13,600 / 20,000 (68%)

Samba story
7,926 / 8,000 (99.1%)

S.M. (Book 1)
580 / 10,000 (5.8%)

S.M. (Book 2)
1,010 / 10,000 (10%)

4,032 / 10,000 (40.5%)

ASPCA Day is April 10

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Sunday, July 31, 2005

Curled up with a bag of M&M's

I did it. *takes a very deep breath* Yep, I finally did it. I sent out a vampire erotic story to a competition. Just a few minutes ago I pressed that "Submit" button, and my story is on its way to Chippewa Publishing. It feels kind of surreal. *lol* I can't still believe I dared to submit it. My Muses are even throwing a party in my honor and all.

All in all, it came to roughly 5,960 words. Just a little under their maximum of words. My only regret is that I sent it without having it critique first. But it was impossible to in such a short notice. I did my best to polish it though. Chop here, add there. Make corrections.

So here I am here, muching on a new bag of M&M's. You know, going through the whole "I could have done better" stage. And I honestly think I could have a whole lot better 'coz I don't think I did any justice to the story in almost 6K words. So I'm not expecting any acceptance email. Au contraire, I'm sure the people at Chippewa Publishing can always use it as an example of to others of what not to send them. *lol*

Now, if you all excuse me, I'm off to join my Muses. I heard Adonis brought some wine. Damn, I think I need a drink.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Writing progress - STOP THE MADNESS!

I'm going of the rails like a crazy train.
That's exactly how I feel at this moment. I've been working on the story for the Vamprotica since yesterday. I think I've put out like 15 hours, and I'm not finished yet (I still have to flesh out the last two chapters). Yeah, I know that's a lot of time for a barely 5K story. But you see, yesterday my Muses went off and tried to change the story - AGAIN. They always do this to me - start create insecurities about the story I'm writing and try to get me to start a new story. But not this time! Last night I put my foot down. I'd already changed the story last Friday, so I barely had enough time to scrape a new one. So I told them that I'm sticking to this one. Yep. I'm sending this one no matter what - even if the people at Chippewa Publishing email me back saying, "What a huge piece of shit! And you dared to send us this?"

I just finished writing a short synopsis for it. I'm going to take a little break to recharge my brain batteries (read here, raid the fridge for some M&M's and vanilla ice cream), then I'm coming back to finish polishing those last two chapters.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Writing progress

Okay, since this morning, I've been able to add about 800 words to the new story, which incidentally remains untitled. I hate to write stories to which I have no title for. It drives me crazy. I feel like I'm writing without direction. Anyway, I still haven't reached the 2K-word mark, but I'm (much) closer now as you can see from my progress bar below. Tonight I'm going to work on the edits a bit, and tomorrow I'll finish the whole thing. That is if the Muses decide to cooperate...

Back after a 5-day weekend

Yep. You read that right. 5-day weekend. Monday was a holiday and so was yesterday, so they gave us Tuesday free too. Not bad, uh? Now ask me what I did with all that time. Go ahead. Ask. Okay, I'm going to tell. I did nothing.

Okay, that's partly not true. I did plenty where the new house is concerned. I spent Saturday adding the gravel to the flower bed, cleaning the closets and moping their floor. Then two days painting the closets because they were all dirty. And for the last two days were spent painting the gates and the rails on the porch white. The previous owner thought it cute to paint them light green. Ugh! It didn't match with the house colors - bone white and brown. Yeah, I know those colors are ugly too. Don't worry, I'm changing them. I'm planning to paint the house lima green with a dash of raspeberry red and white. *vbg*

Now, in the writing area, I didn't even touch the computer during these 5 days. I was so looking forward to finish writing the story for the Vamprotica contest, so I could get someone to critique it and have it edited before Saturday. Well, that pretty much went down the drain, didn't it?

Today I'm going to try to rush it in and write as much as I can. I might still have the story done by Sunday, but there's no way I can get someone to critique it in such a freaking short notice. *sighs*

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Ramblings on publisher of my dreams

Yesterday Jordan Summer posted the question about who are our dream publishers on her blog, and I laughed and posted something saying there wasn't a publisher willing to take on my stories. I mean, c'mon... Dream publisher? What's that?

