About Shellie Sakai

Reading is a passion. Storytelling is an obsession. Writing is inevitable.

Ditto….

It’s been a year since I posted last. NaNoWriMo has come, gone and come around again. Yes, I completed last year, did I do anything with the book I wrote?  No. It lies neglected in a nice tidy pile next to my desk.

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A funny thing happened after I wrote my first draft.

I hated it. I hated the characters, the premise and everything about the story. My villains weren’t  bad ass enough, my hero turned into a bad ass and my heroine was a big-wring-her-hands-at-conflict wuss.

It took me a year to be okay with the fact that I can’t write certain types of fiction. My mind won’t twist itself into a romance writing, mystery writing or crime writing author. Nope, I need to write off the wall fantasy with twisty stuff. Like Dungeon & Dragons, or Pawn of Prophecy, (Not Tolkien, I’m not that good) or even maybe The Well of Souls.

I need dwarves, fairies and giants. Talking wardrobes and trees that throw apples. I can’t do real life settings. I need to twist my worlds into a blend of make-believe and reality. In my mind reality has werewolves, talking cars and necromancers. My world has tech stuff and swords, castles and condos, demons who surf and angels who curse.

A year ago I started a book, and 364 days later it sits unfinished. And I am okay with that.

Miss all the fun

NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow. And this time, I am going to have fun and do it my way.

Happy Halloween!

Holy Shit, it’s October 31!

I know I know it’s Halloween: trick-or-treaters, pranks and the inevitable piles of candy. One other thing October 31 is a reminder of is NaNoWriMo, a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. And it starts tomorrow.

Are you ready? I’m ready this year, last year not so much, I only made it to the 30,000 word mark. This year, with a little help, I plan on making it to the 50,000 word mark. The decks have been cleared, my organic outline is ready to go, the characters are beaten into shape and my internal editor has been sent on a month-long vacation to Hell. At the end of the month when she gets back I pay for my destination choice in spades.

revengeI think the last part is important to finishing NaNoWriMo. Your internal editor has to go away, either on vacation, or thrown down the cellar stairs covered in duct tape. A writing sprint is, and I know you’ve heard this, quantity over quality. The quality comes when you do your edit, not when you do your first draft. A first draft is a piping hot mess, not to be read by anybody but you.

A first draft is where you use the words; really, just, got, things, stuff, amazing, very, perhaps, and quite. These words are mostly unnecessary in your book, and they are overused. But, in a first draft, wear those puppies out! Use them to your heart’s content, because, it makes your edit a lot easier. When you begin your edit of your first draft taking out these unnecessary words gives you a feeling of accomplishment. “Look I edited 6000 words of my book today!” you really don’t need to tell people that they were 6000 unnecessary words that you chopped. Just revel in the feeling of accomplishment.

This will be my third year of trying to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. My first year I succeeded and accomplished my goal, mostly due to the fact that my youngest daughter yelled at me every time I walked away from my computer. The second year I tried it I failed, because there was no one to motivate me. I am a person who requires motivation in the form of threats, promises and presents. So this year, my husband is on board to be my personal motivator. He has already got with the program and started in with the threats; “No, you can’t have that caramel apple until after you’ve written three blog posts.” Yes, my hips don’t need that caramel apple. But dammit it’s Halloween, and I deserve a damn caramel apple!

Off to write my next two blog posts, so I can have a well-deserved caramel apple. See writers can be trained! Take care and have a safe Halloween!

ACCB_Apple_Caramel_L

Please update your bill settings

I got an email from AT&T today. Normally this is no occasion for alarm,  I regularly get solicitations and such from them. But this subject line gave me a start:

“Please update your bill settings”

WTF?

My first response was alarm. Oh, shit, I thought my credit card expired, the payment bounced and now, I owe bazillions of dollars in returned check fees.

A bazillion dollars

A bazillion dollars

After I had breathed in and out of a paper bag for a few hours, I calmed down enough to think, “oh, it’s probably spam”. Someone was trying to get my info in a dastardly plot to wreak havoc on my credit. (Sorry, havoc has been wrecked already, spammers could do absolutely nothing to make it worse: yeah, me!)(And no, this is not a gauntlet I am throwing down for spammers/hackers/and-whateverers to come get me!)

So contrary to common sense and advice I would get from Jay Donovan, Tech Guy, I opened the email. And what did my wondering eyes perceive –

A DAMN ADVERTISEMENT FOR AUTO PAY!

WTF!

Now in a fury I composed the following letter:

Dear AT&T Marketing,

While I appreciate you being helpful, in a self-serving way, I do not want to use your Auto-Pay feature.

