Monday, December 22, 2008

Hibernation

Apparantly winter makes me feel the need to hibernate. Since the big snow fell weeks ago I haven't gone anywhere. Haven't really done much of anything. I've barely even turned on my computer.

There's something peaceful about being surrounded by snow. Having nowhere to go. Cooking on the woodstove. Adding wood to the fire. Making paths in the snow.

It's quiet save for when the kids get cabin fever. But it's okay, they can go out and go sledding. Or shovel. Or make forts.

I will have to get some writing done soon. I can't let the snow totally take over my life and lull me into a state of total whiteout bliss. Today I am making a start. I am starting to come out of hibernation.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Reminder

We had to travel to our local shopping mecca yesterday--okay, there are three major stores there, it's a mecca for these parts--because our generator went wacko. It started running super fast and the power surged through the house brightening things beyond capacity. There was some popping, some sparks, perhaps a little panic, but everything was okay. Living with alternative energy adds a new element to life.

Anyhow, we toodled along on our skinny, two lane highway for about thirty miles. Then someone flashed their lights at us. We slowed. We drove on. We wondered why this person had flashed their lights at us. Then we came to a group of cars. I looked at the truck and the woman waving her hands. Across from her was a small car on it's side. A bit further ahead was a Suburban in a ditch. An old man was wiping blood from his face. There was no police, no ambulance.

We stopped. I stayed in the car with my little one. We talked about what was happening and he didn't seem to notice much, except that his preschool teacher was one of the other people there that had stopped to help.

It took a long time for the authorities to arrive. I was worried that the old man was going to fall over. I was worried about his wife sitting in the Suburban looking so very in shock. I was wondering what was happening with the people in the little smashed car.

My husband helped take care of the people in the Suburban. He reassured them as they waited for the ambulance. He lifted the tiny woman from her car when it came time to put her on the board. He helped carry the man and woman across the ditch and into ambulance. He wanted to help the people in the small car. Unfortunatley, my husband saw his first two dead people yesterday.

It's a reminder to do the things that are important now, remind the ones you love how you feel about them, life life to the fullest.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My Favorite Thanksgiving Recipe

Since it's Thanksgiving I'm going to post my favorite Thanksgiving recipe. I need to think of a cool name for it, but for now it's called Berry Sweet Potato Bake:

Combine: 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup oats
Cut in: 1/3 cup butter until mixture is coarse crumbs
Toss 1 cup of the crumbs with 2 or 3 cubed sweet potatoes and 2 cups fresh cranberries. Put in a greased casserole dish and top with remaining crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes.

You need a good topping to sweet potato ratio. Maybe this should be called Oatmeal-Cranberry Cookie Sweet Potatoes.

No matter what it's called, it's mackin'.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Not Feeling It

I haven't felt like posting lately. Maybe it's because I was gearing up for promotion of my book and now I get an extra year. Maybe it's because I was trying to do nano and found that it wasn't my style. Or maybe it's because I have been waiting on a requested rewrite. I don't know.
I did write a new story yesterday. It's about a mouse and a seed. Sounds original, eh?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Toast to Winter

Today is the first day of winter. At least it's the first day of my winter. It's been snowing and blowing since last night. Here we go...

Sliding down the driveway in the car, wheee! Walking miles when the snow gets too thick to drive through, yay! Freezing my butt off...today I'm wearing a long sleeve shirt, a sweatshirt, a long, thick sweater, and Uggs(pants too of course); and that's in the house.

So here's a toast to winter. Fill up your eggnog and raise a glass. Hey, I see you over there! No spiking, we've got at least five months to go.

Winter, you are beautiful, fun, and we love you, but why do you have to be so hard?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Author Visit!

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to get to meet a fabulous author, Susan Fletcher. She's written numerous novels including The Dragon Chronicles trilogy. Our library system asked Susan to tour schools in our region to coincide with our "One Book" program which featured her book Dragon's Milk. I was delighted to be the librarian that got to show her around and introduce her to the school. Yay!

Susan's book, Dragon's Milk, is the story of Kaeldra, a misfit of sorts, who finds she has special powers. She can speak with dragons. And she must, for if Kaeldra cannot bring dragon's milk back to her sister, Lyf will surely die. Trouble begets more trouble and Kaeldra finds herself in a battle to save the draclings.

Dragon's Milk is exciting, on the edge of your seat reading. It's great to see a smart, strong herione taking on all sorts of dangers and doing things she doesn't dream possible. With the action and circumstances, it's a good read for boys too. I can't wait to read the other two books in the series.



Susan got to meet one big fan, for sure. And yes, that fan belongs to me. My daughter was so excited when she came back to the library after school and got to meet Susan. She waggled her little fingers and said "hi" in a little tiny voice. So cute.

I, of course, was outed as a children's book author by the school librarian. I just can't seem to keep that under wraps around here. Susan was super nice and we talked about blogging(if you're blogging you're not writing, people!) and scbwi and conferences; and I was sad to see her go. It's not too often that there's another children's book writer around.

P.S. She said she wrote her picture book, Dadblamed Union Army Cow, in three weeks! Three weeks! I feel like such a slacker.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Wagons Ho!


Yesterday I wore a long dress, long johns, boots, a shawl, and a bonnet. I ate beef jerky, dried apples, and granola. I was a pioneer--along with the two 5th grade classes at school.

We met the wagon drivers at a ranch up in the Highlands. We had to wait while they hitched up the horses, so everyone that needed to used the outhouse. And even for an outhouse it was pretty shabby. It was a hole in a board that went onto the ground, not a hole in the ground, just on the ground. Welcome to pioneer days!

The boys used it first. Then we made them go stand over by the wood pile. Good thing, because when one of the girls was using it two of the boards fell off the outside and we had to stand infront of the hole. There were holes on the other three corners anyway, so it didn't matter much I suppose. There was one boy that kept trying to sneak over by the outhouse and I kept sending him away. I'll be sure to keep my daughter away from that one.

After a half an hour of guarding the outhouse, the girls were finally finished. They were wearing alot of clothes. Soon after we headed out. Half the kids got to ride in the wagons; one covered, one open. The rest of us walked. It was windy and cold. Around 20 degrees someone told me later. No wonder I was freezing. But my daughter and I didn't bring coats because we didn't want to carry them. Anyway, we wanted to be authentic. I'm sure cold is authentic.

Luckily once we got behind a hill the wind didn't hit us anymore. We walked downhill. We walked uphill. And we walked uphill. And we walked uphill. Somehow I got caught rounding up the stragglers. They. walked. so. slow. I kept having to tell them to get moving.