Yet as I read the answers to her post, I realized all aspiring writers (and many epublished one) dream about having their works published by one of the big NY publishers (Pocket, NAL, Avon, Harlequin, etc.). Therefore, they spend their time studying their target publisher, and then aim all their energies and efforts into writing according to their guidelines.

Me? I don't have a dream publisher, it's something that never crossed my mind when I started studying the craft of writing a year ago. Sure, I'd like to see my works published someday. It'd be nice to see one of my pen names in cover, right? I mean, that's the idea of becoming a writer, no? But I never thought I'd have to start thinking more in terms of publishers and what they want out my writing. Am I such an oddity? Or am I too stupid to recognize the rules of the game?

Yeah, I agree, I'm the latter - stupid. Here, see? I write because I like it, when the story bouncing in my head intrigues me, or makes me laugh. I've never written anything thinking with a specific publisher in mind.

Although... come to think about it, that's not entirely true. As I looked at the list of contests in my blog, I recognized that I'm doing exactly that - writing something target to a publisher, regardless of how small it is. Hmm... No wonder I'm having such a hell of time trying to come up with ideas and writing. The idea of gearing my writing towards a specific publisher sucks the fun out of writing big time.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

A sweet surprise

Tonight as I was sitting to read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, my cell phone rang. I didn't recognize the phone number displayed in the ID caller but I answered anyway. It was my high-school best friend. Ohmigosh! What a great surprise!

Last time I saw her was 6 years ago - our first meeting since we'd graduated from high school. I think she phoned me the following year, but I didn't hear from her again. I sent her a Yuletide card last year, hoping to get back in contact with her, but she never answered back so I thought she might have moved.

She told me she'd lost my phone number, and while surfing the web, she'd found my resume online and called the number in it, hoping I'd answer. Gosh, the web makes the world so small. Anyway, we chatted for like 2 hours. We cut it short because it is a weekday and she has to wake up early tomorrow. Still, I was good to hear from her. Now I'm off to read Harry Potter.

It's finally here!

I received my copy of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in the mail today. Yes! I can't wait to get home and sit to read it tonight. *g* Now I can see what everyone's buzzing around. Most of my friends had already bought it and read it. Posts with spoilers are flying all over the boards I'm in, and I'm soooo tempted to check them out. Sheer will held me back, but I didn't know how long I could resist.

Monday, July 18, 2005

How I spent my 3-day weekend

I'd planned to do some writing on a new idea for a (hopefully) short story for the Vamprotica contest during this long weekend. The way I saw it I could pull at least 1K per day easy (after all I did 1,667 words per day during the NaNo Challenge), finish the story by Monday, and send it to my CPs on Tuesday. Well, sometimes even the best layout plans fail. I didn't type a word all weekend.

After the Harry Potter madness on Friday, things just started snowballing. I spent Saturday cleaning the new house I bought and planting the pink "cruz de malta" in the patio, on the side of the house. Sunday morning I cleaned the garage and the windows, and then I went shopping for things for the house in the afternoon. And today I (with the help of my mother, my cousin and her family) spent all day working on the backyard, getting it back in shape.

Every single muscle in my body aches, and my hands got blisters. But I look at the house and the patio totally clean, the plants striving, hmm... it gives me a sense of accomplishment. Now the house is starting to look like it's mine. *g*

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Weird small town names

I went by L.G. Burbank's blog, where the latest entry asked for weird small Southern town names. I decided to do some research on the web and here are some that tickled me:

Needmore, AL
Dollarway, Weiner, and Bald Knob, Arkansas
Big Bonelicks, KY
Boogertown, Hookertown, Hornytown, and Kill Devil Hills, NC
Sugar Tit, SC

Can you believe that these actually exist? Imagine the hero hailing from Hornytown, North Carolina meeting the heroine from Sugar Tit, South Carolina? Sorry, I couldn't help myself. This is too cute... *rofl* Know any small towns with weird names? *g*

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Harry Potter maniac Friday night

