~~ "She has so many aliases, you'd think she was a spy!" ~~

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Damn, I love this job.

Before I could write tonight, I sat down and started free-associating/typing stuff about my bad guy. I figured out who the bad guy is in the middle of an RWA Nationals session, and nearly gasped out loud at the awfulness of it, because it will utterly shatter my heroine when she finds out. Anyway, I knew who, but only had a vague sense of why, and no idea how my heroine would discover this. I also don’t know how yet, but I think that’ll be easier. The point was, I needed to understand my bad guy better.

And in the process of this, I realized that a throwaway character was going to be important, and there was this whole unexpected twistlet (not a full twist in the sense of changing the entire plot, but an unexpected “You’re what?!” type of thing) in there. At first I started questioning whether I was jumping the shark, but I don’t think I am. I think the book needs this.

Also, I’m changing the title. Does Ghosted sound like a book you’d want to read?

(When I told Ken the new title, he said “Oooh!” which is exactly the reaction I was looking for.) ::beam::


In house news, we got new (correct) paint, and fixed the kitchen window and the kitchen wall (different shades) and then became obsessed with touching up little problems throughout the house (which was also depressing because we hates the evil people who painted over the wood, we do, and we wants to strip all the wood, so putting paint on it was traumatically contradictory, to say the least). The curtains are now hung. Hoo-rah, and onwards.


Currently Reading: Heart of Stone, CE Murphy
Lately Listened To: Bare, Annie Lennox
Recently Watched: Psych

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Book signing! January 19

I will be talking about A Little Night Music and doing a signing at my local Barnes & Noble on Saturday, January 19. I hope some of you can join me!

This is part of a "Meet the Writers" Local Author Day, and I'm one of six authors who'll be participating, so it should be a fun and interesting two hours!

Here's all the info:

WHAT: Discussion and booksigning with six area authors.

WHEN: Saturday, January 19, 1-3 p.m.

WHERE: Barnes & Noble, 4820 Telephone Road, Ventura, CA 93003, 805-339-0990
Take the 101 to the Telephone exit in Ventura, turn right, and take the first right into the shopping center and you'll practically run in to the store

LIST OF AUTHORS: Anne Carter, Sarah Dale (that's me!), Mary Embree, Catherine Anne Jones, Michael Mehas, and Diana M. Raab.

BONUS: I will be doing a drawing and giving away prizes! That's right--if you attend, you might get some free stuff!

P.S. I'd love suggestions for what I should talk about... Please, send them along! Also, if you have any questions, please pop me a note.

Thursday 13: Thirteen Writing Related Goals This Year

1. Finish High Spirits in January, edit before end of quarter

2. Start Caressing the Tiger with Teresa in February.

3. After getting rolling with CTT, decide honestly if we can finish it in the quarter.

4. Edit An Ever-Turning Wheel and get it in the mail to agents and editors, preferably in the first quarter but probably in the second or third quarter.

5. Write two more novels in the third and fourth quarters of the year.

6. Update my tracking spreadsheet for short stories and make sure all of the paper files are in order.

7. Stop being so hard on myself and cut myself some slack. See, e.g., this post.

8. Do not try to write every day. Everybody gets time off. Make weekly goals and work hard on work days so there’s room for off days.

9. Up my word count on days I do write.

10. Write more Sophie short stories with Teresa.

11. Write only short stories for anthologies that pay a pro rate or that have a theme that really excites me.

12. Write some more Battlecorps stories.

13. Review goals on a regular basis and be flexible as necessary.

Enough with the phaffing. Let's demolish something!

In the end, I did no writing yesterday. I made brief notes on everything I remembered writing on Monday, and then I had my massage, and then we ate dinner, and then I phaffed about, and then I decided that I needed chocolate, wine, and Alias. Which ended the evening.

I’ve been phaffing about for a good portion of today, too, alas, although in mostly productive ways. I was in the mood for some demolition…. We took down old hardware over the kitchen windows in anticipation of the new curtains I’ll finish sewing tonight and the hardware to fit them (previous hardware included hideous roll-up shades that didn’t work—once they were pulled down, they wouldn’t snap back up, and did I mention they were butt-ugly?), and we sanded and filled in the holes and will slap some paint on. I’ve also been to the chiro and the Post Office and convinced Ken to take me out to lunch because I needed a big salad.

Meanwhile, I got a call last night from someone I hadn’t talked to in years (she and her husband used to live in Darach, but while we were in Wales, they moved to Vegas, and I think we saw them once right after we moved back), asking if her husband could stay with us tonight. Well sure, no problem, except of course the kitchen is a disaster area. But then he just called and said he was on his way and was taking us out to dinner, which will help. But we will have a guest tonight, which will make it harder for me to work. Bde.

Oh, and the kitchen? We may not have the right color paint. Crap in a bucket.

I went over to sew at Morgana’s tonight, and I finished our kitchen curtains, but of course now that project is on hold until we repaint the top of the window frame, and I also mended a dress. Next week, we’re making messenger bags to use at SCA wars! We saw some at GWW but they were a mite pricey, especially with that “But we can make them” factor. The question was, would we? Then we cleaned the sewing room and I found the perfect fabric, and Morgana has fabric for one as well, so that’s next on the list.

Yes, I have sewing/craft lists, too.

So now I’m in bed with the Laptop Laidback and Afalwen, because the guest room is right next to my writing office and we have a sleeping guest. Time to get more done on that dratted wordcount!


