Monday, March 31, 2008

Those who inspire us

For me, it was my grandmother.  She passed away today.  
From my earliest memories of her, she was always reading or writing or sitting at the kitchen table working a crossword puzzle.  She could do them like nobody's business.  She inspired my love of words, my love of books, my love of writing, and my love of all things magical.  We'd go for long walks in the woods behind her house, and she'd point out all the hiding places of fairies, sprites and brownies; the places they liked best, the places that made the best homes and castles and playgrounds.  We inspected under mushrooms, and inside the craggy, castle-like towers of rotted tree trunks. We looked under ferns and inside Lady Slippers.  And we continued to do this well into my adulthood.

She opened my creative mind, and she fed it with wonderful stories and lots and lots of love and support.  Like the fireflies we once ran around and caught, her spirit and light brightened the dark.  Now it brightens another place.  I will miss you Mary Keaton.    


There comes a point, once you've honed your craft, where it all becomes subjective.  I give you 3 examples from my illustrious rejection collection:

1.  The two finaling manuscripts I entered in this year's GH, did not final last year.  This year I just happened to get lucky and my entries appealed to the judges.  Last year, eh, not so much.

2.  In the past, I've had two editors write to me on why they were passing on an ms. I'd submitted.  One said there was too much backstory in the beginning.  The other wrote that she didn't feel as though I put enough backstory in the beginning and therefore felt lost.  

3. In the span of one week, I had an agent reply that my main character was "dull and lacked originality", and then another who wrote, "loved your heroine . . .  fresh and compelling . . ."

I kid you not.  Once you get to a point where your writing is strong and the material you submit is competitive, it's a crap shoot.  But if you keep writing, keep getting better with each book, keep submitting and keep trying that crap shoot will eventually turn into a sure thing.  But it sure as hell won't if you stop trying.   (This from a person who has considered throwing in the towel a number of times and then gets an idea for a book . . . )  

My long-winded point is this -- you can't please everybody; not everyone is going to like your work, but somewhere out there (if you keep at it) you might just come across a few who do.  

Thursday, March 27, 2008

A conversation with myself

Me #1: "You know, they say not to deprive yourself of the things you love to eat when on a diet."

Me #2: "Yes, yes. To reward yourself with snacks, but only once in a while and in moderation."

Me #1: "So this bag of Dorritos will only be for rewards, just a tiny bowl every once in a while to not deprive yourself."

Me#2: "Splendid idea. We should also by the corn chips. They are on sale, after all."

Days later. . . .

Me #1: "This did not turn out as planned."

Me #2: "You're right. Grazing throughout the day and eating a bowl every night is not in moderation."

Me #1: "Our only option is to get these snacks out of the house. If they're not here, we won't eat them."

Me #2: "So, if we eat the rest of the Dorritos and corn chips now then we won't be tempted every night."

Me #1: "Hand me that bag."

And so goes my dieting woes...  (Bet you didn't know there were two of me).

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

(Edited) RITA & Golden Heart calls went out today . . .

. . . and I finaled in both the Young Adult category for BLIGHTED and the paranormal category for BEDKNOBS & BROOMSTICKS! We arrived home from a 9 hour drive last night and I'd totally forgotten about GH calls going out today. I'm sick, too, and my voice is really scratchy so I know I must have sounded like a witchy old hag on the phone. The lovely Trish Milburn made the call, and I was so excited to talk to her! I finaled in 2005 along with Trish, and got to know her through our finalist loop and then at Nationals, so it was awesomely cool to get the news from her. I had to keep looking at her number on my phone later, just to make sure it was real, and I hadn't imagined the whole thing.  The second call came in at almost 6 p.m.  A total surprise.  I didn't know they did multiple finals calls separately.  Sherry Davis told me B&B finaled, and I was so shocked, I forgot to remove the bottle I was feeding to the baby, and he ended up sucking air for much of the conversation.  (Oh, the gas that came later!)  I was so out of it, I had to ask her to repeat what book it was and the category b/c I couldn't even remember what I had entered.  After I hung up with her, the phone rang again.  It was her number.  I thought she realized she made a huge mistake, like mixed me up with a Kelly Gray or something and was calling to tell me.  But she just wanted to ask me how I wanted my name to appear.  Whew.  

The official list is out tomorrow on RWA's site. But Judi Fennell has a running list going right now.

And congrats to everyone who finaled!

