Sunday, July 31, 2011

Signs II

I have to giggle. 

I haven't seen any giraffes. None during the entire time I was writing giraffes, except for the ones I found doing research.

Since I've finished the tale and have sent it out to publishing houses, I see giraffes coming out of the walls! I find it quite amusing.

I will take these signs as positive vibes from the universe. 

There was a giraffe at the library - used as a measuring bar for children's height. There was one on 'Blue's Clues.' There was one in an advertisement. It keeps going. I am inundated with giraffes. Oh, and one on someone's blog just now.

As I said, I'm taking the sightings as signs that the universe fully expects to 'reward' me with a contract for 'Sorrysorrysorry.' 

Life is discovery.

Pure Unadulterated Writing

I had no family obligations 'til this afternoon (Saturday). So I went to my local restaurant and read over the last couple chapters of 'Blue.' The waitress there now knows me and exhorts me on. Today she told me about the founder of KFC and how it took him almost 100 tries to get a bank to bankroll him. Now, I don't know it that is true or not - these 99 things seem to crop up all over the place.

The important thing is - she was seriously supporting me. Someone I hardly know. Bless her and all those like her.

I came home and wrote for about two hours. The next chapter is still not complete. I think it's Chapter 18. However, I got a lot accomplished. The chapter's complicated and it's got to be right. Storms, deaths, jealousy, treachery.... these are not easy things for my poor hero/heroine to live through. Even with the help of her dragon!

Life is complicated.

Friday, July 29, 2011


It's taking its toll. I have not been sleeping well of late. I'm sure having my MS out there in the publishing world has much to do with it. I wonder what it would feel like, to be like J.K. Rowling after the 2nd book. Knowing you've got the next and the next and the next sold. Nice.

I've decided this is all part of the process. And of the growing process. Like pruning trees. Good grief, I'd just enjoy a quick yes and then another and another.

Well, signing up for the SCBWI conference here in Cleveland. Working on the Skyline Conference. Trying to put giraffes and dentist in the background. Writing 'Blue.'

The little one told someone at the library today that her Ammie falls asleep sometimes. I rolled on the floor. Sweet thing. She's obviously not too happy with me not playing dolls all the time anymore. 

Going to bed early doesn't seem to make a twit of difference either. Naps during the day are too short. 

I'll get through this. I always do.

Life is exhausting.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Conferences 2011

There are a truckload of conferences coming up from August on. Some overlap, which is a real shame. There are conferences in Ohio - Peninsula, Columbus, Newark, Cincinnati, Hamilton - the list goes on.

I have now been to three major ones. Believe me, I learn something new every time. Even one little thing is worth so much in the writing business. The SCBWI ones are the best - but my little group, Skyline, has a nice one on August 27th in Peninsula.
I've not been 100% pleased with the conferences I've attended, but each one has had something important to teach me.

I urge you to take in a conference. If you're strapped for money, who isn't, then find one close that you don't have to stay over. 

Make sure you bring an MS if they are allowed. Take the plunge. Push yourself. It hurts, but how can you hone your craft without a wee bit of pain. 

Life is learning.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


The little one had pony camp today. Two hours. It was great. I got to spend that time writing - while waving flies away. They seem to like stables and horses and such. They bite. The flies that is, not the horses. Well, horses bite too but not often.

Spent the time on 'Blue' - though I did give a cursory glance at the giraffe tale and the dentist tale. I've vowed to stay away from them for a bit. Give myself a breather. Wait to hear from the publishing houses I've sent giraffes off to.

'Blue' went extremely well, considering I hadn't a clue what was next. I did know there was a storm brewing and that a character was going to get killed off. Aside from that, I was treading water.

Once I've finished something like this, I feel pretty good. It's great to 'see' the Muse working. 

Won't be able to spend much time, the next few days, on writing. Got to work on press releases for a conference one of my writers' groups is giving at the end of August. 

Life is never dull.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Sorry for the double post - but you'll understand if you read on.

Went to the zoo today. Took my four-year old granddaughter.


Oh - what a lovely sight. Beautiful, tall, majestic, glorious giraffes.

My little one was taken aback. She said, 'I've never in my entire life seen a giraffe.' Bless her.

Going back to 'Sorrysorrysorry'for a look see. I must get something in the book about their knobby knees and their black tongues and their wondrous swishy tales.

Drat - hope a publisher will accept a changed thing. Well, I'm sure they will if it works.

Life is stupendous!


I have a dear friend who moved to New Zealand in the hopes of a new life. She is enjoying herself immensely. She watched for signs constantly before she moved from the USA. And received them.

Tonight, I watched an old movie 'Fly Away Home' about some geese in Canada, brought up by a 14-year old, who helped them to migrate to North Carolina for the winter. An unprecedented event. 

I see this, and the movie from last night, 'Secretariat,' as signs for me. I'm claiming them. 

