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« September 2009 | Main | November 2009 »

12 posts from October 2009

Oh, Wow. October 31, 2009


Thank you to all who donated. We know you, and we adore you. We can give you hugs and thank you in person.

But there is one person we DON'T know, and that person was instrumental in sending us last year, too. L.R., we'd love to thank you, if you'd let us. You've blown our minds AGAIN with your generosity, and I woke Bethany up this morning (she was quite hungover, from her annual Halloween bash) to tell her the awesome news. We'd adore it if we could send you a little Nano token of thanks. If you'd prefer to remain quietly anonymous, we'd understand, but if you change your mind, please contact me. You've made our month. Also, you've given us the motivation to WRITE OUR LITTLE FINGERS OFF, starting tomorrow. So thank you, so very, very much.

And speaking of Halloween, Lala and I went to Beth's party as Harry Crane and Joan Holloway from Mad Men. What do you think?


I Got Your First Draft Suckitude, Right Here --->October 30, 2009

I've been looking back at last year's post at this time. Did you know that last year I thought that I had my Nanowrimo novel plotted out? From beginning to end?


Good lord. I am so naive.

This year, though. I totally have Nano dialed. Dialed, baby. I've been plotting in dispatch with my coworkers, and it's been a total blast to plot with people who aren't normally writers but who are going to be for the month of November (I've corralled them into the Nano madness -- YIPPEE!). They're GOOD at it, too. I love to watch people's faces as they sit around saying "Well, what if this happened? And then what if there was a plane crash? Or if she was pregnant? And then there was a fire? And NINJAS?"

I love this kind of excitement. Remember, no matter what, if you're writing Nano with us, or if you're writing a short story, or if you're just idly thinking about writing something someday, it doesn't have to be good. At all. It can suck. It probably will and should suck. But then you have something to work with, right?

(As I was sitting at my desk this morning, at four am, wondering what in the bleeding hell I was doing sitting there at all (it was one of those mornings), trying to write a sex scene set ON THE BEACH FOR THE LOVE OF CHRIST, I was telling myself that. It's okay for a scene to just be the worst thing ever. It's all fix-up-able. Later.)

Meanwhile, in Nano-news, my sister Bethany is fundraising again for the 2009 Write-a-Thon Fundraiser, and I'd sure appreciate it if you considered sponsoring her. HER LINK IS HERE.

All the money goes to the Office of Letters of Light, the machine behind Nano and the Young Writers Program, which is all about promoting writing for writing's sake, anywhere, everywhere, all the time. They are seriously rad and we love them and they do so much.

(If she raises two hundred, she gets to go. If she raises three hundred, she TAKES ME WITH HER as her guest. Ahem. I really, really want to go. So with all our hearts, thank you.)

Bethany as really cool sailor, ready to write. I'm holding on tight so as not to drown if the boat goes down. Not kidding.

Drumroll, please! October 27, 2009

With two guest appearances:

The winner (J.A.) has been notified by email, and what I didn't say in the video (I was just so surprised!) was that she was in my very first ever critique group, back in undergrad days, almost fifteen years ago. She was one of the very first to ever, ever read my work. It's so . . . fitting. (But I also wanted it to be you.)

That was really fun. I think I'll like this giving things away gig a lot.

Kisses. And a growl from Digit, because that means love in his language. (Really, it does.)

Sign Up!

Last chance! For romance! No, not really. There's always more time for that. It's just time for you to sign up to be on my mailing list! I won't spam you, sell your list to ANYONE and every month I'll give a little something away to someone on that list, just for fun, because I think that would be fun.

And TONIGHT, I'll draw the winner of the How To Knit a Love Song ARC! In the meantime, you can sign up right here (if you haven't already):



Okay, come back later! I'll tell you who won! (I'll email the winner, never you fear. I hope it's YOU!)

NANO IS COMING. Feel the rumble.October 24, 2009

Ahhh. It's getting closer. Can you feel it? The rumble of Nanowrimo, growing closer and closer, with every passing day.

That would have been a more effective sentence, had I not typoed at first the "fumble" of Nanowrimo, growing closer and closer.

And fumble might be closer to the truth.

I'm trying to get okay with the fact that I might not win this year. Since I first started this crazy Write a Novel in a Month thing, and this will be my fourth year attempting it, I've won every year (winning is writing 50,000 words, no matter if the book is done or not, which in my case it never is).

But this year? Ack.

