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Happy No More Cancer Day!!!

Friday, September 29, 2006
Two years ago today (or was it yesterday? So quickly we forget) I had surgery to get rid of cervical cancer!

You know, so much has happened since then that I hardly think of it anymore. I remember when it haunted every step I took, when everything I did revolved around cancer.

I was really lucky. No chemo, no radiation. Just surgery. And easy surgery at that. It was easy for me, at least.

It's only on anniversaries like this that I take the time to contemplate it and count my blessings. Early detection in the form of a regular exam -- Get Your Pap Smear! -- followed by a team of doctors who moved quickly to intervene and find the best way to cure me. It went like clockwork. Three months from first detection to surgery.

Anyway, I just had to take a moment to remember.

Happy No More Cancer Day!!!
9/29/2006 05:08:00 PM : : Sela Carsen : : 8 Comments

I'm here

We closed on the house today (God's getting a good chuckle out of this situation). So we're officially homeless. Eh. No big. I'm considering us more "in transit." And just having made this step, I feel soooo much better! One task behind us, one in front.

I got another review! Man, I'm just raking them in! I'm so grateful to the reviewers who have taken the time to read NOT QUITE DEAD, I really am. This one is from Kathy Samuels at Romance Reviews Today:

Who knew hanging out in a cemetery could land you the man of your dreams?

Funny, sensual, and thoroughly enchanting are the best words to describe Sela Carsen's NOT QUITE DEAD. Secondary characters add depth and some humorous moments, but the story is all about the budding romance. A well-paced plot, a handsome hero and a cheeky heroine make NOT QUITE DEAD a great book and one not to be missed.

9/29/2006 04:45:00 PM : : Sela Carsen : : 2 Comments

I'm here, but I'm not

Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Checking in from the library as my computer is not set up at temporary housing yet. Movers are putting all my boxes on the truck today, tomorrow is house scrubbing, Thursday is carpet cleaning, Friday is closing. It may be a few more days, then, until I get back to you!

Have a great week!
9/26/2006 11:15:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 5 Comments

Updated my website

Thursday, September 21, 2006
Go check it out here. I added a couple of pages with my reviews, the blurb on NQD, some links back here to a couple of my Monday Meanderings. I did it at 2 am yesterday, so if you find any errors or misspellings or funky links, let me know.
9/21/2006 10:14:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 9 Comments

What do you call it...

When everything is piling up on you at once and there's no space to breathe and every time you MAKE time to breathe, you feel selfish and lazy, so you snag a quick half a breath and dive back under?

Well, whatever it is, that's me right now. Being selfish and lazy and snagging a quick half a breath before I dive back under.

We've designated the huge master closet as the hold baggage area. That's where we'll put everything we need to survive the next month or so.

The kids seem to be in complete denial. It's not real for them at all yet.

*sigh* But by Thanksgiving, I will be in my new home, mostly unpacked, the kids will be in their new school.

Speaking of jobs, I'm considering, in a vague sort of way, going back to work. Ick. I have two bachelor's degrees and am qualified to do almost nothing. *sigh* Better start looking, I guess.
9/21/2006 08:03:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 4 Comments

Moving to St Louis!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006
I know. It doesn't sound nearly as exciting as ... well, as just about anywhere. To some people, it probably sounds like the armpit of hell. But it isn't. I've already lived in the armpit of hell and it's in central Louisiana.

We'll be in transit for quite a while until a suitable house is found on the other end, so after this week, I'll be blogging on an irregular basis. It depends entirely on where we go in the meantime.

Unfortunately, we can't just drive out there next week and wing it until things settle. The children will be much better off for staying here, in their familiar school, until we have an address to go to. Surprise, surprise, however. I can actually put my hands on their vaccination records and birth certificates. You see, when we moved here, I had to go scrounging and scrambling for copies because I'd very cleverly put the originals "somewhere safe." They were safe all right. I couldn't find them to save my life. Somehow, they turned up about a year ago, so I've told dh where they are. If he knows, then we're safe.

In any case, lots to do today and very little of it involves writing.