Why do you ask? Why wouldn’t I want you, a bill, to be able to take money out of my account when you desire it? Yes, I understand there will be a set date. That you won’t take any more than the amount due, and that all of this you are doing for my benefit.–sob-

I want to express my appreciation at your sneaky underhanded approach to making sure I ACTUALLY PAY MY BILL ON TIME. The sophistry used to justify your actions is mind-boggling.

I am not a three-year old (or Lindsay Lohan) in need of a responsible adult to oversee my financial well-being.

Thank you but no, Thank you.

Fudge and nuts,

Shellie

A Brick on Amazon

I threw a brick on Amazon and it just laid there. Didn’t do a damn thing. Oh, wait, I take that lie back. It did sell a few copies, I gave away a few copies and then it just sat there.

single-brick

But, you say, isn’t that what bricks are supposed to do? They are the structure for homes, walkways, patios and barbeques. They can be the wall that holds up the interior walls of hospitals, churches and schools. Bricks are fantastic when you are building, but, not so much when you are writing a book. Unless you are writing about bricks…

A brick shaped book is not a good thing. It is a non event, a failure, a doorstop. No one wants to read a brick, least of all the creator of said brick (me).

So now that I know I created a brick, what should I do with it? First item on the agenda was taking it down from the Amazon website, next revise? Or maybe throw it under the bed and forget it even existed? Let it be company for the dust bunnies.

dust bunnies

After months of indecision, I decided to revise it. Even though popular opinion says, once a brick always a brick. That you can’t correct your first mistake, can’t do take backs. I understand this, but, even if I never make another sale, I had to try.

can't

It is a fearsome thing to say that “can’t” in no longer part of my vocabulary. In saying this, in saying “I can”,  I am going to revise and repost my brick. It may take me months (oy-vay) but it will get done.

Another thing happened when I re-read my brick. I saw for the first time that there was a glimmer of talent. I can write believable scenes and plot a story. That my sarcastic humor comes across in my writing voice. That I can do this, I can write a book and have people enjoy it.

So, my decision made I pulled my brick from Amazon. I have my chisel in one hand and a hammer in the other. This brick will be made into a book and I am excited to see the end result.

Thanks for stopping by, take care!

Did she really say that?

I know we have all put our foot in our mouths at some point. It isn’t fun, really embarrassing and your friends never let you live it down.

foot in mouth

I get that people have opinions everyone has one. Some agree with mine and some don’t. I don’t believe that people are automatically Satan if they disagree with me. Maybe a minion of Satan, but, not Satan himself. Differences of opinion and beliefs are what keep us unique. It makes the world a lot less boring. Can you imagine  if everyone went to work wearing a blue shirt? Or used the same toothpaste? Good night! It’s hard enough to find my brand as it is. :)

What I am trying to say is I believe it is okay for people to think differently.

Ok. That being said, I also believe that people who are in government should and could keep their mouths shut. As my mom used to say “Think before you speak.” Obviously this lady didn’t listen to her mom.

Sue Everhart, Georgia GOP Chairwoman, believes that straight people will pose as gay people to get married. In her scenario one straight person works for the government and has great health benefits. This straight person has a friend who says “Hey, I need health insurance.” The one with the great job says “No, problem. Let’s say we’re gay, we’ll get married and you can be on my health insurance.” Of course, Ms. Everhart says they will live separately because she has no idea how gay people have sex. If it was natural they would have the equipment to have a sexual relationship.

Hmm. I guess she doesn’t believe in self-gratification either.

When people get elected do they automatically put their common sense in cold storage? And their compassion in a garbage disposal?

Really.

Mirror, Mirror on the….wtf??!

We all have mirrors in our lives. Some are at the gym, doctor, work, home, beauty parlor and those highly mirrored windows on street level. Have you ever noticed just how brutal mirrors outside your home are?

In an unofficial poll (10 people responded, give or take 3), I asked “Do you hate mirrors?” The response was overwhelmingly “Yes!”. Most went on to state that department store mirrors, were in their opinion “cruel and unusual punishment”.

Is it the lighting? Our own insecurities? Or did the manufacturers put a special, “F@@k You”, coating on the commercial mirrors? Are they punking us with these special mirrors? And have they been for years?

Is that why mirrors at home make us look nice, wonderful or dare I say it, beautiful? But, leave the house, go to the nearest department store and suddenly you don’t see Snow White, you see the Evil Queen!

I say, to h@ll with the budget! We need a special congressional investigation into the manufacture of mirrors. Let’s expose this wicked, mentally damaging plot now! Before swimsuit season is here!

Do you feel the pain when you look into a department store mirror? Or even a mirror at a beauty parlor? Tell me your tale of horror! Remember we  all put our swimsuits on the same, one leg at a time. :)

Themes, really? I’m not a park…

I was told when I first started blogging that my blog needed a theme. A theme, a cohesive idea that I can build my blog around.

