Monday, September 30, 2013

Twisting Back

I've been battling demons, of late, but I think they are on the run. I spoke with my editor this morning about the critique I received at the conference. She shared that she was not happy with either one of her's. She had turned in two books; one to one editor and one to another. We commiserated with each other. I told her I wasn't going to submit at a conference again. She said she made the same vow awhile back and still put the two in this time. We laughed. 

I told her I was seriously giving thought to not going the publishing route. She chided me, said my work was good, and that, if not the traditional route, I should try the internet one. I'll see. She did revive a wee bit of my self-worth.

I got a new printer almost a month ago and it has been sitting on my dresser gathering dust. It needed new print cartridges. I think the empty cartridges spoke to me, like I was empty, too. I decided to get new ones today after speaking with L. I came home from the store excited. That felt good. I put the cartridges in and printed off the next two chapters of 'Blue.' My friend D came over and we had a good time going through them. She was effusive. Had some great thoughts for making the chapter better and I feel good about the suggestions.

I caught the tail-end of a PBS program about birds. The sight of huge condors flying against this gorgeous sky caught my breath and I knew I had to put a similar scene into 'Blue.' Except -- the sky is green, of course, and the flying creatures, though not dragons, are not good. 

So I think I'm back on the path of enjoying writing again. I am putting thoughts of publishing off for now. Except for the giraffe story. There was an editor at the conference who sounded just delightful. What can I say? I am a glutton for punishment.

Life is good. 

PS - My computer is working again without spluttering and loosing whatever I write. Life is indeed good.

Saturday, September 28, 2013


I find life is full of these little buggers. Good and evil. Short and tall. Fat and skinny. Subtler ones like fire, life-giving and life-ending. 

I find dichotomies pop up everywhere. It's a great tool for writers. We can have such fun with our characters - drive them mad. *g*

I think the subtler ones are the most fun. A thought popped into my head yesterday. Muse probably. I was thinking about the wildfires that ran rampant this past summer and how terrible they were. And yet, fire is so necessary for life. You know the drill, cooking, warmth, security, love, all kinds of things.

I'm going to use fire in 'Blue' to help my character grow. It's going to start out with horror, then turn to warmth and a hand offered in friendship, and then back to the horror - this time with a volcano. 

There are so many ways we can use dichotomies. They are a fun tool. Find one for yourself and have a go with it.

I've been having another health issue. Trying to write but I am sleeping constantly. Investigating. Hmm - I wonder if I should tackle my health issues like I tackle my characters, or setting, or plot, for that matter. Might be better than relying upon my doctors.

Life is too short and too long. *g*

PS - My son popped over today and seems to have fixed my computer problem with wi-fi. Now if he could only figure out my Skype.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Reading X 100

One of the presenters at this past week-end's conference told us to read our MS 100 x's. And then some more. I thought it was really great advise. When on earth will I make the time? I must. If I want it to be the best, if I want to breathe, feel, live 'Blue' I must.

Met with D tonight to share some of the wondrous stuff from the conference. Still reeling with the Barnhouse and Irvin Kuns presentations. 

We then went over the critique I received for 'Blue.' I was disheartened, as I always am, by the review, but D had a different perspective. She thought it was a lovely critique and showed me the good parts. The parts that I thought were bad, D said were wrong. She went over some of the parts marked on the MS and showed me her beliefs. I agreed. With some reservation.

As for having friends as a writer, you know I've written before at how important they are. Well, once again I say, find writer friends and cultivate them and they will uplift and help you through anything.

Will write more tomorrow when I have my papers in front of me.

For the time being, D and I are going to try to connect with Kuns. She lives somewhere in my state. Must see if she is willing to chat with us. That would be awesome!


Life is awesome!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Two Second Window

I probably only have a 2 second window to write this. My computer has gone daft. The wi-fi keeps disconnecting. It looks all perfectly wonderful and then I get messages saying I've lost my connection. Gotta get my 'helper' out here on Monday, God willing and the creek don't rise.

The SCBWI conference was great. The folks at the Sheraton were superb. I have never in my life seen so many smiles.

Rebecca Barnhouse had lots to teach us about character development. I'll share once the computer is truly up and running.

Andrea Welch is an agent. Extremely helpful and gregarious. She is a truly interesting and gripping speaker. She works for a small imprint of Simon and Schuster.   

This next link is not for the conference I attended. I attended the North Ohio SCBWI conference.This link is for the California conference this past summer but it highlights Andrea.

But the very best was a double session with author, Judith Irvin Kuns. We did writing assignments and self-study and truckloads of other stuff. The two-hour session was the fastest and the best. Really made me think, made me reconsider why I'm an author, and just plain felt fun. Some of the other one-hour session kept me struggling to stay awake and one down-right flummoxed me.

All in all - it went well and my back did not kill. I went in late, stayed for the sessions I wanted, and went home early Friday to rest. Saturday I did the same thing. 

I learned so much and I can't wait to share it. But, experience with this stupid wi-fi being what it is, I am going to sign off now while I still *fingers crossed* have a connection.

Life is limbo.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

New Developments

I hoped to post earlier today, but the opportunity to play with my little one fell into my lap, and I grabbed it and hugged it and had a glorious afternoon. The sun shone. The breeze wafted gentle. 

