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Very Gentle Happy Dance

Tuesday, July 31, 2007
More of a slight butt-wiggle, in fact. Lots of movement makes my head pound.

It's official. I'm sick. Just a cold, but I tend to get nasty ones -- fever, body aches, sensitive skin, nasty headaches.

Still, I rock for the following reasons:

1. Yesterday, I finished edits for "Let's Dance", the D&D story.
2. Today, I finished edits for HEART OF THE SEA. Yay me!! (gentle butt-wiggle)
3. I mailed off contracts for both stories.
4. I cooked dinner. It would have been a crock-pot thingy, but I forgot to start it early enough. So it was tortellini with tomato sauce (cut up leftover pork chops and added them to the sauce) and sautéed garlic spinach.


7/31/2007 06:46:00 PM : : Sela Carsen : : 4 Comments

Monday Morning

Monday, July 30, 2007
Freaking early on Monday morning, too. I've been up since 5:30. In fact, I've been getting up that early for a couple of months now. It's weird. And unwanted. But once I'm up, I can't get back to sleep anymore.

Anyway, I'm feeling not so hot since last night, but I'm functioning. It's a good thing because I've started a housecleaning challenge with a friend of mine. It's like a writing challenge, but with cleaning. Clean for 20 min, check in for a few minutes, clean again. We should probably intersperse writing and cleaning.

I've got two deadlines this week. I'm turning in a short for the next edition of DREAMS & DESIRES. Freya's Bower has decided to make it an annual event, which is fantastic. I'll let y'all know more as I do.

And I need to turn in my second round of edits for HEART OF THE SEA, asap. I'm going through it with a red pen and noting my dependence on the word "just." It's a throwaway word -- meaningless 90% of the time, inserted to make something sound more imminent or important, when really it does nothing.

So I don't have time to be ill today. Too much to do.


7/30/2007 07:24:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 4 Comments

It Ain't Easy Being Green

Friday, July 27, 2007
Or is it?

This post has nothing to do with Writing and more to do with Life As I Know It. (psst, I'm finally learning how to use the labeling feature. I know. I'm slow.)

Today is Trash/Recycling day in my neighborhood and as I was hauling out the recycling, it brought to mind a post I read once -- heaven knows where -- that the poster didn't recycle. At all. And seemed really proud of herself, too. She refused to recycle, like it was all part of some evil government plot or something.

I've known people who don't recycle really vigorously, but at least they make some effort. Like, they might not recycle plastic, but they'll toss their soda cans in the recycling bin. I mean, if the city has arranged for pick-up of recyclable items, it doesn't seem too much of a stretch, y'know?

Then there are the recycling apostles, come to save the world from post-consumer waste. Ed Begley, Jr. comes to mind. I watched a show he did earlier this year about his day-to-day life called Living With Ed. Wow. I felt kinda bad for his wife, but it was funny. You have to admire that kind of passion.

I fall somewhere in the middle. I recycle almost everything that my local ordinances allow -- newspapers, aluminumn cans, glass, paperboard, cardboard, some plastics. I rinse out containers and make the kids take them to the recycling bin in the laundry room. In SC, it annoyed me to no end that they didn't pick up glass or paperboard, like cereal containers. Do you know how much cereal this family goes through?!?

I'm not perfect, by any means. Plenty of stuff gets thrown away that I could recycle, but it requires a certain amount of extra effort.

For instance, I just bought school supplies. Things like glue sticks come with the paperboard on the back and the little plastic bubble in the front. Since the city doesn't take the plastic bubbles, I'd have to separate them, toss the plastic and recycle the paperboard. Ummm, yeah. Now that I've written it all out, I might do it, but on a regular basis -- honestly -- it's probably not going to happen.

So let's talk.

Do you recycle?
Would you recycle?
Would you be the mom who takes the paperboard off the glue stick package?
Do you think recycling is a waste of time, effort and tax dollars? Why?

