Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 Relfections

2007 has been a year of changes, some good (seeing my first novel published and selling my second) and some bad (the new job/lack of job situations). It's so easy to focus on the bad stuff because the bad has a tendency to override the good (at least for me).

For today, the last day of the year, I've promised myself to remember the good: My immediate family is healthy, safe, and we're all together. We love and respect each other, and--unlike so many other families-- we all get along. My children are not junkies or losers--they are smart, sweet, funny, and totally insane (in a good way, lol) and I love every minute I spend with them. My husband and I have been together for over half my life and yeah, we'll still be arguing over the TV for another 20 or 30 years. :) He is my heart. xox

We've had two weddings in my extended family, and the two new members of our family fit right in. One family member, after a very long struggle and in spite of the odds stacked against her, graduated from college and loves the new job. Another, thankfully, did not have to go back to Iraq for a third-fricking-time and is safe at home with his beautiful wife and a baby on the way. Another family member was hospitalized with a serious illness, and fully recovered. I have the most amazingly wonderful friends imaginable. And yes, we still have Grandma!

I could go on and on, of course, but I might suck up the rest of my memory if I try to list every detail. I know as I'm writing this, as rough as the end of 2007 turned out to be, I've had rougher years. Sadder years. Years when I'd thought life would never, never get better...and yet it always did. Always, always.

Love and blessings to all of you, and wishing you a WONDERFUL 2008!

XOX Jen

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Weekend Rambling

Heh, it must be the holidays because I'm getting SPAM comments (e.g. FIND OUT WHO'S VISITING YOUR PROFILE! among other crap) on my MySpace. You can tell some of these comments aren't from the actual sender, so there must be a way to latch onto someone's account and spam out stupid comments under someone else's name. Must be nice to have that kind of time on your hands. IF you guys get something like this from me (hahaha)--trust me, I'm not the one sending out this garbage. Delete, delete, delete...

On MySpace I added this image for my new novel--

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--because you can't really tell who's kissing, can you? Boy and girl? Boys? Girls? Perfect!

Good: Hubby added a new wireless adapter to my fossil PC so I can get the internet at a real desk instead of always huddling in bed with my laptop like a decrepit invalid. He also reloaded AOL onto my laptop so it won't a) bump me into oblivion every 5 seconds, or b) get hung up on checkingpasswordcheckingpasswordcheckingpassword till my teeth disintegrate from the gnashing.

Not So Good: I lost my favorite places. Wah! Not that I needed all 4,640,297 of them.

Good: After using my office as a junkroom for a year, I finally got in there today and did some serious cleaning. I have an office! I have an office!

Not So Good: Funny how those lteensy black balls all over the floor look suspiciously like rodent droppings...I think my "pet" mole found a new place to hang out. Sigh.

Good: I decided not to make any New Year's resolutions.

Not So Good: I decided not to make any New Year's resoltions.

Oops

A very excited Grandma called Beth the day after Christmas and said, "Oh, wait till you see my new kitty!!!"

Um, Grandma? WE gave you the kitty, remember?

No.

On Christmas? Like....yesterday?

No.

Of course she doesn't. This is Alzheimer's.

But she loooves the kitty! And that's what counts. :)

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Catching Up

1. Christmas was wonderful! Santa brought me a new printer/scanner combo--YAY! We opened gifts early, then bailed Grandma out of the nursing home and brought her over for breakfast which *I* did not have to make, lol. She loved her creepy talking kitty, of course. I'm sure the batteries will be dead in no time.

2. I'm surviving the Job. I'm back on 3-11 for a while, though I *will* have to work a few day shifts here and there. The best thing about the job is that my co-workers are awesome. The worst thing about the job is that my patients are, um, NOT. Every shift is an 8-hr miniseries, a combination of the Lifetime channel and those MSNBC specials on mental illness and prison inmates, where you sit there in shock, thinking Holy $hit!

