Friday, December 31, 2010

JibJab 2010 Year in Review

Oh, boy. Love the folks over at JibJab for coming up with this one...they never disappoint, do they?

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Now is a great time to reflect on the year. I went back through my old blog posts and found the one I wrote back on January first about my goals for 2010. They were:

*Get more partial requests off my query
*Write every day
*Get an agent who believes in my work
*Drop 20 pounds by hitting the gym daily

I'm happy to say I went three for four.

*I did get more partial requests off my query. I got tons of them!
*I wrote just about every day with the exception of day trips to the ocean or mountains or a few days taken off to go to RWA National in Orlando.
*I did get an agent! And she's great!
*I haven't lost 20 pounds...yet...but P90X is still going strong and I plan on finishing the program.

Overall I think I did pretty good. My goals for 2011, you ask?

*Sell a book in The Crimson Bay Series to one of the major publishing houses in NYC.
*Find an editor who believes in my work like I do.
*Write every day
*Spend more time enjoying the little things rather than worrying about them.
*Finish another two books: the third in The Crimson Bay Seres and another (maybe a paranormal YA??? I'm tossing ideas around...)
*Final in the Daphne duMaurier Contest
*Final in the Golden Heart Contest

After writing this list out, I realized how much I'm expecting from myself this year. Oh, I realize some of those are lofty goals, but I'm shooting for the moon in 2011.

What about you? What are your goals for the year? Where do you wish to see yourself at the end of 2011?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Writers Alphabet: A-Z


A-gents believe in the value of a good book. Give them something to believe in.
B-logs are the ultimate networking tool. (And quite fun to boot!)
C-ontests help build your writing bio but
D-on't count on the scores to mean a thing.
E-dits are a necessary evil.
F-acebook will distract easy enough but you still need to
G-et down to it and write!
H-ell, the book won't write itself.
I-nspire others and so inspire yourself.
J-ump chapters or scenes if you get stuck.
K-ill your darlings--no matter how much it hurts.
L-ocal writing chapters provide unwavering support.
M-anuscripts will be changed again and again. Hold nothing dear.
N-ational conferences are a great way to meet other writers.
O-pen your work to both pos/neg feedback.
P-artners to critique your work are a must.
Q-uestion everything. Does that -ly need to be there?
R-ough drafts are just that: rough.
S-ave early and save often.
T-witter is a writers vortex--not many useful pages escape.
U-nderstand marketing trends, then write what pulls you anyway.
V-alue free time away from your WIP.
W-rite! Write! Write! Now Write some more!
X-cuse mistakes here and there.
Y-ou must remember it's a process. You'll get *there* eventually.
Z-ebra Mochas from Starbucks are an essential muse booster. (At least for me--mocha addict--remember?)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I've fallen in love with Fallen

I've had the most gloriously relaxing last couple days. I haven't gotten much done around the house other than reading, editing, and writing, and I feel guilty...but oh so right.

After a few hours writing yesterday (I broke through the Chapter 17 hump!), Bailey assumed his usual position:

He was probably wondering what took me so long to slide back into our daily groove. He didn't seem to have as many problems cuddling right up to his position beneath my chair. Doesn't he look content?

After writing an accidental 5000 words (when, really, I was just editing and cleaning scenes up and adding little things here and there), I decided to take a break and read a bit.

I picked up this:

Isn't that the most gorgeous cover you've ever seen? (Other than mine, of course. *Ahem) (WHICHREMINDSMEDARKTIDERISINGCOMESOUTINONEMONTH!ONEMONTHPEOPLE!AHHHH!)

Sorry. Back on track.

I had never heard of Fallen until I walked by the gorgeous cover in Borders a few months back. I stopped in my tracks. Picked up the book. Stroked the cover. (Oh yes I did.) And then I put it back on the shelf. I was still deep in the conflict of Immortal, Beloved and I can't usually read any one else's work while writing my own. I thought I'd pick it up again once I was finished writing my own novel.

But the premise of the book stayed with me. The idea of a guy (later known to be a fallen angel) walking the earth for eternity, waiting miserably for his soulmate to return to his arms is so...romantic. Torturous, yes, but those times they get to be together? Heaven. The idea that they CAN'T be together, yet are still pulled to each other like magnets was enticing. Soulmates. I can tell that they'll be together eventually, and just can't wait to see how that plays out.

