Return From the Wild White Yonder (aka Chicago)

So I've had a very long hiatus from blogging and, well, life in general. I went to Chicago for one of my pharmacy rotations. The type of work I did there definitely wasn't for me, but I did learn a lot in terms of just how versatile the PharmD degree is. So at least I got something out of it, right?

The bad thing about rotations (one of them) is that I have hardly had any time to read, let alone write anything. :-( I can tell my brain is getting antsy because all my characters keep popping into my head and the more songs I hear, the more fodder I get for scenes for them. Which is all well and good, I just think my brain is reaching the overflow point. So it's a good thing I've got this whole week off, huh? :-) Hopefully some progress will be made on one of my three WIPs. I'm almost done with reading On the Edge by Ilona Andrews... Well, I've got maybe 20% left, but to me that's almost done. It took me a few more chapters than normal to get into it, but I'm finding myself attached to the characters, which is always a good sign.

At the moment my still packed suitcase (I already got one over with) calls to me. I have this insane urge to really clean everything, including the Dreaded Closet. *gasp* So yeah, this was a pretty half-assed post, but at least I got something down, right? Right.

No NaNo

So today is the first day of November and for most writers out there that means the first day of NaNoWriMo. Given my jam-packed schedule with my rotations I'll be unable to participate this year (again). The first time I'd even heard of it was last November... on about the 20th or something. So I caught wind of it too late to actually participate. I can't help but think, "Gee, Ashley... you don't need those extra few hours of sleep, right? You could give NaNo a shot." But then I remind myself that it's cold/flu season and if I miss more than two days of any rotation, it becomes incomplete which means I don't graduate in June w/ everyone else. At least according to our Office of Experiential Education. So I've gotta keep myself healthy and at least for me that includes plenty of sleep.

Given that, I haven't exactly been the model of proper sleeping behavior lately. Had a back-to-back up 'til 4am on Thursday and Friday. Lotsa fun and no ill effects so far. *knocks on wood* But back to NaNo... I'm trying to decide what to work on once I graduate (besides studying for the NAPLEX and pharmacy law exam): my overhaul of my completed book or a NaNo type period in which I work on one of my WIPs. I'm leaning toward the overhaul even though it won't be much fun. Because once that's actually worked on then I can actually start querying. What would you suggest? And yes, Cari, that question's mainly aimed at you. :)

Procrastinating (again)

Tomorrow I'll be starting the third week (of six) of my first rotation. The first two weeks already went by super fast. As is evidenced by the time period between posts. Though I'll readily admit that I'm not that great at actually posting regularly.

My rotation is keeping me super busy, though my preceptor, the staff pharmacist, and techs are awesome. It's definitely a different environment than the pharmacy that I get paid to work at. I'm learning a lot and learning more when I get home. Unfortunately, that means no writing for Ashley. *tear* I haven't even been able to muster up enough enthusiasm to tackle the empty whiteboard on my wall. Okay, there are three post-its on there so it's not totally empty, but it looks very lonely. And yet, all I do is lie in bed and stare at it.

I'm working on finishing Sandman Slim and I'm right in the middle of the big fight scene at the end, but I haven't brought myself to finish reading the book either. It's a very different book--present tense is generally not my thing at all, but I have to say Kadrey handles it pretty well. The MC is delightfully screwed up and full of general badass-ness and he's got enough backstory to make you root for him.

Argh, I can't even string together a coherent blog post tonight. I guess I better get back to my assignments I need to get done before tomorrow. Hopefully next time my ramblings will make a little more sense...

Dawnbreaker Review

I don't normally do reviews, but having just finished a book and having free time on my hands, I figure I'd give my thoughts...

I just read Dawnbreaker by Jocelynn Drake and it certainly entertained. There's something to be said for Danaus. To be honest, I think I almost like hearing about the part-bori/part-human more than Mira herself. The mystery that's integral to his character remains fascinating to me, probably because it's fascinating to our narrator.

Ms. Drake gave Mira enough strengths and enough weaknesses to make her a believable MC. However, there were a couple moments in this book (as in Dayhunter which I just read this past week as well) that I wanted to scream at her. I mean, Mira has control over fire, people! After 600+ years, I'd think that using her fire is second-nature to her... which I believe it says something like that in the book itself. If that's the case, then why, on several occasions did she wait until either she or one of her compatriots are injured to burn those naturi to a crisp? I just don't get it.

Of course, I realize, that for certain plot points/scenes to work, then certain things have to escape our heroine's notice. And maybe that's the reason behind it, but as a reader it's a tad frustrating. And at the end... well, I don't want to give away the end, but Mira has it within her power to end this whole drama, but she doesn't. In the epilogue, she laments the choice, which, yeah. I would too. And if "this whole drama" were to have ended, then there wouldn't be another book now would there?

I can see that the next books in this series have plenty of room for some great plots and I'm excited to see that. It took me a couple books to get into this series, but I think Danaus has finally captured my heart. I think it's the brooding, dark-haired, blue-eyed thing he's got goin' on. :)

One thing that I do think Jocelynn has done very well is balancing Danaus and Mira's relationship with one another. On every page I can feel the tremulousness of their alliance. But at the same time, I can tell by her thoughts (and his actions) that when it finally does come time for them to have a showdown that things won't be as easy as both of them constantly joke about. I am SO looking forward to that. And the romance-reader in me wants to see them both get some action!

I've noticed that Ms. Drake's books (at least the most current two, I haven't read Nightwalker in a while) have a rather different kind of pacing from what I'm used to reading. In the Dark Days series, Dayhunter and Dawnbreaker center around an event that will be happening. Because said event is mentioned so much throughout the book, I feel almost like, "Okay, are we there yet?"

By reminding the reader so constantly of the timeline, I find myself impatient. It feels like every event that happens in the book is getting in the way of the climax instead of leading up to it. It's not bad, per se. It's just... different. And the climax happens at the very end (I mean like VERY end) of the book. There's perhaps ten pages after the big showdown and I just don't get enough closure for that. Granted, that is probably what works for Mira's story, but I'm just not used to it.

Overall, I really did enjoy this book. Plenty of action and I can't wait to read more about our enigmatic Danaus (and Mira, of course).

The Dark Days series by Jocelynn Drake:

Freedom, Frustration, and Fun

How do you like that alliteration, hm?

