Thursday, January 28, 2010

Disappointed folks

I personally am not disappointed by the ipad. Okay, the name, the name is sort of funny. The best joke I’ve heard so far is: “What is the second generation going to be called? MAXI Ipad?”

It wouldn’t have been a bad idea to have a woman or two in their focus group. Focus groups are pretty handy like that.

The device is what I kinda thought it would be-an oversize itouch. And it is neat in that respect. I love my itouch. I do. And I was jazzed when I realized it was exactly like it. Until I took in the measurements. The ipad is just a little too big to fit in my purse. It’s not handy in that respect which has bummed me. Um, as for the iBook store, you know I love my eink. It’s much easier on my eyes sooooo...I won’t give up my Kindle.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My geek side is showing

Yes, like most folks I'm anxiously waiting to hear what Apple will say about the iTablet. Rumors about this has been swirling for years. Apple...please put me out of my misery.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Into the twilight zone

This has been a bizarre Monday. Mondays in general are normally annoying but today hit the weird level. It started with the Chihuahua. The evil critter climbed on my pillow and licked me on my lips.


Next, my girl was up and ready for school 36 minutes before she had to catch the bus. This was a first. And after preparing her breakfast, she asked me: “ ever wish you had a more normal daughter?”

Me: Double checking the clock. “No.” Pause. Because at this point I’m sure there’s more to this. “Why?”

Girl:" I was just wondering if you wanted someone who didn’t search the web for hours looking up how to make dread falls."

Me: "You planning to infiltrate the honor’s society to overthrow it?"

A few hours later my boy comes downstairs and says: "I’m hungry. Want me to make macaroni for us?"

Me: "Us?"

Boy: "Can’t I be nice?"

The pod people have landed...just thought I’d warn you all.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

New Cover

And Bloomsbury apologized and will change the cover.

Boycott Bloomsbury? Hell no...

For those that aren’t aware, Jaclyn Dolamore’s Magic Under Glass is the latest book that’s come under fire for its cover art because the picture on the jacket is of a light skinned girl. I have to admit after the firestorm over Liar, I’m lost as to why Bloomsbury would do this. Again. Possibly someone just forgot to include a description of the character to the art department.

Whatever the reasoning behind it, I’m even more dumbstruck by the fact people are going around wanting Bloomsbury boycotted.

I understand the anger. I do. Bloomsbury should make a statement. Accidental or not, this needs to be addressed and fixed. Boycotting them though, is not the answer. It’ll hurt authors more, especially Jaclyn Dolamore and other authors who are debuting. If books don’t sell, unlikely they’ll buy the second one. Or a third.

Even worse, boycotting beautifully written books with strong lead persons of color is going to end up being more devastating. Again, if sales are bad for the first book, there won’t be a second. This reminds me of the old saying, “throwing the baby out with the bathwater.”

This in not any author’s fault. Most authors don’t have a say in their cover art. In fact I’ve only heard of two that have been consulted about the art. Both are major NYT bestselling authors. So what chance does some new kid on the block get to have a say on their artwork? No chance in hell sounds right to me.

So what to do about Bloomsbury. An online petition has already been started. If you feel that’s not good enough, try writing to them. Or maybe organize something like what happened when CBS cancelled the TV series Jericho and fans rallied to the get the show a proper closure. 

I agree this behavior of using light-skinned models in place of a person of color must stop. It is irrational. At the same time, going after Bloomsbury must be done thoughtfully. In a poor economy, blindly boycotting could destroy a career and cost readers the loss of a wonderful story.

As always, this is my blog and my thoughts on this matter.

End Rant.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Lowest of moments

I have one other little confession about the conference. There were times I felt the lowest of lows there when I listened to folks reading examples of their work or their writing exercises aloud. Sitting in a workshop with pro writers is intimidating to put it mildly. And yes, the object of a workshop is to work on your craft, not worry about others.

