Black Turtleneck and Beret Time

Hi, y’all!

Well, I was going to post about how I finally gained literary legitimacy when a poem I wrote was accepted for a literary journal this week. (Ah, yes! Finally a win I can tell my old grad school writing buddies about. Ha!) And that did happen, sure, and I’ll blog about it later, ’cause that’s exciting.

But more exciting yesterday was winning a scholarship to the Backspace Agents and Authors Conference! I sent pages from my newest middle-grade novel (Escape From Comportment Camp) and a query… and I got it! Huge thanks to Collen Lindsay for hosting this on her blog.

Squeeeeeeee!!!!! So, I’ll be going to New York for November 4-7… and I might even bring Dave (on photosafari) if I can procure childcare for my very (ahem)  well-behaved sons. Anyone up for watching them for four days?

Anyone?

Mom?

For The Young Who Want To… Write?

Today’s blog post is for my unpublished writer friends. For the ones who don’t have husbands who give them rejection roses, for the ones who wonder why it’s so hard to answer the question “So, what do you do?” at a cocktail party with the truest answer.

Click here.

Keep writing!

The Secret (not)

Okay, I know this might be no big deal to you famous author-types out there, but I’m not quite famous yet. So it was a special little thrill to be surfing through my bookmarked sites last night and to stumble upon this. Isn’t that sweet? I thought so, too.

I had lots of writer-friends being very happy for me last week with all my good news (um, Universe? if you want to spread the good news out in the future, that would be okay, too!  Just sayin’.) and one (happy but frustrated) writer-friend saying “what’s your secret???”

Okay, here it is: I work my butt off.

Yeah, I know. If I had read The Secret, I could say something like “I send my positive thoughts out in the universe, and I receive that which I myself manifested.” But that’s bull. I pray like heck, and type as fast as I can with the five or six fingers that I use to type.

But the truth is, I treat this writing thing like a job, even before it’s paying like one. I sit down every day, and if the Muse ain’t talkin’, I write query letters instead of my WIP. I keep track of my submissions, and I aim to have 35-45 subs out at a time.

Yep, you heard that right. From puppet plays (yay!) to novel queries, to PBs (still have one in committee!) to essays, I keep the pipeline flowing.

So, if you were wondering what I do with all my time, that’s the answer. Oh, I also spend some time reading rejection letters and eating chocolate to soothe my ravaged soul. But don’t we all?

A VERY Good Week For Me

Well, hello intrepid blog readers! I haven’t posted anything but good news recently (a welcome change from the usual diet of whining, moping, and cursing the agents/editors/children who don’t appreciate me adequately, n’est-ce pas?) — so why stop now?

I am happy (more like peeing-my-panties ecstatic) to announce that my essay, Coming Out of the Craft Closet, has been chosen by the very wise, very discerning, very fabulous editors of skirt! magazine to appear in the October issue!

For those of you in the know, this is the essay I wrote about my mother’s constant attempts to make me love crafting as a child… and my resultant, absolute detestation of all things handmade. Um, she hasn’t seen this one yet.

Quotes from Beta readers: “This is hilarious! Mom’s gonna kill you!” — Lari, another daughter.

“Wow! This is really good. Has your mom seen this yet?” — David, my loving husband.

I think it’s okay. I mean, Christmas is pretty far from October, right? She won’t hold a grudge.Will she?

Oh, God. What have I done?????

My Dark Secret

Okay, I’ll admit it. I like Miley Cyrus. Well, one of her songs anyway. You know the schmaltzy one, It’s The Climb? Yeah, I know. If I belonged to Mensa, they would yank my membership. I’m a little afraid my more sophisticated friends (all two of them) might judge me harshly. But my writer buddies? They’ll understand.

In fact, I think this song may have become the unofficial anthem for the unpublished novelist. Go ahead, writers, listen to the song. Watch the video. Own the lyrics. Be Miley.

Update: My essay, Homemade Doughnuts, came in third in the Houston Writer’s Guild essay contest! A little bit of glory, but no cash. Still happy –seems there were HUNDREDS of entries.

And there’s more: My essay, titled The Best Days of Our Lives, will be included in the March 2010 anthology, A Cup of Comfort For Mothers!!! (Up until today, it was a finalist — but I made the cut. Woo hoo!)

