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!

Monday, August 29, 2011

AIM Day 29

Word Count: 10,151
Song of the Day: A Little Piece of Heaven by Avenged Sevenfold

Reward yourself!

No, seriously. Meet your goals? Give yourself something for it! Two days until September, it looks like I may not meet my own goals, unless I get to some serious buckling down. I'd already decided that if I won NaNoWriMo I would buy myself some purple furniture for my new apartment. Since it appears I need some serious motivation to meet my 20k goal this month, if I somehow manage it, I'll buy myself some fun ice trays like these ones:

What would motivate you as a reward?

AIM Day 28

Word count: 9009 (I can't wait to have my computer back and get stuff typed up!!!)
Song of the day: Irene by Tobymac

Baby shoes! And they sparkle!!!! (My future daughters will be soooo spoiled.) Actually the inspiration is shopping for homegoods like decor and towels and such. What kinds of things would your character pick out? How would s/he decorate her/his place? Bet it's different than how you'd do your own.

AIM Day 27

Word count: 9009
Sing of the day: Party Rock Anthem by LMFAO

I'm catching up on posts since my power is out :0
Trapped indoors? Do a puzzle! Or better yet (for your WIP, anyway) do some plotting! I did both this weekend while hiding from Irene. (The pictures are of the same tree, btw, just different angles, of both the camera and the tree itself.)

How did you survive the weather, if it hit you?

Friday, August 26, 2011

AIM Day 26

Word count: 9009
Song of the day: U and Ur Hand by P!nk

Do something silly. My mom and I were shopping and I found this head piece. Never would I wear it, but I had to get a picture. Anyone else find that being silly makes you more creative?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

AIM Day 25

Word Count: 9,009
Song of the Day: A Little Piece of Heaven by Avenged Sevenfold

Anyone else hunkering down for this monster storm we're supposed to get? I've got canned veggies and cereal and a few other things I can eat without cooking; the battery supply is stocked; my ipod is charged; and my notebooks and pens are set. So if we get hit as hard as we're supposed to and the power goes out, I'm all set to sprawl out on the floor and do some hard-core plotting and writing--long hand, of course. Nothing like being trapped indoors to spark your creativity, eh?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

AIM Day 24

Word Count: 8341
Song of the Day: Pray for You by Jaron and the Long Road to Love (Thanks to Elizabeth Sogard for the suggestion.)

Today, I'm taking a break.

I didn't make that decision until seriously five minutes ago. I like to get in a few thousand words a day (cuz you can't edit a blank page, right?), but today that just ain't happenin'. It feels absolutely insane, but I think I need it. I've been staring at my open document (not a blank one, btw) all morning and into the afternoon, and I've gotten nothing written. Seriously, not a word. I was pretty much freakin' out.

So I'm taking a break. I have way too much on my mind right now to type out one coherent sentence, let alone 3 pages' worth. Unless I am struck dumb with the Lightingbolt of Inspiration, I will be sitting here plotting my NaNo project.

Do you take breaks from writing? Does it help you?

And since I mentioned it...Are you doing NaNo this year? What's your project?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

AIM Day 23

Word Count: 8341
Song of the Day: According To You by Orianthi


With the epicenter being only about 39 miles from here, a few of the nearby buildings sustained damage. Not ours, though. I spent the afternoon soothing nerves and assuring customers that we hadn't been ignoring them; we'd just evacuated the building. One of our agents called to check on us, and she said, "I hope you all have earthquake insurance!"

(That's probably a lot more funny if you spend 40 hours a week shuffling insurance calls to different people.)

Small as that little scare of ours was, comparatively, it got me thinking: What am I leaving behind if something happens? I always wanted to make a difference in the world, even just a small one. It would be fantastic to have a published book out there somewhere as a legacy, no? But first, it has to be written.

What do you want to be your legacy?

Monday, August 22, 2011

AIM Day 22

Word Count: 8,205
Song of the Day: Hell on Heels by the Pistol Annies

Today, my advice is to have obnoxious friends.

Okay, maybe not obnoxious...

I met Stephanie in high school. We've been friends ever since. Stephanie is one of those people who could be considered to have an abraisive personality. She doesn't sugar coat things, and if she wants something, she'll let you know. I made the fortuitous decision to let Stephanie read the first few chapters of my current work in progress. At the moment, I've been writing the "candy scenes" so that I could stall as I was figuring out the next chapter. I had dinner with Stephanie last night, and she let me know that she is none-too-patiently waiting for the next few chapters of my WIP. Seeing as I won't send someone a chapter when I'm in the middle of it, I need to get this chapter done so she can read it. In the mean time, I know she'll nag me until it's done. That's motivation, for sure!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

AIM Day 21

Word Count: 7258
Song of the Day: Nightmare by Avenged Sevenfold

Listen to music your character might listen to.

I needed some new tunes, so I went a bit more angry and hardcore than I'm used to; Nightmare, the title track of A7x's 2010 album, is pretty dark, and it fits with two scenes I'm in the process of writing. Inspirational? Totally. In a dark, angry sorta way.

What type of music does your MC listen to?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

AIM Day 20

Word Count:7258
Song of the Day: Sweet Child O' Mine, Guns N' Roses

I didn't realize it until just now, but the song of the day goes with the advice--go shopping for baby clothes.
Well, not if you hate it, or something. I happen to love it, and I was going to a baby shower, so...tada! (It's got Pooh Bear on it, btw.) Do something you love! Other than writing. The happy juices will help you brainstorm. Yay!