Now, a horse and wagon is not an easy thing to keep up with, I understand. All the walkers fell behind. But some fell much further behind. Let's just say you could definitely see who would have likely made it as a pioneer and who likely wouldn't have. Some were complaining before we were even halfway. Once we there, I made sure someone else got a turn with them.

We had planned on refilling our waters at the campground. Each person brought one water bottle, which most everyone had drank by the time we got there. Unfortunately, it's been pretty cold this week and the lines were frozen. We were starting to feel even more like pioneers. Thirsty pioneers.

I got to ride in a wagon for maybe 1/2 a mile after lunch. Then we had to get out and push the wagons across a cattle guard after the horses were unhitched. The kids loved doing that, especially the boys. And I got to run carrying a giant rock, across a cattle guard while they yelled, hurry it's slipping! Guess the drivers should have told us we needed a rock beforehand. Luckily I've had practice running across cattleguards.

We walked uphill some more before people were allowed to get into the wagons again. Me and a dad who had walked the whole way got in. So did some tired kids. We sat a while. Us grownups got out because kids needed a ride. We left the tired kids on the wagon. We were surprised when they came running up behind us. When we asked what they were doing, they said they had to get off so the whiney kids could ride.

They came to the conclusion that whiney people get what they want because they make more noise. Not a bad lesson. But these kids, the ones that got off, they are tough. They walked for miles without complaining. Without asking when we were going to get there. They looked around and discovered things. They sang. Thay laughed. They made the best of it. They were pioneers.

We walked twelve or so miles on dirt roads(according to one source it was actually fourteen miles, but who's counting). We tripped on rocks. We slipped on gravel. My daughter actually twisted her ankle. It's pretty sore today. But still, she was happy. She's a lover of historical fiction and there couldn't have been a more perfect field trip for her. No matter what happened, she was loving every minute of it.

And now we have an idea of how it felt to be a pioneer. Yes, I'm tired and sore. But I can't stop thinking about how the pioneers would have gotten up the next day and done it again, and again, and again. Plus they had to gather and make their own food. Clean the dishes. Sleep out in the cold and worry about what might be waiting for them. Find water. Maybe get a cold dip in the lake to clean off. And so much more. All to get to a place they had never seen. Where they didn't know anyone. Both the adults and the children were strong and brave. It's something I wish everyone got to do at least once. It really makes you realize how easy we have it now.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Random Connections

I went into the pharmacy the other day. It's my favorite shop in town, if I can ignore the dead animals hanging on the walls everywhere. (They do seem to be good for education though. My children now know what a real cougar, buffalo, and mountain sheep look like, among other wild beasts. Still.) But, the pharmacy does have lots of good gift stuff. I usually go there to buy presents. This time I was just browsing.

I walked over to a table. It was covered with calendars. I never buy calendars because I always seem to be given one every year, but one caught my eye because it was funny. There was a guy on the front vacuuming. A little speech bubble said, "I love a clean house." Ha! It was called "Porn for Women". (Am I going to get spammed for writing that?) I flipped the calendar over and started looking at the other month's offerings. They were hilarious. Then I noticed something.

There was a guy holding a piece of chocolate cake. The caption said something like have another piece of cake, I don't like you looking so thin. Touchee. I love that, but there was something else. I knew that guy holding that cake. I looked over all the pictures. He was the guy in like five other pictures and on the cover. I definitely knew that guy. (Scroll down a tad to the handsome man holding flowers. That's my favorite pic of him.)

Now, when you go into the pharmacy you don't expect to see an old friend lying on the table with his shirt off. But, Adrian was always fun and crazy, so I wouldn't expect anything less. Me, Tini, and Adge always had good times. When we were together it was always the three of us doing some whacky thing. I miss them.

I would not have ever guessed that Adge would grow up to be a model. That he is successful feels like a bonus. I'm just glad he lived long enough to become a grown-up. I saw Adge close to death one time, after he crashed his motorcycle into the back of a truck. It was the most heart-wrenching thing I had ever seen in my life and it really scared me, for a long time. I wanted so badly to help my friend and I couldn't. I couldn't get myself back into that hospital either, no matter how much I wanted to for some reason. I didn't see Adge anymore after that except for one more time actually, when he came back to see me. He asked me to call him. I didn't. I thought it was for his own good. Sometimes I feel bad about that. But, it looks like he's done all right. I'm so glad.

Before I get too sentimental I guess I'll tell you that I believe in the rule of threes. Everthing happens in threes. Bad things. Good things. Weird things. So, when I came upon two people two days in a row I started wondering who the third would be. I really didn't think there would be a third before I blogged this. But there is. An old friend found me online and emailed me. My husband said he thought it was amazing that I knew there would be one more person. I cannot believe that he was still unconvinced of the rule of threes. Silly man.

Anyhow, if you want a funny gift you should check out my friend's calendar. You have to scroll down to the 2009 Porn for Women calendar. Very hot. And funny too. Can't get much better than that. Oh, he's on postcards too!

I, of course, bought the calendar. I sent it to Tini. Boy was she surprised. I guess now there's two more fans of the Porn for Women line.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Aftermath

How many emails does it take to set up a storytelling festival? Well, for me: 99.

How long does it take to wrap up all the extra details after a storytelling festival? Apparantly more than a week. I thought(hoped) when the festival was over I'd be done. No such luck.

How long after the festival do I have to prepare for another event? Immediately. The library board's annual fundraising auction is tomorrow night. Woohoo! I get to bid on cool stuff and eat lasanga while a young cowboy sings cowboy songs!

How many days does it take to recover from planning a storytelling festival? I'm not sure. I'll let you know when it happens.

How many awesome people do you get to meet when you put together a big event? Tons! I can't even believe that I got to meet Margaret Read MacDonald and Supaporn Vathanaprida and so many other very kind and talented people, like my boss(the head of the library) who is a very cool guy, not scary at all like you(or is it just me?) imagine a big boss man to be. And yes, he wrote all those books that are on the link. Why didn't anyone ever tell me I should invite him to the author fair?

Does centennial really mean one-hundred years? I hope so. People keep talking about the storytelling festival "next year". I keep telling them it was a "Centennial Storytelling Festival". Centennial people!

How long will it be until I get back to blogging regularly? Soon, I hope.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

My Spelling Lesson

I am hoping by the time I get done planning this festival that I will be able to spell the word centinneal...
centinnial...
CENTENNIAL!
I am not hopeful. I have typed it so many times I cannot even tell what looks right anymore. Good thing there's spell check.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Back to School

Today was the dreaded(by me) first day of school. My kids on the other hand, were very excited. They're up early anyway. Might as well go do something.

