Friday, May 31, 2013

WIP It Good

It’s time for the WIP It Goodblogfest hosted by DL Hammond and Elise Fallson, which means it’s a special Friday post.

Hi everyone from the bloghop! If you’re looking to swap beta reads/critiques and don’t detest first person present tense, I’m here.


Word Count (projected/actual so far): 90,000/90,000

Genre: YA Dystopian/apocalyptic

How long have you been working on it?: A little over a year.

Elevator Pitch (if you came across an agent in an elevator ride, what couple of lines would you use to summarize your book): The world is ending. Society is crumbling. Cassidy, however, isn’t going anywhere any time soon.

Brief Synopsis (250 words or less): World temperatures are sky-rocketing and society is on shaky last legs. Cassidy is witnessing it all firsthand. But she isn’t the type to let a little thing like the end of the world do her in. Of course, the life she once knew is gone, replaced with something vastly different from high school and a boring suburban life. Bullies used to be a problem for her. Now she’s slightly more worried about being gunned down by people she once called “neighbor”, and whether or not her brother will die from an asthma attack because they can’t get to a doctor. Her father says keeping the family safe at the expense of everyone else is the right thing to do and she believes him…except for the one niggle of doubt when she sees the people gasping their last breaths in triple digit temperatures. It may be a question of who breaks first, her or the heat.

Are you looking for a Critique Partner?: Yes!

Are you looking for a Beta Reader?: Also yes!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Language of Confusion: -fused

It’s been right there all along but I never thought of etymologizing the suffix –fuse. And I know I haven’t done it before because I actually made a list of all the words I’ve featured. Yeah, I’m as surprised about that as you are.

Fuse the word showed up in the late seventeenth century from the word fusion, a mid-sixteenth century word from the Middle French fusion and classical Latin fusionem, outpouring, a noun version of fusus, the past participle of fundere, pour or melt. PS, fundere is also the origin word for found.

Interestingly enough, confuse showed up in the mid-sixteenth century (although it didn’t firmly take its place in English for another couple of centuries), while confused first appeared two centuries earlier. Confused was actually an alternate version of confound, in the way the classical Latin confusus is the past participle of confundere, to mix together (which is literally what con- plus -fundere means).

Showed up in the early fifteenth century from the classical Latin infusus and infundere, to pour in. Since -fundere is “pour” and in- is “in” (can you can puzzle out that one?), I’m guessing you see what I’m talking about.

First showed up in the early fifteenth century from the classical Latin diffusus and diffundere, which means to pour out/away. The prefix dis- means apart or away, so this is another straightforward one.

Showed up in the early fifteenth century. The classical Latin forms are, as expected, transfususand transfundere. The prefix trans- means across, so it’s “pour across”, or transfer by pouring.

Did not show up until very recently, in the nineteen forties. This means that unlike most –fuse words, it doesn’t come from Latin. It’s just a mix of the prefix de- with -fuse.

In this case, there are two homophones of the words, the verb refuse which means will not and the noun refuse which means garbage. No refuse showed up in the fourteenth century, in this case coming from the Old French refuserand Vulgar Latin refusare. The classical Latin equivalent is of course refundere, pour/give back, the origin word of refund. The garbage refuse comes from the Old French refus, waste, and comes from the above mentioned refuser.

Profuse (a word for large or excessive amounts), showed up in the early fifteenth century from the classical Latin profusus. Profusus/profundere has the same meaning as the English version as it’s a figurative way of saying “poured forth” pro- (forth) and -fundere (pour). Despite looking similar, profound, like a deep thought, has a slightly different word ancestry. Its suffix comes from the classical Latin fundus, which means bottom. Basically, fund is different from found and profound comes from the former.

There are also several other -fuse words that you may or may not have heard of, like effuse (pour out), affuse (pour on), perfuse (pour throughout), suffuse (overspread), circumfuse (pour around), superfuse (no longer used word just meaning pour) and finally, humifuse, which means to spread over the surface of the ground. Awesome points to anyone who can use it in a sentence.

TL;DR: fuse means pour and it’s related to found, but neither is related to fund.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013


It’s weird. When I have a lot of ideas for writing, I have no ideas for blogging. When I have no ideas for writing, I have many ideas for blogging. This is one of the former times, so I’m just going to write about what I’m writing and maybe that will count as a post.

Writing-wise, I have a lot to occupy my mind. COLLAPSE is deeply mired in beta reading, and with the WIP It blogfest I should be getting even more. So while I’m waiting to collect all of that, I decided, what the hell, it’s time for a new project. Well, a new old project.