3. But I so miss the A Team. I walked out to my car alone last night after work, and felt a terrible pang because for the past 8 years Jan and I have always walked out together. They say losing a job is one of life's greatest stressors. The job loss, to me, is almost incidental. All of us--me, Jan, Tangela, Elca, and Debbie--were truly a family, so this is more than "losing a job"; all of us are scattered now throughout the hopsital, on different floors, different shifts, different days, etc. The other day I was outside smoking on the curb and I heard a distant "MERRY CHRISTMAS!" It was Tange, yelling at me from a second story balcony. So yeah, we do see each other in passing (and Deb works between my floor and one across the hall) but it's not the same. I've been depressed about this, to say nothing of how hard it is to adjust to a new environment. But I'm starting to feel like my old self again. :)

4. Although I haven't written a word in over 3 weeks, I *have* been reading--and one of the novels I read was
Head Case by 2k7-er Sarah Aronson. Totally compelling and awesome and beautifully written! I sat down and read it from cover to cover without stopping.

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5. I'm off on both New Year's eve and day. At work, we have a policy: if you work 3-11 on New Year's Eve and you don't manage to punch out and get to your car by 11:45 p.m. then you MUST hang around and wait till 12:30 a.m. or so. The reason? People shooting guns off in the projects. Heh. Can I possibly make up ANY of this stuff?

6. I am officially a huge fan of Jodie Picoult. I'm reading Nineteen Minutes--

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--and I can't put it down!

What I am looking forward to:

7. Catching up on everyone's blogs (I am sooooooooooooo far behind, I hang my head in shame).

8. "Kosher Christmas" (Grandma's affectionate term for Orthodox Christmas) on January 7th.

9. Starting revisions on STW (soon, soon, soon).

10. Writing something NEW.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Up Early and Rambling

It's not quite 7 a.m. I've been up since 4:45 and right now I'm watching Bright Eyes with Shirley Temple. =) What am I doing up? I have no idea. I do need to run to the grocery store, so it'd be smart to go early before Big Bird is mobbed. Not this early, though. No big Christmas dinner this year (I'm working) so we'll brunch it tomorrow before I have to go in. I'm trying to get into the holiday spirit, but dang, it's hard this year. Hopefully by the time Kosher Christmas rolls around, my mood will improve.

One Christmas gift memory I've been thinking about--a music box from my Great Aunt E. A round, shiny-green metal box with an ornate lid, and it played "Some Enchanted Evening." I kept it for 20 years after she died (till it literally fell apart) because it was the only gift I remember getting from her. She'd been totally blind for years (my grandmother told me she'd lost her sight after cataract surgery; whether this is true or not, I have no idea) and rarely went out, and lived in a roach-infested apartment in the projects.

"Now don't put anything down anywhere!" Mom would warn us ahead of time. "And if she asks you if you see bugs, say no." Nothing, she explained, would ever be done about the roaches anyway. She called the so-called management herself to complain more than once, but "it's The Projects, for cripe's sake." There would always be roaches. No point in freaking out my aunt.

So off we'd go, and yes, I'd be careful to keep my coat and boots on and never-ever-ever allow my purse to leave my lap. Eventually my aunt would ask one of us, "Do you see any bugs? Do you see any bugs?"

Hell yeah, we saw bugs! OK, it's not like roaches were raining down on us from the ceiling. But every now and then I'd see one skitter across the floor. Or peek through the Venetian blinds. Or creep out from under the toaster. Can you imagine being blind and surrounded by bugs you can't see? Or is it better not seeing them? I still can't decide.

And we'd always answer, "Nope, no bugs."

LOL! How did my Christmas gift memory turn into this?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas!

"Adoration of the Magi"
Bartolome Esteban Perez Murillo

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Link

For those who celebrate, have a beautiful, blessed Christmas.

xox

Jen

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Farewell to Dan Fogelberg

I was very, very sad to hear about the death of Dan Fogelberg who died from prostate cancer a couple of days ago. A brilliant songwriter, Dan gave the world a gift: some of the most touching and profound stories ever set to music.

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Lyrics like these from "Leader of the Band," Dan's beautiful tribute to his father:

An only child alone and wild, a cabinet maker's son
His hands were meant for different work and his heart was known to none --
He left his home and went his lone and solitary way
And he gave to me a gift I know I never can repay

A quiet man of music, denied a simpler fate
He tried to be a soldier once but his music wouldn't wait
He earned his love through discipline, a thundering, velvet hand
His gentle means of sculpting souls took me years to understand.

