Category Archives: Consequence

Looking Back at 2012

Rearview -- Photo by Rhonda ParrishIt’s that time of year again, when I look back at the goals I set the year before and create new ones for the year to come. These are not resolutions, I was sorely tempted to begin and end my yearly goals in the middle of summer just to get away from the R word, but it turns out that my desire to be lazy outweighs my desire to be contrary 😉 So here we go, how did I do on reaching my 2012 goals?

For 2012 I wanted to address not just writing, but also editing and schoolwork so I broke my goals up into four categories: Health (because that affects every part of my life), School, Writing and Editing. My specific goals for 2012 were:


  • Continue to eat healthy. In my case that is a low-sodium pescatarian diet.

I’m going to call this one successful (hence the bolding ;)) though there is definitely room for debate. I eat when I’m emotional and it’s been an emotional freaking year, but overall, I’m pleased with how I’ve done, not least of all because this year I was able to recognize when I was eating for reasons other than hunger. It’s a small step, but at least it’s in the right direction.

  • No drinking energy drinks

Um, I did pretty well with this at first, and I’m not drinking them now, but there was a period when my sister and niece were staying with us and also when my mom died that I used energy drinks as a crutch to get through the day without napping. Understandable, I think, but it means I didn’t reach this goal.

  • Remember soft drinks are a ‘sometimes food’ (Thanks Cookie Monster)

Erm… yeah. I started out strong on this one but as I write this blog there is a Diet Dr. Pepper sitting within reach on my desk so… yeah. Goal not accomplished.

  • Workout at least five times a week

This I was good at for most of the year. I was working out six days a week and was making Danica do it with me. We did some 30 Day Shred stuff, Couch to 5k (before I screwed up my ankle. Again) and were only a couple weeks away from completing the P90x Lean program when my Mom died. It sounds like an excuse, but when she died my world sort of tipped upside down and I am still struggling to get back into the workout habit. It will definitely be on the goal list for 2013. I’m calling this goal accomplished though because I did very well.

  • Lose 40lbs

Not even close. This has been SUPER frustrating for me because I felt like I was working really hard and the scale just wasn’t moving the way it was meant to. (I say that in the past tense because I sort of fell off the ‘working hard’ wagon in November and December.)

School: I think this year is going to be more writing and editing-centric so my school goal is optional, depending on time and stress.

  • Finish one, or, if I’m feeling super energetic, two more courses toward my degree

I didn’t do any courses toward my degree in 2012. I intend to change that up for 2013.


  • Write the first draft of Consequence

Didn’t happen. I don’t have a great excuse as to why it didn’t happen, I just got distracted.

  • Participate in the monthly version of Write 1 Sub 1. I have a habit of writing ‘cast-off’ poetry for things like this when I become overwhelmed. That’s not acceptable here. Poetry only counts if it is in a complete and publishable form that I’m proud of. Same goes for stories.

Thank gawd for W1S1. Without it my writing productivity would have been even lower than it already was. I was successful in doing the monthly version of W1S1 and I look forward to doing a modified weekly version in 2013.

  • Figure out what to do with Shadows and my zombie poetry and get to work on doing it. This can mean looking for an agent, a publisher or any number of other things. I can’t be specific until I’ve made a decision

Done and done. Shadows has been shelved for the time being. I keep having ideas on how I can improve it and feeling the temptation to pull it out and revise it again but so far I’ve resisted. I think I need to move on for now. I’ll come back to Shadows someday, but not anytime soon. As for the zombie poetry, I’ve also figured out what I’m going to do with it… I just haven’t actually got it done yet. I will definitely be including that in my goals for 2013. The zombie poetry project is stalled temporarily while I wait on something I need from someone else, but soon… soon…

