Wednesday, December 28, 2011


I hope you all had wonderful holidays.

We had a wonderful Christmas and since I know you're all as enamored with my children as I am here are a few pictures.

Here they are posing with the Perry the Platypus The Engineer made for them.  They may not look it but they love it.  Truck boy is adorable when he says "I yuv you patapus."

And here they are reading some of their Christmas books.  Yes, Pretty Girl always reads her books upside down.  I turn them for her but she just gives me a dirty look and turns them back. I think she thinks it's just me out to get her. 

This was Christmas eve. We tried to explain the whole thing to them but they were less than excited. Fortunately they seemed to have a good time because the day after Christmas Truck boy crawled under the tree and asked for more presents. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Holidays

Wishing you all the best of whichever holiday you choose to celebrate. 

I'll see you in 2012. 

Monday, December 19, 2011


The Engineer and I have been working on our basement for years.  We’re doing most of the work ourselves so it’s taken awhile.  We’re getting close though and this weekend we started installing the cabinets.  They are from a wholesale type place up in Atlanta and therefore were very inexpensive (but oh so pretty) but we did have to assemble them ourselves.  When we pulled out the single sided, single sheet of paper I had to laugh.  The first sentence (which was coincidentally the whole first step):

Aims at on the side panel on fastener and the back panel fastener inserts afterwards, and then fasten them using screwdriver to turn camlock 180 degree clockwise.


Step six consisted of only three words. 

Assembly the drawer.

It’s my new favorite sentence.  There was nothing about the different sizes of screws, the many pieces involved in the drawers, the hardware that needs to be inserted into the cabinet to make it open and close.  No we just have to assembly it. 

Fortunately The Engineer is good at building and figuring things out.  I mean, he did just build our basement; a little cabinet won’t stop him. 

I had to wonder though how much they paid the person who wrote this and how I could get that job. 

Friday, December 16, 2011


Life has been crazy the last two weeks.  My kids have been sick.  Lots of coughing, vomiting, coughing, nebulizer treatments, doctor's visits, you get the picture.  My son is so funny though.  He LOVES the doctor. I think it has something to do with the suckers at the end of the visit. When I took him in he yelled out the window to everyone we passed "Bye!  I going to the doctors!" 

Because of that I am behind on everything.  I haven't even mailed my parent's Christmas presents yet.  Shhhhh, don't tell them.  So I'm forgoing a regular post and getting to work on revisions. 

If you all have any questions (Or ideas, thoughts, money, whatever) for me leave them in the comments I'll be happy to answer them.  Otherwise have a happy weekend!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


My current WIP is about a silkie.  A creature that is a seal in the water and a human on land.  As I initially tried to explain that concept to The Engineer he shook his head and said "So, it's about a demon walrus?"  Now that is how he explains it to everyone.  He very nicely suggested I should title it Demon Walrus.

When our son was born he was given a bunch of squishy bath toys.  Yep, one of them was a walrus.

OK, so he may be purple and he doesn't look much like a demon but I liked him so I swiped him from my son's toys.  Now he sits watching over my keyboard making sure his story is told right. 

This morning Truck Boy was sitting on my lap as we watched something on the computer and he saw the walrus.  "Have it?"  he asked.  "No, it's mommy's."  He then informed me it was his.  Being the wonderful mom that I am I didn't give it back.  I distracted him with something else and all was good.  For now.  I like my Demon Walrus. 

Do any of you have anything special on your desk, anything that makes you smile when things get difficult then get back to work?

Monday, December 12, 2011


I'm reading a book that I want to like by an author I want to respect.  I just don't though.  There's nothing wrong with the book.  It's fairly well written, the characters are well drawn, there is plot and voice aplenty, but I just can't get into it.  I read about 70 of the 400+ pages, put it down for some reason and haven't picked it back up.  In fact I keep forgetting it's there and am surprised all over again each time I see it. 

I almost returned it to the library but felt too guilty.  I want to like it and I keep thinking I should finish to see if I can get into it, but I just have no urge to read further.

I'll probably give it another 50-100 pages using the deadline of the library due date as motivation.  I'm hoping I can like it as much as I wanted to but it's not looking good.  This makes it so much easier to understand when agents say they just didn't feel passionate enough about a book to take it on. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Editors Opinions.

I just discovered this amazing thing. Editors at Carina press pass along their comments on the slush pile to @angelajames.  Angela posts them anonymously on twitter at #editreport ( I don't tweet so hopefully that makes sense).  She also posts them on a website here. That link will take you to the December report.

This was amazing.  Reading these thoughts was enlightening and terrifying.  I HIGHLY recommend checking it out just to see how editors react.  And yes there are good examples at the end.  I know there are a few things I'll be checking my manuscript for now.


Just a reminder to anyone interested in the Literary Lab writing contest/anthology that the deadline is on the 31st.  Just a couple weeks away and those weeks include Christmas (and many other holidays).

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Books, Books, Books

Below is one of those lists you always see floating around.  A list of classic books people should have read.  If I understand correctly the people who put this out thought the average person had only read six.

I've read 57.  Plus 4 that I started but for various reasons never finished.  That puts me right around 60%  Isn't that a D grade?  Sigh.

How many have you read?  Is there a favorite of yours on the list?  Or one you really want to read? 

1. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

2. The Lord of the Rings – J. R. R. Tolkien

3. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

4. Harry Potter series – J. K. Rowling

5. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

6. The Bible

7. Wuthering Heights

8. Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell

9. His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman

10. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens

11. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott

12. Tess of the d'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy

13. Catch-22 – Joseph Heller

14. Complete Works of Shakespeare

15. Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier

16. The Hobbit – J. R. R. Tolkien

17. Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks

18. Catcher in the Rye – J. D. Salinger

19. The Time Traveler's Wife – Audrey Niffenegger

20. Middlemarch – George Eliot

21. Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell

22. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald

23. Bleak House – Charles Dickens

24. War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy

25. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

26. Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh

27. Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28. Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck

29. Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

30. The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame

31. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy

32. David Copperfield – Charles Dickens

33. The Chronicles of Narnia – C. S. Lewis

34. Emma – Jane Austen

35. Persuasion – Jane Austen

36. The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe – C. S. Lewis

37. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini

38. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Berniere

39. Memoirs of a Geisha - William Golden

40. Winnie-the-Pooh – A. A. Milne

41. Animal Farm – George Orwell

42. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving

45. The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins

46. Anne of Green Gables – L. M. Montgomery

47. Far from the Madding Crowd _ Thomas Hardy

48. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood

49. Lord of the Flies – William Golding

50. Atonement - Ian McEwan

51. Life of Pi - Yann Martell

52. Dune – Frank Herbert

53. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons

54. Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen

55. A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth

56. The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57. A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens

58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon

60. Love in the time of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck

62. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov

63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt

64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

65. Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas

66. On the Road - Jack Kerouac

67. Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy

68. Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding

69. Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie

70. Moby-Dick – Herman Melville

71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens

72. Dracula – Bram Stoker

73. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson

74. Notes from a Small Island - Bill Bryson

75. Ulysses - James Joyce

76. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath

77. Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome

78. Germinal – Emile Zola

79. Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray

80. Possession - A. S. Byatt

81. A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens

82. Cloud Atlas - Charles Mitchell

83. The Colour Purple - Alice Walker

84. The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro

85. Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert

86. A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry

87. Charlotte's Web - E. B. White

88. The Five People You Meet in Heaven – Mitch Albom

89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90. The Faraway Tree collection - Enid Blyton

91. Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad

92. The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint Exupery

93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks

94. Watership Down - Richard Adams

95. A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole

96. A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute

97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

98. Hamlet – William Shakespeare

99. Charlie & the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

100. Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Just for Fun

How did I not know about this website?

OK, the t-shirts are a little expensive, especially since I usually buy the $5 variety at Wallmart but who wouldn't want one of these?

I have to admit I love the Pride and Prejudice one.  Peacocks are my favorite.  I love the Old Man and the Sea. And in the kids section they have Harry the Dirty Dog and Sylvester and the Magic Pebble!

There's a lot of good books on there, which ones are your favorites? 

Monday, December 5, 2011


The other day as I finished a writing session I commented to The Engineer that I had cut 200 words.  He replied "I know I'm new to the whole writing thing but isn't that counterproductive?"  First, he's an engineer, it's all about cost/value  effort/progress.  Second, he thinks he's funny.  "Now that you're done writing are you going to unwrite it until there are no words left?  I believe those kinds of novels are called reams of paper but hey, at least you'll be able to tell the agent it's perfectly grammatically correct.

Even with no words I doubt I could make it grammatically correct. 

The thing is that there are a lot of aspects of writing that could make us feel as if we were taking a step back.  A shrinking word count, Or growing word count if we're trying to cut the size, starting a new draft, getting feedback and having to write that one scene yet again.

As writerjen said on her blog,

"If I'm on the right road, it doesn't matter how rocky it is; I know I'll get there. All I have to do is deal with each pothole and hairpin turn as it comes."

Keep moving, keep following the path and we'll reach the end eventually.  

Friday, December 2, 2011

Dear Favorite Author...

I've come across two posts this week that made me think.  I hate it when they do that. If there had only been one I might have blown it off but two posts coming so quickly after thanksgiving made me pay attention. 

The first one is here where they challenge us to write a letter of thanks or appreciation to an author.  Let them know how their book affected you.  In a good way of course.

The other post is here.  At the end he asks if we've ever had a book that changed our lives and did we write the author. 

If we can step back for a moment I'll tell you of an experience I had in college.  A couple students and the professor were sitting in our classroom hanging out and chatting.  I remember asking the professor a question though I no longer remember what it was.  He looked at me for a moment as if I was some harmless but repulsive bug, turned to another student and started a different conversation.  Situations like this happened all the time.  I don't know if my question was lame, or maybe he just didn't know who I was or why I would talk to him (yes, he was my professor)  I do tend to be invisible.  Thing like this have made me wary of approaching people.  And there's also my fear of coming off as a teenage groupie or kiss up. 

These things have stopped me from telling people how much I appreciate their work.  The few times I have it was a casual "hey, I enjoyed your book"  That meant so much more than what I said.  These two blog posts made me reevaluate.  If- scratch that, when I become published I will want people to tell me they enjoyed my book.  In fact I think I'll bask in the praise and buy a new hat since my head will be so big.  I won't assume everyone is a stalker or kissing up to me.  I can imagine that hearing how their book changed someone's life will be an amazing experience for an author who worked and loved that book long before it was published.

Have you ever written or received a letter such as this?  How did you feel about it?