On a slightly different, but still green, tack:
What other options for energy saving do you currently employ, i.e. energy saving lightbulbs, you take public transportation by choice, you drive an energy efficient vehicle?

What options intrigue you?

I love wind farms. We drove past several in Europe and I thought they were very striking looking.

The local community college used Green Roof Blocks to help cool the buildings. Nifty!

E-Books! Some pretty green technology there!

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7/27/2007 08:46:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 7 Comments

Task List

Thursday, July 26, 2007
What's on your Writing To Do List?

I need to polish up a flash fiction for the next edition of DREAMS & DESIRES.

I need to do the penultimate round of edits for HEART OF THE SEA. Angie asked me one of those "logical" questions and I had a Homer moment. D'oh! Ummm, cuz I'm the writer and I said so? Yeah. I didn't think that would work. Still, it shouldn't be that difficult to fix.

Oh hey, did I mention that I've seen the cover for the LOVE & LORE anthology? It's beautiful. Gorgeous. It just hints at the Celtic roots of the stories and it's very eye-catching. I'll show you as soon as I get the ok from Samhain.

I need to write a review for Lois McMaster Bujold's THE SHARING KNIFE: Vol 2. It was good, but difficult to define. If you read and loved the first one, then I definitely recommend this, but the expectations need to be different.

The Household To Do List is too scary to enumerate.


7/26/2007 08:40:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 3 Comments


Tuesday, July 24, 2007
How many names do y'all have?

For me, there's my real name and my pen name and the two meet but rarely. I signed up with my RWA group under my real name, which was a mistake. It's easier for me to be Sela in all things writing related.

But I know writers who, aside from their real name, use up to four or five different pseudonyms! How do they keep it all straight? How do they promo for every name? And if everyone knows all the different names anyway, then what's the point?

I can see different names if you're writing children's lit and erotica, but I don't understand a new name for going from romance to romantic suspense. Or even from romance to erotica. Why? Is your target audience so terribly different? Not really.

There are reasons to get a new name, I suppose. If your sales are tanking badly as Stinky Writer, then it might be worthwhile to let SW go and reinvent yourself as Sexy Author. But that doesn't seem to be the case for a lot of writers with multiple names.

I know PBW has used at least five different names over her career. A couple of them, I understand. SciFi is a vastly different audience than Christian Fiction. No problem. But she's got three names for romance writing, including her latest incarnation as Lynn Viehl for her urban fantasy Darkyn series (total fangirl, btw -- love those books). Career reincarnations? Perhaps. She's been around long enough that new names bring new audiences.

So help me out. If you use more than one pen name -- why?


7/24/2007 09:50:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 8 Comments

I Wanna Go Fast

Monday, July 23, 2007
People really should only drive cars commensurate with their driving ability. Seriously. At least then other people would know what they're dealing with.

If you can't find the damn gas pedal with a flashlight and binoculars, you shouldn't get to drive a BMW. You should drive a rusted out Chevy Nova. There are few things in the world more frustrating than toodling along behind a car that you know damn well could blow the doors off most other vehicles on the road and they're driving 45 in a 55. WHAT THE F***????

I love to borrow dh's BMW 5 series. It's an orgasm on wheels. Smooth as sin and just as likely to get you in trouble. There is no way to feel sad or depressed when you drive something that beautiful. And you know the gods are smiling as you turn on the radio and Lenny Kravitz is blasting "American Woman." A match made in heaven.

So if the rest of you slow-pokes would kindly get the HELL out of my way, I'd be obliged.

I just watched "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" and I told my husband I want a bumper sticker that says,
"I Wanna Go Fast."


7/23/2007 10:52:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 9 Comments

Eye exams

Saturday, July 21, 2007
Going for my annual eye exam this morning. Is it twisted of me to hope that I need a new prescription? My eyes have been the same prescription for several years -- which means I haven't needed new glasses for a long time. And I WANT new glasses! Now, I love my frames. I think they're cool and fun. But I want something a little different now. I'm bored.

