Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Contact

My chosen audience (for now) is young adult. But, I haven't been a teenager for over a decade. And my recall isn't great. So what do I know about teenagers? Especially today's teenagers?

I need research. Data. But this specimen isn't always readily available for my experimentation.

However, last week I received a text message from what a garnered was a teenage specimen of the female variety.

TEENAGE SPECIMEN: Hey get me an orange cream slush please

ME: Wrong number. Try again if you want your orange cream slush. Yummy.

TS: Please dalton ill love you forever and ever and everever

ME: This isn't Dalton. Really.

TS: Who is it then

Perhaps at this critical point I could have become a secret text confidante and learned all about her unrequited love for Dalton. But I was tired. And I don't have a text plan.

ME: An old mom. Gotta go check on my son. Good luck with dalton.

TS: Ok, whatever

Was said experiment a failure? No. Because I found out that "whatever" has all the meaning it did when I was a teenager.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Dear Bloggers,

My MC is very upset that lately I spend more time with you than with her. And she is right.

No, I don't like you less. The problem is I like you too much. I just think it is better this way. And we should just be friends.

Really, it is all your fault. Your blogs are too wonderful, but they are also a little evil because they lure me in with their wit and cleverness and insightfulness.

I blog because I write, and lately I blog instead of write.

And due to those small constraints of being a mother and wife, I find I don't have much time to write OR blog to begin with.

So my MC and I have struck a deal. If I post and visit blogs only twice a week, she has promised to cooperate with my muse to help create a novel.

And when the MC calls, there is not much I can do.

Yours respectfully,

ME

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Curse Bright as a Real Live Author

Last night I had the opportunity to meet the award-winning young adult author Elizabeth C. Bunce. She is the creator of the incredible A Curse Dark as Gold for which she won the very prestigious William C. Morris Young Adult Debut Award (among other honors).

She is also a fellow Kansan, and last night spoke at a local library. The setting was more like an intimate discussion among literary colleagues rather than a forum, which I preferred because I got to get into Elizabeth's brain. And afterwards I stayed and spoke to her and her husband. We even walked out to the parking lot together. (Remember shaking slightly from nerves when talking to the boy you loved? Yes, I was shaking.)

First of all...A Curse Dark as Gold. Beautiful. Romantic. Mystical. It is a historical fantasy, a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin - a very thorough, emotional, and believable retelling of the fairy-tale. And Elizabeth is such an incredible writer. When you read her words, you don't see words, you see pictures. You feel. It's amazing. My words are a little sad they aren't as good as her words.

She spoke about her journey to publication, which is unique. She didn't acquire an agent by traditional querying, but through a conference. And she actually obtained her editor (he-hem, an editor for Harry Potter!) all by herself at another conference, who only read a few chapters and then asked her for her whole manuscript...which Elizabeth had not even finished yet. So the editor contacted her several months later asking her for the manuscript again. Her writing is THAT good. So agent and editor eventually teamed up to help Elizabeth create perfect.

She spent three years writing her book! She spent time doing a lot of research and now is an expert on woolen mills in the Industrial Revolution. (And do you know what?! She recommends books for research over the Internet. I thought the Internet had no limits...)

She said she had fourteen starts on her book. In fact, she said that false starts teach you what you need to know to finish your book. (And I just felt like I was moving backwards.)

I have been writing my book for a couple of months and I'm on my second start. Suddenly I don't feel so far behind.

We spoke about the editing process, and she warned against self over-editing. She said it comes to a point you are not making your manuscript better, you are just making it different.

What else?? Oh yes, she asked me what my book was about. And I told her. And she liked it. (Still shaking.)

It was a great experience. I recommend taking advantage of the opportunity to meet a published author if the opportunity presents itself. And maybe seeking the opportunity if it doesn't present itself.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Oh Mountains! How I Missed You!

I have been absent from my blog life the last few days because I have been away doing Utah things with my sisters.

The Utah thing I was MOST excited about, other than sisterly bonding, was being back in the mountains...