I'm already IN the story and I haven't even picked up the darn book.

So guess what? I asked for the second book in the series, Torment, for Christmas.

(Equally beautiful cover, don't you think?)

You might be wondering why on earth I asked for the second book as a gift instead of the first...well, as it happens Fallen sneaked into my shopping bag when I was leaving Borders a few days before Christmas. (YES I paid for it! I just didn't mean to buy it. I mean, I was buying presents for other people! It's Christmas! I wasn't supposed to buy for ME. But I did. And it felt great.)

Imagine my surprise when I actually got Torment! Using the few days after Christmas as wonderful vegging/de-Christmasing time, I picked up Fallen and glided through its pages. It's so lovely in so many ways but the connection between the hero and heroine are what had me hooked. Ever felt pulled to a person and have no real reason behind it? Like the middle school crush on the jerk that you know isn't going to play out but you can't stop staring at him over your lunch table? Yeah, that's what these two are all about.

I read the book in two days (all 460 pages) while still managing to plug away at my own novel (which was a first for me). I put down Fallen. I picked up Torment. And now I can't wait to read Passion, the third book in the series, when it comes out this summer.

I'm about 50 pages from the end of Immortal, Beloved. The heroine has been kidnapped. Vampire elders have already been slain. The hero just realized his destiny...and hers...and realizes that although he'd give his life fighting for her in this final battle, once she's safe they can't be together. Steep price to pay for the sins he's committed. And the hero and heroine from the third book in The Crimson Bay series, creatively titled "Third Book in the Crimson Bay Series" have just met. Sparks are flying. She hates him. He's hooked.

Ah, I love this writing gig.

Hope your holidays were great!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Traditions

Christmas Eve is at the Miller house this year, as its been the last five. I decided against the traditional turkey and potatoes dinner and went with a more Italian feel (although we're Portuguese, not Italian). We're having mozzarella sticks, sourdough spinach dip bread bowls, lasagna, green bean casserole, french bread, and a salad fit for a king. I'm making everything from scratch (minus the casserole--thank you Best Mother Ever). Should be delicious, traditional or not. I've spent three days shopping, cleaning and prepping for TODAY where (after this blog post) I'm going to park my feet in front of the oven for five hours.

There is one tradition that will remain the same this year: Every year I light a bunch of different candles and sprinkle them around the house. At the end of the night I go around snuffing them all out...but the last candle, the one perched on the living room window sill, gets blown out by the youngest at the party.

After everyone leaves, Santa will stay up way past midnight watching some old Christmas movie on TNT (PLEASE let it be Christmas Vacation this year!) and struggle to put together the kids' gifts for Christmas morning. Some things never change...

Whether your Christmas is full of the lovely familiar or nontraditaional food and new-to-you family, the Miller clan wishes you and yours the merriest of season traditions.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

How I Landed My Agent

I got an email the other day from a blog reader (love love love those). She said she's on the agent prowl for her urban fantasy novel and asked a ton of questions about how long it took to find my agent, The Call, my path to submission after signing, etc. I thought this information might be a useful blog post--after all, I love reading other "How I Landed My Agent" stories.

I wrote Enemy, Beloved in the Spring of 2010. I edited, critiqued with a handful of writers and readers and rewrote problem scenes. I wrote my query letter. I revised my query letter. I revised it some more and asked friends to read it and tweak it. I wrote my synopsis. I revised my synopsis. (See a pattern here? You've got to nail all three!)

Around May of 2010 I sent out fifteen queries. Of those queries I received two partial requests and one full request. The full request led to an offer of representation.

I signed with that agent. I revised about a month on his suggestion to make the novel "darker and hotter." I did. He sent Enemy, Beloved to one NYC publishing house. I received a rejection about a month later from that house.

This past September I parted ways with my agent due to his opening of an e-pub. I had already contracted my romantic suspense with The Wild Rose Press, and didn't want to sign my paranormal Enemy, Beloved, with another. It's not that I have anything against e-pubs, it's just that I have a *feeling* (or hope against hope) that this one will go further.

So (against Husband's advice) I sent out another ten queries right away. (He thought I should take some time, revise some more and finish writing the second in the series. I was angsty and roaring to go!) Of those ten queries I received two partial requests, both of which led to offers of representation.