I have dreamt dreams before. I play guitar and have written a truckload of songs. A couple have been published, and more importantly, sung around the world. I gave the two songs away to the ministry that helped me grow as a young woman. So I receive no royalties, but I get a heck of a bang, now and again, when I think their are people out there singing my songs.

I've done acting too. Had hoped for a career in that. I'm decent at it, but not enough to quite the day job, so to speak.

This writing thing has been in my gut and my soul for a long time. First with the songs, and now with tales. I don't want it to end in failure. I'm tired of failure. 

So I'm taking the signs of these two movies whose explicit message was the underdog can win. The person with tenacity and passion can have their dreams come true.

I've been wishy-washy up 'til now. Not any more. Remind me of that, dear friends, when I forget.

Just being alive is a success. Life is wonderful.

Monday, July 25, 2011


I had a boss who had a photo of the horse, Secretariat, hanging in his office. He often said that horse was the greatest racehorse ever. Because of its heart.

I watched the movie tonight. The story is quite unusual and quite good. I'm not sure if the hero was the horse or the heroine was the stallion's owner.

The fight both of them gave, the dogged tenacity in the face of untold obstacles, and the courage to go against everything sane, was quite a thing to watch.

I've made placards for the house. Be Secretariat Now. I'm taping them to my computer, to the mirror in my bathroom, and to the mirror in my bedroom.

I do not have tenacity. I do not have discipline. I do not have courage.

I have heart. I have a passion for writing. I look for encouragement everywhere.

I will publish. I will publish more than 'Sorrysorrysorry.' I will rejoice in all things.

Life is incredible.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Met with a writer friend for coffee last night. Had a great few hours talking about where we both are with our writing, what helps us to write, the BIG things that can hamper our writing (fear especially and learning discipline and perseverance), and how much having friends to talk to helps. 

The little Writers' Ink group is like an AA group for the both of us. We giggle through the meetings as we share the pain of writing. And the joy. Seems to me writing is a double-edged sword. There is incredible joy, but incredible suffering. If I let it get to me. That's where friends come in. Either on-line or by phone or in person. Nothing better.

I don't know if I've become more open and therefore more appealing to folks - but I am finding more people to share with and have fun with. I think I will try to stop being a 'solitary' writer. More fun in the sharing. 

My friend suggested a title for the sequel to "Sorrysorrysorry." "Worryworryworry." I was so grateful. I'd been thinking about a sequel for my three little giraffes. They definitely deserve a little more print time. The title "Worryworryworry" opens up some real possibilities for my dear creations. I can just see them.

Today I've worked on "The Dentist and The Whale." Changed the whole beginning, but it works. Better! My little four-year old helped. She is a great sounding board.I definitely think my first draft is done. Will sit on it for a few days. Next week sometime, I'll re-read it, work on revising, and send it to my editor. We meet in a month. That gives me plenty of time to hone it.

I did edit "Blue." Will work on Chapter 18 tonight. Huge thunderstorm. Killing off a character.

Life is fun!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Perseverance 101

Went to my class today. Had submitted 'Blue' - chapters 10 - 12. Always submit with a shaking hand and a lump in my throat.

Absolutely astounded by my teacher's remarks. She was blown away by it. Says she tells her children about the book and how good it is. She doesn't usually read this type of story, but she said she is drawn into the tale. Hook, line, and sinker.

What a joy!

One of my classmates read these chapters too and quite agreed with our teacher. She said she loves it.

Exhorted to continue writing. Whoo hooo is about all I can say. I am on fire with enthusiasm.

Needless to say, as soon as I finish this posting, I'm going to clear up the two places where she wasn't sure who was speaking. Not a difficult thing to change. And get on with Chapter 18.

I made a coat of arms for my hero/heroine. I've got a photo of a castle that I envision looks like the one in my tale. Continuing on with the 'additions' that help keep my 'world' succinct.

We also spoke about perseverance and how so many authors fail because they don't have it. It is truly difficult keeping a stiff upper lip when you are writing alone. I think one of the most important things to try to find is a good support team. Or even one person who believes in you.

Of course, the best thing would be to believe in yourself.... myself.

Life is exhilarating.

Monday, July 18, 2011


While my friend and I were chatting on Saturday, she paid me a huge compliment. She said she'd rarely known anyone who was so persevering in making her goals. At least, that's my remembrance of what she said. She also said that I was about the only one she knew who kept at writing. 

Personally, I don't think I do. I don't spend the time I think I should. But of course, should'a, would'a, could'a's are useless things. I want to write 1,000 words a day, but there is no way, at present, that I can see myself doing that. I have a little four-year old who takes all my energy, love and time. And I give it with my whole heart.

I still do function though. I do think of my books much of the time. I've got another little picture book I want to write. 

