Monday, June 24, 2013

With magic, comes change.

How about that super moon last night? Well, in Santa Fe, we actually had it for two nights. Last night though, it was certainly a sight to behold. All the energy that poured out from that event...wowza. I've already felt something in the winds lately, mainly changes coming my way...but last night while watching the moon with the glowing orange ring that emanated from it, I couldn't help but make a wish. No, I'm not telling. If it comes true, then perhaps I'll revisit it and spill.
Shadow was affected by it too. Every full moon since we've had him, Shadow's acted differently than usual during that part of the cycle. I thought he was going to howl at it last night, with the way he kept gazing at the super moon. I guess I should mention that more and more lately, I feel like there's some wolf mixed in with him (I'm thinking the Siberian Husky parent of his might have been mixed). I suspected it at first when he howled and sang for the first time back in December, but with the behavior during the moon cycles as well as his newfound need to hunt (he caught and killed a small bird during Amanda's visit...he actually pounced into a bush and did so!), and feeling calm only when both Mom and I are in the house...I wouldn't be surprised if we sent his DNA in for tests and find some percentage of wolf mixed in with him. Yes, Shadow may appear more like his German Shepherd half in the spring/summer time without his winter coat, but anyone else that spends time with him can tell you that his personality is dominantly Husky (though lately the other half of him has been coming out in the watchdog kind of way...Mom and I decided that we're going to have to invest in a "Beware of Dog" sign after all).
In a way, I got my Cailean after all (this is a reference for those who have read my senior writing piece, Shadow Walker). If I'm wrong, it wouldn't be upsetting. As crazy as he is, and no matter how many heart attacks he'll give me with certain habits of his, I still love him. :)
I returned to editing book 2 when Amanda returned to the east coast. Yes, I did work during the weekend. Is this surprising? Not really. The workaholic likes to rear her crazy head now and then. I did a lot though in the short amount of time last week, and I will be working from chapter 21 today. I'm on page 336 out of 404, which means that I will possibly be done with my first round of edits this week. Transferring them to the electronic version however, is another story. That in itself could take another week, or maybe another week and a half. We'll see how my eyes feel (for those who were around for the little fiasco nearby and in La Fonda concerning my eye, I was spared from further injury and my eye feels normal again after a few days of eye drop sessions and living in my reading glasses. Lesson learned: at least wear sunglasses when near construction sites!).
I'm getting pretty antsy about my return to writing. There was a strange dream I had during Amanda's visit which actually helped gain some ideas for the Shadow Walker series, but as one can gather, I can't work on it just yet. I know some writers out there can multi-task and work on multiple storylines at once...but I can't do that anymore. My mind gets too scatter-brained now when I do, and that's more frustrating to me than my not being able to catch Yankees and Mets games out here (except for yesterday...and they still lost *sighs*). If I work on another storyline, I have to stop working on the current one. The actual process of writing is probably one of the few things where my so-called "patience of a saint" does not apply to. I know I'm about to sound like a broken record...but characters are a demanding bunch!
Again, both a blessing and a curse.
So we shall see how today's editing session goes, along with the rest of them this week. Keep the fingers crossed for me! And for those who follow my Facebook fan page, stay tuned for another story upload tomorrow! :)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Edits and guests.

Happy Monday! It's almost summertime (it's technically still Spring y'know), the weather is wonderful, the crows and ravens are chattering, and my mystery guest was none other than my college roommate and volleyball teammate, Amanda! :)

Mistress of Blackwen edits have been going well, despite my poor eyes. I'm now currently in chapter 14, on page 212. Basically, I'm a little over halfway done. I feel like I'm not getting much of the editing done, even though I have quite a bit of red sharpie marks on the pages. I think I'm just going to finish the editing session once Amanda returns back east, take a break for a bit, and then do one more run through. The editing never really ends, but I just want to make sure that everything looks as well as feels right. Then of course, I can start on Champion of Blackwen!

There's also the matter of my not doing the research I'm supposed to be doing for book 3. I'll get to it soon. To be honest, all I have left to do is just pick out names for the goddesses' familiars (I have three? Maybe four already picked out...I don't remember at the moment). The most important one already has his name so at least I have cleared that hurdle.

In case you can't tell, I'm excited to get back to actually writing rather than doing the other necessary things that'll help enhance that particular book. For shame, I know.

The roomie visit has been pretty snazzy so far. We've already hosted a BBQ, trekked through Canyon Road, and gave a small tour of the Plaza area (there'll be a more thorough tour of it today). For my usual blah sense of direction, I'm doing pretty well as a tour guide (I've had help...thanks Mom and Ashley!). Shadow's been enjoying the new company as much that he can no longer be by himself in the house. All I will say is that I have a very clever dog...sometimes a little too clever *sighs*. At least he was better behaved during the BBQ party!

I've got a pretty jam-packed week, so even if I did want to sneak away to edit, it's just not going to happen. Besides, I'm sure my eyes are enjoying the break. I need to invest in new reading glasses one of these days...