... which I find so inspiring and beautiful and heavenly. I could have had more mountains, but my sisters are less in love with the mountains than I am. In fact, we struck a deal today. If I wanted to go into the mountains again I had to allow for a little clothes shopping, which I loathe.

But, this is how happy my sisters were after being forced to partake of the breathtaking.


(I'm the one who thinks my backside is cooler than my frontside.)

So after three days of mountains, good food, chic flicks, and sight-seeing (and more reminiscing for me having lived in Utah for six years), I am very ready to return home. Mountains are incredible, but my family is better.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Out of Reach

Word Goal. I can never reach you. You hover in the distant, an unattainable destination. Why did I even create you?

I guess because I was high on writer's adrenaline. I sat down and thought if I write such-and-such amount of words in a day then I will have a book NEXT MONTH! And then I can submit my book in THREE MONTHS!

But you are just too good for me. I thought I was being reasonable and even liberal when I imagined you into my life. But I was wrong. So wrong.

What if I made you even smaller? Would I be good enough for you then? Would I?

Yeah, right. Even if I commanded you at 50 words a day, you would still somehow elude me.

WHY?!?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Happy Easter!

Before I leave to spend Easter weekend in a small, indescript* Kansas farmtown, I thought I would share with you a little bit of the Easter happiness that has filled my home lately.



Yes, sometimes you can have a little too many "baskets full of Easter joy." And sadly I have found myself singing that song in the shower. But, my husband and son are big fans of the holiday-singing-electronics.

And since I so love metaphors, the below is an Easter interpretation of this post.



As you can see, my son has the right idea, and has turned one of the voices off.

(And likewise, I too have turned one off and for the last few weeks only one has been very loud. Tess. Tess won.)

So, have fun this Easter. Eat lots of candy.

*I think I meant to say NONDESCRIPT Kansas farm town, which actually is the best town in the whole world...to me. I was really not giving it credit. I love Nondescript, Kansas.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Once Upon A Dream

While writing last week, a new hero stepped into my book. I had not planned for him. I already had a hero for my MC, but apparently now I have two. Which is okay with me because that makes the love story much more interesting.

At these early stages my hero wasn't quite formed. I only knew he existed. But who was he really?

And then I dreamt him.

Actually, my dream was more like a hero lineup. There were several, and one burly, dusky-haired hero was particularly insistent. But I didn't choose him. I chose him. The shaggy blond-haired, brown-eyed, broad-shouldered, gentle-featured hero who was so kind, so assured, so loving and wise. I fell in literary love.

I saw him in my mind's eye. But what was his name? I discussed names a few posts ago, and there are so many ways a name may come. And this name had to be perfect. Then, while scanning my book spines, looking for inspiration among the Classics, I found one. Rawdon. Oh, Rawdon, you are perfect.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Street Contact by Boy

The other day I was listening to old sound files on my iBook, old sound files that are part of a brilliant album recorded by this great artist. His nickname is Boy because when you are born in a family with only sisters, that is just what you are.

Before my brother was a medical student, husband, and almost-father, he wrote several songs and recorded them on my computer. I thought I would share a bit of his creative genius (and yes, he knows) for a change of pace.

He wrote this after his mission-a conversation between missionaries and an old drunk in the park.

Street Contact

An old man throwing peace signs through the park
We stop to talk and floods of memories start

If you feel lonely, Mister, we want to know

He can't remember a time when things weren't hard

Maybe you could be the reason we came this far
Cause if you can change then, Mister, we want to know

He says

I could use a drink or two
And a little time to sort things through
Something to remind me who we are

Maybe later find a place
Where I can worry about your Father's grace
If or not we'll make it to the stars

But if you can find me here again then, Brothers
You know me far too well

And if you can find me here again then, Brothers
I can use some help


And you can listen to it! (If you want to know how to upload an audiofile, look here.) The picture is the view off my parents porch at sunset. See, Kansas is much prettier than boring.



Yes, just realized my nice visual disappears before the song ends. So much for perfection.