Monday, September 29, 2008

A timely quote from my planner:

"Be of good cheer. Do not think of today's failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourself a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find joy in overcoming obstacles." --Helen Keller

Thank you, Helen. Some days we all need that.

Friday, September 26, 2008

All your publishing questions ANSWERED!

Finally, after much struggle and heartache and dangerous adventures on your behalf, I have located the magic treasure box of Publishing Answers. This box is soooo magical (and sparkly) that it not only contains all the answers every writer wants to know, but it personalizes the answers for each person. So yes, the answers below really are for YOU. They are the real, truthful answers. No more waiting! No more endless wondering! No more twitching!

Now, I haven't tried it yet either, so I'm going to be surprised right along with you. I've made up a list of the usual questions, and we'll see what the oracle has to say.

Anyway, without further ado, here we go....

1. Will my book be published?
ANSWER: Maybe. It depends.

2. When will I get an agent?
ANSWER: When the time is right.

3. When will I get an offer?
ANSWER: When the time is right.

4. Is the book good enough yet? Should I send it off?

5. How many times will I need to revise this book?
ANSWER: Over and over and over and over and over. Until it's ready.

6. Will I go insane before I finish this book/land an agent/get an offer? Will all my hair be gone, because I ripped it out by the roots? Will I be old, and gray, and peering at the screen through massive grocery-store-bought magnifying glasses?

{looks at magic chest. looks at all of you. looks at magic chest again.}


Whew. Sorry about that. I'll keep looking.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

How to Talk to Writers

So you're a writer. Not a dabbler, but a "serious" writer—your butt has spent many many many hours in that chair, you have at least one book finished (or damn close), and you're serious about this whole getting-published craziness.

God help you.

Wait, that wasn't where I was going with this.

So you're a writer, and you're headed off to a writer's conference, or a writer's lunch, or some other social function where writers are meant to talk to people who exist outside their own brains. And being a writer and therefore maybe not the best at social events, you panic. "What do I have in common with all these other random writer people? What will we talk about?"

Friends, I am here to help.

I have discovered, through my own vast experience in goofing off research, at least five topics that writers can ALWAYS talk about. A pack of writers could be stuck together on an island for—oh, a long time—and still be able to chatter crazily, if you kept to only these topics.


1. Food
More than books, writing, family, anything, food is the king of writer talk. I'm not sure if it's because we sit alone so much, or we're using powerful imagination muscles that require constant nutrition, but writers are obsessed with food. I haven't met one yet, man or woman, who isn't. So if you're meeting over lunch, yay! There is food. Discuss.

2. POV
POV is one of the great writer secrets. You don't even know what it IS until you accept that you are a writer (unless you were really paying attention in english class, but most of you were probably secretly writing stories anyway). Then you have to figure out what group you belong to. 3rd person? 3rd person omniscient? 1st person? 1st person present? (Courtney, this one's for you. *snort*) Or are you bold enough to {gasp} MIX? Or {further gasp} SWITCH?

3. Revision Hell
It is hell. You'd think that would be 'nuff said, but no. Plunk two writers down together (especially those with a toe or a whole foot in the pub process), bring up the "R" word, and you'll be sobbing on each other's shoulders within an hour. Guaranteed bonding.

4. Waiting
Worse than the "R" word. I'm not waiting for anything right now, so I can say this without a hint of whine in my voice: waiting is THE worst part of this whole thing. Especially for those of us with a patience deficit. The good news: you're not alone. Every single person in that room has had to wait, and has HATED EVERY MINUTE and UNDERSTANDS.

5. Ways of wasting time procrastinating preparing yourself to write.
Agents and editors, cover your ears for this one. Okay, ready?
Writers waste time when we should be writing.
It's not just you, with the Spider Solitaire habit and the secret reality-TV watching and the manic cleaning of toilets or baking or laundry that must be done. We all do this. It makes every one of us feel guilty sometimes, but we do it anyway. I think it might be part of the process or something. Anyway, just bring up reality TV or mention casually that you're looking for a new online game, and watch the conversation spark.

