Sunday, June 28, 2009

Where I'm At: Part III

"I heard a preacher say recently that hope is a revolutionary patience; let me add that so is being a writer. Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don't give up."
Anne Lamott (Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life)

I am trying to hold onto my patience. My word count grew slowly over the past week, but I have done small accomplishments with the hope of completing the novel soon. I think moving forward at this slow pace will teach me something in the long run. Not quite sure what that lesson could possibly end up being, but I will wait and see what happens. I can only move forward.

I have a full time job and this week, with the 4th of July holiday, will give me an extra day off from work. I plan on using one of those days for writing at this time, as well as doing my best to work on the novel every weeknight after the day job. In front of me I do have some notes scribbled on a sheet a paper. It has been a loose road map that has kept me going. I am a writer that writes by the seat of her pants, but since I am writing with a specific culture in mind, I do need some little tidbits here and there to push me forward.

I will update again next Sunday. I would like to say that I will have the novel completed, but next week's update will only tell.

Natasha
Word Count 64,130

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Writer's Prayer

I found Neil Gaiman reading his poem "A Writer's Prayer" and thought I would share. There are some other free downloads on the website provided that you might enjoy, as well. Neil Gaiman is definitely one of my favorite authors and I am completely thrilled when he reads his own writings. It feels like another level of magic is weaved into his words. Or maybe it is just the British accent. You decide.

Now go listen to "A Writer's Prayer".

Or read it here:

A Writer’s Prayer
By Neil Gaiman

Oh Lord, let me not be one of those who writes too much;
who spreads himself too thinly with his words,
diluting all the things he has to say,
like butter spread too thinly over toast,
or watered milk in some worn-out hotel;
but let me write the things I have to say,
and then be silent, ’til I need to speak.

Oh Lord, let me not be one of those who writes too little;
a decade-man between each tale, or more,
where every word accrues significance
and dread replaces joy upon the page.
Perfectionists like chasing the horizon;
You kept perfection, gave the rest to us,
so let me earn the wisdom to move on.

But over and above those two mad spectres of parsimony and profligacy,
Lord, let me be brave, and let me, while I craft my tales, be wise:
let me say true things in a voice that is true,
and, with the truth in mind, let me write lies.


Natasha

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Where I'm At: Part 2

I didn't do as well as I liked this week on the writing front. Some things happened that I couldn't control (everything is fine, no worries). Still, I have gone over the 60,000 word mark! Not bad for a novel that I expected to only be about 50,000 words. I think this might be longer than my other novel when I am done with it. I am going to keep moving forward this week and I will write another update next Sunday until I finish it.

For fellow writers, I added @AdviceToWriter on Twitter. It features quotes on writing from famous authors which is something I love to see. My favorite as I looked at the back log?

Ever tried? Ever failed? No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better. SAMUEL BECKETT

I don't think of this week as a failure, but I see it as a challenge to push myself harder. I know I can do it. I have done it before.

Happy writing!

Natasha
Word Count: 60, 255

Friday, June 19, 2009

Online Comics

For the past nine to ten years, my favorite online comic has been Sinfest. I can't remember how I came across it, but it was definitely in the early days. In 2002, I was so completely hooked that my husband (boyfriend back then) wrote code so the comic would refresh automatically every morning as my desktop background on my computer.

Here are three of some of my favorite strips. Check out the website and read this article about the artist Tatsuya Ishida and his "satirical webcomic about angels, devils, sex and politics that averages 300,000 hits per day". A collection of the first 600 strips will be released in a collection from Dark Horse June 17, 2009 so check it out at your local comic shop.

Natasha

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tash Comics

My husband Joey and artist, S., created a character of me in their online graphic novel, Revelation. It is on the latest page (18). The shirt "Tash" is wearing is on sale now. Here's a preview:


Natasha

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sushi!

A good friend of mine showed my husband and I how to make sushi (vegetarian for us). She was so nice that she even bought us a bamboo sushi mat and brought some nori seaweed from the local Asian store.

My husband and I visited the local Asian store to buy some sticky rice and another mat. We ended up walking out with four adorable pink and yellow cat soup bowls that we can use for rice, and chopsticks with different animals on them (see below). I want to use them every day now!

We had a sushi Sunday and had fun trying to figure out what different things that we could put inside of them. We originally went with carrots and cucumbers leftover when our friend was over, but then branched out and had green olives, pineapple, and jalapenos. We might try pickles sometime since we can't eat pickled roll ups anymore (ham with cream cheese spread on it with pickles).

Here's the recipe that we have experimented with, but also my friend's original recipe. Enjoy!

4 nori seaweed
4 oz. cream cheese
1/8 tsp. garlic salt
3/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce (soy sauce if vegetarian; Worcestershire sauce has anchovies in it)
1/2 cup sticky rice

Mix cream cheese with garlic salt and sauce of choice.
Cook rice according to directions.
Cut up bits of cucumber and carrots into thin slices.
Roll sushi as shown here.

Special thanks to Jess for sharing your recipe with us! You are awesome!

Natasha

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Where I'm At

“A work in progress quickly becomes feral. It reverts to a wild state overnight. . . it is a lion growing in strength. You must visit it every day and reassert your mastery over it. If you skip a day, you are, quite rightly, afraid to open the door to its room. You enter its room with bravura, holding a chair at the thing and shouting, ‘Simba!’”
-Annie Dillard

I found this little tidbit in a blog post called 54 Tips for Writers, From Writers. I am in the home stretch of my current work in progress, KIN, and I truly need to sit down and master this beast. I plan on blog posts for Tuesday, June 16th and Friday, June 19th, so don't miss out! I have this need, deep in my bones, to get this novel finished so I can set it aside. I know it sounds really strange, but once I finish a project, I like to set it aside for a time so I can go back to it with fresh eyes. I just need to finish it.