  • Either finish a first draft of Hollow Children or a transcription of Twixt

Hmm… I don’t know whether or to call this accomplished or not. Technically I didn’t do either of those things so I guess it’s not accomplished, however… instead of transcribing Twixt (I wrote the first draft long hand and so needed to type it up) I started doing the How to Revise Your Novel course using it as the project I was working on. What I discovered in the process of taking that course and doing the exercises was that Twixt, as it was written, was fatally flawed so I didn’t transcribe it. I didn’t begin working on a new draft either because it wasn’t until the end of November that I figured out what exactly I’d done wrong and how to fix it. Interestingly enough, that is also true of Hollow Children. I was hopelessly stalled on it until the end of November when I had an epiphany and figured out how to fix it. So there’s that…

  • Revise the whack of ‘mostly finished’ short stories sitting in my Dropbox and start looking for homes for them

I did manage to do this… and then I participated in the Whittaker Prize (see below) and added a bunch more ‘mostly finished’ short stories to my Dropbox to work on. Wheee!

  • NaNoWriMo is optional. So is NovPad.

I participated in NaNoWriMo and was successful despite restarting several times and switching projects three times. I attempted NovPad but was far less successful. The good thing about NovPad, as my friend Beth pointed out to me is that the prompts are always there. So I’ll keep working through them. Just like I did last year (see below). Ya know, it seems I’m not really very good at this NovPad thing LoL

  • Participate in the Whittaker Prize again this year, but in only one category, not both.

I participated in the short story section of the Whittaker Prize this year and ended up placing 10th overall with a final score, after six rounds, of 453. I… don’t know how that compares to how I’ve done in previous years but I feel really good about the work I produced for the Whittakers this year. In fact, one of my stories even tied for first on one of the rounds O_o That had never happened before LOL

  • Finish writing poems for all the 2011 Novpad prompts

Done. One of these years I may actually finish writing poems for all the NovPad prompts in November. One day…


  • Implement the new payment system for Niteblade

Done. And best of all, it seems to be working. I haven’t finished all the totals for Niteblade’s sales for 2012 but I strongly suspect that when I do we’ll find that we had our best year yet. Yay!

  • Run a fundraiser and increase promotion in order to move out of the red

Done. We raised $108.78 to help pay our writers and artist.

  • Super Sekkrit Projekt w CJD (not Niteblade-related)

I’ve done what I can on this project and it’s now in other people’s hands. I’ve got my fingers crossed that something will come of it, but right now I have to wait and see.

Also? I blogged every week. Whoot!

You know, looking back, I’m actually super impressed with myself. I didn’t accomplish everything I set out to do, but overall I did pretty damn good. Even without factoring in all the challenges I had to overcome (because really, though this year feels like it was exceptionally bad for that, every year comes with its own set of obstacles, right?). Maybe I’m getting better at this whole goal setting thing LOL

In addition to the goals I set for myself, 2012 had a few other highlights for me as well. A few, just off the top of my head are:

I am seriously looking forward to seeing what 2013 has to offer 🙂

ETA: Edited to reflect the fact I’ve only read the first book in The Song of Ice and Fire series.

Bullet Points ftw!

You know, one goal I’d set for myself for this year was to blog at least once a week. I think the reason I forgot to add it to my goal list is because I’d set this goal just before then, so it felt separate somehow. But it isn’t.

I guess that’s relevant mostly because this is going to be my blog entry for this week. It’s a busy week, so I’m going to be making this blog brief and bullet point-y. I always sorta feel bad when I write bullet point blogs, but I do have a few things to share and not much time to do it in.

<– Check this guy out. How cool is that? This is the graphic reward I get for sticking to my Write 1 Sub 1 goal for January. I’m doing the lightweight version which is writing and submitting one short story or poem a month.

This month I was largely focused on working on Consequence but, because I’d set a W1S1 goal, I also made time to write a few poems and (nearly) finish revisions on a short story I’d written a few months ago. I also revised a couple poems I’d started for the 2011 November Poem a Day and submitted one of them. That, combined with re-submitting stuff as I collected rejection notices for them, resulted in 8 submissions this month and 1 new piece moved into the pool of work I’m actively looking to sell.