The leader of the band is tired and his eyes are growing old
But his blood runs through my instrument and his song is in my soul --
My life has been a poor attempt to imitate the man
I'm just a living legacy to the leader of the band.


Dan was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer several years ago. What is so very sad is that prostate cancer, when discovered early, is easily one of the most curable of cancers. A diagnosis can be made with a simple blood test and physical exam, recommended for men age 50 and older (or > 40 with a family history of the disease). Over the past several decades I've had literally countless patients with a "history" of prostate cancer who had been cancer free for many, many years.

Prior to his death, Dad posted a link on his website--Prostate Cancer Foundation--and encouraged fans and readers to please, please not wait until it's too late.

I am carrying his message on.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Interview with Becky's Books

And yet another interview with me, this one by Becky from Becky's Book Reviews. I heart Becky and read her blog religiously. Thanks, Becky!

...ok, why wasn't I this popular in high school? =D

Becky also posted a link to introduce a brand new group of talented debut authors--ta-DAH!--The CLASS of 2k8. Best of luck to all of you!

Interview by Heidi

If you get a chance, please head over to Heidi R. Klings's blog for an author interview with me--complete with the perfect pics!

Heidi's own novel, SEA, will be published by Putnam in the summer of 2009. Yay, Heidi! For more information about our multi-talented fellow lj-er, check out her WEB SITE.

Thank you, Heidi! xox

Monday, December 17, 2007

Random Thoughts

READING JUNKY posted a great review of Before/After on her blog today. YAY!

The definition of the word "smarmy" = D.P. I don't want to say his name in this blog, but it's the husband of Stacey P., that missing woman in Illinois. That. Man. Is. SO. Not. Right. His laywer needs to nail-gun that dude's lips shut.

Kiefer Sutherland is in jail washing his own laundry. And other inmates' laundry :shudder:--am I supposed to care?
They let him finish filming "24" before they made him begin serving his sentence. I'm sure if *I* were arrested and convicted on a (multiple) DUI, they'd let me finish out the pay period at work, um, NOT.

Speaking of work, I survived my first week in the psych ward and have started week # 2. By noon today I had a massive headache (new job, new hours, new coworkers, no sleep...why not?) which I foolishly tried to relieve by driving to--of all places--Wal-Mart after work so Beth and I could be trounced and jostled by the Christmas mob. Not a smart move. Headache finally relieved by A. meds, and B. A double jalapeno bacon burger from Wendy's.

Best X-mas purchase so far: A furry white mechanical cat that looks exactly like Sheba, Grandma's long-gone kitty. It moves and meows. It meows a lot. It meowed at us all the way through the store, the whole (looooooong) time we stood in line, across the parking lot, and all the way home in the car. I nearly euthanised it by tossing it out the window but, well, it IS pretty cute in a disturbingly taxidermilogical kind of way--

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Grandma will love it. Or else it'll send her over the edge.

Tomorrow is Nate's birthday! He hates having his pic taken, but since he never reads this blog (or so he says, right, Nate?) this is a pic I **sneakily** snapped of him last summer:

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Now I've been up for 18 hours, so...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Slammed!

First of all, thanks to everyone for all the congrats! I'm very excited. The release date for the book-formerly-referred-to-as-the-D.L.M. will be in the winter of 2009--Jan or Feb! My God! Only a year from now!

And THIS is what I am looking at right now:

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Yes, Cleveland's gettinbg slammed with snow. No relief in sight. I bet I'll have to get up at FOUR-THIRTY tomorrow morning to make it to work on time. So much for doing any Christmas shopping today. I did, however, manage to trim the tree.

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(I have NO idea why it came out so fuzzy!!!)

I keep reminding myself how miserable I was last July and August when the temps soared into the 90's for days on end. How the four separate products I use on my hair did absolutely nothing to get rid of the frizz. How I'd turn the shower to "cold" and just stand under the spray for ten minutes straight...

Off to bake a chicken. I didn't name this one yet. He's still in the bag. :)

Second Novel-SOLD!!!!!