You'll note that "pets" and "kids" aren't included on this list, because though they often do come up, I wouldn't recommend them. Usually half the group has one and half the other, or half both and half none, and those in the non-halves hate these topics. Stick to the top 5, and you'll be safe.

But I'm sure I'm missing some. Fellow writers? What necessary author-topics have I forgotten?

Addendum: I knew I'd forget something! A writer friend reminded me of another oft-used (and necessary) topic: "getting beaten around the head by the publishing process". Heck, yeah. I didn't even mention the other nasty "R" word: Rejection. (bleah)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

And then I...

Update: over the weekend, I:

slept in, scrambled to get family ready for fishing trip, HAD 8 HOURS TO MYSELF, researched and wrote a paper for class, did thesis work, caught up on ANTM and Project Runway and TopDesign (gack I am getting addicted), IM'd with friends, saw Romeo and Juliet staged with 4 actors in a 1970s set (fab!), slept in again, went swimming, went grocery shopping, played with Child, watched football with hubby, ate and slept again.

What a marvelous weekend.

Yesterday I had to get all caught up on school/work stuff, and dive back into Jenna-land.

That's right! I'm in Jenna-land again! It's a good thing I love Jenna-land, honestly. Sometimes I have a feeling I shall spend half of the rest of my life there.

Sadly, all this work-thesis-Jenna-family stuff has sucked my brain dry, hence the lack of interesting on-topic blog posts of late.

I'll try to round one up from the recesses this week. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sally as a Nun

After a lovely lunch of fried food, I'm feeling ready to...sit like a slug.

But at least I can do a brief blog post.

Last night we saw *Sally Struthers* LIVE in Nunsense. I expected it, honestly, to be awful. I expected it to be something I would sit through in disbelief and secretly mock, because it was SO bad.

I laughed my ass off.

Sally herself was really funny, though one of the other nuns (Sister Amnesia) stole the show. Her delivery was brilliant. The show's loaded with slapstick, yes, but also is a good balance of singing, dancing, and stand-up. From nuns.

Saturday, for something different: Romeo and Juliet. Don't know if I'll have quite the same reaction!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008



Sunday was a big day in our household.

Child received her first-ever allowance. I've been meaning to do that for...oh, a year now, but hadn't quite gotten organized enough to do it. You know, chore list (negotiated, with style and format negotiated), allowance amount, schedule, all that type-A stuff. But she did her chores excitedly for a week, so she gets her scheduled $3.

What I wasn't expecting was her reaction, when I handed her three dollar bills from my wallet. She looked at the money, and got quiet.

"You need to make sure we have enough," she said.

I frowned, not understanding, and she looked up at me, big-eyed, serious. "The money that you and Daddy and I share, for all of us. You need to make sure we still have enough if you give me this."


Unselfish, thoughtful, worrying. Probably soaking up all this pervasive talk about a bad economy and money worries. This one worry, at least, I could fix. I hugged her hard, and told her we had enough, that we'd be fine.

I'm so lucky (a) that I can say that without question and (b) that I have a kid who would think about it, who would be willing to give it back if she needed to.

A little later that day, she lost her first tooth. There was great excitement, and bouncing, and showing of The Gap. The tooth was tucked in a special pillow for the tooth fairy, and the bounteous tooth fairy brought SIX gold dollar coins, one for each year of how old she is. (I know, I got a quarter too. It's inflation. We only have one kid. I couldn't help it.)

The next morning, she tried to give me three of those dollars. "Because," she said, "I have plenty."

I didn't take them. But Hubby and I decided last night that we'd talk to her about it--and if she wants to, she can take part of that first stash and give to others who don't have plenty right now. We do, when we can, and it's never too early to start.

I figure we have a choice. Squelch that natural generosity, and say "No, spend it all. You never have enough!" Or say "Yes, you're right. You do have plenty. Why NOT share? Let's figure out how we can share."

On a totally different note, I nearly peed my pants laughing at this cat video on Courtney Summer's site. Check out the evil stalker cat!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Apparently it's a linkage Monday...

Partly because I have that floaty-head coming-down-with-a-cold feeling, and I can't manage to post my own stuff. Mostly because the Internet Wisdom is awesome today.

Read Jackson Pearce's post on the friends every writer needs.