I got an email last week that nearly made me cry. In a good way. It was a ‘Your work has gone on to the next stage’ letter from a market I’ve been trying to break into for years now. I’ve got my fingers crossed really tight (and I’m superstitious enough to hope I’m not jinxing myself by talking about it like this) but really, at this point even if they pass on it, I feel like I’ve made progress, and progress is good.

Consequence is fighting me for every word. Now, I tend to be a proponent of the ‘just write it even if it’s shit’ school of thinking for first drafts, but this one is like… well, pulling teeth. I feel like I’m spending too much of my writing time staring at a blank page in my notebook and trying to figure out what to write. That’s not cool so I’ve temporarily stopped physically working on Consequence. I’m going to let my sub-concious chew on it for a little while, and turn my attention to Twixt.

I’d like to avoid having to revise Twixt over and over again like I did Shadows. A good friend of mine took the ‘How to Revise your Novel’ course by Holly Lisle, and another friend took her ‘Thinking Sideways’ course. Both have loved them, so I signed up for HTRYN to try it out. I’ll let it guide my revisions on this draft of Twixt in hopes that it will save me time in the long run. I worry, mostly, that I’ll use this course as a new way to procrastinate “What do you mean I’m not working on it? I’m taking this course…” Only one way to find out, I suppose.

Lastly, on a short crafty note, I’ve reincarnated my Mystery Quilts blog. Hopefully I won’t accidentally delete it this time *eyeroll*. Anyway, it’s right here iffin yer interested. I’ve begun working on a new project for fresh beginners after having a crafty conversation with my friend Jayde, and I’ve got plans for a spring-themed tablerunner too, so, yeah… it should be good.

ETA: It looks like maybe this lil piccy to the right here is meant to be my reward for success in Write 1 Sub 1 for January and the top one is for a sub-section of the W1S1 community but I kinda like the dude up top better. Think anyone will be grumpy if I post both?

(This post has been edited to remove the bullet points because they were messing up my formatting. Funny and true!)

Jersey Shore

TrainOne of my guilty little pleasures is Jersey Shore.

It started by accident. While flicking through channels last year I stumbled upon Jersey Shore and lingered on that channel a while just to torment my husband.

In turn, he set up the PVR to record Jersey Shore.

Then we started watching the recordings.

It became a family event. Each Friday we’d watch what had been recorded on the day before, and I have to admit that the word ‘Jersday’ was uttered more than once within our walls.

I grew to actually like Pauly and Vinnie and to enjoy the train wrecks that are Snooki, Deena and Mike.

I know, I know. But wait, there’s more. I caught an old, random repeat from Season 1 or 2 last night and it totally inspired the stuff I wrote today for Consequence.

At the moment I have a total of two scenes (two scenes! How lame is that?) which I think I’ll be keeping once revision time comes around, and that’s one of them. It’s good. Like, really, truly good.

Maybe I’ll name one of my characters Jersey as a tip of the hat.


Overthinking and Cornbread

Ingerii GoticOn Tuesday I looked over my schedule for the day and there was writing time all over the place. I had a list of things I needed to do for Niteblade, but other than that, it was writing time as far as the eye could see.

Care to guess how much I got written?

I think it was about three pages. Three. Pages.

I write fast. Well, okay, I write longhand much slower than I type, but still, three pages? Realistically that accounts for only about half an hour of my day.

What did I do with the rest? Well, I did work on that Niteblade stuff, and I also decided to make soup to have for lunch over the next week and I also… made cornbread.

I was in my room working on the first draft of Consequence when I discovered my POV character was a vegetarian. Apropos of nothing I wondered what he was going to eat for dinner (even though that dinner wasn’t going to be on the page at all anyway) and I decided he was going to have cornbread. “Mmm… cornbread,” I said to myself. “I haven’t had cornbread in ages. I should make some.” So, I kid you not, I got up from where I was writing, walked into the kitchen and made cornbread.*

How do you spell distractable?