It is extremely difficult to come up with a fresh theme that hasn’t been blogged to death.

And then inspiration struck! What do I do that is uniquely me? I speak a special language, Sarcasm. Yes, there are quite a few blogs that speak this special language. But, are they located in the Napa Valley? What about being a writer, employed as an advertising manager, in the Napa Valley?

Now we’re talking.. Wine, Life, Sarcasm and thou…..

So stay tuned. This ball is about to start rolling…… ;)

Uh, I missed the Train! And a Pope.

My code mistress extraordinaire, Christy of My Mad Mind, informed me last week that she wouldn’t be able to give me code due to a pile of up of, well, life. So here I sit with no code, no train and no twitter lounge. What’s a blogger to do?

Talk about things that happened in the World this week, that’s what!

Not many of you may know, but, I’m a lapsed catholic. Which means I gave up on the Church or it gave up on me, I’m not sure which. No one’s fault. My religion now is the Golden Rule, “Treat others as you, yourself, would like to be treated”.

That being said, imagine my surprise when I read about the Pope resigning. Instantly the writer in me saw conspiracies, plots and hidden agendas. I didn’t take his reason at face value. Why? Because it didn’t seem real. How could a man elected to the highest office of Catholicism suddenly decide to quit? For health reasons?

Those of us who have seen too many gangster movies would immediately think, “oh, yeah, a case of cement shoes health reasons.” It just seemed so sudden to resign for health reasons. Even his closest advisors had no idea what was on his mind, from what I understand. The timing was weird as well. Two days before Ash Wednesday? Three days before Lent? He gave two weeks notice, so to speak, and his last day will be February 28, right in the middle of Lent.

My writer’s mind is full of plots for a book: the Pope resign due to bad guys. The bad guys want him to change Vatican law, cover up their swindling of the Church funds and the murder of his closest advisor. Backed into a corner he resigns. This throws the bad guys into a frenzy of plans to pick his successor who will be their puppet. And out of the shadows comes the WRITER who saves the day by uncovering the dastardly plot. 

Think I can get it written before Dan Brown does? Nah, me neither! :)

I hope that his health does improve. That he doesn’t regret his decision to quit and finds peace with his new life.

Have a great week and stay tuned!

The Tuesday Train and the flu

Yep, got the flu. From my husband. He tells me he wanted to show his love and unselfishness before Valentine’s Day by giving me the flu.

Awwww, how sweet! Uh, yeah, no. Thanks all the same but I would rather not be hacking up a lung right now.

So, because its hard to concentrate, I am putting filler to show the love of Valentine’s Day..

OMG! I forgot to get him a Valentine's card!

OMG! I forgot to get him a Valentine’s card!

I'll make him a Devil's food cake....

I’ll make him a Devil’s food cake….

Ice cold milk (soy if you are lactose intolerant)

Should he have milk or…….

A nice cup of coffee?

A nice cup of coffee?

Decisions, decisions. Have a wonderful week and a Happy Valentine’s Day.

Come on board the Tuesday Train, visit with some wonderful bloggers and make new friends!

And if you prefer Twitter, we now have the Twitter Train! Come on by, and meet some great people in the Twitter Train lounge!

The Tuesday Train and the way I roll

Some writers do elaborate outlines, with bullet points, and character/story arcs. Or they have five pages of character notes that delve deep into their character’s ,hmm well, character.

Not me. I have tried a story/character arc. Made a really pretty arch on my paper and then sat there, staring at it. I tried outlines and character sheets. Nope, can’t do it. For the life of me I can’t do these detailed notes for my books. Why?  Because that’s not the way I roll. Because I am a …… Plantster. Half plotter – Half pantster.

Let me explain before you put that white jacket on me. I realised (after one book, three short stories and numerous blogs) that the way I plot is to write a synopsis. Just to write the story without  conversations, descriptions, timelines, dates, meals and so on. I write the story behind the story.

Holy Cow!! I have been plotting my stories without plotting my stories. This break through has stopped me from contemplating joining Writers Anonymous. “Hi, my name is Shellie and I have no clue how to do an outline”.  Now I feel less like a neurotic mess and more like a writer.

Yeah, I got a handle on this writing stuff now. Maybe. Sort of.

Thanks for stopping by and letting me expose explain myself! And yes, there are all sorts of ways to write a book. The first step? Put the words on the paper. If you don’t know where to start, start with just 50 words. And then wait a while. Then do another 50 words. Callene, you are so right. 50 words are very easy to do.

Take care.

Come on board the Tuesday Train, visit with some wonderful bloggers and make new friends!

And if you prefer Twitter, we now have the Twitter Train! Come on by, and meet some great people in the Twitter Train lounge!