Wild Wild Western Bride
Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
2,878 / 90,000



Friday, December 30, 2005
My house is looking really good right now. Even though Shriek wasn't able to make it, another friend from NC came down with her two girls. They only stayed one night and left late yesterday afternoon, but the kids had a fantastic time together -- no major meltdowns! A and I had so much fun talking that we were up until 12:30 Wednesday night.

We met when we were stationed at Langley AFB in Hampton, VA, and we lived in the same neighborhood. Her eldest was just a few months older than mine and she had just had her youngest. In fact, we arranged for my dd to go to her house when I went into labor with ds. Living in Hampton was great for me. We were finally out of the hell-hole known as Ft Polk (if an Army wife won't go there, you know it's bad!), I was finally working my way out of the pit of PPD, dh worked less than 10 minutes away and was home every night with almost no TDYs, much less deployments. It was a great neighborhood, too.

A was part of the informal mom's group that we formed in the neighborhood, so we got together almost every week at someone's home -- major incentive to keep the house tidy. After a while, it even got so that we'd just pop over anytime and at least once a week, we'd be on the phone at 4pm saying "What are you having for dinner?"
"Us, too. You bring yours, we'll serve ours, and we'll get everyone fed with a minimum of fuss." Those were the best dinners.

She lives in Fayette-Nam now and let's just say she has a unique outlook on the place. She's extremely intelligent with a quirky sense of humor and she says I'm one of the few people who make mental leaps in the same direction she does. Being a childhood geek apparently serves me well in my friendships.

She was my friend while I was pg with ds and then the following year before we all PCSd to different parts of the world.

When I went into labor and had ds at home, her dh was the one who came to get dd.

She never made me feel like a freak when I had Bell's Palsy and helped me keep my sense of humor when I had to hold my lips together to suck water through a straw.

She took the kidlets when I had two wisdom teeth removed on the same day.

And when I had both my ingrown toenails removed on the same day the next week.

We nearly killed ourselves laughing when I told her how, 5 weeks postpartum, I leaked breast milk through my taffeta evening gown at the squadron Christmas party.

It was so great to see her again.

I wish Shriek could have been here, too. Keep her in prayers as she heals and her dh as well. Apparently the crash injured 3 other people and he's really torn up about it.
12/30/2005 08:16:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 3 Comments


Saturday, December 24, 2005
First surprise -- My buddy Shriek was in a car accident on Thursday and is some banged up. Out of hospital now, but very sore and with a neck brace. Their van is a total loss. Prayers are greatly appreciated. They may or may not come down to SC for the holidays, but I think it's unlikely.

Second surprise is much nicer -- I somehow managed to tap out two pages of BBW this morning, before I heard about Shriek. The narrative is stilted and awkward and the POV feels weird, but the story is moving along. As a matter of fact, everything up to and including today's work needs lots and lots of editing, but I'll do that later.

To do today -- wrap gifts, brine turkey, make sweet potatoes and possibly dessert.

12/24/2005 10:40:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 3 Comments

Pretty artwork

Friday, December 23, 2005
Swiped from Cece.

What Color is Your Soul? {8 results + artsitic pics}

Your Soul is Blue - Calm, hip, easy-going. You are a very chill person, and try to stay worry free. What's the point it fear and stress? You like to sit back, and roll, just taking one problem at a time, and doin' it with style.
Take this quiz!

Quizilla |

| Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

12/23/2005 08:36:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 4 Comments

This Christmas Thing is Killing Me!

Monday, December 19, 2005
I am sooo tired! But I'm getting there. Finally finished shopping today. The kids are done -- I hope. I'll need to check their stash soon. And the house is coming together.

My very best friend from college is coming to visit for a couple of nights after Christmas, so I have to pull it all together pretty quickly here. And yes, for the shape my house is in, a week isn't much time.

Anyway, I hate to shop. I truly do. But I figured it had to get done sometime so I got everyone ready and out the door at a good hour this morning and drove clear across town to The Big Mall. Now, there are several other, smaller, shopping centers that are closer, but this one had what I needed. While there, we got sucked into the black hole known as the Build-A-Bear Workshop. So now ds has a new green froggie named "Mac" and dd has a new little outfit for her bear.