Now, I always have to write myself into a story, and I typically end up cutting at least the first chapter or two when I revise but the cornbread thing was, to me, a huge sign that I was doin’ it wrong. You see, the reason I was so easily distracted was because I was over-thinking things like crazy. Really. It’s similar to what Robert Brewer talks about in his blog here.

In my brain it’s not really focusing too much on the first sentence, but on other important things, like POV and tense and such. My thought process on Tuesday was something like “I should do this from Carrie’s POV exclusively. No, wait. It would be better from Aaron’s POV. Yeah, because *STUFF*. Oh. Actually, maybe a 3rd person POV would be better. The problem would be I wouldn’t be anyone’s head’s but the advatanges are I could go anywhere in the town I wanted, and it would give me a way to show *STUFF*. Unless–“

You get the idea.

With so much indecision and over-thinking going on in my head is there any wonder I wasn’t connected to the story? That I found it easy to walk away? I don’t think so.

When I sat down to write today I gave myself permission, not only for the first draft to be bad, but also to be chaotic. First of all, I’m writing each and every scene that occurs to me, even ones I expect to cut later. It’s easier for me to cut stuff out than to add it in, and I never can tell what I’m going to discover in those scenes, I may just surprise myself and decide to keep them. I’m also writing from whatever POV and in whatever tense I feel like. Hopefully by the time I get to the end of this draft I’ll know what point of view and tense I want the final version to be in and I can revise everything to fit that, but really, if I didn’t give myself permission to just freaking write it, it just wasn’t going to happen.

So right now, this draft is a crazy, chaotic mess. Scenes are written in three different POVs and two different tenses. But there are words on the page and at this point, that’s all I can allow myself to worry about.

*In part I blame Jayde for my cornbread cravings.
**That picture is of Danica, I thought it was appropriate because we took it as a long exposure of her shaking her head back and forth. Which I’ve done at myself a lot lately.

2012 Goals

It’s that time of year again. I have a love/hate relationship with goal setting. I love it because goals really are motivating and help me not only get stuff done, but see progress when I need to the most. The thing I hate about goal setting is trying to figure out where the balancing point is between ‘Unrealistic Expectations’ and ‘Challenging Myself’. Tricky, tricky.

That being said, this is my attempt for this year:

Health: This relates to my writing because the healthier I am the more productive (and less dead) I am.

  • Continue to eat healthy. In my case that is a low-sodium pescatarian diet.
  • No drinking energy drinks
  • Remember soft drinks are a ‘sometimes food’ (Thanks Cookie Monster)
  • Workout at least five times a week*
  • Lose 40lbs

School: I think this year is going to be more writing and editing-centric so my school goal is optional, depending on time and stress.

  • Finish one, or, if I’m feeling super energetic, two more courses toward my degree


  • Write the first draft of Consequence (Deadline is March 31)
  • Participate in the monthly version of Write 1 Sub 1. I have a habit of writing ‘cast-off’ poetry for things like this when I become overwhelmed. That’s not acceptable here. Poetry only counts if it is in a complete and publishable form that I’m proud of. Same goes for stories.
  • Figure out what to do with Shadows and my zombie poetry and get to work on doing it. This can mean looking for an agent, a publisher or any number of other things. I can’t be specific until I’ve made a decision
  • Either finish a first draft of Hollow Children or a transcription of Twixt
  • Revise the whack of ‘mostly finished’ short stories sitting in my Dropbox and start looking for homes for them
  • NaNoWriMo is optional. So is NovPad.
  • Participate in the Whittaker Prize again this year, but in only one category, not both.
  • Finish writing poems for all the 2011 Novpad prompts


  • Implement the new payment system for Niteblade
  • Run a fundraiser and increase promotion in order to move out of the red
  • Super Sekkrit Projekt w CJD (not Niteblade-related)

Wow… so that’s a lot more goals than I usually set in a year, but it covers some of the things which affect my writing and I don’t usually address in goal-setting. Hopefully that makes things go smoother, but if not I’ll know better for next year.

*The reward for 300 workouts this year will be Christmas in San Francisco. Rewards, especially those not related to food, are good.