My 2010 book was called A SAFE PLACE IN HELL. The name is…a work in progress? Anyway, I really liked the concept, but as time went on had doubts about my execution of it. Part of this was inexperience…okay, all of it was inexperience. I’ve heard that you need to do something for 10,000 hours before it can truly be mastered, and I was at about 8K there. Not bad, but not there yet.

So I decided that if I found the time, I would rewrite it basically from scratch. And I found the time. I’ve only got about ten thousand words down, but I have a plan for what’s going to happen and I think it’s going to come out as good as a first draft can come out. Same plot, same characters but evolved so it’s, I hope, a lot better. You’ll know that it’s good if in about a year I’m going on another beta reader hunt.

I know. I’m ending with questions, the written cat-picture (read: easy way out) of blogger tools, but I’d like to see what you, my fabulacious friends, have to say about rewrites. Have you done them? Have you wanted to? When do you think they’re warranted and when does an idea need to fade away?

Also? Disappointed that “fabulacious” isn’t in Word’s dictionary. They have frigging ginormous, but fabulacious is where they draw the line.

Saturday, May 25, 2013


It’s May, which means the networks are finishing up their seasons with needlessly dramatic finales, canceling shows that don’t deserve it, renewing shows that reallydon’t deserve it, and announcing next fall’s lineups, which happen to be carbon copies of shows from other networks that got renewed for another season.

It’s all made me think about how easy it is to create a network show. They follow very specific formulas (yes, I’m using formulas instead of formulae…deal with it).

Family Sit-Com
1 Happily Married Couple. He will be fat. She will be thin and way more attractive than him. Husband will also most likely get involved with crazy schemes wife has to put up with.

1 Friend Couple. May or may not be married, may or may not be happy together. Will spend most of the time going along with crazy schemes because they never have anything going on in their own lives.

1-3 precocious children. Must be combination of sickeningly cute and strangely knowledgeable about pop-culture references for television shows/movies viewers will be familiar with but no child should be watching.

Office Sit-Com
1 Male Lead. Relatable office drone, twenty five to forty, who says what every viewer wishes they had at work. Will have crush on Female Lead but will always be interrupted if he tries to ask her out.

1 Female Lead. Will be attractive, in her late twenties, and clearly out of Male Lead’s league, but interested in him anyway.

1 Crazy Boss. Will do things that would get any real person sued or perhaps arrested.

1 Ensemble Dark Horse. In an ensemble cast, will be the most popular. Will leave after 1-3 seasons for movie career.

1 Creepy Guy. Will bother Male Lead, try to screw up his chances with Female Lead and get him in trouble with Crazy Boss. Displays behavior that one usually sees with stalkers.

1 Male Lead. Must be handsome, strong, and righteous, but willing to break the rules when it’s really important/sticking it to The Man. The last is especially necessary because most of the viewers are baby boomers who will be looking for a “rebel” to identify with.

1 Female Lead. Must be attractive and no older than forty (much older and no one’s going to want to see the cleavage she’s sporting through her professionally inappropriate low-cut tops). Being blond is not a must, but if not there must be another blond woman in the cast.

1 Black Man. Will in all likelihood be the male lead’s best friend. Will be the tough guy of the group, but have some sort of heart-wrenching backstory (poverty, abuse, etc.).

1 Old Guy. Will be the supervisor of the leads, and if anyone on the main cast is married (or divorced with kids), it’s him.

1-4 Quirky Side Characters. They’ll end up being liked better than the main cast and added to the opening credits after one to three seasons. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Language of Confusion: Dis-turbia

Remember that movie? Because I don’t.

Disturb and its cousin perturb are words that I assumed had no prefix-less form, but in that case I was wrong. “Turbid” is indeed a word, one that even Microsoft Word recognizes and they don’t accept hitman. It basically means clouded, in both a literal (murky water is turbid) and figurative (a confused person is also turbid).

Turbid showed up in the early seventeenth century from the classical Latin turbidus, muddy or confused. It comes from the verb turbare, to confuse, and is probably from the Greek word for turmoil tyrbe.

Disturbed showed up three centuries before turbid, although initially it just meant to stop or hinder, like an interruption. The other definitions we now have for it, mix up and upset, came along a bit later, which is funny considering they’re actually closer to its classical Latin form, disturbare, which means “throw into disorder”. The dis- prefix means completely, so combined with the above turbare, it’s to confuse completely. Taken in a literal sense, that’s what being thrown into disorder is like : ).