Drum roll, please:

From Publisher's Marketplace: Author of BEFORE, AFTER, AND SOMEBODY IN BETWEEN, Jeannine Garsee's SAY THE WORD, about a teenage girl who still hasn't accepted that her mom's a lesbian when she finds herself at her mom's funeral, face to face with the new family she's tried years to ignore, to Jill Davis at Bloomsbury, by Tina Wexler at ICM (NA).

How is this for one of the best kept secrets? :)

Friday, December 14, 2007

Friday 5

1. Christmas Brunch at the nursing home: not bad at all except for the powdered eggs. What? For ONE DAY OUT OF THE WHOLE FREAKIN' YEAR they can't say "screw the cholesterol" and let these old folks chow down on the real thing? But it was a beautiful brunch, with a chocolate fountain for dipping fresh fruit. Coffee: undrinkable. Candied sweet potatos: awesome!

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Beth, Hubby, Grandma, Me, and Miss R.

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Grandma is smiling, but secretly thinking...

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"What the heck is Miss R. doing with MY fuzzy little bear?!?"

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Grandma and the Jolly Clauses

Note: Santa said "HO! HO! HO!" in spite of intense media pressure to come up with a more suitable phrase


2. I survived the first 3 days on my new floor without being assaulted, spit at, or even cussed out. The fact that I stayed behind the desk 90% of the time may have had something to do with it. By yesterday, though, I was raring to go. Seriously. I think I'm psyched up for...psych!

3. Went to Borders last night, worked on my paranormal and started something new. Which meant yesterday I:
a. got up at 5:15 a.m.
b. worked till 3:30 p.m.
c. stayed at Borders till 11 p.m.
d. went to bed at 1:30 a.m.
e. got up at 5:15 again today. For no particular reason. Go figure.

4. I haven't bought One. Single. Thing. for Christmas. I just can't get into the holiday spirit. I have way too much stuff on my mind, between the new job, hubby's NO job, and--

5. A difficult decision I have to make SOON.

Ho, ho, ho, indeed.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

More Horoscope (yeah, you think I'm nuts, riiight?)

Yesterday: The topsy-turvy time is nearly over and now that the storm is subsiding, you must keep your eyes open wide so you can make the most of what you've learned. The radical solutions that you thought about last week need to be executed. Careful conservation of energy allows you to maximize your potential for success.

Today: Your most creative ideas can lift you beyond your expectations now as long as you stay committed to having fun. Don't be afraid to play all your cards, for there's really no reason to keep anything hidden anymore. Either you'll get what you want or you won't. Accept the consequences of your decisions and move on to what is next.

And people wonder why I believe in these things. :)

Saturday, December 8, 2007

MUSINGS

So the storm has passed. I'm happy with my decision. If not "happy," then "satisified." Satisfied is good.

It looks like God decided to open that window after all.

(My friends on LJ know what storm I'm referring to. The details a private, so I've loicked the posts over there and can't really elaborate on this blog)

Today I spent at Borders, working on my paranormal. This was the ghost story I started for NaNo 3 years ago. I'd been working on it diligently, subbing chapters to my crit group, till my editor and I began revisions on Before/After. So yeah, it hasn't been touched since the end of 2005

AND IT SHOWS!!!

OK, I've written worse. I've also written a lot better. And I wonder if one part of it is "believable" enough--and the scary thing is it's not even one of the "paranormal" parts! So I'm just running through what I'd already written and slashing out HUGE sections (about 10K so far) of mindless yadda-yadda-let's-see-how-much-crap-I-can-throw-in-to-UP-this-friggin-word-count-blah-de-blah. MC Liza vacillates between "highly irritating" "exeedingly bitchy" and "beyond pathetic"--none of which will endear any readers, of course.

Siiigh.

Yes, this is a challenge, and very, very different from what I'm used to writing. For instance, it's:

1. Past tense, not present.
2. 3rd person POV, not first.
3. Multiple POVs instead of only one.
4. Paranormal, as opposed to...well, whatever the other two are supposed to be. ;)
5. Adult. Not YA.

I'm undecided about this. For one thing, it's sat so long I may never be able to fully revive it. For another thing, I'm not entirely confident I can make the transition from YA to adult. I'm not even sure I should try, for reasons I may discuss in a later blog.

