Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 End O' Year Recap

2011 was a great year for me as an author - a year of many firsts. If Mr. Peabody will scoot over just a tad ("Tsch!"), there's plenty of room for you to join me in my literary time machine to revisit some of the highlights. Please, no eating in the time machine. We'll stop in 1972 for a snack - bowl of Quisp, anyone?

Why he had to be armed to sell us cereal, I will never know. The sugar content and the awesome green bodysuit already had me enthralled.


Anyhow, clearly the best time/place to start our recap o' 2011 would be in 2010. Specifically, December 2010. Two major things happened in that month to Author Amy: #1, SHADOW POINT was released. #2, I submitted the completed manuscript of ROMEO FAILS to my publisher, Bella Books.


February 2011 brought the exciting news that (a) someone had actually read SHADOW POINT and (b) liked it enough to give me an award! Thanks again, wonderful and discerning women of the Alice B. Awards!


Around the same time, I had finished my editing of HEAVENLY MOVES - the first novel I started, the second one I finished and (it appears) the third one to be published. I share this with you as an example of how a writer is often focusing on three different projects at once, with each project in a different phase:



  • the recently published book being sold/read/publicized/reviewed/lambasted/loved/used as a doorstop (one HELL of a doorstop!)


  • the recently finished book being edited (first by the author prior to submission to the publisher, later by the editor and the author)


  • the new manuscript being written

It can be a bit challenging to shift gears and redirect one's concentration from (for example) the ghost story to the Midwestern love story to the 1982 murder mystery. Lots of different characters and plots running around loose in my brain, that's for sure. Fortunately, 90% of them are thinly disguised/vastly improved versions of myself, so... yeah.


Speaking of The New Manuscript, aka the work in progress, April 2011 was when I started writing my post-apocalyptic young adult tale, THE BOOK OF KELL. Eight months and 63,000 words later, I'm about 80% done. This one has been a lot of fun to write! There's something so relaxing and care-free about the post-apocalypse, wouldn't you agree?


Back to the highlight reel: In May 2011, I was thrilled to be invited to attend the Saints & Sinners literary festival in New Orleans where I gave my first public reading! Woo hoo. (dat)


June was my first Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS) convention in Orlando, where I was honored to receive a Goldie for best debut author. The chance to meet other readers and writers of lesbian fiction was all that I expected. GCLS also brought my first autograph. (aw shucks)


June 2011 was a swell month for me as a newly published author. SHADOW POINT was (favorably!) reviewed in the Lambda Literary Review that month. Lara Zielinsky of www.blogtalkradio.com/readingslab was kind enough to interview me on her online radio program that month. I also received my first check from the publisher that month!


And then... uh... six more months happened. Yay for 2011!


I'm excited about 2012 and hope you are, too. Valentine's Day is guaranteed NOT to suck this year due to ROMEO FAILS going on sale that day. How 'bout that?! You are welcome. :-)


Thanks again, Dear Reader, for making my 2011 a memorable and rewarding year. I look forward to our literary adventure continuing in 2012 and beyond.

Saturday Quote-O-Rama!

"Get up! You're borrowing time."

Aimee Mann

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Word Count Wednesday!

Untitled Post-Apocalyptic YA Novel
Goal: 60,000 words (at least)

04-01-11: 0
04-27-11: 2774
05-04-11: 5528
05-11-11: 7757
05-18-11: 10020
05-25-11: 10560
06-01-11: 12107
06-07-11: 15082
06-15-11: 18120
06-22-11: 20762
06-29-11: 22677
07-06-11: 26073
07-13-11: 26748
07-20-11: uh...
07-27-11: 29196
08-03-11: 34137
08-11-11: 35239
08-18-11: 38805
08-24-11: whoops...
08-31-11: 40495
09-07-11: 42129
09-14-11: 44136
09-21-11: 46325
09-28-11: 47647
...time passed...
12-14-11: 60283
12-28-11: 63009

Saturday, December 17, 2011

so now I'm worried about the giant Chinese pirate babies

I have a big head.

And while it is important for authors to have a healthy dose of self-esteem, pride in their work and just a wee bit of arrogance - because SO MANY MORONS WILL DIS YOUR BOOK WHICH IS ACTUALLY TOTALLY AMAZING - this post is about the dimensions of my skull.

So large. Lady hats don't fit me. I'm serious. Bring on the tape measure. Bring on the phrenologists!

Anyhoo, it's cold these nights and I've been looking for an un-pom-pommed knit hat to hang onto some of that heat. You know, like "...ma in her kerchief and I in my cap..." Without the ma. They say you lose a lot of body heat off the top of your head. Even more so with an enormous cranium like mine. (It's actually good it's so big, because I need the room - there's a LOT going on in there)

So, I'm in Whole Foods
(sidebar: Whole Foods = lesbo magnet? Discuss.) and I see the perfect hat.

