Tuesday, April 20, 2010

WIP Excerpt

This is another excerpt from my wip, Platinum Diary. In this scene, Sayra is sitting in her car, feeling bad about the way she looks, about the fact that she's never read one of her mother's novels and about a boy--of course. She's talking to one of her best friends, Penny.
“Do you think I’m weird because I never snuck and read any of my mom’s books? I mean, she wasn’t even your mother and when you were told they were off limits, you went right out and read them.”

“Well, I have a sneaky streak," Penny said. "But I don’t think it’s weird. No weirder than me not really liking my father’s rap music. I mean, I listen to his latest song, pretend I’m all into rap and then go to my room and listen to Colbie Caillat.” She shrugged. “Mechanics interests you, reading romance interests me.”

“My mom was hurt because I never asked to read any of her books.” I couldn’t hide the shame in my voice. Penny stayed quiet as a Taylor Swift song played through the car speakers, filling the silence. “Maybe I should try to be more girly.” I lifted a shoulder, thinking back on my issue with Chaz. “Maybe I should start wearing makeup and stuff like that. Get the dirt from under my nails and soften my hands.”

Penny twisted in the seat to face me. “Okay, so let me tell you what’s not going to happen. We’re not going to have a makeover party straight out of a teen movie, where I do your hair and buy you new clothes and you walk through school like the new hot girl. No. Not gonna happen. And while we’re at it, stop trying to make yourself look shorter. News flash—it ain’t workin’! I know you think you walk around proud of your height, but you don’t. You sit in the back in class just 'cos you think people can’t see around you—so what if they can’t? You never wear heels and whether you know it or not, you don’t stand at your full height.”

Wow, I didn’t know that.

Penny took a breath and continued. “If you want softer hands and less dirt under your nails then wear gloves when you work on cars. You don’t blend at West Nottingham, but neither do I. I’m one of the only black people at that school. I mean, it’s bad enough I’m a black girl named Penelope, but—”

“Yeah, what were your parent’s thinking?” I chuckled.

“Somebody's aunt's aunt had the name, whatever, I’m stuck with it. My point is, I stand out at our school just like you, but you don’t see me trying to make my skin lighter.”

“How would you do that anyway?”

"Can I finish, please?"

I zipped my lips.

"I like most of the people at our school, but I can’t make myself into a clone of Hillary, who, in my opinion, is the epitome of the sunny California girl, just so I could blend in better. I have to be me—brown skin, braids, sexy curves.” She lifted a shoulder with a big smile.

“Yeah, but look at you.”

Penny sighed. “Okay then, let’s take Ivan. He doesn’t lift weights to improve on that birdcage he calls a chest.” She talked over my laughter. “Does he cut off his ja-fro so people will stop talking about his hair? No. He could do things to make himself fit more comfortably into the West Nottingham world, but he doesn’t. He’s a skinny, bushy-haired geek and he’s proud of—”

“You’d better not be talking about me.”

Penny and I screamed as Ivan’s face appeared at the passenger window. He crouched, folding his arms over the car window, and waited patiently while we caught our breaths.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Medical Updates and Word Counts

So, just to keep everyone updated. I had a Lumbar Puncture (Spinal Tap) on Wednesday and yes, it’s just as bad as it sounds-lol. Actually, it wasn’t so bad. Not really painful, but imagine if you will, someone sticking something sharp into your back, you’d want them to stop doing that, right? All of you women who’ve had epidurals know what I’m talking about.

The purpose of the LP was to measure the opening pressure of my spinal fluid. I was told the normal pressure should be between 10 and 20. Mine was 33. So it explains the headaches, dizziness, swollen optic nerves and whooshing in my ears. The doctor took a sample and drained off a little extra. I felt better when I left, aside from the pain in my back. But I felt no headaches, dizziness or whooshing for several hours and then it came back. I’m assuming the fluid replaced itself.