Perturb showed up in the late fourteenth century from the Old French perturber and classical Latin perturbare, which both mean disturb or confuse, especially in terms of the mind. The prefix per- means through, making the word “disturb through”. When you’re perturbed, your mind is disturbed.

Wow, that was a quick one.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Like the Devo song. They were on Futurama. That’s how I know them.

One of my 2012 goals was to join in more blogfests. As you may or may not recall, I did one, which was less than I did in 2012 and thus a total failure for me. Not that I’m broken up about it, but still. It’s pretty weaksauce on my part.

Anyway, I finally found one that made me get off my lazy butt and join! DL Hammons and Elise Fallson are hosting the WIP It Good Blogfest on May 31st. On that day, everyone shares the following:

WIP Title:

Word Count (projected/actual so far):


How long have you been working on it?:

Elevator Pitch (if you came across an agent in an elevator ride, what couple of lines would you use to summarize your book):

Brief Synopsis (250 words or less):

Are you looking for a Critique Partner?:

Are you looking for a Beta Reader?:

And we meet up in hopes of finding new CPs and Beta Readers, something I mentioned I was looking for.

This is perfect : ). I hope to see you there!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Truth

Another true story from my miserable, depressing life:

The world is hard and unfeeling.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Lost in Translation: Saturday

It’s been a long time since I’ve done one of these. Too long. Of course, now I only have one day left. Whatever will I etymologize next? [I have no idea if I’m using that word right; don’t care, either]

In English, most of the days of the week are named after gods. Tuesday is Tiu/Tyr, the Norse god of war, Wednesday is Woden/Odin, Thursday is Thor, Friday is probably either Frigg or Freya, Norse goddesses of love. Saturday is also named after a god, but for some reason from a completely different mythology—Roman. And of course, we’re the only one who still does that.

Saturday in Other Languages
Latvian: sestdiena
Lithuania: šeštadienis
Icelandic: Laugardagur
Danish: lørdag
Norwegian: lørdag
Finnish: lauantai
Swedish: lördag
Estonian: laupäev
Dutch: zaterdag
German: samstag
French: samedi
Italian: Sabato
Portuguese: sábado
Croatian: subota
Georgian: shabat’i
Russian: subbota
Hungarian: szombat
Serbian: subota
Armenian: shabat’
Slovak: Sobota
Greek: Savvato
Hungarian: e shtunë

As you can see, a lot of countries have a similar naming convention. Most non-Scandinavian European countries have a variation of Sabbath, even countries like Germany and France where it’s quite different (it’s basically a mispronunciation of it). The Scandinavian countries went a completely different route. Their Saturday is from an Old Norse word meaning “bath day”, probably used because they didn’t want to use their equivalent god of death for a day of the week. It spread through the other countries and stuck even as the language changed. Finally, there’s the oddballs, Latvia and Lithuania, both of which have words meaning sixth day. It’s just how they do their days of the week there.

Our Saturday was Sæterdæg or Sæternesdæg in Old English, both meaning the day of the planet Saturn. It was taken from the classical Latin Saturni dies (Saturn day), which itself was taken from the Greek kronou hemera, Cronus day (makes sense, Cronus is the Greek equivalent of the Roman Saturn).

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


It’s that time in my book’s life cycle where I have to send it out into the cold, cruel world (you’ll see what I mean in Saturday’s post) to be brutally slaughtered. I mean critiqued. Isn’t it weird how slaughter is laughter with an s at the beginning?

Anyway, I already have one really good beta reader (did you know I forget words all the time? Because I didn’t), and I’m not worried about losing her. I beta read for her and when she published, she sent me a copy of the book. I think that’s like getting married for beta readers. She was the first person who read COLLAPSE besides me and her notes gave me plenty of ideas to make things, in a word, better.

How I would love to believe that this one critique is all it needs to be mind-bendingly awesome. But it might be prudent to find other people willing to read it. I just hope I have the same luck as I did when Julie first asked me to beta read for her and promised to return the favor. My other interactions with betas has been…unfortunate. To sum up, one fell ill, one disappeared from the internet, and the third just hated my MC.