Coming To A Library Near You…

Howdy, folks! Well, it was a pretty perfect day for a writer today! Kinda rainy, nothing to do but write — did I accomplish a lot, you’re wondering? Why, yes, I did. 3,600 words on the work in progress. Woot! (But are they GOOD words, as my Mom always asks? Natch, Mom.)

Also, a little Squeee moment — I sold a puppet play to an anthology coming out in early January. Now that I’ve sold them MY piece, I’ll advertise the link for all my writer buddies who might be able to produce something fabulous in a matter of weeks. Check it out here. And, yes, it is for libraries, so it’s not a big paycheck — but the glory, people, the GLORY of having toddlers and preschoolers all across America laughing at YOUR funny little characters! Seriously, if that’s not jewels for your Heavenly crown, I don’t know what is.

Now I need to go feed my own little Angels/Devils. Have a great weekend!

A Blog I Done Read

Happy Labor Day! We’re celebrating at my house by not laboring, and not going into labor (ever again), and pretty much sitting around eating ourselves sick on homemade chocolate-chip-oatmeal-toffee-raisin-walnut-pecan cookies while we play Super Smash Bros Brawl/Flight of the Hamster and/or troll around the internet looking for funny sites.

And I found a doozie. You gotta check out the review site, Books I Done Read, especially the review of Evermore. This may only be funny if you suffered through the Twilight series, and I don’t recommend reading those just to get the joke, but if you don’t LOL for real at least once…. you are a hardened soul. If you are a writer of MG/YA books… bookmark this one. I did.

Now I gotta go finish the hard labor of letting my toenail polish dry.

Playing Hooky With A Sick Kid

When I was a kid, my mom would take me out of school one day a year to play hooky. We had fun: shopping, lunch out, time together. Fast forward to my world. If I took one of my kids out of school for fun, I’m pretty sure the sheriff would be sent ’round.

They’re a bit militant about absences at the local public schools. I’m lucky, my kids are usually well. They hardly ever miss a day. So, I kind of look forward to days like today and yesterday, when my kid has a fever — nothing else, no aches, flu, or whatnot — just one of those little fevers that keep them out of school for two days. (You have to hit the fever-free for 24 hours mark to send them back, and that’s always at least 2 days. Sometimes I fudge on this, but this fall I don’t want to be known as The Mom Who Gave All the Kids Swine Flu. So, Drew and I have had 2 days of fun — reading together, playing with the dogs, playing on the Wii, watching movies (Howl’s Moving Castle — rent it today!), and napping.

Yes, napping. Because if you make staying home from school look too appealing, they’ll be “sick” every day for months.

Kind of glad I wrote those 6,000 words on the novel on Monday and Tuesday, though, or I would be dying to write. As it is, I’ve written a puppet play, revised a bit on the novel and a picture book, checked my email obsessively for news from some submissions, and taught 2 Zumba classes. Not bad for Nurse Nikki Nightingale.

Bonus: All kids well enough for a kickin’ Labor Day weekend! Hope yours is very relaxing.

Waking Up Where You Want To Be

Oh, my.

I came across the loveliest site today — a film project where fifty people are asked the same question. Here’s the link.

Check out Brooklyn. It’s wonderful.Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Are you back?

So did you wake up where you wanted to be this morning? If you didn’t, why not?  I spent the last decade waking up where I wanted to be… but not waking up who I wanted to be. But that’s all changing. The writing? Going well, thank you very much. I hope to have some good news to share soon!

Happy Sunday!

Does This Essay Make Me Look Fat?

My mom and I still go shopping together. I know many of you will think that’s sad, but let me tell you one thing: it’s hard to find a shopping buddy who will honestly tell you when you’re offending the Gods of Fashion. Think about it. Do you think your husband will answer the question “Does this make my butt look big?” with any degree of honesty at all? Not if he wants to stay married, right?

Well, I am discovering that it’s as hard or harder to find a writing buddy/critique partner who will tell you when your writing needs to lose a few pounds, or step onto the treadmill, or go back into the closet and start all over again. For one thing, those types of comments have to come from somewhere beyond friendship, from love and respect, and a deep desire to see the one whose work you’re critiquing succeed in a massive way. There are crit buddies, and there are crit buddies. And the good ones are the ones who sometimes make you cry… and sometimes make you write another thousand words in an afternoon.

That’s why I have decided I will do anything, up to and including donating a major organ, to keep my best crit buds happy.You know who you are, people, and now you know that you have me right where you want me: in your debt forever.

Just don’t tell me my essay is “fantastic” when it really needs to lose twenty adverbs.