Saturday, November 29, 2008

Post #101: About the Computer

Okay, I'll stop numbering my posts, I'm just a little giddy that I'm still blogging. (Intelligibly or not is another topic.)

I wanted to thank everyone for the computer advice. I'm actually pretty good at backing up info, though I did buy another drive and backed up just frelling everything.

What had happened, though, was that the screen of my laptop - well, smashed. Not really; the plastic is still intact, but the lit display looks like the end of a kaleidoscope, or of the smashed-streaked-car-window they'd examine on CSI (Vegas, 'cause that's the only one that counts, with due respect to David Caruso) to determine what fluids are blood and which are cappuccino.

So I can see the little apple icon up in the left corner, to know that a menu drops when I click on it. What I can't see is....anything else.

I have a big deadline coming up at work, so I couldn't afford to lose access to the contents of my laptop to have it serviced. I'd been planning on buying a 20" screen anyway, so I got myself an early Christmas present, hooked it up to the laptop, and - ta da! Accessibility!

Now I'm hoping the laptop repair won't cost more than $500....*sigh*.....

Thursday, November 27, 2008

100th Post: on Inspiration

The books I rate most highly in my life are the ones which inspire me to write. It's sort of like the Olympics voting - there are marks for characterization, language, plot, and inspiration. Does the author's voice make me want to write?

Among those authors that rank high in that last category are Louisa May Alcott, Margaret Atwood, Geraldine Brooks. If I'm in the right mood to be inspired, one of these three (well, Atwood especially) will do it for me. Reading their novels is like drinking the kind of $100/bottle merlot you splurge for on your anniversary. Their stories, their language, are intoxicating, and make me believe I can write anything - but particularly that I can write something fantastic.

If I'm not in a mood to be inspired, there's just one author that gets me going - Tamora Pierce. Oddly, I've only discovered Pierce in the past couple of years. Reading any of her Tortall books is more like drinking a solid, tried-and-true table chianti. There's a nice taste, it complements just about any mood, and I get just enough of a warm glow to pull me out of the writer's block I didn't know I was in.

A few other authors I turn to for inspiration, rather than enjoyment only, are Jasper Fforde, Diana Wynne Jones, Charlotte Bronte, Robin McKinley (and, of course, many of my blogosphere buddies.) How about you? What authors inspire you?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Almost to 100; invoke Murphy's Law

It would figure that on my 98th post, my laptop fried itself. I mean, the thing is toast. And I hate hubby's PC, though I love hubby for giving it up for me when I started to have withdrawal.

All my NaNo stuff's on my laptop.

All of my photos.

All of my work documents, including next week's Advent candle liturgy.

All of my user names & passwords (who seriously remembers their FacebookBloggerBookMoochPaperbackSwapGoodReadsGoogle info? That's what a keychain is for.)

All of my cool graphics are on my laptop.

All of my contacts.

My MobileMe, which doesn't like being accessed from said PC.

My Posse info.

My shopping cart with a baby shower present that isn't getting ordered.

I'm lost. I mean, beyond, beyond, beyond helpless. Hopeless. There's not enough Zoloft in the world to get me til tomorrow morning when I can go to the Mac store. ACK.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Course on Blogging

So I want to check out Simpleology's blogging course, and to get a free copy, I need to post it on my blog. Very well, here it is:

I'm evaluating a multi-media course on blogging from the folks at Simpleology. For a while, they're letting you snag it for free if you post about it on your blog.

It covers:

  • The best blogging techniques.
  • How to get traffic to your blog.
  • How to turn your blog into money.

I'll let you know what I think once I've had a chance to check it out. Meanwhile, go grab yours while it's still free.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Boys in Books Are Just Better

My Top 10 List of Literary Loves 
10. Will Scarlet, Outlaws of Sherwood
9. Luthe, The Hero and the Crown
8. Mac, Rose in Bloom
7. Tom, An Old-Fashioned Girl
6. Roiben, Tithe
5. Edward Rochester, Jane Eyre
4. Jim Frayne, Trixie Belden series
3. Numair, the Tortall series
2. Nathaniel "Nat" Eaton, Witch of Blackbird Pond
1. Gilbert Blythe, Anne of Green Gables series

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Tribute to the Loves of My Childhood

There's an element of romance in my WIP, between two young twenty-somethings. So, in the name of "research" I've been checking out all my childhood (through age 16) crushes, and thought I'd treat you to a trip down memory lane (or sewer.)