Seriously though, my kids love school. My daughter practically flew out of the car as soon as we got to her play yard, a big smile on her face. She barely said goodbye. My son is more quiet. I took him into class and wasn't sure if he was going to let me leave or not. He even hugged me in front of people! Reluctantly, he followed his teacher out to the yard to pick up the other kids.

Luckily, by the end of the day he was ecstatic. "School is so fun," was the first thing he said to me when I picked him up. And no surprise, my daughter loved it too. I had to hear about every detail for the next five hours. She's very observant, noticing everything that goes on around her it seems. I hope her teacher has alot of energy.

Me, I'm about flat out of energy. I was quite pleased with myself for getting up early, making blueberry pancakes, and getting the kids to school on time. Of course, this was to cries of "we have to be early, Mom!" Early smerly. We have to leave the house by eight o'clock at the latest as it is. I said it before and I'll say it again; I am not a morning person. I tried to be last year. This year I'm not even going to pretend that it has a chance of happening. I must stay up late to write. I must get up early to go to school. My three-year-old doesn't allow naps. It's going to be a long school year.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Here's What I've Been Working On ...

I've been super busy lately. On top of all the usual things I need to do, and a revision request from an agent(yay!), I've been putting together a storytelling festival. Since I've never even been to a storytelling festival, it's been a bit tricky, but luckily I have a good friend who happens to be a storyteller and she has been a great help. Plus she will be doing puppetry and stories. Lesa has a great talent for drawing kids in with her quiet storytelling style. She's making puppets and doing a special story just for this event. She is so sweet. I just love her. I'm lucky because I get to hear lots of her stories, all I have to do is ask.

I'm really excited about this festival for alot of reasons. It's the first time Oroville has had a storytelling festival. It's the first time I will get to go to a storytelling festival. And the author of one of my favorite books, A HEN, A CHICK, AND A STRING GUITAR, is coming! Margaret Read MacDonald has written over 45 books on storytelling and folklore and I am still just amazed that 1.) I had the guts to ask her to come and 2.) she said yes. She's also bringing her friend and author, Supaporn Vanthanaprida. Wowie!

Plus my friend, and star in the storytelling world, Dayton Edmonds will be there spinning his unique style of stories. He's always a big draw and has also been a great help. I would have never known I needed an opening and closing ceremony(duh!) if it weren't for Dayton.

I found Rocci Hildum online. I like his stories that I've gotten to listen to and he seems like such a nice guy. I can't wait to meet him. Plus I found lots of local talent that are excited to share their stories: Joey Pierre, Deb McVay, Gailene Hooper, Arnie Marchand, Web Hallauer and Harry Haney. I'm always amazed at the amount of talented people I find close by when I start looking. And I'm totally amazed at the hugeness of this festival.

Now the pressure is really on. With all these amazing people coming to perform I have to make sure this event is well publicized. I'm happy that I actually have a budget for this, which makes it a bit easier. I'm having announcements put on Northwest Public Radio(which I think is exciting. I love NPR and it will really get the word out.) and will be placing ads in some newspapers. I'm writing up articles and press releases. They take alot of work, all in the hopes that they might get used. I guess I just have to try and see what happens. I suppose I should quit talking about it and get back to work.

Here's the flyer. I'm not sure how to make it any bigger.





created by Hilary Mello at greenhilldesigns@gmail.com

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Trees

Today I absentmindedly drove around a tree on the way to town. No big deal. Barely noticed it. As I drove around it on the way back home I started thinking; maybe this isn't so normal in most people's everyday lives.

Trees fall down around here all the time. Aspen trees don't have a long life. They grow fast, get rot, and fall over. I remember hearing that they are the start to a forest. They grow, and create a shelter for the evergreens to grow in, then go away. Whether I'm right or wrong about that, I've definitely seen the aspen groves move across the hills in the 12 years I've lived here. It makes me feels so old, that I have watched groups of trees move. But, that's just life.

And part of life around here is driving around trees that fall down. If I was organized I'd drive around with a chainsaw in my car, but that seems inconvenient. I can usually drive around most trees that fall. Sometimes I have to get out and move them. It's fun to move an entire tree, except when you're dressed nice and trying not to get dirty.

But sometimes I can't move them. Then what? I pick a spot that looks un-pokey(yes, i'm sure that's not a word) and drive over it. The kids find it very exciting. I hope all the way home that I didn't poke a hole in my tire.

A few weeks ago we had a huge, freak windstorm. Lots of trees blew down. On my way home I dodged trees left and right. I got out and moved trees. And yes, there was a mongo big tree that I could not move, so I drove over it. This is normal, I mean, people, you would do the same thing. The crazy thing is that I had to drive back and forth, around the tress and over the mongo tree, for more than a week. No one moved them. Heck, I moved them the best I could and they stayed where I put them. What am I supposed to do, be lumberjack woman on my way to work at the library? Our road seems to be the last priority in the county, which I understand since hardly anyone uses it. But still, I was just thinkin', it's kind of weird.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

How Do You Know?

How do you know when a manuscript is ready to go out? Is it ever really ready? What I've found is that I think it's ready, then somebody wants to see it, and then I don't think it's ready anymore. So I look and look and look. I revise. I edit. I drive myself crazy. Sometime I have to let it go and see what happens. It has to be out of my hands. But I think I'll wait to send it so I can look it over when I don't have a headache anymore. It may look totally different then. What is the record for the world's longest headache anyway?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Woah

I just found myself in Publisher's Weekly. It's just a tiny line under sneak previews and you have to scroll way down to Raven Tree Press. But, still, wow.
Publishers Weekly

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Magic!

Apparantly if you wiggle your fingers at your mom and say, "you didn't see anything," you are free to do whatever you want without getting in trouble. Maybe I'll try that the next time I'm about to do something naughty. But I'm not three-years-old and ridiculously adorable so it may not work. I'll let you know.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Oh Yeah!

The badminton season has finally begun up here on the mountain. Okay, we're a bit late starting off this year, but we've been busy. Anyhow, I won the first match 11-6. Woohoo! I love it when I win because I can't beat my husband at anything. Not scrabble. Definitely not tennis--I can't even get a point off him. He can always open jars that I can't open, like they're nothing. How irritating is that? The guys can lift an entire VW bug engine by himself, so what'cha gonna do. But somehow with badminton I can actually win. Sometimes. So today I will bask in the short lived glory of victory! Tommorow, though, I might need help getting the lid off the jam jar.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

An Accomplishment!

