Are You Insane?


The end of the year is fast approaching and it’s time to consider the woulda…coulda…shoulda’s from 2011.  I’ve decided to launch a pre-emptive strike on the whole New Year’s Resolution thing.  From a writing perspective, 2011 pretty much sucked!  Yes, I revised FALLEN KNIGHT again and started shopping it to agents, but I only distributed a dozen or so letters with nary a nibble before I halted the process due to dissatisfaction with my query letter.  I wrote just one original short story during the whole year, roughly outlined the premise for the third book in the Knights series, toyed around with a couple other book ideas, and I’ll top that under-whelming list off with the fact that I quit writing entirely for about five months.  From a broad view of where I need to be, very little positive happened last year.

My non-writing related goals tanked as well.  Let’s just say that neither my intellectual growth nor body image went in the direction I was shooting for!

So what should I do to prepare for 2012?  I’ll tell you what I do…the strategies I formulated last year to help me achieve my goals in 2011…they’re going out the window.  It was Albert Einstein who said that the definition of Insanity was doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  Well, I must be a little bit nuts because I’ve basically been doing the same thing for two years and wondering why I’m still writing post like this.  You know what’s even more frustrating?  I’m not butting my head against the wall because nobody feels my manuscript is good enough, nope, I’ve not even made it that far.  I definitely need a new tact and a bolder approach.  It’s about to get mighty uncomfortable in my comfort zone.  I’m not sure what I’m going to do yet, but it won’t be the same ole, same ole.

So if you’re about to sit down to compose your list of 2012 resolutions, here’s a little advice.  If you jot down a familiar goal, one that’s made the list several years running, ask yourself this simple question…are you Insane?  If the answer is no, then it’s not the list of resolutions that needs updating…it’s your plan of attack!
Happy New Year everybody!  See you on the other side.  :)

WRiTE CLUB – Round 8


Sorry for being tardy, but as Bob Cratchit explained so eloquently,  "It shall not be repeated. I was making rather merry yesterday, sir."

How about we start off with a late Christmas present for one of our WRiTER's from last week's round seven?  It was a very tight bout, actually neck and neck for awhile, but in the end TERRI LEE defeated GARGOYLE BEAUTY.  The official score ended up being:

GARGOYLE BEAUTY - 12 votes     TERRI LEE - 20 votes

TERRI becomes our seventh semi-finalist!  He/She will join the other six winners in the semi-finals which will begin in February.  As always, you can check my WRiTE CLUB page for a breakdown of all the winners along with links to all of the writing samples.

Before we move on to the next round I like to recount a conversation (email string) with one of my fellow blogging buddies for you.  In it my fellow blogger expressed how they enjoyed WRiTE CLUB very much, but they just couldn't bring themselves to hurt somebody's feelings (by voting for one over the other).  I replied by telling them that even though WRiTE CLUB was completely anonymous, I understood where they were coming from.  But then I went on to ask if that reasoning demonstrated a "glass half empty" point of view.  What about the exhilarating feeling of the WRiTER who earns a vote, doesn't that count just as equally, and if so, wouldn't it be better to look at it from a "glass half full" slant?  There are those that would counter by asking why we should be drinking at all.  My answer is that most of our readers ultimate goal is publication, and that doesn't happen in a vacuum.  There are winners (multi-book contracts) and losers (rejection letters), and WRiTE CLUB is just little taste of that.

Anyway, we had a couple new submissions last week, so one contestant will come from the newby pool and their opponent from the open group.  Here we go, without further ado....


Here are this week's randomly selected WRiTER's.

Standing in the far corner, weighing in at 226 words, please welcome to the ring……..

SPECTRAL

That night, Shay tossed in her bed, unable to sleep. She stared out her window at the scythe-like moon suspended in an ocean of blackness. Faint glimmerings of stars pinpricked the sky here and there, but they weren’t enough to lighten her room much. Wind battered the side of the house, causing the timbers to creak, and then it subsided. It was suddenly quiet. Too quiet.

