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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Random Stuff

The lovely Yat-Yee gave me a blog award in which I have to answer the following with one word. Dang, it was hard. I even fudged it some, being the rebel that I am. But having to answer these questions made me realize a few things:

1. I hate my phone (It dials people ALL THE TIME that I don't mean to call)
2. Answering food questions with one word is REALLY hard!!
3. I spend too much time at Trader Joe's.
4. I am stalling because I have deadlines to meet that I don't want to work on.

Your Cell Phone? Unloved
Your Hair? Silver
Your Mother? Lovely
Your Father? Daddy
Your Favorite Food? Cajun
Your Dream Last Night? Interrupted (by active cat and daughter's wisdom teeth..sorry, I stink at the one word thing.)
Your Favorite Drink? Tea
Your Dream/Goal? More books (I know, 2 words...)
What Room Are You In? Family Room
Your Hobby? Clearing space on my desk for more stuff (yeah...I know, ONE word.)
Your Fear? Ghosts
Where Do You See Yourself In Six Years? Ireland
Where Were You Last Night? Trader Joe's
Something That You Aren't? Organized
Muffins? Warm with butter
Wish List Item? Time
Where Did You Grow Up? Albuquerque
Last Thing You Did? Dishes
What Are You Wearing? softest socks in the world
Your TV? too loud
Your Pets? HAIRY
Friends? Yes
Your Life? Hectic
Your Mood? Hopeful
Missing Someone? folks
Vehicle? Prius
Something You Aren't Wearing? frown
Your Favorite Store? Trader Joes
Your Favorite Color? Green
When Was The Last Time You Laughed? 10 minutes ago
Last Time You Cried? Thursday
Your Best Friend? Sean
One Place You Go To Over And Over Again? Desk
Facebook? Nope
Favorite Place To Eat? Sadie's (In Albuquerque)

If you read this, you are automatically charged with the task of answering these questions yourself.

hrh

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The funniest picture ever....

(no children were harmed in the taking of this photo)

I just found this picture and, even though it is past Christmas, I just had to post it!

This is probably six or seven years ago. I got these dragon costumes after Halloween on super-sale and I thought I would use them for author visits and dramatizations of the dragon stories or whatever. (You know, three dragons, a knight and all that.)

Then I got this brainstorm. Wouldn't it be the funniest Christmas card ever to dress the kids up in these costumes?? And wouldn't it be great if they looked kind of ticked off about it??? Seriously, the smiling pictures were cute, too. But the picture where they look like they could kill me just cracked me up!

(Shhh....don't tell them it's my new desktop screen saver!)

So remember, the more embarrassing photos you take of your kids while they are little, the more fun you can have laughing at them later.

Are you ready??

ta-da!















Saturday, January 23, 2010

A snippet of prologue

It's not the whole thing, just a bit.

You'll probably wonder why I needed it so badly. The truth is that without it, the story just doesn't feel quite like the one I wanted to write.

(This is for my middle grade: The Seven Tales of Trinket)

A Story Begins

My father was a teller of tales. It runs in the blood I think, for never have I loved anything so much as a story.

Except for my mother, of course.

I loved her well.

Her death was the worst thing I’d ever known. Worse even than when my father left and never came back, for I was so small I scarcely knew him.

But it was my mother’s last breaths that begin this story, for each story must have a beginning. That is the first thing a storyteller must learn.





It goes on a bit longer, but you get the idea.

hrh

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Shhhhh......(I'm talking about prologues)

Okay, so why do prologues get such a bad rap?

I.
Like.
Them.

There, I said it.

I have read where some people (agents, writers, editors, whathaveyou) don't like prologues and think they are....lazy writing. (GASP)

Now, I don't want to be a lazy writer. So, what happened was this......


I have a middle grade book that I finished this Fall that I am pleased with, but there was something, something that niggled in the back of my brain that didn't quite feel right. (Anyone who writes knows this feeling...you've done all you can, but there is just a little something that you just wish you knew how to tango with.*) In my case, it was the beginning.

I had started with a prologue, not a strange cryptic one (although I like those quite well), but one which established why the events that were taking place were taking place. (Still with me?) But during revision, I 86ed the prologue and embedded the information within the first chapter. Brilliant, no?

Except that it just wasn't right.

And it's been niggling at the back of my brain ever since.

And then I got over myself and realized that I like a prologue when it's the right prologue. When it makes me more excited about reading the story, or it establishes a knowledge base that is necessary, or when it ups the coolness factor in a book, well, that is a good prologue.

So, I wrote a new beginning, which now includes a p-word and it feels....well....it has stopped niggling. So I suppose that is a good thing.

Lesson: Trust the story.

hrh

*Yeah, it's going to niggle in the back of my brain that I ended with a preposition. I'll probably come back and change it later.

