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Unseasonably Blown Away

Originally published at Joely Sue Burkhart. You can comment here or there.

[Comment this week to win Lynn Viehl’s Darkyn series, including her latest release, Evermore! Details here.]

Here in tornado alley, we’re used to tornadoes. In MAY. Not January!

We were up several times last night because of tornado warnings in the area. Within 30 minutes of us (north and west up I-44), two people were killed. What that CNN report doesn’t cover is the damage to Republic’s schools (about 20 minutes from us to the east), homes destroyed in Highlandville (10 minutes south of us in our county), nickel-to-baseball sized hail, flooding, and straight-line winds that blasted through here between 3:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. That’s when we actually got everybody huddled in an interior hallway. The windows rattled, the roof groaned, but everything held.

We’re all miserable this morning. Even though we only had two “dangerous” times last night–one between 10:00 – 11:00 p.m. and the other 3:00 – 4:00 a.m. — the tornado sirens went off it seemed like continuously. They are not even a block from our house. Yeah. The damned thing might as well have been in our living room, it was so loud! MM was a basketcase, shivering, teeth chattering, about to throw up she was so scared. She’s never done well with loud noises.

So we’re groggy this morning but no damage, thankfully. (Needless to say, I didn’t getup D&E to write this morning!) What’s the worst weather you’ve had recently?

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Book Giveaway: Lynn Viehl’s Darkyn Series

Originally published at Joely Sue Burkhart. You can comment here or there.

You’ve seen me gush talk several times about how much I loved Lynn Viehl’s Evermore. Now I’m giving you a chance to find out yourself why I love the Darkyn series so much, and in particular, Evermore.

This isn’t a series you can really start in the middle, because the characters introduced in If Angels Burn are still important players in the main story arc. For example, if you start with Evermore, even though it’s my favorite of the series, you’ll miss out on Alexandra’s unexpected little vacation at Dundellan that ends in Night Lost.

So I’m going to give away the entire Darkyn series.

To be entered, comment on any of my blog entries (except Thursday Thirteen–unless you specifically say it’s okay to enter you on that day) between now and Jan. 13th. The more times you comment, the more chances you have to win. Alternatively, you may also e-mail me once at joely AT joelysueburkhart DOT com if you don’t want to comment on the blog. I do not retain your name or e-mail address after the contest ends.

I’ll have the monsters pick a name and announce the winner Jan. 14th. Anyone on the planet may enter, even if you’ve won something from me in the past. Just be patient with me until I make it to the post office!

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Monster Pictures

Originally published at Joely Sue Burkhart. You can comment here or there.

Birthday Girl (age 9)

Day of Upward basketball – first game of the season

(MM’s first game)

She looks a little scared…

But Papa brought her birthday presents early (her birthday is 1/10)!

I’m Littlest Monster. I’m cute and I know it.

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Bourne Overload

Originally published at Joely Sue Burkhart. You can comment here or there.

Today is Princess Monster’s birthday. The big 9 year old played basketball this morning, as well as Middle Monster (her first game). It was great watching them both, although they played at the same time on side-by-side courts. It was kind of like watching a tennis match, back and forth, back and forth. :-)

Papa from Mexico made it down for the games, lunch, and movies. We started with The Bourne Identity. Then watched The Bourne Supremacy while eating pizza for supper and birthday cake. Then… Of course we couldn’t send him home without watching The Bourne Ultimatum. What a fantastic movie trilogy! The only thing better would be to have watched The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Not much writing done, other than dumping my ordered (but not sequenced) notecards in the floor and having to put them back together.

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Friday Snippet – Arcana

Originally published at Joely Sue Burkhart. You can comment here or there.

I don’t really have “new words” to show yet because I’m developing a major revision plan for RHP, the Fast Draft novel I did March 2007. I’m close (supposed to be done by 1/5 on my 2008 schedule, but not sure if that’s gonna happen yet!). Now titled Arcana, this project might just be the one that kills me. I’ve consulted nearly every “how to” book under the sun to come up with the best way to handle this revision.

What’s the big deal, you ask? I wrote 51K in 11 days, a “complete” first draft. Now I have to take that mess, figure out what to keep, fix all the things that developed mid way through and lay all that groundwork, AND somehow nearly double the word count. Piece of cake, right? I just couldn’t SEE the story in my head. I wrote it once. My brain insisted it was done. Normally, I’d polish what I had, fix the grammar, tie all the loose threads, etc. but that won’t work for this story. Fixing what I had might have added 10K. It wasn’t going to add 30-50K, which is where this story needed to be.

After months of confusion and anxiety, I finally stumbled across First Draft in 30 Days by Karen Wiesner. There’s a nice section that descibes how to take an existing work and develop an outline/revision plan for it, even if you didn’t start with an outline in the first place. I’m not doing every single step as recommended, but the general idea is helping me tremendously.

