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Showing posts from October, 2007

Get ready...get set....GO!

The time is almost near.

The study is stocked, fully ready. Soda pop, coffee, granola, chips, nuts, and cookies all within easy reach. The heating pad is draped over the chair for the times when sitting up is an option; the day bed has all of my favorite back supporting pillows with clean, crisp pillowcases. The kitten's cat bed is tucked under the desk. My mythological source material is lined up on it. Freshly sharpened pencils--number twos both red and black--fill the old ceramic beer stein I use as a pencil holder. Five reams of new paper, six new computer cartridges and a nice whiny new empty file folder on my desktop that is titled simply "Terella."

I'm ready for NaNoWriMo.

My fellow competitors in The Great Tea Debacle are probably ready too. It's actually kind of funny; I'll be following down my normal path of fantasy hackdom and one of them will probably write something that will win a Pulitzer. But, that is the challenge we genre writers face…

Holy Grammar Nazi, Batman!

All righty then. I have just read the WORST critique EVER. Not worst as in 'bad.' A bad critique is the one that reads as follows:

Wow. This was good. I have nothing else to say.

I mean, unless you're Homer or Dante that sort of critique is pretty much useless. No, I'm talking about a great critique on a bad piece of writing. First off, any time the critique is longer than the story it's not a good sign. Second, if the critique is the only thing written with things like proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation it's REALLY not a good sign.

But what if the critique is so entertaining in its badness that you forget what the story is about? That can't be good, can it?

I pride myself on giving good, solid story critiques. I usually leave the technical aspects to someone more qualified than I to give it, for example someone with a degree in English. Nothing wrong with a good grammar nazi; every writer should endeavor to have at least one friend who qualif…

Getting Ready

I'm still learning so much. I'm trying to get all of my techno geek stuff out of the way before NaNoWriMo. One of those things is the Technorati Profile
Technorati link that I'm posting. I want to see if this actually works. I think I have lots of interesting things to say, despite the carnie derailments of last month.

My writing cave is ready to go: fully stocked with all of the implements I need to win the Great Tea Debacle. Don't forget to check out the other participants' (subtext--losers') blogs if you want to keep up with progress.

*starts the Celina Wins gregorian chant mantra in the background*

Tonight will be yet another all nighter I fear. I have less than 24 hours to complete my rewrites and get them in. Should be interesting. Bring on the coffee! I have no fear!

Yep...those are my guts up on the table

Gee whiz. This whole review process is nerve-wracking. It's entirely too stressful to think that out there somewhere in the cyberworld, people are reading The Reckoning of Asphodel and judging it.

How do you judge someone else's work? I can crit with the best of them, leaving the grammar to someone else of course. I can critique storyline, character development, plotting or lack thereof without problem. But am I qualified to judge someone else's work and publish my opinion for anyone to read?

*shudders* Good God, no. I know what I like but I'd be afraid to toss out my tastes and back them up. You have got to respect reviewers. Even if you don't agree with what they say, you have to listen to what they say.

Granted, I've seen some gratuitous novel-shredding reviews in my time. Some reviews have made me blink. Some have made me cringe. My pseudonym received a review that had her throwing things at the wall. But this is different. This story is my baby. …

A day made for plotting

The house is quiet. All of the cats are napping, save for the kitten. She's trying her darnedest to find a way up. Her favorite pastime is sitting in an open window and yelling at birds.

Usually, when I settle in like this it's with a pot of coffee (I keep the coffee maker on my desk) and whatever survival supplies I think I might need. But today is special. Today I have the house all to myself. No one will be here to bother me. I can luxuriate in the calming environment of my study, smelling the season's first gurgles of heat as they rise from the just-lit-today furnace, and I can plot.

Plotting is what I do best. It is my passion. Sometimes I think the only reason I write is to find out how the plot is going to work out. Some of my plots are so convoluted I have to track the plots twists on butcher paper on my walls. (One of my editors last year sent me a frustrated email: "Celina, for Christ's sake this is supposed to be a NOVELLA. You don't NEED five plot tw…

Battle Scenes

So, I'm sitting cross-legged ont he day bed in my study working on the very tail end of the Asphodel 2 rewrites. I pulled an all-nighter last night and as I write this it's already almost tomorrow. And you guys don't think I sacrifice for my art...

You're right. Ain't no art when there's Elf-killin' involved and at the moment I'm up to my non-pointed ears in Elf gore. I love writing battle scenes. The only reason I know anything at all about how to orchestrate a battle scene is because of Julius Caesar. Sound odd? It shouldn't be. Try reading his Gallic Commentaries sometime. Roman strategy from a man who wept because Alexander the Great had accomplished more at a younger age.

Fortunately, I do have distractions. If the kitten doesn'tstop chewing on my removable hard drive cord sometime soon I'm going to have a fluffy white throw rug for a dollhouse.

Anyway, I'm off from work this week until Saturday night and the football game. …

A Scary Story for Young Writers...Gather 'Round

Lemme tell you a little story.

Once upon a time, there was a very ignerrent newbie writer. We'll just call her...er...Celina. At any rate, Celina had written the NGGN (next great genre novel, duh) and was just starting to poke around the internet looking for what she should do next.