She brought home a character study paper. Mind you, the child is only in second grade. She had to write how the character felt at the beginning of the story and how the character 'grew' or felt at the end of the story. She got a star. And a 'great description.' Needless to say, my heart swelled. *grin* I can't believe she is learning the basics of writing at such an early age. I swear I never did anything before high school. But life has changed in this old country and the kids are tackling things not even imagined in my time. *giggle - in my time*

I read the passage and learned too. There's never a time when we can't learn. Even from a second-grade reader. There were others lessons this past month, but I found this one particularly interesting.

I worked on a chapter today. I've got to update my side bar. Though I've gone back to the beginning of the book with those 'small' but really necessary additions. I know the book is better because of it. So many times, we must 'trim' things from our stories, it is part of the process, but putting 'more' in is such fun because it makes me have to think and my creative side, in the midst of this editing process, needs the hug.

As for the conference.... I'm nervous. It's always hard, at least for me and those I run around with, to 'offer' part of an MS to someone in 'authority.' One never knows, I never know what will come of it. I know I won't go home in tears as after my first 'authoritative' critique. I follow the 'Four Agreements' and I have no misconceptions about other people's POV vs. my own on my work. I plan to be open and, not trusting, but listening. I know I will learn something from the process. (In my inner heart, I've got all my fingers and toes crossed that the agent will say, 'WOW! This is great. I want to represent you. I want to sell 'Nothing But Blue Skies.') It would be nice. Yet, if it doesn't happen, I can still harvest the input and come out with a crop. LOL

Life is tenuous.

BTW - my blasted wi-fi isn't working well. I'm hoping it's nothing serious. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Beware The Ides Of March

Supposed to be the 15th of March, so that was six month's ago last night (or six-months from now.) I suppose it's like the folks of Chicago who partied last night in green, preparing for next March's St. Paddy's Day.  I began to feel like a human being again. I even picked up, with an extender-claw, a few toys in the bedroom. It's nice to see my floor. The little one, I discovered, when she jumps into bed, flings her clothes down. She then proceeds to play with this that and the other toy before falling asleep. The toys slide to the floor during the night and, by morning, lie silent, ready to pounce upon unsuspecting feet. 

Took the window air-conditioner down. The nights are getting colder and the unit lets in too much air. Part of it is still sticking in the window. I've got to find a screwdriver and detach the last part. This is imperative before the snows start flying. *giggle*

Many moons ago, I told you I was going through my chapters to 'add' a wee bit of description in the areas where it is dialogue-heavy. I realize this is not so much description, but more like stage-direction. It reminds me a bit of Hamlet - don't ask me why. Probably because the action takes place in a castle and I can see Hamlet skulking about the parapets looking for his father's ghost. So in the midst of the scenes, I've inserted things like, 'the torch-lit castle,' to let my reader's know how my characters are seeing as they walk. *giggle* Sometimes, I don't think of that, in the middle of a tense or an action scene. I'm busy making sure the action is consistent and the dialogue is true. But that leaves my reader wondering about things like how the characters can see if it's night time. 

Another friend is joining my writing buddy and I. She stopped over the other day and she and I went through a small chapter of her MS. It's a delightful little world that she's creating. I could see her characters and their little burrows. Such fun. I can't wait to see where it all leads.

D and I went over two new chapters for her book. They were great. She has such a great sense of flow and her phrases are spot on. She has a twisted mind and her phrases reflect that. It's like walking down a twisted path and being surprised at every turn. I love it.

We then went on to look at two of my chapters. I am most grateful to say she was delighted with the changes (see above) that I made. She said she already loved the chapters but was blown away by how more 'communicative' they were.

All in all, a good few days, as of late. I've got a conference to go to this Friday and Saturday. I must admit, with the back, I'm concerned about sitting on hard-backed chairs for hours at a time. I think I'm going to call the hotel and ask them if they can put a winged-back, stuffed chair in the room and reserve it for me. Otherwise, I'm afraid I'll be miserable. I can only hope the opposite.

So very glad to be back and thinking again instead of grimacing in pain. 

Life is hope.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Life Is A Hoot

I suppose I should have taken the break, the way the rest of my class did. But I was on a roll and didn't want to wait.

Instead, I end up at the doctor's. She thinks I've got a couple compression fractures in my back. I am relegated to sitting on my couch. I can't even sleep in my bed. Pain pills help.

I am using this time to go through some paperwork, but I can only sit at the computer for so long and I find it difficult to enter data for long enough periods to make it worthwhile. 

My couch is covered with paperwork. I make piles and then my little one comes and sits with me and the piles get shoved aside. Pippin jumps up and flings them to the floor. Life is interesting.

I've met with my writing partner a couple times since the break, but we are not getting much done. She's been taking my mind off my physical disability by bringing over little cartoon DVD's. It's been working.

I am frustrated. There's nothing I can do about it. I have a couple writing books near at hand, but the last time I broke my back, I found I could not write. That's when I read the whole Sharp's series. (awesome). 

I'll keep plugging away. My son's filled my 'frig and my daughter's taking care of walking the dog, cleaning the dishes, and general housekeeping.

Life is a hoot. 

PS - don't even ask how this happened!