I'm having one of those days...

... where consuming an obscenely large amount of chocolate is not only appropriate, it's also completely necessary.

Interpret this however you like.  Whatever you're thinking, it's probably spot-on.

Pardon me while I stuff my face.

Big fat bummer

So... I'm not going to ThrillerFest this year.  I thought I would be, and I was so looking forward to it.  Everything about it last year was exciting – seeing New York City for the first time, being in a huge hotel full of writers, book signings with authors I've been reading for years, intense discussions about craft and the business of publishing.  It was really inspiring, and fun.  This year's conference would have been a repeat of all that, with the added bonus of meeting my agent in person, since not only is the agency in NYC, but she'll actually be at ThrillerFest.  Unfortunately, there have been too many expenses so far this year, and our budget just doesn't allow.

To say I'm disappointed is an understatement.

Ah well.  There's always next year.  And who knows... maybe by then I'll even have a book of my own to promote.

Maybe. I hope.

I'm looking around for something to stab

I don't know why I always get so frustrated when I'm learning new technology.  I'm a good learner otherwise.  I pay attention, I ask good questions, I'm patient... but when it comes to a new computer or a new BlackBerry or a new operating system, my head goes from Zero to Explode in the span of about three seconds.

I'm not super tech-savvy, but I'd like to think I'm not stupid, either.  And yet I've spent the past three days trying to figure out how to use Windows Live Mail.  My old computer came equipped with Windows Mail.  The one before that had Outlook Express.  Both took a little time for me to learn (not much, maybe a few hours or so), but Windows Live Mail on the supposedly very easy to use Windows 7?  Absolute hell.  After three days I'm only just beginning to understand how this email program is interfacing with Gmail and why it's not a good idea to delete all your emails out of Gmail's "All Mail" folder, even thought you thought you downloaded all your emails to your computer's hard drive already.

And if you don't understand what that means, that's okay.  You don't need to.  Just.  Don't.  Do It.  Or you'll be wanting to stab something. Trust me.

Otherwise, my new computer is s'wonderful and s'marvelous.  17-inch screen (Who says size doesn't matter? Not me!), a super fast wireless card, and a proper numerical keyboard for hours o' fun when I'm spreadsheeting (that's a word I invented just now).  The keys are nice and soft (and they all work!) and the graphics on the screen are so defined that I'm pretty sure my eyes would say thank you if they could speak.  I'm also pleased with my pretty-but-not-too-girly customized pattern on the cover of the computer (yes, that's it exactly in the picture).

I wrote two and a half novels on my last computer.  I wonder how many I'll write on this new one...?

Stir crazy

According to FedEx, my new computer should arrive on Saturday, a few days ahead of schedule.

I hope for Steve's sake it does, because I'm not a very cheerful girl these days.  The fact that it's taken me five minutes to make this crappy little post readable is enough to make me want to gouge something.

I give up.

Happy friggin friday1

Powell's makes everything better

We're having one of those weekends where nothing is really going right, but a trip to Powell's City of Books in Portland, Oregon has made everything better.  There's nothing quite like getting lost in a maze of bookshelves that stack twelve feet high across four floors.

I didn't find everything I was looking for, but I came across books that I didn't have on my list, so it all evened out.  I found very good used copies of Alexandre Dumas' THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO, the first three ANNE OF GREEN GABLES books by Lucy Maud Montgomery, and a wonderfully illustrated version (full color, so the blood really pops!) of Edgar Allen Poe's THE TELL-TALE HEART.  I also got a cool illustrated hardcover of Jack London's CALL OF THE WILD and WHITE FANG, plus really old versions of a bunch of books I loved as a kid with the actual covers I remember from back then.  All told, I bought 16 books for $60.  No tax, because Oregon doesn't have sales tax.

Can't beat that, kids!  Support your indie bookstore!  What they can't give you in discounts, they make up for in everything else, right down to the smell of old paper.

(They should make air freshener that smells like old paper.  I'd put it in my office, for inspiration.)

writing all in lowercase just isn't my style, dude

My computer is fucked.

the other day, one of my keys was sticky, so like I've always done, I pulled off the key and cleaned underneath it.  Pulled out more than just a few cat and kitten hairs, some mysterious food particles, and tons o' dust. this, of course, made me want to pull off just about all the keys to clean out the crap that's gotten trapped underneath.  seriously, have you checked your keyboard lately?   Have you really looked at it?  Is it gross?  I'm betting it is.

the keys to my Dell laptop snap back on very easily. always have, and I've never had any problems with functionality after cleaning... until now. for some reason, I must have done something differently because the following keys are now loose, stick, and/or require a helluva pounding to work:

Print screen
shift (right side)
caps Lock
alt (right side)

this is kind of/sort of/most definitely a motherfucking pain in the pass.  Yes, I'm swearing.   I can swear because this is my blog and if the excessive cursing bothers you then you can just skip this post but I'm frustrated as fuck-all and there has to be nothing more irritating to a writer than trying to write a novel when the above keys do not work properly111

See that?  those 111's are supposed to be !!! but I didn't hit the shift key hard enough.  and all the sentences in this post that don't begin with a capital letter are because that damned shift key doesn'twork. and there should be a space between doesn't and work but the backspace key is fucked up so iif I make a typo it's a pain in the ass to correctit.
Oh and I forgot to mention that the enter key doesn't work either, so creating new paragraphs is also a pain in the ass.

I took this as a sign that it was time to buy a new computer.  I've heard too many horror stories about repair shops and since I was planning on buying a new computer in the fall anyway, I figured I might as well buy one now. this one is starting to show it's age.  and I'd really like a bigger screen.  so I ordered a new computer yesterday, and yep, I'm pretty excited about it.

In the meantime, I'll be writing, but probably not for extended periods of time.  because after an hour or so I feel like I want to kill something.

and this post looks all wrong to me but I can'tbe bothered to fix it.

Get shorty

Here's the link to my short story, published in the Foundling Review this week:

Foundling Review, Issue #1, May 2010 - HAIRSPRAY

Reader's reactions to this piece have been interesting.  As a writer, I don't believe in coercing readers to feel a certain way about a story.  The words should speak for themselves, and it's the readers' right to take away what they will.  I hope that's what makes the story fun... that it can be interpreted in different ways depending on what the reader wants to see.

Something to ponder: HAIRSPRAY was also accepted by a horror magazine.  Would you have had a different take on it had you read it there?

Short stories are damned hard to write.  Telling a story in so few words is really hard for me, but I'd like to get better at it.  I'm considering an advanced short fiction class this summer if the first draft of the current WIP is finished.  It would be nice to try something different. (Something that doesn't have chapters would be a start.)

I recommend novels all the time, but in keeping with the theme of this post, here's a short story recommendation:  THE TELL-TALE HEART by Edgar Allan Poe.  I hadn't read this story since college, and I totally forgot how amazing it is.  I read it out loud to myself the other day and actually got goosebumps.  And now I can't stop thinking about it, which is how I know it got under my skin.  I don't remember having an emotional reaction like this in college... and since the story hasn't changed, it must be me.

It's frighteningly perfect.  Read it here on Google Books ("flip" to page 3):
The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe

Please please please let me get what I want

My book is finally on submission.

(insert painful swallow here)

Going "on sub" means my agent is submitting my manuscript to the editors at various publishing houses.  As much as I'd love to share the details of this part of the journey here, I can't.  I'm not allowed to blog about this, for obvious reasons.  And it could be months and months before I hear anything.

In the meantime, would you mind sending me your best wishes and your positive energy?  And some good luck wouldn't hurt, either.  Thanks.

I want this so bad, it physically hurts to breathe.