9/19/2006 10:00:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 9 Comments

Monday Meandering: Vision Is Highly Overrated

Monday, September 18, 2006
I'm nearly blind. My vision is 20/400 and that's in my good eye. Sometimes, very early in the morning, when it's still dark out, I forget. It's my only level playing field. If I'm fumbling around, then everyone else is, too. Until someone turns on the lights and then I'm the only one lost.

But this isn't about my personal experience with optometry. This is about writing.

What would your character do if he/she were blind? Take that one sense away and what
happens? They have to learn to do other things, manuever with their other senses. The ones we too often forget about: Scent, Hearing, Taste and Touch.

I'm sure many of us have read this advice before -- to use all five senses. But I don't think we all heed it as we ought. I once read a snippet of something where the writer crammed all her sense information into one sentence at the beginning of the passage, then proceeded to get on with things. It was as if she said, "Whew! Glad that's out of the way. Now I can write."

Not exactly layered writing and I gleefully pounced on her for it.

New writers love using scent as a touchstone (pardon the mixed metaphor). They liberally spray their heroine with lavender or roses or lemon and then proceed to whack us over the head with how they smell every single time the woman walks into the room. Subtle, it ain't. Then everyone got tired of using the same scent over and over, so it got weird. People went all herbal on their heroines and suddenly they smell like calendula and juniper. Please. Let's not go there. And how do you smell someone from across the room unless they dipped themselves in scent? Ick.

The exception to this might be if one or both characters are extremely scent-sensitive, like a were-wolf or something. They survive by their noses.

Hearing is underrated, I think. JR Ward used it well in Lover Eternal when Rhage listened to Mary's voice to calm his beast, but that's the only book in recent memory that used sound to deepen character. I love sound. Not just the beating of hearts, but the flow of voice. I mean, sound is practically a character of its own in The Little Mermaid, isn't it? The prince fell in love with the mermaid's voice, not with her.

To use sound efficiently, you have to listen, too. What are your favorite sounds? What do they mean? Think abstractly, too. What does autumn sound like? Then use those aural images to deepen your characters and your setting.

Taste. I cook. I don't taste my food while I cook. I know, that's weird and I don't know why I can't do it. It's like if I try it before it's done, I won't be able to appreciate the whole. I have a hard time using taste when I write. It seems so very scene specific to me. It works in love scenes sometimes, but sometimes it just makes me go eeewww. Of course, if you could write one of those 9 1/2 weeks food/sex scenes, that might work out well. You're on your own with this one since I've no useful advice to give.

Touch. Touch seems obvious in love scenes, but it can inform so much more than that. Touch is vital when you turn off vision. When I was a new mom, it was easy for me to get "touched out." To the point where I felt like screaming when dh came home and hugged me. Too many hands on me. Sensory overload.

Now that the kids are getting older, though, I find that I miss it. I touch my family constantly. I fluff my son's hair, which is thick and straight. I put my hand on my daughter's smooth cheek. I run my fingers over dh's arm, through the rough hair, down his fingers.

But touch isn't just about person to person. Anything that has texture can add texture to a scene. Running through the woods is about getting smacked on the shins, about getting scraped by brambles, about resting your hand on the bark of a tree. Step into a stream to cross it and not just is it cold for that moment, but if it gets in your boots, it get heavy and hot and raises blisters. When your hair comes loose, the strands tickle and itch and stick to your skin.

That's all touch and it all makes the scene deeper and richer than just running through woods.

So, next time you're writing a scene and it feels a little sparse, close your eyes to discover what other senses you can employ to make your characters leap off the page and wrap around your reader's heart!

9/18/2006 12:54:00 PM : : Sela Carsen : : 5 Comments

On Not Sucking

Sunday, September 17, 2006
I am just going to have to break down and admit that I'm a good writer.

Jayne at Romance Junkies just gave me a 4.5 Blue Ribbon review:

NOT QUITE DEAD is one of those books that will keep your attention and a smile on your face. Sela Carsen shows an undeniable amount of skill as a writer, NOT QUITE DEAD is highly entertaining and uproarious to read. It is a pleasure to get the chance to read such a lighthearted book.