As you can tell by the title (or maybe not) I've been busy. I finished my last didactic (aka classroom/lecture) quarter of pharmacy school on Tuesday. I passed all my classes and actually I avoided C's this quarter! Bam said the lady! However, on Monday I will start my first rotation at a local Target pharmacy. It'll be great experience to learn my counseling points for the drugs I'm not totally comfortable with yet. However, I might not be getting home 'til 8:30 M, T, W, F. I think my preceptor wants me to work 4-10's with her since she has Thursdays off. *sigh* But then, it's only for six weeks. I can live, right? ;-)

And onto writerly things: I've spent the better part of the past two days writing up a chapter play-by-play document for Untold Secrets. Let me just tell you... ARGH! As I was lamenting to my wonderful CP, Cari, there is just so much that as I was reading through the MS all I could think was, "This is complete crap." Or, "This is SO not necessary". Or, "Where the Hell are all these adverbs coming from?!"

I never noticed adverbs (whether in narration or dialogue tags) until Cari brought it to my attention. And now I see them everywhere. In my writing, in published works, or in MSs I'm helping to edit. Some of 'em I leave b/c they're what I needed, but seeing the empty adverbs are the worst. And boy did I have a lot of them.

Regardless, my reason for doing this play-by-play is to visualize my story via post-it/whiteboard!!! That's right! I got that aforementioned whiteboard and it's now hanging on my wall. Tadaaaa!Yes, I blurred everything out again, though you can probably make out the name Isaac. And yes, it's upside down. I put on the pen-holder thingy upside down just to see if it would go on and lo and behold, it wouldn't come off. So I've gotta rearrange, but that's all for the best since Untold Secrets will be going on there now instead of its sequel, which is up there at the moment.

Anyway, writing out all the scenes via the play-by-play onto post-its will help me visualize the book. More importantly, it will hopefully help me see what can come out. B/c at 138K, US is just WAAAAY too big. I'm aiming to get it down to 115K and that's on the high side for a first Urban Fantasy novel. Still, that's 23K to whittle down. However, based on this brief skimming I've done, I'm going to have a lot to switch up and remove so I just might actually make this a workable novel soon. Which would be ideal since I told myself I will start querying once I graduate in June.

Nevertheless, I still like working with these characters and I love em too much to just chuck the whole MS. Plus, it's proof that I've grown as a writer since I started writing/developing US two years ago. So that's where the "fun" part of the title comes in. Writing is still (and I hope will always be) fun for me and that's all I can ask for. :)

Update and Plotting Goodness

It has occurred to me multiple times these past weeks that I have neglected my blog posts. My poor blog. :( At least I have the excuse of having been insanely busy these past couple weeks. September is the only month that all three pharmacy classes will be on campus at once (my class being the one leaving to go out on our final rotations a week from Monday). So there was all these events that had to happen and the handing over of the reins (I'm outgoing president of one of the professional organizations).

This past weekend I hung out with one of my friends from undergrad, attended APhA's end of the year banquet, got my hair done (and a massage. woot!), worked, went to an induction ceremony, then hung out with friends from work at Dave & Busters. I know what you're thinking... that doesn't sound like me. Trust me, I was exhausted on Sunday. I stayed home all day catching up on Tivo and giving my poor cat some attention. Oh... and also... I brainstormed/plotted.

My method is Rachel Vincent-inspired. She did a post on her blog a week or so ago showing her whiteboard method. As I didn't have a whiteboard this is what I came up with:
Yeah, I blurred it out since, surprisingly, my camera was able to capture enough to make it semi-readable. Not that my gibberish would mean anything to anyone but me. But nevertheless... you may have noticed that it's a cutting mat. For crafting. However, I've since come to realize the drawback of the surface... you can't write on it. And those red notes over to the right? That's what I would have liked to have written on a whiteboard, but wasn't able to b/c, of course, it wasn't a whiteboard.

I'm hoping to rectify the situation tomorrow by making a trip to OfficeMax. Yes, a 2'x3' whiteboard is a semi-investment ($45!) but I think in the end it'll be worth it. :)
Now, my post-its (thank you Rachel for the SuperSticky suggestion!) may look a little haphazard, but I will explain a little... The green and orange are for secondary characters that I want to see worked in. The purple is the main plot. The teal is the MC's inner struggle. And like Rachel, I've found that I work up-down, left-right instead of left to right. It just seems more logical when post-its are involved.

The pink ones are miscellaneous scenes that I'm not sure (as of yet) where they fit in the big scheme of things in terms of conflict. And the board isn't even finished yet. It did help me, however, in organizing some things in ways that my mind wasn't working before. So yay for inspiration...

The problem is I think I have to re-read and re-plot all of US, given its mammoth length. Therefore, some of those scenes may have to be used in this one I'm plotting on the board. *sigh*

One more thing before this mammoth entry comes to a close: the new Three Days Grace album was released today and next Tuesday is Breaking Benjamin's new album. They posted the song clips on the amazon page for it and I can't freaking wait. Both of those bands give me such great inspiration and writing material to work with. Their sort of my muses sometimes. :)

Anyway, hopefully I'll be able to keep up a little bit more with blog entries in the coming weeks.

Cover Machine

I am a cover-making machine lately. Okay, I've only made 3 or 4, but they're addicting! Made some for me and one for my wonderful cousin. Just having a cover for a book makes me want to write more. "I must have awesome writing to go with this awesome cover!" I know these covers will never see the light of day, but nevertheless they are fun! I'd post them here, but I used deviantart pics that weren't stock and I haven't gotten permission to post them. Oh, except for the one I did for my cousin. That main one was stock. But I don't have my dear cousin's permission to post it. Let's just say that they kick ass. ;-) Ooh! Ooh! Wait, this one is stock too! I can show you! :D

And before I hear anything about how I'm wasting time doing these that I could spend ya know, actually writing... I will say that in doing one of these I was forced to think of a title. And it's a title that I'm actually totally happy with!! So it got some creative juices flowing and I got to find another creative outlet for my brain. :)


I wrote 1K today! *happy dance* The only problem is that the scene I wrote is something that took place ten years prior to the book. lol How's that for irony? I finally manage to write something and it's not even anything I can get real wordcount points for. *sigh* But regardless, I think that writing this scene is helping me work out some kinks in my MC for WIP#3.