What are your favorite activities to get creative?

Friday, August 19, 2011

AIM Day 19

Word Count: 6420
Song of the Day: Defying Gravity, the Chris Colfer version

You know that book, The Help?

The one that's being made into a movie?
The one that's been splayed all over the TV and the walls and all that?

It's huge, right? I want to write a book that's that big some day. I assume a lot of other aspiring authors do, too.

Fun little trivia fact: The author, Kathryn Stockett, received 60 rejection letters. It wasn't til query number 61 that an agent finally took interest in her book.

Makes you think, don't it?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

AIM Day 18

Word Count: 6420
Song of the Day: Everything'll Be Alright (Will's Lullaby) by Joshua Radin

Today I've got an odd one. Shocking, I know.

Find inspiration in a bad critique.

A few days ago, I got a critique that I felt was unduly harsh. Every tiny thing was torn to shreds, and it seemed like the critter didn't enjoy my style or what I had written. At first, I was upset. I couldn't figure out why this person was even bothering with my piece if s/he found it so horrid. A few days out now, I've come to terms with it. I know not everyone is going to like what I write or how I write it. After all the passion wore off, I decided to use the bad review to make my writing stronger.

How do you handle negative comments on your work?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

AIM Day 17

Word Count: 5856
Song of the Day: Only Fooling Myself by Kate Voegel

Watch your favorite show.

At the moment, mine is Supernatural. It's got hot men running around with sharp objects. And the one in the middle? He's my Shock, my leading male character. And he is super hot!!

All the happy hormones that come from watching the show, and watching Jared Padaleki, aka Sam, aka Shock, work themselves into my writing. I LOVE Shock, and I'm pretty sure it shows.

Which of your characters is your favorite?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

AIM Day 16

Word Count: 5572
Song of the Day: Addicted (Acoustic) by Saving Abel

Read outside your genre.

I've heard this from a number of published authors; when they're working on a project, they don't read anything in their genre. Right now, I'm writing a piece that is in the SciFi genre. Therefore, I'm reading Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling. Little different.

What do you read when you're writing?

Monday, August 15, 2011

AIM Day 15

Word Count: 5572
Song of the Day: Broken, Secondhand Serenade

My place has never been cleaner than the night before a major assignment is due. This was a new phenomenon to my roommate in Hong Kong. Apparently it's a Western thing.

I don't exactly have a school assignment due, but I am having a procedure done tomorrow which requires that I fill out paperwork about my medical history. What am I doing instead? Yep, plotting and writing.

What do you use writing to procrastinate on?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

AIM Day 14

Word Count: 5572
Song of the Day: Supermassive Black Hole by Muse

Today's inspiration: distraction.

See, that lovely weekend at the beach turned not so lovely. Unfortunately, being all pale and whatnot, I got a nice burn. Through SPF 50 sunscreen. Mostly on my legs, thank goodness, though it does make walking, and especially stairs, a bit difficult. Therefore, I'm sitting at my desk writing, bathing my legs in aloe. Yay, distractions!!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

AIM Day 13

Word count: same as yesterday
Song of the Day: Margaritaville by Jimmy Buffet

Today's inspiration is brought to you courtesy of Virginia Beach. Change of scenery! Yeah, so I'm not getting in any sort of word count today, but my characters are seemingly enjoying the salty air as much as I am and are talking much more freely. I'll have a lot to put on paper--er, screen--when I get back.

Friday, August 12, 2011

AIM Day 12

Word count: uhh...roughly 1k more than yesterday
Song of the day: Toes by Zac Brown Band

Yeah, so I'm on the road and therefore don't have access to my documents, but I got in more than a thousand words today. Yay!

Anywho my brilliance for the day: set a time limit. Those more than a thousand words today? I wrote them in two half hour increments. While answering the phone at work. Doable!

Do you set time limits for concentrated writing?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

AIM Day 11

Word Count: 4,540
Song of the Day: Rollin' in the Deep, by Adele

It's entirely possible that I'm not entirely sane.

I know what you're thinking: "NOOOOOO, really?!? Shocking..."

But, hey now. Don't go judgin' me too harshly. There's a bunch of other artistic types out there, and can you honestly say you're not the same way? I mean, honestly?

Today's inspiration: Embrace your insanity. It makes you who you are; it flavors your work; without those voices and pictures and whatnot in your head, where would you be? I, for one, would have nothing of the incredible adventure I'm in the middle of interpreting. My life would be no where near as interesting. I am partially insane, and I love every minute of it. Or most of them, at least.

Anyone else ready to admit to their insanity?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

AIM Day 10

Word Count: 4009
Song of the Day: It's My Life, Bon Jovi

I rather like today's quote over on Critique Circle:

A blank page is God's way of showing you how hard it is to be God.

Author is anonymous, but it had me rather amused.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

AIM Day 9

Word Count: 3,781
Song of the Day: Hallelujah by Paramore

Today's inspiration: switch up your point of view. I was rather not fond of a scene I wrote today. I felt like my character was acting...well...out of character. But how was I going to fix it? Write the scene from another point of view, of course!

Oh, sure. Of course. Duh.

Actually, it took quite a bit of time to figure it out, plus a number of conversations with writing buddies. But it is pretty brilliant, right? Only one of the scenes will actually go into the finished manuscript, but whichever one it is will be better, because by writing it from two different points of view, I get a more accurate characterization.


