Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Happy Halloween!!
(this is my very own gargoyle/flying monkey, photo taken last night. It's sitting next to me on my desk right now...)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Surrey recap

I have returned!

Exhausted, but exhilarated. Still spinning from all the face time with my girls, not to mention agent meetings, workshops, discussions, and celebrations. Long, deep discussions and short, silly conversations. Hugs, tears, lots of "you-can-do-its" and raised glasses. I love Surrey.

karen, Kathy, Julie, Rose, Pam, Vicki, Deb, Jennifer, Diana, Stephanie, geez, everyone rock.

I'm not going to go into any details about agents or requests or such, because I don't believe in sharing specifics about the query process as it happens. But I'll say that I had a lot to be happy about over the weekend, and it's all good.

Now I suppose--though I don't wanna--that I really have to go practice my speech for tomorrow. I'd so much rather be working either on tweaking my first chapter or writing the next scene of Book 3. Sadly, the speech requires more imminent attention.

(reluctantly sliding away...)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

And away!

Off to Surrey!

I'll see all y'all that are going, TOMORROW. Otherwise I'll see ya when I get back!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Oh. My. God.

Okay, things are a bit crazy here in Susan-ville. Yesterday a contingent of us went up to Helena to unveil the new Montana geologic map to the governor, which was very cool--though I somehow didn't quite expect the level of press. Three TV cameras, 2 newspaper reporters/photographers. Today we officially released the map for sale...and everything went crazy! The story got picked up by the AP, and orders are flowing in.

And my staff are rapidly going insane. {s}

In the middle of all this I'm trying to get ready for Surrey in two days, my presentation/critique tomorrow, and a 10-minute speech I have to do two days after I get back. Oh, and the little open house that's planned for tomorrow afternoon...

La la la la, I will be so happy when I am on that plane...

Friday, October 12, 2007


Confidence back! {g}

I printed out the whole thing of Jenna yesterday. I love to see a whole book that I wrote in one, thick pile. Now I get to read it again, hopefully this time just to lose myself in the story.

I didn't get a chance to do much writing on Book3 yesterday, but I plan to make up for that today. Goal is at least 5% (3000 words) by the time I leave for Surrey. I'm sitting at 2200 something now, so this is eminently doable. AND the Dead Robert scene is next, yay!

There's an-almost-equivalent-to-Jenna stack of work waiting for me, so that's it for now!

Except the picture:
Yes, that's me, for a class assignment. Kreekie thinks it's freaky, but I rather like it. {g}

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A little shaky

So I'm not always confident.

Last night just before I went home I printed out (and re-read) my synopsis for Jenna. I don't know what it is about synopses, but even though it tells the story, it has the voice, still makes the story sound kinda weird, all crunched down like that. I think that's what spurred the two dreams I had last night:

1. I dreamed that I got a rejection letter back from my #1 agent, and it was strange (of course, it was a dream, duh) because instead of writing her own letter, she had written snarky comments all over my query, in orange pen. The sweet part about this dream is that after feeling very disappointed for about a minute, I looked up at my husband and said "well, let's tackle the list--let's send out ten new ones today" and immediately started writing queries to other agents. Good attitude turn around there.

2. Shortly after this one I dreamed that I had to read my manuscript out loud to a class. (The provenance of this dream isn't hard, as I was observing peer critiques in a creative writing undergrad class yesterday.) Except it wasn't really Jenna, it was some mutated blog form of Jenna with illustrations I had to show everyone, and a kid's poem to start. And I had that moment of panic where I realized this was just too weird to show anyone, much less sell...

And that's when I woke up and had to get ready for the day. It left me with a little residual sense of negativity, I must say--I wish I'd ended with the first one. Must move on and write on Book 3 today, and I plan to print up Jenna in the next couple days and read the whole thing just before I leave, to pump up my enthusiasm. Hopefully. {s}

Small things I've learned about Natalie in the past 2 days of writing/thinking (that may or may not ever actually make it into Book 3). These aren't major points, just details for me to know:
  • she's always late
  • she likes to wear baseball caps
  • she lived in Seattle when she was little
  • because of this she's a Mariners fan (you're welcome, Kreekie)
  • she has a soft spot for underdogs and will stand up to bullies
  • she's a bit of a daydreamer
  • she's not very into schoolwork, except art class
I really enjoy this part of getting to know a character. It feels like they become real, and settle into my head. And whether or not any or all of this makes it into the writing overtly, I think that if I know it about her, it makes her rounded, whole. And it makes sense if I suddenly want to write a scene and I find it starts with her watching a Mariners game. {s}

And a picture for you!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

You got your peanut butter in my chocolate

I really shouldn't have bought the mini-Reese's peanut butter cups AND the dark chocolate M&Ms for the candy bowl on my desk. Bad, bad habits are being created.