I'll let you know what happens. Because you're all waiting with bated breath, I'm sure. *gg*

ETA: Oh well. No new glasses for me. No need for a change in prescription and I got my eyes dilated. Fun, fun, fun.


7/21/2007 09:13:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 2 Comments

Blogging at Beyond the Veil

Friday, July 20, 2007
Today's post is about Basque mythology. Kinda quirky, but it was interesting to research.

Also, I think I'm finally regaining feeling in the two toes that went completely numb during conference.


7/20/2007 11:23:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 0 Comments


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Actually, this post isn't about Steampunk, per se, but about the story's progress. Which is to say, pretty darned poor.

I'm working on it, though. The thought of those editors, when my ms crosses their desk and they raise their brows and go "Yeah, I remember talking about this" is very, very motivational. But my process, as we know, sucks. There are things I need to know as the story progresses. Not necessarily beforehand, but as they come up, I need the details.

For instance, I was tapping merrily along last night at Tae Kwon Do and bam! Realized that I needed to describe my hero. But I had no clue what he looked like. I mean, generally, yeah. He's tall and rangy and good looking, but that covers a lot of ground. So I've spent the better part of today looking at pictures of gorgeous men. I even had the Divas brainstorming with me, but nothing really clicked until I happened upon a site I bookmarked months ago.

My new hero. Toby Stephens, aka Jem Fullman.

So he's a Brit. So he's a little on the pretty side. I can pull this off. Trust me.


7/19/2007 07:28:00 PM : : Sela Carsen : : 10 Comments

The RWA Thing

Wednesday, July 18, 2007
For the good run-down, I defer in all ways to Angela James, who is a calm and reasonable person and able to cut through the crap to find what's really important in the recent changes. Also, see her comments at Dear Author. Again, she explains the e-publisher side of the equation beautifully.

However -- this is the point that bothered me the most -- people are saying that the Board isn't intentionally showing disrespect to e-published authors and I am forced to disagree. The moment Jill Limber said that I didn't really write a book because I didn't get enough of an advance, that's when I lost all respect for them.

They earned my scorn for that. She didn't try to backpedal, either. She said what she meant and she meant what she said.

I didn't write a book.

I'll continue to belong to RWA because I enjoy both my local chapter and the national conference. I'll continue to try to help them understand e-publishing. I'll even consider entering the RITAs next year.

But I won't let anyone forget what they said. They don't get to have their opinion forgotten, dismissed, and brushed under the rug. They won't recieve any leniency from me. They don't deserve it.


7/18/2007 02:14:00 PM : : Sela Carsen : : 5 Comments

So ready for school to start

Both of the kids have morning camps this week and they're really enjoying it. I think they miss structure during the summer. We have a little at our house, but it's generally a free-for-all.

But yeah, I'm ready, too. I always get excited about school -- and not just for slacker mom reasons, either. It's a fun time! New clothes, new teachers, new classrooms, new friends. And that new paper smell. And schools always smell the same on the first day. I can't really describe it, but they do. It's very comforting.

We've got about 3 weeks left before the first day and I'm rarin' to go. I've got their school supply lists printed out. I'm even thinking of missing the chaos of the tax free weekend and just taking them to Target one day next week to see what we can find.

DS needs new jeans since he shot up this summer. DD could use a bit of sprucing up, but she's mostly ready.

I'm ready. Grade school, bring it on.


7/18/2007 09:11:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 3 Comments

Conference Diary

Monday, July 16, 2007
Dear Diary,

Don't Cry For Me, Dallas

I packed up and dh dropped me off at the airport where I found two fellow MORWA members at the terminal -- Kim Price and AnnMarie McKenna. We had a fun time getting ready for our flight and although Kim is a BAD flyer, we made it through and got to the hotel in Dallas with no mishaps. I even poached a spot on their shuttle.

Once there, I did all the fun registration stuff and found myself grateful that I found my old Reno conference badge holder -- much nicer than the Avon ribbon thing they had this year. Also, it had my Diva pin on it still. Whew! I set out to find Divas.

