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!