Thursday, September 30, 2010


I've noticed something strange when reading YA and some MG lately.

Some of the blurbs on the back kind of......fib.

I mean, I pick up the book, read the back and think it's going to be a such and such kind of book (because that's what the blurb says) but it ends up being a very different kind of book.

And, not that there's anything wrong with the book it ends up being, but I feel disappointed that it is not the book I was expecting.

Hence, the flurb (fibbing blurb).

Usually, the flurb makes the book sound more exciting, intense, etc, than the book actually is. I wonder if agents see this in queries sometimes, too. A great hook, great description, but the book just doesn't live up.

I am struggling with a flurb a bit myself. I wrote a fake query about a book I was beginning a while ago....the blurb is the kind of book I want it to be.

The book itself has some other ideas.

And I don't want to be a flurber...especially to myself.


(Of course, the answer is always the same.....get back to work!)


Sunday, September 26, 2010


A sister is a person who......

-tells you that icecream is really made with broccoli.

-gets mad when you wear the same outfit as she is wearing...(Hey, I couldn't help it....we owned the same clothes because mom made us matching outfits.)

-stays up at night telling you stories about what life would be like if you were really rich (we called it richety-rich). I would have had a blue canopy bed, in case you were wondering.

-tells you things NOT to do in Junior High before you start.

-gets up with you early on Saturday mornings to watch cartoons.

-stays up with you late on Saturday nights to watch the Creepy Creature Feature.

-holds your hand after a particularly bad boyfriend break-up.

-sits next to you in college and draws pictures of boring professors being surrounded by sharks.

-helps to usher all three of your babies into the world and loves them as if they were her own.

-even though she lives far away from you now, you know she is always there for you.


I think the bonds of sisterhood are so beautiful....sometimes completely warped, but magical nonetheless. Some of my strongest childhood memories involve my sister and me.

How lucky my girls are to each not have ONE sister but TWO.

I wonder what their greatest memories of each other will be.


P.S. My favorite literary sisters were the March girls from Little Women. Any other well-loved sisters (literary or otherwise) out there?

Happy Birthday, S.C.M.D.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

September by Numbers

Number of weeks of school completed: 4.5

Number of words written on the WIP: 5,000 (Ugh...not enough)

Number of birthdays: 2

Number of days I wore the wrong shoes and ended up with blisters: 2 (one of those days being today...but the shoes were cool so it was worth it.)

Number of crock-pot uses: 3 (shredded beef, pulled pork, Greek chicken)

Number of books I fell in love with: 1 (the Strange Case of the Origami Yoda!!!)

Number of times I completely doubted my new mg novel: 1

Number of trips to Disneyland: 1 (hopefully one more on Sunday)

Number of almost freak-out neurotic e-mails to agent: 1

Number of back-to-school night/mandatory parent meetings attended- 5 (how can that be? I only have 3 kids...and one is in college!1!)

Number of ants killed in kitchen: too many.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

THAT book

In every readers' life, there is that book. The one that made them into a reader. The one they couldn't put down at the dinner table. The one they read instead of playing.

Yeah, that book.

For each of my children, that book was different.

Noel found her book in third grade. Ghost Dog. How she loved this book. Her relationship with reading changed from something she should do to something she could-not-wait-one-more-second to do.

Isabelle found hers in sixth grade. Isabelle was never much of a reader before she picked up this book. As a matter of fact, she was the kind of kid that, if they saw a basket full of beautiful new books with gorgeous covers sitting next to a ratty looking old jump rope, well Issy would pick up the jump rope every time.

Enter The Clique.

Issy loved the Clique books. Begged me to buy each new one as it came out (which was quite an unusual thing for Issy....begging for a BOOK!)

My youngest, Cali, just found her book. Her English teacher made an evil rule (which I thought was brilliant) that the students had to read 100 pages each week.

That's a lot of pages, mom.

So, Cali was pretty picky about finding a book she wanted to spend that much time with. And, as much as Issy loved to run around, Cali has always been my player. You know the type...if there is nothing to play with they create something out of nothing. Chicken nuggets become princesses and the tater-tots are the terrible trolls that try to get the princesses into the ketchup hot-tub, which is really hot lava....

Why read something that someone else imagined when you could imagine your own stuff?

