Sunday, June 30, 2013


A little over a year ago, I moved from a three bedroom home with a full basement to a one bedroom condominium. Luckily, my children had helped me 'clear the clutter' from the house about a year before I decided to downsize. When the time came to move, I thought I was in pretty good shape. Not! 

I don't regret the move, but another bedroom, right about now, would be nice. An office. In the old house, I had changed one of the bedrooms into an office. Great light. Day bed for reading. Cupboards for my paperwork. Three bookshelves. I didn't know I was in heaven.

This one bedroom contains everything from the three. Not quite, but sometimes it certainly seems like it. As I posted yesterday, I started de-cluttering. I thought I was only going to work on the immediate 'office' area, and that will be the thrust for the next few weeks, but I now feel the need to de-clutter the whole bedroom. The little one has her own 'craft' drawers, but she fails to keep her crafts in them. She also has a very cute set of drawers in the hall closet (space I could desperately use). Besides that, if you remember, we have My Little Pony's Ponyville under my dining room table, along with another area lived in by Barbie and her friends and accoutrements. 

How on earth I'm ever to downsize the little one, I'll never know. She's also taken over three of my dresser drawers for her clothes. Soon - she'll have my closet, too. *g*

If you can tell, I'm giggling as I write this. I love the child to pieces and would gladly give her the entire condo, if I could. The dog takes what space she leaves me!!!

Today, I thought I'd have the top of the stand cleared off and the entire three drawers organized. I'm getting there. At one point, I did have the top cleared off - until I started pulling things out of the drawers. Neverthemind, I found treasures. Business cards. Pretty flowered ones. I made a draft. They look good. I'll show them to my daughter tomorrow and Voila! I will have business cards. I also found enough envelopes for my MS to last me a life time. I hope I'm still writing in a lifetime. Ah - I know I will be. I can't finish this project before next week-end. Running off for the holiday for some peace.

I found some critique papers from my Skyline group for 'Blue.' I went over them - they were from about six months ago - and made more changes according to their notes. I'm getting closer and closer to feeling that 'Blue' is as close to perfect as I can make it.

Going to print it out for the holiday and read it aloud in the midst of a forest.

Life is special.

Saturday, June 29, 2013


I lost the map for 'Blue.' I searched high and low, in the house and in the car, but could not find it. The Muse scowled. She spent a lot of time working on that map; she would not let me forget that fact. 

Time to get the office back into some semblance of order. Put the crayons and markers where they belong. Gather up the My Little Pony coloring pages and put them in their cupboard. Pick up the clothes that the little one likes to fling on the floor before she climbs into bed. Good grief. Summer can be hard on a house. *g*

I have a wire four-drawer stand next to my desk. It's got a truckload of stuff in it and, on top, there is more. So much more that I can't open the top drawer of the stand. *g* 

Today, I made it my mission to clean off the top. I'm almost there. I started around 8am and it's now almost 11pm. Of course, I didn't spend all my time on the clean up job. I spent some time hand washing this lovely beaded dress I have. I also de-dished the dishwasher. I picked up the living room floor but left Ponyville under the dining room table. I saved the little one's eraser and pencils from the dogs greedy teeth. My, that dog loves to chew!

When I looked at the stuff on the top of the stand, I found pages and pages of 'Blue' that had been edited. You know, I didn't have a clue as to whether or not I'd made the changes to the MS document. I went through over two hundred pages. Some changes I'd made, some I hadn't. Took a long time. 

I also found two critiques that I'd paid for at conferences. Given as my skin has thickened over the years, I re-read them. They made better sense. I added some stuff and embellished... I did the things I've been talking about over the past year here on this blog. My advise now - don't let your STUFF get out of hand. Keep a tight rein on it. Otherwise, you'll be spending a whole Saturday afternoon looking through it.

I haven't found the map yet. *g* But I have a pretty good clue as to where it is. I also found some pages for Chapter Two of Book Two of 'Blue.' That was a neat discovery. I still have a few more things to go through and then the stand will be topless - less of stuff on top.

I'm almost done withe the TENTH edit of 'Blue.' I'm going to finish up before July - God willing and the creek don't rise. Then, I'll read it aloud. And send it out to agents. I've got two in mind. Two that fit my genre and age.

You know I can't leave you without at least a couple links. *g*  About clutter in your life.  About clutter in your MS.  decluttering your mind.

