Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Wine Stories

It's Promo Day! The day I plug my other internet hangouts.

It's a wine-y week this week.

It's flash fiction week at the Confabulator Cafe, and our assignment this time was to write a story taking place in one room (and only one room) of a cyber Manor we are building. We are putting it together room by room, story by story, year by year. I wrote my story in the wine cellar in 1855. Check out "Bloody Wine" if you're in the mood for a quick story.

On Sunday at Red Wine Reminiscence, I wrote about a fancy French Cotes-du-Rhone wine I drank the night of a great catastrophe. I don't care how well it goes with a turkey dinner, I think I might be giving up on Cotes-du-Rhone from now on. It makes for a good story, in hindsight, although I can't tell you much about how the wine actually tasted. Go read about it!

I'll be back Friday.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Slumps and Success

I go through cycles with blog posts where I get really motivated and get ahead, knocking out posts for weeks in advance, to the extreme opposite of not being able to blog even if my life depended on it.

The same goes for writing.

I'm in a bit of a slump right now. I'm having trouble writing, and I'm unhappy with the stuff I've been coming up with. I've realized it's all part of the process, but it's frustrating, none the less. I wish I could be creatively inspired all the time. But luckily I have things like this blog and my writing group that keep me writing even when I don't want to.

The more my writing group makes me write, the more material I have to submit. I still try to submit every couple of weeks. I haven't been writing anything in addition to my Confabulator Cafe flash fiction stories, but I've been cleaning up old flash assignments and sending them in.

And now for my exciting news! One of those flash fiction stories that I cleaned up and submitted has been accepted for publication. I don't have many details yet, but it will appear in this publication's first anthology. I've signed the contract and they will be paying me a quarter of a cent per word. Just a token payment, not nearly professional yet, but I'm so excited that one of my stories is going to be published. I did it!!

I've been comparing story submission to gambling addiction, and I just hit a jackpot. A small one, but just enough to keep me gambling. I need to keep writing and keep submitting.

Once I know more about the anthology, I'll let you know!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Philosophical Questions and Cabernet Sauvignon

Hello, friends. It's promo day today, where I encourage you to check out the other two blogs I hang out on every week.

This week at the Confabulator Cafe, we're being introspective. Although as writers, I guess we always are. This week we answer the big question, though. The question we ask ourselves almost every day, and a lot of people want to ask us, as well. Why do we write? The simple answer for me was that I Write So My Head Doesn't Explode. Pretty serious consequence, but it's true. Probably. Too many thoughts, too small of a head.

On Sunday, Red Wine Reminiscence had a brief post about the Castle Rock Cabernet Sauvignon I tried a month or so ago. The story that goes with it wasn't too exciting, nor was the wine, although I still do have fond memories of the Castle Rock Zinfandel I loved so much.

Hope you come back and see me on Friday. I have some super exciting news to share with you! I promise to post on time this week. I know I was very late last week, although there is the old saying "better late than never."

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Confabulator Cafe Mafia

Tonight was a night of mixed emotions.

Over the past year, my writing group has become more than just some people I write with now and then, and have become much more like family. We encourage and support each other, we're brutally honest in our beta reads, we feed off of each other's success and bolster each other when we have our own.

We always have lots of exciting and new things going on, but this month, there are two particular things, one great, and one very sad.

Tonight we had a little pre-release party for our first published novelist, R.L. Naquin. Her first book comes out July 30th from Carina Press (go pre-order it)! We're all very excited and proud of her.

But this party had another purpose. One of our family members is moving away at the end of this month, so it was also a farewell party. He'll still be with us at the Confabulator Cafe, but our monthly meetings and drinking nights will definitely feel his absence.

And so our group evolves yet again. That's sort of how life works, I know, but it's never easy. The internet enables us to never be very far away from our friends and family, though. The Cafe unites us, and really, it's a bit like the Mafia. Once you are part of the family, you never get out. You can move away, but you can't escape us. Maybe someday we'll have branches of our family all across the US (we already have one in Texas, an honorary member in Washington, and now we're conquering Virginia).

But the Confabulator Cafe will always be home. And these writers will always be my family.

Congratulations, Rachel, and best of luck to you, Larry.

You bet we had cake! (photo by Dave Dehetre)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Time for more Wine and Writing Advice

Missed posting my promo day post yesterday, so here you go:

Read all about best and worst writing advice received from all of us over at the Confabulator Cafe. There's quite a range of opinions, some of them dissenting. As always. My advice? Just Write.

Over at Red Wine Reminiscence, I reminisced about a bottle of Columbia Crest Syrah, which I drank on a night while video chatting with my best friend. We're talking about making more frequent video drinking dates in the future, which should be a lot of fun.

Come see me again on Friday for more about my life as an aspiring writer!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Finally Getting To It

Does loving school make me a nerd? (photo)
This as been an incredibly exciting week for me.

After months of stagnation, where I didn't even update my blogs let alone write anything, things are finally moving again. I feel like I am back to making progress towards some of my goals.

First - I am officially enrolled in an online grammar and mechanics for editors class at UC Berkeley. If all goes well, I will earn their Professional Sequence in Editing certificate over the next four semesters. The program starts in September, and while I am extremely nervous and a bit trepidatious about my ability to do school after sitting out for so long, I am also so excited that I have already purchased my textbooks.

