07 December 2011

I haven't vanished into the void yet.

Everybody in the whole WORLD is probably going, "Where the heck is Melinda? We are sweating bullets waiting for her next blog o' wisdom!" Well, shucks, y'all, I'm trying to write a story which means "let's try and stay off the internet ... oh crap she's on Twitter again."

This is me, writing. I am actually a beagle.

Actually, I wanted to post some chicken pics but then realized that all the chicken pics I have on this computer are old.

This Wyandotte, for example, is full-grown and is now laying nice brown eggs.

This has been a random post, brought to you by Procrastination: For when you should be looking up agent info but want to write a bunch of random stuff instead.

13 October 2011

In the interest of family history....

I was astonished to learn that my great-great grandfather (Casper Salmen of Sutton, Nebraska) got into an altercation with a man armed with a knife! Grandma never mentioned this.

This might be boring to those of you not related to me. If you would like to see some more exciting posts, esp. those relating to chickens, scroll down.

However, if you would like to see my great-great grandpa trounce this little troublemaker, scroll down to the third selection; that's where all the action is.

P.S. This happened in 1893, and Casper, born in 1835, was 58 years old when he was trouncing this fellow. Not bad!

22 June 2011

It's Manifesto Wednesday!

I want to write strong novels that are exciting and fun and sell a million copies. Just like everybody else in the world. Scary thought, ain’t it? Not to mention that it will never happen.

Then I thought, Remember back when I was a kid? I wrote because it was exciting and I loved to make things happen. I loved writing just as fast as Emily the raccoon ran as she fled the coon hounds, my pencil barely keeping up with her flight. I was a kid who wrote adventure because she WANTED adventure. In my stories, I ran like crazy everywhere I went. It was great.

Then I read So You Want to Be a Wizard when I was in junior high. Holy crap. This exciting, complex world of magic captivated me. The dark world that Nita and Kit fell into was this incredible intense place that they had to fight their way through. Talking stars and predator sports cars and everybody running like hell all the time. I’ve been reading it again and it’s still crazy awesome great.

I want to write stuff that calls up this same quivery excitement I had back then.

The nice thing is that I’ve been writing in earnest since 1995, so I have this huge warehouse full of experience, plus years of writing stories and articles and beating deadlines. I’ve written 50 million novels, resulting in four finished, salable novels. Since I started at Hamline, I’ve been accelerating, becoming more wily, learning more tricks of the trade.

The problem for me … is trust. Even with my skill, I don’t trust myself to succeed. Why? Because that bossy old-woman brain of mine keeps barging in and saying, Don’t do it like that, this is wrong, this is boring, this’ll never work. You’ll never write strong novels that are exciting and fun and sell a million copies.

Let’s quash that voice. I’m going to start a new partnership, right now. Where’s that kid I once was? Get her in here. Kid, I have a crazy idea for you. You write the stories with me. Give me stuff you’re crazy about, stuff that you’ve always wanted to do. Put it in a story. Make sure there’s lots of running and drama and maybe a few explosions. Mix in some scary stuff. Then you and I will pitch in together and fix those puppies up. You and me, we’ll make these stories the coolest dang thing that anybody’s ever seen.

The way to win is to not be boring.

The way to not be boring is to have a ton of fun.

Not so much fun that the neighbors call the cops, but you know what I mean.

So let’s do it.

06 June 2011

Starting a new story!

Sometimes when you go walking in the woods, you're ducking under pawpaw trees and dodging gooseberry tangles, which is normal, but then you came to a big fallen limb all overgrown in a thorny tangle and it's blocking your way. So you have to backtrack, or go off to the side until you find a way around it, and then you move forward again. And then you come to a place where the hill is too steep and you don't want to slide down the thing on your butt, so you backtrack and go off to the side until you find a way to go forward again.

That's what writing the beginning of this new story is like. I write for a little bit, but then I come to a halt and the story is just not going anywhere, okay, so what would happen if I backed up a few paragraphs and changed this? And then I go forward a little way, and then errk! Stop! This is not working. And then I'm like, well, instead of Eyestar standing next to the door fighting the grasshopper army, why not have the main character there instead? So I back up and rewrite that bit, and it is cool, and then I'm going forward again.

And just like walking in the woods, I know the direction I'm going, but I don't know what I'm going to see along the way so I keep my eyes open for birds and mushrooms and animal tracks and wildflowers and look for surprises. And despite the little trailblocks, or the occasional tick crawling up the inside of my jeans DIE EVIL TICK, I know I'm going to have fun while I'm out and about.

Aren't you supposed to be working?

I'm still on the internet after an hour of looking around at websites and basically screwing around. I'm getting ready to write a whole new story and I hate jumping in.

It's like when I was at the pool yesterday with the kid and her buddy. I'd stand on the edge of the pool, hot, wanting to jump in, but hating the shock of the cold water, so I would stand around for about five minutes, watching people, until I got out of my own way enough to hold my nose and just step in.

So much fuss over something so easy. And yet I'd do it every time.

As I am now.

All the same, I hate wasting my own time. I think about President Truman working those 18-hour days in the early days of his Presidency, and what am I doing here but screwing around because I'm scared to start. "Imperfect action is better than perfect inaction," as Truman used to say.

So let's do it.

31 May 2011

Interesting times afoot.

I have finally hit some luck. (Though technically I worked pretty hard for it!) I sent out my novel, What You Can't Take Back, and right after that, six agents requested the full MS. Crazy!

That pretty much knocked my socks off. With my previous novel, I had 68 or 74 agents pass on it and nobody even requested two pages.

But I have been in a tizzy all last week because BEA was going on and there was just nothing but radio silence from these agents. I keep having to distract myself so I don't have to obsess over this, because obsessing at this time is unhealthy. Even though my brain keeps going THEN I WILL JUST BE UNHEALTHY, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Bad brain, go lay down.

I'm just going to have to make myself play it cool. Good things are going to happen, either now or later, though it might be later. But I think I'm going to get an agent this time around. *deep breath* I hope so, anyway.

Okay, back to work.

23 February 2011

General life update.

work! work work work worrrrrkkk! workety-work work! also chickens.

That's about all that's going on here. If somebody could come over and clean my house for me, that would be dandy.

22 February 2011

Waiting for spring ....

Because that means that I'll get new chicks!

I have only three chickens right now -- two of them are young hens and good layers (they're Black Sex Links) and one is an older hen who is STILL molting, a Buff Orpington. I had two Red Sex Links, but both of them were killed by dogs. Naturally the ones that get killed are always my favorites. At any rate, when the feed store stocks chicks again, I want to pick up two Red Sex Link chicks and see if the Buff Orpington will foster them.

Here's the Buff Orpington:

Here's one of the Black Sex Links.  You know why these are "sex links?" It's really cool. With the reds, when you cross a female Leghorn with a male Rhode Island Red, the male chicks are white and the female chicks are red. They're color-coded when they hatch! The same goes for the blacks, except the males are black with a little white patch on their forehead, while the females are all black. So if you want to buy layers only (fearing that a little rooster would probably disturb the neighbors!), that's a good way to go.

"How dare you take a picture of MOI?"

Hee! I'm pretty crazy about chickens. Bet you couldn't tell.