Monday, August 8, 2011

AIM Day 8

Word Count: 2,966
Song of the Day: Imperial March by John Williams

Today's inspiration: sleepless nights.

Ever spend a night staring at the ceiling because the voices in your head won't shut up and want you to tell their story RIGHTFRAKIN'NOWTHANKYOUVERYMUCH!!!?? Yeah, me, too. However, that is not the cause of my sleeplessness. (No, that would be the doctors, who are 99% certain I have Celiac, but want to do the definitive test, and therefore want me to eat all the foods I'm likely allergic to, which causes my iron levels to plummet. In case you were curious.) It is, however, making me an absolute mad scientist over my current WIP. Today, I got in a LOT of brainstorming and a good scene, plus started a scene I've been procrastinating on. And they're good! (Or, I think they're good, because I'm too tired to think otherwise. Either way works for me right about now.) (I like parentheses. Can you tell?)

While I would not suggest keeping yourself up at night just to get in a solid word count, should you find yourself sleepless, use it to your advantage. Who knows what you'll come up with?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

AIM Day 7, and Liebster Award

CherylAnne awarded this to me. She is a fellow reviewer over at Good Book Alert. Thanks, CherylAnne!!

Liebster means friend in German so this is pretty much the best award ever! There’s no tell-us-seven-things rule to go along with this award. It’s sole purpose is to connect bloggers, specifically those with less than 200 followers. Rules of acceptance and new recipients are the bottom of this post.

On to today's inspiration!!

Word Count: 2, 147 (Yes, I know...I'm stuck at the moment.)
Song of the Day: Unbeautiful by Lesley Roy

Today's inspiration: deadlines. I now have one, and I'm rather excited. My deadline is September 23, just in time for the Hampton Roads Writers Conference. My dad surprised me this weekend by telling me he'd signed us both up for it. The only agent available for a pitch only does non-fiction, so I won't be doing that, but I am entered for a critique of my first ten lines, and I'd love to have a complete manuscript to take with me. I'd better get crackin'!

So! Onto the rules for the Liebster Award

1. Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Post the award on your blog.
4. Bask in the love from the most supportive people on the internet—other writers.
5. And best of all – have fun and spread the karma.

And my winners are:

Saturday, August 6, 2011

AIM Day 6

Word Count: 2,147
Song of the Day: F***ing Perfect, by P!nk

Today's inspiration is brought to you by: the villain.

I know, right? "WTF, Trace? You batsh*t crazy?" Well, frankly, I likely am. However, this is too true!!

There were holes in my plot. I knew that. The bad guy...well, I knew I was supposed to be afraid of him, but I really wasn't, but I couldn't figure out why. Before I'd even mentioned it, a writing buddy asked about my plot, wanted me to lay it out for him. I did, and he pointed out that all my holes had to do with the villain.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Darius. Okay, so that's not his real name, but this is what my bad guy looks like. I've put a lot more thought into him lately, and I feel a lot more confident in my story now. Yay! He's actually a pretty scary creature now, all masochistic and whatnot. And he's in love with Vesper, far as I can tell. Sticky situation, this is. My villain was extremely not scary until I understood him, knew his motivations. Now that I get it? He's terrifying.

What makes your villain scary?

Friday, August 5, 2011

AIM Day 5

Word Count: 2147
Song of the Day: Call Me, by Shinedown (hmm, I'm seeing a

"When the going gets tough, the tough get going."

Everyone's heard it. It's a common phrase. I never expected to hear it in reference to writing, though. However, I now have. It's a good thing to keep in mind. When it gets tough to translate the pictures in your head into words, what do you do? Gemma  gives herself a stern talking to.

How could that help? Just "talk" yourself into making it work? Apparently, it works.

My plan for tonight? Pep talk, and then another thousand words.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

AIM Day 4

Aug Word Count: 1,759
Song of the Day: Roses by Seether

I got a lot done last night. Well, maybe not a lot for some people, but I felt like I was on a roll for a while there. Had I been able to keep going (and not, say, commute home, care for a friend's pets, check their house, etc), I could have gotten a LOT done. Alas, once again, life gets in the way of writing. ;)

I keep talking about inspirtation, I know, but yesterday, I found INSPIRATION!!!

I've heard a lot of people say "Write in order! Don't just write will-nilly whatever scene you want."

So, lately, I've been doing just that. Writing in order. Problem was...I wasn't sure what came next. I knew what happened in the middle, or three-quarters of the way through, but not "next". Thank goodness I had a writing budy who just smirked at all those "strict dilligence" kind of people and said, "Just write your candy scenes already."

What? Candy scenes? You mean like Troli Brite Crawlers, one of my favorite snacks?


Candy scenes are the fun ones, the scenes that are more vivid in your head--battles, dramatic moments, evil scenes where you make your characters squirm. You know, the fun stuff, the ones that will be a treat to write, even if it's just a rough, ugly version.

Turns out, I really like candy scenes. (No kiddin', right?) My main character, Vesper, is an assassin, and she likes to pretend she's all cold, heartless, stone woman. It just ain't true. Many of my candy scenes involve another character, Shock, calling her out on it. Shock is a very laid-back kind of guy, and he enjoys nothing more than pushing Vesper's buttons and making her squirm. This suits me just fine, let me tell you.

So, that's my inspirational thought for the day. What are your candy scenes?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

AIM Day 3

Word Count: 542
Song of the Day: Diamond Eyes, Shinedown

Today's inspiration is brought to you by shiny objects. (Actually, I just wanted to find an excuse to post one of my favorite pictures of something shiny. :) Image from Krikawa.)

