Thursday, March 8, 2012


The first time I heard the term "beta" following college, I immediately thought of the blue guy in a glass bowl at home. The speaker was talking about how his beta had done some magical things for his writing. I absolutely could not fathom how, exactly, his fish had climbed from the bowl, picked up a red pen, and done some hard-core editing for him.

I'm starting a major overhaul of the piece that got me serious about writing. I've changed names, combined characters, twisted plot lines, and am just now starting to rewrite the whole thing. All this rewriting has now got me thinking about finding some betas of my own (my current one is purple, so maybe some reds, blues, and greens?).

I found this post on beta readers and how to find them. It's a blog that deals mostly with children's and young adult authors, but the concept holds true throughout genres.

How about you? Are you a beta reader? Do you have betas? How did you find them?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Hello, My name is Traci, and I'm an obsessive label checker

Fifty years ago, I promised you an explanation on Celiac. (Okay, it was probably more like a few months, but whatever.) Today, as I'm cursing myself for a small lapse in dietary judgement, I figured I'd finally explain.

My story starts nearly a year ago in the middle of wedding gown shopping. I'm going to be a bridesmaid in my friends wedding, and a group of us went to lunch at Panera, then on to David's Bridal. I started getting really bad stomach cramps as we're searching the racks, and the next thing I know, I'm on the floor. (Small piece of advice--I would recommend against passing out in a bridal boutique. It's highly embarrassing.) I was hoping it was an isolated incident, but considering the stomach troubles I'd had for a few years, I realized that was unlikely. Sure enough, my doctor ran a gastrointestinal blood work pannel which came back positive for Celiac.

Not many people know what Celiac is. Essentially, it's an autoimmune disease that causes an allergy to gluten, a substance found in wheat, barley, rye, and malt.

With that news, I was sent to a GI specialist, who took some pretty pictures of my esophagus and a few tissue samples. What he said was frustrating: the biopsies did not positively confirm the Celiac. However, I felt better when I was eating gluten free, so it was decided that likely I had it anyway, or at least a gluten intollerance.

So, what does eating gluten free mean? Perhaps you've seen a GF symbol on a menu or at the grocery store. That symbol means that the product is safe for someone with Celiac to eat. Thankfully, some vegans also eat gluten free, so between their products and a rising awareness of gluten intollerance, there are more an more baked goods and breads that are made with something other than wheat flour.

The biggest problem I've run into with being gluten free is that I have to check the labels on everything. And by everything, I mean EVERYTHING. Not only do I have to make sure my favorite candies and foods are gluten free, but drinks, sauces of any kind, alcohols, and anything I put on my body, like soaps and lotions and deodorant. I made a silly mistake on Saturday and didn't bother to check out a steak sauce before I ate it at a restaurant. It was so good, and totally worth being a little miserable on Saturday night. However, two days later, I'm still miserable. It's not worth it anymore.

The moral of this story? Well...not sure there is one. Except, now I'm one of those people. You know the ones, the people who check every single label before putting things in their cart. The ones who ask what's in a dish before ordering it at a restaurant. I used to think those people were weird. Now, I do it, too.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

100 Sketches, 100 Days

I'm participating in this challenge on the NaNoWriMo Artisans Forum, and we needed a place to draw inspiration from. Therefore, I offered my blog. This post will be where we post comments that will serve as prompts. So, post away, my fellow artists!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year

This is the time when I'm supposed to post all my goals for the year, right? All those optimistic hopes for a fresh start and some rather far-fetched brilliance on my part, or hopeful stretches for luck. I'm not doing that this year. There's nothing wrong with it, really, and I've done it every year up until now. However, every year I have failed to reach my goals, failed to keep my new year's resolutions. Therefore, I'm not going to do them. Instead, I'll be planning a series of monthly goals to go along with my lists and organization of 2012. One of them will be to blog on my journey with Celiac.

What about writerly goals, though? That is what I'm supposed to be blogging about, no? Well, here's where I need a little input.

If you're a writer, or just follow writers on twitter or Facebook, etc, you know that they come in several varieties. There are some who post exclusively links to where you can purchase their books or their friends' books, propaganda, etc. Personally, I find that annoying. I will not be doing that. Promise.

Other writers are rather reclusive (as I've been lately) and don't post much at all. Hopefully, that will no longer be me.

Then there are the writers who post about characters, put up excerpts, maybe have a blog novel/novella, show you character art, etc. Personally, I'd kind of like to be one of those writers. Question is, who would be interested in that?

So, I'm calling for a poll: who wants to learn about my characters, read my work, know what's going on in my head?

For reference, here's a picture I'm working on. I did use a coloring page as a reference, so it's not exclusively mine, I suppose. Meet Cam!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Do you NaNo?