Good grief, does that mean 'Blue' gets sent to the sidelines again!?! 

It's about a dentist and a whale. It tickles me when I think about it.

'Blue's' got this glorious thunderstorm. I want to write it. But the dentist is floating in and out of my thoughts. 

Well, I'll go over to my old word file and start one for him/her. Hmmm - which should it be? Heavens to Murgatroyd! Conundrums already and I haven't even started.

Life is perplexing.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Names: The Sequel

I spent a few hours with a friend on Saturday talking about names. She was trying to figure out some for her newest tale. She's been writing longer than I have and so her 'well' of names is getting shallower.

I love talking with other writers - as long as I don't procrastinate and leave my writing alone because of it.

She told me of a little trick she uses that sounds pretty darn smart. She has a baby book (well, she had one but lost it). She would yellow-highlight names that seemed to be primary characters. She would pink-highlight names that had the feel of 'secondary' characters. And so on and so on. I thought it was a quite brilliant strategy. Also, she'd mark ones she'd used already. She doesn't like to use the same name twice. Which I completely agree with.

We discussed nicknames, too. I hadn't thought about nicknames since my characters rarely have them. But she reminded me that nicknames can have a 'short shelf life' too and you can 'date' your work by using 'oldish' ones. Made perfect sense.

Talk about dating things - I was watching a movie set in 1930ish America. There was a stop sign in the movie. It was diamond-shaped. I almost fell off the couch. I had not thought that you could definitely 'date' your piece by having the wrong shape stop sign. 

So much research is needed. It blows my mind to think of all the little times that I could 'trip myself' with a wrong phrase, name, nickname, and lots of other things. Won't keep me from writing though.

I remember my favorite author once was chided because he really should have had his villain hanged for the offense he committed. But the author wasn't about to have the man die. So he wiggled his way out of it. In response, the author said, "I'm the writer. I can write whatever I want." He's right. He is an established and much-loved author. He can do almost anything.... but not quite. And he does know that. But he has greater freedom than I do.

Life is tentatively interesting.

Friday, July 15, 2011


Honestly, I've spent hours this evening on the final preparations of my letters and MS for submission.

It took a lot of sweat over these last few days, and a lot of research on the internet using every available blog, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google searches to find four editors - but I did. 

The letters have been signed and attached to the MS. The envelopes have been stuffed. I go out now to put them in the mailbox at my local post office. I try to use the same post office for sending all my 'stuff' so that I can track things.

I don't know why I believe I'll be the one in a million who gets a positive reply, but I've got all my fingers and toes crossed.

I made my tracking spreadsheet and put a column for the date I received a reply and one for the date I received a contract. Got to keep positive vibes floating in cyberspace!

Life is 'heart-in-the throat' intense.

Other Blogs

I follow about twelve blogs. Two are family-related. The rest are writing-related. I know I'll be adding more.

I've been so busy with the book and the editing and such that I haven't taken the time to go out there in the cyber world and read other blogs. 

A mistake.

The good blogs are uplifting. They show me that I'm not alone in my struggles. The ones by published authors are usually quite kind.

So now I reflect on the sharing about writing, submitting, agents, publishers, etc. Not many 'fall into' a contract. Most writers attest to the fact that they slog through book after book, submission after submission (even with an agent), rejection after rejection.

Reading these blogs as a tool to keep me focused and positive is the best part about them.

Bless all those who continue to share, even after they've 'scored' big with a contract or two or twenty.

Life is enveloping.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ready or Not

I have fussed and fidgeted with giraffes until I saw elephants!

After re-reading it, my daughter agreed that the final is the best. Every time I try to change it, the last stanza's just don't work.

I proceeded to do the phone calls to get 'names' to send the MS off to. My goodness, the gatekeepers at publishing houses are good. If their policy states they don't take unsolicited manuscripts, they pretty much reiterate that when you call. I pulled a few names from them, however, and will buy 'good' paper tomorrow and send a few simultaneous submissions out.

So - by the end of this week, God willing, I will have sent out four. I don't want to do more than that, at the moment. 

I still have to create the spreadsheet to keep track of who I sent them to, but that won't take long at all. Thankfully.

I spent some time writing some drivel. I had to write. Editing is so time-consuming and soul-robbing. It was fun to write again. Once I've sent off the four letters, I'm going to go back to 'Blue' and spend time with Kathleen and her cohorts.

Life is worth everything.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I've Been Hiding

I've 'hidden' from this blog because I'm fighting a nasty case of the 'what on earth am I going to do now' flu.....

Whenever my editor gives me back what I've sent to her, unless it is 100% good news, I cringe and crawl into some corner and try to hide.

I spent the week-end trying to 'get' the ending of giraffes. But nothing felt good. Nothing seemed better than what I already had.

I sent it off to my daughter who was quite happy with what I'd done.... Hmmm.....