Last night, I was actually able to give out helpful advice. Shocking, I know!! (I actually can't take too much credit; it was advice given to me a number of years ago. I'm just borrowing it.) I was in eighth grade and doing a project on the career I wanted when I grew up. I decided my project would be on becoming a ficton writer. I had to do an interview, and since John Grisham was unlikely to return my call, I asked one of my dad's writer friends. She answered my questions far more thoroughly than I had expected, so it took me a while to process all of it. I ended up with a nice project (which my teacher later admitted she hadn't thought I'd be able to pull off), and years later, some of the things she said in that interview stuck with me. Since this advice has been so helpful to me, and was helpful to someone else last night, I'm passing it on.

At the top of your paper/word document, write/type these words:

Gag the internal editor, hold him/her hostage, and just write. You can't edit a blank page. Better to have something, even if it's terrible, than to have nothing.

So, there's my shiny bit of inspiration for the day.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

AIM Day 2

Word count (as of 12AM): 0. I had a lovely outline set up, though.
Song of the Day: If I Die Young, The Band Perry

It's August 2nd, and therefore Day 2 of the Awesome Inspiration Month. Much fun to be had, yeah? Today's inspiration: Fans!!!

I haven't met my own personal quota in quite some time. I keep telling myself I want to write so many words in a month, or even so many in a day. No matter how much time I spend sitting at the computer, staring at the blank screen, I just don't get my word count in. But today, I found a smidge of inspiration in a fan!

Today, this fan mentioned that she couldn't wait for my next scene, or to read about some things I'd mentioned would happen in the story. She is actually excited to read the latest chapters of my work in progress! I didn't have to pay her to say that or anything!

So, that's my advise for today; find a fan, someone not related to you, someone you don't have to pay, who is genuinely interested in reading your story.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Welcome to August!! AIM Day 1

So, I didn't meet either of my goals for the month of July. *sad sigh* I got about a quarter of the way to the 20k goal. Therefore, I'm extra determined to meet a goal (any goal!!) this month. I'm going to to with 20k again, because November is coming up, and we all know what that means!!!

Therefore, I am dubbing August as Awesome Inspiration Month. Every day, I will post something inspirational, be it a quote or an article, or a song that has me writing fast; anything goes. So here we are, day 1.

Here goes nothin'!

Putting pen to paper lights more fire than matches ever will.
~Malcolm Forbes

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Book Report on the Bible

I was in need of a laugh today, and my coworker seemed to read my mind, because she sent me a really good email. (That's my disclaimer, btw; this ain't mine.)

In the beginning, which occurred near the start, there was nothing but God, darkness, and some gas. The Bible says, 'The Lord thy God is one,' but I think He must be a lot older than that.
Anyway, God said, 'Give me a light!' and someone did.

Then God made the world. He split the Adam and made Eve. Adam and Eve were naked, but they weren't embarrassed because mirrors hadn't been invented yet.

Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating one bad apple, so they were driven from the Garden of Eden.....Not sure what they were driven in though, because they didn't have cars. Adam and Eve had a son, Cain, who hated his brother as long as he was Abel.

Pretty soon all of the early people died off, except for Methuselah, who lived to be like a million or something. One of the next important people was Noah, who was a good guy, but one of his kids was kind of a Ham. Noah built a large boat and put his family and some animals on it. He asked some other people to join him, but they said they would have to take a rain check.

After Noah came Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jacob was more famous than his brother, Esau, because Esau sold Jacob his birthmark in exchange for some pot roast. Jacob had a son named Joseph who wore a really loud sports coat. Another important Bible guy is Moses, whose real name was Charlton Heston. Moses led the Israel Lights out of Egypt and away from the evil
Pharaoh after God sent ten plagues on Pharaoh's people. These plagues included frogs, mice, lice, bowels, and no cable.

God fed the Israel Lights every day with manicotti. Then he gave them His Top Ten Commandments. These include: don't lie, cheat, smoke, dance, or covet your neighbor's stuff.
Oh, yeah, I just thought of one more: Humor thy father and thy mother. One of Moses' best helpers was Joshua who was the first Bible guy to use spies. Joshua fought the battle of Geritol and the fence fell over on the town. After Joshua came David.. He got to be king by killing a giant with a slingshot. He had a son named Solomon who had about 300 wives and 500 porcupines. My teacher says he was wise, but that doesn't sound very wise to me.

After Solomon there were a bunch of major league prophets. One of these was Jonah, who was swallowed by a big whale and then barfed up on the shore.

There were also some minor league prophets, but I guess we don't have to worry about them.

After the Old Testament came the New Testament. Jesus is the star of The New Testament. He was born in Bethlehem in a barn. (I wish I had been born in a barn too, because my mom is always saying to me, 'Close the door! Were you born in a barn?' It would be nice to say, 'As a matter of fact, I was.') During His life, Jesus had many arguments with sinners like the Pharisees and the Republicans.. Jesus also had twelve opossums.The worst one was Judas Asparagus. Judas was so evil that they named a terrible vegetable after him.

Jesus was a great man. He healed many leopards and even preached to some Germans on the Mount. But the Republicans and all those guys put Jesus on trial before Pontius the Pilot. Pilot didn't stick up for Jesus. He just washed his hands instead.. Anyways, Jesus died for our sins, then came back to life again. He went up to Heaven but will be back at the end of the Aluminum. His return is foretold in the book of Revolution.

