Sunday, January 31, 2010


Today is "Get the Submissions Ready for all the February Deadlines" day.

(What? That's not on your calendar? Hmmmm. I wonder why it's printed in such large block letters on mine? Oh, well.)

What submissions? Well, there's the contest for SCBWI Carolinas that must be postmarked in February. Then there's the application for the spring retreat. Oh, and I cannot forget the WIP Grant application. On top of that, I've sent six queries to agents. One e-jection and no news from the rest yet. While waiting to hear from all of the rest, I've polished the synopsis (again!) and revised the query (again!). I've also edited chapter one (AGAIN!).

And in between that, I took advantage of the snow and went sledding with my children.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Snow sledding and first pages

Last night, as it snowed (and then sleeted), a first page came to me. This is usually what happens to me with new ideas. I "see" the first page and hear the dialogue, see the setting and characters. Now I have a YA novel beginning in my mind to write down. (If the page is "still there" in the morning, I write it down. If I forgot it or hate it in the light of day, I write down the premise and leave the rest alone.)

The thing is, the first page is the inspiration, the tone. I get the voice started for the entire novel even when the words and events of the beginning change. For Josiah's Orchard, the first chapter became the second chapter with a LOT of differences. In J.T.'s story, that first page was broken up into small pieces of backstory scattered throughout the first two chapters (although the first sentence remained). Fortune's first page ended up deleted in favor of something new. Despite all that, the original first page of every story is the most important because without it I'd have nothing to write.

This work isn't titled yet. I'm not even sure of the MC's name. But I do know I'm intrigued enough to work on this and see where it leads. If it goes well, it will be a sci-fi YA set in 2140. No flying cars, no "Jetsons". Instead, a lot of things rooted in today's culture that have altered humanity and life on earth. We'll see...

Friday, January 29, 2010


Hopefully, anyway. It's either snow then sleet, snow then sleet then freezing rain, or just sleet and freezing rain. I'd rather have the first and none of the ice!

On the bright side, the laptop is completely charged and ready for some writing time even if we lose power!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Cookies, Queries, and Forms (Oh My!)

Between accompanying my daughter as she took orders for Girl Scout cookies, sending my query out to agents, and working on my SCBWI grant application form, it's been a busy Saturday! I wish the SCBWI form was one where I could type my info into it on the computer. Since my arthritis is acting up with having been out in the cold all day, it will not be a neatly handwritten form. Yes, indeed, it is time for the writer's faithful standby: the twenty year-old typewriter! (electric, thank goodness!) I just hope there is some correcting ribbon in it or else I'll be henpecking to make sure there are no mistakes in the application!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

What a response time

I sent the query to 2 agents last night. Within one hour, I had a rejection! I can't help but wonder: was it an automated response because the agent has too many manuscripts under consideration/in her slush pile, or did she actually read the query? On a Saturday night?

Maybe she enjoys curling up and reading submissions during her off time. I don't know. It was rather disheartening to get a rejection THAT quickly. A day later would have made me feel better.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Query Away

I just sent out the first query of the more step towards keeping my resolutions! (For the record, I am in week 3 of the exercise routine, two more chapters have been written on Troll Quest, and Sir Jordan is almost finished with his adventure in Libraria!)

While I know the agent does not expect exclusive submissions (automated response email said so), do I send out a bunch of the same query, or do I send it, wait a few days, send it, wait a few days, etc. I feel strange with the whole "mass email" method of queries, but I also don't want to twiddle my thumbs in between possible requests for more or rejections. Decisions, decisions, decisions. I think I'll work with the trolls while trying to decide!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Bullies, Books, and Marvelous Role Models

When a child loves a book and wants to read it to the exclusion of everything else, why do bullies have to make them think there is something "wrong" with them liking that book? So what if the book has unicorns. These are not ordinary, sweet, loving, flowery creatures. They are tough, sometimes murderous, sneaky and hunted beings in a battle of good versus evil with some strange creatures, magic, and a few ordinary humans thrown in! So why shouldn't a sixth grade boy enjoy the adventure and the battles? Why didn't the teacher stop the bullying IMMEDIATELY as it began in front of her?

With that being said, I would like to remind myself that I want to be like Bruce Coville should I ever be lucky enough to have fans who read my books. I want to personally respond to them on my website's guest book and make them feel ten-feet tall when I do. I want to make sure all of my fans know to be true to themselves and to ignore the ignorant and clueless who try to make them feel bad. He is my role model for what he wrote to my son today. Thank you, Mr. Coville.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Meeting your resolutions!

So far, so good! I have exercised for the last seven mornings. This is not going to stop anytime soon! (Saturday will be a day off from the elliptical...I'm rollerskating with Girl Scouts) It's great to exercise with my son. He is planning out a story and running his plot and character ideas by me as he rides the bike and I'm on the elliptical. So far, there's an eccentric inventor who makes things already invented, accidentally opens a portal to the future with one invention, his nephew gets sucked into the future, and no one knows what happened/how to get him back. The future is very, very interesting!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Woe is Me

I have really enjoyed the time off from the library...I have worked on my short chapter book (it's almost finished!), revised part of Fortune's Gift thanks to some very insightful comments from my critique groups (who are angels for reading such a rough draft of a novel!), and the house is clean (mostly...I don't count the kids' rooms). I've used the new elliptical every day since we got it, too!

Too bad I can't send the children back to school and stay home a few more days on my own! It's going to be very cold at school tomorrow: they turn the heat into the 50s for a long break, and when they turn it up tomorrow morning it's only going to be 18 degrees outside! It will take a long while to get the heat up to par. Brrrrrrr.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


I meant to post this yesterday, but I was busy writing Sir Jordan and the Treasure of Libraria. I am almost finished with that short chapter book for a great young man. (And finishing it this weekend is part of my resolutions!)

This year, I resolve to:
1. Get very busy at finding representation for J.T. Middleton, Time Traveler.
2. Lose the 20 pounds the doctor has told me to lose.
3. Finish the unfinished projects: Sir Jordan and the Treasure of Libraria, Troll Quest, Fortune's Gift.
Decide what to do with my adult suspense novel, The Curse of Josiah's Orchard.


Kidlit Contest

As part of my New Year's Resolution, I am going to do whatever I can to get J.T. Middleton represented by an agent! This contest is one of the things I'll be entering the novel in.