So. That’s where I am right now. If anyone is interested in beta reading/critiquing, let me know. So there are no surprises, it’s a YA dystopian and written in first person present tense. I know, how trendy. But it’s how I like to write. I’m always happy to return the favor, as long as you don’t disappear on me. Then I might have to hunt you down.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Random Thoughts

---Its been such a long time. I’ve missed these.
---You know what? Sometimes I just want to look up song lyrics. STOP TRYING TO SELL ME RINGTONES.
---“Scientists create tractor beam”. YES! One step closer to Star Trek!
---I accidentally knocked into my old clarinet case and a bunch of Pixy Sticks spilled out. My first thought was “How long have those been in there?” (More than five years, definitely). My second thought was “Do Pixy Sticks go bad?”
---For the record, no, I did not eat them. I had plenty of peanut butter M&Ms so there was no need to.
---Actual headline: “Middle School Wrestlers On Top!” Must…not…make…obvious…joke. Brain…OVERLOADING…
---Space smells like burning metal.
---Although the center of the galaxy is raspberry flavored rum.
---“Sony to make last MiniDisc stereo system in March”. Somehow they’ve been out for twenty one years and I’ve never heard of them. Props for the dedication to stupid ideas, Sony.
---Not the PS2 though. Anyone who badmouths it will be unfriended for life. Also I’ll punch you.
---A guy found the largest prime number yet. He received a $3000 grant for doing so. Math!
---“Curiosity killed the cat” doesn’t mean curiosity is danger. The original meaning of the phrase was that worrying killed the cat. Not sure why it always had to be cats, but there you go.
---The state of Mississippi just ratified the thirteenth amendment (outlawing slavery) in February. Way to stay on the ball, guys.
---The fax machine was invented in 1843.
---A Russian bus driver rams cars that rudely cut him off in traffic. With the approval of his employer.
---Now that they have 3D printers, there’s only one more horizon to breach: 4D printers. They print out time itself.
---Well, what did you think they were going to do now that they found the Higgs boson?
---Futurama is ending. Not canceled (again) but actually, factually ending. Prepare to ingest cyanide capsules now.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Language of Confusion: -sist

This is a post about words with –sist in them. It’s a fairly common suffix, but has no root word in English that we all know. So what’s its story?

First showed up in the early fifteenth century from the Middle French assister (same meaning) and from there, the classical Latin assistere (stand by or attend). The prefix a- is short for ad-, which means to, while –sistere means “take a stand”. Sistere can be traced all the way to the Proto Indo European sta-, to stand, which was reduplicated (basically, they repeated the syllable to make it a new word form) into siste-.

First showed up in the late fourteenth century from the Old French resister and classical Latin resistere, which meant resist or withstand. The prefix re- means against and the –sist comes from sistere, take a stand, making it “stand against”.

This didn’t show up until the early sixteenth century, coming from the Middle French consister and classical Latin consistere, stand firm or stop. The con- comes from the prefix con-, which means together, and -sistere means stand as in to place something. This makes the word something like “placed together”. It makes more sense if you think of something being made of things placed together.

Showed up in the late sixteenth century from the classical Latin insistere, which means dwell upon. The in- means upon in this case and of course sistere is take a stand. When you take a stand upon something, you insist on it, right?

Showed up in the mid sixteenth century from the Middle French persisterand classical Latin persistere, which means something like to continue steadfastly. Per- means thoroughly, making the word “to take a stand thoroughly”. Kind of wacky, but it makes sense. If you do something thoroughly, you don’t give up—you persist.

Showed up in the mid fifteenth century from the Middle French désisterand classical Latin desistere, to cease or stand aside. Since de- means off, there’s no huge mystery with this one.

First showed up in the mid sixteenth century from the classical Latin (all together now) subsistere, stand firm. The sub- means under, making the word something like “stand under”, at least literally. I think we can all agree this word’s meant to be taken figuratively.

Yes, this word really is part of the –sist family. Exist didn’t show up until the beginning of the seventeenth century, although existence was around more than two centuries earlier. It came from the classical Latin existere—which is also spelled exsistere—and literally means stand forth and figuratively means exist. The ex- means out or forth, so that explains that. Well, mostly.

Transistor is the newest of the -sist words, not showing up until 1948 when it meant an electronic device. It’s actually a mix of transfer and resistor, which I guess makes one of its grandparents the Latin sistere.


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

May Goals

Wow, May already. Things are really getting beautiful out. It’s nice and sunny, but I’m not dying of the heat. I can leave the windows open without being deafened by crickets. It’s really and truly spring now! Except in Minnesota and Colorado. You’d think they were in the southern hemisphere or something.

April Goals

Goal 1: Get COLLAPSE out to some beta readers!!! I get so nervous about sharing my work, so this is going to be a hard one. There are still some word issues, and maybe some with pacing and the like, but I feel like I procrastinate too long on things like this. Anyway, getting feedback will help me figure out what needs to be done.
            Done, if by “some” I meant “one”. However she’s a good beta reader who already gave me some things to fix, so I’d call this a win.