As a consolation prize to myself, I hit the local UBS on our way home and finally, finally found a copy of Linda Howard's MACKENZIE'S MOUNTAIN. I'd been wanting to re-read it for years, but hadn't found it again. Of course, I forgot to look in the re-issued anthologies. Duh. (I hate it when my kids say that.) But I pulled in a respectable 5 new books, so I'm content.

My back hurts from moving furniture yesterday, my head hurts from shopping and thank God we're having leftovers tonight.

No new progress on the wip, but that's only to be expected. When my brain stops feeling like day-old oatmeal, I'll post something smarter or funnier or snarkier, but today I'm just too flippin' old to be interesting.

Oh, and I weighed myself yesterday and realized that I haven't been this chunky since I was pregnant. At least then I had an excuse.
12/19/2005 05:02:00 PM : : Sela Carsen : : 4 Comments

More thoughts on writing short

Wednesday, December 14, 2005
I just read two anthologies, one about 10 years old, another published just last year. They were similar in that they both had themes, and all the stories were quite short. They each had at least 6 or 7 stories from different authors -- no authors in common -- and they must have had a word length of probably no more than, say, 15K words. That might even be a little generous.

Anyway, I think it's interesting that people who can write perfectly wonderful novels can't seem to master the art of just telling the damn story. I read stories that had subplots just bursting out of the seams. I read stories that, even for me, just couldn't make me believe anything about the characters.

One of the difficult things about writing short romances is that there's a huge burden to make readers believe that two people who don't know each other from Adam can make it to something leading to a HEA at the end. A lot of people say the task is made easier if your H/h already know each other, but I tend not to write reunion or best friend stories or what have you. I love first meetings -- the weirder, the better for me. I think that perhaps for that reason, the short story reader needs to be able to suspend disbelief a bit more than the novel reader. If you start with a first meet, unless you stick one of those "Three months later" headers in there, you have to go from 0 to 60 in just a few short pages. That's tough.

I think it gets even tougher the more erotic the story is. I read a Lori Foster short that succeeded, even though probably a third of the word count was their first sex scene. Even though I'm not an erotica writer, I'm going to posit that especially for a short story, the sex is less important than the sensual tone.

Another thing that challenges the short writer is that by the end the reader needs to feel like the story is truly done -- that it wouldn't necessarily be better if only it was 80,000 words longer. Personally, I often read novels that would be a lot better as novellas -- blah, blah, blah. Yoicks.

Angela Knight made a very good point in an article she wrote several months ago about writing novellas -- you cannot save the world in a short story. You can conquer one villain, you can solve one problem, but you cannot change the universe. Make your problem fit your story. Vice versa, you can make your story fit your problem. As I said above, I've read plenty of novels that were mostly padding around one smallish dilemma. Of the short stories I've read in the last couple of days, several had this problem. Too much stuff was happening. Naval battles, the hero was blinded, she had to help him retain his position as captain of his ship (!!) and she was pregnant in the epilogue scene. Good grief. Pick a problem, just don't pick ALL of them!

Some of the stories were simply not to my taste -- no big. I don't expect to love every portion of an anthology. The one thing I often learn in a story collection is not just which authors to look up, but which ones to avoid. A certain Grande Dame of the Native American romance (**coughcough*C.E.*coughcough**) made me laugh out loud as I read one of her stories.

And not in a good way.

Granted, it was in the older anthology, but have writing styles changed so much in 10 years? "You dare not touch me in that way," she hissed. I kid you not. That's a direct quote. I nearly hurt myself.

All this navel gazing is by way of getting me back to my story, which is currently stalled. Not for long, I'm sure, I'm just having trouble sitting down and writing. The constant Pantzer problem -- what's the next word? I may not even be able to get much more writing done until January. School is out on Friday, so I'll be crawling with Monkey Children for the next 3 weeks or so.
12/14/2005 10:38:00 PM : : Sela Carsen : : 9 Comments

The Book and I

Sunday, December 11, 2005
Meme about me and books. Briana, apparently bored AND in labor at the same time, decided to peg me as a victim of this meme.

1. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD is the best book ever written. Bar none. Nothing else has ever come close and it's hard to imagine that anything ever will. The writing is the perfect combination of lush but never purple, tight but never harsh, and powerful but never condescending.

2. I have nearly $200 in trade-in credit at my local UBS. When I'm on a reading streak, I go through nearly a dozen novels in a week.

3. I read SHO-GUN in 7th grade because it was the biggest book in the school library. I didn't get it. I read BULFINCH'S MYTHOLOGY because it was the second biggest. I totally got it. I'd always loved mythology and that cemented it.

4. I'm a series slut. In that same school library I read every Jim Kjellgard BIG RED book. I then progressed to all the Walter Farley BLACK STALLION books. I still feel the need to read every book in a series, even the stinkers.

5. My very favorite book of childhood was a beautiful copy of EAST OF THE SUN, WEST OF THE MOON, a collection of Norse fairy tales. I loaned it out to someone and never saw it again. I still miss that book.

6. My favorite fairy tale is BEAUTY AND THE BEAST and I collect different versions of it. Robin McKinley's BEAUTY: A RETELLING OF BEAUTY AND THE BEAST is my favorite, followed closely by her ROSE DAUGHTER version.

7. I also have a small collection of truly artistic pop-up books.

8. I don't remember learning to read. My mom has never been able to keep up with my reading and so was never able to censor it.

9. My dad was a reader -- he loved Westerns and owned all the Louis L'Amour books. I own his collection now and still reread the occasional favorite like RIDE THE RIVER.

10. I don't remember my first romance novel. It might have been Nora Roberts' IRISH THOROUGHBRED (a keeper) in college. In keeping with that OCD series thing, I later bought nearly every re-issue H/S made of her books in the mid 90s. My interest in writing romance was probably sparked when I interviewed Christina Dodd for a piece in the Boise State University alumni magazine.

11. I've always loved short stories and novellas. I think they're an art form that is in decline in genre writing. Given a choice between reading a ST and an anthology, I'll almost always pick the anthology. Possibly, however, the reason anthologies are fading in popularity, is that so few people know how to write good novellas anymore.

12. I think being an actor has made me a better writer. Shakespeare's plays had a huge influence on me as both an actor and a writer. Edmond de Rostand, too.

13. If a book is on Oprah's list, there's almost no chance that I'll ever read it. I think the woman has some major psychological issues and it shows in her unbelievably depressing choice of reading. Won't suprise me in the least to see THE GULAG ARCHIPELAGO show up on that list someday. That's the most depressing book I've ever read. It even beat Camus' THE STRANGER, which was truly awful.

14. I have a hard time reading in the sub-genre in which I'm writing. For instance, if I'm writing a Regency, I can't read them. If I'm writing comedy, I can't always read one. Jenny Crusie, gut-buster that she is, makes me feel hijously inadequate. Oddly enough, this doesn't apply to paranormal because so much of it comes down to world-building and my worlds are never the same as another author's.

15. The last book I read was Jude Deveraux's FOREVER. It was good, but not great.
12/11/2005 05:34:00 PM : : Sela Carsen : : 12 Comments

What's Up With That?

I can't write on the weekends anymore. I've spent the last couple of days staring at the wip, thinking that maybe I should write something. Cuz, y'know, that's what I do. I'm a writer.

Nothing. Nada. Zip, zilch, zero.

The bedroom won't work for a variety of reasons.

I should take the Alphasmart into the living room, then, right? Ah. You have apparently forgotten about the Monkey Children. If I leave this spot -- this one right here -- then they descend upon me like ... like ... give me a minute. I'll think of something good.

Baking has yet to occur, although that was the stated project of the weekend. I even had the kitchen tidy for a while yesterday. For a while. Then I cooked and destroyed it again. Seems to me like cooking is inimical to cleaning. I can do one or the other, but not both. Since I'd rather eat than clean, the choice seems simple, but in order to cook, I HAVE to clean.

Dude. This housewife thing sucks. I can't win.

