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.