I [heart] My Library

Despite being horrific at returning books in a timely fashion, my library continues to loan ’em out to me. Yesterday, one of my books on hold came in:

Can’t wait to start browsing… If it’s as good as the title suggests, I’ll add it to my keeper shelf of historical reference books! (By *buying* it, that is. Not swiping it permanently from the library. I swear.)

YOUR TURN: Do you love your library? Why or why not? Do you ever end up buying the books you borrow from the library/friends/family?

Office Madness: Before & After (Part II)

I promised pix of my newly reorganized office, and then I got crazy-busy and haven’t completely finished moving/unpacking. As mentioned yesterday, I’m so excited about it that I simply can’t wait to share photo evidence of the transformation with you!

Without further ado, viva la transformación of the Wall of Work!

OMG, Erica. Words fail me.
OMG, Erica. Words fail me.
Can you even reach the research books above the top shelf, shorty?
Can you even reach the research books above the top shelf, shorty?
Cube shelves assembled, desktop cut and placed, paint can handy…
Cube shelves assembled, desktop cut and placed, paint can handy...
It’s starting to look like there’s an office beneath the junk heap…
starting to look like there's an office beneath the junk heap...
OMG! Desk space AND research books right where I can reach them!
Desk space AND research books right where I can reach them!
Squee! Desk space and floor space. All in the same room! Hurrah!
Desk space and floor space... All in the same room!

YOUR TURN: So, are you as proud of me as I am? Can you believe the utter transformation of my office in less than a week’s time? Yay, Target storage cubes! Yay, Home Depot slabs of laminated particle board! Yay, brand spanking new office!

Office Madness: Before & After (Part I)

I promised pix of my newly reorganized office, and then I got crazy-busy and haven’t completely finished moving/unpacking. However, I’m so excited about it that I simply can’t wait to share photo evidence of the transformation with you!

As you may or may not know, I’m a crafty person and giant scrapbooker, so my office has always been dual (triple?) purpose: working/writing, and arts/crafts/scrapbooking. (And to be honest, I use the artsy stuff in my work/writing life, too, when I’m designing or making story boards and collages and other stuff.)

Today, I’d like to show you what I like to call the Wall of Scrap. (Tomorrow will be the Wall of Work–stay tuned!)

How can you scrapbook in that mess?
How can you scrapbook in that mess?
Why does it have to get worse before it can get better?
Why does it have to get worse before it can get better?
Yay! Cube shelves made, table top cut and placed!
Cube shelves made, table top cut and placed!
Oooh! Look, you can see everything, and find everything. Amazing!
Oooh! Look, you can see everything, and find everything. Amazing!
What? There was a couch under all that crap? Huzzah!
What? There was a couch under all that crap? Huzzah!

YOUR TURN: So, whaddya think so far? An improvement to the Wall of Scrap? Can’t wait til tomorrow when I get to show you the Wall of Work!

Progress!

Sorry I’ve been MIA all week, but I just hit THE END on Touched this morning! w00t! Yayayayayayay!!!

Also, it’s been one year this week since I first brainstormed the wacky tooth fairy story over on Miss Snark’s blog that turned into 400 pages now known as Hi-Jinxed two title changes, four character tweaks, and a major plot change later. (full story here)

2007 rocked—here’s to 2008!!!

Challenging Yourself, Win or Lose

I have the (pleasure? horror?) of being snowed in 1,000+ miles away from home, as I flew north this weekend to visit family for the holidays. Internet is sketchy because there’s no wifi (what kind of Neanderthal house is this?!) but I’m scrambling like crazy to finish Touched.

Two things about that: Realism vs Procrastination.

As you may know, I’m a long-standing advocate of setting specific, quantifiable, realistic, attainable goals and holding yourself accountable to them.

I did not make my (internally-motivated) goal of finishing Touched by Thanksgiving. In fact, I’m in danger of seeing Christmas before my agent sees the manuscript.

Why? I think it was my old nemesis “realistic”. Finishing by Thanksgiving (an arbitrary deadline, to be sure) may have been theoretically possible, but possible != realistic.

And so… and so, once the deadline came and went–and, granted, Life reared its hectic head in the form of germs and cross-country plane trips and omnipresent client work and so on–once making the deadline was an impossibility because the date had already passed, so too went a big chunk of my drive.

I mean, partly I was rewriting because I love to write and I love this story, and partly I was rewriting because if I want my agent to lay eyes on it, then (duh) I have to send it to her, but also partly I was revising because I’m self-competitive by nature. Ain’t never seen a goal I didn’t want to meet or beat. I work for what I want, and in general I tend to succeed. But when I woke up Thanksgiving morning with the new goal of making it out of bed without coughing my lungs onto the floor, well… it was all too easy for justifiable delay to slip into that insidious beast Procrastination.