The Call came on Halloween--BEST HALLOWEEN EVER!! Nalini Akolekar of Spencerhill Associates and I talked about dogs, writing, home life, Dark Tide Rising, etc. It was very comfortable right away--a great fit. I asked a few questions. (I was so nervous!) I asked for a day to consider her offer. (Although I knew at that point she was the agent I wanted to represent my book.) I called the next day and accepted her offer.

Since then, Enemy Beloved has gone on submission with three houses. I haven't heard back yet, but it's the Holidays and with that comes being patient as all heck. I've heard that the publishing industry comes to a screeching halt the month of December. They weren't kidding.

So that's where I stand. If you'd like to read the query letter that got the requests, it's pretty much the blurb found under the "Books" tab above. On the actual query, though, I had the genre, word count, correct salutation and brief bio.

I would absolutely love to hear other "How I Landed My Agent" stories, so if you've got one, please share! Hope that answered your questions, blog reader! If you have another, don't hesitate to comment away or send another email! *grin

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Dried up muses and P90X

Lately I feel like I'm stuck in quicksand. My WIP doesn't seem to be moving. I can't seem to write past the vortex that is Chapter 17 no matter how many times I sit down at the computer to write.

I don't think I've lost a single pound after three weeks of P90X. Seriously. I'm bound to be one of those exceptions to the weight-loss guru's program rule.

(*I'm convinced Tony Horton is an alien sent to punish the human race in cruel and unusual ways. Crunchy Frog, anyone???)

It's easy to succumb to the sinking feeling. My brother-in-law asked me yesterday if I'd been writing through the rainstorm pummeling Northern Cali. I hadn't. It was unusual to say the least...rain is where I get my inspiration most days. It cleanses the grog in my brain and refreshes my muse.

It's easy to get stuck fifty pages from the end and dwell on the fact that all the words coming out are garbage. They really are garbage. (And I'm not looking for external reinforcement here because, trust me, I know what I'm capable of and the new stuff I've written is far from it.)

But I realized something this afternoon. I took a huge nap (way abnormal) caught up on my sleep hiatus (Hubby's office Christmas party last night--waaay too much fun) and woke up with all sorts of writing energy. I made a mocha and typed away while Tank and Princess watched Shrek 4. (Oh, I know the mocha might have something to do with the weight-loss thing, but everyone needs a splurge or two.)

I checked my word count before starting edits: 68,000 words. I didn't type a single thing onto dreaded and empty Chapter 17, page 1. I edited Chapter 15-16 to the point of Immortal Delirium. When I reached the end of Chapter 16, I rechecked the word count: 70,000.


I actually managed to edit...I mean write 2K without meaning to? Cool concept.

I took my measurements. In three weeks on the P90X program I've lost 3/4 of an inch on each thigh, an inch on my waist and 1 3/4 inches off my lower abs. (I'd weigh myself but my scale is currently in the garage being used to weigh Mustang parts...don't ask.) I lost something. May or may not be weight, but my jeans are fitting more loosely and the inches are melting off. Pretty cool.

I realized that even though I feel like I'm standing still, I'm really not. I'm sweating. I'm getting healthy. My body is changing for the better. I'm editing. I'm perfecting my craft. I'm learning how to write through those wicked, wicked, doldrums (IHATETHEMIHATETHEMIHATETHEM!!!) I'm learning that writing as a career isn't all roses and flowing inspiration.

Muses really do dry up, even in rainstorms that last for weeks. And weight really does come off with hard work, even if you can't prove it. I've just realized that if I stop focusing on the struggle and focus more on the slow and steady process, the work is getting done.

I'm a happy girl. *grin

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Performance Anxiety

If you've done any kind of sport, you know what I'm talking about here. I'm talking about that crazy nervousness that sets in before you compete, before you cross that Start Line or enter that stage. Ever been so scared of performing your best that you freeze? I'm right there.

In my writing, I mean.

Immortal, Beloved is at 70,000 words. (That's {hold on, lemme open my word doc and check to be exact, here} 239 pages.) I'm a mere 20,000 words away from my finish line...and for the life of me I can't seem to move forward.

Typically the endings fly off my fingertips. I can push through 50 darn near polished pages in a few days to reach The End.

