Thursday, November 24, 2011

I’m Thankful, And I Have An Agent!!

Oh, it feels so good to type that. On this day of giving thanks, I want to take a moment to thank all of you who have been so influential in my writing journey. I can’t thank you enough for the critiques and love and support you’ve all given me over the years. I wouldn’t have been able to get this far without you!

Nor would I have come this far without my family who’ve been so loving and supporting of my writing moods and neglected housework. I’m so blessed to have such a wonderful husband and children and extended family. Love you guys!!!

On to the announcement.

For those who haven’t heard, I’ve signed with Jennifer DeChiara of The Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency. As most of you know, I write for children and have been focusing on young adult and middle grade novels. Back in 2008, I entered the 2nd Annual Cheerios New Author Contest with the one and only picture book manuscript I’d written (though I’ve written a few more since). The story was posted on the Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories website in 2009 and stayed up there until 2010 when the new winners were announced. After the story was taken off the site, the rights were returned to me. Hubby started bugging me to try to query with it, but I was too focused on my YA at the time and ignored him.

I finally started querying with it (though I was also querying with my YA) in September, but only “on the side.” I received some interest from an agent, but since I didn’t have any other picture book manuscripts she was interested in, she ended up passing. It only took a few weeks before another agent got back to me. This time, she didn’t ask for more manuscripts—she made an offer. I emailed the other agents and let them know I had an offer, and received another offer!

To be honest, I was a bit disappointed that it was my PB that had landed the offers, but the disappointment didn’t last long. In the end, one of the reasons I signed with Jennifer is because she offered to represent my entire career, not just the picture book. She also gave me great feedback and suggested a couple of tweaks that have helped the manuscript. She also suggested I write more picture books along the same lines as the one she fell in love with. I’d never considered this, but I’m loving every minute of it. I’ve already written one (doing some revising) and started another!

I’m so excited to be able to work with Jennifer! She’s so awesome, she’s agreed to do an interview to post on the blog. Keep an eye out for that in the near future.

May you all have a joyous and wonderful Thanksgiving Day!!

Write on.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Full of AWESOME!!

This is the most amazing, awesome, creepy, eerie, spooky, beautiful, wonderful and all those other words I can’t even think of to describe this outstanding (there’s another one) trailer!

You have GOT to watch this!!

And if you haven’t read the book, run (don’t walk) to your nearest bookstore, buy a copy and get reading. I’m telling you, the novel is everything this book trailer promises.

Write on (or watch on and read on)!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Giving Up Is Hard To Do

Yeah, I know, the song says, "breaking up is hard to do," but I think giving up is even harder. At least for me. I've heard that there comes a time when a manuscript has to be put aside and we have to move on. While I don't disagree with this, I think putting it aside and giving up on it are two different things. I've set manuscripts aside, but I've never given up on them--well, except for the romance I wrote back in high school. *grin* While I had no problem letting go of THAT one, there are others I just can't walk away from. I believe in them. Sure, they've been through revisions and rewrites and restructurings and revisions and rewrites and restructurings and . . . well you get the picture.

I'm in the process of rewriting my first MG--again! I love the story and characters too much to let them sit in a file and never come out to play. Granted, the rewrite isn't the only thing I'm working on, I also have a YA idea I'm writing and another MG I'm writing, and several rhyming picture books I'm trying to convert to prose (just to see if I can). And this morning I got an awesome idea for a new YA (which I added to my LONG list of ideas for YAs).

Now, this isn't usually the way I work, I promise. One idea takes off and I work on it exclusively, but that's been frustrating in the past. At times I hated a story and felt forced into working on it when my heart wasn't in it (and it shows in the scenes I wrote during that time). Or, I haven't done any writing that day because I was stuck on a scene and couldn't move forward. I've found it much easier to leave the project(s) alone for a day or so and work on something else until I'm ready to move back in. This helps me avoid writer's block because I always have something else to go to when I'm stuck, and by the time I'm ready to go back to the project I left, my brain has worked through the block and I can  move forward. Everyone has their own writing method(s), and right now, this works for me.

This whole idea of moving on to something new and leaving old work behind as a learning experience may work for other people--and, in my case, it worked for that high school days novel--but for certain projects, I don't think there's anything wrong with coming back to them once you've learned more about writing and can improve them.
That being said, I'm not a proponent of working to revive a dead manuscript at the exclusion of all other writing endeavors either. No one should spend all their time redoing the same novel over and over and over. We do have to write other things because it's only through the new that we learn the mistakes we made in the old. If we wallow in the old, we miss the experience of the new.

I'm sure there are exceptions to this (there always are), but most of us aren't the exception. I'm not saying there's nothing new to be learned from continuing to work on the same manuscript for years at a time (that's how I started out), but I do think more new knowledge comes from exploring other characters and their voices.
Anyway, this little post is just my way of saying we shouldn't always give up on our manuscripts. Set them aside, write something new, but don't be afraid to come back to that set aside story. If we believe in something that much, chances are, we believe in it for a reason. Keep coming back to that story until there's nothing left to believe in.