Even her breathing and the rustling of the sheets as she sat up sounded loud. The darkness around her was menacing, as though it was trying to crush her back down onto the mattress, swallowing up even the faint outlines of her closet and shelves as a cloud consumed the moon. Shay shook herself angrily. She’d never been afraid of the dark before. What was the matter with her?

Then a noise interrupted the silence—a faint shuffling, as though made by tiny feet on the grassy carpet below her window. Maybe there was a deer or a rabbit outside.

Shay closed her eyes, settling back down, forcing herself to breathe slowly in and out, in and out. There. She was fine. Her window creaked and she opened her eyes wide to stare at it frantically. She sighed in annoyance at her own jitteriness. There was nothing there. Of course there wasn’t—her room was two stories above the ground.

And in the other corner, weighing in at 250 words (*WARNING - Explicit Language*), let me introduce to you ……..

DIRCH McGURKIN

Scott grabbed the remote, flipping through the channels until he settled on Star Trek.

“I ran into Betsy Miller,” Joachim said as Spock and Bones continued their endless emotion versus logic argument.

“Yeah?” Scott yawned. “She’s got those schoolgirl pigtails right? And the tattoo on her neck? She’s hot. You should ask her out.”

Joachim rubbed his jaw. “Why don’t you?”

“Can’t man. Dated her sister.”

“Wait, Penelope Miller? When the hell was that?”

“I don’t know, like 10 years ago.”

“In Middle School? Dude, that doesn’t even count.”

“Say what you want.” Scott shrugged. “I’m not dating her.”

The toaster popped and Joachim headed to the kitchen.

“I’m just saying man,” Scott continued. “You need to get laid. It would get you over Jen.”

“I am over Jen.”

“So you say, but I know you.”

Joachim grabbed a plate and returned to the living room.

“What happened anyways?” Scott asked. “You never told me.”

“Nothing.” Joachim tossed Scott two pastries. “We grew apart.”

Scott took a bite. He rubbed the back of his hand across his mouth. “That’s bullshit. That doesn’t happen.”

“It happens all the time.”

“Yeah, it happens to normal people. But you two – you were hot and heavy. You loved her, man. You wanted to buy her a ring.”

“No I didn’t.” Joachim grabbed the remote and turned the volume up.

“Whatever. You don’t have to fuckin’ lie to my face. If you don’t want to tell me then don’t tell me.”

“Fuck you, you’re drunk.”


So, how about it?  By now you know the drill, leave your vote for the winner of round 8 in the comments below, along with any sort of critique you would like to offer.  Please remind your friends to make a selection as well.  The voting will remain open until noon Sunday. Remember, you can throw your pen name into the hat anytime during these last six weeks by submitting your own 250 word sample.  Check out the rules by clicking on the badge below…then come out swinging!

Remember, here in WRiTE CLUB, it’s not about the last man/woman standing, it’s about who knocks the audience out!

Where words are the true knockout!


WRiTE CLUB – Round 7


Just six more chances remaining to make it to the semi-finals of WRiTE CLUB and it's going to be rough.  There are more submissions than open slots, which is a good thing because it's an indication that WRiTE CLUB has been successful, but it also means that some dang good writing will never have the chance to duke it out in the ring.  Blame it all on the random number generator.   

There were no new submissions last week, so both contestants will come from the open pool.  Are you ready?  Got your popcorn and soda? Without further ado....



Here are this week's randomly selected WRiTER's.

Standing in the far corner, weighing in at 249 words, please welcome to the ring……..

GARGOYLE BEAUTY

The week before school started, we drove down to visit my grandparents.   The yearly visits were fun when I was younger, but I needed to go back home and hang out with my friends.  My older sister, Audania, wanted to stay for the whole trip.

Girls!  Ugh!

I figured I was stuck since my parents always listened to her over me.  Not this time.

Home was an hour’s drive away when we ran into rain.  It quickly turned into a drenching downpour.  I peeked out the front windshield, gasping.  Lightening streaked through tumbling cloud castles in the sky.  Thunder roared.  I jerked against my seatbelt as it crashed overhead.   There was no road, only a whirling funnel of rain.

Each second dragged on.  Mom mumbled something, I don’t know, a prayer maybe.  Her lips moved fast.  Dad clenched his jaw.  Audania reached across the backseat and grabbed my hand.