Thank God for the way children interpret the world. Otherwise, I'd be out of about 90% of my daily humor intake.

Anyone else got a funny for me?

Monday, July 25, 2011

July is Madness

Word count this month: Erm...1500. *sobs*

Song of the day: "Tangled" by Fools For Rowan

I had a dream. I dreamed that all mankind...was being eradicated.

No, seriously, I did. But it was no where near as forward-thinking as MLK Jr's. Ever seen Battlestar Galactica? I haven't seen the old one (probably because I much prefer Starbuck being a girl), but the new one? My dream was quite similar. And you know all those Battleground: Los Angeles commercials? Yup, a lot like that, too. There's a lot of apocalyptic/distopian pieces cropping up lately. (I suppose that's what you get when you have out-spoken televangelists predicting the end of the world every 6 months.)

I also have the intro to an Angel/Demon/Nephilim piece that I was planning to do for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). And then there's the superhero piece I'm going to attempt for a Samhein submissions call.

In short, my brain's in overdrive. There are so many new voices adding to the nonsense up there it's taken me a while to sort it all out. I'm still not sure I've got it in any semblance of order. It's putting a serious damper on my word count. However!!! I have a goal; I'm going to attempt 10k words this week. That gives me a goal of 2k per work day, and leaves me two extra days should I fall short. So!! Who's with me??

Monday, July 18, 2011

Traci Jo and the Epic Harry Potter Series

I thought I was gonna be all original with this whole "post after seeing the last HP movie" thing. I should've known better. In case you've been living under a rock for the past decade or so, Harry Potter is HUGE...and the last movie has now been released.

I actually cried at the 12:20 showing of the movie early Friday morning. The movie was brilliantly done, with fantastic special effects. As good as all the others were, this one tops them all. Anyone who has read the books knows just how many sad things happen in the movie (bring tissues), and I won't spoil it for those who haven't read it.

To this day, years and years later, my sister and I still argue over who introduced Harry and the gang to the family. Lemme 'splain.

For all the times I complain that my parents gave me bad genes, they also gave my brother, my sister and I some really fabulous ones when it came to brains (although my brother and I did both end up with some relatively mild learning disabilities, like processing disorders. Yay, fun.) We've always been the smart kids in class. Always. So when, her third grade year, my sister was placed in an "integrated" classroom with children who still couldn't read, she was extremely frustrated. To help out, her teacher let her read books more her level, starting with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Somewhere around this time, on the local news was a special about a book that was slowly becoming popular. My mother took us to the library every weekend, so when we next went, I was sure to check out that book. It was The Chamber of Secrets, and at the age of 11, I'd finished the book in about 36 hours.

Whichever one of us introduced the books to the family, it soon became a family tradition for Mom to read us about a chapter every night. My brother, who was seven at the time, really struggled with reading comprehension because of his disorder and didn't really like to read. After a few weeks of hearing these books, though, if Mom couldn't read to us for some reason, he'd drag me to my parents' room with HP in hand, plop down on their bed, and valliantly struggle through a few pages before asking me or my sister to read it to him.

This whole "family time" thing was precious to us. At that point in time, my father was in medical school and could only come home on the weekends. He was always exhausted, but he would curl up with us at night and either read or listen with us. Even during the week when he wasn't there, the Harry Potter books still made us feel connected to him, because he knew them, too.

We were so excited when we heard the movies were going to be made. I had a friend at that time who went to book premiers with me, and she and I couldn't have been more thrilled to see the drama play out on the big screne. Before she moved away, we went to all the HP events together, dressing up and everything. Thursday evening, she sent me a picture (which I'll post) and wished me a happy release day. We talked for a while about growing up with the books and how we were sad the series was through.

I didn't cry at the end of the movie or on my way home, but I did spend the time thinking; What an intricate, believable world Ms. Rowling created!! A single mom who wrote her story on paper napkins, she came from nothing and made something out of it. As far as I know, she didn't have any prior experience or writing classes, just pure, natural talent. She's an incredible inspiration for all of us aspiring authors. I can't think of a single writer who wouldn't love for their story to grow into a seven-book series that people grow up reading, and then have it play out on the big screne, and in 3D.

My take-home lesson from this whole experience is this: I no longer have a big release to look forward to from the epic series I grew up with. Therefore, it's up to me or one of my contemporaries to create the Next Big Thing. So, who will be the next J. K. Rowling?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Charitable Thursday

I know, I know, it doesn't rhyme, or start with the same sound, or anything cool, but I'm feeling all "give"y and whatnot, so here ya go.

I got to donate blood yesterday! I've only done it once before. All the other times there was a drive, I was sick or my iron was low, and then I did that whole China thing, so I had to wait a year. Yesterday, however, I was just fine (aside from the whole post-donation "is Traci drunk?" super giggly phase. Lol). This was a very exciting moment for me. I hate needles, but I always like being charitable and helping people out, so after it was over, I was happy.

So, here's my shameless plug for charities in general. Some of my favorites are Virginia Blood Services (VBS), Alex's Lemonade (they raise money to fight childhood cancer), American Cancer Society (another cancer one, with Relay for Life, a fun over-night event to raise money), American Heart Association (pretty self-explanatory). There's probably about a million others that I try to support when I can, but these are some of the near and dear ones. Go donate, kids. It's good for the soul.