One thing FDin30D recommends is a “Day Sheet.” I’ve created a “Block” several times, showing the scene number, POV, and a title that might only mean something to me, but the Day Sheet goes a bit further. It shows the day (duh) as well as the total number of scenes at that point for that particular character. Add some color coding by POV, and at a glance, I can see the balance of threads building in the story.

Another thing I was having problems visualizing were the threads: characters, themes, elements, subplots. Especially the difference between a thread I already had in the first draft but needed to fix, versus a brand new thread that needed to be brought through all the story as I went. Another spreadsheet to the rescue, which I’m calling the Theme Sheet. Add to that the Outline (built from “Story Capsules”) and my 100 or so notecards, numerous notebooks and scribbles, and you can see I’m having a TON of fun with this story with nary a “new word” in sight.

So I think all I’ll show today is a chunk of the Day Sheet. I’m still working on it. The titles might not mean anything at all to you. I might change it a dozen times yet. But it’s rather interesting to see it taking shape.

Day Scene POV POV Count Scene Title
1 001 Emmaline 1 Hysterics
1 002 Nevarre 1 Book Under False Pretenses
1 003 Emmaline 2 Surging Magic
1 004 Violet 1 Sisterly Spat
1 005 Emmaline 3 Boring Country Dance
1 006 Aubrey 1 Taunting the Raven
1 007 Nevarre 2 Sleeping Guardian
1 008 Emmaline 4 Some days…
2 009 Emmaline 5 In the Library
2 010 Nevarre 3 Nocturna School Must Close

I’ve got over 40 scenes in the tables and I’m only about 1/3 of the way through my index cards….! Maybe I created a few too many plot elements. ;-)

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Thursday Thirteen (TT#51)

Originally published at Joely Sue Burkhart. You can comment here or there.

Thirteen Goals for 2008
Since I blogged about 2007 for TT#50, I thought I’d make a list of some of my goals for 2008. What do you hope to accomplish in 2008?

1. Write every day. This is tricky, because not every day is going to yield new words, even if I’m working really hard on a story. That’s okay. When I’m in draft mode, I want 1K a day. Otherwise, I’ll be doing some part of writing every day, whether it’s career related (updating the website, requesting reviews) or revisions.

2. Write 300K.

3. Write another draft of Arcana (formerly RHP), polish in first quarter 2008, and query.

4. Write another draft of Night Sun Rising (the NaNoWriMo novel), polish in second quarter 2008, and query.

5. Editor revisions (completed the third pass 12/31/2007, so this one’s close!) and promotion on The Fire Within.

6. Editor revisions and promotion on The Rose of Shanhasson.

7. Editor revisions and promotion on Beautiful Death.

8. Develop a revision plan to extend Letters to An English Professor from long novella to single title length.

9. Finish a first draft of ANTs (may get bumped to the bottom of the list, but it bugs me because this story is 75% finished).

10. Write The Road to Shanhasson (not sure of timing yet).

11. Write at least one short story to give away as a free read.

12. Revise the website for quicker downloads and easier maintenance (done last night!).

13. Read 52 books.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here! The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It

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Hello, 2008

Originally published at Joely Sue Burkhart. You can comment here or there.

A new year is a new beginning, but often fraught with regrets about the past year. I regret that my diet plan has gone out the window and I pretty much have to start all over again. I regret that I squandered a few months last year and didn’t write a thing. I regret that I never made it to the theatre to see Clive Owen in Shoot ‘Em Up.

But hey, it’s a new year, a new chance, a new beginning. (And Clive is on DVD.) I don’t do “resolutions” really; I set goals every month. But January does give me the opportunity to sit down, think ahead, and try and guess what the year will hold. In the 2007 farewell, I wrote that I wanted to write every day, consistently. That’s the key determining factor for the year’s success.

My goals for 2008 are as follows:

  1. Write 300K.
  2. Finish the second draft of RHP (now titled Arcana) and submit.
  3. Finish the second draft of NSR (the NaNoWriMo novel) and submit.
  4. Write the second book in the Shanhasson series. I could call this “second draft” since I do have a first draft of the story; however, I wrote it back in 2003! Needless to say, a few things have changed since then.
  5. Decide what to do with Letters, and thus with ANTs. They’re my “Bubble” projects for the year.

Of course, I’ll also have editor revisions and promotional activities for The Fire Within, The Rose of Shanhasson, and Beautiful Death. I need to get excerpts on the website, prepare ARCs, request reviews…

I’m also going to exercise more and work on a more balanced approach to food and health.

Here’s to a crazy, exciting, busy year!