I haven't gotten as much writing related things done this summer as I had hoped. A little here and there is almost more than I can hope for. But today I made a major accomplishment--I filed every single piece of writing that I could find in my nicely organized filing cabinet. Yay! Now if I want to work on something I won't waste all my time looking for the paper I want to work on. So annoying!

Here's to getting some writing done! I won't tell you how many files there are. It's embarassing.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Storytellers

I'm scheduling a storytelling event for my library coming up in September. This does not give me alot of time. Luckily I have a friend who is a fabulous children's storyteller and puppeteer and artist who has enthusiastically agreed to help me. So far I have two children's storytellers lined up and a handfull of contacts I am hopeful about. As I learned with the author fair, publicity is the most time consuming part, so if I can get my line-up squared away soon I will be happy. Why am I telling you this? Because I believe in the randomness of the internet. Perhaps some Pacific Northwest storyteller will be googling tonignt and will find my little blog as it frolicks through cyberspace. And if you're out there and might want to take an expense paid drive to north central washington to tell some stories, email me through my contact link on my profile page. I have a few spots I need to fill.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Things I Missed When I Lived in Town

Living in town for six months was convenient, but there were things I didn't even realize I missed until I got home:

-Absolute silence
-Fresh air
-Birdsong
-Quaking aspens
-Space
-Stillness
-Solitude
-My kids enjoying playing together outside(okay, I did notice this one!)
-Peace
-My propane stove--it cooks so much better than electric.
-Driving to town and back with my dh. This is one of the only times we get to sit together and talk. The kids are strapped in the back so they don't inturrupt too incessantly.
-Looking out the window


Things I Don't Miss About Town:

-People's stuff everywhere, what kind of view is that?
-Trash burning--people did it all the time, in town!
-A road in front of my house
-Dogs. We named our town Dogville.
-Electric heat
-Having to get dressed every day(you know, get out of my pajamas!)


I'm sure there must be more things that I haven't thought of. Suffice it to say, this place definitely still feels like home.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

If wild agents & publishers roamed my land instead of bears...

they'd be running up the hills searching desperately for signals for their cell phones; going into mad tantrums because their blackberries won't work. My friend sbk would jet right over while they are momentarily subdued by the utter stillness and complete silence of the mountain. As they grew restless once again we'd tempt them to inch closer with wireless access and coffee then ambush them with tasty manuscripts and offer to lead them to civilization if they sign us. We'd have deals in no time.

It's about time...

As you can see, I haven't been posting lately. I've been doing lots of sanding and painting and organizing. These sorts of tasks are certainly not for me. My mind starts wandering and I'm bound to barely sand(dh sanded the entire bug while I worked on one door, then he finished it for me) or glop on too much paint(the bookshelves took forever to dry). And organizing, blech, I just end up with a big pile of stuff and have to walk away(everyone just leaves it there for me to figure out later unfortunately). I know what I want to be doing. I bet you can guess.

Yes! I want to be writing. I know that I can't give up on the organization of life that I am trying to accomplish, but I can't do it all the time. It's just not me.

In the spirit of being organized I am trying to make a submission plan for my manuscripts. I am revising the one that has gotten the best response from agents and am sending it out to six asap. And I will send my early chapter book to those agents that are okay with recieving more than one manuscript at a time. I have quite a few manuscripts to send out, but on the off chance that I get an agent I don't want to have a bunch of shopped around stories to offer. I may have to send out one or two to editors during the waiting period just to see what happens. The waiting, as always, is hard, but I have alot to do in the meantime. Hopefully mostly writing.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

A Visitor

We had a visitor the other morning. He was quiet. He was cute. He could kill us if he really felt the need.



Yup, he was a black bear weighing in at an estimated three-hundred pounds. He skirted the fence which is about twenty feet from the house. He was beautiful. The picture I managed to snap definitely does not do him justice.

I find myself wishing that life could be like a picture book where people do fun things with wild animals like have tea parties and go to the library for storytime. Unfortunately the reality is that I have small children and they could easily walk right into a bear without noticing.

This is obviously something I've had to live with for a long time living on a wild mountain. I'm always scanning the hills for bear and cougar when the kids are out; always watching the ground for rattlesnakes when we're walking. For as long as I've lived here I've only had two close calls with rattlesnakes(they were with me, not the kids thank goodness) and seen cougars twice--but I know it only takes once, and the rattlesnake run-ins were close calls.

Still, we've never seen a bear this close. The neighbors saw a mom with cubs walking through last week too. It seems that since we left for six months the bears decided that our place was an easy way to get to where they wanted to go. I hope that now that we're back making noise the bears will revert to their old route and give our place a wide berth.

It's hard to keep a tight rein in the kids here. There is so much adventure in the wandering. Guess I'll just have to wander with them. And maybe buy some bear spray.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Author Fair Participants


photo by Terry Donoho

From left to right: Sally R. Alexander of CMPPG, authors Kimberly Ann Freel, Bea Alden, Jean Vernon, me, Aline Lesage, Jesse Jayne Smith, and Suzanne Bates and Tracy Lawlor of Theytus Books.


photo by David A. Hamilton

Catherine Jameson and the star of her book, Zoe and the Fawn.

I was able to round up alot of great people for the Two Rivers Author Fair this year. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of talent we have here in this sparsely populated area.

Catherine Jameson is an award winning author. She grew up in Oroville and now lives close by in Penticton, B.C. Her picture book, Zoe and the Fawn, is beautifully illustrated and wonderfully simple. The story was born out of a Children's Fiction Writing class Catherine took at the En'owkin Center in Penticton. She had to interview two children. One was Zoe, and her story inspired the book. It was fun seeing Zoe(who I see around town all the time) being the star of the show as her aunt told the audience about her book. I can only imagine how cool it is to have a book written about you when you are a kid. Zoe signed books right alongside Catherine too. How cool is that! Theytus Books has asked Catherine to write a sequel to Zoe and the Fawn. She says she'll be talking to Zoe about it and will begin work on it soon.

Kimberly Ann Freel, author of Monster White Lies and Painted Rocks, put on a fun presentation and got the audience thinking about descriptive language with her power point presentation. Then she had everyone on the edge of their seats with a sneak preview of her next novel, Callie of the White Sands. Sounds like it's going to be a good one.

Bea Alden read and showed off illustrations from her South African memoir, Liongold. She is such a sweet lady and I just happened to find her as I followed a lead from a newspaper ad, for another author. The man I called told me about Bea. After some internet research, I gave her a call and she was so kind and well spoken I knew she was going to be great. She certainly didn't disappoint!