Got my Book3 work done for today, on target, though it took me a little longer than I wanted it to. The good news is another interesting, totally unexpected character popped up, and I can already almost visualize a subplot with her. Writing only happens when you write. {s}

wrote and sent a press release
arranged for a playdate for Child this weekend
worked on arranging this open house we're doing next week
mailed Toad, a recalled brake van, back to Thomas & Friends (rolling eyes)
made changes to a publication and printed a few copies to get bound
made an appointment to get highlights put in my hair on Thursday

check check check. :) There are many more items on the list, but I do feel I'm getting there.

Must go do some schoolwork now to balance out, in the half hour before it's time to go home!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Monday madness

A loverly weekend. Lots of hanging out, watching baseball (though now my Angels are out of it, and even swimming. I tried a new recipe last night that didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped, but it was okay. Easy stuff tonight, soup and bread.

I was freaking out a bit this morning at the sheer volume of STUFF I have to get done before Surrey. Everything from preparing a speech to taking pictures of myself (ack) to presenting the new state map to the governor of Montana to dealing with the press to making sure I buy nylons. Sheesh. I made a list (aptly titled FREAKING LIST OF THINGS TO DO BEFORE SURREY), which makes me feel slightly better. Lists always make me feel slightly better. Are you a list person too?

Today I'm mostly doing lots of small detail-y things for work and catching up on homework. I have a class this term that is all online except for our 4 presentations--which oddly is hard for me. I leave all the assignments until the last minute. I'm not really sure why I have discipline when it comes to writing but not so much with homework? (desire? {s})

I'm still getting to know Natalie. Managed a bit more, and should make my (easy) goal of 2000 more words this week, 5000 total this month. That seems good for a first month, with Surrey. After that I'll dive into the more usual 10,000 a month goals.

That's all for today, because I have a quiz in less than an hour...except for your picture of the day.
For a textures/patterns assignment. This is a close-up of Child's laundry basket. {s}

Friday, October 05, 2007


Weather: Snowing. The other day was a half-hearted attempt for an hour or so, bitsy flurries just to get an "I can't believe it's snowing already" reaction from us. Today I woke up to wet, slushy snow on the ground and weighing down the trees, and it hasn't stopped, all day. {SIGH}

I have not even had time to sit and write a blog post until this very minute. Running here, running there, doing a full-scale photo shoot, two scheduled meetings, more impromptu meetings, phone calls back and forth and back (and forth) with the governor's office...

WHEW. I am sitting down with a cup of tea and a handful of mini Reese's peanut butter cups, for a few minutes. Right now. There.

I did manage to get up over 1% on Book 3 at least, and tantalizingly close to my 1000-word goal for the week, if I hadn't had to wrap up my lunch and trudge out (in the snow) to a meeting. Finished the first scene to at least "it can live for now" status, so I can move on. I'm really looking forward to the Dead Robert bits, but those are not next. Next is Tony and still vague female friend.

See, I won't share snippets or actual details, but still can pretend to tantalize you with random character names dropped here and there. Sly of me, right? Dead Robert is sooooo my favorite, though. I think I will love Dead Robert.

Did I say I was looking forward to Surrey?

The weird thing is, regarding Surrey, that I'm actually looking forward to pitching. Most writers will probably think I'm insane for even thinking that. But I _think_ Jenna will be a really great match for the agent I'm meeting with--I think it's right up her alley and she'll like it. So I'm looking forward to introducing her to Jenna, so to speak, in the same way that you look forward to introducing two friends you really like.

Of course like introducing the two friends, I might be wrong and they might not like each other at all. They might despise each other from first look. But that's okay too. I have a list of potential agents as long as my arm I can introduce Jenna to, should this meeting not go as well as I hope. I'm not all wrapped up in this one chance; I just see it as a really good opportunity. That I can't wait to get to.

Is that weird of me? Or insanely arrogant? I wonder, but don't know. At any rate I figure it can't be a bad attitude to go into the pitch with, so I'll stick with it for now. Until I stand there quivering before her, my little red folder squashed tightly to my chest...

No, seriously. Just a chance for a chat. {s}

(I'm still liking this bleagh-spill-out-my-mind style of blogging better than the stale updates. You? It does make titling them more difficult.)