But that's not happening this go round. It's not that I don't know what needs to happen, because I do. I know how and where every single loose end is going to tie up. I know where my hero and heroine will have their black moment. I have the scene in my head. I know who is going to die in the final battle and who will live and who will be changed forever.

But I can't seem to write the darn thing. I'm having major performance anxiety.

Yesterday I chopped apart the pages I wrote for Nano and rewrote them. I finally reached Chapter 17: The Unwritten Blank Page. But before moving forward I had to know if my last 50 pages were up to snuff. (Oh, I forgot about that song. Snuff, that is. It's one of the only Slipknot songs I lurve. Check it out.) So I sent my last 50 to my crit partner.

Oh, it was bad.

She'll say it wasn't, but it was. It was exactly what I needed to hear because, come on, really, I knew deep down it wasn't good enough.

And now I still can't move forward. I've got to delve back in and make those 50 pages shine. Now, though, I'm not sure if my lack of drive to move forward is because of the way I edit and write, needing to perfect everything before I write something new, or if it's due to this darn Performance Anxiety.

What about you? Do endings fly off your fingers? Are they the hardest for you to write? Do you get the same nervousness I'm talking about when you're about to write your climax? Have you written The End yet? I wanna know...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Silent Sunday: I wish you joy.


“When you wish someone joy, you wish them peace,
love, prosperity, happiness... all the good things.”--Maya Angelou

From Bailey's home to yours, we wish you joy this holiday season.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Writing the Perfect Heroine to Match the Gothic Hero

I've been running around like a chicken with my head cut off this morning. Between Christmas parties at my kids' school and my ass-kickin' P90X routine (60 min every morning), and shopping, and laundry, etc etc etc, I haven't had time to breathe...until now...and it's almost lunch.


BUT I was overjoyed to see some of you liked my post on Gothic Heroes the other day and wanted more!

So, how does one go about matching a heroine to these dark bad boys?

You have to know the factor that hooks the reader to the Gothic Hero in the first place. Readers need to feel that urge to find out how he will be redeemed. Throughout the book there should be doubt, uncertainty, his spirit tainted, redemption out of reach...but eventually he finds his saving grace IN HER. THE HEROINE IS HIS GREATEST FLAW. SHE IS HIS WEAKNESS. Whether or not he is good for her, he can't seem to pull himself away. Only through HER LIGHT AND LOVE does he come around.

Think Twilight's Edward Cullen and Bella Swan.

He believes his soul is damned. He knows if he gets too close to her, he'll hurt her. But despite himself he can't stay away. Through her love for him, through her innocent eyes, he begins to see the good person she sees instead of the monster staring back at him in the mirror.

Making sense?

To match the Gothic Hero, heroines must be
but feminine.
and at times, defiant of him or his overbearing rules.

Above all that, the ONE THING she must be is unambiguous. She has to have strong moral compass.


Because the reader is focused on the moral ambiguity of the hero. The reader is confused by him and how he will be redeemed in the end. The reader, then, should be rooted in his counterpart. Her moral code must come out first and not deviate. She should be secure in her beliefs to lead him to his retribution.

Think Annakin Skywalker and Padme:

If you think back to the Star Wars movie, you'll remember that her will, her moral compass, never wavers. She is his soundboard. She is his strength, his rock, trying to guide him in the right direction. She is a heroine in her own right: strong, cunning, intelligent.

Side note: The Gothic Hero's love interest must give a little at the beginning of their relationship. Remember your hero. Put yourself in his shoes. If she gave little understanding and very little empathy, the Gothic Hero would be just as likely to walk away and never look back as he would to kiss her. So be sure not to make your heroine too rough and too mouthy. The key is complement, not repellent.

In Batman Begins, Rachel Dawes (the Assistant DA of Gotham who fights crime the legal way) balances out Bruce Wayne's Batman persona (who fights crime his way). Could they have chosen a better heroine for that hero? I think not.

She sees a redeemable quality in Bruce Wayne, the tortured boy who saw his parents murdered. She sees the sensitive, love-worthy man behind the caped vigilante.

Her strong moral fiber eventually leads to her demise (sorry for the spoiler if you haven't seen The Dark Knight) and spirals an already angry Batman deeper down the rabbit hole. (But for the series, the writers needed to keep him dark and angry, remember?)