Also, I got folders and made one folder for each book. Not the MS itself - that won't fit - but the things associated with each one. Like the lost map. *g* *g*

Life is clutter.

Thursday, June 27, 2013


Where do they come from? In this hectic world, can creativity survive? Where can I go to get a little time to think about 'the book' and write some. I'm feeling all at sea.

My little one is attending bible school this week. She absolutely adores it. They sing and dance and make crafts and learn about the Lord. She really loves him. Also, she's with a bunch of her school days classmates and to see the bunch of them huddled together, sharing, brings tears to my eyes and clenches my throat. At the end of each session, she's beaming. I can see her self-esteem blossoming and her faith growing. It's an incredible sight.

So onto ideas. I've been pretty busy with these summer aberrations. No time to think about my writing and yet, the Muse will not let me sit idly by and do nothing. Thoughts churn, editing is done, new stories are being written, all the while I try to find some sense of peace.

Today in the car, after we chatted about Moses and what he was up to lately, I told my little one that I really had to start working on some names for 'Blue.' I've got this lake right in the middle of Ledder. The lake plays a small role in Book One, but it's going to be hugely significant in Book Two. I've got to find a good name. 

My little one asked me, "What's in the lake?" WOW! I hadn't thought about that. I told her fish. She wanted to know which kind. Then she wondered if there were any sea monsters in the lake. That gave me a hugely awesome idea for Book Two. We discussed the wizard and she wants me to name one. She likes the name I'zak. I like it, too. I think she's right about having a named wizard. There are other 'bad guys' in the book, but I think it needs I'zak. The lake will be changed, due to wizards' foul play, and given a new name. So now I have two names to figure out!

I can't even imagine what kind of a writer my little one will grow up to be if her questions are so pointed and perfect now. She does write her own stuff and has her own blog (though for safety's sake it's under my name). She has photos of her pottery and of her paintings and such, along with quite a few stories and the book reviews that she's done over the past school year. I'm quite proud of the little one.

I did something rather silly yesterday. I volunteered at her school. They have a school calendar that has been woefully neglected. Every time I go on to try to see what's happening during the school year, I find events are missing. So, I ran into the principal yesterday and volunteered. They use Google calendar which is a fairly easy piece of software. I started today. The principal brought the pastor in, after about an hour, and showed him what I was doing. I am now (God help me) doing the church's calendar, too. I'm using one calendar and color-coding it - pink for school events and light green for church events. The choir is blue. Bingo is orange. Because I'm a user of the calendar, I had a different view of it and so entered events from a parishioner's POV. I think all parishioners and parents using it will find it very helpful. *fingers crossed* The pastor and the principal were so incredibly appreciative, bless their hearts. It's going to take forever. I've got an idea that will help; I've got my fingers crossed that they'll accept the idea. 

So where the heck is the peace going to come from?

Life is giving.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Big Surprise

I got the nicest surprise today. A writer who I admired on this blog sent me an encouraging email. I was flabbergasted. You know, my friends, I've been a bit discouraged with attitudes of other authors. I see a few places where they support each other, but it's not been a constant thing in the old 'seeing scope.'

This note from author, Joyce Sidman, lifted my spirits, gave me hope that I will be published, and helped me see that there are writers out there who care. AND - she is a Newbury winner. Be still my heart.

One of the hard things that she wrote, and it goes back to my whining about the time it takes to get published.... she said it took her ten years to have her first book published. SHEES! I will not get discouraged. She's been writing and has been published and has won awards ever since. The ball has to start rolling somewhere.

I follow a blog by a group of authors who enthusiastically support each other. Every time I read their blog, I think: 'I wish I had friends like that.' Well, I'm trying to help my friends in my class learn to do the same. By example. I've told you before that I decided to help in anyway I can with their search for publishers and agents. Also, with their writing, though I am not the teacher. I'm very grateful that my comments are well-received. The group is swinging towards camaraderie, towards being helpful to each other, towards really seeing that they are a huge component in a group that could be dynamically helpful to each other in getting an agent, getting published, helping with PR, and succeeding in this world of publication. And being a shoulder to cry upon, a friend to laugh with, and a support in prayer.

It gives me heart.