The thing is for the last two years I’ve been fighting with my own demons when it comes to writing. No, not to all parts of my writing. My muse sends me story nibbles. I’ve rounded up enough story ideas for the next ten years. At least ten, more like twenty. And it’s not the actual act of writing so much. I can finish a first draft, and without a first you can’t revise. that’s the challenge.

Yes, I know. I’ve never been a huge fan of revising, but it’s a necessary evil. I have learned to respect it. Can’t say I love it yet. But the last two years have been rough. It’s as if I’m fighting a shadow monster that can’t be killed. In truth, the monster in the shadows is me. It’s my sadness. My loneliness. My frustration. I can tell you all when it even started. The day my husband left for Iraq.

Don’t feel bad for me. Too many others have been and still are in my place. Some families have been going through this much longer. I’ve grown. I’m stronger. And yet, the creative part of me is still hanging out in limbo in some ways. I’m thinking that part of my muse is off on a Hawaiian vacation, sipping pretty drinks with umbrellas.

How do I fight this dilemma? That’s the conundrum. Here’s what I’m trying to do. Go to workshops. Online and in person. Getting out and meeting real people is a good idea...since you know...I spend way too much alone. Learn new ways to revise a novel. And never, ever give up. No, this will not beat me.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The long weekend

As you can see by the late posting again, I’m still trying to catch up on sleep.

The conference was a rush of information and inspiration. Richard Peck is a phenomenal speaker. He received a standing ovation as he left the podium. By everyone but me. My feet got tangled up in my purse and bag of books that’s I’d put under the table, and I ended up trapped in my seat. Yes, I do feel like quite the klutz there.

Author, Kathleen Duey and agent, Jennifer RofĂ© ran the intensive novel workshop. Loved it. If I can, I’d like to try to go another workshop but time and travel are always iffy for me.

Being in Florida was a mixture of homecoming and sadness. In the end sadness won out more. Partly because my kids weren’t there with me in Florida. Who knew I’d miss refereeing their fights? I think the biggest part though was so many unresolved issues with my family. Issues that’ll never get fixed now. And for once, I was actually looking forward to getting back to Colorado. I never would’ve expected that.

Did you all have a good weekend?

Monday, January 18, 2010

I'm Baack

Miss me??? Probably not but you know that's okay. Conference was fun, but I'm glad to be home. I'll write more later.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Rolling with the changes

I had a plan. It was a good plan. Turned out to be unrealistic but hey--it was a plan.

Revising looks like it’ll have to be pushed back to when I return from the conference. And I think I finally have everything I need. Okay, I still have print stuff off. And pack. And...and...’s looking dicey today.

On a good note my business cards arrived. Yes, I put those off until the last minute, too. I like my cards. They’re...different. Skull. Headstone. Actually, the card theme does tie in really nice with Daniel’s story. Somewhat with Brooklyn’s story as well. But I realize it might put off some folks. Might put off everyone. Not sure. It feels right for me. Sometimes being true to yourself pays off, and sometimes not. At least I can say I tried it my way.

Monday, January 11, 2010

To the storytellers out there...

MISS SNARK said once:

“Here’s the thing. You have to write the thing that fills you with passion. You have to write something you love the way you love your children: all the time, even when you want to murder them. You have to write something you love so much it doesn’t even cross your mind to ask ‘am I wasting my time’ because to NOT write it would be wasting your heart.”

I wasn’t the biggest Snark fan. Wait, wait, hear me out before you hit the back button. I had nothing against her. I just don’t go blindly into following someone who stays anonymous. (Yes, I’ve always been this suspicious of people. Even as a kid I didn’t trust the mall Santas.) But Miss Snark did have some amazing tidbits of advice to share. I’m going to admit something here, I personally have more passion now than when I started back in 2002. I love writing, but I love storytelling more.

A deep fear I have is when the storytelling becomes a chore. When the fun is gone. When the passion vanishes completely. I’m not talking about the slight case of boredom or feeling a little in the rut. That is sooo not what I’m referring to. There are days I don’t want to write. I don’t want to build a character sheet. Don’t feel like pulling out my dry erase boards to plot.