Found several at the bar (where else) and settled in with Loribelle for a little chat and a Mojito. Shortly after, the stress caught up with me and I broke out in hives so I took a Benadryl. In retrospect, this may not have been my smartest move. I was sllleeeeeeepy!

Then someone said, "Hey, we're going to a bar!" Naturally, I dragged myself up and said, "OK!" Somehow I missed the "gay" part. Or was it the "tranny" part? Anyway, I was still game.

Oh. My. God. Those poor people didn't know what hit them. The gay guys sang really well. RG sang beautifully -- she's got this amazing, smoky, bluesy voice. People kept hauling me up on stage and I wasn't nearly drunk enough. In fact, I drank amazingly little the entire conference.

I finally found enough courage to pick a song and apparently I picked a doozy. Who knew "Don't Cry For Me, Argentina" was a tranny anthem? They were all up on their feet and one even pulled out his wig!

What else? I got hit on by creepy guys, but that's become the norm for me. If there's a creep within a thousand yards, he's going to pick me to hit on. RG's hubby was wonderful and protected me from him. (((Hugs)))

There's Not Enough Coffee In the World

Thursday was all about meeting people and hanging out. That was the morning of the Samhain Breakfast and it was so nice to sit and chat with people I'd only ever met online. What was funny is that most of the table was military wives! Sat next to Larissa Ione, who is a real hoot.

Went to the luncheon (rubber chicken), accidentally spilled my coffee into Gemma's vegetarian lunch. Mmmmm coffee and cauliflower! Not! I bailed before the speaker because I have a really hard time sitting through those things.

Then I went to the AGM. It. Was. Horrible. I left half an hour early just fuming. I found Maggie and vented to her. She was able to put a better face on some of the reasoning behind their decisions and, put that way, I'm not so angry. But the sheer indifference and arrogance of the board in general still pisses me off. My bit of conference gossip? The Western Region may soon be represented by e-published authors. Maybe then they'll see that #1, I actually did write a book and #2, erotic romance is easily defined.

In addition, the decision to force editors to choose between editing and writing may have a serious impact on most smaller publishers. Not pretty.

The Diva Dinner was a blast. I won Smart-Assed Diva -- by a landslide! And was informed that some of you added a caveat, "Don't tell her I nominated her." CHICKENS!!!! I'll get you...and your little dogs, too! I won a copy of Deidre Knight's Parallel Heat and I'm looking forward to reading it. Also, I wore some seriously kick-ass shoes.

I'm sorry to say that I didn't accompany the more adventurous Divas to Coyote Ugly that night, but it was my first full night's sleep in a week, so I don't regret it too much.

Don't Wear Heels To Be The Timekeeper

From 8 to Noon, I was a timekeeper at the editor/agent appointments. Awesome, awesome job. By the end of it, my feet were killing me, but I looked fantastic and came away with 3 informal "send it to me when you're done" requests from Heather Osborne at Tor, Chris Keeslar at Dorchester and John Scognamilio at Kensington. Very cool. Notice how I highlighted the part where I looked fantastic. ;)

Had lunch with Kristen, Grace and hubby, Maggie and Gina (and of course, precious baby Niley, who is the best natured infant I've ever encountered.) It was so nice to kick back with friends for a few minutes.

Afterwards, I really, really, really needed to take my shoes off. They're pretty comfortable for heels, but there's not a high-heel on earth that can withstand four hours of non-stop walking. The balls of my feet were badly bruised. I changed and considered just resting in my room for a while, but decided to go down and get a cup of tea and write. Nope. Didn't happen. Got my tea, but fell in with a group of older ladies from LARA. There was an awkward moment or two when they discovered I was a Diva, but it all worked out.

Then I went to moderate the Sex is a Baby Boomer Business workshop. I was really too young to hear all that. My innocent ears will never be the same. Then off to a workshop on Worldbuilding by Linnea Sinclair and Robin Owens. Great information and I got tips on useful links. I met a few Divas on my way out and we ended up heading to Hoffbrau's for a truly awesome steak.