If I am feeling very brave, I might post the beginning of the prologue....

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Progress

Okay, progress on the goals as follows:

1. Ten Gingerbreads revision (not done)

2. Chicken Wizard new draft (two different drafts done! yay me!)

3. Nix the Naughty (not touched yet...still too scared to open file)

4. Wren Faire (60 k words...needs 12 k more. Get busy time!)

5. Surfiesta (8 poems done, 4 more needed)

6. The thing that niggled in my brain (done! yay me!)

Well, the month is more than half over and I am not yet half way done with the goals, so I better get my little fingers moving. And, of course, the brain needs to fire up and function as well.

5 random things that make writing easier:

1. reading something that makes you think.
2. muffins.
3. when the football game is over (and the yelling, too) Sorry, Chargers:(
4. new pillows to sleep on when the writing is done.
5. a really lovely, fresh garden salad.

Off to tackle the beast(s).

hrh

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Twenty-First Century Brain vs. Dream Time (or...."Mom, why is my sock in the fridge?")

Rant ahead....which I have no right to be ranting, but alas......

I dislike the word multi-tasking. I would have said hate, but I hate the word hate.

I dislike the word multi-tasking not because of how it sounds, (which is reason enough to hate the words brouhaha and nauseous) but because of what it means. And I dislike that my life is so dependent upon being able to multi-task. (So dependent, in fact, that it is habit.)

A bad habit that I wish I could break.

See, it's not enough that I'm a mother, wife, teacher, storyteller, IB coordinator, and writer (not to mention housekeeper and all that jazz), but when I write, I have to have 5 projects going on at a time. Wha??? This is because I have been trained that I must be multi-tasking at all times.

Like one task at a time isn't enough? Who decided this? They probably had some meeting that I couldn't attend because I was too busy multi-tasking.

The dangers of over-multi-tasking are obvious:

1. The inability to ever, truly pay attention to what I am doing. Mom, you know you just missed that turn, right? Mom, why are you putting the laundry in the refridgerator? Mom, where is the ________? (Insert just about anything last seen in my hands.)

2. The total loss of DREAM time. You know, the lifeblood of writers. The time to just imagine stuff. I am so used to multi-tasking that when I stop for a while to sit and imagine, this is what happens:











zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz


Sad, huh?


Rant over. Please go back to your regularly scheduled tasks.

hrh

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Genuine Journal Entry

I was going to blog about the thing that's been niggling in my brain, but that can wait for another day. Instead, I found this journal entry from a little over a month ago. It's kind of raw, but I think it's, well.....real.

12-3-09

A bit depressed today,
actually,
about some of my writing.

I love when I open a file,
or read something over
and it's better than I remember.

I hate when I open something
and it is worse.

And the truth is...
it happens.

Time gives more perspective
than anything else.
Time is the most valuable
asset in writing.
Time to do it.
Time to forget about it and let it sit.

I am so grateful for
simmer time.

(The line breaks above are how I wrote it...below I switched to a paragraph format.)

Usually, if a piece of writing doesn't work, it is because the voice is not right. When I start to re-read anything I have written, I should hear the voice right away, in the first few lines. If I do not, and it is awkward and clunky, it is because, (most likely) it was the wrong voice through which to tell the story.

As a storyteller, I use many voices.

True for writing as well.

Each story has the way it wants to be told...I think.

Sometimes, though, I am wrong. And, well, I feel sorry for the story, stuck in the wrong voice. It's like when you're wearing an outfit that just really isn't you. Platform boots are somebody else. So is that polyester pantsuit in a nice shade of peach. And the blouse that fits tighter than is comfortable.

So there you have it.

That's what some of my journaling is like, when I have time to journal, that is! It is good to find entries like these to remind myself to be more grateful when the writing is going well.

It doesn't always.

hrh

Friday, January 8, 2010

The New Year

I am finally ready to think of this year as a new year. I toyed with resolutions, but only managed two that are kind of lame, but might help me in the big picture:

1. Give up the word "Dude". Yeah, I know. How am I going to manage this? Dude and I have become good friends over the past year. But when you find yourself calling your boss Dude and your three daughters inform you that they are not a Dude...well, maybe you are over using the word a tad. So, goodbye Dude...(I thought of switching to Doofus, but would like to keep said job and said children, so maybe the whole style of speaking needs to change a bit.

2. Eat more vegetables.

As for writing, I don't make yearly resolutions as much as monthly goals. Small bits are easier to tackle, so January's writing goals are:

1. Finish revising picturebook 10 Little Gingerbreads.
2. Finish new draft of Chicken Wizard (still not happy with the voice/style)
3. Revise Nix (Sooo afraid to open this file.)
4. Finish first draft of YA Wren Faire.
5. Finish draft of Surfiesta! (a silly poem book in which I am allowed to suspend my avoidance of Dude)
6. Write a few notes about something that is niggling in my brain.