I arrived from the grand release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter #6) 30 minutes ago. Wow! I can't believe I survived a night of harry Potter mania. *lol*

We arrived to Borders at little before 7:00 pm. They'd set up a table where you'd get your number. My goddaughter got #88, and I thought, "Okay, we're in for a long wait." Since the whole hoopla didn't start until 9:00, I dragged her and her little sister all over the mall, looking at things I need for my new house and buying some odds and ends. Funny but I expected my goddaughter to meet some of her classmates while we walked around the mall, yet it was me waving hello to all the people my age who were there for the Harry Potter book. Speaking of people, we saw many of them - mostly adults - dressed up in either their favorite characters or the houses they wanted to belong. I saw many Slitherins and Griffindors, and a few Ravenclaws, but no Hufflepuffs. Anyway, by 8:45 we went back to Borders, and at 9:00 they closed the access to the mall and the Harry Potter pre-sale events started. There were contests, trivia questions, a magician, and a few more things. By 10:00 my goddaughter's sister felt tired and didn't want to stay, so I called her mom and she picked her up. Only my goddaughter and I remained, but we were tired too, our feet hurting. So we each picked a few mags and sat on the floor to read them. At 11:05 they started calling people from 1 - 100, so we got in line, where we waited until 12:01 am when the sale started. The employees did a great job at keeping the whole thing moving fast, and by 12:25 we came out of Borders, my goddaughter smiling with happiness, a copy of the book in one hand and an empty box where the books came in under her arm. Was she lucky or what? *lol*

Gosh, I'm tired to the bone, yet my 13-yr-old goddaughter is still so energized that she is off to read the first chapter. It just reminds me I'm not 20 anymore.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Good morning world...

Ah... Lovely day, isn't it? Well, if I woke up every morning to a sun rise like this one, I'm sure my days would be just great. *lol* Just by looking at it I can feel the fresh air...

Today is going to be a very busy one indeed, and one in which I'm sorry to say I'll do very little writing. I know if Jax were here she'd be telling me I'd have time to do some writing if I knew how to organized my time better. Yeah, I know I suck at time management. Too bad I couldn't take her workshop at Romance Divas. Oh well...

Today is going to be a fairly typical day at work, which will be spent in several hours at the lab. I know it's Friday, but this is the second summer section, which is the shortest, so the labs are given on Fridays too. Sucks, doesn't it? At least 3 special cases came early this morning, so I won't have to be interrupting my 9:00 o'clock group to tend to them.

Then this afternoon, right after my last group, I'll have to go to the bank and clear up the mess with my last paycheck. Wednesday was payday, but I couldn't go to the bank to see if my check had been deposited. So I went yesterday before coming to work, and found out it wasn't there. I quickly called the accountant in charge of our checks, and he said that according to the computer it'd been deposited on the 12th. (Well, we all know how fallible computers can be.) He told me to check with the bank because it might be the bank's fault. So I'll have to deal with that right after my last lab group.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter #6) is finally here, so I'm caught in the book fever too. Tonight there's going to be a special event with food and (soft) drinks at our local Borders before the kickstart of the sales at midnight, and my goddaughter is dragging me to it. Yesterday while she was in Borders, she found out today they'll be handling numbers to the people on the store starting at 7:00 pm. Only those with these numbers can buy the book. So we have to be there by 6:30 pm. Once we get the number, we'll go to shopping around until 8:30. Since the mall closes at 9:00, we'll be there until 12:01 am when the book goes out on sale.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

My new toy!

*sing song voice* I got a new toy! I got a new toy! I got a new toy! I got a new toy! And it's not him...

Rob Moratti

...or him either...

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

...although I wish they were. *evil grin* Ha! But I made you look anyway. Ladies, remember that curiosity killed the pussycat.