Heh. Or not.

BUT--!!! It's something to keep me occupied while I wait to find out if Shawna finds a home. Besides, I'm re-e-e-eally having fun with it (remember when you used to write purely for fun?). I mean, ghosts and blood and guts and sex and murder...what else could you ask for to pass the time? ;)

PS: I want to add that TODAY is my wedding anniversary! And after selfishly spending the day glued to my computer and guzzling espresso, I returned home to discover that hubby had secretly prepared a beautiful meal! This is the first time in cough-cough years we did not go out to dinner together, just the two of us, to celebrate. The kids joined us tonight and we all toasted "Mommy and Daddy" with Asti Spumanti and topped off a fabulous filet mignon dinner with French silk pie.

I heart my family. Heart them, heart them, heart them!!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

HAPPY HANUKAH!

Happy Hanukah to all, and best wishes for a beautiful, blessed season!


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xox

Sunday, December 2, 2007

YIKES

"You are right on the edge of something grand and yet you may be hesitant to trust your intuition now, even if you can feel it in your bones. You may be a bit overwhelmed, even frightened, at the magnitude of what lies ahead. Nevertheless, maintain a state of high alert, for it's crucial that you're ready to make your move at a moment's notice. There's no need to rush anything; you'll know exactly when to act."

Oh. My. God.

This is either:

1. A job.

2. Or it has something to do with the EXCELLENT feedback I've gotten on my manuscript--which is still being reviewed.

3. I will find the source of the smell coming from a corner in my family room.

4. All three.

5. None of the above.

I need to stop reading these things. They make me insane.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Horrorscope

Financial limitations could put a crimp in your party plans today. It may be that you don't have enough funds to play the way you want to. A shortage of time is another thing that could prevent you from spontaneously engaging in an activity just for the fun of it. Consider all your resources before spending what you don't have.

Well, well. What frickin' genius came up with THIS tidbit of brilliance?

Note to my anonymous drive-by posters who lately pop in, voice a (usually snarky) disagreement, and then disappear without a trace: What do think I'll do, hunt you down? Trust me. I don't have the time, the energy, or a single iota of interest in pursuing you through cyberspace.

Friday, November 30, 2007

NaNo: DAY 30

51,230 words!

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p.s. Same time next year?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Checking Grade Level

FYI: For those of you trying to figure out how to determine which grade level you're writing on, what you have to do is click on spell check...when the box opens up, click on "Options" and be sure to check "Show Readibility Statistics." After you complete the spell check, the final box will pop up and you'll see at the bottom: Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

NaNo: DAY 28

This good news is this:
NaNoWriMo
50000 / 50000 (100%)

The bad news I'm not ready to share yet. No, it has nothing to do with Novel #2 (which is under consideration) and nobody died. I'm just not ready to blog about it yet.

Two more days, NaNoers!!! GO, GO, GO-O-O-O!!!

Readability?

Yeah, poor OPHELIA LAUGHS was bent out of shape because her blog reads at a junior high level.

My blog, on the other hand:

cash advance

So, Holly. Feel better, lol?

Which actually, it makes sense. When I check the readability statistics on my ms(s), it consistently holds at a fourth grade level.

Before/After: 4th grade

Say the Word: 4th grade

My unfinished (adult) paranormal: 4th grade

Wait, wait, wait! My ADULT PARANORMAL reads on a 4th grade level?

Only Angelo (WNIP...which means "work NOT in progress" lol) topped out at the upper end of 5th grade. The one story I deliberately tried to write at a lower level.

Which makes we wonder "what" I'd have to write if I wanted it to read on, say, a 12th grade level. Or even 9th? A college textbook? My doctorate thesis for M.I.T.?

