Monday, December 7, 2009
I have been really, really busy. (Hence, our sad lack of communication.)
This year marks my first year of NaNoWriMo. I wouldn't say it was successful, exactly, if successful means reaching that 50,000 mark. I was already behind at about 17,000 words, with about two weeks to go. That's when I was suddenly assigned a blitz of articles that I am still in the midst of. Nevertheless, I would not call this first NaNo unsuccessful. NaNo definitely encouraged me to write more than I normally would have. I look forward to trying again next year.
Two of the articles from that article blitz were published in last Friday's Westside Courier. It was a double cover story on the USI Madrigal and Christmas in New Harmony. The articles were supposed to start going online again on the Courier site. Unfortunately, they have not, so I can not post a link.
I am getting ready to work on another Westside article, this one about a couple of west side families with someone serving overseas through Christmas. It will be out on Christmas Day, so that will be neat. Meanwhile, I have been doing an article every day for a client who needs several online articles on probiotics. For those who don't know probiotics, they are the good bacteria that live in the body and help in all sorts of ways. They have actually been super-interesting to research, and I have learned so much.
Tomorrow--more of the same! I look forward to getting back to fiction, but I am very glad to have so much writing work to do. It's so great to be able to make (a tiny) living as a writer!!
Thursday, October 1, 2009
I was looking SO forward to last weekend's Midsouth SCBWI Conference, and it did not disappoint! It boasted a stellar list of faculty headlined by author Caroline Cooney, who was delightful. As a big fan, I was super-excited to meet her. She was a wonderful speaker and so personable one-on-one. I was lucky enough to have one of my paid critiques assigned to her, and she took such care and went into such detail. The fact that she was really complimentary of my writing didn't hurt either :), but it really was one of the most in-depth critiques I've ever had.
The rest of the faculty, like editors Cheryl Klein and Kaylan Adair, were also great, and the Midsouth "staff" was incredible. Genetta, Sharon, and Susan were all so helpful and really put together a smoothly-run event.
Personally, it was great to see "old" friends like my critique group who all met at this conference last year. We have stayed together ever since, doing monthly critiques and offering advice. That's us in the top picture--David, Beth, Maria, Joyce, Ruta, Grace, and me.
The pictures below feature my roomie, Kristi Valiant. She won the illustrators contest for the second year in a row and was the star of the conference! Her amazing talent is impossible to overlook, and on top of that, she is always willing to spend her time helping out new illustrators, just as she did again this year.
What a great weekend! I can't wait to see what they new next year to try to top this one!
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
But there I go again, off the subject I should be on--revision. Luckily, I now have a plan, and her name is Darcy Pattison. I had been hearing about Darcy and her novel revision workshops for a while. Then, this past Saturday I attended an SCBWI conference in Indy where Sara Grant was the speaker. Sara works for Working Partners, a book packager in the UK. She was a fabulous speaker with some great advice. Much of her presentation was on revision! Yay! She offered so many great tips, and I was soaking up the ideas. At the end, she held up Darcy Pattison's Novel Metamorphosis and said it was the one revision book we had to have. Well, if that's not a sign, I don't know what is. I'm getting it. I tried to buy it at Barnes and Noble yesterday, but they have to order it. I chose to wait because I'm attending the big Midsouth SCBWI conference this weekend (Yay!) and thought they might have it for sale there. If not, I'm ordering it next week. Finally, the help I need.
As to the Midsouth Conference, I can't wait, of course! Kristi Valiant and I will be taking off early Friday to head south. I'm looking forward to a weekend of writing, fun, old friends, new friends, and inspiration. I'm sure I'll have more to report next week!
Thursday, August 27, 2009
On the writing side, I am waiting for the last of the critiques for The Doorway short story from my online group. Next week I hope to edit the story and get it ready to send out!
I have been staying busy writing online articles to supplement my regular and paltry writing income. These are no masterpieces, and I don't receive writing credits, but they do pay...and that's pretty important too!
Yesterday I submitted my latest article for the Westside Courier. This one was on teenager Kortney Fuller, who has had a pacemaker since she was six months old! She and her family were very nice to interview.