Goal 2: Start following more blogs on Tumblr. I think I’ll keep this as a weekend project so it won’t interfere with my writing.
            Mostly a fail. I followed a couple of new ones, but I find Tumblr a little hard to navigate. Although I’m reminded how many months (namely, a lot) it took me to really get into Twitter. It also didn’t help that I had some other stuff to deal with that kind of interfered with my ability to get stuff done.

Goal 3: Work on notes (and maybe some sort of, shudder, outline) for my new project, which is actually a rewrite of an old project. This should satisfy my urge to do something new. I’ve got some good ideas brewing. It will be nice to sink my teeth into writing again.
            Mostly done. I have a couple of end chapters left, and I definitely want to have the ending in mind before I start to work on this. And I do, pretty much, but I like to be exact about things.

So, not bad. I really could have done better, though, especially with that Tumblr thing. Social media is hard for me sometimes. Anyway…

May Goals

1. Get COLLAPSE out to more beta readers. I do want to fix some things from my reader first, but that shouldn’t take more than two weeks.

2. Actually follow some more blogs on Tumblr this time. This shouldn’t be that hard! Your weekends are wide open, self!

3. Start on rewrite. Maybe. I’m not sure if I’ll have time, but it would stop me from worrying about beta reads. It’s hard sending my baby out on its own!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Reader, part the last

It’s probably time to wrap this up. Six weeks is getting to be a bit much. So here’s the rundown on all the sites, winners in their own ways. Mostly by sucking.

The Good
Winner, easiest transition category: Feedly

Winner, best social media connector: Netvibes/Bloglines

Winner, if you’re willing to download: FeedDemon

The Bad
Winner, most impossible to figure out the workings of: Pulse

Winner, as long as you only follow famous blogs: Good Noows

Winner, OMG you expect me to resubscribe to all my blogs? Ever heard of imports?: News Alloy

Winner, but only for Apple: Reeder

Winner, if you’re really desperate and want to download one but seriously you can find something better (tie): RSSOwl and RSS Reader

The Ugly
Winner, d!ck move by making it a subscribed service when Reader announced it was dying, NewsBlur

Winner, we have to nuke it from orbit to be sure, FeedReader

Winner, most awesome site that disappeared without a trace, Feedlooks

Winner, totally broken, (tie) FeedShow and Rssminer

So those are your choices. I mean, if you’re not one of those people who doesn’t use Reader and doesn’t have to worry about how s/he’s going to visit blogs. Personally, I’m sticking with Feedly. Although Netvibes was did give it a run for its money, I prefer not to keep all my social media sites on one page (I’m just like that) and I find it a bit easier to use and organize. For you guys, I’d recommend you go with whichever one of “The Good” fits your style best.

Unless Google comes to its senses and decides to keep Reader going. Please? Anything? No? Damn it.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Language of Confusion: -past Tense

For Su, who mentioned last week that she wondered about the word past.

Now, I did past the time period, but not the suffix. It isn’t until Su mentioned it that I wondered what the difference might be between them. After all, vent and -vent turned out not to be related at all.

Pasture can be both a verb (putting animals out to graze) and a noun (an area where animals graze). The noun came first, in the early fourteenth century, while the verb came around at the end of the century. They come from slightly different words in Old French, the noun’s being pasture (big leap) and the verb’s being pasturer, which of course are related. The French pasture comes from the Late Latin pastura, feeding or grazing, which comes from the word pascere, to graze.

Another word that has to do with eating is repast. It first showed up in the early fourteenth century from the Old French repast, a meal, which itself comes from the Late Latin repastus, also meal. Repastus is the past participle of repascere, to feed again. The prefix re-means repeatedly or again, but I’m not really sure why adding a re- to “graze” would turn it into “meal”. Maybe because a meal is done repeatedly at the same time? Just wild mass guessing here.

And it may or may not surprise you (it makes sense when you think about it) but pastor also comes from the same line. It showed up in the late fourteenth century (although interestingly enough, appeared earlier as a last name) from the Old French pastor/pastur, a shepherd. Of course the Old French word comes from classical Latin, where the word for shepherd is pastorem/pastor. And obviously the word for shepherd, one who tends to animals, is from pastus, the past participle of pascere.

There are a lot of other words that have past in them, although not really as a part of the word. The word pasta for example comes from the Italian (for a change) pasta, which comes from the Late Latin pastaand Greek…pasta. This word isn’t related to pasture, although that would make sense, but rather paste, which is what the word pasta means in Greek. Our paste comes to us from the Late Latin pasta by way of the Old French paste. Also related? Pastry, pastel, pasty, and pastiche.