OK, so now I am verrry curious: Anyone want to share their own statistics? What grade level do you write at?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

2k7 Release: CHESS RUMBLE by G. Neri

A BIG welcome to Marcus, the main character in the new MG graphic novel (yes!!) CHESS RUMBLE by fellow 2k7er G. NERI:

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School Library Journal: (And is this a fabulous review or what???) `In my 'hood, battles is fought every day,' quips Marcus, an angry middle schooler on the brink of big trouble. His words, rife with frustration, tumble across page after page in free-flowing verse as he paints a picture of his quickly fading innocence. In the short time since his sister's death, memories of eating ice cream and giggling have been replaced by the bleak reality of a persistent bully, fist fights, and an absent dad. After begrudgingly meeting CM, Chess Master, the school's `bad dude' chess club adviser, an extended `battle' metaphor unfolds, concluding as Marcus takes responsibility for his own actions and moves his fighting off the street and onto the chessboard. . . . Chess Rumble works, and works well. Neri expertly captures Marcus's voice and delicately teases out his alternating vulnerability and rage. The cadence and emotion of the verse are masterfully echoed through Watson's expressive acrylic illustrations. Blacks, whites, and grays echo the concrete world of Marcus's urban home and, even more so, his despairing mood. Scattered chess pieces evoke the crescendo of the boy's temper. The closing scene tenderly catches tough-guy Marcus in a smile as he pounds fists with CM before sitting down to do battle, a stark contrast to his opening image, one dominated entirely by his fist. This book will become a standby pick for reluctant readers, who will be pulled in before they know it by the story's quick pace and the authenticity of Marcus's voice and experience.

Congratulations, G! xox This one is definitely on My List!

Edited to add: I just found out from G's blog that CHESS RUMBLE has been named a School Library Journal Pick of the Day! Woo-hoo! Go, go, go! :)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Congratulations! You Just Won Yourself a Full-Body Cast!

According to my horoscope, I am going to fall in love with someone today--yeah, TODAY--and I shouldn't try to "deny my attraction."

Um, don't think so. Moving on...

Ever manage to almost kill yourself 3 different way in less than 15 seconds? It's surprsingly easy.

1. Nature calls at 4:45 a.m. Correction: Nature screams in your ear and beats you over the head with a flaming branch. So you roll over to jump out of bed--and realize you are already ON the edge of the bed. The floor comes at you fast. Luckily you break your fall by hanging yourself on your computer cord.

2. Rush into the bathroom without turning on the light because A. that wastes a second, and B. you don't want to BLIND yourself, right? Promptly step on down the hand-held Poker game your spouse lovingly (insidiously?) left on the floor. Yes, it'll move like a skateboard under your foot. You'll get to the toilet faster--minus a few lumbar discs.

3. Sit down (in the dark) and realize (too late) someone left the toilet seat up. Not only is this a much farther drop than you anticipated (ah, think of the possibilities: cracked tailbone, more slipped discs, fractured skull) but your a$$ is now FULLY SUBMERGED in a bowl of ice water and your knees roughly in the vicinity of your ears.

Now I wonder, am I worth more dead than alive??? Why do I suddenly feel like Doris Day in Midnight Lace?

Well, on the bright side, I am off today and plan to wrap up this NaNo business over the next couple of days.

............If I survive!!!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Re: Richie Partington

By now a lot of you have already heard--

"High profile local librarian fired over opposition to book banning by principal:

"A day after informing the District Superintendent that he saw no reason to meet with the principal who had banned a highly-regarded children's book -- until the principal had actually read the book that he had banned -- Sebastopol librarian and author Richie Partington was fired from his position as Library Consultant to the Bellevue Union School District in Santa Rosa, California." (from Richie's MySpace page)

The book banned by the principal (how much power does he have?) is The Last Book in the Universe by Rodman Philbrick, a multi-award winning MG novel and one of YALSA's 100 Best of The Best Books for the 21st Century.

The principal apparently objected to the reference to "gangs" in this novel. Partington's objection, I believe, is that the principal never even read the book, that he "banned" the book on that basis alone, with no intention of reading it.

So where is the discussion???

Richie's credentials are amazing. He has spent YEARS promoting reading and literacy with his book reviews, youth seminars, teaching, and committe work (including a three-year term on ALA's Best Books for Young Adults committee and the upcoming Caldecott Awards). Of course he also holds a special place in my heart-- because he gave Before/After its very first review.

Richie is urging his supporters to write to his local newspaper, The Press Democrat, to voice their opinions and hopefully bring this situation to light.

Thanks!