What I’m referring to is the total loss of joy for writing. I know a lot of writers who call themselves storytellers, but they turn away from their writing because they didn’t sell. Because they heard the word “no” too many times. Because commercially they’re not living the dream that’s expected. Too many writers measure their success by the amount of their advances, which agent they have and the major deal from their publisher.

I can’t even count how many times I’ve seen aspiring authors start a flame war on their blogs, leave scathing comments on other people’s blogs or on a website because of how unhappy they are. They start to feel they have to suffer. And I do think their love turned to hate.

I don’t have any clever answers as to how to stop the loss of happiness, except to keep remembering why I love to tell a story. Miss Snark’s advice above is probably the best for me so far: “You have to write something you love so much it doesn’t even cross your mind to ask ‘am I wasting my time’ because to NOT write it would be wasting your heart.”

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Midnight ramblings (okay, yes, it’s actually almost afternoon.)

So for the last few nights coyotes have serenaded me. Those things are soooo creepy. If you’ve ever heard them, you will never forget them. Their high pitch cackles...shiver. And my muse gets to work overtime. Maybe it was lack of sleep or the late hours, but I came up some pretty cool blurbs.

This turned out to be a full week with the kids between a crisis and truck repairs. There’s no way my neighbors missed my boy coming or going with how squeaky it became. Revising Brooklyn has taken priority for the week. There’s also the reading I need to get done before Wednesday of next week. Argh...I need more time!

Maybe the timing isn’t quite right to try this, but I’m experimenting with a new way to revise a novel. I’ll let you know how well it works in a few weeks. Some folks I know are sticklers for staying with what they know. Me? Personally, I don’t mind experimenting. Stagnation is evil. Evil, I say.

I hope you all have been keeping busy.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Monday kicked my butt

I woke up exhausted this morning. Noooo...I have so much to do today.

I didn't want make your visit a total waste. Here's some interesting reading for you all. Gosh, the horror side of me is screaming for a story.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Girly moment here

There I was, cleaning out and my closet and I’m realizing my wardrobe is looking a little...sketchy. No, I don’t have a closet full of sweatpants and assorted pajamas. This is a strange thing to admit here, but I have to be fully dressed in order to write. Right down to my sneakers being tied. Makeup? Nah. I don’t need any lipstick to torment a character or two. If you really want to know the truth, my makeup goes bad from neglect before I ever use it up.

To get back to my wardrobe dilemma. Everything I own can be summed as baggy jeans and T-shirts in an assortment of colors. I have a couple of button shirts...that go over the T-shirts. Seeing a trend here?

Off I go to the stores. And what do I have to show for my hard work this weekend? I bought a chain to replace the one that broke months ago. This shopping thing is brutal.

As a side note, my boy was luckier. He ended up with several girls’ phone numbers. He’s actually looking forward to his next day off to take me shopping again.

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year Fortune Cookie...

The tradition in my house is to have Chinese takeout on New Year’s Eve. I know. It’s kinda strange. But anyway...

My fortune cookie had this goodie in it: “You will win success in whatever you adopt.”

My girl hearing the adopt part got all excited: Yes, you’re gonna adopt a baby this year.

Me (choking on apple cider): Um...what?

Girl: I always wanted a little sister.

Me: Seriously?

Girl: Once the boy leaves we can make his room into a nursery.

Me: No. I got dibs on it for an office.

Girl: But it would be fun to have a little sister. I can buy it onesies from Hot Topic. Paint her nails. Take her shopping with me.

Me: Like a pet?

Girl: I could help take care of her.

Me: Like your hamster? Hm...whatever happened to it? Didn’t it die...? Probably from a broken heart and neglect? And don’t forget the goldfish. They lived a whole twenty-four hours.

Girl: You know what? You’re like that one nerdy, crying kid on the school bus that no one liked to sit next to. Always bringing everyone down.

Me: Pessimism is a talent that only gets better with age, dear.

Happy New Year!