Jean Vernon gave an informative travel safety demonstration based on her book, European Adventuring-On a Budget. I learned lots of good travel safety tips. Now if I could just go travel. Jean wrote a column for Mother Earth News for two years too, back when I read the magazine faithfully. Isn't that awesome!

Aline Lesage read from her novel Gaby's Penance, but wouldn't give away the novel's secret; only clues--in French. Oh, to hear he speak in French is just beautiful. Aline just moved here to our little town and it's great to have another writer around to chat with.

Janine Donoho aka Jesse Jayne Smith, my friend of many names, and author of Wildfire, gave an inspiring talk on novel creation. And she helped me pick up the slack getting this event together. I would have been exhausted to the max without her. And then she got me this fabulous gift! A box full of beautiful soaps and lotions and green polka dotted cashmere socks!

Both Theytus Books and CMP Publishing Group put on great displays of their published books. I feel awed that two publishers came and set up shop at our little library event. And their books are so beautiful. I wish I could have bought every book there. Alas, we volunteer coordinators don't make much.

We ended up having about forty people come, which I suppose is less than I was hoping for(the room certainly could have held more people). Still, a decent turn out for a busy day around town(silly me, I scheduled the fair on graduation day). The audience asked many thoughtful questions of each author making the day quite interactive and all the authors had a wonderful time sharing their books and meeting other authors they didn't know lived so close. I'm already thinking about how to do it better next year.

Monday, June 2, 2008

A moving author fair

It finally all came to a conclusion; on the same day. I pulled off the author fair and moving and both were a success!

I don't know what I was thinking when I scheduled the Author Fair for the same day we had to be moved out of our rental and back to our house up on the mountain. I figured we'd be organized. We'd get the moving and cleaning done early. I don't know why I thought that because it's not like we're ever organized or early, and there's always more work to do than you think. My husband did quite and amazing job picking up the slack on the moving and cleaning though, and with an injured shoulder to boot. He is quite amazing. I mean, how does a man carry an entire car engine by himself with a shoulder he can barely lift? I don't get it. And his shoulder is actually feeling better. Go figure.

The second annual Two Rivers Author Fair went great. The authors were fabulous. The talks were varied and truly interesting. I enjoyed listening to every single one. And people actually came!

Most surprising is that I actually hosted the thing. I mean, I got up infront of forty people, numerous times, and announced things and kept the show rolling. And I didn't freak out. I wasn't even nervous. Compared to last year it was a banana split with a cherry on top.

How did the wallflower do it? I'll try to blog about that soon.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Fine

I was going to put up the Author Fair ad I put in the paper today but it won't work. So fine. Whatever. I don't get all this computer stuff. Hmph.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Stuff!

We're moving back home at the end of this week. Finally! It seems this winter move has practically trickled into summer. At home the grass is long, the hills are covered with flowers, and the air is fresh. I can't wait to move back to the peace of the mountain. Ahh! Relaxation.

One problem. Stuff! We had a yardsale yesterday and got rid of a lot of things, but my gosh! How much stuff do we really need? We've been moving things from there to here and here to there. The living room is full of boxes, and we still have half our things in town.

My mission: get rid of anything we don't need. How long will this take? Judging by how long it takes me to just do my regular everyday things-a long, long time.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Waiting is for Losers

Yup, you heard me. Waiting is for losers. That is my new motto. Why? Because I lost my building today because we were waiting around for things to happen; not moving fast enough on loans and business plans and all the stuff you have to do to purchase a commercial building. And now somebody else has bought my building and stolen my "plans".

As if that wasn't a lesson enough, I found a book today that I was going to write. No two books on the same subject are alike you say. True enough, but I don't know. This is a pretty narrow, contemporary subject. Not sure there's room for another book on it. I'll have to check the book out when it's released but I am doubtful.

Sure, I can make other plans and write other books. But the lesson I want to take away for today is to get to work! Waiting is for losers. One of these days I'd like to win.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Four Formats

I just learned that my little picture book, Bedtime Monster, is coming out in four formats! English/Spanish translation and English only. Both in both hardcover and paperback. Raven Tree Press is known for their english/spanish translation picture books, so that is all I expected. And only in hardcover. I wish I could find my catalog to see if this is the norm. Will I ever learn to not carry important papers around and not set them down in completely random places!?!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Hey, I learned something!

It's been so crazy around here since I went to the society of children's book writers and illustrators conference I haven't even had a chance to look at my notes. I did manage to pull them from my bag and set them on top of my computer, but that's as far as I've gotten. I'd better hurry up and type them up before my random pieces of paper become engulfed by all my other random pieces of paper and I can't find them anymore. (Yes, I'm a total dork. I forgot to bring a notepad to the conference and had to write on the back of my computer printouts I had in my backpack. Brilliant planning, eh? Um yeah, really, I was planning! Reduce, reuse, recycle!)

There is one thing that keeps running through my mind that I did retain from the conference. Mo Willems said that if there is only a few words on a page, the reader reads slower. If there is a whole bunch of words on a page, they read faster. And yes, it's true! I do it with all of his books. There's always that one page with lots of words and I read fast and it evokes the feeling that really brings the characters problem to light. Yes, Sam is really having a bad time and I can feel it! Check out Leonardo the Terrible Monster and you'll know it too. It's funny how something like this is so obvious, but I still don't get it until someone tells it to me. I wonder what other nuggets of knowledge I have buried in my pile.

Now I know this doesn't help you writers of long books. Sorry, maybe I'll find something for you when I look through my notes. But as a picture book writer it's definitely something to think about.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Trip

When I left Seattle it was raining. I pushed my way through the hills and valleys admiring their beauty. Wishing I could go into the forest and mingle with the trees. Afraid I'll be forever stuck inside watching them pass me by. Not even noticing.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Craigslist and Coldplay

My husband listed our house for sale today on craigslist, "just to see what happens". I know we need to sell our house. Need to move closer to town so the kids can do more things. But that doesn't make me happy about it.

He proudly showed me the listing as Coldplay played in the background, "For you, I'd wait 'til kingdom come, Until my days, my days are done. Say you'll come and set me free, Just say you'll wait, you'll wait for me. ..."

Well it wasn't a good combination. That song gets me anyway, and it was quite difficult for me to hide the tears in my eyes so the kids couldn't see as I looked it over. Hard to steady my voice. And the tears are welling up now. If you know me I am not much of a cryer darn it.

I guess it's just that we've sacrificed alot for that place. Built it with our own hands investing years into it. Our children have lived there their entire lives barring our recent "winter vacations". Where we live is beautiful and peaceful. I don't know if I will ever have another place like it and that scares me. I'm fine living in town knowing that I can go up there anytime. I don't know if I can live here knowing that I can't go back.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Next Project Please ...

