sit, then I'll read through it and make edits. I'll be able to tell then if it's working or not.

I came to another conclusion yesterday: I'm insane. If the definition of insanity is: "Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results," I TOTALLY fit the bill. I keep sending out queries in the hopes that I will get a different answer. I'm not sending out a ton of them; just one last week and one yesterday, but I need to stop. I know I need to rewrite my story, but this just makes it easier to procrastinate. I need to quit doing that. I can procrastinate by working on other things, I don't need to set myself up for failure!
I accomplished NOTHING yesterday. Since I didn't feel well, I hoped to take the day easy, but that didn't work out. The boys were restless so we went to return some pajamas and get a bigger size, then we hung out with grandma and grandpa for a while. We went home, ate lunch, and took a nap, then went back to hang out with grandma while grandpa was at work. Grandma had surgery on her foot 2 weeks ago and we just wanted to make sure she didn't fall and hurt herself. After that, we had to pick up dinner from other grandpa, eat, then take dinner to my spouse. Ugh! It was a long day. Thank goodness I'm at work today so I can relax!

I'm going to try and get my butt in gear tonight and work on my story, but who knows how I'll feel. This dang cold is kicking my butt!
I got some writing done yesterday. Hooray! I'm that much closer to having the fourth story done, then I have to work on the fifth. I should have it done by the middle of July, but we shall see. I've been busy with work and some other things, so it's hard to say. I should work on it at night before I go to bed, but I'm usually too tired to think. I'll figure it out!

My boys decided to share their germs with me. I feel like crap. That is definitely going to put a damper on getting things done. Hopefully it won't last very long!

The family and I went up to the mountains again yesterday for a picnic. We went with some friends and the in-laws. It was fabulous! We made s'mores over a campfire, and the kids thought it was the coolest thing ever! Plus, the weather was gorgeous. It was a great evening.

My goals this week are to get the draft of the fourth story done. I have a TON of ideas for other stories, so I really need to get my butt in gear and start working. If only I had more time...
I worked on my stories last night. I got the third one edited and did a little more writing on the fourth. I would have done more, but I was soooo tired. My brain wouldn't work right, so it'll be interesting to see what I actually wrote. I should have some more time this weekend to write, also, so I'm hoping to at least get the draft done. I say that now, but something will probably come up to hinder my progress!

I came to a realization yesterday: something is wrong with me. Well, really, there's a lot of things wrong with me, but let's just focus on one at a time. I was going through my list of published short stories yesterday, making sure the links still work, and one of them was broken. The place it was originally published is pretty much defunct (it's changed its focus from stories to independent films), so I thought, "Hey, maybe I can get it reprinted." Why? I have no idea. I get these strange notions in my head sometimes. Anywho, I went to Duotrope's and did a search for some places that do reprints. I found one and sent off a query. They were kind enough to write back and say they'll take a look at it, but after reading the email, I was trying to decide why I thought it needed to be reprinted. Am I really that big of a glutton for rejection? Is it really that great of a story that it needs to be published again? I think the voices in my head are getting braver and talking me into doing things I wouldn't normally do!
Yesterday was not a very good day. I had to go to Denver for an appointment, which is a 2-hour drive, and besides the traffic, I got lost, and my appointment turned into a debacle (I'll fill you in later when I know how everything turns out). I left at 8:45 am and got home at 3:30 pm. I was so tired and I still had to get ready for book club.

Book club went well. Everyone enjoyed my book, so we only talked about it for 10 minutes before moving on to other things. The food was good, though, and I made sure I didn't eat so much that my stomach was upset. It was nice.

I got my story edited on Tuesday night like I had planned. I still need to enter the changes into the computer, but that's almost done. Now, I just need to focus on the last two stories. Hopefully, I will have a chance to work on them this weekend.

Still waiting to hear from the publisher and 2 agents who have partials. I figure by the second week in July (I have to give them time off for July 4), I'll send an email to get an update. I know the publisher is having issues because the editor moved and doesn't have email access, but they've had it for 240 odd days. Granted, they haven't had the rewrite for that long, but still. Hopefully I'll hear something soon!
I heard from the anthology I submitted to yesterday. It was a no, but I'm OK. I didn't really think it fit their theme, but I had to try, and she was kind enough to let me do some edits. I still think the story needs some work, so it's probably better that they rejected it. As soon as I'm done with my other stuff, I'll work on that! Gives me something to look forward to!

I was so exhausted yesterday, I didn't do anything. When the kids finally went to bed, I took a shower and read. I didn't have the energy to do anything else. Tonight I'm going to make it a point to edit my third story. I have to. I'm running out of time! I should get a chance to work on it a little tomorrow. Phew! Time flies when you have a lot of sh*t to do!
I had another great idea for a story occur to me this weekend. The family and I went up to the mountains to enjoy a day hiking and fishing, and we had some strange occurrences. I think they'll be great additions to a horror story. Of course, I have some other things to finish first, then I'll get started on that. I'll inform you of my progress.