"Never Fear, Brooklyn is Here."
Spot Conlon, Newsies

"I Move the Stars for No One"
Jareth, Labyrinth

"You were the first Goonie..."
Mikey (to One-Eyed Willie's skeleton), Goonies

"I have failed you, my empress...."
Atreyu, The Neverending Story

"Without you, I dwell in darkness"
Madmartigan, Willow

with special thanks for my real-life childhood crushes: Eli, Colin, Mark, Seth, Joel, Josh, Jon, Marty, Marc, and to PJ, my real-life forever crush.

A Penis Perspective

  • Morgan: And when you go out, you don't want to wear too much makeup 'cause otherwise the boys get the wrong idea. And you know how they are. They are only after one thing.
  • Giselle: What's that?
  • Morgan: I don't know. Nobody will tell me.
-from Disney's Enchanted

For my NaNo (that's - NaNo 2009....) WIP, I want to get some sense of what it's like for a guy to fall in love.  If they even do. 

Unless you're Travis Erwin, you probably don't read women's fiction if you have a penis.  In the more hastily written of these kinds of romances, the men are attracted to a woman's physical appearance, and then fall in love with their brains/kindness/mothering skills, and start picturing themselves marrying and having babies with the gorgeous woman (who inevitably wears "slacks" and a "blouse.")  Forgive me for being cynical (and not impressed - show me a man who pictures himself cleaning house and raising kittens), but I'm not sure that's how men fall in love.

So, how about it, guys?  Do you fall in love? What's it like?  Is it all physical, sexual?  What do you notice first?  What makes a woman attractive? Then what?

Feel free to comment anonymously - thanks for helping!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

NaNo Update

Well, I've been writing somewhere around 700 words a night (I usually have about half an hour to write.)  If you add that up, you'll find that it doesn't *quite* make the 50,000 word goal for NaNoWriMo.  Ha.  Not quite.

If I had just jumped into NaNo without an idea of where I was headed, I might be less upset about losing NaNo.  The problem is, these characters are just starting to come alive, to go to sleep with me, to work out plot in my dreams, to leave me hints throughout the day.  I'm really excited about this story, and I think it could turn into something I'm proud of, too.

So, to keep myself going, even when I'm bleary-eyed from a full day of play-dough and tea parties, with my ears ringing from the constant refrain of "mama" in whining tones, I have adopted Cindy's mantra:

i am allowed to write utter poo.
i am allowed to write utter poo.

I keep plugging along.  Only 43000 words to go.  No problem.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Room of My Own. In a Book.

Jen Robinson recently posted about her favorite fictional rooms from children's literature.
The post was inspired by Charlotte at Charlotte's Library, who's been doing a series about favorite fictional rooms.

I don't have the time to go into as much depth as I would like, since I really should be NaNoing. However, in the midst of my NaNoing, I've spent time designing the locales - towns, homes, rooms - where my story is set. So it seems fitting to pay tribute to the places in which I've "lived."

These are the places where I spent the most time in my childhood (age 12 and younger).

5. The Residence (outside the General Mundy in Damar) from The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley.

Where Harry began, staring at her glass of orange juice, where she first met Corlath, where she smoked cigars with Jack Dedham, and where she returned to introduce Lady Amelia to her namesake, Aerin Amelia.

4. The Bathroom of the Metropolitan Museum of Art from From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by e.l. konisburg The place where Claudia waited, perched on a toilet seat, until the guards had done their nighttime checks. Then she was free, free in one of the most wonderful places on earth.

3. The Ballroom in Buckingham Palace set up as a dining room for the Big Friendly Giant from The BFG by Roald Dahl

The ridiculously fantastic details of the lavish breakfast that the Queen orders for the BFG, as Sophie looks on, was a passage I read again and again, from the table made of grandfather clocks and a ping pong table to the dozens and dozens of sausages the BFG eats.

2. The Living Room at the March house from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.

It's possible I learned to lay on my stomach writing directly because of the "Christmas won't be Christmas" opening line from Jo. Christmas by the fire, Beth at her piano, this is the room I spent the most time with the March sisters.

1. The Bob-Whites of the Glen Clubhouse from the Trixie Belden series.
Trixie, Honey, Jim, Mart, Brian and eventually Diana and Dan spend countless hours in the Wheeler's renovated gatehouse.  I know the entire path from Honey's room in the mansion down to the clubhouse and across the lane to the Belden house.  But it's in the clubhouse that the gang is at its best, unified for good and, of course, in close-knit quarters where brushing against Jim's knee is not out of the question.