For some unknown reason I've decided to take on another project. Why? I keep asking myself. Why can't I just sit back and "relax" a while? Maybe because my project has to do with books.

I single-handedly talked my librarian into having another author fair this year. How did I do it, you ask, when she said it was too much work? I said I would do it all myself, of course. I've had a couple offers of "help", but it seems that means that they'll bring cookies. Which is good, I like cookies. I just thought they meant they would do something that wouldn't take me five minutes or less to do at the store. Well, I hope their cookies are at least homemade.

I've had this project for a week now. So far I have two authors commited, one doing a reading and one doing a power point presentation/workshop. Very cool. I've invited an award winning picture book author(through her sister, who I know). Still haven't heard from her. I also invited her publisher and they said they "love the idea". It felt like an acceptance I was so excited. Now I have two publishers coming. I've invited one other author who I haven't heard from either and have a list of prospects I need to get in touch with asap. Did I mention this is scheduled for May 31st? Not enough time imo, but scheduling was tricky with the Booksale, Summer Reading Program, and Storytelling Festival coming up, all of which I am also helping with. All book stuff that I can't resist. I'm such a sucker!

The pressure is on now. With two publishers coming and who knows how many writers(we have room for up to 21, but last year we had eight) I really feel the need to promote this event better than I've ever promoted anything. I need articles, radio interviews, flyers, event info be placed in every local newsletter, and whatever else I can think of. And it has to be free. There's very little money for this event and I want a good turnout. All failures lead to me. It should be fun!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Newspaper Surprise

I opened up the local paper today to see if they ran my library news article. They didn't. But, to my surprise, there I was sitting with my fellow authors at our booksigning the week before(It's a small weekly paper so week before stuff is newsworthyish). There wasn't even a reporter at the signing so I suppose my friend at the Corner Shelf is a good promoter. She took the pictures, called the reporter and gave her an interview. I think I could take a lesson here and stop writing all the library's promotional articles and just call the reporter. Of course, then things that are "happening" will have already happened by the time they get in the paper.

I was on the cover of the paper last week with my daughter at kite flying day. Here's a link just for fun.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Writer times in review

It was a strange week last week. I was applauded by a room full of librarians, had people ooh and ahh over me signing my book for them, and talked to a room full of fourth graders and got them to have fun writing. Big things for this quiet little writer.

I learned alot at the summer reading program workshop. So much work goes into putting on this free program and the librarians are so enthusiastic about it. Everyone came up with crafts and skits and they wrote tons of book talks to go read to the kids at school to get them interested in coming to the library. And we sang kids songs. I wondered what the two guys were thinking when they came into a room full of a bunch of women singing, "there ain't no bugs on me". They certainly looked confused.

It's easy to see how having the support of even one librarian can help a writer immensely. And it was just so fun to see people so excited about children's books, and not because they write them. I hope I get to go again next year, except I'll probably be expected to get up and give a book talk since I'm a writer and all. And now they all know it since my boss had to brag about me to everyone. There's no being anonymous with her around.

My book signing went pretty well. I remembered a pen, talked to alot of nice people, and even sold some books. Not too bad.

I was a little nervous about going to talk to the fourth graders, but now it seems silly that I was. Except for right at the beginning when the teacher told the kids I was there to talk to them about being a writer then walked to the back of the room followed by an eerie silence and a moments panic, it went pretty well. It seems I do have quite a bit to say about being a writer. I should, but I'm not much of a monologuer in person.

The kids had an inordinate amount of fun creating characters. I had cut faces out of magazines and pasted them onto index cards(thanks to the blue board for that idea). I couldn't help but pick the extraordinary sorts of pictures(Spin magazine was great for that). I think it made it more fun anyway. The kids made up crazy names and occupations and cracked themselves(and me!) up. It was great fun. And I've been told some of the kids are hoping I'll come back again. Don't know if I can top that though. Oh, and one of the coolest things was when I showed them the cover for Bedtime Monster. One boy blurted out, "that is sooooo cool!". I think so too.

Alas, the glory is short lived(thank goodness)and now I must wallow in the waiting of an overdue deadline. When will the torture end!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Something

It's happening again. I have so many things to do I'm not doing anything. Under the guise of getting something done, I'll tell you what they are:

I have my first workshop as a librarian. On Thursday I get to go to the Summer Reading Program workshop with two of my librarian friends. We're supposed to make a presentation about something we've come up with for this year's theme; Catch the Reading Bug. Too bad my friends are procrastinators too.

Saturday I have a book signing. Not sure if I have to do much else than show up. I suppose I should give someone who knows a ring, but I'll be lucky to just show up with a pen at this rate.

My daughter's teacher has been bugging me all year to come in and talk to the class. He finally pinned me down with a general "I'll do it sometime at the end of the month" commitment. Warning! We have now hit the halfway mark on March. I keep meaning to get out my classroom talk ideas. I did just have half the class over on Friday for a birthday party, so it should be a piece of cake. Or maybe everybody just loves you when you serve them cake. *cough* I'm still waiting for a certain loyal Frolicking reader's mauscript so I can take it to class. Don't want to be tortured all alone!

I need to send out some more submissions. I want to. Is a chunk of quiet time when I can actually think too much to ask? And no, I am not actually thinking right now, but you've probably already noticed that.

Something I hope you haven't noticed is: my website sucks. Now don't you go looking at it. Just take my word for it. I'm getting to it, really I am. It will definitely have to be all pretty when my picture book comes out. And that time will come before I know it, so I'm trying to plan ahead here.

Too bad all my planning on planning for things doesn't get much done. At least it's something.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Vote for the Slush Monster!

I voted for Editorial Anonymous' Blog Mascot. She's(why do I think EA is a she?) got three finalists, but to me it's no contest. The first one is fun. The third choice is super cute. But, the middle one is definitely a slush monster. Which one do you like?

Beard Demographics

We went out last night to listen to some music and have dessert at our local library at a yearly fund raising series called Java Live. It's really nice, especially since there's not much art going on around here usually. No galleries, no music venues, no theater.

Java Live brings the locals together and makes us aware of the many different artists in our midst. This year local photographers were featured along with the painters. Every week featured two singers/bands. There's been pianists(the local doctor and his wife), folk singers, a trio doing harmonies, a fabulous opera singer, a one man band, and a sing along. In-between music acts there was belly dancing, poetry, and slideshows. Lots of nice people.