I’m now on the diuretic and let me tell you, I think I might have to move my office into the bathroom! One of the side effects is tingling in the fingers or toes. Well, I knew this beforehand but when my pinky toes started tingling, I thought bugs had simultaneously started attacking them! lol. It only lasts a few minutes, thankfully. Tingling toes aside, I’m feeling so much better. My eyes don’t hurt and my vision is already much, much better! Can’t complain about that.

Anywho, on to better things. I’ve been writing like a madwoman! I love it. I think from Friday, I’ve added 6000 words to my wip. My word count is up to 48k and as I think this story will top out at 65k, I should be finished by the end of the month. Then I’ll let it sit until mid June or maybe July. I can’t wait! I’m so excited to start querying again. As much as it’s hell, I really do love the whole business of it. I know this is going to sound crazy, but when I get an agent, I’m going to miss querying…though, not enough to turn down an offer. I’m not crazy-lol!

So, I’ll be posting an excerpt tomorrow. Oh, and by the way, I’ve lost 10 pounds!!! WooHoo!

Monday, April 12, 2010

My Pseudo Sickness

Hi all…I’m sorry I’ve been M.I.A. lately, but I was just recently diagnosed with a condition called Pseudotumor Cerebri. For the past seven months I’ve been having dizziness, mild headaches and a whooshing sound in my ears. My doctor thought maybe it was from poor circulation at first, but that proved to be wrong. For a while I ignored it and chalked it up to just sitting too long at work.

Then a month or so ago the dizziness got so bad that it started scaring me. My ears constantly felt like I was flying in a plane and waiting them to pop, which they never did. My doctor said my blood pressure was dropping when I stood and that’s what was making me dizzy. I posted about that, but turns out what my doctor thought was a side effect from my medicine turned out not to be the cause either.

No one could explain the whooshing in my ears and that, along with the dizziness, were the most constant symptoms I had. My doctor sent me for an MRI…which was terrible…and that came back negative, thank God.

I’d started having increased headaches, so much so that I went through a 50 count bottle of Excedrine in 2 wks! That many pills would normally last me a year or longer. Then I started having pains in my eyes to go along with the dizziness, headaches and whooshing in my ears. Two weeks ago I started seeing double. It happened off and on, but it scared the heck out of me.

It was time for my annual eye exam so I went to my optometrist—told him about the pain in my eyes, headaches and double vision. He used that instrument they have to look into your eye and said, “Huh.”

Let me tell you, you never want a doctor to say that when they’re examining you. When he looked into my left eye he said, “This is weird.” Something else you don’t want a doctor to say while examining you.

He told me that if it wasn’t for the fact that I’d just had a clear MRI, he’d have though I had a brain tumor based on how swollen my optic nerve looked. Again, something you don’t want to hear. So he referred me to a Neuro-Optometrist. She diagnosed me with Pseudotumor.

Oh, I guess I should tell you what Pseudotumor Cerebri is. It’s basically too much fluid around the brain. There’s no known cause for it, but it’s more prevalent in women of child bearing age who are overweight—I’m two for two-lol.

I have to have a lumbar puncture—spinal tap—to measure the fluid and then I will start on a diuretic to run the fluid off. That should alleviate the pressure on my eyes, stop the headaches and the dizziness. I’ll have to shed some pounds which I was already doing and hopefully that’ll be the end of it.

I’m sharing this and going into detail, just in case someone else is out there suffering from this and can’t figure out what’s wrong with them. While no one wants to have anything wrong with them, you just don't know how good it feels to know what's wrong with you AND to know how to fix it.

I haven’t posted in a while because my eyes have been really tired and achy when I get off from work, and that’s usually when I get the double vision. But this weekend I did a lot of writing on my wip! And my eyes are doing well. I’ll be posting a little more frequently and maybe drop an excerpt since I don’t have to do much but cut and pastes.

If any of you have any questions, feel free to ask.

P.S. A.L. Sonnichen…I haven’t forgotten about your query, but I’ve been resting my eyes in the evening. I should be getting to it in a few days.

Take care everyone!