I'm writing Book Three in the Cypress Hollow Yarn series, and I'm loving it, which is kind of weird. It's hard, naturally, because I find first drafts difficult. First drafts are like knitting really, really long sleeves. I don't like them. They are unwieldy and unnatural. Edits (and backs and fronts of sweaters) are where it's at.

I plan on hitting 50,000 words in Book Three this week (and I only started it 6 weeks ago! Woot! Cruising! See? And it's super fun.)

But to throw another novel on top of that one? AM I INSANE?

One word: Yes.

I heart Nanowrimo.

I love the energy of it. I love the craziness. I love the out of control optimism that is COMPLETELY gone by the middle of week two but comes galloping back by end of week three. I love Chris Baty and his tallness and I love the Office of Letters and Light and all the people that work there and make the world a better place. I love the refusal to believe by so many that it can't be done. Because it can.

I love that there will be people who will have won by the second or third DAY. Put THAT in your writing hookah and smoke it.

So this year: It's a Young Adult paranormal for me. IN FIRST PERSON PRESENT TENSE. I know. The form voted most annoying at her novel prom, right? (Second person wasn't even invited, so we can't talk smack about her, no matter how much we want to.) I'm so excited I could just spit. It's such a break for me, so far away from anything I've ever written, and I sometimes can't sleep for thinking about it. I'm going to write at night, and I'm going to write fast and hard, and not let it take away from my "real" writing which I do in the morning. But I know that there are a couple of really scary things this November to think about:

1. If writing the YA affects my voice in Book Three, I'll have to stop writing it. Period. (But it'll just put it off for a while. It will happen.)

2. If I don't have time, I don't have time. I've never tried working full time, twelve hour shifts (and plenty o'overtime as well), writing 2000 words a day on an ongoing project, and 2000 words a day on a new project. That's a lot of words. It might not pan out.

See me making preemptive excuses? That's not like me. I HATE to lose at anything. You might have already noticed. But I don't want to do what I normally do, which is to hurl myself at something so hard I end up breaking myself into little upset pieces. I'm going to have fun, that's all. If I'm not having fun, that's another good reason not to do it.

But I'm gonna give it my best damn shot. And I get my aim from my mama, friends.

Funny aside: I was emailing Erika and she mentioned she thought I should enter a challenge where the goal was to do nothing. After the screaming inside my head died down, I figured out the name of this challenge: Nono. HAAAAAAAAAAAA!

I Forgot To Tell You October 22, 2009

That I blogged over at PensFatales about BLOOD (It's October. We were feeling gory). But that was a few days ago, so you'll have to read through a few other great entries by my fellows Pens to get to mine, and then I hope you'll keep on readin.'

I have this image in mind: Someday, we're going to be at something, an industry gathering of some sort. A writer's convention, RWA, or RT maybe. The Pens will be bunched up somewhere, laughing, probably admiring Sophie Littlefield's fishnets, and people will point and says, "Look! The PensFatales. Did you see them? They're over there. Man, is that a lot money, prestige, and good looks all in one place." Another person will say, "You go talk to them." "No, YOU go."

Meanwhile, we're just being dorks. But we'll look cool from a distance. That's a nice dream.

In closing, a parting knitting shot -- working on Fiona Ellis's Bonnie from the Twist Collective -- I'm doing it in the round with raglan shaping because I really didn't like those set-in sleeves. Using Mission Falls, and I'm adoring it. I just attached the arms, and now it's HEAVY and slow. I love this never-ending yoke time.


Proof I still knit

How To Win A Love Song ARCOctober 18, 2009


You would think it would be easy, wouldn't it? I think people hire other people to set this kind of thing up. And I could have. But I'm stubborn and I like to do things on my own. Gets me in trouble sometimes. But now I have total control over that mailing list and you know what that means?

Next week I'm giving away a copy of HOW TO KNIT A LOVE SONG (in galley form).


Your chance to read it, far in advance of all your friends who sadly (VERY SADLY) have to wait till March 23rd. All you have to do to be in the drawing is sign up for my mailing list! You may have already received an email from me (in which case just click on that link in the email and you're all set -- Oh! and check your spam filter if you think you should have got one -- it might gone there) or if not, JUST CLICK HERE to sign yourself up.

BONUS: Every month I'll be giving away a little something, randomly, to someone on my list. Just for fun. Because, no lie, I love my readers. You already know that.

Not to get even more sappy, but I gotta tell you this. So this last week I've been making this email list. I didn't have a good method for keeping track of people last October, when I announced I'd made the sale to HarperCollins, so when people told me they wanted to be on my mailing list, I'd just label them in my gmail account with the label WRITINGLIST. Highly technical, I know.