My book club decided to read my book, Coming from Nowhere, this month. I was very flattered, and it should be interesting to see what everyone thought of it. It's also weird because I haven't read the story in probably over a year, so I am reading it again. It is very difficult to read it for enjoyment. For some reason, I think I still need to be editing it. It took me the first couple of chapters to stop doing that, but I did, and it's not half bad...if I say so myself. If someone else had written it, I would definitely read it to the end. I keep finding issues wrong with the story, but it's too late now. It's already in print!

I didn't get any writing done this weekend. I've been busy with laundry and cleaning and boring household duties. For some reason, I seem to have 2 more loads of laundry this weekend. Bizarre. Anywho, my goal is to get some writing/editing done this week. I really need to get cracking since my zombie novella is due the middle of July and I still have 2 stories to write!
Readers always want to know where writers get their ideas from. In reality, ideas come from everywhere. They come in snipits of conversations that we overhear or, in my case, from my dreams. My friend Tamara has a great post on the subject, and she tells the story of how she is driving by the courthouse one day and sees the line of prisoners as they are being taken back to jail. She notices that the prisoner at the head of the line is a woman, and wonders what she did to get there. She then proceeds to construct a whole story in her mind. The same thing happened to me the other day.

The spouse and I went to lunch at a local deli, and there was a group of National Guard in there. I was waiting for our drinks, and I overheard a conversation next to me between a young man, probably no older than 20, and an older gentlemen, I'm not going to guess his age! I didn't hear what the older gentleman asked, but the kid answered, "Well, they demoted me and I have to take a course on drug abuse, but they have a program in my home town, so I'll probably just take it there while I'm home for the summer." I had our drinks at that point, so I had to walk away without hearing the rest of the conversation, but that was enough to pique my interest. What had the kid done? Was he caught drinking? Did he have someone else's prescription drugs? A multitude of scenarios ran through my mind, and I developed a story about soldiers on another planet fighting a war and a young kid turns to a local drug to deal with the pain. I haven't written anything down yet, and who knows if I actually will? It just amazes me how ideas can crop up in the oddest of situations.

Other than that, I'm almost done with my third story. I have about a paragraph left to write, then I'll let it sit for a day and do the edits this weekend. I also submitted a story for an anthology. I submitted one last week, and the editor liked the idea, but she passed because it didn't fit well enough with the theme. She told me I could submit another story if I had one, but I didn't, so I asked if I could edit the story and resubmit it. She said yes, so that's what I did. I'm still waiting to hear back. I don't know if it fits the theme any better, but at least I got the chance to revise it. I'll let you know what they say!
My last two posts have been building up to one major question: What does it mean to get published? Back in the day, that was easy to answer. If you had an agent and they sold your book to a publisher, you were published. But now, it's not so easy. Some people argue that you still have to have an agent and sell your book to a major publisher, but some believe that if your book is readily available to an audience, whether in electronic or print form, it's published. I doubt there will ever be an majority ruling on the topic, so, right now, it's based on individual preference.

For me, being published means having my work available to an audience. Although, I'm taking it one step further. It has to be made available to the audience through a publisher, though it doesn't have to be a major publisher. I believe that there has to be some standard for writers, and that an editor has to go through your work. It needs to be formatted and a cover has to be designed. I know that some self-publishing sites offer these services, but at a cost to the author. Most publishers offer these services for free, and, for me, that makes all the difference. Don't get me wrong, I would love to get picked up by a major publishing house, but I'm not going to discount the accomplishments I've made. We have to take all the victories we can, even if they're small!

I worked a bit on the third story in my serial last night. It felt good to get something accomplished, and it opened up avenues for the last two stories. I won't be able to work tonight because I have to finish some editing, but I'm slowly getting my confidence back. I'm very happy I have the support group I have, or I would have given up a loooong time ago!
Before I get into my post today, I want to send out a Hooray and Congratulations to my friend Tamara. She recently had something happen to her that every author dreams about: an agent read one of her short stories and contacted her to see if she had a novel or collection. AWESOME! She deserves it, of course, and I couldn't be happier for her. I'm also a little jealous, but I'll get over it!