I have also been getting ready for this weekend's Evansville SCBWI event with Margaret McMullan. I anticipate that Margaret will be a great speaker. Kristi Valiant, Elsa Marston, and Marlis day will also be there to sign and sell their own books!
Monday, July 27, 2009
As for my own publishing update, I received slightly less exciting but still fun news! After entering a poetry contest a few weeks ago at the Stories for Children Magazine blog, I received an email Friday from a friend who saw the results. I won 3rd place and some free popcorn!
Please visit http://familiesmatter2us.blogspot.com/2009/07/its-finally-here-popcorn-poetry-contest.html to read the poem. The editors also had some very kind editorial words. "As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of humankind on the moon, your idea of aliens coming to earth and smelling popcorn and wanting it so badly, combined with your awesome title, made your poem very funny and a kid-pleaser, Christi. WOHOOOOO FOR YOU, CHRISTI!"
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Wow! It's hard to say more than that, but I'm sure I'll manage.
I started with Enter Three Witches, based on MacBeth. As I'm not a huge Shakespeare fan, I was skeptical, but the title drew me in. It was great! Really, super interesting. I almost want to read Macbeth. Almost.
Okay, so one book down, and it was really good, so no problem reading more. Next, I chose A Friend at Midnight. It's hard to say why because I don't read the back of books; sometimes they give things away! Anyway, it turned out to be a GREAT pick. This book is stunning! There were so, so many instances where I thought, oh, I wish I'd written that; I wish I could write like this; I wish my characters were so full and wonderful. I can not do the writing justice by my descriptions, but this is a must-read for YA authors--or anyone. The book is poignant, funny, heart-breaking, and hopeful. I sobbed through at least the last ten pages, but it was a good kind of crying, not the horrible crying of a kidnapped, murdered child or a canine best friend getting killed after saving the main character from a dire fate. No, this was the kind of crying I love to do when reading a wonderful book. You know the kind--tears flowing with each new sentence from every character. Thank goodness I was at home instead of my usual Starbucks because I wouldn't have been able to prevent those tears. I would have been bawling like a baby, and I'm sure the baristas and my fellow customers would have felt compelled to check on me. And that would have only irritated me--because it would have interrupted those crucial ending pages and the flow of my emotions!
After that, I'm happily onto my next Cooney book, Goddess of Yesterday, and I anticipate many, many more before the conference. I went from thinking I should read of couple to becoming a die-hard fan. It will be such a pleasure to meet Ms. Cooney and such a thrill to have her sign books for me. Until then, I have lots of happy reading ahead!
Monday, July 6, 2009
Instead, I am checking out Twitter and Facebook and the camp website. (They post new pics every day, and my son might be in one of them!) I did write a new poem to post on Twitter—a Fib about not getting writing done.
They call it
Like this Fib; instead of writing.
Does that count as “writing?” Hmmm…technically, yes.
Now I’m even updating my blog! Wow, I’m really grasping at straws to put off the writing, huh?
The question is, why? I love to write. The last several weeks, I have been thinking, I’ll miss my son, but I can’t wait to work on my story. I wonder how many thousand words I’ll get written? Well, one day is almost down and the grand total is 14—from the Fib!
Maybe it’s because the sun is shining right outside the library window. Or maybe I expected to get so much done, that I am afraid I won’t meet my expectations. Maybe it’s because I have a new (used) car, and it’s so much fun to drive that I really just want to keep zooming around town running errands (something I normally hate to do).
Well, in the immortal words of every procrastinator…maybe tomorrow…
In the meantime, I would love to hear from other writers out there. What causes you to put off writing—the very thing you supposedly love to do? More importantly, what do you do about it? Post your best tips and stories to help us all get to work!
Thanks…and get busy!
Monday, June 15, 2009
Beth arranged for us to stay in the Bishop House, a lovely 3-story home, so there was plenty of room for the five attendees to get away for some quiet writing time. We were often gathered around the dining room table, all with our laptops whirring! I also did a fair bit of writing on the front porch, where I am pictured at the left with Grace. For myself, I started a story from scratch this weekend and wrote 6,500 words. That felt pretty productive. It is a short story that I hope to continue on into a book, and I'm very excited about it. We also had nightly critique sessions where we read each other's work out loud then discussed. What a talented group.