She had a very earth-shattering event happen to her ten years ago and it's helping me get a handle on her psyche to get it all written out. It's one thing to say, "When she was eighteen years old, such and such happened. Blah blah blah." It's another thing to actually write it out and discover firsthand (okay, first person) the details of what happened. I learn who my MC was back then and how much of a contrast that is to who she is now.

Oh, and the songs that were on repeat during the writing of this?

Olafur Arnalds: 1440 and Raein

I think you can listen to Raein here. Click on Day 2 to listen to it. And you can even download it! I sure did! ;-) It even gives you directions on how to. And the low-res version sure sounds good enough for me. I guess my ears aren't discerning enough.

Anyway, Raein is an incredibly beautiful, incredibly sad song IMO and thus, perfectly suited for this scene. Well, I just had to post my success, what little there is to be had for today. I don't get to update a word count meter, but oh well. I'll take what I can get I guess. :)

*edit* Strike that, 1800 words not a mere 1000. Bam, said the lady (yes, that is Nathan Fillion verbage there)!

Procrastination and holding out on the reader

It's been entirely too long since I've actually posted a "real" blog. That goes for any progress in writing or really, anything of interest. I mean, the cat .gif and video are perfectly entertaining and still make me laugh every time... but the blog has been sparse as of late. I wish I could say it's been because I've been hard at work on school matters or at least getting some writing done. Such is not the case. :( I will give myself forty lashes for that, don't worry. While I could ramble on for a long time about how frustrated I am with 3 WIPs, I actually HAVE something in particular to talk about today...

I just finished Robert Ludlum's The Matarese Circle a couple nights ago (freaking finally!) and I noticed something that happens every once in a while in books. It's a device that always gets on my nerves as a reader... but not necessarily in a bad way. The device? Say the MC has some dialogue with someone who's finally bringing the plot threads and story together. It's a book-making moment. The identity of the villain is revealed. The place a hostage was taken. Something vitally important. And what does the author do? In Ludlum's case (I'm paraphrasing here). "Bray asked the identity of the man in the picture." / "She told him."

My reaction to these devices? Every single time, without fail: "WTF?!?!?! TELL ME!!!! I don't care if she told him. I'm the one that needs to know here! Hello! Faithfully been reading for like 500 pages!"

See, my problem is I'm pretty historically inaccurate at guessing the secret in any story. CSI? I think I've guessed right maybe 2 episodes out of hundreds. My track record with books isn't much better. Now, in The Matarese Circle's case I actually knew who was in the picture. But he'd done the same thing before in the book.

The thing is, this is a very valid plot device... one that never occurs to me when I'm writing. I'd keep typing on thinking, "Well, golly gee, I wish there was a way for my MC to know this piece of information, but then the audience will know too!"

I guess my question is this: If you write, have you ever thought of incorporating (or actually done it) this "holding out on the reader" thing. Or, if you read, what's your reaction to this type of thing? Does it make you frustrated? Or do you like it?

Oh, and do you know of any real name for this? It's not a cliffhanger. It's not misdirection. It's just... not telling. Anywho... I guess I should get back to studying now, though my motivation to do so is pitifully low. *trudges off*

The muse has released me... I think

I've never been in quite a situation like this. Three completely separate works-in-progress. I think my muse has finally realized that. She had a chokehold on my creativity for the past several weeks, demanding I figure out the main plot of WIP#3. I sort of did. Not all of the details, but I got more figured out than I had known before.

The problem was, the narrative wasn't writing itself. Nowhere near as well as Angie's voice in WIP#2 (aka Reaper). So is it destined to be written third person? Who knows. I'll take that as it comes. What's interesting to me now is that Alex's world is starting to come back to me, likely thanks to BBC's Being Human. Filled with beautiful accents that I adore and a tortured vampire that could beat Edward's ass any day. And in his character, I saw a little bit of Kade. I'd forgotten how much I missed writing him! Ever since I finished the VERY rough draft of Untitled 1, I've been pretty much removed from their world. I'd written about 7.5K in Untitled 2 of Alex's world, making that story WIP#1.

Confused? Let me recap:
- WIP#1 is Alex's world complete with murder, intrigue, vampires and werewolves.
- WIP#2 is Angie's world complete with angels, demons, rogues, and a battle over Sin City
- WIP #3 is Sam's world complete with a chaos-wielding assassin, deception, and a high school sweetheart who thought Sam died ten years ago when she went missing...

The problem is, all three of these things are immensely interesting to me and I want to write all of them. Could I be one of those people capable of writing multiple stories at once? Do I have writing ADD? Who knows. Maybe this is the solution... rotating between WIPs. Regardless, I'm taking advantage of the reprieve the muse has alotted me. If she'll let me work on Alex and crew, then what am I waiting for, hm? Off to see what writing I can get done today. And studying. Argh.

And yes, I have tweaked this template. Made it a little more colorful. Played with fonts, etc. Would help if I knew more html, but I'm happy with what I have so far. :)

Random kitty laughs

Okay, I just had to post this. I haunt daily, but I Stumbled onto this .gif and couldn't help but post this. It just needs to be seen.

This poor cat. Wait 'til the end... It's the horrible comedy of it. I can't stop laughing.

funny animated gif

Almost as bad as when I first saw this:

It's absolutely horrible to laugh at, but I just can't stop. I think I watched it about 20 times in a row the first time I saw it. I love my cat and would never want her to fall like that, but... well, it is what it is.

My lost week...

How is it time for class again already?! This was my last week off until next June for heaven's sake! I was supposed to be able to cherish it. *sigh* Oh well. Can't make time go backward or anything. However, I did have a fantastic massage this morning. That helped make the blow a little less painful, I guess.

There is really no point to this blog entry as I have done nothing productive on the SNI/assassin project front. Well, in terms of word count. I have done plenty of brainstorming and thinking and napping about it. Yes, I nap when I plot. My creative mind seems to work better when I'm only partially awake. :-) That probably says something about me being a control freak or something, but I promise I'm not. Not much, anyway.

I'm running ideas for said SNI past my beloved cousin and my close friend to see if they can poke some holes in whatever I've come up with. But it's really me I need to be relying on to come up with the serious stuff. After all, I'm the one who's going to be spending hours writing this thing. *sigh* I've come to the conclusion that I can sub-plot like nobody's business, but when it comes to the main conflict I'm basically crap at it until the muse decides to take pity on me and throw me a bone. I've yet to receive said bone so I'll keep trudging on, through school and through plotting. Yes, while complaining I actually managed to NOT say, "Woe is me." ;-) Hopefully the next post will report slightly better results and spirits.