Second - I found out today that one of the stories I submitted to a publication has made it through their first round of cuts. Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean I'm in - they had over 200 submissions and they can only take about 15 stories - but that means it was good enough for them to give it a second look. I actually assumed it was a rejection when I first saw it, and I had to read it twice to realize it wasn't!

Third - This may be a bit premature, and I reserve the right to revoke ever mentioning this, but I think I might be ready to start editing my novel, Online Dating for Demons. I've been thinking a lot about the world lately and how much the inconsistencies are bothering me to the point where I really want to fix them. I did some preliminary note-taking on changes I need to make, and I am about to start following R.L. Naquin's index card method. I haven't ever significantly edited anything this long before, so I have no process to speak of. Which means I will be stealing hers to start with.

That's it for now, but I think that's plenty. I'm excited. I'm feeling good about writing and editing. I'm daring to hope that my dreams may someday become a reality if I keep working at it.

The only discouraging part is trying to be patient. I wish I could just put on a good song, montage through all of the hard parts, and then when the song is over, I'd be a wildly successful writer and editor.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Some Port with your Subplots

It's Tuesday, so that means it's my day at the Confabulator Cafe. The topic this week is the importance of subplots in longer fiction. I think all of us are in agreement that subplots are pretty crucial. I mean, you could eat just a hamburger, but it's better with french fries and a soda. Or I suppose if you are a healthy eater, you wouldn't want to eat a salad with just lettuce. It's better with other veggies and dressing and some croutons, maybe a little shredded or feta cheese...ehem. I'm making myself hungry. At any rate, go take a look at my post "A story isn't just vanquishing foes and saving the world" at the Cafe. Be sure to read the other posts this week to see how the rest of the crew uses subplots.

While you're at the Cafe, you should check out some of our new site functionality. We have a tab that links to all of the different post categories, so if you want to go read all of the Ephemera answers we've ever posted, you can hover over the "Categories" tab to pick which category you want to see more from.

Even better, if you want to just read the flash fiction we've posted, you can hover over the "Flash Fiction" tab and select which story prompt you want to read. It lists all of the stories by name and author for that week.

The Cafe has been open for six months now! I'm so proud of all of our contributors and that we're still going strong and always making improvements.

This past Sunday, I wrote about my first experience trying Port wine over at Red Wine Reminiscence. I wasn't much of a fan, and I'm not sure if it had to do with the wine selection - the Founders Reserve Sandeman Porto -  or port in general. I'm not sure if I'm brave enough to try again. Sadly, even over a month later, we still haven't finished the bottle. We even tried to pawn it off on our guests on Father's Day. I should have just sent it home with my Dad. He liked it, at least.

I've been enjoying the wine blogging as much as the wine drinking. It's given me a chance to practice my photography skills, as well. I've been having fun coming up with artistic shots. This photo contains the boyfriend's awesome wine rack.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Camp got Rained Out

Image borrowed from here
So my attempt at Camp NaNoWriMo this year was a complete wash. I wrote less than three-thousand words, which is way shy of even the thirty-thousand I had lowered my goal to halfway through June.

June was not a good month to write a novel.

I'm trying not to let that bother me too much. I did get a lot of brainstorming for the idea done, and the first scene is written. The foundation is there.

I think the biggest problem I ran into wasn't so much that I didn't want to write, I just never made time and when I did I wasn't highly motivated. I like my idea. But the foundation isn't solid. It's a sequel to Monsters of Lawrence, and Monsters of Lawrence is still barely a Zero Draft, so it was tough to keep writing in a world where I still need to fix a few flaws and figure out what actually happened and what is going to be cut out and therefore never happened.

Anyway, my main concern with not getting very far last month is that it was my second Office of Letters and Light sponsored event that I totally bombed. Anyone remember Script Frenzy? I wrote one whole sentence for that before I quit.

I failed Script Frenzy, failed Camp NaNo, so I can't help but feel a bit of concern for this November. Will I be able to write a fifty-thousand word novel later this year, what with all the writing interruptus I've experienced so far?

I do not, however, consider the month of June a waste. Not in the slightest. In fact, as I mentioned couple of weeks ago, I hit a major milestone. My first submission! It was something I always feared, and now that I have done it, I am actually kind of addicted to it.

I even got my first rejection today, and instead of crushing me, I just frowned, shrugged, and then found another publication to submit it to. I know it's a good story. I just have to find the right market.

I'm no longer a submission virgin. I know I've been a writer this whole time, but somehow, this makes me feel like a really real writer now.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Thoughts on Writer's Block and Wine

My posts for the week are up at both the Confabulator Cafe and Red Wine Reminiscence!

At the Cafe, read about why I think writer's block is a real phenomenon in my post The Semantics of Writer's Block. Be sure to check back all week to see what the rest of my writing group has to say about it; the opinions vary drastically.

When you're done, you can read the much lighter review over on my wine blog of one of my new favorite wines, the Lomas del Valle 2010 Malbec.

Come back here and visit me on Friday, where I'll talk about how Camp NaNoWriMo got rained out for me, but how the month wasn't a total bust.