Okay, enough eye candy, ladies. Now seriously this morning before coming to work I drove by Walgreens and bought a card reader. Here's a pic of my little electronic toy.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

It reads 11 types of memory cards, and it's powered through the USB cable so I don't have to go around looking for a socket to plug it in. It reads and writes all kinds of files - MS Word, Excel, photos taken with the digital camera, etc. Isn't that cool? *g* Now I don't need to hook my PC Pocket and digital camera to my PC, with all the mess of all those cables, to transfer files. All I have to do is hook the card reader to my PC, insert the CF or SD card, and *tah dah* "drag & drop" whatever file I want. Is that convenient or what? And since it's so small (and weightless), I can take it in small backpack with me everywhere. So while I work on a story on the PC at work, I can save my files in both a diskette and the CF card, and when I get home I can use either to transfer it to my PC. And if I don't want to be tempted by the internet, I just insert the CF card in my PC Pocket (which I've not hooked to the internet, thank goodness!) and write. I love my new toy!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Lap dance dilemma

Since my Muse and I aren't on speaking terms, last night I decided to entertain myself by going over some of the sensual scenes and possibly fleshing out. Well, I've got this scene which includes a (very extremely sensuous) lap dance. (Yes, the heroine gives a lap dance to the hero like he'd never experienced before.) I first wrote it from the heroine's POV since the most of the story is written in first person POV (hers). But then as I re-read it last night, I started thinking about how he must be feeling when she was giving him the lap dance, and a new set of thoughts and actions popped into my mind. I ended up rewriting the whole scene from the hero's POV in a separate file. Now both scenes look good. So here's my dilemma. I'd like to bring both POVs without head-hopping, but I don't know how to do it (except by head-hopping, and I've gotten wrist-slapped for it a lot). Any suggestions or advise here, oh you wonderful romance-writing-goddesses?

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Splitting hairs

Last night my Muse and I had a big pow-wow right in the middle of my writing "DDP," the story I'm hoping to send to the Vamprotica contest. I was going over the story, trying to edit some of the (very) rough areas, so I could send it to my new CPs, Phoenix Ford and Diva Gina, for critique. I figured I'd have time to edit it some more once I got their critiques since the contest ends in roughly 3 weeks.

Well, it all started with the number of words. I had managed to keep the story barely under 6K words (since the contest limits the stories from 2 - 6 K), and I wasn't happy about it because that left me scarcely any room to manipulate in case my CPs told me to layer any area more. As I read the story, I felt that I'd done a fairly good job adding some details, but it was then that little nagging voice of my Muse popped up.

Muse: "You need to add more about their internal conflict. What motivates him to rescue her from the attackers?"
Me: "I already told you, he's been following her for some time and she intrigues him."
Muse: "Yes, you know that, but how will the reader know? Where do you say that?"
Me: "Well, he goes to where she works and watches her."
Muse: "That's not good enough."
Me: *sighed and inwardly knew she was right* "Okay, I'll add that scene after the first one with him observing her from high above one of the building."
Muse: *sing sangs* "Ah, but that will put it over the word limit."
Me: *now I'm getting pissy* "Then what the hell am I suppossed to do?"
Muse: "Eliminate the first chapter, and skip to chapter 2, where she's dancing on the pole. Make them meet where she works."
Me: "Are you crazy? If I delete chapter 1, then where's the story? I need that chapter 1. It's a very clever one."
Muse: "Use it for Armand and Giselle's story then. It'd make a great first chapter for their story."
Me: "No way! That's a totally different story. Besides, the hero's and heroine's names won't work with the story line."
Muse: "But why not? Both Armand and Gabriel are vampire hunters."
Me: *cringed* "Armand isn't a vampire hunter any more."
Muse: "Hey! We decided yesterday that he was a vampire hunter too. When did you change your mind? And what gives you the right to change it without consulting me?"
(Great! A Muse with a bitchy attitude.)
Me: "Yeah, well, I've been thinking about that, and I'll have Armand be just an ordinary man who meets Giselle at a Halloween party. The rest remains just as we planned."
(Muse remained silent for a while.)
Muse: "The idea has merit. You can stick to them having great sex and use it to return his memory. And you could keep it within the 2 - 6K limit. *grinned happily* Anyway, getting back to Gabriel and Angelina's story, I still say you should eliminate that first chapter. Oh, and don't make Angelina a stripper. How about a DJ?"
Me: "What?! We agreed she'd be a stripper. The contest ends in roughly 3 weeks. That doesn't give me enough time to rewrite the whole story. I barely have time to send it to my CPs, get it critiqued, and edit it. And I think it clever that Gabriel falls for Angelina, who's a stripper."
Muse: "Oh pleeze! Don't be so naive. Romance readers don't care about strippers."
(I slouched on the chair. Damn! In a way my Muse was right, but I'd not tell her in her face though.)
Me: *pout* "I'll make my heroine a stripper, and that's that. And if nobody publishes it, I'll self-publish it."
Muse: "Then be stubborn about it and sink your own writing career. See if I care!"
Me: "Ha. Ha. Ha. So you know, I don't have a writing career!"