Truth is the slipperiest creature I know. I just wrote a long(ish) blog entry, complete with pictures and nostalgia, about my favourite ever Christmas present. Then I deleted it.

It’s so tricky when you write about real things, about real people. Even if you’re saying nice things about them, it’s never quite clear what you should share and what is best kept to yourself. Or at least, it’s never clear for me.

We were pretty poor when I was a kid. That’s a fact. We never went hungry, but money was tight and there are a lot of stories in there, but are they mine to tell? Is it really fair for me to talk about what it was like growing up? That doesn’t just affect me, but my whole family. Just because I feel comfortable talking about that, does it mean I can? That I should? What about my siblings? My parents? My extended family? When I tell my story I’m also touching on theirs.

In the case of the blog entry about my favourite Christmas gift, I loved the present because I could see how much love and thought had gone into buying it for me. I could see how proud the person giving it to me was because they thought they’d gotten me the thing I wanted most in the world. They were wrong, they’d misunderstood what I asked for, but it didn’t matter to me. In that case it really was the thought that counted and that ‘wrong’ present meant more to me than the ‘right’ one ever could have because I saw the love behind it. Still, I’d never told that person they’d bought me something other than what I asked for. If they read this blog and found out, would it hurt their feelings or would they be happy to know I saw their motivations, their love, on thier face and it made that gift mean the world to me? I didn’t have the answers, and I don’t want to hurt anyone, so I’m keeping that story to myself.

But then, what if I want to tell a story, a different story, about when I was a kid? What if I want to talk about elementary school, or junior high? What if our family situation touches on those things (because dude, how could it not?) how do I know what’s okay? How do I decide when it’s okay to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and when to pretty it up a bit? What if I want to talk about the less than shiny parts of our family? No one’s perfect, and certainly no family is. That’s part of my story, is it okay to share it?

I don’t know the answers, but I’m starting to ask the questions. I think, for now, I’m just going to have to keep feeling my way through, one story at a time and really take a hard look at my motivations for sharing each. I don’t want to hurt anyone, so that’s the only way I know to go. But in the end, it’s my story too, so I think I have a right to share if I want to.

Mostly I write fiction, so this doesn’t become a giant problem, but who I am, what I’ve known and expierenced, they all inform my writing, so even in fiction, it’s important, I think, that I consider these things.

Cheerful thoughts leading into Giftmas, eh?

I suspect the holidays are greatly to blame for my thoughts heading down this road, as is work on CONSEQUENCE which takes place in a small town much like the ones where I grew up in.* Sure, we didn’t have genies, but in a way, small towns are like families. They have secrets, they have truths and they have ways of functioning that are unique to them. I’m not trying to re-create anywhere I’ve lived for CONSEQUENCE (okay, that the last time I’m writing it in all caps :-P) but I’m definitely finding myself thinking about them a lot these days. The good, the bad and the ugly.

Families, small towns and truth. I could get lost thinking about them, but then I’d never get any writing done. So maybe I am, as usual, just overthinking things what I really need to do is stop the thought merry-go-round and just freaking write.


*and, it should be noted, never fit into


So far this month has been cruel to me.

It really has.

I have a fantastic story idea I really, really want to develop (It’s working title is CONSEQUENCE, though I fully expect to change that someday) but have I been able to find time for that? Hells no.

Between Giftmas stuff, having a life (*gasp* I know, right? But it’s true! I’ve actually even been out to three shows so far this month. Three. That’s like a record, I think), working on Niteblade and school–

Oh my goodness, school. Schoolwork has been kicking my butt far more than it should be. I don’t really get it, but there you have it. This month I have to do two assignments. The first is to write a research paper proposal, and the second is to write the paper I’ve proposed. I had *such* a difficult time picking a topic, first of all. All the ones suggested by the course made me roll my eyes, and none of the things I could think of that I wanted to write about could be imagined to fall within the guidelines. It was tricksy, but eventually I chose a topic, “Are North Americans eating healthier now than they were ten years ago?” (the answer, in case you were wondering, is a resounding no). Then I had to write a research paper proposal that included an outline of how I expected the paper to go. The notes in the coursework emphasize that we are not allowed to strongly deviate from that outline once our proposal is approved.

