Friday, July 25, 2008

Nervous as hell...

So I start my 90-Day Novel class tomorrow morning at 8:45. I'll finish 6 days prior to my 33rd birthday, which means I squeak in JUST in time. Jitters much? Ehyeah!

I want to thank Gabriel for sponsoring me to take this class. He's such a wonderful man, and I'm very lucky to have him!

I'll keep everyone posted, and meanwhile the clock is ticking. The countdown is listed in this blog off to the right!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

I have been promoted!

I am now no longer the Goddess of Tomato Death!!! I am now the Goddess of Tomato Mediocrity!

Yeah, some promotion.

The baby hawaiian currant keeled over, so I'm now relying on the highly heat-stressed one to bear fruit. It probably won't bear much. One sweet pea currant seedling is alive, but not growing. Period. Damn.

I found a caterpillar curled up inside a jalapeno. He had already killed another one. He went in the trash bin. Wonder if this is the culprit who's been munching my lettuce. He's gone now, but I might need to take action...

I created 4 self-watering containers which have been populated with seeds and seedlings, so we'll see how they do. Unfortunately, I've had to move everything to the far less sunny side of the house. :( I'll be upgrading container size on a few seedlings to try to get them to grow. I need to buy a ruler, just in case I'm not noticing that they ARE growing.

Been using a lot of Great Big Plants and Neptune's Harvest fertilizers as foliar sprays. We'll see if they help. I've also been watering with the water from my turtle aquarium, but now that I'm using the self-waterers, that would be a bad idea to continue. Now I'll have to try building a greywater filtering system, maybe similar to a folkewall. Not sure that'll work in our current housing setup, but we'll see.

I'll work on some photos soon!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Tenses make me tense...

I've been reading the back posts of the Miss Snark blog, and ran across this entry:

(P.S. - Read the comments, too!)

This is a discussion on tenses, and how editors HATE to get submissions in First Person Present Tense.

Some subsequent posts in the blog go on to talk about some very successful tales told in this tense, one that is in Second Person Present Tense, and another that was FIRST PERSON PLURAL Present Tense.


But I was wondering about your experiences in this, or your thoughts.

My POV: I utterly detest most writing in the present tense. Note the word "most." Not all. But most. I usually detest First Person POV, too, but not nearly so much as present tense. Put them together, and if I were an editor, that ms would be outta the slushpile and into the shredder before you could speak the second 'B' in "Bob's Yer Uncle." I would instantly return a book that I bought if I opened it and saw such a travesty on page. Blogs or news articles or nonfiction can work with this, but not fiction in my opinion.

Perhaps because it's my years of gaming, and that's how you talk during a game, ( "I roll this d12 in an attempt to successfully wield my +18 hackmaster against this harmless bunny." ), or maybe because I've seen this type of hack fiction before ( when I was 13, an awful writer, and this was staring up at me from my finished pages ), I'm so unimpressed with it now.

Personally, I've never seen it work. I can't get out of editor mode long enough to enjoy it. A master might be able to make me forget with his or her craft, but I have yet to meet that presentation of work. It just seems inappropriate for the fiction page. It's like going to a play and the lead actor is wearing nothing but a rubber chicken... you're going to have to work VERY hard to make me forget that rubber chicken. It just might be impossible.

Another person mentioned on the blog how it's possible that people write like this because this is how they talk in life. Again, not necessarily appropriate for a page in fiction.

I picked up a book called The Witch of Cologne. I cracked it open and nearly screamed in fury. Present tense. In HISTORICAL FICTION!! I mean, really, this is about religious crap from 500 years ago, and that's hardly acceptable to write in the present tense. I forced myself to read the whole bit, and the story was quite good. However, I don't suggest this book to anyone, and I do not plan to reread it. From me, that's a horrid review. I reread everything. I got suckered in by the title and the hot photo on the front of a girl in an open corset with no undershirt. Never again.

I noticed some stories in an anthology lately, and they had the same problem. I liked those stories the least.

I recently read the new "V" book, and finally understood what my 10th grade English teacher meant when she said "Third Person Omnicient run amok." This book had that quality, and fortunately Kenneth Johnson is a good enough writer to make you forget that. I can't deny that I had to scramble to keep up with what was going on with whom, though. The head-jumping between nine (yes, nine) characters across just two pages was enough to make my own head spin. Good story. Well told. Lots of head-jumping.

Maybe I'm just curmudgeonly and hidebound, but I'm kind of fine with third person limited past tense. Works for me. It's comfortable, and I like to read and write in that POV/tense combo. If I want to change character view, I limit quite arduously to just that character's POV for that scene. Or I try to, anyway. We all fail sometimes.

So what do you think? What's your favorite POV or tense?
(neato tense list here: )

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Works in Progress...