(Did I add that she was pain-pill befuddled after two years of excruciating back pain? No? Well I digress. To continue...)

Just because it SEEMED SO EASY, she contacted a few agents via their online information. You know, sent out a couple of query letters and synopses (which were faithfully reproduced from sample ones online at great places like Absolute Write and Editors and Preditors) just to see what would happen.

Imagine her shock when, a few weeks later, she was contacted for a partial. Now, although most places stipulated first three chapters, this place was different. They only wanted part of one. Celina shrugged, sent it out, popped another Percocet and went back to playing Snood. Within...do I ha…

And some more not-quite-so-nice thoughts about entitlement

Okay. Rant alert.

It takes a hell of a lot to really piss me off. Yeah, I know you don't believe that but it's true. I managed to get pissed off today several times. Why, you ask?

First: if you're on a message forum don't argue with the mods. Jesus Christ -- how stupid can you be. Just DON'T. You don't prove a damn thing except how stupid you are. Why? Because you can't win. This is directly related to a situation that blew up on Absolute Write today and I have to say: it wasn't the mods' fault. None of them. They were in the right. It doesn't take the brains the gods gave a rock to know that bellowing out bullshit about how 'persecuted' you are on a website is just plain dumb. Period. End of story. But the flouncer felt entitled to speak his piece, to his own detriment. He felt entitled to special treatment because of his special position in the universe.

Now don't get me wrong: not all mods are fair. Not all message …

Birthday Reflections

A stream of consciousness ...

Why is it that my mother in law think I like glittery things? Do I sound like the kind of person who appreciates the fashion value of lame'?

Why is it easier to finish a story than to start it?

Why is it that no matter how much you think you're ahead, something always happens to put you behind again?

Carnies. 'Nuff said.

So, in the long run, is it better to be 'published' or is it better to avoid the pressure and just write for fun?

How is it possible that when I offer up my pearls of wisdom on a writer's forum, some people just don't think it's enough? Is it necessary for me to do the work for OTHER people who are too lazy?ineffectual?stupid? to do it for themselves? (and NO this isn't directed at DD)

Just someone explain how it is that I told my boss today was my birthday and he still scheduled me to work.

Presidential politics...bogus or criminally bogus--and WAY too early.

When do parents stop being parents? Will I be 70 …

Carnielicious

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Yeah, that's a little tongue in cheek.

Fair week is finally over! Hurray! And, while I soak my poor mutilated feet in salt water and try to reconcile myself to the fact that my boss scheduled me to work on my birthday so I can't take my annual trip to the mountains, it's time to recap.

First off, here's a shot of the Fairview I took the other day. The older gentleman is one of our bar regulars, who told me quite frankly that in his obituary he wanted a picture of himself drinking at the Fairview. So, I took a picture. You can see the fair going on behind him and the other good-looking fellow is my husband. You can tell he's not a carnie and I shouldn't have to explain why.
Second, for some reason the carnies love me. Many of them have followed the blog over the past couple of weeks and I have to say that as a whole, they are cheerful, funny people with a good sense of humor. I'll actually miss them...in a way. My feet won't.

Third, the weekend was beyon…

Attack of the Carnies--Part Three

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Owwwwwwwwwwww.


That's really all I have to say.

Owwwwwwwwwwwww.

Okay, so last night was torturous. The regulars were whooping it up because they had trucks in the truck demolition derby. The Fairview had a truck--a Rolling Rock truck! Gee, wonder why they picked Rolling Rock..

At any rate, they lost.

I don't think that Fair week was quite what my doctor had in mind when he said 'light duty.' By the time we closed last night, I could barely walk. Even now, I'm still lying in bed and have no intention of moving from it for any reason today--save perhaps for a long, hot mineral salted bath.

Apparently the carnies were tired too (or hungover from Monday) because they all left by a quarter of two. We actually managed to get all of our bar work done early. Although the night felt slower, it was characterized by a brutal hit at about 10:30. I mean brutal. I slammed my finger in the cooler door (it's now black--maybe that's not a good thing?) and banged my head on the ed…

Carniwars

Carniwars--(n) The act of baiting or instigating trouble with carnies.

Oh, the stupidity.

You know, despite my tongue-in-cheek contest with the carnies, I actually like them. They come into the bar, spend scads of money on food and drink, tip well, and have a good time. Sure, you get the odd butthole in the bunch, but for the most part they are well-behaved and fun to watch.

Not so the locals. Nope. Now we're seeing the beginnings of the young, dumb element of southern Ohio who show up at the bar looking to cause trouble. I actually had a guy (who's old enough to know better) tell me last night that he was hanging out at the Fairview so he 'could piss off the carnies when they come in.'

Okay, first off: not in my bar, pal. I don't tolerate assholishness when the carnies AREN'T here. I'm certainly not going to tolerate it now. Second off: why bother? What's the point? Is there any logical reason to do such a thing?

Nope. It's just idiocy--and I…

And it begins...