A solid year later, I've been copying and pasting each and every email address into an Excel spreadsheet. As I've been doing that, I've been rereading each email. Oh, my goodness. You all made me cry again. I'd almost (but not quite) forgotten that giddy head-over-heels complete sense of disbelief I'd had when I'd made the sale. The lifelong dream coming true. Published. A real author.

You all made me realize that all over again. Some of you have been with me since the very beginning of this knitblogging journey and some of you are relatively new (hi! I'm nice! I like salt a lot and I'm not good at sleeping although I'm getting better!). But you're why I come back to this space, again and again, and I thank you. I adore you.

So once a month, I'm gonna put something in the mail to someone. It might be you. In fact, I hope it is. (Sign up! I won't sell or share your email, ever, I promise.)

I'll draw a winner next week, on Monday, October 26th. Yay!

CLICK HERE to sign up (or put in your name and email and hit JOIN again if you're unsure if you're subscribed -- it'll confirm it for you -- I'm the kind of person who likes a little extra assurance.)

CravingsOctober 16, 2009

I have such cravings this morning:

  • for sushi.
  • for pot roast.
  • for spinning something soft.
  • for a ride on a vaporetto in the fog.
  • for sleep.
  • for writing.
  • for more coffee (I can fix that one!).
  • for scrambled eggs (that too!).
  • for ice cream (chocolate, with caramel sauce).
  • for sitting on a foggy beach.
  • for an early night and sweet dreams.
  • for popcorn and a movie.

Oh, that list just made me happy. What are you craving right now?


The last of the tomatoes and a very, very funny carrot.

Balance Ain't For WimpsOctober 12, 2009

I'm working this month (okay, let's make it this year) on balance.

I'm not the best at balance. You may have heard.

I have a slight tendency to work too much. I overdo things.

Wait a minute. I just had a thought. Why don't I overdo fun? Why isn't that true of relaxing? Why can't it be that I say that about relaxing? God, that is SO NOT TRUE. I'm the queen of flipping on the television, watching seven minutes of something, then pausing it in order to go do something (vacuuming, or brushing the dog, or checking email). Then I come back and watch four more minutes before I stop to do something else.

I exaggerate a lot -- I do it often, and I do it well. But that, up there, is not an exaggeration. TiVo tells me exactly where I pause, and it sometimes astonishes me to find that after I feel like I've been watching TV for an hour that it's been literally seven minutes.

I put OFF relaxing. I find every single thing that has to be done and I do it. Therefore, the relaxing is often the thing that doesn't get done.

And I'm trying to get better at it. I have friends who cock their heads to the side and say with kindness on their faces, "Oh, Rachael. You have to stop." They're right.

Even now I'm postponing pleasure. I know I have an Amazing Race episode just sitting on my TiVo, calling my name, and I'm loving putting it off (but that counts, doesn't it? As pleasure? That delicious sense of anticipation? I always save the good stuff for last. Always have).

But hell. I'm gonna go watch it right NOW.

Balance. Work. And fun. In the right proportion. (Like roast chicken and potatoes and brussels sprouts! In the oven right now! Making the house smell delicious! Lala isn't happy about the b. sprouts, but she is just wrong. They are so good. And I will eat them all. Oh, happy night. And the rain is coming. Knitting. With a storm outside. While I'm on the couch. See? That's some relaxation, right there. Woot!)

EDITED TO ADD: It is exactly two hours later. I am NINE minutes into The Amazing Race. We have had dinner.. Lala ate a brussels sprout and did not die. She cut up the chicken, which she is a champion at, and at which I royally suck. I have had one glass of wine. There has been no knitting, but I've done a load of laundry, cleaned the kitchen, done the dishes, changed my Twitter picture and made my Twitter background page WAY busier than is good for anyone, and scrubbed the toilet. Headed back in to Relaxation Station. I mean it. Here I go.

Fall RoombaOctober 8, 2009

Oh, god, this is the best time of year, isn't it? I can smell leaf-smoke right now, as a matter of fact, and I'm drinking it in. (Okay, it might actually be barbecue smoke, which is kind of more likely. But I'm telling myself it's leaf smoke, and I'm sticking to it.)