Dh drove in later that night, too. :)

Pain is Beauty and Beauty, Pain

That morning, I attended a workshop on Subplotting for Success by Alesia Holliday. But the real bonus? Getting to talk to Angela Knight afterwards. I was so glad she was there! When I met her I was really polite and calm, but on the inside I was squeeing like a 12 year old girl at a Hannah Montana concert. :D Anyway, I've followed her career and I know she made the leap from novellas to novels, so I wanted to talk to her about it. She had some really good advice and she's just a genuinely sweet person. Also, she looks fantastic!

Then, another luncheon where I ate, then skipped out on the speaker. Schmoozing, yakking, smiling, talking until the Spotlight on Samhain. So much fun. Did an impromptu bit as moderator since the real one never showed. Nodded furiously when Angela talked about the in-depth editing process. :)

After that, I went to the publisher signings for Bantam and St Martins so I could pick up Lisa's book, which I hadn't had an opportunity to do earlier. Also got a few more, including PC Cast's new YA with her daughter. We talked about Robin McKinley and agreed on her crusty awesomeness.

Then Jax took some headshots for Angela James and I. I trust there will be one that isn't too hideous. All of Angela's should turn out beautifully. She's so pretty!!

Then off to get dressed. Did I mention that, like an eejit, I wore heels again that day? Yep. Linen ankle strap stilettos. Gorgeous, yes. But after the last few days, incredibly painful. I took those off only to step into another pair of great shoes to go with my Rita dress. It was a fun evening -- I was early through no fault of my own, trust me -- and got to hang with Dana, Shawn, Crystal and loads of other Divas while we waited. Dh, by the way, was sooooo handsome! We hooted, clapped and cheered for our gals, then dh went back to the room and I went straight to the bar. It was a great wind-down. Mel talked Michael Hague into coming to our table, so that was interesting. I think he had fun, too. ;) One lowly Lemon Drop made my lips go numb, so I was more than ready to fall into bed by midnight.

Dallas Goes On Forever

We took our time leaving, but finally got on the road. Dallas has now stretched to towns that I know used to be in the middle of nowhere. Suburban sprawl. Whaddayagonnado? We were home by 8:30 and I jumped right back into Mom mode. The kids are in various camps this week and I had to head out to WalMart at 10:00 pm to pick up shin guards and a new soccer ball since the dog ate the last soccer ball.

But now, as I wait to go out on another errand, I'm glad I've taken the time to write down some of the events of the last few days. I didn't take too many pictures, but I'll see what I can pull off the camera later on.



7/16/2007 02:14:00 PM : : Sela Carsen : : 7 Comments

Romance Divas Not Going To Nationals Cyber Conference

Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Not going to Nationals? Don't worry...Romance Divas is doing the next best thing!

Romance Divas announces the first annual "Not Going to Nationals Cyber Conference" from July 11-15, righton the forum. Best of all, it's FREE!

Just register for Romance Divas--membership is free, you just need to sign up! www.romancedivas.com if you have trouble with registration email night.diva.maria (at) gmail (dot) com

There will be workshops, Q&As, and giveaways each day. All you have to do is participate!!!!


July 11:
Workshop: Character Development with Sophia Shaw NEW WORKSHOP!
Q&A: TBA (either with an agent from the Larsen-Pomada Agency or a panel on multi-cultural romance) NEW DATE!

July 12:
Workshop: Book Signing 101: Tips to Help Make your Signing a Success by Jackie Kessler
Q&A: Legal Issues for Writers by Amanda Brice

July 13:
Workshop: What to Expect After You Sign the Contract by Marley Gibson
Q&A: Erotic romance with Portia da Costa and Madelynne Ellis NEW DATE!