What are your favorite charities?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Assassin Kitty

Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Assassin Kitty, a.k.a Chloe. Don't let the cutesy little thing fool you; This tiny creature kills and drags home animals twice her size. Somehow she drags birds through her little cat door. My parents haven't figured out how yet. We're pretty sure she makes Pagan sacrifices, too, because she leaves the heart and stomach on our neighbor's steps.

Creepy, right?

My parents are out of town for the weekend, so I'm "grandparent sitting". This means that all those little "love presents" Assassin Kitty leaves on the garage steps for my parents? Yeah, I get to clean them up. When I came home from work, there were a number of feathers on said steps, as well as one small unidentifiable object. I couldn't even look too close at it. However, this super-sweet-looking cat likely dug it out of some poor animal.

I have a point, I promise!!

So, my MC is two different people. Super-sweet-looking mom, Kallen, raises two little girls and works as a Trauma Surgeon. However, in her past and upon the girls' death, she is Vesper, deadliest assassin in the known galaxy. She specializes in torture, and has let me know that in avenging the deaths of her daughters I will be "seeing" a lot of blood, guts, and gore. Woohoo. Psyched. At least I'll have a little practice, huh?

What's the grossest thing your characters have shown you?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Babbling characters

So last time, I posted on how the voices in my head had stopped talking to me, and how that was a problem.Well, thanks to some writing buddies, the voices are talking again. A lot. Even when I'd rather they be quiet and let me sleep. Lol.

Yesterday, one of my characters, one that I didn't think I'd be seeing again, actually told me a little story. All of the things the characters have told me are all sad. Really sad. Like, I was afraid I'd have to find some tissues.

Moral of the story: character interviews are fabulous.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Hi, I'm Traci, and I Hear Voices (WA#3)

Words written this month so far: 370
Song of the day: Castle Made of Sand by Pitbull and Kelly Rowland

Yesterday was one of my "crazy" days. I was having trouble focusing on reading anything or writing for any period of time. Why? Because the assassin in my head was sullenly silent and giving me death glares. (No worries; I didn't actually tell anyone this. They would have tried to medicate me. Then where would I be as a writer??)

Thankfully, I have some awesomely supportive writer friends who were willing to come to my rescue (Gemma and company). They started helping me interview Vesper, my assassin, to try and get her talking. It's been helpful, in that I've found she's hiding something from me. No wonder all the silence!! However, getting it out of her has proved to be...difficult.

Yesterday I also came across several pages of notes I had almost forgotten about. When I'm tutoring, I'm supposed to "ignore" the boy while he's working, so I jot down notes on my story. These notes then get tucked into my purse, and I sometimes forget they're there while I'm running errands (bad Traci!). But I found them again! Now I just have to interpret

Alrighty, then, off to feel crazy again!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Wedding Planning

My best friend is getting married!!! This is not exactly new, as her fiance proposed in March, but after the initial excitement of "OMG WEDDING!!!!!!" wore off, things died down, and we haven't done much preparing until now.

Last week, Steph (the bride) bought her dress at the Brides Against Breast Cancer sale in D.C. It's gorgeous, and for a wedding dress it was cheap! She's having a small wedding (50 guests and 2 attendants each), so that made her happy. We're doing most of the decorating and everything ourselves.

This weekend, Steph and I went up to Maryland to visit the other bridesmaid, Kat. We all had a great time. On the way home, in the middle of a storm, Steph put me in charge of conversation to keep her awake. We talked about the wedding the whole 2 hours it took us to get back to Richmond. She pretty much has all the decisions made now, and she's booked the ceremony site. Now it's just ordering, making things, pre-wedding events, etc. Even for a small wedding, there's a lot to do! I'm so excited though. It's going to be so much fun!!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy July!!

I have an announcement...I posted my first book review on Good Book Alert this morning!! It was an intriguing YA Fantasy read.

So, today being July 1 and all, I thought I would start the month with a new challenge. Last month, I had decided to try to write 30,000 words before today. I only managed a little under 8k. *sigh* Epic fail moment, I know. But, I thought I'd try again. However, I'll set my sights a little lower.

*Ahem* For the month of July, I, Traci Ferrance, challenge myself to write 20,000 words on my current work in progress.

Anyone else up for a challenge?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Writers Anonymous Meeting #2

I received another critique the other day. I know, I know:

"Traci, you're on Critique Circle; these things will happen."

I'm not complainin', I swear! It just brought to my attention that...well, let me get this meeting started, and I'll tell you all about it.

*Ahem* "Hear ye, hear ye! Let this second official meeting of the This Particular Chapter of Writers Anonymous come to order!"

(Clever chapter name, yeah? Yeah? No? Dang it. That's what I get for procrastinatin'. All naming suggestions welcome.)

Hi, my name is Traci, and I'm...addicted to adjectives.

I know, right? Pretty horrific. I've got it bad, too! I'll list four or five adjectives to describe one single action! Geez, it's so bad, it drove me to drinking. (I had a lovely post-dinner glass of wine tonight.) Even going into a new chapter aware of my problem, I STILL made the same mistake. Granted, to a lesser degree, but it was still present. I'll be doubly watchful in the next chapter, I suppose.

So? Anyone else have anything to confess?

5 questions

So, I got tagged by Lindsey! Here goes nothin'.


Do you think you're hot?
Depends on the day. And the moment, actually. Like right now? I'm a hot mess, maybe, but definitely not hot. When I got all dressed up for my parents' 25th anniversary vow renewal ceremony, and looked like this:
(I'm the blonde, btw. The brunette's my sister.)
Oh, yeah. I'm hot!