I decided that I'm bored with the "Whadjya eat" thingum, because how many times can I reasonably write "we had Mexican food again" without throat-slitting becoming necessary? So since I am taking a digital photography class, and since I've been taking all these photos of minerals for our calendar, I'm hereby instituting a "photo of the day" feature instead. Voila, it is done.

Photo of the Day (which I took this morning):

Thursday, October 04, 2007

wow, that's a ramble you've got there

I have added 2 new blog links to my list: Melissa Marr and Libba Bray. I know, I know, I should stop reading other writer's blogs and just get to my own writing, but since I've been on this YA kick lately (writing YA, reading YA, thinking YA), I like to hear from other YA authors. It makes me feel, no matter how self-delusionally, that I'm tapped in.

Anyway. I haven't even read Libba Bray's books yet, but somebody mentioned her blog on the forum and I looked, and I read two entries and said "I must add this!" And I loved Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely so much that I actually wrote her a fan-girl letter last week. (I have not written a fan-girl letter in like, ever, so this is big. Melissa responded almost immediately with a very nice note. She is not only an excellent writer, she is good people.)

I apparently am writing my blog free-form today. Don't question. Ride along.

I meant to not start the word counter for the new book (er...Book 3, Natalie, or something) until I had at least 1000 words, and I should have listened to myself. I looked at that 0% this morning and felt sad. Must write more to get over 1000. I realized that I'm actually having a bit of difficulty transitioning to writing all-new, first draft material again. I'm so darned used to the revision mode that I feel like I want to polish and fix, even when I only have 150 words to work with. Must. Stop. This. SFD!

Hmmm, this free-form blogging thing might help. I think I must do a writing journal entry today.

In other news (I wonder how often I say that?) I am finally relatively well, hurrah, after a full week of first cold and then stomach virus. It feels almost odd to be well, but good. GOOD. And I get to leave early this afternoon to go take Child to her ballet/tap class, which should be fun.

My coffee cup is broken, as hubby dropped it spectacularly yesterday (picture fountains of coffee spewing all over the garage floor) and dented it. Who knew this would make the coffee not come out the top? Yay, good excuse to buy a new one.


Yes, I will leave it there, for now.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


Okay, I got some 400 words today, and Natalie (Nat) feels right. So I'm going with that for now.

And though I won't share snips, I will share photos. This is what Natalie's hair looks like. {s}

Yeah, I know, you're fascinated.

Not Freddy

Hmph. Yesterday I contracted the "mild GI bug" that Child had over the weekend...which doesn't feel quite so mild in me. Argh. I'm feeling like it's karma just for saying that.

It's snowing, with a strong, cold wind. I am so staying inside.

That's the bad news. The good news is I started writing on Book 3 yesterday (yay). I quickly discovered, though, that the MC's name is NOT Freddy. It just doesn't fit. I'm looking for a new name, though "Natalie" keeps popping up (over and over and over), so maybe that one will stick. For now I guess I'll have to refer to it as Book 3 until I'm sure...

Will add more today!

Monday, October 01, 2007

The bleeping Padres closer blew the save and lost the bleeping game in the bottom of the 13th inning.

{rest of post censored for a huge string of nasty swear words}

Change in plans

Child had a mild GI bug over the weekend, AND it snowed, so we took it a little easier than planned. Meaning we skipped the homecoming parade and football game and went to a nice indoor volleyball game instead...though we still went to the activity-packed birthday party on Sunday. I was soooooooo tired last night. (why do birthday parties wear out parents more than kids?)

The bloody #@*The bloody #@*$& Padres lost 2 games this weekend when they only needed to win one, and so have to do a tie-breaker game tonight to try to make it in the playoffs. They better win tonight, or there will be mucho swearing in our household, at least half of it by me.
amp; Padres lost 2 games this weekend when they only needed to win one, and so have to do a tie-breaker game tonight to try to make it in the playoffs. They better win tonight, or there will be mucho swearing in our household, at least half of it by me.

I got feedback today from 2 out of 3 of my teen readers who have experienced epilepsy, and was really (really) happy with their responses, especially that they felt the epilepsy bits were spot-on. A big whew and yay.

And I brainstormed Freddy today. I now know what Freddy looks like, and am getting a sense of her. And I know where the first scene starts! I set a goal to get 5,000 words this month, and will start those this week, definitely. Hmmm, maybe 1000 this week.

Surrey is coming in only 17 days!

Whadjya eat? Steak, garlic bread, mushrooms fried with garlic and butter. I miscalculated and the steak was underdone, which made me sad. {sigh} Oh well, will know better next time!