So, next Sunday, let's see how far I am.

Natasha
Word Count: 55,280

Thursday, June 4, 2009

E-Publishing

I wasn't much interested in the world of e-publishing until I went to Core Con and sat in on a panel of just that subject by author Tina Holland. She discussed the benefits of e-publishing (saving trees, instant downloads, etc) and showed us her e-reader. Now with Amazon's Kindle, people are a little more aware of electronic books, novellas, and short stories.

I wasn't very open to the idea of e-publishing until I went to Holland's panel and started to learn more about this branch of the industry. It isn't something that will go away, and instead of turning my nose to it, I thought that maybe it was time to research more about it. What are things that I like or dislike about it?

It can benefit authors and publishers financially since they don't have to cover the costs of making a book. This can also help the environment by saving trees. They can encourage more self-publishing, You might be able to earn more income than by printing it with sites like Lulu.

On the other hand, the whole internet can become overcrowded with writing. People have to buy a device to read it, like the Kindle. That is, unless they want to read it on their computer or laptop. The price of books that are published online is still a work in progress and will take time and it is already happening. Larger publishers are already jumping on for the ride.

This is all new, and possibly scary, but it could change the book industry in some ways like it did the music industry. I doubt that paper books will ever go away. My books are the most valuable things that I own (in my opinion) and libraries are something that we definitely need so everyone has access to expand their knowledge of the subject they desire. It is a no brainer. This is just another way to share books for the technology savvy.

My husband and I aren't interested in a buying a Kindle or other readers at this time. Recently, a new type of netbook was announced called the Touchbook. It has a detachable touch screen, and we completely fell in love with it. Talking about it, it would work perfectly to use as an e-reader. It should be released in any time now and we can't wait to get our hands on it. I think it will be useful if there are books that I want to read for research that are available for free online in PDF format, like at Forgotten Books. There I found an out of print book that is hard to find called The Lore of the Unicorn: Folklore, Evidence and Reported Sightings. They also made these books available in print at Amazon.

Right now, the "secret project" that I have been whispering about here and there with my husband Joey will be published on Scribd . We might do a print run, but we are not sure yet. On Scribd you can see how many copies are being sold, and set your own price. At the moment, I don't see the project working any other way.

Here are some great links if you are interested in learning more about different aspects of this growing section of publishing. I will keep you updated about the "secret project". I am hoping to reveal it within the next month before Comic Con.


Links:
Site Lets Writers Sell Digital Copies
Write, Publish, and Market Your Ebook
Preparing to Sell E-Books, Google Takes on Amazon
Simon & Schuster to Sell Digital Books on Scribd.com
Edelweiss: The Ultimate Digital Book Catalog?
Forgotten Books
Scribed

Natasha

Confidence

It has been almost four years since I graduated from college with an English degree with Creative Writing emphasis. In that time, I have written several short stories, poems, and almost three novels. I still have a long way to go in being the best writer that I can be, and I will always be the first one to admit that. Still, I want to keep moving forward.

Since it has been four years, I figured it was time to go back and read some old books and new ones on writing. The first of these that I picked up was Ursula K. Le Guin's The Wave in the Mind. I read her other book, Language of the Night, a few years ago and intend on re-visiting it sometime in the future. I am taking notes, actual handwritten notes, in a journal my husband's grandmother gave me when I graduated from college. Lately, I have been using the computer more and more for writing. I felt it was more appropriate to go back to my college days and take notes, so when I do become discouraged, I can flip through the book to find some advice to bring my heart some hope.

At this time, a quote from Le Guin's book has served that purpose:

"Confidence in yourself as a writer is pretty much the same as all other kinds of confidence, the confidence of a plumber or a school teacher, or a horseback rider; you earn it by doing it, you build it up slowly, by working at it. And sometimes, particularly when you're new at the game, you fake it- you act like you know what you're doing, and maybe you can away with it. Sometimes if you act as if you are blessed, you will be blessed. That too is part of trusting oneself. I think it works better for writers than it does for plumbers."

For the past month, I searched for words to figure out what I need to do and why. Now I know. I am building confidence. I have the framework right now, but there is always room to grow and expand my knowledge and experience. I must believe that I can do it and to keep moving forward. I must believe before others will. I know that is how other writers do succeed (with a bit of luck splashed in there).

As Le Guin wrote, all types of passions or professions need that confidence. In whatever you love to do, I hope you find the confidence in yourself that you need to succeed.

Natasha

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Twitter and Goodreads

I think it is about time for me to talk about my Twitter account. Feel free to follow me.

I have heard a lot of mixed reactions about Twitter, but I have to say that I really find it useful and enjoyable. I follow librarians, book bloggers, agents, writers, and others that help give me advice or news I wouldn't find anywhere else. There are alerts of book giveaways, advice articles, and even joining in to help save TV shows like Dollhouse. I think if you are interested in those type of things, Twitter might be a fun place to join. Also, it does help that some of my favorite actors like:
Also, don't forget authors:

I could teel you more about the people on my list, but I have 111 that I am currently following. To learn more about Twitter, check out these tips. Or try this blog, as well. Feel free to send me a direct message, too, if you decide to follow me. I would love to hear from you.

Another place I joined recently is Goodreads. I have been using a book application on Facebook, but decided to join this to replace it. I like to keep track of what I have read and what I want to read, and this place seems like a good place to do that. It is wonderful to see other people's reviews of my favorite books. I had a good time checking out one of my guilty pleasure books from my childhood and seeing that other people love the book the same way that I do. You can add me as a friend there, as well.

Are there any websites that you really like out there on the World Wide Web?

Natasha