Frak. I don’t remember how I ended this scene before. (So I typed that into the ms, and will move on now. But still. Frak.) Plus I don’t want to rewrite the stuff I wrote before. I want to write new stuff! ::whines::


Currently Reading: Heart-Shaped Box, Joe Hill
Lately Listened To: Bare, Annie Lennox
Recently Watched: absolutely nuthin’

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


Those 1535 words I wrote yesterday?

Gone. Pffft, gone.

Oh, I was conscientious and backed up. I just backed up in the wrong direction and overwrote the file with the previous day's file. And something had burped with the external backup drive, and Time Machine wasn't working, and I noticed it yesterday but I forgot to tell Ken.

I really want to take today off to lick my wounds, but then I'll be two days behind...

Monday, January 07, 2008

Damn pants

Ack! My chiropractor recommended this morning that I forego the gym today, and it’s thrown off my whole schedule! I’ve been trying to put together a loose schedule so I make sure I get everything done I need to do in a day, and make it clear to my peabrain that writing needs to come earlier and gym needs to happen even if I’m not meeting with my trainer. But today I suddenly had too much time (on my hands, and it really is ticking away with my sanity…) and now it’s nearly 10 p.m. and where am I? Sitting in front of Afalwen.

And, ack again! Earlier I was writing merrily away, and then the scene ended, and I realized I don’t know what happens next! Granted, this happens a lot when you’re a pantser (as opposed to a plotter), but even the general “these things need to happen sometime soon” list doesn’t seem to be helping. So, obviously, I’m taking a brief break to complain about it here.

Teresa and I had a good confab today, and we agreed that we both have projects we need to finish before we start Caressing the Tiger, and that we should be done with said projects by the end of the month, at which point we’ll regroup and start the new book.

Oh, hold on. Heh. I just remembered the revelation I had the last time I got stuck on this novel. Duh. Back to work, kthnxbai.


So as I told Teresa, the analytical, organizational part of my brain, grumpy at being cast aside as not useful for the writing process (editing, yes; writing, not so much), has been insistently finding other ways to make itself known. I’m now playing with more spreadsheets than before…

I always have one to track story submissions. First sheet is what’s out, second sheet is what’s been rejected, third sheet is for sales and their current status (have I received the contract, etc.). Successive sheets are for each story (logging where it went, when, when it came back, and the outcome). Sold stories get moved to a separate spreadsheet altogether.

I have another one to track novel submissions.

Then there’s the daily wordcount one, with columns for the current novel(s) and for several stories. But now I have one that lists the year by rows, so I type in the total wordcount for each day, and I’ll be able to track my words for the year. I really love seeing those numbers grow.

Then there are spreadsheets for each novel, noting the chapter lengths and whatnot…

Oh, and then there’s this little tiny one for the NIWOC challenge I’m doing, to see what percentage I’m at…

Let’s not even talk about the lists!


1535 words today. A little low, but still well within my goals for the week. Tomorrow: onwards!


Currently Reading: Heart-Shaped Box, Joe Hill
Lately Listened To: Mirror Mirror, Lorraine a’Malena
Recently Watched: Alias (and then I had spy dreams)

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Yesterdays and todays

We were planning to go to Kingdom Twelfth Night yesterday, but on Thursday evening after the Shire meeting, Morgana and Brian (with whom we were to be carpooling) and we discussed details, and it became obvious that none of us were truly enthusiastic about going (for one thing, the feast was full; for another, we didn’t want to get up early; and for yet another, there was the chance of heavy rains, and the drive was long to begin with). So we decided, along with Thomasina, that we would have high tea at Fresh & Fabulous and go see The Golden Compass. Which was all quite fabulous.

I’d read the book in anticipation of the movie, and the movie surpassed my expectations. They had to take a lot of text and pare it down, yet still make sense and keep the action moving, and they pulled that off in spades. Pacing was excellent. I’m stunned that the actress who plays Lyra did so well when it was not only her first role, but she was playing against a green screen for a good portion of it.

Most importantly, I want a daemon! Yes yes yes!

After that, Thomasina headed home and the rest of us ended up going to Roxsbury Deli for dinner, and then we hung out for a bit until I realized the cats should have been fed, oh, two and a half hours earlier. So we came home and put them out of their misery.

I’m a bit sad we missed Twelfth Night, though, because two of our friends got their AoAs and Cat won the Bard of Caid competition! Go Cat! Woo hoo!


Fourth and fifth rejections of the year… ::shakes fist at sky:: Damn you, efficient editors!

I don’t know if I’ve announced this sale before, but since the countersigned contract just hit my desk, it sounds pretty much good to go: Pangaia magazine had a contest, and Teresa and I (as Sophie) are finalists with “Under a Double Rainbow.” Our story will be published in an anthology by Llewellyn Publications, The Pagan Anthology of Short Fiction: 13 Prize Winning Tales. I’m especially chuffed because it wasn’t an erotica contest, but we sold them an erotica story!

After going to the gym this morning, then dashing home and showering and lunching with Ken, I headed off to a nearby coffee shop, where I met up with Ellenie (fellow RWA-er), where we worked for nearly 3 hours. In total (I did a little bit more tonight), I hit more than 2K for the day, which is exactly where I want to be. I could’ve done more, even, but the idea is to not burn out right off the bat, y’know?

Most importantly, I laughed out loud twice as I was writing, which is always a good sign (unless you’re writing a tragedy, I suppose).

We’re hoping to schedule writing sessions at a coffee shop on three Sundays of the month (the other Sunday being the Los Angeles RWA meeting), which would be quite spiffy.


Currently Reading: Heart-Shaped Box, Joe Hill (about to start)
Lately Listened To: RWA sessions
Recently Watched: Doctor Who season 6 extras, Graham Norton with Sharon Osborne and David Boreanaz (hilarious!)