Thursday, February 28, 2013

My Son and the Tooth Fairy's Rough Beginnings

Yesterday my son got into the car after school with a new tooth necklace, compliments of the school nurse, containing yet another blood-encrusted tooth. He now is missing his four front teeth, and this only weeks before we plan to take family photos. Apples are not an option anymore, and I think he's going to have to learn to gum his food like a ninety year-old man. But the main repercussion is that my son, on his quest to become toothless, has formed a somewhat tumultuous relationship with the tooth fairy.

This began innocently enough. In October, his great-grandma sent her usual holiday card with two one dollar bills - one for my son and one for his little sister. As dollar bills go in our house, they floated around the kitchen for a couple months, somehow the dollar bill deemed his sister's ended up crumpled, and they were almost forgotten.

Then the day came we placed his first tooth under a pillow. I told him about the tooth fairy - spinning the same story my parents spun for me about her building a castle of teeth - and wondering when this Santa, Easter Bunny, tooth fairy business is going to end because I feel like I'm lying to my son. (And by the way, Mom and Dad, a castle out of teeth is kind of gross, but I'll carry on the tradition...) Conveniently I...that is, The Tooth Fairy found a dollar bill floating around our kitchen to exchange with the tooth under his pillow.

To make an already long story less long, in the morning my son told me that he had ripped up the note and dollar bill because it was his sister's crumpled dollar bill from his grandma that the tooth fairy left. Oops. I knew my son was observant to detail, but even that exceeded my expectations. All that Scottish-Irish-Peruvian-German blood inside of him can really boil when provoked. And I think part of him was figuring out this tooth fairy thing might not be real.

(I kept the money and note in a plastic baggie to show him one day...or to tape back together when times get rough.) Instead of letting him continue to question the existence of a little person with wings that builds castles of everybody's yellowing teeth, I told him sternly that the tooth fairy was going to have to wait a couple teeth before she gives him more money. Oh and that ripping up money is against the law so don't do it again.

He stopped being angry, decided to give the tooth fairy another chance, and so after skipping a tooth or two, she brought him this....

So far, no money has been crushed, torn, or otherwise destroyed. In fact, the tooth fairy, in a gesture of forgiveness, brought my son his first dollar bill last night since The Incident.

I like to come away from any story with some kind of moral or insight. Lying to your child about mythical beings only creates more problems? Use only the special tooth fairy glitter money posted all over Pinterest lest your child isn't easily fooled? No, I got it. Enjoy your children. Teach them when they make mistakes. Then laugh about it and write a blog post later.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

And Done! (for now)

Last night I sent my book to my beta readers. This was a very big moment for me, having my book "ready" enough to be read (and critiqued) by others. When I looked ahead to this moment, I thought I'd bake myself a cake. But I didn't. Instead, I went upstairs and did some laundry. I edited my book twice before I sent it out, and maybe that was too many times for something that may still change a lot based on the feedback I get from my readers. But I felt like my manuscript deserved it. It was like sending my child to school in clean clothes even though they'll be dirty in an hour. So without further adieu, here is my (in-progress) query so you have a better idea of this book I wrote.

A Pretty Pirate Pickle

The luxury cruise ship, Scandinavian Sapphire, only survives the high seas because Liza, daughter of Captain Owen, checks for icebergs every sunrise, sends POGs (pukey old guys) to the ship’s infirmary, and rids the ship of any and all vermin—particularly the peg-legged, eye-patch-wearing type of vermin.

Her mild obsession with the bestselling Pirates and Princesses series has no connection to her suspicions that Henry Weston, the “resident guitarist,” is a bona fide scallywag schooled by Blackbeard himself. And he’s in love with Liza’s aunt Mel, who looks past Henry’s Jack-Sparrow-like qualities and sees only roguish handsomeness, a rawther lovely British accent, and charm more sparkly than the ship’s million-dollar jewel exhibition which Liza is sure Henry’s after—because nothing says “pirate booty” like crown jewels from every country in the Baltic.

Mysterious meetings in Denmark, too many “band practices,” and alleged tampering with the security cameras has Liza convinced her suspicions are correct, and there is nobody to help stop the heist except Tilly, her friend-of-the-week, and Liza’s iguana, Iggy—who, face it, can’t help her because he’s a lizard. But Liza is determined to save the ship, her daddy’s hat, and Mel from the evil clutches of dread pirate Henry.