Edited to say: Melissa Marr's WICKED LOVELY is nominated for a RITA. This is one of my favorite books. Yay! Congratulations!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Chocolate Fest

I'm in the mountains. It's snowing. The kids and nephews are about to color eggs. It should be a cold and snowy egg hunt tomorrow!

Hope everyone has a great holiday and/or just a terrific weekend.

Chocolate count so far:

2 choc. bunnies - small

1 snickers

handful of M&M's

3 choc. eggs.

Gah. Tomorrow will be much much worse. Lucky thing I'm taking my treadmill back home from my parent's house. I'm gonna need it!!!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Forgot to mention

I finished Holly Black's, Ironside, last week. Oh. My. God. So friggin' good!!!! And to Salarial I say: Ha!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I need a nap

Or, better yet, a happy pill.

. . . or maybe an optimism pill with a large dose of perseverance.

Yeah, it's one of those days. The kind of day where you feel like you're running around in circles, like Murphy's Law cycles through your life like clockwork, every Tuesday and Thursday, and sometimes Saturday.

Is it too early for a margarita?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Bad ideas

1. Trying to hold a baby and feed a bottle with one hand while eating soup with the other.

2. Eating yogurt and then five minutes later having a beer.

3. Backing your big ole SUV into the back of a cop car. In the parking lot of the police station

Friday, March 14, 2008

Yeager, then and now . . .

A year ago this was our 8 week old Great Dane puppy, Yeager. He was smaller than both of our cats:

And 120 lbs later:

He thinks he's a lap dog, and he's so gentle it's incredible given his size. His back is just below my belly button (I'm 5'4"). He can stand at the counter and put his head into the sink, all paws on the ground. His ball is a soccer ball, which he carries around in his mouth with ease, and he loves stealing firewood from the pile and running around the yard.  A total Momma's boy, too. He stays by my side even outdoors without running off. One cat likes him; they often gaze out the window together with the cat on the window sill and Yeager resting his jaw on the back of the cat (it's a big cat). The other one could take or leave him and has often swatted him in the face for the tiniest sniff.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Favorite titles

Just off the top of my head, a very small sampling of some of my favorite titles:

-- Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil

-- Dime Store Magic

-- The Unbearable Lightness of Being

-- Queen of the Damned

-- No Rest for the Wicked

-- A Great and Terrible Beauty

What are yours?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Ssh . . .

So while I'm waiting for revision notes from my agent, I'm plotting a YA side project (have to keep working or else the longer I stay away from writing, the harder it is to start back on a regular schedule). Back to side project: *sigh* 'Tis so yummy. It's lush, evocative, and so damn tragic it's beautiful, in a dark, twisted sort of way. And that's all I'm saying. It's a seekrit. Hee.

Monday, March 10, 2008

What I'm reading

I've started reading A Great and Terrible Beauty, the first book in Libba Bray's YA series, The Gemma Doyle Trilogy, set in the Victorian Age. Good stuff. Gorgeous covers. Great concept.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Beautiful things . . .

What's more special about this photograph is that the little girl in the picture is my daughter. The "unicorn" is owned by a very good friend of mine (who breeds awesome horses and takes amazing photographs), and is a rare cremello color -- white with blue eyes. We thought she looked like a unicorn and decided to do some photos and staging and viola! Pretty, huh? The mare's name is Splenda. :) She's only 2 yrs old, and was, like my daughter, a very good model for the day.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The land of lost things . . .

Otherwise known as 'under the couch cushions'.

I haven't checked under the cushions in a while; not since the last time I lost my cell phone. If the contents under the couch say anything about a person, mine says: loves Dorritos, bracelet made by daughter, hair clips, a variety of pens, her synonym finder, and has, during a too-lazy-to-go-put-pj's-on TV night, removed bra from underneath shirt and left it on the couch. Hey, gotta be comfortable, right? I was wondering where that missing undergarmet had gone! And not a single coin. Which obviously tells you I'm either broke or don't carry cash -- I'll let you figure out which one. Heh.

But, no cell phone, which was later found after much freaking out (because it's my only phone) on top of the dryer in the laundry closet.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Readers & Vampires

I'm curious. Lately I've been reading and hearing a lot on the subject of vampires. Some editors and agents have commented on the subject being overdone, whether it be paranormal romance, urban fantasy, or young adult. Some say they're still very much open to vampires if the world or twist is original. So, I'm curious to know how you readers out there feel about the subject.

I don't write vamp stories, but I read them. I have authors I love and series I'll continue to read, and I'm definitely open to new stories - not so much based on the subject, but based on the writing, world and characters.