Now, as mentioned, I’m scrambling to finish, despite being snowed in a house with more family members than beds and a single non-wifi Internet connection. Because it’s almost time for that end-of-year standby, New Years Resolutions, and I am determined to begin my super-secret new project on January 1. I will start it then.

CLICK HERE to read the rest of this post!

Erica Ridley, Tairen Soul

C L Wilson: Lord of the Fading Lands
Okay, okay, I’m not really a Tairen Soul. It would be wicked cool if I was, though!

I’m halfway through my friend C. L. Wilson‘s series (because only 2 of 4 have hit the shelves) and firmly in love with the hero’s right hand man Bel. (If you also love him, back off. He’s mine.)
C L Wilson: Lady of Light and Shadow
I finally got around to updating my Books Read in 2007 list on the right. I think. It’s been so long since my last update, I’m sure I missed some of them.

But I couldn’t miss hanging out with C. L. Wilson in person this weekend at the TARA holiday party! Here’s the Tairen queen and myself:
Erica Ridley and C. L. Wilson
I had a blast hanging out with all my TARA sisters and brothers. You can read more about our party shenanigans over at Karen Lingefelt’s blog, or about our gift exchange over at Vicki Lane’s blog.

YOUR TURN: What did you do this weekend? Are you gearing up for the holiday season or do you wish it would pass you by? If you exchange presents this time of year, how are you doing on your list?

Too Accurate?

We all can (probably) agree that there’s such a thing as a story being ruined by gross inaccuracies due to poor research. But it there such a thing as too much accuracy?

I’ve been thinking about this ever since I read Brenda Coulter’s post on Regency titles over at Romancing the blog. It’s a pretty interesting comment trail, too. At least one blog reader remarked that readers of historical fiction know and love history, so historical accuracy in fiction should be obligatory. At least one other blog reader remarked that she could give a fig less about historical accuracy; she just read to be entertained.

Where do you fall on those lines?

I don’t want my Regency miss saying “Hello” to the hero, or the young pup dancing attendance on her to lose his dukedom to his bastard brother on the turn of a card. The reader reading purely for entertainment probably has no idea why these two things rub me the wrong way when I come across them.

Then again, I don’t want my Medieval laird hero to suffer rotting teeth or the Sassenach heroine to go unbathed for long periods during the winter regardless of how accurate that may or may not be. I want them clean, I want them bathed, I want their clothes smelling halfway decent, their food unspoiled, and all their teeth nice and healthy. (Crooked is fine.)

But that’s just me, and historical is a sticky wicket anyway since obviously that period of time is over.

What about other genres? Uncoply cops, unnursely nurses, ridiculously precocious three-year-olds who take care of themselves for chapters at a time and spout college-level vocabulary? Does that stuff roll off your back, or does it make you want to scream?

CLICK HERE to read the rest!

Wall-Bangers & Book Etiquette

I was thinking about the term “wall-banger”. Does anybody really throw books against the wall?

*erica shudders*

Not me! I practically burst into tears if I accidentally crease the spines. And I will use any random object within arm’s reach before dog-earing a corner to mark my spot. Books are just… special to me. I get really honked off when I check out a library book and there’s coffee stains and missing pages and highlighted passages—Grrr.

(I seem to have a lot of Care And Feeding Of Books angst today.)

Anybody else out there cringe when a book you loaned out comes back creased and bent? Or are you a spine-breaker and corner-folder?

P.S. I’m over in Mavenland today dishing about POV and Sub Plots–come tell me whether you agree or disagree with my assertions! =)

CYOA

Today’s Choose Your Own Adventure® installment over at the Manuscript Mavens blog is by one of my fave authors, Elizabeth Hoyt. Go read! And vote–all voters are eligible for the many random prize drawings at Halloween!

(I read her books The Raven Prince, The Leopard Prince, and The Serpent Prince earlier this year.)

Speaking of reading… this two-week temporary soccer mom thing managed to swallow my reading time whole. In the past 10 days, I’ve read one half of one book. Hm. I may go on a reading binge after Halloween. At least the book I’m reading is funny and entertaining: My French Whore, a romance novel by Gene Wilder. (Thanks, Bill!)

YOUR TURN: Read anything lately? Books, authors, or entertaining links to recommend? Clue me in!

Milestone!

Blew past the 25% point this morning with Touched!

Oh, and it’s Good Karma Tuesday!

This week’s winner is CELESTE.

Celeste, email me your snail mail addy, and indicate your choice of the following books:

Edith Layton: For the Love of a Pirate
Edith Layton
For the Love of a Pirate
Judy Fitzwater: No Safe Place
Judy Fitzwater
No Safe Place
Shirley Karr: Confessions of a Viscount
Shirley Karr
Confessions of a Viscount
Sidney Ryan: High Heeled Alibi
Sidney Ryan
High Heeled Alibi

YOUR TURN: How’s your karma? How’s your WIP? Spill!