It's funny, as I was sitting there looking around I noticed that alot of men in the room had long beards. Not just unkept for a few days long, not ZZ Top long either(well maybe one or two), but somewhere in-between. I counted about eight in a room full of forty people(half women) before I was distracted. Seems like a high proportion to me. Is it just where we live? Is it mountain men who grow their beards long? But I know for a fact that some of these guys live in town. Is it winter? Could be. I'm sure that the last time I was in California I didn't see one long beard. I barely saw a beard at all. Not trendy I suppose. Things are different here.

I'm all for beards(on guys only of course). My husband looks really hot when he's sporting a beard. Sometimes I wish he'd grow one back. Sigh.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Possibilities

I've discovered the reason I like submitting manuscripts to publishers: the possibilities. When I have manuscripts out, there is a possibility that something amazing may happen. I might get a helpful rejection, an editor might say something nice about my work, an agent might consider representing me, dare I say, someone may want to publish my book. The more mauscripts out, the more chances of something amazing happening.

I had possibilites not too long ago. Requested manuscripts, slushpile subs. I got positive feedback and it was exciting. But now the excitement has worn off and I only have the aftertaste of disappointment left. It's there to remind me to get my stuff back out there. And it's starting to grate on me. Get to work! Publishing heavies liked your manuscripts. Get them back out there!

Too bad the submission process is so agonizingly slow. Find a publisher/agent who likes the type of work you do. Study them intensly. Make sure your title could be a fit for them(this is quite subjective). Find comparative titles. Write a hook, a peronalized pitch, a bio that doesn't sound braggy, print out the manuscript making sure it is in pristine condition, get the mailing label on straight. Be extremely cautious not to bungle up email subs. Blah blah blah. It's exhausting just thinking about it. But that's the problem. I can't stop thinking about it. I want some more possibilities. Then I can start checking my mail obsessively again.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Transporter!

 
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It's funny how things work out. With the Bug restoration underway, word has gotten around that we're into VW's. There aren't alot of Volkswagen's in these parts. I daresay I know where most all of them reside, the ones in use that is. It's the old broken-down, undriven ones that hide out. Until people know that you're into them.

The other day a guy shows up at our house and wants to know if we're interested in buying a Transporter. For those of you who don't know, a Transporter is like a Volkswagen Bus Truck. Also known as a Buck around here now, since we have one sitting in the driveway. 
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Yeah, it didn't take long for us to decide we needed to have it too. DH has been talking about getting one for ages. Now if we can just get a Notchback (that'll be mine) we can call our collection complete.

But really, this one isn't gonna be done for like fifteen years. The poor thing needs alot of work. Plus we're in the process of buying a building which looks about as bad as this bus. Sometimes I wonder what the heck we're thinking.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

I only have energy for links

I'm too tired to post anything that takes thinking, but I thought I'd let you know that I've added a few more links. For writers on the agent search there's QueryTracker and the Guide to Literary Agents. Both of these have been a great help lately as I research agents.

And for everyone, I posted my friend Lesa's site, Natural World Arts. She makes fabulous handmade dolls and painted fabrics. She's also a professional storyteller and a Waldorf educator. She's lived on a mountain for practically my entire life and has supported herself and her family with her art. And she has no running water in the kitchen to boot! She's an amazing person who I should write more about. Unfortunately I need sleep. Oh bother.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Class Visits

I visited my local first grade class for the first time a couple of weeks ago. I was nervous and worried. I (over)planned it all out. The teacher wanted me to talk about myself--what I do, my books--and how to write a story.

I think it was the having to talk about myself that really made me uneasy. That and getting up infront of people, even though they're small. But I made myself do it. If I can't start with my own kid's class where can I?

So, I talked to them about being a writer. I talked about illustrators. I showed them some books I loved when I was a kid(they really liked that). Read the first chapter of my book. Did a question and answer session. Then I showed them the cover for Bedtime Monster since that's all I have, and we wrote a story There's a monster who lives under my bed ... together. I figured since I was controlling the story I wouldn't let it go in a scary direction. And it was pretty good although it was hard to try to include everyone and use a little bit of each kid's ideas(didn't want anyone to feel left out).

It went okay. I mean, the teacher told them that I'm famous and they all wanted my autograph, except for my son who rolled his eyes. Now the kids are making their parents look up my website and they all know about me. Sheesh. So much for being the anonymous mountain weirdo. But the kids seemed to like it.(A couple of them hug me every morning now.) And the teacher said it was great, but she's very nice so I wouldn't expect anything less. I hope I did all right.

I went in again today. It was much easier since I didn't have to talk about myself or my books. I read Laura Numeroff's 10-Step Guide to Living with Your Monster to open up some ideas. Then the kids wrote their own stories starting with Today I went to the pet store and picked out a monster ... It was fun to see them come up with their own stories. Writing down their own ideas; and there were some great ones! Creative! Funny! They seemed to enjoy it for the most part. There was laughing and smiling going on. There was one little boy who was having a particularly hard time with the writing, but his picture was excellent. He has told his teacher that he wants to be an illustrator when he grows up. Pretty cool.

Now the fourth grade teacher wants to know why I've been visiting the first graders and still haven't come to his class. Oh the price of fame. *sob

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Demon and the Hole

Seems like I should be blogging...about...something. My head is finally coming out of a full on assualt by the evil flu demon so thoughts have been fleeting for a week now. But really, that's no excuse.

I did manage to take my kids ice fishing. "What?" you say. "You took three kids ice fishing, are you nuts?"

Aparantly so, but I'll blame it on the demon. It sounded like a good idea at the time. Luckily they don't make the holes in the ice big enough for a two year old to fall all the way through. And if they did I would have never even let go of him in the first place so it never would have happened.

Yes, he walked right into the hole. We hadn't even managed to get the fishing pole in yet. He was just very focused on throwing a snowball at his brother, that's all. Luckily(besides the obvious) I had brought extra clothes. I will remember to bring extra shoes next time. Although I don't think there will be a next time for a while. Thoughts of the hole are much worse than the flu demon.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Word Uses

I had to fill out an agricultural survey the other day for our mountain property. It was long and complex and really had nothing to do with us since we don't farm anymore. By the time I got to page two I had no idea what the survey was wanting from me. How do I classify my land? There are no crops. There are no farm animals. Fallow? We'd never actually plowed it, so that didn't seem right. I decided I'd better check with the survey takers aka The Department of Agriculture(this survey had to be filled out under threat of imprisionment so I figured I should try to get it right.) So I called the number and talked to this honey-voiced lady who seemed shocked at the fact that I didn't farm my land, and was I absolutely sure I didn't own any cattle? Really?