By now my Muse had stomped out, leaving me doubting about what to do. I could use my first chapter to create a new story for Armand and Giselle. Come to think of it, if I make the heroine a DJ, I'll have to change her name. But I still love the name of Armand. And it's a good name for a vampire hunter. *bangs head repetitively against the keyboard* Now, what am I to do with Gabriel and Angelina?

Monday, July 11, 2005

A new controversy brewing

Last month RWA heated up the tempers of many erotic romance writers when they tried to impose specific rules of graphic standards. This month a new controversy is brewing: The definition of romance.

I didn't find out about this until two days ago. I'd received my copy of RWR, the magazine RWA puts out, a few days ago, but I'd been so busy lately with my writing that I put it under a pile of books and forgot that it was there. That is until Theresa, a member of the Critique Corner, mentioned something about a ballot in it. So when I came home from work, I opened my copy of RWR and found it.

Bottom line: It seems that RWA is conducting a survey on the definition of romance, and they expect romance writers to choose between these two definitions:

A. "Romantic Fiction" or "Romance" means a story in which a predominant part of the story line focuses on the romantic relationship that develops between one man and one woman on more than a physical level. Although other elements and subplots may also be components of the story line, by the book's conclusion the romantic relationship has been resolved in an emotionally satisfying manner.

B. "Romantic Fiction" or "Romance" means a story in which a predominant part of the story line focuses on the romantic relationship that develops between two people on more than a physical level. Although other elements and subplots may also be components of the story line, by the book's conclusion the romantic relationship has been resolved in an emotionally satisfying manner.

Although the second definition seems to give more leeway to those romance authors who write gay and lesbian romance stories, many erotic romance writers (who are known to push the boundaries of romantic relationships) feel that both definitions constrict the idea of what's a romance story by not allowing romance between multiple partners. In some of the lists I'm in, already erotic romance writers are complaining about RWA's persecution against them. How much heat this new controvery will generate is yet to be seen. Although so far it hasn't exploded like the imposed "graphic standards" one did.

The deadline to submit the ballot was yesterday, so I couldn't let them know how I felt about these definitions. Oh well... How many of you, RWA members, filled out the ballot and sent it back? Did you feel the choices given were satisfying or not?

Friday, July 08, 2005

A taste of my latest WIP

Deep Dark Passion

I hated shortcuts, but I was already late for work. My high heels shoes clicked on the pavement, breaking the night’s silence. As I walked down the filthy alley between the rundown buildings of the old industrial section of the city, the stench of garbage and human feces assaulted my sensitive senses. But it was laced with something else. I stood still with my eyes closed, and lifting my head slightly, I breathed in deeply and felt a distinct acrid taste in my mouth. Fear.

Following the scent, I ran down the alley and turned left at the corner of the next building. Now the smell of sweat and alcohol mixed with the metallic tinge of blood. Hidden in the shadows, I slowed down and silently approached the landing behind an old building. Under the dim light of an old streetlamp, two men cursed and laughed as they tried to tie a struggling young woman to the fence. I closed my eyes, and let my senses wander. I detected four presences. With my excellent night vision I glanced around, trying to discern where the fourth one was. Nothing.

The woman’s scream jolted me back to the scene unfolding before me. One was holding her, while the other one ripped her blouse open.

I hate bullies!

I stepped out of the shadows and leaned against the wall, arms crossed. “Yo!” Startled, the men turned towards me. “Two against one. That doesn’t seem fair.”