Of course there are going to be variations to the heroines who balance out these bad boys. Of course there are going to be instances where the perfect complement to the Gothic Hero you've written is a Gothic Chick who needs to be redeemed herself. But this is the framework from which to build your Gothic characters.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Writing the Gothic Hero

I'm currently a tad stuck with the hero in my WIP. I think it's because I took too much of a writing hiatus (no new pages in two weeks--longest dry spell to date) and my hero's voice kind of faded. It's not that I don't still LOVE him or think he's one of the strongest characters I've written, it's just that his voice wasn't ever-present in my head anymore. I couldn't see and hear what he'd do in every situation I threw him up against. (And he's got to be ready for what's to come! These next fifty pages are going to turn his world upside down!) That's when I started researching to get to know my hero better...

There are three types of Gothic Heroes


This guy is the classic overachiever.
He stands behind his own moral code.
He often does "good" by performing rebellious acts or breaking laws.
This guy sacrifices his own well being so others may have little things like freedom and love.
This guy kicks some ass, breaks some laws, but does it all for the sake of his own special brand of "justice".
He could also possibly bear personal responsibility for some failure in his past.

*Think Batman saving Gotham.

*How'd this picture sneak in here?


Oh, these are the dark, dark, dark bad boys.
They're secretive
Very conflicted over something in their past and
Fatally attractive.
They're also extremely arrogant
Jaded and
World weary.

*Think Anne Rice's Lestat from Interview with a Vampire

*Or Edward Cullen from Stephenie Meyer's Twilight, if you prefer.


These guys are fascinating
Dark and
They're obsessive
And can also have their own moral code (although they willingly sacrifice little of themselves to achieve their end goal).
One of the key components to this guy is no matter how close he gets to the flame, he doesn't ever think he's the one who's going to get burned.

*Think Annakin Skywalker from Star Wars Episodes 1-3.

*Or maybe just veer from the gothic hero for a moment and look at this...

*See? Isn't research fun? (Side note: He was my pick to play Edward Cullen. Wouldn't he have been fantastic?)

Seriously though, after researching the three types of Gothic Heroes, you may be asking yourself the same thing I was...Why On Earth Are These Men Heroes? Brooding and moody? Troubled pasts? Burdened by secret guilt? Jaded and arrogant? I don't know about you, but in real life those traits don't scream Dating Quality.

The Promethean Hero is appealing because although he is doing wrong, we, as readers, can somewhat understand the logic behind his moral ambiguity. Sure, Batman is killing people...but he's killing inherently evil people. He's cleaning up the streets of Gotham, right? We want to be the heroine at his bad-ass side, whispering in his ear, telling him to do right...when what we really enjoy is the duality in his nature.

The Byronic Hero is appealing because...well because they're bad boys. They can never accept praise because they think they're the villain. They don't feel worthy of love. Heroines see the sensitivity behind the tough guy act and fall hard. Only through the heroine can the Byronic Hero step into the light. Don't you just want to be that heroine who turns the bad boy good?

The Satanic Hero is appealing because they are secure and defiant and constantly search for meaning outside of the traditional norms. They have a sense of purpose that draws heroines (and readers) in. They have a fire burning within them...a passion, if you will. Heroines and readers alike hope that by being that Satanic Hero's leading lady, that passion will translate into their relationship. (It often does, fyi, at the cost of other things in the heroine's life.

I think I know where the hero in my WIP falls among the Gothic Heroes. He's Byronic all the way..but what about the hero in your WIP? Is he solidly one? A blend of two? I'm curious to hear what's being written out there...

Also, did this post interest you? If I did another post on what type of heroines are best suited for Gothic Heroes would you find it helpful? I've researched hours and hours and would love to pass on the information if even one person found it as useful as I have. (You can either comment or email.)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Monday Blog Hop!

It's Monday again (how'd that happen?) and it's time for a blog hop!

Here's how it works:

•Follow as many authors as you like. Just follow the Linky list and hop from author to author. The idea is to find as many "new to you" authors as you can, and hopefully some great new reading material as well. Leave a comment as you hop from blog to blog! We'd love to chat with you!