Just last week we had that first perfect day where the air never really got warm, and the wind kicked up, and the leaves blew in eddies on the ground. Now, I know I live in Northern California, and there are some that would argue that I can't lay claim to any kind of real seasons because of that, but I would argue this: I think that makes us better at season detection. We have to be. No great clues tip us off -- we just get the slightest temperature dips, and small color changes to tell us that changes are afoot.

And fall -- I MIGHT HAVE MENTIONED THIS -- is my favorite. How can it not be everyone's? That smell, the sound of the wind, the early nights, the look of houses in early evening with their lights on, people moving around inside (yes, I'm a peeping Tom, but not in the creepy way), the preparation for winter to come, the thoughts of sweaters to be made, the laying in of wool...

I seriously can't wait. Every year I feel like I want to dig my fingers into this time, to hold on tight, to not let it slip past without noticing every second. (It strikes me that that's part of fall knitting, isn't it? The urge to grasp and hold that feeling. Which is why we DON'T do it so much in the summer, I suppose. I'm trying not to hold anything in summer at all, except ice cubes and drinks made with gin.)

Makes me want to squeeze a Digit who might be getting a belly:


And in other not-important-to-anyone-but-me news I got my Roomba back! Life is so much better again! Mr. Roomba had broken for the umpteeth time, and for the umpteenth time, I'd taken it back to Costco to exchange him. God bless the Costco exchange policy, because as much as I love that machine, it's a badly made piece of equipment that fails often.

However, one day, Costco DIDN'T carry it. They gave me my cash and said goodbye. I almost cried. Tumbleweeds started to blow through the house again, even with the frequent aid of the Dyson.

(One favorite moment from when Cari was visiting last weekend -- they'd entered the house to raucous animal activity, and Thumper looked at the animals which were bouncing in their hordes as they do, and his eyes widened and he said, "It's CRAZY in here." Yes, child. Yes, it is.)

Then, one day, not only was the Roomba available online at Costco, but it was a hundred dollars OFF! AND, when it was delivered, they sent it with four extra brushes (the piece that always broke that necessitated the return). My theory is that they have my name flagged at Roomba HQ -- they saw it come across their desks and said HEY! She's back! For the love of god, throw in those brushes! It'll slow her down! (Really, though -- if you clean it out everyday when you get home, and speak nicely to it, it'll make you very, very happy. Even though it tends to shake itself apart every four or five months. I love it.)

Bonus Venetian gondolier hat shot!


Hat actually purchased in Venice! I'm sure it's totally authentic.

Not Very GracefulOctober 6, 2009

Oh, gah. I hate the new Typepad, for so many reasons. Have I mentioned that? They let me keep the old one for a long time, but it looks like they've finally made me make the move, and in protest, come visit me over at the PensFatales! (We're on a schedule over there, have you noticed? I get every other Tuesday. Keeps me honest. Today's word is Grace. It was a tough one, and I got it there, but I'm not feeling it here.)

Seriously, Typepad. I'm about to break up with you.

What scared me when I woke this morningOctober 1, 2009

Willie, sleeping on one of Clara's squirrel toys.


No, really, that would make you jump, too.

Happy October, everyone. You know what that means. Time to start thinking about Nanowrimo! Skedaddle over there now and get signed up, and then start plotting! You can think about your ideas all you want, just don't start the actual writing until November 1st. (Confession: I went to their headquarters the other day and dropped off an ARC of How to Knit a Love Song for Chris Baty, because I lurve him and I wanted to show him his name in the acknowledgments and I got a hug and told him how much he and Nanowrimo as a whole mean to a whole lot of people. I had a Moment. He was very aw-shucks about it. I was a goose. It was teh awesome. I shall now go follow him on Twitter because I realize I never have.) 

(I have something that I'm DYING to write about during Nano, but I'm not sure about writing two different books at once. I'm kind of interested to see if I can do it. I'll keep you posted.)

Edited to add: I think I could do it. Write two books at the same time, I mean. (Lala, at this point, is panicking. She's thinking about what I'm like normally and she's REALLY hoping I don't take on this challenge, I bet. BUT I LOVE A CHALLENGE.) But think about it. I only write in the mornings. I am NOT a night writer. I'm dumb at night. I don't even usually write in the afternoons. Too stupid, too brain-dead. So what if I *did* use that time? To write the Nano? I'd use my normal writing time, my smart time, to write the contracted (oh, sweet contract) book. I'm well into that one, and it's going well. But at night? To screw around, writing Nano, which is just for fun, anyway? Doesn't that sound like the equivalent of writing candy? SO ATTRACTED to this crazy idea.