OK, on with my post. As I mentioned yesterday, I was reading a discussion on the differences between traditional publishing and POD publishing. One individual was saying that POD is an alternative to traditional publishing because it isn't run by the big houses but by indie publishers, which gives authors another avenue to get their work out to readers. Another was arguing that POD publishing was just a step above self-publishing and repulsive to the rest of the industry. I think that both arguers had great points, and it got me to thinking about POD. My first novel, Coming From Nowhere, was published by a small press as a POD. I have nothing against them, but I would, some day, like to be on shelves of bookstores. BUT, with the way the industry is changing, who knows what the future will hold. POD publishers don't have as much risk as large publishing houses because they don't tie their money up in thousands of books that might not sell. But unlike the major houses, they don't have shelf space in bookstores.

That's not to say that indie publishers don't have risk, they do, but it's different than big publishers. They try to minimize that risk by printing on demand. Part of the argument was that reviewers like the New York Times won't look at POD books, but I think that is changing. It has to since so many people are foregoing the traditional route, especially when fiction is such a hard sell. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the future.
Oh, man. This weekend went by too fast, and I didn't get anything done. I had a wonderful dessert date with my friend Tamara on Friday night, and we talked about writing and various other things. Then, on Saturday, the spouse and I went to the local Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Banquet. That was nice. Yesterday we cooked dinner for the mother-in-law. She had surgery on her foot on Thursday, and she's pretty much confined to her recliner or bed for two weeks, so we thought we'd be nice.

I read an interesting post by Nathan Bransford on Friday. You can check it out by clicking the link to his blog on the right. He says it much more eloquently that I can summarize it, but in a nutshell, he was talking about how electronic books and self-publishing are changing the publishing industry...for the better. He also talks about how it changes the reader. No longer do they have thousands of choices of bound books that they have to get through a book store, but now they have millions of choices that are accessible by the click of a button. Although so many books may seem like a daunting choice, readers will find those books that they enjoy reading and continue to purchase them. It was very interesting, but also very depressing. I mean, it was bad enough when you had to compete with all those other books in the store, but now you have all the books online. It's pretty easy to get overlooked in thousands of books, but you get completely lost in millions.

It's interesting to think that the internet has already changed the author/reader relationship. Before authors had web pages and Facebook pages, etc., they were pretty inaccessible. If you wanted to contact your favorite author back in the day, you had to write a letter either directly to them or to the publishing house and hope for a response or hope they became popular enough to get interviews. Now, you just have to click a button. Of course, those authors who want to remain out of the public eye still can.

I also read another fascinating argument on POD publishers, indie publishers, and self-publishing, but I will visit that topic tomorrow.
I received my 69th rejection yesterday. I took it really hard. The agent said that she really liked the postapocalyptic idea, but thought that zombies were fading in popularity, then she commented on my writing and basically said it wasn't very good. I was crushed. Not that I expected her to accept the manuscript, but her comments made me question my writing ability and I wondered if I was wasting my time. I still have two partials out with agents, and I'm thinking about withdrawing them from consideration. It's pretty obvious that the book is not ready.

Despite all my heartache yesterday, my wonderful, thoughtful, supportive, and very optimistic friend Tamara helped me see the bright side. Of course, not so much yesterday, but I've had some time, so I can see it now! Even though the agent rejected the story, she still took the time to write reasons why. As we all know, this is a rarity. She also said that she would be willing to take a look at my next project. That's huge! Plus, my book is still under consideration with the publisher. That's pretty amazing since their website says they are still considering 16 manuscripts right now. I'm sure (hoping) that's out of hundreds they've received. If nothing else, I can say that I made it to the top 20 of the publisher's choices.

Rejection is never easy. Although, sometimes it's easier to brush off than others. I'm trying to stay positive and look at the bright side, but after my story has been rejected completely, I'm going to put it away and come back to it when it will be fun to work on again. That might be never. But don't worry, it won't stop me from writing. It almost did, but I'm much too stubborn for that!
Ag articles. Done.

Editing. Done.

Third story. In progress.

I had a really good day yesterday. The 17 month old was sick so I had to stay at home, but he's like me, so he slept most of the day. I had ample opportunity to get some work done, as well as pick up the house and clean out the fridge. He seems to be doing better today, so he's at daycare and I'm at work. So far, it's been a long day.

I sent out two more queries the other day. They are the last two of the agents that have been recommended by the agent that liked but passed on my project. After those rejections, I will start the revisions. I should just start them now, but I have some other projects to finish first. I'm sure it will get done before the end of the summer.

Funny story. Last night we decided to go for a little drive. We've had a lot of rain lately, so the rivers have been overflowing from their banks and one of our reservoirs is the highest its been in a loooong time. We got out to look at the reservoir, and when we got back in, a mosquito followed us. It was in the backseat with the boys, and the 3 year old was a little concerned since it was on his window. We told him to squish it, but he couldn't reach. His solution to the problem: roar at it like a monster. It was hilarious! He was convinced he scared the mosquito, and who am I to tell him any different? The moral of the story: if something is annoying you, just roar at it, it'll go away!
Ah, man, I am having one of those days. I didn't sleep for sh*t last night, then we got up late this morning. The 3 year old drove me to the brink of insanity and beyond the past few days and I'm about ready to rip my hair out. I sent an email to get an update on a submission this morning and got a rejection. The agent told me she couldn't get into my story because the characters were too lighthearted and seemed to be caricatures. It was very depressing.