I had no idea I was uproarious. Chuckle-worthy, certainly, but uproarious? That's cool.

You know, I keep waiting for the one review that's going to kick my feet out from under me. I know it's still out there. After all, I did send Not Quite Dead out to Mrs. Giggles. I'm sure she'll knock me down a peg or two.

But how sick is it that I'm waiting for someone to tell me how much I suck? Is it just me? Am I that narcissistic? Passive aggressive? Pathetically needy?

I hope not, but I do this a lot. I tell myself that I'm not very good at something, even though I know I am. Maybe it's just protection. If no one expects much of me, then it's no surprise when I get slapped down. It's always much worse if people think I'm really good at something and I get knocked on my ass.

In other news, the move is upon us. The movers arrive Friday to begin packing us out. They're under the mistaken impression that it will only take 3 days. HAH!

That means that by next week, I'm not sure where my computer will be. I'll try to keep checking in, but it may be sporadic.

Tomorrow's Monday Meandering will be on Vision: Highly Overrated.
9/17/2006 06:41:00 PM : : Sela Carsen : : 8 Comments

Friday News

Friday, September 15, 2006
First, Bebe Thomas interviewed me for her Conversations With Almost Famous Writers blog! It was a good interview. And the best eggrolls I've ever eaten were in a hole-in-the-wall Thai place near the Atlanta airport. Seriously. And y'all know I'm a foodie.

Yesterday was spent at an outdoor museum where I chaperoned The Monkey Princess's 4th grade class. They learned a few things about Native Americans. *sigh* I don't talk down to my kids. I don't simplify things for them much. I make them come up to me, which may be why they have exceptional vocabularies and well-developed senses of humor. So why do people think it's ok to take things down to the lowest common denominator for kids? I swear, it sounded like these guys were addressing kindergarteners. That bugged me.

Dd has decided to read a book called "Cherokee Sisters." It's sad. I read the end and there's no real HEA there. Set in the 1830s, it's about the Tsa-La-Gi -- the Trail of Tears. It will be an emotionally complex book for her, probably the first she's read that deals with such harshness in a historical context, as opposed to pure fantasy. We'll see how it goes.

Off to the commissary to get the grocery shopping done. Gosh, I live such a glamourous life. On the subject of food, however, please be aware of the E. coli bacteria that has caused illness in several states due to fresh bagged spinach. Read more about it here and Be Careful!
9/15/2006 09:27:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 9 Comments


Wednesday, September 13, 2006
It's very quiet in my house. The kids are at school. The news is switched off. There's not even the faraway swish of the dishwasher or washing machine.

There's no one here.

I hardly know what to do with myself.

I should write. I should blog. I should surf. I should probably vacuum, too, but that's not going to happen.

It's like stolen time and I want to make the very, very most of it. So I'm spending it talking to you, my friends.

Because each one of you is precious to me. This odd little community where we talk and hug and laugh from thousands of miles away means so much. If or when we ever meet in person, I imagine it'll be like coffee with old friends. (Oh all right. Tea, if you must. See? I even know which of you prefers tea to coffee.) Just chatting. Laughing. Screaming and moaning about character or narrative or query letters or rejections. Writer talk. People talk.

But until that day, I come to my blog and I talk with my fingers. Even the times when I can't talk, when too much is happening for me to be able to sit down with y'all, it's ok. I know, like really good friends, that you're still here. That we can pick up where we left off. Even when one of us has to spend a little time away unintentionally, that's ok, too. We'll keep a fresh pot ready for you.
9/13/2006 07:38:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 9 Comments

Life is Pretty Darned Cool

Sunday, September 10, 2006
First off, dd had her first sleepover last night with 3 other girls. That's about the highest decibel level I can stand. Stunning how much noise a group of 9yo girls can make.

Second, I got another great review from Once Upon A Romance. Janet gave it an overall score of 4.5.

Not Quite Dead is an amusing and quirky read. I liked the character of Sabine. She acts exactly like any smart, modern woman would do when confronted by pleasant enough, thinking, feeling people who are actually dead. She is cool, calm and cooking muffins. Willem, the not quite dead person of the title, is someone you can easily feel compassion for. Here he is seeking vengeance, knowing his time is limited, yet he is falling in love with someone who can never be his. That edge of desperation keeps the plot ticking along.