May you all have a great weekend. =)

Write on!

Monday, November 07, 2011

A New Week

When I woke up, it was raining. When we left the house to take the ten minute drive to school, it was raining. A couple of minutes into the drive, it started pouring down snow! Big fluffy white flakes of the stuff! Thankfully I wasn’t the only one caught off guard by the weather. The line to drop off the kids at school was HUGE!! The kind people in charge of the school decided not to take attendance until 8:00 so the kids weren’t counted as being tardy. Whew! The snow has slowed down and we probably won’t get much, but here’s a picture of some on the tree out front (I took it from the porch because I didn’t want to go too far outside).


Yeah, it sure is pretty, but along with the pretty comes the cold. Brrrr!!!

Despite the hectic morning, and despite the knowledge that I have to do more revisions on my Moby Dick paper for American Literature class tonight, so far this week is starting off with a bang . . . or some really good emails and a phone conversation anyway. I’ll share details when I can. Winking smile

So, I’m off to revise and hopefully also do some new writing to catch up with the NaNo count (or at least give it a shot).

Hope everyone has a great day!


Write on!

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Sighing on Saturday

I’m so glad this week is over (well, after today)! Things have been extremely stressful and I think I have at least five new gray hairs (time to make a trip to the hair color aisle).

On Monday, I had a rough draft of my Moby Dick paper due. I’ve been trying for weeks to focus my thoughts and decide what analysis I was going to do. On Monday, I sat at the computer with no firm decision and started writing. I ended up going with the prolific use of the color white in the novel. I typed up the seven pages required (and a little over) and turned it in that night. Whew! But I couldn’t rest yet. On Wednesday night I had another massive project due. Granted, I’ve been researching and organizing thoughts for this one, but hadn’t actually started working on it (other than getting the pictures I needed). The project was a three page essay (it ended up being 3 1/2) and PowerPoint biography presentation on Nathaniel Hawthorne.

It was fascinating to learn more about him, and I especially loved learning how he was friends with Herman Melville, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Henry David Thoreau. Writers were friends and supported each other even back then. Hawthorne was an inspiration to Melville and, had it not been for him, we probably wouldn’t have Moby Dick on the shelves today. Also, Edgar Allan Poe did a review of Hawthorne’s Twice-Told Tales, as did Longfellow. Cool! I’ll refrain from giving you the complete biography (though it’s hard to resist *grin*). Anyway, I typed up the biography and put the presentation together Wednesday morning and was finished in time for class (yeah, what is it with waiting until the last minute with me . . . though technically, I didn’t as I was researching and highlighting info and organizing thoughts WAY before then).

AND, I got it done in spite of the issues of the afternoon! K accidentally hit JR in the eye with a baseball bat. *sigh* A few weeks ago, a neighbor kid hit JR in the mouth with a baseball bat and we stressed to JR that if someone had a bat in their hands, he was to stay far away from them. Apparently the lesson didn’t sink in. He didn’t lose any teeth or chip any, but the inside of his lip was cut by his teeth, not enough to require medical intervention or anything. Needless to say, we were baffled as to why he wouldn’t have heeded the advice to stay away from people holding bats. He was hit on his eyebrow, and everything was fine, though he had a headache and his eye got swollen. He’s black and blue now.

Did he learn his lesson? NO, he did NOT!! Yesterday he comes running in with blood running down his face. Another neighbor kid had hit him in the head with a baseball bat!! WHY JR? WHY??? He had a trip to Urgent Care where they used that wonderful glue to close the cut on top of his head. I walked down to the kid’s house and let him know we weren’t mad at him and that it wasn’t his fault JR walked into his swing. Poor kid was a bit upset. After JR got back from getting glued back together, the kid came bearing a gift of homemade muffins to apologize. He’s a sweet kid and I hope this doesn’t throw him off playing baseball because he’s REALLY good at it. =)

However, we have banned our children from playing baseball for a while (but I let the neighbor kid and my girls know that they can still play baseball  together when JR isn’t around . . . shhh).

So, this weekend, I’ll be revising my rough draft of my Moby Dick paper (it’s due on Monday . . . hmm . . . maybe I’ll wait until then to do it . . . hee hee hee), and trying to catch up on my word count for NaNoWriMo. I’m WAY behind on that.

We were supposed to get snow last night, but it didn’t happen (though we had a brilliant rain storm). It’s cold and cloudy out there today though so we’ll see what happens. I’m kind of hoping for the snow which is weird since I usually don’t like it at all. I think I just want to see the pretty whiteness . . . OOOHHH whiteness!! Maybe it’s because of that stupid Moby Dick paper and all the focus on white that I’ve been doing. Winking smile


Have a great weekend!!


Write on.