Friday, October 26, 2012

Four on Friday

1. The kids have been sick most of the week. This means I haven’t been able to do much writing wise. But two of the three went back to school today, and I’m out in my shed ready to get some work done (even though most of the day is gone).

2. My father-in-law is down in Scottsdale today to be seen by a specialist. For those who don’t know, he has bladder cancer. We aren’t sure what stage it is at this point, but they are talking about removing his bladder—hopefully we’ll know more after the appointment today.

3. I can’t believe it’s almost November! Crazy! It’s chilly here today with a slight wind blowing—which makes it feel colder than it probably is. Though it’s been cold in the mornings, the afternoons usually warm up, so this is quite a change. It always happens just in time for the kids to freeze while dressed in their Halloween costumes. Then it usually warms back up again for a bit. I was hopeful that it would stay warm this year, but I should have known better.

4. We don’t have any plans for this weekend—though we may go visit FIL if they keep him down there for surgery instead of having him come back at another time. We’ll see.

What about you? Any plans for this weekend? Whatever you do, I hope you enjoy every  minute of it!

Have a weekend full of awesome!


Write/or whatever on!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tuesday Tidbits

1. I finished my revisions, came up with a new title, and sent off the full MG manuscript to the editor and the agent who requested it. Now I wait to hear back. I also queried a few other agents. Usually I’d be obsessively checking my inbox. But I’m not. Weird. I was all geared up to jump into the new MG novel (the one I started writing and then stopped to go back to work on revisions), but I’ve had sick kids since last Friday. I love my kids, but it’s so hard to get any writing done when they’re home—especially when they’re sick. I take the youngest to the doctor later this morning.

2. I have a headache today. Probably some of it is from lack of sleep, and the rest is because I’m trying to wear contacts again—and there’s trouble getting the right eye’s contact to stay in place. I may end up having to go for the hard lenses again (gas permeable). I was really hoping to wear soft lenses—stupid astigmatism.

3. Progress on the shed:

A friend of hubby’s came last Wednesday to help. Because of him, all the sheetrock is up! Hooray!!

And the “doggy door” has gone from this:

before doggy door

to this:

after doggy door insideafter doggy door

The door has gone from this:

before light switchafter outside

to this:

after inside doorafter outside door

As you can see, the motion sensor light is also installed (that little thing in the upper left corner of the outside door picture—hubby installed it himself).

So, there’s still the tape and texture to be done, walls to be painted, ceiling fan to be installed, and floors to be done. Lots of work, but it’s looking more and more like a real workplace! After I take JR to the doctor, I hope to hide away in this lovely space and get a bit of writing done today—if the kids will let me. If it’s still a bit chilly out there, I have this little heater to help keep me warm.

after heater to keep warm

It may not look like much, but it does a great job of heating up this little space.

Hope you all have a Terrific Tuesday!

Write on!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Monday’s Muse

Today’s muse comes from this super inspiring post on the Operation Awesome blog. The post talks about how writers are strong and not neurotic. Speaking for myself, I do tend to be obsessive about certain things—like checking my email, folding my towels a certain way, loading the dishwasher a certain way—but I don’t consider myself neurotic. The Operation Awesome post points out that it takes strength and bravery and resilience to be a writer.

I agree. It’s hard to sit in front of a blank page and create a world and characters and storyline to tie them all together. And after the writing comes the submitting—which is often harder than writing the work in the first place. And the waiting—oh the waiting!!

And when the replies do start rolling in 95% (give or take) will likely be rejections. Does the writer give up? Okay, some might, but those who don’t will continue to send out more queries. Then they will write more work, send it out, and start all over again until someday they break through. An agent signing or book deal! Hooray!

But it doesn’t end there. The book gets published and the reviews start rolling in. Not all of them will be “I loved this” and that’s not always easy to take either. But the writer doesn’t give up. They write more and publish more (hopefully) and take the good with the bad.

And there WILL be bad. We’ve all had those days and will likely have more on our road to publication (and beyond). It’s okay to feel down now and then. The trick is not to stay down! We have to pick ourselves up and get back to work.