Not another SNI?!

So remember that little gem of an idea that the muse forced me to write a month or so back? Yeah. It's back. With a vengeance. The muse is holding me hostage again regardless of how much I want to focus on my dear Angie and all the dilemmas I plan to throw at her. But dammit, this new one is so interesting. Did you hear that whine? Yeah. I did too. I'm in a whiny mood.

Don't get me wrong. I'm glad for the ideas and I really do like it. A lot. I've wanted to write about an assassin for a while now (just ask Cari). And the supernatural part to it is really cool. Since I wasn't sure if there would be a supernatural part to it when I wrote that initial 800 word scene, I got all giddy when I figured out what it was. And IMO it's cool. To my knowledge I haven't read of an MC with quite this set of skills. I still need to settle on a name, though.

Ya know what? Even though not many people read this, why don't we have a vote? :) Leave a comment letting me know which name you think flows best...

- Samantha (Sam) Cooper
- Samantha (Sam) Larson
- Valeri (Val) Sanderson

... okay I totally can't think of the last name "Cooper" without thinking of David Tennant and Catherine Tate's sketch. The way David Tennant says it is just so... *sigh* Scottish. How I love him. ;-) Okay enough of my Doctor Who fangirl-ness

I'm leaning toward Sam but dunno which surname sounds better. Or if you have a better one, I'm open to suggestions. :) I may not be able to go with Cooper simply because I will always hear David Tennant say it and then I'll get all giddy. If you have no clue to what I am referring to, check this out. If you get British humor and/or have ever watched Doctor Who/The Catherine Tate Show you should find it entertaining. And yes, I have watched it so many times I can quote the entire thing.

And with that, I'm afraid I've gotta run. Benadryl hitting and all that jazz. Why do I always blog when I'm getting too tired to think coherently?

What a week(end)

Holy cow... I have done so many things in the past five days I'm amazed I'm still alive. Granted, all of the sleeping (both scheduled and random naps) seem to have made it all possible. Unfortunately, I haven't made any word count headway, but I feel the need to update anyone who happens to read this thing as to what I've been up to the past week.

Wednesday after class I drove up to Prescott Valley with my friend and coworker to see the 3 Doors Down concert. I really only went for Safetysuit. Don't get me wrong, 3DD is pretty cool, but I haven't really been searching out their music for a while. Though they did play Duck and Run, which is my favorite song of theirs. So props to 3DD. Safetysuit was, as I expected, freaking FANTASTIC! What was even better was that they stayed after the show at the merch table to sign things/take pictures/talk. We left the 3DD act a little early to intercept Safetysuit before the throng hit. I actually got a minute or so to talk to the bassist and lead guitarist. Man, they're such sweethearts! And very easy on the eyes too. Poor Doug, the lead singer. He got MOBBED. His solution to signing and taking pictures was to turn around in a circle since he was literally surrounded on all sides. But anyway, I was so excited to get to meet everyone, including the WAY attractive drummer, Tate. Greatest birthday present this year!

So I didn't get to sleep 'til around 1, had to get up at 7:30 for an appointment and class. Then guess what I did when I got home from class?! That's right. I took a two hour nap. On my 22nd birthday. Who's the social butterfly? Yeah, that's right. ;-) My brother joined us for dinner that night and we had chicken parmesan and my favorite cake.

As for birthday presents, I got chocolate from my parents and Jamie. And I got B&N/Borders gift cards from my parents and Kelly. Apparently my preference for chocolate and books is well known or something. ;-)

I went shopping on Friday (which I never do... I swear, I hadn't been in the mall in months) with my mom and found a few things. Nothing jackpot worthy, but hey it's something. Promptly fell asleep (again) when I got home before heading over to J&J's so I'd have a DD. Then Friday evening I celebrated my birthday with my friends and BJ's for dinner. I had two drinks and a shot on an empty stomach. Didn't get sick, but I unfortunately didn't get to enjoy my pizzookie. *haz a sad* On the bright side, I had no hangover whatsoever Saturday morning which was great seeing as I had to work. The wonders of water and ibuprofen.

After I got off work I took *gasp* yet another nap before picking up Kelly and going over to J&J's 4th of July celebration. It was more drunk drama than I cared for and since I didn't get any more than a little buzzed, I found myself only mildly entertained and home by 11. But there was great food. And I got home without getting run over by a drunk person so hey! There we go!

And I spent all of today "trying" to "study" for my cumulative final for Integrated tomorrow. I interspersed it with watching TV and *double gasp* more napping! I swear, I feel like an old person... or a very young person. Is that really what a couple lost hours of sleep on Wednesday night does to me? Or is it still the atenolol? Can't quite tell.

Regardless, anyone reading this is now caught up on my goings on for the past week. Hopefully I can get back into the writing swing of things this coming week once my finals are all done with. Took a few notes here and there in my notebook, but nothing made it into a Word file. *sigh* Maybe I'll try to get some word count in before the benadryl hits. Cheers.

And since I promised my CP that I'd post pictures of my concert adventure, here are a few. :)

Here is myself with the super-sweet Dave (guitar)

Here's me and my wonderful friend with Doug, the lead singer.

And here's me with Jeremy and Tate, the bassist, and drummer respectively. I think this picture is just too full of amazingness for words. Oh man.

No wordcount, BUT

So I'm about to head off to sleep tonight, however, I thought I'd enlighten (or vaguely hint at) whoever happens to read my humble blog...

I saw Transformers this afternoon with my brother. Got to see brother, cool. Got to see Transformers, *drool*. Sorry, it's just this natural reaction I have to seeing Shia LaBeouf. I dunno what it is about that guy, but man. I have a major celeb crush on him. So that was fantastic! Plus, the movie was pretty decent. Those two and a half hours went by REALLY fast. Seriously. I don't think I've ever sat through a movie that long and not thought "Gee, this is long" once. Not once! But nothing of the sort crossed my mind. Probably because I had to stop myself so often from professing my undying love for Shia. Haha, no worries. I kid, I kid. But anyway, great movie.