“Well, well, well. Look what we got here,” the stocky, bald man said. His gaze slid up and down me, taking in my tight short leather skirt and black gauzy top. His beady eyes reminded me of a rat. “Guido, this is our lucky night. We got another one to play with.”

The burly tall man holding the semi-conscious woman laughed. “Yeah. I like brunettes. Maybe we can have a good gangbang now, uh?”

“C’mon here, little girl, and play with us,” the bald one said, cocking a finger at me and rubbing his bulge with the other hand.

I pushed from the wall, and putting my hands on my hips, I shook my head. “Oh, I don’t think so, Baldy.” I blew them a kiss and took a few steps back, retreating into the shadows.

“Don’t let that bitch get away,” he yelled.

The one named Guido pushed the young woman into the other man’s arms and rushed me. I stepped aside at the last minute, and as he passed by, I hooked one arm around his neck and the other around his chest. My arms like iron bands held him tight against my body, and he moved violently trying to free himself. His struggle excited me, and my gums tingled as my fangs grew.

“Say goodbye, Guido.” Before he could utter a word, I sank my fangs on his neck and gorged on his blood. Flashes of his evil life hit me with every gulp I took, and I staggered slightly. Shit. I’d forgotten about this part of the feeding. Soon his body became limp and slid off my arms, landing on the street with a muffled thud.

“Guido! Where the fuck are ya?”

I strutted out of the shadows and struck a pose. I knew my lips still covered with blood but I didn’t care.

He took a look at me, and his eyes opened wide with recognition. He dropped the young girl and crossed himself. “Damn.”

I tossed my hair back and flashed him a wide grin, my fangs showing. “You bet I am, and I love it.”

The man broke into a run, but my reflexes were too fast and cut his exit off. I held him just like I held his friend. He squealed as he felt my breath on his neck. “Not so tough now, eh, big boy?”

His trembling body betrayed him, pissing himself. “P-please.”

Funny how they always begged for mercy when they had none for their victims. Angry, I sank my fangs, and this time I was ready for the rush that came with it. Once it was over I felt as tainted as they had been, but I didn’t have time to dwell on it. Grabbing their bodies, I shoved them in the nearest dumpster. Someone would find them. Eventually.

Then I knelt beside the girl and took in her slim form and her tattered clothing. A runaway, the favorite victims of these jerks. Sighing, I put my hand on her neck. Her breath was a bit shallow, but her pulse was steady. That was a good sign. Frowning, I noticed the blood on her face so I leaned closer to inspect for injuries when I heard distant shouts and the faint sound of footsteps.

I glanced over my shoulder and noticed several distant silhouettes moving in the shadows. Oh great. Vampire hunter wanna-be’s. They were worse than real vampire hunters. Before they could detect my presence, I jumped over the fence and landed on an abandoned field full of junk. I heard their voices coming closer, so I ran down to the end of it, putting as much distance as I could between me and them.

Hidden under the shadows of a tree, I stopped and listened for any sound from someone chasing me. Nothing. Good. Before stepping into the busy street, I smoothed down my clothes and checked for stains. No need to go scaring innocent people.

“Oh man,” I muttered as I stared at my only pair of nylons. It had a huge hole. I sighed. Grandma was right, no good deed goes unpunished.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Life is...

Mrs. Gump: Life is a box of chocolates, Forrest. You never know what you're gonna get.
My 40th. birthday approaches fast and the wheel turns into a new decade. Yet the ending of the previous one brings strong changes. That is if you allow them, if you seize the moment.

My 39th. year has brought changes into my life, but nothing quite like this if I'm to judge for what's happened these last days. The new house. And with it, all that entitles. (See my private blog for more details.) This was all so sudden, so unexpected. And the ball is still moving, so I've not been able to sit and digest it all. I don't think I will for a while longer yet.

One is for sure. I didn't expect to give myself a house for my 40th. birthday. And with it, many changes will take place. Somehow I feel like I've stepped on the road to the unnknown. A great part of me is enjoying the ride, and the other part of me is too full of chocolates to care.

If life is a box of chocolates, mine has be a darn big one!