At our last class, I presented the first chapter of my first ever chapter book. It was quite a rough draft. I chide myself for not having prepared a bit better, for my classmates and my teacher deserve such preparation. I thought I knew the 'rules' for chapter books, but my teacher sweetly, gently showed me the error of my ways. *g* She did say it had a nice meter to it. I love meter. Also, she liked the premise. She thought it might be an 'emergent' chapter book, which means it's probably level one, very easy, using seven or less words per sentence, etc. She said one thing about this kind of book is that publishers usually have a stable of writers whom they assign such books to. Well, I usually try to dive into the most difficult of things. Never a dull moment here! My classmates seemed to like it, too.

I mentioned the new HUB show as it relates to my 'Nothing But Blue Skies.' I said it gave me hope that 'Blue' might be published. My teacher/editor made sss'ing noises and flung her hands about and said, 'Stop that. It will be published.' Gave me more hope.

Life is good. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Crazy Days

I wrote at the beginning of June that this was going to be an insane summer. It is turning out, I wasn't mincing words. I have a pool at my new condo and the little one is a fish. She can't get enough of the water. Besides that, she has friends. She invites friends. They come to the pool. Rules at the condo state that the home owner must be in the pool area while guests are swimming. That means, I've been at the pool every day now, come rain or shine, cold water or cool water, almost seven days a week. And it usually ends up twice a day. Swimming in the morning and then more company (my daughter's been going into work early so she can get out early and come to the pool) in the late afternoon. 

Do you have a clue as to what this does to writing? I'm glad I'm not really 'into' a book at the moment. I am in the midst of editing 'Blue' still. That I can do haphazardly. Though it's not fun. I edit two or three chapters a day. I'm up to Ch. 15. This is definitely the last edit before I send it out to agents. Yeah, sure. Who am I kidding? 

This editing is not perfunctory editing. It's got a purpose. It's not taking a word and changing it. It's adding 'scenery' to each scene. I wrote about it in an earlier blog. I know that editing can be a life-long thing if you let it. I don't intend to let it. I know what I'm doing with 'Blue' is important and I'm going to keep it up.

Saw an ad for a kids' tv show today that surprised me. In fact, gave me cause for alarm. It's about a gender-changing boy who turns into a superhero girl. So very close to my premise for 'Blue' that I am concerned. Yet, I'm looking on the bright side. Perhaps this will help me 'sell' 'Blue.'

Life is surprise.

Friday, June 21, 2013

What Falls In My Lap

I keep telling folk to just sit down and write. It's hard, it's a leap of faith, to sit in front of a blank computer sheet or a blank notebook. They stare back at you. Sometimes, I swear I've seen a tongue sticking out, mocking me. 

Nevertheless, I continue on. And that's what I'm writing about today. Last night, the writing buddy was over and we talked about trust. She's a big proponent of it; I'm a skeptic. What she said though, resonated within me. She said she does the work (bless her heart, she sets her alarm for 5am and writes before going into work!). Then, she sits back and trusts that the universe, or God, or the Higher Power, or whatever, will show her what to do with it.

I told her about my dream of the publisher's name and the supposed dead-end that I hit. She encouraged me to trust that 'vision' and see what the universe does with it. I'd gone to the library yesterday with the little one and looked up books by the publisher. With the librarian's help (God bless librarians), I found quite a few poetry books published by this publisher. I voraciously read them. They all made me laugh. I do so love poetry, but feel totally at sea with the rules and such. Neverthemind. The enjoyment is the joy.

One of the poems was incredible. Due to copyright laws, I can't post it all here (though I would dearly love to because I know most people can't really take the time to buy the book or take it out from the library), but the sentiment is perfect. 

The book is 'DarK Emperor and Other Poems of the Night' by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Rick Allen. (see link below). A Newbery Honor Book. All the poems are delightful, but the one that touched me was 'Night Spider's Advice.' One line states: 'Do your work, then sit back and see what falls in your lap.' Talk about confirmation of trusting.

I think this is one of the many reasons I love children's books. They hide great ideas and philosophy in joy-filled pages. I do so hope you take a moment and look at this book. It's very good.

Life is poetry. Life is trust. Life is a spider's advice.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


I know I've written about this before, but it's something that is part of the life of a writer. I told you about my dream with the publisher's name. Well, after tons of extensive research, I discovered they probably would not publish my giraffe story. They seem to be more of a school company. They have a lot of non-fiction works. 

I'm not giving up. I'm wondering if one of their other imprints is where I should go. Probably. 