But what I was actually trying to write about was the fact that I dawdled most of the evening away watching Mythbusters and various things I had on Tivo, knowing full well I should be writing/plotting. So at 9, I finally turned off the TV and sat down with my handy dandy new notebook and got to plotting. I think I wrote all of six lines in that thing (longhand=too much effort). However, I got quite a few plot points figured out. I'm sure, if you've been keeping up with the Reaper project that you've heard me mention working out multiple plot points. How many could she possibly have, you ask? Tons. And there are still tons of things I don't know yet. However, I now know why my villain is targeting my MC. I know when (approx) she'll be betrayed. I still have a lot of gray area in between, but I'm happy having worked through some things tonight. Woot. :) So yeah, no "progress" in the wordcount sense, but still progress nonetheless, hm? Anyway, I'm out. Trying to beat the Benadryl to sleep tonight.

Another good day

... of writing, that is. Well, and it was a good day in general, too. I got to sleep in since I didn't have class til 1 (yay). I didn't actually expect to get in this much writing tonight, but I did. Oh, and I critiqued a short story and two chapters from two different CPs of mine (I now have three. Yay for other eyes to help my writing!). So I actually feel pretty accomplished for the day. I wish I have something of intellectual use to put in the blog for this evening, but that doesn't appear to be the case. Since not many read this anyway, I'm guessing it's not being read for its academic or deep-thinking value. ;-)

The chapter breaks are still proving to be an issue for Reaper, unfortunately. I got the first two for sure. Then the third one, the chapter is only approx 2K words. Which is mighty short. I usually aim for at least 3K. Not that there's a rule, but I'd like to have some sort of consistency. :-/ Perhaps my dear CP Cari can provide some insight. She's always great at chapter endings. *sigh* But since those chapter breaks are earlier, I can't decide where to put the next ones. I know I'm in chapter 5, but I don't know how far in I am. Argh. Enough of me complaining, huh? :)

Listening to Parachute, in preparation for the concert I'm going to on July 1st! The headlining band is Three Doors Down, but I'm going for SafetySuit *happy sigh*. I never thought they'd come to AZ, but they are. Anyway, Parachute it playing too. So it should be a good night. And a great pre-birthday present. I'll probably get back to Phoenix once the clock has rolled over to my birthday. And that Thursday is also the last day of classes for the quarter!!! Woot! :D

Current Project: Reaper
New Words: 1,600
Total Words: 15,900
Word Goal: 100,000

15900 / 100000 words. 16% done!


Yeah, I'm in a relaxed mood tonight. Therefore reaching for the relaxing/slow/mellow music. Iris by The Goo Goo Dolls sets the mood nicely. And as I could not think of a witty title (or any at all, really), it serves nicely. The Benadryl has hit faaaaaast tonight. Hence, my retreat to the wonderfulness that it my bed... The best part? I don't have class 'til 1:10 tomorrow! Woot squared!

I did manage to do some writing tonight. Whether it's all crap remains to be seen, but hey wordcount is wordcount right? At least until I start editing, hm? Yeah, I thought so. ;-)

Project: Reaper
New Words: 1,050
Total Words: 14,300
Word Goal: 100,000

14300 / 100000 words. 14% done!

Thank you Write or Die

Currently listening to: Jimmy Eat World - Cautioners (a freaking awesome some from the best band in the world)

So, here I am. Two posts in one night. How proud I am... not particularly... But I did get some writing in thanks to some help from Write or Die. Really helps me focus. Although it's not so great when my cat is sitting here demanding my attention... the pause button only works once. Gar. But it's a good thing in the end. Trying to work out some chapter breaks (frustrating), but I got some word count in there so yay for that...

Project: Reaper
New Words: 1,130
Total Words: 13,250
Word Goal: 100,000

13250 / 100000 words. 13% done!

Trying to be a good blogger...

Okay, so this is going to be a short post. A) because I'm going to sit myself down and write... okay, that is my one and only reason.

I just read Magic to the Bone by Devon Monk and man, was it good! Good, I tell you! I'd do a review or something, but I can't even write decent synopses for my own books. ;-) Just started it this morning and finished it this evening. Couldn't stop reading it. I kept telling myself I'd stop after the next chapter to write some stuff of my own. Lo and behold, I got to the end of the book. And in a fit of book-reading insanity I reached for the next book (Magic in the Blood). I got two pages in and then cursed at myself. Where is my discipline?! Oh wait, I have none. Haha. Whoops.

So anyway, this is an attempt to make me focus on my own writing. I tried to last night when I got back from dinner and errands with my parents, but apparently work and The Week From Hell (TM) caught up with me. I fell asleep plotting. Of course, the fact that I was laying in bed probably didn't help matters. But anyway, I tried. And I think I was getting somewhere. But after I woke up it was all I could do to get ready for bed and then fall back to sleep. So this is me attempting to write some of my own. Oh, and on the plus side I got a nice new notebook to do my plotting in!! Woot! And it's a size I can slip in my backpack! Even more woot! Okay, off I go. Enough delaying...

Progress and 4-day weekends (aka Woot!)

After my exam on Tuesday (which took a grand total of twenty minutes-ish) I had over an hour and a half with which to do whatever I wanted. So what did I do? I "locked" myself in a spare empty room on campus and took out my trusty pen and paper. And I got some stuff worked out for Reaper... proof to me that I can make progress if I actually sit my ass down and WORK on it. Thus, the increased wordcount bar at the bottom of this post. It seems that spitting out that scene I mentioned earlier this week was enough to shake the muse loose from her chokehold. Now, since I have all this weekend to do nothing with (except to crit a chapter or two for my CP), I should take a hint and use it to work on the plot and development of Reaper.

I had today off from class which was nice so the only thing I had was work. No crazies at the pharmacy today. Nice pleasant people for the most part which is always preferable, of course. And after work I hit up Borders and bought four more books (I already have a TBR pile that's 5+ books tall) so this doesn't help matters much, but it makes me happy. And since I'm working now, money I spend isn't loan money per se. Which is always good. Interest makes me sad. Especially at Midwestern's tuition costs... *shudder*

I found a great song for Angie (the MC of Reaper). I'm not a fan of any of their other songs, but this one works for her and her situation... Kings of Leon - Use Somebody.

Anyway, here's to hoping I can have a productive weekend writing-wise (and cleaning wise, my room is a freaking mess!) I know the 1K this week isn't much to whoop about, but hey it's something right? I figure I'm lucky to get anything done while I'm in school, hm? But maybe that's just taking the easy/undisciplined way out...

Project: Reaper
New Words: 1,146
Total Words: 12,120
Word Goal: 100,000

12120 / 100000 words. 12% done!