Hi all!

Just a progress report...

Been updating an older story, The Kill Lina Fund. I wrote it right after the divorce, and on looking back, it's quite good. Just needs polishing!

I'm still rocking out Tuesday and the Moon, and now it's going to be my focus for the 90 Day Novel workshop taught by Alan Watts. He wrote a really good book called Diamond Dogs, and he wrote it in 90 days. Pretty cool.

I'll keep everyone updated on how the workshop goes. I only have about 100 days until my birthday, so Tuesday has got to be finished by then. Fortunately, the workshop ends 6 days before my birthday. Kismet? Fate? Karma? Coincidence? You tell me.

Then, NaNo WriMo begins, and I'll probably start working on The Lineup, or maybe American Napoleon (Gotta change the 2nd title... too on the nose, I think).

You guys think I can bust out 2 novels before 2008 ends???? We'll see. Votes of confidence would be appreciated. :)

I am the Goddess of Tomato Death!


I order tomato plants. I go to my friend's wedding. I come back, and it was 105 degrees while I was gone. Tomato plants dead. Crispy. Yuck. Lost a billion seedlings, too. Despite eight separate plantings, not one calendula has survived. The Gods of face cream are rebelling. They don't want me to have this pretty stuff on my face so that my face will become a mite prettier. Bastards. My tarragon is gone! NOOOOOOOO! Took me eight months to find the damn thing to buy it (French Tarragon does not grow from seed. Gotta buy a plant)!

I sigh, start up more plantings (since ten of twelve tomato varieties are now deceased), and look for mature plants again, since I've now lost three to four growing months.

I order a few more plants from the same place, and drive all the way down to bloody Lomita to pick them up. This is the week that gas almost breaks the $5/gallon barrier. And it's at the other end of L.A. from me. Down the 405. Dear god, NO!

But I go. I buy plants. I transplant all of them. I make it back alive (barely). I buy locally several mints, a new tarragon, some lemon verbena, and rosemary.

Within 48 hours, the temperatures reach 116 degrees. I am away from my plants for 4.5 hours. They are crispy fried when I get back. All of the mint leaves are dry. All of them. The rosemary is black, the tarragon is brown.

The San Marzano isn't recovering well. The Black Plum is desperately trying to sprout new leaves, but I have more coming up, just in case. The Dona was much shorter and less leggy. It lost one big leaf, then another. It just might make it. The Hawaiian Currant is sprouting a few new leaves and some blossoms as well, but it's likely too stressed to fruit well. I'm just glad the new Sweet Pea Currant and Golden Grape varieties hadn't sprouted yet, so were therefore inside and not dead.

But still, I've managed to kill the cayenne pepper plant. Heck, every pepper plant I've started is dead. I just bought a 6-pack of habanero, just in case, and will return for jalapeno, poblano, and ornamentals. My seeds keep dying around week 4, and I don't have time to keep fooling around. Planting #4 of the rainbow bell pepper variety is also kaput, just like 1-3. #5 is at first-leaf stage. I'm not holding my breath.

Next year, I start in January, and I hope to hell I'm not living in the valley by then.

Reasons networking sites just might be the spawn of Satan...

Ok, not spawn of Satan, really. Since Satan is a myth, that would make them myth-spawn. That's like Spawn of Cinderella or something. Not remotely frightening. OK, Cinderella spawn would indeed be threatening,

How about this: Social networking sites are the breeding grounds for all your worst nightmares: blasts from the pasts--as in the unwanted ones.

I cringe to think that old photos of me might surface. You know, the high school ones that we don't want to talk about. Like the ones back in the day when MTV was loaded with Winger videos. I was not attractive at the time. I promise. You don't need proof. You don't want to see proof. No one does.

But what did surface galls more. While surfing Facebook, I ran through my nephew's friends... and found my ex-husband's profile right next to mine. I don't even want to be next to him in the virtual world. I don't want to watch Buffy or baseball because I don't want to hear his fucking name. And right now, what I want more than all the world is a copy of the divorce decree that says I don't have to have his last name on my driver's license anymore. That would make me happy. That he was supposed to give me copies of all said paperwork is completely off the point. I don't have this one scrap, and I'm going to get a copy, goddamit! (preferably without any more air wasted by speaking to him)

I know that hating a last name associated with an unsavory person is akin to disliking Wagner's music just because Hitler liked him. It doesn't make much sense. But quite honestly, I think of it as my slave name, so now I want it gone. It lumped me in that group with him again, which is something that I've tried very hard to avoid. I stayed there too long like a willing schmuck. I'm no longer willing, so can I have a bit of separation, please?

I fixed the Facebook quirk. It now features my pen name. Good enough for now.