Okay, so there they are. The January Goals!


hrh


P.S. As for my vegetable intake, I did eat some lettuce and tomato (okay, they were on a blt) and some fried green tomatoes yesterday, does that count?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Great Thing About a Day Job

Having a day job is great for writing for several reasons. And Noooooo, don't think I am writing this post just to remind myself of these things, because I'm NOT.

NOT.


1. I make way better use of time when there is less of it
. Sad but true. When I was in college, I got better grades because I worked a part-time job. It is amazing how much you will study for a Chemistry* test scheduled for Friday on a Tuesday night if that is the only night you have free.

2. Being around children and books is very inspirational if you are a children's writer. I could insert a big fat "Duh" here, but I sometimes forget how lucky I am to be totally engulfed in children's literature....and kids. AND, I get to write with children half of the time. If you have never done this, you must. Kids are the greatest. Today in writing club, Ethan M. was writing his book called Stupid Things Never To Do. Seriously, if I was in a bookstore and saw a book with that title, I'd totally pick it up.

3. Having another source of income gives me freedom in my writing. True. With my well-being not dependent upon writing something that will SELL, I can focus on writing something that I really love. Hopefully it will sell, but when I have started a book strictly because I think it will sell well, it's inauthentic voice usually kills it before it is done.

4. Writing is a treat, rather than drudge work. Not that my other job is drudge work, but I look forward to writing when I get home, when I get up, when I have a lunch break at school. It releases me from the stresses of the day and lets me live in another world for a while, making me far saner when I return to reality.

5. I cut myself huge amounts of slack in the housework department. Sorry, I'm a working mom...I don't have time to do that stuff when the reality is that I just don't like to do that stuff.



See, so except for the inability to go to the bathroom whenever I want, having a day job is great for writing...really.




Okay, sometimes in the summer Iget bigger chunks of time, like a few weeks, in which to write and I dream that I'll get SO MUCH MORE done...but it never happens. I get a little more done, then I get filled with jealousy for those who do not have a day job...until mine starts up again and I realize it is yin and yang...hot fudge and icecream....steak and french fries. You know, they need each other. My work needs my writing and my writing needs my work.



hrh


*Like I really took Chemistry in college!! Ha! Sorry, did not happen. I did take Calculus, got an A, then took Math for Elementary School Teachers and got a B. There, now you know number 8 on the 10 most embarassing things about me list.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

more donuts/drinks, but no kissing

(insert chicken noises)

Probably, with it being the Saturday after a holiday, there will be little blog traffic...at least that's what I'm counting on...(okay, pick the donut or drink of your choice and put it on my tab...wow...I am such a posting-my-WIP-weenie!)

This is again from my WIP , a YA wherein Wren, a girl who works as a serving wench at a Renaissance Faire falls in love with Will, a cursed boy from the 16th century. Working title Wren Faire.

(okay, so they have both kind of figured out the situation...and realized that they can't really be together...but they are teenagers in love, so.....)

“I wish you wouldn’t do that,” he whispered. She could hear a tremble in his voice.

“What?” Although she had a pretty good idea what he was talking about, but he didn’t move his hand away.

“That.” he glanced down to where her finger left a burning trail on the back of his hand.

She didn’t stop. She could hear the rate of his breathing increase.

“The touching,” he whispered, still not moving his hand away. “I don’t know why your touch affects me so………so intensely…but it does.”

She didn’t want to admit it, but the tip of her finger felt like it was on fire. Yet she couldn’t stop touching him, tracing the little circles on the back of his hand, counting the little hairs. Thirty seven.

She couldn’t look up at his face. She was too afraid that he’d be looking at her like she was stupid or something. She was more afraid that he’d be looking at her in that way again. The way that made her stomach flutter and her cheeks feel too warm too fast. But he must like it, for his breathing got quicker and he didn’t pull away.

Softer than a cloud, so soft that she barely felt it, he reached out and touched her hair. So dark a red it was that he half expected it to feel hot. But it wasn’t. It was smooth, oh so smooth. His hand trailed down, across her cheek until it rested under her chin. She wasn’t looking at him. Good thing, too, he thought. For her eyes were too easy to read, and if there was, again, that invitation to touch her lips with his own…….

He felt her swallow and inhale. Her breathing was shallow, almost as if she was about to hyperventilate. At least he wasn’t the only one having a hard time with self control.



okay, so there it is...almost kissing, but not.

(I am nearing the end of this WIP, hopefully within the month. I had hoped to finish in November, but only managed to crank out about 17,000 words. I can't even estimate how long it will be, somewhere between 65,000 and 80,000. I wish I was faster, but...)

Thank you for reading.

hrh