It's from http://www.sandiegohat.com/. Hey, I'm from San Diego.


I duck behind a display of way overpriced, and yet oddly NOT gluten-free, Whole Foods food, and try the hat on - it fits!

I buy it. I take it home. I read the label. It says it's for children, ages 2-4.

BUT IT FITS MY GIANT ADULT HEAD!!! My stars, what 2-4 year old child has a head as big as mine?

Disturbing.

It's made in China.

So now I'm all worried about the giant Chinese pirate babies.

[pause to worry some more]

I could be a pirate... I think my parents wanted me to have that option. My middle initial is R, after all. A. R. Briant. ARRRRRRRRR Briant.


Pleased to meet you. (and I still love the hat)

Saturday Quote-O-Rama!

"You got a nasty disposition - no one even knows the reason why."

Social Distortion

Friday, December 16, 2011

sofa (cough)

Several years ago, I moved from Los Angeles to a faraway town in another state. I lived for a year in a third story loft in an industrial building on the outskirts of downtown. It had once been the Cadillac dealership. Across the street were two lovely old Victorian houses with tin roofs. One was abandoned. The other had been converted into a law office. A homeless man slept on the sidewalk in front of the law office every night. Sometimes we would pass each other as I walked around the neighborhood in the daylight hours. He avoided eye contact almost as assiduously as I did.

The industrial building formed one side of a square surrounding a little park that was one city block in size. Another side of the square was a hospital. The helicopter that took off and landed on the roof of the hospital flew about five feet above my ceiling at least ten times a day. The noise was deafening. The old Cadillac dealership would shake in its bones. I swear I could feel the wind ruffle my hair every time the chopper passed. Sirens were a constant in that neighborhood.

The population of the town was approximately 1,000,000 Jesus-lovin' homophobes and 1 Amy.








Good times.

My stuff was in storage for the year, so I furnished the loft sparsely with a bed, a night stand, a rented piano and a sofa.

This is a story about the sofa.






An unremarkable brown leather couch, not quite long enough for me to sleep on, but it was on sale and JC Penney delivered it. It looked good backed up against the nearly floor to 20 foot ceiling windows that peered out on the Victorians, the bum and the big blue sky.

Many things have changed in my life since I bought that cheap (and now saggy) couch, but it has not. I still have it. And lately, whenever I sit on it, I get Very Good Ideas, like:

• A fantastic ending to the third book in the Madison McPeake series! (But Amy, you protest, you haven't written the second one yet. You really bug me sometimes, you know that?)
• A perfect bit of back story for the love interest in the next novel I plan to write!
• An awesome plot for a short story about football! (I love football!)
• Maybe even the name for that Russian villain I've been trying to come up with - Sofikov?

Okay, maybe that last one's not for sure, but the couch is really working for me these days!

Oh. Damn. I can never buy a new couch now...

Wait - this is NOT a story about the couch. This is a post about writing. And the point is that in writing, as in life, it's important to set yourself up for success. Writing a novel is not easy. In fact, I have found it to be one of the hardest things I've ever done. If something is working for you (and we shall hope it is not a self-destructive and/or illegal something, but whatevs), then take advantage of that! Be open to these occasional bursts of dumb luck/inspiration. Embrace The Couch. And write those ideas down. If the Universe has been kind enough to deliver to your brain (much like JC Penney, but without the extra charge for stairs) a good idea for your novel, be grateful and accept it! respect it! protect it! Good ideas are precious to a writer.


As you develop habits that are conducive to the writing life, recognize and cultivate those. (fortunately, I was already aces at sitting on the couch, so this is just a bonus)

And don't worry, I know it's not a magic couch. Eventually, I will get rid of it.

But I'm keeping my butt.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Word Count Wednesday!

Untitled Post-Apocalyptic YA Novel
Goal: 60,000 words (at least)

04-01-11: 0
04-27-11: 2774
05-04-11: 5528
05-11-11: 7757
05-18-11: 10020
05-25-11: 10560
06-01-11: 12107
06-07-11: 15082
06-15-11: 18120
06-22-11: 20762
06-29-11: 22677
07-06-11: 26073
07-13-11: 26748
07-20-11: uh...
07-27-11: 29196
08-03-11: 34137
08-11-11: 35239
08-18-11: 38805
08-24-11: whoops...
08-31-11: 40495
09-07-11: 42129
09-14-11: 44136
09-21-11: 46325
09-28-11: 47647
...time passed...
12-14-11: 60283

I'll be doggoned, I passed my 60K goal, I'm at 207 pages and not done yet! Still going strong and with The End in sight! Not bad (for me) at the eight month mark. Now excuse me, the Amazons are having a town meeting and my characters must attend...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Saturday Quote-O-Rama!

"The moon was yellow and the night was young."

From an old song called (wait for it) "The Moon Was Yellow"