Richelle Mead is over at today answering questions and just overall, being her awesome self. If you haven't read those books and you enjoy things a la Jeaniene Frost, Patricia Briggs, Vicki Pettersson, Kim Harrison, etc... you will love her. So anyway, head on over and enter for a chance to win a full set of her Georgina Kincaid series (books 1-4 since that's all that's currently released). Seriously? Seriously. Now get over there...

Held hostage by the muse...

The past week (okay, two) the words have refused to flow. Sure, I can blame it on school and studying and social events. But really, I've watched a lot of TV lately when I sometimes tend to go 3+ weeks without turning the darn thing on. And why did I choose TV over writing? Because the words wouldn't come. And the words can't come when I turn on the TV. You see? It's a vicious cycle.

So tonight I sat down, determined to break said cycle. And you know what happened? The words I wanted didn't come. However, other words did. A scene that has nothing to do with either Book 2 or Reaper. That's right, another now-WIP that has apparently captivated the muse. However, I'm hoping that since I got that scene out of my head, that the muse will agree to work on what I want to work on. Which is Reaper. Because, I mean, sure, words come, but without the muse, they're just crap. I have to fight to get every word on the page. And who wants to do that?

Anyway, I gave into her demands. Maybe this week will uncover some more mysteries about Angie and the world she lives in. One can hope. So, if you write, have you ever had such a hostage experience? I certainly hadn't until now.

*Insert Witty Title Here*

Oh dear... today was a lot longer day at work than I wanted it to be. I was supposed to get off at 2, but 2 o'clock got there and we had about a 2-hour wait time for new scripts. So yeah... I didn't leave 'til quarter after 5. I mean, great money and such, but argh, my feet hurt. And I didn't really get to write a whole lot. All of the new words were from yesterday, only not all of them got converted from longhand to digital until today. Numbers wise, it looks more impressive than it feels. I need to get the plot moving along. Until that happens, everything feels like fluff. So who knows if much of what was written yesterday will stay.

I feel like I have more to say, but nothing's coming to me. I'm working on critting some great stuff from both my wonderful CP and my wonderful cousin. I've got a bunch of stuff I have to do for school and technically I should have studied today for our Tuesday exam. However, I've gotten an 82% and 84% (somehow!!) on the two tests we've had so far. I'm not quite sure how that happened as I was expecting a failing score on that second one. Seriously. We had to know drugs/dosing for so many infections it had my head spinning. I think going with "Levofloxacin 750mg QD" saved my ass on like 5 questions, I'm guessing. lol Anywho, peace out my people.

Project: Reaper
New Words: 1,702
Total Words: 10,974
Word Goal: 100,000

10974 / 100000 words. 11% done!

Damn you, thesaurus!

Argh! I'm so frustrated! I'm re-writing a scene (that I now absolutely LOVE), but I can't think of a word!! It's a synonym for doorway. I want to say it starts with an s, but I'm not sure. I checked, but to no avail. What you'd describe when people used to say to stand in a doorway during an earthquake. A google search of that also proved fruitless. I'm trying to avoid use of the word "door" as it's used in the sentence preceding it. The sentence goes, "... the angry manager that stood in the ______." Why can't I think of this word?! It's totally there, I just can't find it! Grrr! Argh!!!

Hoping for anyone good with words (or in my case, one particular word) to help. I've done some editing, but haven't done enough writing to justify another word count bar update... Well, I have, but I'll feel like I accomplished more once I actually write more and I get to go from 9,272 to whatever I end up at. ;-) Yeah, I cheat.


Nine Hours Later

I meant to past this last night as I was heading to bed. However, the Benadryl hit me WAY fast and by the time it occurred to me, "Gee, I ought to get my blog post in for today" I was nearly doing a *headdesk* not of my own volition. And so, I am posting it today when I am now bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Well, the former part of that saying anyway. I don't have a tail that I know of. :)

So yesterday... I believe I am getting to the part where I need to sit down and write some sort of outline for Reaper. I need to know where it's going. I mean, I know the beginning (which is pretty much all written) and I know approximately how it will end. However, the Dreaded Middle awaits. I am so not looking forward to that.

Somehow I plowed through it in Alex's first book, but I'm not quite sure how I did that. Perhaps because SO MUCH was happening in that book that I always had something to write about. I'm thinking I need to do some more character interviews (aka, me talking to imaginary characters in my own head). I did a long one with the MC, and figured out a lot about her world and her opinions of it. I think I need an interview with the male lead and the villain as well.

I guess I'll be off to do that today. However, I have a presentation for my Pharmacology class to put together. And I have to answer a bunch of questions about the article I read for it. Here's hoping it goes quickly, hm? Then I can get back to the fun stuff.

OH! And I spent the latter part of yesterday evening catching up on the second season of Chuck! God bless! Oh dear, I'd forgotten how much I love that show and how much I love Zach Levi (Chuck). He's super attractive in a very endearingly nerdy way. *sigh* I mean, give me Alexandre Verga any day, but Zach's pretty up there, too. :)

Project: Reaper
New Words: 1,960
Total Words: 9,272
Word Goal: 100,000

9272 / 100000 words. 9% done!

Reading and Writing = Great Saturday

Yes, I had to work this morning/afternoon, but it went quickly enough and I'm kind of getting used to our new computer system in the pharmacy. I'm still uncertain about a lot of things, but it's not quite as bad as it COULD be. :-) I would rant here about an incredibly rude patient, but my professors would remind me that would be "unprofessional" of me.

Anywho, after work, I went to Borders to utilize my 40% off coupon. Unfortunately, they didn't get their shipment of Succubus Heat yet so I couldn't use it on that (a trade paperback). Boooooo. However, I got Cry Mercy (a MMPB) instead, by Toni Andrews. I managed to read the whole thing between 3 o'clock this afternoon and... 9-ish? So it was a relatively quick read. But definitely a worthy addition to the Mercy Hollings series. Tino really grew on me as a character in this book. I admit, though, I wanted to see a lot more of Sam in this than we actually got, but there's always hope for the next installment, hm? We got some tantalizing bits about Mercy's heritage, too. I'm guessing that will be an integral part of book 4, whenever that one comes out.

And after that, I finally felt renewed enough to write. And write, I have. Geez. I guess a lot of writing has been building up in me this week since I didn't get a chance. At all. All week! It was torture. I got through my plotlessness, thankfully. But no real writing during the week. So anywho... the Benadryl's kicking in now so I better post my word count before I fall asleep and do an unconscious *headdesk*.

