Friday, July 22, 2016

I Have Another Announcement

Because signing with an agent and having a baby aren't enough (oh and buying a house, we bought a house)--there is also this...

2016 has been a year of amazing things (and little blogging).

Friday, April 15, 2016

Blessing begins with B

Oliveros the Fourth is here! B and her 9 pounds 11 ounces came into the world six weeks ago. All my other babies were about seven pounds so her hefty size was not expected! In fact, by now she's filled out and looks more like she's three months instead of six weeks.

It's been a busy time. Someone once told me it's all the same after three kids. I'd have to disagree. Transitioning to four children has been much harder than transitioning to two and three. I have three older kids who need me now, and because of a new baby I'm not always available. Also, B has had some feeding and reflux issues, but she seems to be getting better. So life is returning to a degree of normalcy. I actually have a moment to sit down and write this blog post!

The others love their baby sister. The girls always want to hug and kiss her. J always wants to hold her. It's such a precious and fleeting time. Already I miss the brand newness of her. I know she's my last, so I'm trying to hold her a little closer and kiss her a little more. I keep telling her about the amazing family she has joined, and I've promised her a beautiful life.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

My "How I Got My Agent" Post

So something good happened about a month ago. I signed with an agent! This is the happy story of when I entered the #Pitchmas Twitter Pitch Party and received an offer of representation before Christmas. 

It was definitely unexpected, my mind at that time being filled with Christmas, children home from school, being seven months pregnant, and searching for a new house. (My life is usually boring, but big things like to happen all at once.) I entered the #Pitchmas Twitter Pitch Party with my picture book text, The Remember Balloons, but I had only a few chances that day to tweet.

When I checked my email later that day, I saw my tweet had been favorited by Mike Hoogland. To my delight, upon researching Mike later, I discovered he was a successful agent at an excellent agency—Dystel & Goderich Literary Management.

I sent along my picture book text the next day and put it aside in my mind. This is what six years of querying middle grade and picture book manuscripts has taught me to do. The following Monday, just a couple days later, Mike emailed me. He said he loved my text and do I have any illustrations? Well, I'm not an illustrator. I draw stick figures for my kids during church and they think they're brilliant, but that's about it. I told Mike I wasn't an author/illustrator but let him know I had other middle grade and picture book work.

The next day, Tuesday, I got the email. It was surreal actually getting an email requesting a call to discuss representation. I honestly thought it would take me another ten years to achieve this milestone. It was a busy day—a prearranged lunch with friends and a dentist appointment for my son, but we were able to arrange a time that evening to chat on the phone. My husband took the kids out to eat, and I awaited The Call.

It went well. I was nervous. I probably talked too much, which I'm good at. But I was impressed with Mike who was building his juvenile list and had other sales to boot. We also discussed my other work and works-in-progress, which he was interested in seeing as well.

With the Christmas and holidays ahead of us, the actual signing didn't take place until two weeks and one more phone call later. In the interim, I contacted the other agents with my work (there were only two and they politely declined). I also contacted a couple of Mike's clients who had only great things to say about him. Of course, through this all I reached out to my close writer friends and posted an ambiguous post on my private Facebook account which annoyed everyone.

We're finishing edits now on The Remember Balloons and will go on submission soon. So fingers crossed! All in all, I'd say receiving an offer of representation was an amazing Christmas present, second only to the haiku I made my husband write for me.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Back to School

Actually, this post is about three months late. I sent my kids back to public school mid-October. So why did my homeschool experiment end after 8 months? Because our lives changed. I always planned on putting them back into public school as I've always liked public school.

When we made the move to West Texas, we knew we'd be traveling frequently back to San Antonio. Also, the schools didn't have particularly high ratings. (It's not always about ratings, I know, and if we'd stayed in West Texas, I'd probably have put them in eventually. I had friends with good, smart kids who went to these schools.) For these reasons, and also I wanted to try it, (more on this here) I homeschooled my kids during that time. And we LOVED it! However, that time was cut short...and fast.

End of the summer, we were told to come back to San Antonio...permanently. While I loved our time in West Texas, I was elated. This is where we belong. My kids have 19 cousins here, lots of aunts and uncles, and their grandma and grandpa. Plus, it's just such a great city. We came back here to look for houses over Labor Day weekend, intending to make the final move at the end of the year. Well, Labor Day weekend ended up being our permanent move. My husband's firm needed him, we were flexible, and my in-laws opened their house to us.

In the following month (ish) we went on an intense house hunt, I was mostly pregnant sick, and my kids' homeschool experience consisted mostly of running around in Grandma's backyard with her cats like wild, feral children. Yes, there was some learning, but I knew it was time...especially with a great school just down the road (the school my husband attended). Their transition back into public school was rough for a couple of weeks, but now they are fine. They are happy, although they still miss those homeschool days. Sometimes I do, too. But needs change with life. And today, I am grateful for public schools and amazing teachers who love my children.