July 14:
Workshop: Writing Novellas and Short Stories by Sasha White
Q&A: How To Write Both YA and Adult Romance by Berta Platas

July 15:
Workshop: Trim That Fatty Writing! by Rhonda Stapleton
Q&A: TBA (either with an agent from the Larsen-Pomada Agency or a panel on multi-cultural romance)

Plus, Deirdre Savoy will also be doing a workshops for us (topic and date TBA)! So there will be two days with not one, but TWO fabulous workshops, plus a Q&A!!!!!

We also have loads of great giveaways, including books, critiques, coaching, and more!


7/10/2007 08:45:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 2 Comments

Two Things

Sunday, July 08, 2007
First, I had a blog post up last Friday at Beyond the Veil on the Gods of Central America. Check it out!

Second, I'm back! From South Carolina, at least. It was a long trip and we really only got to spend about 8 hours with our friends, but it was worth it. Even though I hate road trips. I read a lot.

I finished Moonlight and Vines by Charles de Lint.

I think...it's very Canadian. In such a way that although I can appreciate the beauty of the stories, many of them don't really resonate with me. I think Americans, in our innocent arrogance, don't realize that Canadians are NOT just like us, only colder.

There were stories that I liked. I think that my favorites were, unsurprisingly, the ones with distinct plots. The ones where things happened. Where there was a goal to be reached. Wild Horses and China Doll. Those were also stories that weren't necessarily part of the web he created in the anthology. No connecting characters (ok, there was one in Wild Horses, but on the periphery.)

I suppose that proves something about my writing as well. I'm plot-driven. I don't handle navel-gazing too well. I'm impatient with a lot of stories that people tend to call "beautifully crafted." I can see the craft, I can appreciate the beauty, but I want something to happen.

I also finally read Wicked by Gregory Maguire. It was one huge "meh." Depressing, preachy and superficial. I never could bring myself to care about any of the characters because he kept telling me about them, but he never showed me. The POV was shallow all the way through the book. As for Elphaba, I don't have to like the main character, necessarily, but I need to care. I didn't.

And I read Ill Wind by Rachel Caine, the first in the Weather Warden series. It's a lot like the Dresden Files, except for she's a chick. Overall, I'm not upset that I bought it, but I probably won't be picking up the rest of them.

I wrote maybe a hundred new words on Wild Wild Western Bride, but I really still need to do some more research on my setting. Next week.

Tonight -- the laundry!!!

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7/08/2007 07:38:00 PM : : Sela Carsen : : 2 Comments

Too Much To Do, Too Little Time

Tuesday, July 03, 2007
I bet little notes like this are popping up all over the romance blogosphere. Just over a week until RWA and there's so much left to do!!

For us, that includes a brief holiday, so I won't be blogging much before I'm off to Dallas. That said, I have to provide a blog for Beyond the Veil this Friday while I'm gone, so I need to write that and submit it ahead of time. Yikes. Gotta find a fun new pantheon. I'm thinking Mayan.

I need to finish cleaning the house, because I really won't have time when I get back. And this morning is dedicated to the water park. Oh well. Nothing like a deadline to motivate me to action!!

In reading, I'm finished with Book 6 of the Dresden Files. I think I'm almost caught up, just one or two more to go.

I'm almost done reading Demon Moon by MelJean Brooks. I didn't realize it was part of a series and I spent the first half of the book trying to piece together what happened before. I hate when I pick up a book in the middle of a series that can't really stand on its own. As a result, I'm not enjoying it as much as I might have, had I begun at the beginning.

I'm taking two books with me on the trip. The first is Ill Wind, the first in Rachel Caine's Weather Warden series. I hope I like it. I spent the last of my gift card money on it, so it better be good.

The second is Wicked by Gregory Maguire. The Wicked Witch of the West book. Dh recommended it and I've had it in my TBR pile for over a year. I'm finally getting around to it.

But as I said, I've got a lot left to do today, so I'd best get to it. Y'all be good while I'm gone! Don't forget to turn off the coffee pot when you leave. Whoever drinks the last cup makes the next pot. You know the rules.


7/03/2007 10:01:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 2 Comments


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