Upload a picture of the wallpaper you are using.
A few friends and me! on the Great Wall of China.

When is the last time you ate chicken?'s been a while? It was a char-grilled chicken salad from Chik Fil A. YUMMMM...

What song or songs have you listened to recently?
Country Song by Seether

Do you have any nicknames? If so, what are they?
TJ, Teej, Hey You, Child #1 (when my mother forgets what she named me >0)

Tag 5 bloggers.

Tall order, my friend! I'm new to this whole blogging thing! But here goes...

Elizabeth Sogard, since she got me into this whole critiquing thing.

Gina Lamm, cuz she shares my addiction to adjectives.

Gemma, cuz she needs inspiration for her first blog post ;)

Cindy, cuz she gave me a "job" as a book reviewer.

Avalon, cuz that's just a cool name.

Anyone else who feels like answering 5 random questions. :) Comment if you really wanna do this, and I'll tag you!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

On Children

My current work in progress, Vesper's Call, is super dark. One of the first things that happens (or second, if I decide to add in that extra set-up chapter) is a huge bombing. I mean, HUGE. It takes out the majority of a major city. Lots of people die. Craziness ensues. And my main character, Kallen, a Trauma Surgeon, looses her twin daughters. Like I said, this piece has a rather dark tone to it.

I was working with one of the young students I tutor last night, and after we finished his daily summer work sheets, he picked Hi Ho Cherry O as the game he wanted to play. It's a simple game, nothing complicated, but as often happens, my young friend was a little distracted. This can sometimes be frustrating, because, as I mentioned, it's a simple game, so it's not much fun having to remind him that it's his turn. Yesterday afternoon, sometime around the third time I had to remind him to pay attention to the game, it hit me: while I was a little annoyed (granted, only a little--this particular little boy is absolutely adorable, and he's got a sweet personality), Kallen would give ANYTHING to have even these more mundane moments back with her kids. By the time the tutoring hour was up, my head was spinning with all the different thoughts she might have and the ways she would react.

That was my thought provoking moment for the week. Inspiration is EVERYWHERE. We just have to be open to it.

Monday, June 27, 2011


I'm all about free stuff, espeically if said free stuff helps me write better. Unicorn Bell is hosting a contest right now for a copy of "The Breakout Novelist" by the Donald Maas Agency (enter here). They also do a number of critiques of pieces that need help. I submitted a piece when they were asking for any 350 words that "just didn't work". I believe they gave me some of the BEST critiques of my life. I was only expecting one, but I ended up getting 3 different opinions on it. I cannot even tell you how helpful that was, not just for that particular blurb, but for the rest of my WIP as well.

On that note, if your WIP needs some good advice, Critique Circle is a good place to look. Not all the advice you get will be helpful (or even worth your time), but I've found that the majority of the people who take the time to critique my work have good advice, or point out things that I, as the writer, simply don't notice. Worth a look, no?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Time Out!

I don't like not writing. When I'm not writing, as I've previously mentioned, I'm moody and irritable. Well, the past few days have been not so good on the writing front. My parents spent the weekend celebrating their 25th anniversary, so there were a bunch of events related to that. I'm moving, so I've been apartment and furniture hunting. I'm fighting off some nasty bug, so I'm sleeping a lot. All in all, not so conducive to a good writing weekend. This is, however, the last full weekend in a rather long list of them. Finally, there's no one left to graduate, no more parties to plan, and I can get on with my regularly scheduled life.

Yeah, right! Life is never "normal". It was a nice thought, though.

So, I'm starting a new project! It's actually not new, but I'm the newbie to the project. It's called Good Book Alert. Independently published authors or authors who used small publishers can submit their books (not right now, though; due to popularity, the reviewers need some time to catch up!) for review. If someone from the crew thinks it could be interesting (and it's been submitted properly and meets the guidelines), he or she reads the book, reviews it, rates it, and posts the review and links to the book on the blog. It's all about finding new talent and informing the public of the good things to be found in the less-well-known areas. This is a great place to look if you want something good to read. Reviews are only posted for books that rate 3 stars or higher. So far there are about 50 reviews, and there are more on the way.

Happy reading!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Young Adult Lit and Finding Inspiration

I didn't read the article from Slate on YA lit, but my twitter feed was filled with angry authors, agents, and publishers who had. I haven't had much to do with YA since about middle school, just because it became too fast and too easy a read to be much fun anymore. I wanted more of a challenge, and thus moved on to things like SciFi and a tiny bit of thought provoking/philosophical stuff. When I saw the comments on how these ladies said it was for immature authors or took little to no effort, I was offended FOR the hard-working YA writers. I had a moment of, "Hmm, I want to write the most complex, in-depth YA book the world has seen, just to show these women up." 'Cuz I'm just that kind of person.

So there's my rant for the day. (Well, second rant of the day, actually, after this morning's WA meeting.) Moving on!

I think most authors will tell you that some days, inspiration is rather hard to come by. No matter how much you read or what you look at or where you go, nothing sparks that little train of thought that gets the ball rolling. The brave (or maybe just the less lucid) will even admit to anyone who asks that they're begging for the voices in their head to start talking again. These are the days when most authors, myself included, are positive that they need to check themselves in for Psychiatric help. (See? This is the part where Insanity is winning the battle. You're not an artist. You're a schizophrenic patient who's finally gone sane.)