If our dreams are slammed against the harsh reality wall of the world and shattered into millions of pieces, we must pick them up, reshape them, and make ourselves a new dream!

I think an excerpt from a song in Disney’s Cinderella says it best:

“No matter how your heart is grieving

If you keep on believing

The dream that you wish will come true.”


Write and Dream on!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Fixing-up Friday

As many of you know, we’ve been fixing up the shed in preparation to turn it into a craft/writing room for me. Yesterday was a glorious day for the electrician came and fixed the old wiring (it wasn’t right) and installed new outlets and a base for a ceiling fan/light set. YAY!!

Here are some before and after pictures:

Before and after light fixture (sorry about the light being on during the before shot):

before lightafter lightafter light switch

As you can see, he moved the light over a bit so it’s more in the center of the room. He also installed a new switch system. One switch for the light, one for the fan, and one for the outside light (which he also set up—pictured later in post).

There were a total of two outlet boxes in the shed. One was in the corner by the door and the other was in the ceiling (yes, in the ceiling—it was to plug the light into because the light wasn’t wired—just a plug in). Before and after shots of the corner outlet area:

before corner outletafter corner outlet

He left the corner outlet and put it on a circuit all its own so it can be used for the portable heating/cooling unit I’ll be using at first. Having it on its own circuit means I won’t have any dimming lights or blown circuits when I want to be cool/warm. He also installed a new outlet on the adjoining wall—because that’s where I plan to have my computer set-up.

The back wall has a built-in work bench area. I debated taking it out, but decided I’d leave it (though we’re going to improve it) so I can use it for my crafting. Before and after shots of the back wall.

before bench areaafter back wall

He installed three outlet boxes so I’ll have plenty of power for my sewing machines, glue guns, blender, iron, etc. Yay crafts!! Right now I’ve got my laptop on it (as you can see) and am ready for some revisions (including bag of Snickers—thanks to Kimberley Griffiths-Little)!

Tomorrow is supposed to be the day for insulating and walls. We’ll see how it goes. I’m hoping all goes well and we can at least get the place insulated and the sheetrock up—maybe get the texturing done. But if the texturing doesn’t get done, I’m hoping the door will get fixed, and also the “doggy door” closed off.

Here’s the current door and doggy door areas:

after outsidebefore doggy door

The fixture set-up to the left of the door is for the outside motion sensor light (which will be installed at a later date). This is so I don’t kill myself when trying to go back to the house after a long day of writing/crafting (I’ve been out here writing even though the building isn’t complete and, let me tell you, trying to navigate in the dark isn’t fun). The doggy door is currently nailed shut by a board, but, as you can see, light and air still moves in around it (and it’s a bit chilly today—brrr—I’m wearing a jacket to keep warm).

So things are progressing! The floor will be completely redone after everything else is taken care of (including the painting). I hope the floor turns out as glorious as I’m imagining (I’m doing it myself—more on that later).

Now I’m going to eat Snickers and drink my water (the red bottle in the pictures) and get some revising going (hoping to finish today).

Write on!

Monday, October 08, 2012

Monday’s Muse

I don’t have a link to an inspiring post because today’s inspiration comes from the SCBWI AZ “Welcome to Our House Conference” I attended on Saturday.

It was great! I learned quite a bit about marketing and MG and YA fantasy and so much more. Karen Grencik from Red Fox Literary had a great list of reasons you get rejected. Joanna Cardenas from Viking busted some publishing myths. Liz Pelletier walked us through what happens from the time we query to when a book is published. We had some amazing panel discussions and even more amazing break out sessions. Unfortunately, we could only choose three—though I would have attended all of them if I could have.

Making a choice was tough, but I decided to attend Jordan Hamessley’s MG & Chapter Books craft session. She was great, and I changed my plans for the second session to stick around and attend her shop talk session about Penguin Publishers. For the third and final session, I went to Joanna Cardenas shop talk session to find out more about Viking Children’s Books.

After lunch we had great fun learning about marketing from Bobbie Combs (We Love Children’s Books—Independent publishing consultant) and learning from the panel as they did the first look/first page.