Thanks to Beth, we spent a fair amount of time eating delicious food and walking around the small town of Stanford. I look forward to seeing all (I hope) of the Original Seven at this year's Mid-South Conference.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
The article was finished and submitted early this afternoon, but then the pictures had to be sent, always a lengthy process. But assuming I get no questions from my editor, I'm all done for now!
I have also posted a link to my latest non-Westside article. This one is in BorderLines, the newsletter for Mid-South SCBWI. I was pleased with it and hope everyone will take a look. Maybe now that article-writing is done (for now), I can do a little creative writing over the next couple of weeks...
Monday, May 25, 2009
Now, though I need to do a lot on that same story, I yearn for that feeling of working towards something like word count. I've had several different story ideas, but I can't decided which one to work on, or even if I want to work on one of them. When I had the Everett on Everest idea, there was no doubt. I knew that would be a story that I would follow through till the end. I long for another of those ideas. I have never felt such accomplishment as when I was working on that book. That makes me think it will be someday be a big success. I have never worked so hard on something that I have written. There's a lot of work still do, and I have to get into that 'editing' mode, but I think it will be a really good book someday. Meanwhile, I'll be on the lookout for another one of those stories, one of those you just can't say no to, one of those that just has to be told.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Into the breeze.
Deep this summer sun.
Blocked by time
This window pane.
Instead cycled air.
Those leaves dance.
Do they call or mock?
Yes, of course!
Want to join you!
Yearn and dream and need.
Or so I think,
More there to hear it.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Friday, May 15, 2009
Last Saturday, I attended the Indiana SCBWI event in Carmel, Coffee Talk with Lara Anderson. Lara, who sent several years at Curtis Brown, was full of great information. In a relaxed and informal setting, Lara answered questions from the group of attendees. Her mother and successful author Rebecca Kai Dotlich also added her experience on some of the subjects. I received a paid critique from Lara on the first 50 pages of my YA book, and it was well-worth the $40 cost. I did not receive the glowing feedback that I had hoped, but what I did receive was a very detailed critique. She pointed out specific problems and offered suggestions and examples on what to do about them. I feel like she closely read my manuscript and definitely got my money's worth. It's the best critique I've ever received as far as content. Thank you, Lara!! It was also great to meet and see so many of the other IN-SCBWI members!
I sent out a new query this week (to Cricket) but have mostly been doing research on book packagers. It sounds like freelancing for a packager could have some benefits--experience and credentials, not to mention a little bit of money.
I also finished another of Margaret McMullan's Ya books, When I Crossed No-Bob. Just as in Cashay, I really cared for the main character, Addy in this case, and many of the supporting characters. Though a completely different story than Cashay, it was also similar in that she took another story which could have been so depressing and made it heart-warming and not at all depressing. I would recommend to anyone!
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Anyway, I decided to give it a try. I was inspired by my recent bout of illness, which my husband kept joking was the swine flu. (He would call and snort instead of saying hello, etc.!)
They have the symptoms of swine flu.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
I also flew through Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book and am currently reading Jonathon Stroud's Heroes of the Valley.
I have also been busy getting a few poems and queries ready to send out this week, and I wrote a new poem, which I haven't done in a while! That was fun.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
I am working on final edits for an article on USI grad student Kristi Scott and will be sending that to the editor later this week. Kristi was very sweet to interview. Though she was full of cutting-edge thoughts on technology and society, she was very down-to-earth and easy to talk to.
I am also working on editing my book's first 50 pages to get sent off this week for an Indiana SCBWI conference critique.
During my moments of relaxation, I am rapidly devouring the fourth book in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series. Unfortunately, that will mean I'm caught up and anxiously-awaiting publication of the fifth!
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Monday, March 2, 2009
I have begun to receive comments from my online critique group. I will spend the next few days going over their comments and responding. I hope to choose one agent to go ahead and submit to later this week. Then I will set the book aside for a few weeks before going back to really edit. That will give me a little perspective.
I know there is work that needs to be done on it, but overall, I am very happy with it and excited about it's future--and mine!
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Let's see, I'm at 28,000 words today. Hopefully, that number will change dramatically over the next couple of weeks!