I participated in NaNoWriMo this year. Don't know what that is? It stands for National Novel Writing Month, and it's in November. Participants challenge themselves to write 50,000 words in one month.

Crazy, right? But totally fun. I didn't "win" this year (read: reach 50k), but I had a ton of fun sprinting for it. It was great to have a community writing event. Typically, writing is such a solitary thing, but with this, there were others encouraging you, and you knew they were striving for the same goal. Groups of writers did write-ins together, too, gathering in one place with their laptops or paper and pens and madly scribbling/typing words together.

If you're interested, the site for it is It doesn't start again until November 2010, but there's plenty to do in the forums until then!

Didja miss me?

So, after a super long hiatus, I'm finally back! I know, it's been, like three months. But I've been busy! I promise! Want to know what I've been up to? Well...

1) I moved. As I mentioned before, I'm officially flyin' solo.
2) I was officially tentatively sorta kinda diagnosed with Celiac. (I know, makes no sense. More on this later.)
3) I adopted kittens!
4) The fridge in my new place molded (someone didn't leave it open when they cut the power. Seeing as I'm allergic to mold, this was bad news bears).
5) I adopted a few new hobbies; mainly making plushies and drawing things. You can see them at
6) I attempted NaNoWriMo. (Again, more on this later.)
7) I got a new fridge.

Huh. Looking at it in list form makes it look like not so much stuff. But it was! I promise.

I'll post more later (likely today; please don't die of shock). But for now, have a kitten picture.
This is Sammy, enjoying a treat.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Writers Anonymous September Meeting

Hello, my name is Traci, and I'm a walking cliche.

I'm at the Hampton Roads Writers Conference today and tomorrow. There are several smart people here, including Michael Palmer (he's a physician and a writer with 16 best-sellers). From his keynote speech alone, I knew my first chapter was in trouble. Then Chuck Sambuchino (Writer's Digest editor) and Marisa Corvisiero (literary agent) and a number of other speakers gave's officially done-for.

I was a little upset about this at first, but then I remembered: I already knew it needed a lot of work. This is not exactly news to me, just a little more than I'd expected. I did manage to avoid a number of the more obvious cliches, but there are still quite a few that need to be cut.

The other thing I'm happy about is that this whole writing conference thing is making my muse rather happy; she's quite talkative right now. That little pen and pad of paper they give you at conferences? Seriously come in handy today. I'm not sure yet which ones are workable, but it should be fun!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I'm Moving!!

Song of the Day: Mr. Saxobeat by Alexandra Stan

I disappeared for a bit. Dropped off the face of the planet for a few weeks. Not cool, I know. On the plus side, there is a reason for it! I moved!!!

For those of you who have been living under a rock for the past few years (or on another planet, maybe) the economy in the U.S. is not so great right now. Therefore, those of us graduating from college in the past few years have not had an easy time finding jobs. Spending a semester abroad didn't help to pad my bank account, either. So, when I graduated, I moved back in with my parents. (Horrifying, I know!)

I was lucky enough to find a temp job only a few weeks after returning home, but it didn't pay me enough to move out. Just recently, I was hired on to a big corporation and am finally earning a decent pay. My bank account is back up to acceptable levels, and I can now pay rent! Since the beginning of the month, I've been cleaning and fixing up the place and moving my things in. The most exciting part: I have an office! (Well, technically it's a second bedroom, but since it's just me, I'm making it an office.) I still have things to do, and I don't have internet service yet, but it's mine, and it's pretty, and it's quiet!

Since I've been so busy lately, the plot bunnies have been on the prowl, attacking at every chance they get. I now have a thought for an immediate prequel for my WIP, a far prequel/world building piece, several post...quels (is that a word?), and one that has nothing to do with that particular universe at all. Good thing I have markers, white boards, and flash cards, no?

What have you been up to?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

August is Ended

So, August is over, and I didn't meet my word count goal.
Tragic fail, I know. I didn't even bother with a final word count. I got a lot in yesterday, but not enough. So what's my goal for September? 30k. Apparently, I'm a glutton for punishment. I'm moving this weekend, going to 2 separate writer's conferences, and still expect to get in 30k? As of right now, that's the plan. We'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

AIM Day 30

Word Count: 11,062
Song of the Day: Fly by Sugar Ray

I spend a lot of time working on my current WIP. I should--after all, it is a work in progress. However, the question today is, do I spend too much time working on that particular project? It's not getting me to my word count goals, unfortunately. So, tomorrow, for my last day of August, I'm trying something new. I was given a Storymatic prompt a short while back, and I'm thinking this is the perfect opportunity to test it out. We'll see how it goes!