Book Giveaway Carnival Winners

So, without further ado, and thanks to, I present the winners of the In Search of Giants Book Giveaway Carnival Winners.    If there are books listed below the name, it means I have heard from that winner. If I haven't heard from you, please check your email.
Thanks to everyone who visited and participated!

FIRST PLACE (2 books):  Marigold
Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris
How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

 Pitching the Tent by Anita Diamant




Sunday, November 9, 2008

Book Giveaway Carnival delay

I am very sick.  Grossly so.  I promise to get winners chosen soon - I will accept entries until I do.  And I'll throw in a couple more books by way of apology.  Thanks for your patience, everyone.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

An Open Letter to Sarah Laurenson

While I try not to post political doctrine on this blog, I know Sarah through the writing blogosphere and for that reason feel that In Search of Giants is the best blog through which to reach her.

Dear Sarah,

While everyone else was rejoicing yesterday, I felt sick to my stomach.  How is it possible we won the war (the presidency) but lost so many battles?  Prop 8 in California and similar measures in Florida and Arizona (not to mention disability amendments.)

As the results rolled in Tuesday, and people posted their reactions to the presidential election, I kept waiting to hear how California would settle on Prop 8.   I kept thinking about all of the people in California I love whom this would affect.  I kept thinking about the words you wrote the other day about being a citizen.
I have been too busy or too cowardly to see what your and Lee's and those-people-I-love-who-don't-blog (and won't appreciate if I name them) reactions are to the bigotry and hatred the people of California have shown.  I know that many of those in favor of Prop 8 claimed to be so in the name of the Christian faith.  That makes me equally sick, and on behalf of all of the Christians who get silenced by the pompousness of the Religious Right, I apologize.  Christ never meant this.

When same-sex marriage was made legal in California, Miriam Perez wrote that she didn't think marriage was her golden ticket. I know that, at the time, as a straight white person, I took some comfort in that perspective, since I wasn't sure how long the tolerance of same-sex marriage would last. I'm ashamed, now, that such a thought would even enter my consciousness. 

I don't know how you're feeling, and words can't possibly help.  But I send the spirit of friendship across the miles, and wish you healing, and as much peace as you can find.


(And for anyone who wants to call me out, I will gladly discuss Biblical interpretation with you - since I do not think homosexuality is immoral - but we don't even need to get into that.  The conservative Christian argument falls along the lines that same-sex relationships are either immoral or not meant for procreation, and such relationships should not be granted legal status.  Murder is immoral, but murderers are allowed to marry - even in jail - and in some states, allowed to procreate.  Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78  Likewise, a man and a woman can marry and are never penalized if they choose not to have children.  Logically, there is no Christian reason to outlaw same-sex marriage.)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Celebrating the Moonrat!!!

Our very own Moonrat celebrates her second bloggaversary today. In honor of Moonie, her Mischief Minions have planned a huge celebration over at the Party Site. Go over, do some karaoke, submit a haiku or two, and win fun prizes while letting Moonrat know how much we love her.

In the meantime, I thought I'd give you some information about this elusive species.  It's hard to find reliable information on the web these days.  I did my own fact-checking and corrected the article - my notes are in red.  Sheesh.

From Gymnures and Hedgehogs: Erinaceidae - Malayan Moonrat (echinosorex Gymnura): Species Accounts


Possibly Endangered One of a Kind

Class: Animals with Milk Coffee Glands (Mammalia)
Subclass: True Mammals (Eutheria)
Order: Insect Eaters (Insectivora)
Family: AErinaceidea.

Location: Southeast Asia. New York City

Habitat: Moist forests, mangrove swamps, and wet farmlands are the typical habitats of Malayan moonrats. Scientists believe the animals spend at least part of their time in the water.Publishing offices, and anywhere they can access their booklists at

Diet: An animal of the night, Malayan moonrats eat worms, insects, crabs, and other invertebrates found in moist areas. They will also eat fruit, and occasionally frogs or fish. (This all seemed quite accurate.)

Behavior and reproduction: When they are not looking for food at night, Malayan moonrats rest in hiding places among tree roots, inside hollow logs, or in other tight spaces. Adults live alone. with slush piles and indie music.   They release strong odors to mark the edges of their territories and warn other moonrats crazy people (see below) to stay away with threatening hisses. deprecating blog posts.   They also release odors to ward off predators  crazy people (see below.)

When they are preparing to have young, they will make nests mostly from leaves. the pages of rejected manuscripts.  Females usually have two babies at a time, either once or twice a year.  Babies may resemble the mother moonrat or may resemble square volumes of printed words, called "books."