•Follow the Meet an author Monday host (Cali Cheer Mom) along with any of the wonderfully talented authors on the list.
•You will need to enter your name and blog url into the Linky tool.
•Grab our super cute button and place it in a post. (THIS IS IMPORTANT!) If you don't create a post for the hop, your readers won't have a place to comment, and the hop will stop with you. So create a post, paste in the Linky code and start hopping!
•The purpose of the hop is to meet "new to you" authors and discover great new reads. Follow as many authors as you can. Leave a comment and introduce yourself!
•If you'd like to share the Linky list in a post on your blog ( Please do!) just follow the link and grab the code.

Hope you have a great week!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Roll with it

Everything comes in waves.

Deaths and births come in threes. Then for years, nothing.

Words flow off the fingers for weeks...then nothing.

It's just the way it goes. I've learned to run with it. Ride the writing tide, so to speak. November was definitely a writing month for me. December's not looking so good. I mean, rain is forecasted for this week so I suppose it could turn around, but I really wanted to finish Immortal, Beloved by Christmas and it's looking more like the end of January.

Around the Miller household we're fighting fevers and chills. It's only expected...we've been healthy most of the year. It was our turn to catch the flu bug after avoiding it so long.

After gaining a few pounds during Thanksgiving week (oh, the food was scrumptious) I'm back in workout mode. I'm four days into P90X. I. Am. So. Sore. Every part of me hurts. I think even the tiny little muscles in my eyelids are trembling from exhaustion. I haven't been on a solid workout program since late spring...let my "fat jeans" tell you, it was high time to get back on the horse.

So whatever is thrown your way this weekend, know that everything comes in waves. Writing flurries fall eventually...but the storm will come again and you'll finish that book in a heartbeat. Sick kids get better, then get sick again the next time they touch some filthy restroom doorknob. The pounds you gained during turkey-time will melt away...albeit with a ton of sweat and tears.

Roll with whatever wave you're on with the knowledge that life is a cycle. Enjoy the downs because it means there are highs right around the corner waiting for your return.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sights for Sore Eyes *Part Two*

Have I mentioned I've been busy lately? Let me put it this way...the day before the Jamestown trip (see post below) the fam bam and I drove to Santa Cruz to help The Pesty Older Brother Who Is All Levels Of Cool Without Trying move out of his beachfront apartment into another apartment that's further from the sand, but still all kinds of awesome. While the munchkins and I were waiting for Husband and Brother to off load some furniture in the new place before the rain poured down, we took a walk.

The rain had just cleared, but not for long. Dark clouds lumbered across the sky. Winds picked up. Local beach goers walked home.

We walked out.

I'm not afraid of the rain in the least. If it had poured while we stood in the sand, and we got drenched to our socks, I wouldn't have cared. I wouldn't have ran in. I probably would've been the Crazy Lady on the beach who stood there, face and palms up to the crying sky.

How could I turn away from this?

Or this? Princess and Tank threw driftwood into the sea, laughing as it got tugged out by the tide.

When we finally reached the waters edge, rain began to fall, dusting our coats. It was then that I noticed the little fellow above. See him there standing so still? (No, he's not only standing still because it's a snapshot. He stood still enough for me to get CLOSE to him. I think he was as mesmerized by the beautiful sights as I was.) He was so tiny and small up against the backdrop of the sea and it made me think of how small we all are in the grand scheme. *I'm trying really hard here not to use the "Dear God, make me a bird, so I can fly far, far far away" line from Forrest Gump.

But really, me and that still bird and the swelling ocean and the falling rain and my laughing kids had a moment that day.

It was beautiful for more reasons than the scenery.

After moving was done and we met back up again with the whole family, we took a walk on the wharf. (I think you can see its shadow on the horizon in one of the above photos.) I noticed something as I flipped through my pictures from this trip. I took zero pictures of the wharf. I've been there countless times. I know its subtle turns and open-faced crab shacks. I know the sweet-smelling candy stores and bawling sea lions. But every single time I go, I'm amazed by the sea. I ALWAYS come home with pictures of the ocean taken from the far end of the wharf.

Here's the picture from this trip:

Stunning, isn't it?

Do you feel rested from your Nano flurries yet? How'd you fare? Are you a Nano Winner? A Nano 2011 Hopeful? What have you done to rest your mind from all that wonderful writing?