I will not whine. BUT - giggle - it really takes an extraordinary amount of research finding an editor's name at a specific publishing house. I have told you I'll always share what I've learned.  Here it is: LinkedIn is a pretty good source for finding editors. I type in the publishing house's name in the search area and up pop a lot of folk. Most are not even affiliated with what I'm looking for, but there are the few... The nice thing is, some of the names, if you search further on the net, show you exactly what they do at the publishing house. For instance, I found a woman that looked like a possibility. After some research, I discovered she prefers tales that are not at all like 'Sorrysorrysorry.' I found other editors who only did trade tales and others who really concentrated on communication. 

Needless to say, I'm still researching. But I'll get it out there again. God willing and the creek don't rise.

Found some 'perseverance' quotes to help me. Hope they are of some value to you.

I really like this one, but I really admire Madame Curie. "Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained."

Permanence, perseverance, and persistence, in spite of all obstacles, discouragements, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak. Thomas Carlyle.  All right, I'll believe that my soul is getting stronger through this publishing process!  

Men fail much oftener from want of perseeverance than from want of talent. William Cobbett

Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th.  Julie Andrews

You know - the neat thing about finding these quotes is finding the people who say them. Everyone of them 'earned' the right to say what they did.

Life is dumb-founding.

Sunday, June 16, 2013


I do so love the sun and the warm breezes and the songbirds that wake me each morning. But summertime is creating some problems with blogging and writing and editing.

First - the Cleveland Indians baseball team is doing really well. I record each game and play it back (that way, a three-hour game only takes about an hour to view). There's real hope for a good season as we have the Red's old manager as our new one. Whoo hoo! He's got a great track record and we have all our fingers and toes crossed for a winning season.

Second - my little one is staying with me for the summer. We've made up her schedule so she won't 'loose' all the great things she learned in first grade. We have math and grammar five days a week, a book report due on Wednesdays, computer time for Thursday, Spanish on Friday, and music on Wednesday. That's the mornings.

The afternoons are spent in the pool. My condo has a glorious pool and we've been in it every afternoon (even if the water has only been 75 Fahrenheit and the outside temps have been in the high 60's and low 70's. Who cares?) We've been waiting to get into the water all winter! Our afternoon schedule calls for the entire time in the pool. Friends come over and we play and have a wonderful time. Sometimes we're mermaids, sometimes we're circus performers, sometimes we have pets (colored balls used to keep the ducks from doing 'their thing' in the pool.)

In the midst of it all, I'm working on 'Blue.' A friend's birthday is tomorrow, and as a gift, I wrote a story for her (really just a 100-word drabble) about one of her favorite book characters. I'm pleased to say she liked it very much. I posted it at a couple boards that friends read. One wrote back and said the description was perfect. She knew exactly where the characters were sitting and what they were seeing. She said how much she appreciated that little 'bit' in the midst of the dialogue.

I sat back, bemused, and realized that's what's lacking in 'Blue.' I've got great dialogue, a good plot, and wonderful characters, but it's those little two or three sentence descriptions that are missing. I went back to one of the scenes today, reread it, and immediately realized: it's dark and so the landscape changed. What did I do to show that? Nothing. Well, I went in and changed it. Not with a long passage of descriptive writing, but just a couple sentences. I am so happy to say it really makes a difference. And it's nothing that I can't do. And -- I'm excited about it. I feel like I found that missing link that's eluded me all these long months.

I also had a dream last night. One of those thirty-second dreams *g* I dreamt the name of a publishing house. I was so surprised, I woke up. I knew it was a publishing house. My writing buddy said I'm supposed to be listening to the Muse and she'll give me everything I need. Well, I did a Google search and found the house. Now I've got to look for their submission guidelines and then I'll send out 'Sorrysorrysorry.' Exciting times.

Hope the summer will be a splendid one for us all. With blessings and grace and an active Muse. With joy and laughter and iced tea.

Life is good.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

New Friends

Chet gekko Private Eye   
I couldn't pass up putting this little guy here. He's the hero in Bruce Hale's kids' detective books. Name of Chet Geeko. (see below)

Today was a kind of exciting day. Not a 'usual' exciting day, but a kind of exciting day. I made new friends. Now, you might laugh, for they are Facebook friends and LinkedIn friends. I don't know if I'll ever meet them or speak with them or even Skype them, but I don't care. They are new friends.

They are also authors. I went to the library today and took out some of their books. With a friend, you want to share and what better way to share and know someone than by reading their books. (BTW - I will buy everyone's books when I am published. Well, maybe not everyone's books. Maybe not each ones bunches of books, but I'll try.)