Life is perplexing.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Dating My Work

On the way home from my Skyline meeting, I pondered the difficulties of writing a 'current' piece. I've never attempted writing something in the present day.

I thought about writers who have been writing Sci-Fi books about the space shuttle program. Books usually take a few years to write. So they start this little venture about three years ago and the President up and stops the shuttle program. I think I would pull my hair out.

Another thing - the Bruno Mars song sings about doing the 'dougie.' Now, you and I both know a book with that in it will be dated in three months. Or less.

Dialogue changes daily. Technology (iPad, Kindle, etc.) will change by tomorrow. Something new will come out as soon as I close my eyes. I'm waiting for HP's newest entry, the Touchpad.

Fantasy gives me the freedom to write plot and characters without having to worry about being dated the day before I am published. 

That doesn't mean I don't have to research everything. I do. I'm just glad my Muse happens to be a fantasy muse. Of olden times. Of other worlds. I can create my own languages, my own countries, my own slang. It's fun.

Life is fun - disconcerting - but fun.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Building Up

I started work on the final draft - LOL - for giraffes. 

So today - to continue to be positive - I went to one of those 'paint a small ceramic for a fortune' places.

I picked a sweet young giraffe mold. I painted it. Now, I'm not a great painter, but I think the Muse was with me. Found great colors. I had the draft of my giraffe business cards that I used as a model for the coloring. I painted her. 

One week, then I can pick her up. So that gives me a great deadline for finishing the edits that my coach suggested. Another deadline that will be fun to meet. I hope.

I decided that I will use these little giraffe statuettes for my upcoming goals.

First giraffe - finishing the edits and sending out the MS.

Second giraffe - when the contract is signed.

Third giraffe - when the book is published (the actual date it sits on store shelves). 

Hopefully, this 'attitude' will convince the gods to 'make it all happen.'

Whether they will or not, I intend to keep positive about this process. 

Life is infinitely worth every effort.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Final .... Draft.... Oxymoron

All right. I was soooo ready to call the final the final...

My dear editor/coach/friend had different ideas. Still very happy with meter and verse - rhymes all work well...

She's not happy with the ending.... Says it needs more punch.....

Back to the drawing board, dear friends. A change to one line or one word can take hours to 'fix' for the rest of the piece. I liked the ending - but I could sense a bit of unease whenever I re-read it. 

I shall endure.... She's right, of course. *g*

Life is perturbingly predictable.

Monday, July 4, 2011


I spoke with my son tonight. His daughter is a fledgling actress. She is talented, bless her heart.

My sons and my daughter all had (have) beautiful voices. They don't quite use them anymore.

I played guitar for a zillion years but haven't for quite some time.

Watching Steve Martin and his band tonight at the "Capital 4th" brought thoughts of courage. Here is a man who began his career as a comic, went on to act in movies, produce, write plays, and continues growing into a great banjo picker!

What is it that propelled our founding fathers to stand up and sunder our land from England? What is it that propels soldiers to fight? What is it that makes a housewife decide to write?

I suppose it's courage. I'm not 100% sure. Tenacity is definitely part of the mix. Perseverance. I wish I knew the definitive answer to that question. 

As it is, I'll continue to think it is courage. I'll continue to hone my own. I'll continue to learn discipline. And I'll continue to love life.

Blessings to you all - especially those of us celebrating this glorious 4th of July.

And remember - it is never too late to start something new.....

Life is splendiferous!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Pressing Onward

I am beginning to think positively about my writing. For that I am most grateful.

As I said before, I've worked on the cover letter. I've got two different ones. Needless to say, I will make them personal for the individual publishers. Have already researched books published - to be able to say the giraffe is kind of like this... but better *g*

I went to Vistaprint and made two different business cards. The one I really like has a great photo of three young giraffes. Perfect for the times I will be out and about marketing the picture book.

The other has a butterfly on it - not one of your usual ones either. It speaks more of 'Blue.'

I will only order 250 of the giraffe ones at the moment. We'll see what happens after that. The 'design' is kept by Vistaprint for awhile.

Tuesday - I start phone calls to publishers. 

Life is full.

Saturday, July 2, 2011


Was asked to read the giraffe story today at my writers' group. 

They were appropriately awed - bless their dear hearts. They really, really liked it. Said it was spot on and perfect. Whimsical. Expressive. Humorous. Visual.

I love this little group of dedicated writers 'Writers' Ink' who care enough about each other to come together and support each other.

My daughter loved it too - especially loved the changes to the two areas she thought needed improving.

I want to send it to my editor today - but think it best to wait till Tuesday - her mailbox will probably be quite clogged.

Tuesday - I start calling publishers to get the names of the appropriate person to send the MS and cover letter to. I'm going to give the cover letter one last look tomorrow.

Life is fireworky wonderful.