Conferences are a great source of learning and a great way to connect with people. If you haven’t attended a conference, you should try to! I haven’t yet made it to one of the “big” SCBWI conferences (summer and winter), but hope to one of these days.

This local conference was a huge inspiration, and I can only imagine how much more inspiring it must be to attend a huge SCBWI conference. The conference was just what I needed to give me a bit of extra excitement. We all know writing can be a solitary, lonely thing. Sure we have online or in-person critique groups (or both), but there’s something about a large gathering of fellow writers and industry professionals coming together to learn and grow that really inspires.

Plus I got to meet Angela Fox—I’ve been friends with her online for years, but had never met her in person until Saturday. She’s hilarious!!

And then there was the end of the conference where I was blessed to get a critique of my first chapter (MG Fantasy) and have a face-to-face meeting with one of the editors (I’m not saying which one). It was great to talk with her—and she loved my work—which is always nice to hear. Very uplifting and inspiring—especially since she requested I send her the full MS as soon as I’m done revising (hopefully by the end of the week).

Inspiration = Writing Conferences

Have you been inspired lately? If so, what inspired you? If not, get out there and find some inspiration!

Write on.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Monday’s Muse

Another month has passed away and a new month is born. What wonderful things will October have in store? Only the passing of each day will tell. On this wonderful morning, the muse brings inspiration from the always inspiring Dawn Metcalf’s post, "The Little Successes."

The inspiration: Harvest Time

Writing a book is like gardening. You plant, tend, and ultimately harvest the fruits of your labors. In the case of writing, the harvest is often publication (though it varies with your own goals).

In "real" life, a garden is planted in the spring (usually after the last frost has passed), grown during the summer, and harvested in the fall. It would be nice if our writing mirrored this relatively short time frame, but things in the writing world move more slowly (most of the time). Still, there is a season for everything.


The idea forms in our minds. Depending on the kind of writer, it’s either jumped right into and the writing begins (pantsters) or planned out in some form of outline or something (plotters)—or sometimes a combination of both (pantsplotters). Whatever the method, the writing happens at this stage. It’s a tough time, preparing the soil and getting the seeds into the ground/idea onto paper. But we persevere and get it done. YAY! Go us. Our springtime is over. We did it. Celebrate for a bit and wait for something to grow—in other words, take time away from your freshly written manuscript.


We’ve completed the planting, let the MS rest, and now it’s time to check in with it. Oh, look. There are weeds. It’s time to revise. Pull those weeds out and water the plants that are left. This season tends to last the longest—at least for me. It seems like the novel will never be ready—and it won’t if we don’t let it. Sometimes we just have to stop revising and let it stand on its own. Each writer is different when it comes to this. There are authors who wish they’d revised a scene or sentence even after publication. But you do have to eventually STOP revising if you ever want to be published.

Just as there are certain vegetables/fruits that can be harvested in summer, so too can you do a bit of light harvesting on your MS. Light harvesting is when you send out the manuscript to agents/editors. If you’ve planted and tended right, your manuscript should attract a few nibbles (requests for more) or, if you’re lucky, an all out feast (offer). But it’s not harvest time until you’ve landed a contract with a publishing house. This is why summer is the longest season.


*Disclaimer: I’m still stuck in Summer so I don’t have any personal experience with this season—I’m going by my vicarious living experience here*

Oh the joys! The planting and tending are over. You (or your agent) sent it out and landed a contract. It’s time to harvest that garden/manuscript. This is where you work on the line edits your editor has given. You make the suggested changes (or not), send off the completed manuscript (as completed as you can get it—remember, you have to stop revising sometime), and your work is done. The gardening is finished. Hooray!

Or is it finished?

Yes, you’ve reaped all you can from that particular garden, but, just like “real” gardening, it will soon be time to plant another one. I wouldn’t advise jumping right in—unless you have a deadline or something. Do as Dawn Metcalf suggests (you read that post I linked to, right?) and take some time to breathe. Enjoy the world around you, involve yourself in a different form of creativity. Read that book (or books) that have been tempting you from your to-be-read pile.

And, when it’s time for Spring again (this varies by writer—YOU, not Mother Nature decides when the writing spring arrives), plant a garden and start all over again.

Write on!