First friend is Yanitzia Canetti. Isn't that a great name?!? The library only had one of her books, 'When Times Are Tough.' They are expecting her Spanish alphabet book soon and I got put on the waiting list for it. Reading the picture book, 'When Times Are Tough,' was a bit difficult. My parents lived through the 'Great Depression' and never stopped telling stories of picking coal from the railroad tracks and standing in soup lines. My dad worked for the WPA building roads and such. It was an incredibly difficult time. This book brought a lot of my parents' stories to life. Though geared for children, it mirrors what is happening in their world today. Too many children are living with grandparents, or worse yet, in the family car. Too many don't have enough food or clothes or dignity. Yanitzia's book shows that this time of tumult can be a time of learning and caring and sharing. That good things can come from it. I liked it a lot, but I'm glad I read it first before I read it to my little one. I know she's going to have questions.

The second friend is Bruce Hale. Bruce writes detective stories for kids. His 'hero' is an unlikely one - a geeko. The book I took out was 'Farewell My Lunchbag.' It's fun. Bruce has a wicked sense of humor. 'The bittersweet perfume of stinkbug muffins filled the air.' Bruce has got a great feel for what makes kids laugh. I'm only on chapter four, but I'll finish it tomorrow. My little one swore she'd be able to read this - it's for 8 and up - but I doubt it. I know she'll enjoy the story. Besides all the fun stuff, there is definitely a mystery and a good one, too.

Lastly, friend #3 is David Macinnis Gill. I'm a sci-fi fan, but have been away from the genre too long. I'm glad I 'ran into' David over at Facebook. I took out his 'Black Hole Sun,' and am looking forward to reading it. I cut my teeth on Heinlein, Asimov, Bradbury, and Clarke. I spent my entire teen years locked away, reading into euphoria.

And then there's my one and only love, Bernard Cornwell. I've been so busy with writing my three books, editing and such, that I haven't kept up with the man. At the library today, on a whim, I asked if there was anything new. Hooray! There was. I took out 1356. And Bernard always puts maps in his books. I love maps. Oh well. I digress. 1356 looks like it's about finding a weapon, St. Peter's Sword, to win the battle. Both sides, French and English, seek this treasure. I can't wait to read it. But I must. I have to put it off til the week-end 'cause the little one is still with me. If you love historical fiction, you've got to read Bernard. He doesn't stay with one era, either. He's all over the place. His website's been redone and it looks awesome.

I spent much of the day reading the Scholastic Fairy Princess stories to my little one. *g* This week-end will be mine.

Life is adventure.

PS - watched The Hobbit again today with the little one. We have such fun with it. Whoo hoo!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

My Life Flows On

There's an awesome hymn that I love. Simplicity itself - it resonates through my soul. Urban myth has it as a Quaker song, but it was written by a Baptist minister way back in the 19th century. (Robert Lowry)

When the children were little, I used to play it on the piano, after I'd put them to bed. I swear it blocked many a tormenting nightmare.

Brought to mind tonight as I watched the Tony's, I realized that I haven't been paying much attention to the words of this hymn, as of late. 'Through all the tumult and the strife.' Oh my. Doesn't that speak of what the blasted, blessed Muse pulls me through. I am shamed at my lack of confidence in her. I am shamed by my whining. 'What though the darkness gather round.' This writing process has so surprised, nay stunned me. I have no clue as to why I thought it would be easy, perhaps because I have been incredibly blessed by the fact that writing has been so easy. My Muse works overtime, bless her sweet soul. And I take her words and thoughts and images and put them on paper as if there was nary a thought to them.

In my naivete, no, more like my battiness (ins't that a fun word), I thought the editing and publishing process would be as simple. Watching those actors who perform four shows every week-end and God only knows how many during the week, I find my cheeks on fire with remorse and guilt and a bit of stupidity. Why should I think that it would be a piece of cake - and yet, here I am, only human and working with the culture and the upbringing that I have. I didn't know, plain and simple, that getting a book published is very hard work. I would put that in caps, but someone out there in the ethernet would say I was shouting. I want to shout. Getting a book published is hard work. I'm learning that. Forgive me for it taking awhile. I'm not dense, but batty.

I need to share the endings of those lines above - for I want to focus on the positive - though storms and tumult and darkness rage around me, with the help of friends and my Muse, I will keep singing. I will be published. I will rejoice.