Friday, November 23, 2007

NaNo: Day 23

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
42,773 / 50,000
(85.5%)

Wow. I feel 100% better. :)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Visitor

Warning: do not keep bird food on the floor.

Beth found a mole in the bag. Not only did she "find" it in the bag--she sat and watched it for 10 minutes while it scurried back and forth between the bag and the DVD speaker, neatly and unconcernedly depositing the bird seed for future consumption. Back and forth, back and forth. Hubby picked the speaker up and shook it. There had to be a pound of birdseed in there.

The speaker went out with the garbage. The mole is now...somewhere.

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One of these days I will break down and vaccuum.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

It's Official

Novel #2 has Officially Been Submitted.

Squeeeee!

Drinks are on me!

Monday, November 19, 2007

NEWS, and a Monday Memory

Revisions (#2) are finished! My agent is a genius. I had so much fun with this. Keep your fingers crossed we can start submitting this baby soon. Maybe I can get back to my NaNo monster now?

Yesterday was Family Day at the nursing home. Again, there were Very Few Families to be seen. Do these people NOT have families, or do the families simply never show up for these things. An enormously depressing thought.

Picture a room jammed full of seniors in wheelchairs; an elderly "deejay" playing polkas and big band music on his keyboard; aides passing around cider and, well, some kind of fluffy-doughed treats with meat in the middle (never did figure out what it was, but I ate it, of course); and one lively lady pushing her walker around in cicles, shuffling her feet in time to the music. She does that at all these parties. She's the only one.

Grandma and BFF Miss R. wisecracked, as usual, while Miss R. kicked her legs up and down from her perch on her rollater. I noticed half-hearted clapping in time to the music. A few smiles here and there. Nodding heads. Gnarled fingers tapping the tables. The occasional snore from the few residents who slept through the whole thing. The activities dude raced from wheelchair to wheelchair in an attempt to get the (mostly unimpressed) residents involved.

In our corner, we were pretty lively--I spiced the "party" up even more by snapping candid pictures with my cell phone and then passing it around. Hysterical! Grandma has what I call a Gumby face--she can stretch it into the funniest expressions imaginable. Miss R. is a wild woman! Trust me, these two feisty old broads RULE that nursing home.

This is not a "Monday Memory," exactly. But that room yesterday was filled with other people's memories. Every tune they played held a special meaning for someone. Music they danced to in the past with their long-dead, sorely missed spouses. Songs they sang to their children as they tucked them into bed.

And I know what many of them thought as they sat, trapped in their wheelchairs, sipping apple cider, eyes vacant and lonely above the timid, shaky smiles.

They thought: Where is my family? Why I am sitting here all alone?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Story of a Girl: NBA Finalist!

Fellow 2k7er SARA ZARR, National Book Award finalist (YAY!) shares her fabulous experience at the National Books Awards ceremony.

Many, many congratulations to you, Sara, and to STORY OF A GIRL! xox

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A Little Tip...

A. Smart thing to do with a marked-up ms from your agent/editor:

1. stack pages neatly
2. punch holes
3. place in heavy-duty 3-ringed binder

This makes it very convient to lug around. You don't lose pages, you can mark them easily, and fold back certain ones to make your place or help you remember a section you need to work on. I did this the first time. It worked wonderfully!

B. Stupid thing to do with a marked-up ms from your agent or editor:

1. schlep all 400+ pages around in the original mailing envelope because for some reason you're too lazy this time to do number A.
2. get them mixed up, of course
3. be sure to let the whole shebang fall out of the envelope outside in the pouring rain, your agent's felt-tip-pen scribble notes dissolve into a green blur, and you're stuck with 400+ soggy-out-of-order-totally-unreadable-pages. Oh, and bump your head in your frantic scramble under the car to retrieve the pages.

Owww...

Friday, November 16, 2007

NaNo: Day 16

No words to post. I got my revisions from my agent. I'm buckling down with these and hopefully will have them finished by Monday.

YAY!!!!

Too Funny!

OK, we've been working hard--how about a few giggles from agent Rachel Vater's blog?