Scientists know little more about moonrat adults or young. (Scientists are such idiots.  They only need to fund a study and then spend time observing Momrat and Dadrat in their natural habitats.  Why am I the only person to have thought of this?)

Malayan moonrats and people: Generally speaking, Malayan moonrats leave people alone, and people leave them alone people, particularly crazy ones, flock to their offices demanding information about a submitted manuscript that consisted of the word "sasquatch" written over and over again in a green crayon.    One can understand why moonrats prefer their anonymity.

Conservation status: Malayan moonrats are not threatened except by the onslaught of millions of adoring fans.

Now head over and spread some Moonie Love of your own!!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Well, I'm flipping back and forth from election results and feeling ill any time I see McCain's numbers increasing.  I'm glad for the validation for him, because, well, he's an old man and I would hate for him to feel he ran a totally bad race, but let's cut him off somewhere around 120 electoral votes, okay?

Speaking of voting, you really should vote in the poll I'm holding in my side bar.  It's vitally important to the future of our world.

In the meantime, I'm eating Beau Jo's (support Alta Vista Center for Autism!) and revamping my NaNo novel.  I found pictures of the setting I'm trying to create, and a suitable soundtrack, and am hoping that keeps me more on target.  The 1000 words I wrote yesterday aren't going to work at all, but I'm not deleting them either!  So there, NaNo gods!

What is the best advice you were ever given about NaNo? Or about writing? 

Monday, November 3, 2008

Book Giveaway Carnival II - My Giveaways

I wasn't sure I would participate in the Book Giveaway Carnival, since I'm in the middle of NaNoWriMo.

But I will be opening a NaNo Support Contest next week, and I want y'all to come back for it.

AND I really like Tracy at bookroomreviews - not only does she have a gorgeous site, she's a supporter of Autism Speaks.


Here's my giveaway.

(all gently used unless otherwise noted)

Kisses Don't Lie by Alexa Darin; new, signed by author
Pitching My Tent by Anita Diamant; new
Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris
The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver; new
The Ivy Chronicles by Karen Quinn
How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff; signed by the author

Five winners will be chosen randomly, with the first place winner being able to choose the two books s/he wants, then the second place winner chooses one from the remaining books, etc.

Leave a comment.
Any comment, but I reserve the right to award extra chances for interesting comments.  
 Anyone who can get Christian Bale or Robert Sean Leonard (oh, okay, or Robin McKinley) to leave a comment automatically wins.

Friday, November 7, 9PM EST

Book Giveaway Carnival I

Not only is Tracy over at hosting the Book Giveaway Carnival this week, she's also a supporter of Autism Speaks. Here is a sampling of the giveaways so far:

Lisa at Books Lists Life is giving away a $15 GC to the book store of your choice.

Two sisters blog at Lipstick to Crayons and will give away a copy of The Daring Book for Girls.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

NaNo v. Migraine: WINNER, Migraine

I had hoped to get 5,000 words by the end of the weekend, but at 3279, I'm fried.  Sunday mornings are my stress day at work (I'm a minister) and I think I will have to have a contigency plan for Sundays in case I just need to decompress.

I'm also feeling the drudge of - what's the point?  This is an occupational hazard - being a theologian means you think the snot out of everything.  And I get caught in the existential no-win loop of - why write, anyway?  Unless you're Margaret Atwood and you're writing the Handmaid's tale, what effect for good will you have anyway?

YES I believe in the power of art and the importance of story and god knows if I could have nothing else for the rest of my life I'd want my library and water and maybe a tootsie roll or two but the POINT is that - I'm just tired and grumpy and ill and feel like crap.

Back when I can pull off a positive attitude.  :) 'Night, folks!

NaNo Word Count

Can anyone tell me why I can't cut and paste my manuscript into word count verification?  It's very discouraging.  And the site is so ridiculously slow right now I can't even get onto the forums.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

What Ello is Doing Tuesday


I HAVE 2011 words.  And it wasn't even that hard.  My inner critic seriously wants me to go fix about 2010 of them, but I will resist until December.  I am SO excited!  Yay me!!

Things I've Learned for NaNo 2009

I will be maintaining this list throughout November 2008.  Feel free to add your own suggestions.

1. Get rid of ALL Halloween Candy in house before sitting down to write.

Well, THAT didn't take long

So my inner critic has already driven away my inner muse.  Advice?

Also some random questions:

1) What do you hate most about fantasy?

2) What is your favorite vegetable?

3) Can I write a character as lesbian if I'm not one myself?


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