Project: Reaper
New Words: 2,784 (hoorah!)
Total Words: 7,312
Word Goal: 100,000

7312 / 100000 words. 7% done!

The Muse ComesThrough!

So... the wonderful Jeaniene Frost posted a teaser for her book First Drop of Crimson on her livejournal... with Spade as the MC (tho it's third person). And OH MAN! I wasn't sure if I'd go for it, but based on that teaser, I'm totally freaking sold! Better yet, she gave a song suggestion that I happened to have on my iTunes but hadn't listened to much... and guess what, apparently the Muse enjoyed it because she started forming a scene for me! And I'm so excited for it!!!

Even better, she knocked loose some cobwebs in my brain and found some dots to connect that I somehow didn't see. Apparently she deigned to handfeed me the pieces one by one. ;-) Such a fickle creature she is. I guess time is all she needed, however insistent I was about it. There must be something to this writing longhand business... Slower, yes, but no email/twitter distractions (btw, my twitter is ashleynewcomb). It helps me actually focus on one coherent thought at a time.

Oh, and I called my local Borders and they are notifying me as soon as they get Succubus Heat. Since it's a soft drop, they can sell it prior to the 26th!! Woot woot! I so hope it gets here this weekend? Perhaps? Pretty please? Anywho, no word count tonight, but I'm going to finish seeing if I can draw anymore from the Muse. I've bribed her with brownies and ice cream... Pretty sufficient bribe, yes? I thought so too. ;-)

Listening to: The Fray - Say When

The Smoking Gun

I'm still searching for that elusive smoking gun. Doesn't matter how much ammo I've got, I can't start shootin' without the gun. Dammit. :-( Perhaps some longhand brainstorming is in order... That seems to help lately. I partially studied for the exams for tomorrow... They should be easy regardless. If not, then we'll see. ;-) I find Reaper immensely more interesting than Complementary/Alternative Medicine and Pharmacoeconomics.

Listening to Next to Nothing by Breaking Benjamin. Yeah, it's time to bring out the old stuff. ;-)


Unfortunately no word count update as there were no new words written. Boooo!

Stubborn Muse!!

So it seems that my writing streak was a fluke. Or maybe today is the fluke? That's the more optimistic way of looking at it, I suppose. Anywho, I'm frustrated because I have all of this backstory (thanks to a long interview with the new MC for Reaper) however my muse refused to tell me the main plot line. I have the subplot from yesterday, but it's not strong enough to carry the whole book. Plus, it might be something that wouldn't even be revealed 'til the second book (if it ever makes it to that point) ;-)

So. That leaves me with a lot of great ammunition, but no gun to shoot with. Damn. And I've got me some nice .38 specials too!!! (man, I want to go shooting again... all this talk of ammunition) Argh! Here muse-y muse-y muse-y! I've got some nice Dove chocolate for you! Maybe some sleep will do me good, huh? Anyone have tricks for making the muse play along? I think she figures that since she gave me everything else about the Shiny New Idea, that I should do the legwork on the plot. I might have to break out the threats if she doesn't offer me some good plot soon...

Project: Reaper
Words Today: 925 (so close... ah well)
Total Words: 4,528
Word Goal: 100,000

4528 / 100000 words. 5% done!

Reaper Update and the Joys of Saturday

I'm SO excited about this project!!! Seriously! It's coming at me so quickly, I'm just struggling to get everything down before my muse refuses to repeat everything back to me. Which makes me really excited, because I don't know that Alex's world ever wrote itself quite this fast.

I wrote over 2K today! Been a while since I've posted that kind of result so it's a nice change. And that was with a four hour shift at work today... And a three hour break when I hung out with a couple work friends to eat pizza and watch Taken (which was friggin awesome, btw). So not bad for a day's work, huh? Anywho, not only did I get the nice bank of words today, I also discovered a plot thread! And I wasn't even looking for it! It just fell into my lap as I was writing. It totally surprised me and I walked around the house with a silly grin on my face for a couple minutes because of it.

Anyway, back to the grind before I fall asleep tonight. Want to get a few more plot devices worked out before sleep. On the downside? I totally neglected working on the presentation I want to get done this weekend. Oh well, I'll hope for tomorrow.

Project: Reaper
Written Today: 2,259
Total Words: 3,603
Word Goal: 100,000

3603 / 100000 words. 4% done!

SNI Progress

Figured that, since I actually got some written text done, I'd update and post a word count. The Shiny New Idea now has a Word folder! Hip hip hooray! And I got back to my 1K/day goal! Whoo hoo! After work tomorrow, I look forward to working on this project some more. The MC is intriguing me, as are the other minors. I don't know that I've even been this excited Untitled 1&2.
It really sucks not having titles so for the purpose of not getting confuzzled, I've got a working title for SNI1 (Shiny New Idea #1). That would be Reaper. So we'll go with that for now. Now I must get back to the file before I waste any more word count on blogging. ;-)


Current Project: Reaper
Written today: 1344
Total words: 1344
Word goal: 100,000

1344 / 100000 words. 1% done!

Shiny New Ideas and a Contest!

No, unfortunately it's not my contest. However, the wonderful author, Jeaniene Frost is doing a contest for an ARC of City of Souls (by Vicki Pettersson). I avidly follow both Jeaniene's and Vicki's series. Totally go check it out and win a chance to win an amazing book! Check it out here:

On another note, I've finally pinned down some details on Shiny New Idea number 1. I think there are two or three others floating around in my brain, but this one's got me excited. I will come back to book 2, but I want to get some more stuff worked out for SNI1 (as I will affectionately call it until a title presents itself). Woot!

1,000 word fail ;-)

But that's okay. I had some studying to do tonight. And technically I was letting my mind consider where to go next for writing. Coming up on the dreaded Middle!!! *dun dun dun* Hence the plotting and confusion and mayhem. Add to that studying the medicinal chemistry of beta lactam antibiotics = one confused Ashley. I'm going to let my mind play with a Shiny New Idea tonight just because I feel like it. So yeah. There.

Project: Book 2 of Alex's world
New words: 288. yeah yeah yeah...
Total words: 7,744
Word Goal:100,000

7744 / 100000 words. 8% done!

I shoulda studied more tonight...