Anyway, I've been considering the nature of comedy again. The current wip is billed as another paranormal romantic comedy. No zombies this time. But is it really a comedy? What makes something a comedy? It starts out somewhat suspensefully, although I think I need to step that scene back a bit and slow it down -- too rushed. So, aside from a kind of tongue-in-cheek tone, it's not really laugh-out-loud hilarious. Does it need to be?

Does a comedy need to be fall-down funny to be called that? Or will an overall cock-eyed view of the world be enough? (And that pun would only be intentional if I wrote erotica *gg*)

Like monkeys on a bunch of bananas? Too wordy.
Like dung beetles on a ball of poop? Too gross.
Like trolls to a flame war? Too cyber-obscure.
12/11/2005 10:44:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 8 Comments

Hum de dum de dum

Thursday, December 08, 2005
My printer is whooshing out fresh pages as I write this. I love that new paper smell. I had to break into a fresh box of paper to print out DEFINITELY NOT QUITE DEAD (I'm still not overfond of that title). That means that the full -- 103 pages plus the cover letter -- is going out to Nadia today. Today.
12/08/2005 08:36:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 5 Comments

A bit lonely now

Tuesday, December 06, 2005
I'd forgotten how much space a dog fills in your home, even from across the room. The two dogs are at their vet's office now in the hope that the vet will recognize them. It turned out that their computer crashed a while back and they lost all their records from March-July this year, so these dogs have no cyber-trail. The black one was obviously familiar with the place (terrified, poor baby), so I have hopes that this scheme will work. They said they'd call with updates.

Man, I miss having a dog. We're just not set up for pets in this house, but I think we're all agreed that on our next move, we're getting a dog. Maybe even two. I'd always wanted puppies, but after this experience, I'm more inclined than ever to get a rescue dog.

Update: The vet recognized them and the owner came right away and picked them up from the vet's office. YAY!!
12/06/2005 01:28:00 PM : : Sela Carsen : : 6 Comments

Building Good Karma

I was supposed to go to my book club last night, but I did some pet rescue instead. The plan was to pick up dd from her Girl Scout meeting, drop her off at home and then be just a little bit late to book club. Very good plan.

Except for the dogs. Now, I am currently dogless -- a sad state of affairs. But there were two dogs hanging around with the girls as they got out of their meeting. Cold, wet and miserable, they were also still fairly clean, not skinny or skittish, and extremely well-behaved. They had rabies tags, but no name tags, so I called the vet's ofice, which was closed. I called their emergency number and asked them what I was supposed to do with these guys. They asked if I could keep them overnight and try the vets again in the morning.

So, like a schmuck, I said, "Sure." Same thing I answered when dh mentioned he'd like to have a second child. "Sure. Why not?" Idiot.

Anyway, I was able to pick up the little one, an elderly black cocker spaniel, and put her in the back of the truck. The big one, a golden retriever/lab mix, jumped in after her and we came home. They bedded down in the laundry room and I went out and bought a bag of dog food. They're even housetrained, so I took them out last night and again this morning. They seem to adore children, so I'm not worried about my kids.

I've called the vet this morning and had to leave a message -- I hope I'm able to find their owners through the rabies tags and return these darlings to their home.

So there's my good deed for the day. I'm praying this whole situation can be resolved this morning. These poor guys are tired and confused. I don't blame them.
12/06/2005 07:25:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 4 Comments

Thank you!

Sunday, December 04, 2005
I still get occasional aftershocks of glee about the request! With my mom here, I haven't had a lot of time to fiddle with it -- thank goodness for the weekend. But I did check over the ms yesterday and I'm playing with the author bio thingy. Yikes.

But I do want to say thank you to everyone who commented on my last post. One of my eHq buddies, Shara Jones, said, "This, from a lady who was jelly last year at the thought of subbing???" Yep. I was sure that this story would never go anywhere. And terrified of rejection. Just shaking in my shoes at the idea.

Now. I could still get rejected. This is, after all, only a request to read more of my material. But I'm out there. Finally. The story has a chance to be read and that's all I can ask for.

Have a great weekend!
12/04/2005 08:04:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 2 Comments


Welcome to selacarsen.com
Copyright © Sela Carsen
Website Design by Haven Rich