Blasted by "Not Acting My Age" Blogger

I stumbled across a Very Unkind Review by a blogger named Paul Goldschmidt who called Before/After "An incredibly dreary and down read, recommended for masochists only" and described Martha as "a heroine who has nothing but anger and bad luck and never ever manages to grow" in this "depressing and unnecessary" novel.

After receiving so many positive letters from kids (and adults) who tell me how much they loved the book--including the mother of one young girl who wrote to thank me for answering her daughter's email, and added that she believed God had brought my book into their lives...my reaction to this review is simply, "Meh."

Carry on, Paul. Sorry you thought it sucked.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

NaNo: Day 13

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
34,938 / 50,000
(69.9%)

Review from Becky's Books

A review from another blogger/reviewer who, yes, really gets Before/After: Becky's Book Reviews (Note: she meant "mother's abusive boyfriend," not "mother's abusive mother"). She is also on LJ as BECKYBOOKS.

Thank you, Becky!!! xox

Monday, November 12, 2007

It Even Happens to Stars

"PEOPLE reports that Jolie's leather slacks split during her red carpet walk. Pitt placed his hand strategically on her pants to shield them from the paparazzi. It wasn't the only carpet mishap. Jolie also stepped in gum and it stuck to her Christian Louboutin heels."

1. How do you split leather? Rather, how can somebody that thin manage to split anything?

2. Bubblegum on the freaking Red Carpet? Man, somebody's head is sooo gonna roll! Bummer about the shoes.

3. I came out of a public bathroom in a Very Ritzy Restaurant once with my black velvet skirt tucked into my pantyhose. A fellow (male) patron was kind enough to point it out. Thank God the paparazzi missed that little mishap. :)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

NaNo: Day 10

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
26,843 / 50,000
(53.7%)


Well, I don't hear the Fat Lady singing YET! :)

Friday, November 9, 2007

Friday 5

1.
Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
23,019 / 50,000
(46.0%)


Scenes after scene, none of them leading anywhere. I don't remember ever being this disorganized unless, ya know, I'm in the kitchen trying to cook or something.

2. More revisions on the way from my agent (Pam, are you ready for another trip to Deliverance country???). I should be getting 3/4 of the ms tomorrow, mostly tightening it up a bit and--big drawn-out siiiigh!--fixing more typos. I do have a serious problem with that and I wonder if there's a technical name for it. Aside from "stupid" that is. Heh.

This, of course, means I may have to drop out of NaNo.

3. Tomorrow, a trip to Kent State and the SCBWI brunch. What to wear, what to wear.

4. Hair cut and delightfully rinsed with a darker shade for fall.

5. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my sister Mary!! xoxoxo --who, BTW, read Shawna and loves her. But of course, she's my sister. She's supposed to love everything about me.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

NaNo: Day 8

Well, $500 later I have HEAT again. Yay!

And I didn't hit the halfway point, but I came pretty close:

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
21,003 / 50,000
(42.0%)


Keep writing!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Just Out -- The Band: FINDING LOVE by D.L. Garfinkle

New Release! THE BAND: Finding Love by Debra Garfinkle:

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Book description: They have a hit song. Now it's time for a road tour...The latest book in the edgy teen series that comes with a free song download!

It's summer break and Amber Road is touring. Fans love them, and their music is strong, but their emotions are fragile.

Tracie is worried. She's finally able to let go of her ex-boyfriend Carter and be happy for him and Sienna. Will she ever find love for herself?

Mark is confused. The band has a shot at the big time. So why is his girlfriend Lily, Amber Road's lead singer, acting so secretive and mysterious? Is she cheating on him?

Sienna is thrilled. At last Carter is her boyfriend and she's performing better than ever. But can she handle making the band and a new relationship work?

Tracie, Mark, and Sienna know that Amber Road has a real chance to score a record deal-as long as their love lives don't trip them up...again.

A HUGE CONGRATS to Debby (and yeah, girl, that cover is awesome)!! xox

NaNo: Day 7

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
15,127 / 50,000
(30.3%)


I'm attending an SCBWI publication brunch on Saturday and I reeeeeeally do need to prepare for that. So my goal is to hit the halfway mark by tomorrow night. Then I can take a breather.

Something tells me this is more of a "pipe dream" than a "goal." :o