I should probably mention, at this point, that many writers do indeed have "voices" in their heads. We like to call these voices "characters". Instead of spinning a tale of intrigue, or whatever nonsense we like to spew, we're really just listening to the people only we can see and hear, and recording their stories as they tell them to us. This does not make any sense to many people, such as my mother. My dad is also an author, but if we start talking about our characters like living, breathing people while Mom's around, she'll look at us like we have 12 heads. (It's highly amusing, actually. Sometimes we do it just to see her face.)

Anywho, I had a moment like this a short while back. As I tend to do when the voices shut up, I became moody and irrational. Finally, I decided something had to be done, so I spoke with a friend of mine and arranged a meeting. This particular friend, who shall remain nameless (just kidding, she's the ever-talented Rachel Wright), is an art major at JMU. I bribed Rachel with food and a promise of monetary compensation, and a few weeks later, I ended up with this!

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Qhuincey Ahislyn Isodora, stage name Qai. Drawn by Rachel in her rockstar persona, Qhuin is quite the character, and had been giving me loads of trouble. She isn't in anything other than super-rough short stories as of yet, but she was always sitting there, giving me the silent treatment and hushing everyone else when they were trying to talk to me. Like the grieving mother out for retribution (who, by the way, Rachel is drawing for me next. More pictures to come). Long story short--or, slightly shorter, anyway--I absolutely fell in love with this picture. Once she was laid out on paper and put in a place of honor or my writing desk, Qhuin finally settled down enough to give me cohesive stories through again.

So, now that I'm on to my novel in progress again (and everyone is positive that I'm thoroughly insane), it's back to writing! But I don't think I'm reaching my goal of 10k words tonight. That was a bit excessive to begin with, yeah? Thoughts, anyone?

Save the Bookstores Day (6/25) and WA

I had heard mention of this "Save the Bookstores Day" thing, but hadn't found any details, until now! This Saturday is the date, so mark it on your calendar and take the kids to a bookstore. If you don't have kids, borrow some. (Someone you know really well, preferably; it's illegal to pick up other people's children at random off the street.) If you'd rather not borrow kids, then go by yourself. However you do it, just go to the bookstore and buy a shiney new book (or twelve) to put on your shelf.

So, PSA done, on to Writers Anonymous.

Welcome to Traci's first ever meeting of WA. I'll go first.

Hi, my name is Traci, and I'm a snob. No, really, I am. I recieved a review yesterday, and I was really upset by it. Now, I get bad reviews. That's cool. If you don't like my work, I understand. It's dark and gory and evil and tragic and SciFi, which not everyone can stomach. Sometimes I even prefer bad reviews, because they help me grow and get better. What I DON'T like, though, is when someone blatantly disregards the entire point of the piece, or doesn't understand it because English isn't their native tongue and they don't try to understand it, or the have to read it (for whatever reason--say a contest) and hate the genre and don't look at it with unbiased eyes because they hate the genre. It irks me in a way I can't even explain! I always try to be unbiased. Not that I always succeed, but I do try, and I would like to have that consideration in return. I didn't think that was a lot to ask.

Whew. I feel so much better. Anyone else? Thoughts/opinions on my revelation, or revelations of your own? The podium is open!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Yesterday's "Aha!" moment

Once upon a time, I read somewhere (thought I can't for the life of me remember where at the moment) that you should stop writing while you still have something to write. At the time, my thought was, "What?!? That's insane!" When I get writing, I want to keep writing and writing until I run out of things to say and have no more words to put on the page. I keep going and going until I'm totally worn out and have no clue where I'm headed next.

Cue moment of brilliance:

Yesterday, I was forced to stop writing because it was finally time to leave work. I had my swim fitness class at the gym afterward, and I was a little worried that I would forget everything I had in mind for the scene I was working on. However, yesterday's workout consisted of lots of distance sets. For anyone who hasn't done a nice, long distance swim, once you get into the rhythm it's hypnotic. I often use distance sets to plot out what's going to happen next or where the characters are going. It wasn't until one of the last sets, a 400 meter one (that's a long distance in the pool, trust me) that it hit me; having that little bit left to write gave me a building block for the next scene. Instead of having a dead end at which to start, I had a bit of a lead into it. It was fantastic! I think I got more done in the eight minutes it took me to finish the set than I had in hours before when starting from scratch. Brilliant!

So there ya go. Stop writing before you run out of things to write.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I'm here: the party can start now.

Yeah, my family always roll their eyes at me when I say that, too. However, I'm here; I finally jumped on the blogging bandwagon. Any why, you may ask, have I not done so before? Two reasons, really.

1) Everyone has their own opinion. Don't get me wrong; that's a good thing! It can, however, lead to disagreements or arguments or whatever, and I'm not a fan.

2) What do I have to offer? I'm not that funny. (Trust me, my sister would be happy to tell you that. In fact, she'd probably pay you to sit there and listen to her tell you just how not funny I am.) I don't really have any advice to offer. (You have to be knowledgeable in something for that, and what do I know? Well, except for how to get survive college, or travel to Asia by yourself.)

In the end, however, I decided to do it anyway, so here I am! I'm a Virginia Tech graduate ('06-'10) who works a 9-5 and has a crazy dream of someday being a published author (hence the blog title). Herein I will share my day-to-day writing experience (the good stuff, the not-so-fun stuff, word count, and goals), share fun writerly things I run across, and hold Writer's Anonymous meetings, for those of you who, like me, find that your (usually) less-than-harmful addiction to words can hinder everyday life. Or just the writing part of it. Anywho, enough for now.

TTFN--ta ta for now!