Last week was just the beginning. This week is the week of hell. This is fair week---and now everything is ranged against us...the poor bartenders at the Fairview. We start our shifts with locals who've dropped their kids off at the fair. We end our nights with carnies. Somewhere in between are the regulars, who either come in to watch the carnies or stay at home to avoid them. Then there are the 'others' who come in to pick fights with the carnies.

Either way, hell week is here.

I work the night of the demolition derby, the concert, the tractor pull..... you get the picture. I will be tortured with endless repetitions of David Allen Coe and Travis Tritt on the jukebox, while serving bottomless pitchers of Purrburr. Trust me--my mood will deteriorate from this point.

*snort!*

But I'll get lots of great character studies too.

Normally at this time of year, it's 70 degrees in Ohio. Today, it's 92. Normally, at this time of year, I'd be wearing sweaters.…

The Carnieczar

Every socio-political entity has a leader. Last night, I discovered that even the carnies have one. The carnie-czar, if you will, establishes himself upon a barstool in the precise center of the bar at 7 p.m. every evening. From there, he sips on double Crown and coke, occasionally switching to Corona, and disperses wisdom to the other carnies when they approach him. After a little discreet questioning, I discovered that the carnie-czar owns five of the game trailers. It is to him that the young carnies come when they're out of money.

I've been watching the carnie-czar all week. I have to say that this isn't the sort of man you'd see in the Wal-mart parking lot and think, "Aha! A carnie!" He's wrapped in some sort of strange dignity, and has avoided all of the huge carnie stereotypes: he has all of his teeth, he dresses well, he doesn't smell of cabbage...

At any rate...

Last night the regulars managed to jockey for some positions in the beer ga…

A Carnie-vore Pit

At last!

After months and months of referring to the 'mythical beer garden' that is the bar's response to the anti-smoking laws in Ohio, we finally have it! Yay! A place to serve alcohol--legally--where people can sit and smoke and drink. Our regulars were all so excited--

--and never got to sit on it.

The carnies immediately took it over. Now think about it: for MONTHS our regulars have whined and moaned and griped because they had to go stand outside (fifteen feet from the door no less) in all kinds of weather just to have a cigarette. And then, today, on the first day of having the mythical beer garden turn into reality, it's inundated with carnies.

I immediately started calling it the Carnie Pit. While the regulars stared glumly out the window, the carnies laughed, drank, and smoked to their hearts' content. Large tractor-trailers drove slowly by the front of the bar, taking the rides loaded on them to the fairgrounds, and honked at the cheerful morass of purrburr-…

Chilly con carnie

So it's hot here. Despicably hot. The forecast calls for high 80s and low 90s for the next couple of days. I am personally not fond of hot weather--and particularly not fond of sweating while at work. So, despite the fact that it is not October, I turned on the air conditioning at the bar. It didn't take long for the bar to cool off.

It also didn't take long for the carnies to cool off. Within ten minutes, all of the carnies in the bar were shivering in the frigid 78 degree air of the bar, whereas I became quite comfortable. Now, the way that I look at it is that since I'm the one working, the temperature should be at a level that I am comfortable with. That's not too much to ask, right?

Wrong.

Apparently, most of the carnies hail from Florida. They LIKE the heat. They do NOT like any temperature under 85 degrees. Oh the bitching!

"Ain't you a little cold, ma'am?"

"No," I replied, restocking yet more purrburr in the cooler.

A few minutes later…

Carniecarnage

So this blog entry I'm doing from the bar. It is reasonably tranquil--considering. Earlier this evening, however, it was not.

A lot of these carnies come back year after year. Tonight, I ran into one that gave me fits last year. You've heard me talk about zero to sixty drunks--the kind that go from sober to blotto in sixty seconds, right? Well this guy cracks into hyperspace. When he gets drunk, the entire state of Ohio is treated to a sonic boom.

So he's sitting at the bar, twirling an unlit cigarette between his fingers over and over like a baton of frustration. His eyes were narrowed meanly, staring at his Bud Light bottle. I was washing dishes when all of a sudden, he asked, "Are you the owner of this bar?"

"No," I replied.

"You just work here?"

"Yep."

"You should be fired."

At this, I looked up. "Oh really? Why is that?"

"You're not a people person."

I stared at him. Surely he wasn't serious.

"…

Carniecopia or Attack of the Carnies Part Two

Surprise, surprise, surprise. The bulk of the carnies are already here. Traditionally, business at the bar doesn't pick up until late this week. The fair doesn't start until Sunday, after all, and how long does it really take to set up a caramel corn trailer? So usually, it's only a trickle of carnies until Thursday or so--but not this year. Nope, this year we are blessed with a plethora of un-tardy carnies and they're already taking over the bar.

I didn't have to work yesterday, but a friend of ours was just hired as the new bartender so we decided to go keep him company on a slow Monday night . We figured we could watch football (wow the Bengals suck), have a few beers, and I could give him pointers over the bar as questions came up.

Imagine my surprise to find carnies three deep at the bar.

Not only were they drinking, but they were eating. A lot. Poor Josh was running his ass off cooking for a group of the unwashed masses from the RV camp across the street…