But then Cali found her book:

Cali loved WhenYou Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. I'd find her curled up on the couch, nose deep in the pages, occasionally looking up to ask a question, then nose back down again.

She loved the fact that there were pieces that she had to put together. This wasn't just a story for her, she was a active participant in creating the meaning.

All three books are so different, yet each touched my child in the same way. Each gave them the golden key to the world of books.

So I offer up my most heartfelt thanks and deepest appreciation for the variety we have out in the children's book universe.

All children are not the same.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Inside of a WIP

The inside of a WIP is a pretty good place to be.

I like when I get into a rhythm with the writing--when I can pull out the notebook or open the doc. and the words just trickle out oh-so easily.

But as I approach the final third of my WIP, I find my writing pace slowing down. Perhaps it is because when I finish a major project, I always feel kind of sad. I will miss my WIP friend. (I mean, even though I'll see it again in revisionland, we are rarely so friendly with each other as we are during the first draft.)

What I love about being in the middle of he first draft is that for me, the first draft is the Discovery Draft. It is where the story reveals itself to me, in its entirety, for the first time. (A very magical place to be...the middle of the first draft is.)

Now, granted, it's the FIRST draft. I know there will be lots of other drafts to come. Lots of revision. Lots.Of.Revision.

But that doesn't mean that I am not trying as hard as I can to get it right the first time. I try with every once of my being to get the first draft perfect, even though I know it never is.

I think that's sometimes a misconception about us pantsters (okay, that word does not look right). There's a thought that we can just let the draft be cruddy because we know we are going to go back and revise. And I guess this is true about me....except that it is always my secret hope that I won't have to.... It is my secret hope that I would get the story out right the first time.

I mean, a girl can dream can't she?


P.S. The current number of drafts for The Seven Tales of Trinket (pre-agent) was 14. Some of the changes were very small between drafts, and some were huge, sweeping structural changes. But I saved each draft in case I thought I made a mistake in some of my revising and wanted to go back to an earlier version. (Happened twice.)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Book Club Envy

I don't belong to a book club....but it seems like everyone else does.

I love asking my mom what her book club is reading, or my sister what her club is reading, but though I live vicariously through their book clubs, I just can't seem to join one.

Am I just too oppositional?

I mean, the minute something seems like a reading assignment, I go completely Moby Dick. (That is to say, my brain cannot focus because this is now something I HAVE to read, like in Junior English, not something I WANT to read, even if I wanted to read it at one time or another.)

And, there is also the fact that if there is a bunch of hype about a book, it is just really hard for me to pick it up. Hence I have been late on the bandwagon for many amazing books....Graveyard Book, Book Thief, Hunger Games trilogy...hello! I struggled with finally deciding to read these books because "everyone else has read them" and that made me feel like I HAD to....and I hate feeling like I HAVE to.

The flip side is that I love talking about books that I love....or struggled with. ...or books that I can't stop thinking about. A book club would be perfect for me.


And yet I can't.

My solution: Force (nicely, of course) my daughter(s) to read books that I have read and want to talk about. (Of course, they might go all Moby Dick on me from time to time, but at least I get to read what I want to when I want to....and then talk about it later!)


P.s. I finished Surfiesta!! Before the I-must-eat-it deadline! How ironic. I post about how I hate to be forced to READ something, but can only finish a deadline if I force myself to WRITE the final bits.

What odd, odd creatures we writers are.

Friday, September 3, 2010

This is it....

I HAVE to finish my collection of animal surfing poems by Monday night at 12:00 or I vowed to eat the one poem that is giving me fits.

I don't really want to eat the poem.

So, I will be nose down this weekend, trying to be funny, witty and rhymey. (The only problem is the fact that I am soooooo tired!)

In other news.....I will be celebrating the burning of Zozobra (a Santa Fe tradition) a week in tonight, because it seemed like the Thomas house needed a small celebration.

In Santa Fe, they make this giant puppet called Old Man Gloom (aka Zozobra). He is stuffed with newspapers.

Then they torch him.

I heard once that it is an attempt to burn away all of the bad news from the past year and start anew.

That may be.

But for us, it's a time to eat great New Mexico green chile and have fun with friends. (I usually make a little Zozobra out of a toilet paper roll for the fireplace. It's not like being in Santa Fe, for nothing is like being in Santa Fe, but is signifies to the Thomas Fam the beginning of Fall. I love's my favorite!)