Time crawled to a standstill.  Bright headlights appeared before us on a collision course.  Dad yanked the steering wheel hard to the left.  Our wheels lost traction.  My stomach lurched into my throat.  Metal crunched, whined and moaned as we toppled end over end.

The next day I awoke in the hospital, a tube in my arm, no pain anywhere.  My grandparents told me I was the only one left of my family.  Nausea wracked my stomach and I puked, just missing grandma. And I screamed – from the loss, the confusion and from knowing what happened was all my fault.


And in the other corner, weighing in at a mere 239 words, let me introduce to you ……..

TERRI  LEE

I’m running as hard as I can weaving in and out of the trees, with only the moonlight illuminating my way.  I can barely see, but my heart tells me the way.  The trees sparkle silver in the moonlight, dancing in the wind, taunting me.  Their branches lick across my face and I feel the scratches they leave behind.  Anticipation consumes me; I have to make it there in time.

Hearing sounds of a fight, I turn in that direction. Suddenly, I am sprawled on the ground. Getting up on my haunches I look around. Then I see it. Then I see him. His eyes are pure black, empty, soulless. My breath hitches in my throat and I shuffle back to escape this thing. Coming up against what I tripped on I can’t move. My hands feel warm and sticky. Tearing my gaze from my nightmare,  my heart beats painfully loud, I glance at what I tripped on. No, not what, who. Raising my hand to my face I see grey, but I know, it’s simply a trick of the moonlight, it should be red. Blood, his blood, then I look at his face. I try to scream, but no sound leaves my mouth. Tears stream down my face, as my heart crushes in my chest. No, it can’t be him. Looking up I see my nightmare take a menacing step toward me. Now, finally, sound leaves my mouth.

Which one will it be?  In the comments below leave your vote for the winner of round 7, along with any sort of critique you would like to offer.  Please remind your friends to make a selection as well.  The voting will remain open until noon Sunday. Remember, you can throw your pen name into the hat anytime during these last six weeks by submitting your own 250 word sample.  Check out the rules by clicking on the badge below…then come out swinging!

Remember, here in WRiTE CLUB, it’s not about the last man/woman standing, it’s about who knocks the audience out!

Where words are the true knockout!

WRiTE CLUB Round 6 Results - Deja Vu Wrap Up


This week WRiTE CLUB was a bit overshadowed by the Deja Vu Blogfest, but we still managed a good turn out.  It will also be the last week where I post the results on Sunday afternoon, instead I'll be announcing the winner of the previous weeks contest when I post the next round.  This means that a WRiTER will never have to WRiTE in back to back rounds because they must have the opportunity to submit a new 250 word sample if desired.  So here are the final Sunday results, involving Round 6.

NEXTMARK - 5 votes     LUCKY LEFT HOOK - 23 votes

LUCKY LEFT HOOK becomes our sixth semi-finalist!  He/She will join the other five winners in the semi-finals which will begin in February, and NEXTMARK will go back into the pool.  Check my WRiTE CLUB page for a breakdown of all the winners along with links to all of the writing samples.

As far as the Deja Vu Blogfest is concerned, thanks to the efforts of Lydia, Katie, Nicole and the entire blogosphere, it turned out to be a masterful success!!  We ended up with 199 registered participants, but with 32 of them forgetting to post anything and 1 registered twice, we actually ended up with 166 re-postings.  The traffic on MR. LINKY was so heavy Friday morning that Google actually suspended my account for a little while until I confirmed that all of the activity was legitimate.  I spent the majority of two days visiting each and everyone of the posts, and there was some truly awesome material on display.  What I read far exceeded my expectations for the blogfest, and I owe it all to  you for responding to the call.  Thank you...thank you...thank you!  I'm seriously considering making this an annual event where bloggers look back over just the one year and re-post their favorite.  What do you think?

Over the next couple days I'll be updating MR.LINKY so that all of the links point specifically to the bloggers Deja Vu post, and then I'll put a badge up to provide access to the list.  There was just too many excellent posts to waste.    

I'll see everybody at Round 7 tomorrow.  :)
 

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