Monday, June 10, 2013

Return of the Red Sharpie.

I started my Mistress of Blackwen first draft edits last week. I even pulled the "writer stereotype" and worked at Starbucks on one of those days, just because one does get a bit stir-crazy sometimes when they work at home. It was nice though. Mom and I got some work done, and had some good coffee and madeline cookies (I really need to learn how to make them).

I've made some pretty decent progress so far with the edits. I'm currently working though chapter 10, and will resume my work from page 144. Remember, I'm working on a double-spaced manuscript now...this is going to take a long while. I've also switched up my editing process, since it seemed to be more useful during my last editing session. I usually content edit first, but now I'm doing that as well as line by line edit (like a copyeditor, but not exactly). I've picked up more errors that way, and while it takes me longer than usual, I find that it's more effective.

I've also had to keep telling myself that it's really ok if there's a page without red Sharpie scribbles. As you can imagine, that's not easy. A blessing and a curse of a writer is that we can never stop "fixing" the story. Mom has actually had to pull me back sometimes from editing, to make sure I don't destroy anything (it's sort of happened before). *sighs* I know, I know. Writer problems.

I should mention that I've finally got with the program and got myself some business cards. With Mom's help, we made something super special:

It wouldn't be a true representation of me without a raven, now would it? :)

There's a back part to it too, which has a phrase that you see even here on the blog: "Live to write and love to dream." I used to just scribble that phrase on notebooks for years, and's a big part of me nowadays. It's fun.

The plan this week is to get as much editing done as possible before Friday. That is when my "mystery" guest is coming in to Santa Fe, and I'm being realistic in terms of work while they are here. It's not going to get done while they're here, and that's ok. A break is definitely welcome for my brain as well as my poor eyes (I've been more or less living in my reading glasses lately...occupational hazard). It's also been crazy hot lately, and my escapes to the porch and yard tend to include my Kindle rather than my manuscript (it's not easy to haul a binder around without a table to work on, and giant binders are NOT fun to work with on adirondack chairs). We'll see how it all goes by the end of the week.

I've had some friends and relatives ask me again about my books and inquire as to when they can read it. I know one does not like to wait (and believe me, I'm getting antsy myself), but self-publishing is not as quick a process as one wants to believe. There are two ways to self-publishing: the easy way, and the RIGHT way. The easy way, as one can surmise, is just someone uploading their story and creating their own cover on Amazon. Most don't pay attention to the Kindle formatting/conversion, and trust me, it's not pretty to see. I've seen (and suffered) poorly handled self-published stories on the Kindle. I do not want to be that person, not when I've worked too hard on what is basically considered a piece of my soul. Copyeditors are not cheap, even with the rates they have for self-publishers. The same can be said for cover artists. This is part of the RIGHT way. Once I get those two, I have a few more processes to go through. Then, and only then will I have the books out on Amazon for you all to read, whether it is on the Kindle or via print on demand. The right way takes a lot of time, and it's worth more than taking the easy way out. Traditional publishing takes way longer. All I ask is for each of you to be patient. After all! The best things come with time, do they not? :)

Monday, June 3, 2013

Two sides of a coin.

I didn't get to see Game of Thrones last night due to a dinner with friends, but from what I've seen from my friends on Facebook, I can only assume the Red Weddings have begun. I shouldn't be that person...but I'm going to be - I TOLD YOU SO *cue maniacal laughter*! I did warn people beforehand that if you hadn't read A Storm of Swords, you'd be in for a doozy this season, heh. I'll be catching the episode later on today. And again, if you hadn't read the books really might want to start doing so.
So there was another reason why I missed Game of Thrones last night:

A very late hour and a half later from dinner, I printed out the first draft of book 2 (of which I shall begin editing later on today). Yes, I've got 404 double-spaced pages and 107,096 words to get through. It's exciting! I'm already really proud of this book, so I can only imagine what I'll get from my initial editing process. Wish me luck! And wish me even more luck on keeping my focus on this book rather than trying to start book 3.
So I'm nearly done de-New York-ifying myself. I had the full intention of vegging this weekend...but then the beautiful weather started rolling in. Unfortunately, it is also the time where the wildfires here start. It's never fun being able to see them from your front porch, or on your walking adventures around town, but that's just how things go out here. Don't worry though; Mom, Shadow and I are still doing quite well, and we've been lucky so far concerning the smoke in the air.
The other "surprise" of this weekend was actually going to a Santa Fe Fuego game. Many know that last year, I practically lived at Fort Marcy Park because of the games/friends. This year...clearly that's not the case. Also, last year we lived rather close by to the park; this time around, we're on the other side of town. Even so, Mom and I still made it early to the game. Last year, one of the pitchers used to come to the gate and greet us when we made it to the park; as if time hadn't passed, the same thing happened (he is one of four returners from the previous season). He even called us out by stating, "This is your guys' first game of the season...isn't it?". You can imagine the nervous laughter that came from Mom and I. I knew that this season wouldn't be the same as last year; independent baseball leagues do have a high turnover, and well...the Fuego last season finished in last place. It would have been a miracle if a lot of the guys returned to play this year.
Even the atmosphere at the park was vastly different from what I remember. Our friend said that the team now was a little bit better from last year, even with the few kinks they have to work out, but from what I saw...I don't know if I agree just yet. It was strange for me to see the jerseys of those I knew and hung out with last summer on people I didn't know, and while I wanted to give the new guys a chance...I still found myself saying some not so encouraging things. When I saw the centerfielder miss some catches, I kept saying, "Archie would have gotten that." When the catcher overthrew to the second basemen, I kept saying, "Palmer and Kieran would have made that throw." Awful, I know. I can admit though that I will have a hard time "replacing" the original Fuego boys with these new guys (I miss them, heh). It was even saddening to see how more involved the coach seemed in this current team than the ones last year.
There were other things I didn't quite agree with while watching the game, but I'm not even going to mention it. This is all really from an observational standpoint. They're pretty good offensively...but there's still some work to be done defensively. It doesn't help that Magers Field is the dream of every hitter, since the field is the smallest in the Pecos League. Maybe I caught an off game, I don't know. I'll just have to see when I catch another game sometime. I can support the guys I still know, after all.
There's one more thing that has been bugging me lately in the world. I'm sure everyone by now has learned about the whole craziness behind the Cheerios commercial. Y'know, the one with the biracial girl? The one with the "White" mom and the "Black" dad? Yes, I'm going to go there. What is wrong with people today??? Multiracial families exist! *sighs*.
For those who haven't quite figured it out yet (because clearly we still live in a world where people cannot accept the sight of multiracial families), this picture is of myself (when I was still naturally dirty blonde) and my cousin, Stephanie. I am Polish (Mom) and Puerto Rican (Dad). I am a visibly Caucasian woman who carries a Hispanic last name (Rodriguez). Nowadays I get questioned less about my heritage, oddly enough because my hair is dyed black...but the point is, people could not quite figure things out whenever they knew my last name, and whenever they saw me with the Puerto Rican side of my family. There was a time where a clearly rich, and VERY snobby elder woman questioned my father about me. She actually asked him, "Where did you find her? Is she a runaway?". She refused to believe that he was my father. 
I can speak Polish decently enough, but do not dare to think that I am fluent in Spanish. I lived in a Polish household, and spent every other weekend/vacations in the Spanish one. My Spanish teachers HATED me because I could not learn to speak it. No matter all the dictionaries, videos, and computer programs my family got me to help, I just could not learn anything. Sadly, the only thing I could pick up were the curses...they were usually the same among the variety of Hispanics that lived in my Dad's neighborhood in the Bronx. I actually had more ease learning Japanese for a year than all my years of trying to learn Spanish. My Spanish teacher in high school had a verbal jousting match with my mother; he yelled at her for not taking better care in my learning Spanish because of my last name. She yelled back saying that I lived with a Polish woman...NOT in a home where both parents lived. Needless to say, I was very miserable in his class. The fact of my being the sole freshman in that class of sophomores and juniors wasn't enough to make him think that I was trying my best to learn.
I should also mention that I was the only "White" Hispanic girl on my high school volleyball team. That was always interesting...even in the college days when they would announce my name and then drop in shock when I was the one who ran out on the court.
It wasn't very easy for me, growing up. I was put through quite a bit of misery in elementary school - I never forgot the "Fake Spanish" teases I got from the Hispanic children. I never forgot the "White Girl" insults from my peers everywhere but college. When I was getting signed up for elementary school in Queens, the people working there STILL tested whether or not I could speak English well enough, even with the harem of Polish women behind me. I remember even telling the person testing me that I was done with her; she was too busy being a bigot rather than appreciating the fact that a 4 year old could read without making a mistake. 
Even with all of that, I am proud to carry Rodriguez as my last name. It's who I am, after all. It's not exactly a secret that my father and I aren't on good terms right now, but it does not mean that I want to get rid of something that means a lot to me. I'm sure things would have been even crazier if I held my mother's last name, which is Sznajdrowicz. Yes, I can pronounce that perfectly. Even so, I would have loved that last name as much as I love my current one. I happily ignore the people who ask me if my volleyball jacket and Dig Pink jersey (which each have my last name) came from a thrift store. I ignore the people who make fun of me for not even being able to speak the language (not for nothing, but I can comprehend SOME of what is being told me at least). When I first saw the Cheerios commercial, I was super happy seeing a biracial family. This is a reality...and people who can't understand that need to leave the rest of us alone. America is the "melting pot", is it not? If one were to trace their lineage back as far as they can, I'm sure they will discover a melding of races.
To those who are still fighting that commercial, I've only a few words to say to you. From a biracial woman to you bigots...GET OVER IT. This is the real world, and we are not back in the times of racial segregation. Stick to your own lives, and we will stick to ours.