Let me let you in on a secret. I don’t outline. Okay, so that’s not a secret, but it’s true. This assignment forced me, someone who totally doesn’t outline. I discover the shapes of my stories (and essays) by writing them. By sticking my pen on the page and chaining one idea to another until it’s done. Trying to figure out how this essay was going to read was torture for me. It was cruel. Seriously.

I sincerely considered writing the paper and -then- doing the proposal once I knew how it was going to work. The only thing that stopped me was the fact that, if my professor insisted on any major changes from my proposal to the finished work I would potentially have to re-write the entire essay and I’m lazy. I didn’t want to do the assignment twice.

So I brooded about the outline for two days, then finally locked myself in my room and got it done. It hurt. It hurt more than going to the dentist, and I don’t mind telling you that the thought “I only need 50% to pass” occured to me more than once but I finished it and handed it in.

So yeah, forcing someone who doesn’t outline (I hate the word ‘pantser’, sorry.) to outline? That’s cruel. But I did it. Cause I’m awesome.

Or something.

So that’s done, and handed in. Now I wait for feedback before writing my research paper. That can’t possibly hurt as much as the proposal. They can’t possibly make me outline it twice, right? Right?

My deadline for this course is the end of the month, which I’m eyeing with anticipation because that is when I’ll have some more time open up in my day and maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to steal a week or two and lock myself away to work on Consequence. I’ve started it three times so far and haven’t liked any of them. I have a good idea for a fourth way to begin that I think might really work, but I won’t know for sure until I try. And that requires time. I feel like if I can hide from the world until I’ve written enough that I can see the shape the story is going to take I’ll be better equipped to make steady progress on it. We’ll see… we’ll see…



Consequence, Alberta

Consequence, Alberta.

Don’t look for it on a map, it doesn’t exist except in my imagination. Yet. By the time you read this* I should actually have started writing about it. Consequence is the name of the town I’m setting my new writing project in. That’s subject to change, of course, as I get going, but for right now, I like it.

Beth has inspired me to want to write a bit of a blurb before I start work, and while I have some stuff whirling about in my brain, I haven’t actually written anything down yet. Suffice to say, however, the people in Consequence have trouble. Djinn trouble.

At the time of writing this have, as usual, a concept and, for lack of a better word, my Big Bad, but not quite figured out my smaller plots. I’ve mostly been developing characters using my fishbowl (which is really a rosebowl) and I’m hoping they will help show the plot the way. I am optimistic about this. The fishbowl has produced some freaking amazing characters, and at least one plot twist, so far. If you contributed traits to it thank you so much. So far the following internet-contributed traits have been pulled out and assigned to characters:

  • paralyzing fear of eggplant
  • phlegmatic
  • says #s in the wrong order (“It’s 6 or 5 miles away.” or “I’ll be there in 8 or 7 minutes”)
  • pigeon-toed
  • insists on upholding a code of chivalry or other code even though it’s not required.
  • hates being too hot

I hope when this project is done you’ll enjoy reading it and trying to spot the traits you contributed.

The best part about character traits other people have added to my fishbowl is that they aren’t from my brain. No doubt that seems obvious, but because they aren’t from my brain they aren’t comfortable for me. They shake things up and challenge me to think differently, which keeps me out of ruts. Thank you.

From now on my fishbowl is officially always open, so if you ever want to contribute, you are more than welcome to. I really ought to create a page on my blog for the fishbowl, but that sounds like work and right now I’m all about drafting.

In the meantime, I’m very excited about this project, so wish me luck as I break ground. Hopefully my enthusiasm will carry me far enough into this draft that momentum can charge the rest of the way through. Once I get started and actually have a feel for how well it’s going I’ll give myself a deadline for the draft and that will help too.

*I’m writing this on Friday evening and just scheduling it to post Monday morning.