I have to finish the second ag article tonight. I was kind of waiting to hear back from the guy I was interviewing, but it doesn't look like I'll hear anything before the 10th. That's OK. I think I have enough information to put something together. What can I do? I don't have time to find another topic.

I need to finish my 3rd story sometime, too. That might happen later this week. It all depends on how I feel.

Shrek was AWESOME! I really enjoyed the film. We were the only ones in the theater, which was really cool. We could talk all we wanted! The 3 year old seemed to enjoy it, too. He wasn't too keen on keeping his glasses on, though, because they were so huge for his face. They need to make some kid-sized glasses, especially if they are going to continue to make 3D kids films.
It was a pretty good weekend. I got my second story finished finished (did all the edits), and I am almost done with another editing job. I got one of my agricultural articles done and started on the other. The boys were pretty good, so that helped, and my mother-in-law and I are planning on taking the 3 year old to Shrek this afternoon.

I totally embarrassed myself on the radio interview I did yesterday. I was soooo nervous! Both the hosts, Lori and Tania, were very nice and I got a little more comfortable as the show went on. I'm sure I said something stupid in the process, though. Oh, well. Can't take it back now! If you want to check it out, you can listen to the recording here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/sonar4magtalkshow.

I watched my movie on Friday. It was a Russian fantasy film called Wolfhound. It was not very good. First of all, it was like 2 hours and 22 minutes long. There was no need for it to be that long. I couldn't even make it the whole way through! Secondly, it was kind of cliche. Now, I'm not saying that is necessarily bad, but in this case, it was. It was just boring. And confusing.

My plans for this week include finishing my ag articles and my third story. I'll let you know how it goes!
Yesterday was awesome! I'm so glad I took a personal day! After I finished the second story and got the house picked up, I started the third story. I also went to lunch with the spouse and took a nap. I actually feel like I got something accomplished. I need more days like that!

I should be able to get something accomplished tonight, too. The 3 year old is staying at grandma's house and the spouse is going to the gym for a couple hours. I probably won't do anything exciting, but I do have a movie to watch. I'm sure I can accomplish that!
So far my day is going great! I just finished the second story in my serial, and I'm getting ready to pick up the house. I know that doesn't sound like fun, but I need a little break before I get to writing again, and my house is a MESS! It kind of looks like a department store exploded. There are DVDs and toys in the living room, along with a sprinkling of dirty clothes, and the book shelf in the kitchen has been debooked. Picking the stuff up will give me a chance to get my brain in gear. I'll fill you in tomorrow on how the rest of the day goes!
Oh, man, it's been a long day today. I'm taking tomorrow off, though, so hopefully that will recharge my battery. I'm really looking forward to it. A whole day of doing nothing but writing. Or sleeping. Or movie watching. I can do whatever I want because it's MY DAY! I'm tingling all over just thinking about it!

I've been trying to figure out exactly why I have a myspace page. I hardly have any friends and the only people who do friend me are bands. At first, I accepted, but now, no way. Why do I need to be friends with a band that has 1 billion friends? And why are they even friending me? I'm guessing my name pops up in the frame on the right and they just say, "OK. I'll friend them." Which is why they have a billion friends. It's kind of annoying. Although, the nonband friends I do have on there I really like. I think I'm just so negative toward myspace because I don't really know how to use it.

Like I said, I'm taking tomorrow off so I'm hoping to get a lot of work done. My main goal is to get my short story finished. I think I can handle that. I'll let you know how it goes.
It was a long weekend, and I accomplished nothing I had planned to accomplish. Well, that's not entirely true. I did get an editing job done. That was something. But I didn't work on my short story like I wanted. I'm taking Thursday off, though, so I'm going to finish it then. Other than that, I still have to get some articles done. Damn articles.

We watched two movies this weekend. The first was a little ditty called Splinter. It was a cheesy horror film, but after my busy week last week, I needed something mindless. This definitely fit the bill. It was bad, but it wasn't terrible. I didn't have to turn the film off. Then, we watched Surrogates. I was expecting this movie to be a lot worse, so I was pleasantly surprised. It wasn't spectacular, but we didn't turn that one off, either. I didn't watch Starship Troopers because I didn't have time, but my spouse did rent Toy Story 2 for the kids. That movie is awesome! It's my favorite Toy Story. Both me and the 3 year old were laughing our asses off. All in all, it was a pretty good weekend.