Apparantely if you don't use your acreage for anything but the joy and beauty of it, you are wasting it. That's right. My land is classified as wasteland. Heck--I didn't even have to fill any of the other forty pages out since I'm wasting it. They should really come take a look at what the cattle do to the land, they might have to switch their definitions. All those cows can sure ruin a place.

And while I'm talking about messed up words, here's a new swear word for ya. Precipice. That's right, you read it correctly. Precipice, as in: This agricultural survey is really precipicing me off. Hey, it works when you're nine.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

New Link Alert

Wow, time can sure fly by in-between posts! I'm on the agent hunt right now, so I don't want to spend too much time here blabbing about myself.

I have noticed that a few of my blog links are stagnant, so I've decided to put links to some of my friends websites up. The first one I've added is Good Seed Company. The company is owned by my friend, Harris. He grows the plants and harvests the seeds on his homestead. It amazes me that he can run a seed company in such a harsh climate, but he does, and he offers some of the most beautiful plant and vegetable seeds one can grow. Good Seed specializes in open-pollinated, heirloom, and cold hardy seeds.

Harris' business is in danger. A mine has been threatening to open up on the same mountain he lives on. Besides all the horrible toxicity that mines create, the mining company plans to de-water at least half of the mountain, which will not only take away Harris' livelihood, but likely his home as well, for water is life. But the fight for the mountain continues. Hopefully the right side will win.

If any of my cold climate readers are gardeners, you should definitely check out Harris' site. If you're not a gardener, maybe he'll inspire you to be. Harris has some great articles on gardening too.

Friday, January 18, 2008

I'm a Librarian!

Ever since I was a little girl the library has always been such a wonderful place for me. Growing up, my mom took me to so many events at the John Steinbeck Library. And we checked out books every week. The library was always fun and mysterious and grand. I wanted to be a librarian. So when my local library was looking for subs I hopped on the chance. And even though I haven't had a "real" job in over ten years, they hired me. I'm so excited. I'm looking forward to shelving books and helping kids pick out a book that excites them and just being in the library. Guess I can check one more thing off my list of things I want to be when I grow up.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Gravy

I ran into a conundrum at dinner tonight. I said gravy is my favorite food. Then my daughter wondered if gravy is an actual "food". Yes, it is edible, but it's a sauce. People don't usually eat it all by itself although I have been known to on occasion. But it's not like I serve the family bowls of gravy for dinner. So, can gravy be my favorite food or does it have to be mashed potatoes and gravy, or rice and gravy, or maybe toast and gravy? I'd be hard pressed to choose because I see them all as vehicles to hold the gravy that I want to eat.

Alas, my husband does not have the gravy loving gene that runs on my side family. He doesn't even care if it's an actual food or not. That's okay. More for me!

And speaking of gravy. It would be gravy if that agent that has been considering my requested manuscript for over three months now would tell me he wants to represent me already! I'm going to go mad if I have to wait much longer, either that or I'll have to status query. Yes folks, gravy goes with everything.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Random Reasons

Living in town this past month has been all consuming. This may sound like an odd statement, but that's how it feels. Yes, things are more convenient. I don't have to wonder if we have enough power to turn on the tv, don't have to freeze when I get out of the shower, haul our clothes to the laundromat, buy a winter's worth of groceries when I'm at the store, or heat up water on the stove to do the dishes. Best of all, I don't have to drive down our icy 65 degree angled driveway. Things are easy. So why do they feel hard?

I had grand visions of all the writing I was going to get done while I lived here. I brought my mid-grade novel, my screenplays, and all my picture books(I counted last night. There are over thirty in various stages of development and I didn't count the hastily scribbled ones. So depressing). Unfortunately I've nary done a lick of writing since I got here. And I'm starting to get a little irritated about it.

I do have random reasons:

1. I don't have my same exact writing spot.

2. It's too noisy here.

3. People come over every single day. No one ever comes over when I'm up on the mountain.

4. I'm waiting to hear on a requested manuscript from an agent and on another agent sub and they're both taking longer than they're taking other people's subs to the same places(I've been watching the blue board closely). Did they even get them?

5. My kids cannot just go outside and play here. The yard is totally dinky and I have to make sure my little one doesn't go out into the street. They need constant entertainment and supervision, even more than before!

6. We just put an offer in on a house and are starting a business which equals money pouring out.

7. I have to go talk to the 1st grade class. Then the 4th grade class. They want me to do the whole school.

8. I have a job interview on Thursday. I haven't had a "job" in over ten years.

9. There are people I have to work with(in volunteer capacity) that are being really lame.

10. I feel like I am on display here. I have to have the curtains open because it is sooo dark. No one else in the neighborhood seems to have theirs open. Why is that? Maybe because sometimes you forget and walk through the room naked? Or sing and dance like some bad eighties rock star while sweeping the floor? No, it's just cold--that's it.

11. There is no fireplace here to warm up by. I have to huddle by the electric space heater.

12. My cat is being really annoying. I think she hates it here. We'll be lucky to have a couch left by the end of winter.

13. I keep having all these other weird ideas of things I want to do like create new websites and bake, and learn to play the guitar--things that have nothing to do with my writing. My house is so clean it's driving my crazy!(And man, doing housework all the time is so boring! Why do I keep doing it?)

That's enough isn't it? I can do more. I'm hoping by writing this down I will break free. There is no curse about not being able to write because you're somewhere new, right? I am not a person that has to be in one single place. I am a mental vagabond, free to roam wherever I please. I just need a piece of paper and a pen! And maybe a little time to myself.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Writing year in review

After all my whining I thought I should post something positive, and I realized, without even looking at my stats (which I actually got organized this year--major accomplishment in itself), I can definitely say 2007 was my best writing year ever. I sold my first picture book. My chapter book was released. I went to my first writing conference. I sent out more submissions out than ever before, which wasn't a tremendous amount but still it's an accomplishment nonetheless.

And I really learned alot this year about what happens when your book comes out and when you sell a book although I'm sure I've hardly scratched the surface on these sorts of things. Anyhow, I feel like I've made good steps toward becoming a children's book author.

Here's the skinny(if you're interested in stuff like that):

Sent manuscripts to 5 agents. Received 2 personals and got a request that I am still waiting to hear on. Oh the suspense!

Sent 11 subs to houses. Got 4 personals and have a manuscript on an exclusive which I have to wait until around March to hear the verdict on. More suspense!

I suppose this year I should shoot for doing more than I did last year; really try to get my stuff out there. And I am making a new commitment to my middle grade novel. I'd like to see that finished. These sound like goals to me. I'm a little late to post them, but I've been known to dilly-dally when there isn't a deadline dangling in front of me. I'd like to say I won't procrastinate in the new year, but I think I'll put that one off for a while.