As a book, it’s all happening in Not Quite Dead. There are dead people who are brought back to seek vengeance, have questions answered, whilst chasing vampires and finding romance on the side. How dead is dead? Is there the possibility of a reprieve? I momentarily questioned the whole sanity of a romance between Sabine and Willem. But then I thought, when has love ever made sense? It just happens and you have to go with it. And, I had to admit I wanted the strangely matched pair to be together. And, like all good love stories, nothing is easy. Anyway, what is weird anymore? When you read the book, you’ll understand what I mean.

If you want a book that makes you smile, believe in the possibilities of love or think why not – then you will enjoy reading this book.

I like being amusing and quirky. I really do. *gg*

Third, I got my very first fan mail today!!! It was a lovely letter and she said that she found me from an interview I did. I'm the Romance Divas SPOTLIGHT DIVA this month, which is way cool. It was a really fun interview and now I'm extra pleased with how it turned out!

Fourth, I think this is the week I'm going to commit to doing a lot of work on my website. I need to do some studying and reading first, but I want to make it more vibrant. Maybe even amusing and quirky, eh? And it desperately needs some updates.

And that's all that's happening in the world of Sela.

Oh wait, I also wrote 5 pages yesterday on Daughter of Privilege. I really do need to get that story done and out the door.
9/10/2006 01:37:00 PM : : Sela Carsen : : 17 Comments

Me Cave Woman

Friday, September 08, 2006

Actually, this Cave thing is pretty darned effective. I got a little more accomplished on River Bear, I polished a Woman's World entry that I'd forgotten I had (still need to write the query letter for it), and I went back and re-read Daughter of Privilege. The original scene which I had written months ago.

Turn out that it's 41 pages of sex. Who knew? I remember when I wrote it that I was surprised I could write like that. It's not all bump and grind, though. It's the dance that goes on before, during, and after. And I was pleased with what I'd written. There's voice there. And it's the one Kate Duffy wants to see from that query contest, so I'd better get my butt in gear.

In other news, I was able to put a rejected WW short, Dublin Dreaming, into a Free Read slot with Coffee Time Romance. It'll go live October 1 with a few others under the PG rated section. It's terribly sweet. :)

Also, I'm shameless. I pimped my book at the neighborhood women's meeting last night. Had flyers out and my business cards. Read my blurb. Told them the basics of how to buy an e-book. We'll see how it goes.
9/08/2006 07:56:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 3 Comments

Dear Bloglets

Wednesday, September 06, 2006
I'm not ignoring you on purpose. Nothing is wrong, just in case you were wondering.

I'm in Deep Cave Mode.

I'm writing.

And stressing, but that's for another blog post.

Just wanted to let you know that my posts this week may be short and sporadic, but I'm still here.

I'll tell you all about it when I get back from The Cave.
9/06/2006 08:11:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 6 Comments

Not Quite Dead Available Elsewhere

Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Huh. Whaddayaknow?

Looks like you can get Not Quite Dead at a place called Diesel eBooks. I'd never heard of it, but there you go. And you can get it for $3.38, which is about 12 cents cheaper than MBaM now that it's not a new release anymore. I've never understood bookstore pricing.
9/05/2006 08:33:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 3 Comments


Monday, September 04, 2006
I had two nightmares last night.

The first one was that all the rest of my reviews were horrible. Everyone pointed out gaping plot holes and no one thought it was funny. I huddled into a corner and cried.

The second one was that the movers broke my Lladro figurine. It's not that it's the most beautiful thing in the world, but it was on top of my wedding cake. And they didn't care because it didn't belong to them. This time, though, I didn't cry. I lost it. Tore them a new one and got them fired. More empowering, but still horrifying in its way as I'm not one to fly off the handle so completely.

I hate not being in control.
9/04/2006 08:30:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 1 Comments

Off for the Weekend

Saturday, September 02, 2006
Got friends coming over, so I won't be around much.

Enjoy the long weekend!!
9/02/2006 08:07:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 1 Comments


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