But oh well! At least I got through 1.5 packets... out of 5. Just watched the Castle season finale. Thank God for Tivo. I'll probably brainstorm tonight a bit for what's to come next b/c I get the feeling that the next parts won't write themselves very easily. But who knows. I certainly hope I'm wrong. :) Met the 1,000 word goal again. Not sure what tomorrow'll bring. We'll see.

7456 / 100000 words. 7% done!

A Happy Surprise, or, Procrastination

So I was ecstatic to find the first six chapters of Succubus Heat (the fourth Georgina Kincaid novel by Richelle Mead) posted on! The full thing doesn't come out 'til May 26th, but that was an EXCELLENT pick-me-up for the Monday Blues. If urban fantasy/paranormals are your kinda thing, then READ THAT SERIES! It's friggin fantastic. I don't know that I've ever felt what the MC feels as much as in this series. So anywho, can't wait to get my hands on the real hard copy, but it'll be here soon. Can't wait for the 26th. Also, because Vicki Pettersson's new one comes out, as does Kim Harrison's foray into YA, Once Dead, Twice Shy. That will be a fantastic day. Just wish they could maybe each be a week apart. That way I'd have one of those things to read right now! *sigh*

On another note, I did succeed in the recent 1,000-words-a-day goal I've set with my CP. I've updated the word count meter and I think I worked past this stupid scene that was just so wooden and would NOT write itself. Ugh!! But anyway, hopefully that's over now and I can move on. I'm foreseeing that I'll be unable to do the 1000 words on Thursday. And Wednesday. But we'll just have to see. Anyway, I just realized I'm missing the Castle season finale. Thank God for Tivo.

6402 / 100000 words. 6% done!

Weekend Happenings and Progress

Thanks to the amazing critique of my CP (Hi Cari!), I've found a more fitting beginning to book 1. Thus, about 3K words were cut, bringing the WC down to just under 140K!! Still got a ways to go to shorten that to 115K, but hey, I'll take 3K wherever I can get it. :) Considering that a month ago this mammoth was just under 150K!

I've been kind of stuck on book 2 the latter half of this week because I couldn't figure out which part to put next. And then I realized I needed Kade... and I've since written more than 1300 words today. Hooray. Oh, how I love writing him. Anyway, see the progress bar below. And hopefully working through this kink will help me this coming week...

5327 / 100000 words. 5% done!

Book 2 Progress

I'm tired... Benadryl kicking in...

4037 / 100000 words. 4% done!

Book 2 Progress

Got more written tonight. Didn't intend to, but it actually wrote itself decently well. I guess that's what happens when I get to write dialogue. :)

2789 / 100000 words. 3% done!

Book 2 Progress

Hoping to catalogue the progress of book two on a somewhat regular basis. Here's to hopin.

1654 / 100000 words. 2% done!


Okay, so I just had to post this somewhere because I wanted to share its magnificence with other people. I want surfing deviantart, looking for pics that resemble characters in my book. It's just plain fun. If you write, give it a shot. Mucho fun to be had. Just try to block all the not-relevant stuff from your mind...

Anywho, I stumbled upon this digital drawing and it's absolutely captivating in just about every way possible. What's most striking is her eyes. Terrified, pleading, innocent. I can hardly draw a freaking stick figure so it doesn't take much to one-up me, but MAN! By far the most astounding deviation I've seen on that site. Okay, now that I've drummed up your excitement, tada!

Lamenting the Loss of Spelling, Grammar, and Punctuation

This is one thing that has been bugging me a lot lately... spelling/grammar/punctuation and the lack of it in most people my age. I'm such a freak about it that if you ever get a text from me that has "u" or "2", etc and no punctuation, it's because I didn't want to go over 160 characters. Yes. I'm THAT much of a freak about it. So often I see my classmates and even my friends do that. And it makes me sad. :*( I was reading a letter from a classmate this week and I was appalled that the entire message was filled with 'ur', 'prbly', 'hav', 'togethr' and 'Ovr'. SERIOUSLY?! Does it kill you to put a few more freaking vowels in the words?! Granted, if you're a chicken peck typer who takes one second per letter I can see how it would be time saving. But beyond that, what is the excuse?! I'll use abbreviations like 'pics' and 'prolly' when texting or emailing a friend so I realize there are some things I'm at fault with. And goodness knows I use a LOT of abbreviations for study guides for class. I don't think anyone who's not in pharmacy would be able to make sense of half the stuff in my study guides. But hey, I don't like wasting paper. I'm a freak about that too.

But I just mean in general. It kills me when i get texts that are clearly too short to require Ashley's "time to cut down on characters" rule, but are still filled with words that are a few letters short. Can I make sense of them? Yes. But the fact still remains that it bugs the CRAP out of me. Thank you for listening to my soap box...


Three Months Later

Wow, so I thought I'd be updating this a lot more than every three months? I think maybe it's because if I start writing I know I'll look at the clock and it'll be thirty or forty minutes later before I've stopped. So this will be short and maybe I can keep with just some smaller posts for a while. I am now a WoW player. I know this has elevated me into all sorts of levels of nerd-dom, but oh well. We all knew it. It's just one more step in solidifying my claim. However, I've been trying to balance that with writing... something more productively nerdy. ;-) Granted, getting your lock from 57-61 in one weekend is pretty darn good... plus some leveling of alts.

So yeah, I feel WoW accomplished... and I even wrote some too. Shame I can't actually get anything written in the main file of book one... That will be what entertains my brain from the time benadryl goes down the hatch to the time I go to bed tonight. And tomorrow morning. I'm telling myself I won't get on wow tomorrow before class at one.

So... not that anyone actually reads this thing, but I'm posing a rhetorical question regardless... why can't I freaking decide where to end book one?! It's 140K already! And a detached file that's nearly 9K! I have been so mad at myself the past MONTH (actually i think it's two by now) for not being able to decide where to end it. It's not that possible endings haven't popped into my mind. They have. But I'm so damn indecisive. But I'm telling myself that's a sign. That the fact that I'm indecisive about it means that the right ending hasn't made itself known yet. But at this point I'm getting to the opinion of "write something because if there's nothing on the page there's nothing to edit to make it better". And if I have to scrap stuff, so what? I've had to scrap a lot of stuff before. Does it suck any less? No. But at least I'll have something, right? *sigh* I think you're catching a hint of my inner turmoil over this... And don't even get me started on the fact that I don't have a title yet... >:-/