Read this!

Later, if I can, I want to post about Child, and new lack of tooth. In the meantime, go read Jennifer Lynn Barnes' post. The woman speaks the truth. (I don't even know her, but I read the whole post and nodded all the way through! YES!)

Thursday, September 11, 2008


is latteya!!

latteya, please contact me at susan dot adrian to choose your prizes!!


I might do another of these soon. I love sharing book love. Thanks so much everyone for sharing your book picks with me.
Half an hour to enter the contest!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

BOOK LOVE! And giveaway.

It's time for some Book Love, Part 2: the more interesting part, wherein I give away free books.

Ready? Sure ya are.

RULES: Post a comment to this entry, listing one book you've read in the past month (and hopefully liked) and one book you're looking forward to reading. Links and friend/self book pimping entirely allowed. Contest will be open until 9 AM Mountain time Thursday. (Sadly, no entries outside the U.S. and Canada this time--the last winner was from Australia, and shipping cost more than the books!) I'll throw the names of posters in a random generator (because I'm lazy that way) and pick one lucky winner. Said winner will get to CHOOSE TWO BOOKS from the following selection:

Okay, NOW are ya ready? GO!!!!!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

It's not that I don't love you...

It's just that I've been swamped. Any non-classwork, non-work work, non-family time has been spent collapsed on the sofa. Or twittering. Or watching last week's ANTM debut. I'm not even writing! This last leaves me feeling oddly empty, but I'm working on refilling that well and getting other stuff done for now.

Anyway, I thought it was time for a little book love. This one comes in two parts. Today, I talk about the books I've read over the last little while, every one of which I loved in different ways. So no worries about negative reviews here! Tomorrow, I'm going to have a giveaway and give y'all a choice of some of said books, or maybe a couple others.

Books I've Read this Summer:

Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr: Yeah, baby. I love Melissa, and I love her worlds. This one was quite a bit darker than Wicked Lovely, but a very, very smart, suck-you-in book.

13 Little Blue Envelopes
by Maureen Johnson: I loved her blog posts and videos, so I had to check out one of her books. I'll read more. It was pure fun. A quick read, but entertaining, with a likeable MC.

Vampire Academy, by Richelle Mead: Well done. Original take on the whole vampire mythology, and I really identified with the somewhat out-of-control MC. Am intrigued.

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray: I admit it. I wish I wrote this book.

Now I have to go stock up on more books, because I know so many people who have great books coming out! (Bill Cameron, Maggie Stiefvater, Courtney Summers, Linda Gerber, and A.S. King, I'm looking at you.)

Tomorrow: giveaway. Check back!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

How I Spent my Vacation

I've been gone for pretty much a full week. The three of us headed off for our bi-annual vacation to our old haunt, San Diego. Awesome. Soul-filling.

Vacation by the numbers (because I'm secretly a stats geek, even though I hate arithmetic):

  • Hours spent at major theme parks: 15 (we opened and closed TWO!)
  • Rollercoaster rides, different coasters: 17
  • Buckets of seawater wrung from clothes, after "visiting" Shamu: 4
  • Live performances seen: 4
  • Number of times in front row for said performances: 4
  • Pairs of new shoes purchased: 6
  • Favorite restaurants visited: 7
  • Favorite places visited: tons
Beyond the numbers, favorite moments:
  • At the San Diego Symphony concert, watching Child enjoy the heck out of the Swan Lake piece, tapping her toes and bobbing her head.
  • Same concert, Child in my lap, watching fireworks go off over the bay and jumping at cannon blasts, to the 1812 overture.
  • Losing ourselves in the big tank at the Stephen Birch aquarium. We go there every time.
  • Touring the USS Midway, all of us listening avidly to info about the planes/ship.
  • Seeing The Merry Wives of Windsor at the Old Globe, in the front row, and having Falstaff plop himself 2 seats away from me, briefly, during the show. Walking out by myself and seeing the Balboa Park clock tower lit blue-green against the sky.
  • Swimming in the hotel pool together.
  • Child's glee at telling us all the riddles in her new riddle book.
  • Hanging out with Hubby and Child, without distractions, for almost a week.