Through all the tumult and the strife, I hear it’s music ringing.
It sounds and echos in my sould. How ccan I keep from singing?

And though the darkness ‘round me close, Songs in the night it giveth. 

Bless you, my dear readers, for continuing your support of my journey. You bring tears to my eyes.

This is James Loynes version.

Enya's got a great version, too.

Life is trust.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Mountains, Gandalf, Mountains

There's always gonna be another mountain. (Miley Cyrus - see link below)

Ok - you might have noticed, I have a thing about mountains. Their happen to be a few on my cover page. And I adore mountains that are next to lakes or oceans or waterfalls. Even better if all three are nearby. *g*

So today I was at a dance recital with my little one and they used the Miley Cyrus 'Climb' song. Needless to say, my ears picked up. 

I love to look at the tips of mountains, especially snow-covered ones, and think about what being at the top would be like. Especially the view. And yet, I love to be in the valley and look up. I get chills thinking about it. There is something awe-inspiring and majestic about mountains. 

This writing thing: it's very much like climbing a mountain. Start in the valley with a kernel of a story and the Muse will notice and wrap you around her little finger and draw you in to a great adventure, a great journey, full of horror and joy, goosebumps and suffering, and finally to the base of the mountain.

Once there, I dare not look up. The heights will frighten me and the thought of the climb will daunt me. I don't want to be daunted. So, I'll keep my face turned down to watch the path, God willing there's a path, and to stumble along and upwards. 

After a time, I crest one ridge after another. I can feel the air in my lungs. It's cold and the pressure makes it difficult to breathe. All the while, the Muse is shouting at me, "Come on. Only a little bit further." But my lungs are bursting and I think I'm going to cry. Yet, she will not leave me alone.

Finally, I see the summit and my heart gives out. It is unscalable. Ice covers every portion of it. I cannot get a handhold. I look for a friend, someone to lend a hand, and no one's there. So, I must climb by myself. The Muse chortles. My face flames. I will not let her get the best of me. I climb onward. 

That's about where I am at the moment. Though 'Sorrysorrysorry' is complete, I'm still at the last camp before I try to scale the summit. I think the contract signing will be pretty close to the summit.

'Nothing But Blue Skies' taunts me. "You don't like some parts of me. What're you gonna do about it?" What am I going to do about it? I've decided to sit back and reread the whole thing, it's only about 68,000 words, and breathe deeply and listen to the story and the Muse. If I have to tear the whole thing apart to get it right, I can do that. However, Kathleen's change worked out just as I wanted it. She needs no further help from me. 

And 'The Other Side' has some major problems with Chapters 8 and 9. They are fixable. I was blessed to see a couple TV specials on mermaids. Just what I needed for research. Life is good. Don't let anyone tell you any differently.

As for the new chapter book, 'Dog For Hire,' I'll get back to it in a couple days. I've got the basic story line down pat; I've just got to write it. *g*

For now.... I know there's always gonna be another mountain. In fact, I count on it, and I'll move the sucker, one way or another. 

And, of course, I can't write about mountains without notating The Hobbit.

Life is mountainous. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Dark Side

I really have to giggle about the 'dark side' comment on yesterday's post. My writing buddy was quite put out. She wondered why I didn't mention the 10,000 'light side' comments she'd made. Excuse me. Didn't I say I have a 'dark side' problem!

Well, today was a dark side anyhow. I started writing my first chapter book ever - target audience is 7, 8, and 9 yr olds. About third grade level. I googled and found a couple sites for research. One suggested I use the MS Word Readability Stats under the Spellchecker. 

I pulled up the 'new' book - 'Dog For Hire' - and discovered that the book, so far, is labeled as a Grade Level 3.2. I was pretty happy about that. Hit the target audience right on the nose.


I pulled up 'Nothing But Blue Skies.' I had hoped, when I began writing this, that it would be an Edgy YA. Things changed and it became, I hoped, an Upper Middle Grade book. No. Not according to this 'tool' from MS. 'Blue' showed up as Grade Level 3.2. Go figure!

Okay - is this a coincidence? Both books at a 3.2 level? I pulled up my children's PB - it came up as a 3.3. Hmmm...... I pulled up my Adult Sci-Fi. You guessed it - 3.2. I'm beginning to wonder if there is a glitch in the system. 

I pulled up my synopsis for 'Blue' and it comes back as a 7.1. That destroys all theories of faulty software.

Needless to say, things got quite dark here in Cleveland, Ohio and it was sun-shiny bright outside. I looked at 'Blue,' trying to figure out what on earth was 'wrong' with it. I don't know. The sentences per paragraph are short because I like short paragraphs. But the vocabulary is good (I kind of pride myself on my vocabulary's range). The computer can't 'see' the plot or the characters - it only goes by the sentences and vocabulary. The sentence structure is good. I even use a semi-colon now and again. *g*

I was going to go back and redo the whole of 'Nothing But Blue Skies' - all the while filled with sadness at the work before me. 

BUT - I decided to look at chapter one. Ch. one has been gone over with a fine-toothed comb. It can't be any better. As I perused the chapter, I saw good sentence structure, good vocabulary, and an excellent (if I may say so myself) plot.  Only got a 3.2. Okay. It's not me - it's the program. *g*

I put up a question/post at the SCBWI LinkedIn group, but nobody has responded. I think I'll just figure MS doesn't quite have the software down pat. I'm not going to go back and change 'Blue.' 

I finished the synopsis with the changes/suggestions from my editor and my writing classmates. It's time to bite the bullet and start sending out requests for representation by a literary agency. Wish me luck.

Life is interesting. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

What Am I Looking For

A wise woman I know told me: People find what they are looking for. If you are looking for rejection, you will find it. If you want friendship, you'l find it. Etc. Etc. Etc. 

I think it means I've got to be positive about my wants. Because, really, who on earth wants yucky stuff! I'm wondering if this is kin to the 'shooting oneself in the foot' syndrome. I know I have that malady. *g*

My writing buddy says I have a dark outlook. I've always blamed that on 'The Troubles,' being as I'm Irish. Perhaps that's taking it a bit far. I do find I expect the worst. It's not that I'm a pessimist, God forbid, but I have seen too much life, I think, and therefore, understand that there are storm clouds on most horizons. 

I suppose it's the cup is half-full thingee muhbobber. Some would look for the silver lining. It's not that I'm not looking, hoping, and praying for a silver lining. I just happen to see the black lining. *g*

Went to my writers' class tonight and got some great feedback and help from my classmates. I presented my synopsis. They were most generous in their praise of it. They all said synopses are very difficult to do. I had to object. This synopsis was beyond easy. BECAUSE - I kept a running listing of each chapter in the book as I wrote it. Only three or four sentences describing what happened in each chapter, but it was enough that, when I cut and pasted it altogether, I had a good draft. After that, I cut or added where need be. I am so grateful my Muse kicked me in the butt and made me do this. 

I adjure you to keep a running synopsis. Don't wait til you're finished writing your book. Having to do character bios and cover letters and such are bad enough - but please, write two or three sentences summarizing each paragraph. When you're ready to write your synopsis, believe me, you'll thank me.

Again - what am I looking for? An agent. Right now - that's about it. 'Nothing But Blue Skies' is very close to being ready to send out. I've got my synopsis - probably a little longer than I would wish. I can cut it down if a particular agent's protocols demand, but it's ready. 

What am I looking for? Writer friends who will make my face shine as we share our journey and our joy. 

Life is searching.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Promoting Others

I went to visit an old writers group I belonged to back awhile ago. I was warmly welcomed. I think I might go back. They are a fun group and we do share a lot. No critiquing. Just sharing the writing world.

I offered my synopsis. One of the woman made some excellent points. Some things that were not clear to her that NEEDED to be. I went home satisfied and added all three points to the synopsis. I was most grateful. 

I have my writers' class tomorrow. I sent out the synopsis to be read beforehand. I'm looking forward to the classes input, but most importantly, my teacher's. I'm also going to give her (she's my editor, too) my completed MS. This *fingers crossed and on my knees with candles lit everywhere* should be my last edit before I begin the search for an agent.

I'm thinking I might not wait for the editor to finish it. The first three chapters are as near to perfect as I can get them. That's about all I should be sending out. Probably along with the synopsis. We'll see.

I also need to send out 'Sorrysorrysorry' again. I've been told not to let a finished MS lay on my desk and gather dust bunnies. I know who I'm going to send it to next. It's not as difficult with this one. Perhaps three is the charm. Still continue to cross my fingers.

Helping others. I told you that's what I like to do. Here's a new children's book out this week. Buy it. *g*

Life is caring.