Monday, December 29, 2008

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

I thought, perhaps, I should blog about the severed Barbie head photo that I put up on Facebook.  She has created quite a stir--and probably caused terror ridden nightmares for a few of my close friends.  She even inspired a blog post written by my friend Christy Raedeke.  

This head belongs to one of my childhood Barbies which was given to me in a huge batch of Barbie paraphernalia by my babysitter.  Notice that she has real eyelashes--she's from the sixties (and in pristine condition probably would have been worth some $$).

How did she get in this eerily disturbing condition?  Anyone out there have a big brother? Well, I do.  He is five years older than I and spent much of his childhood figuring out ways to psychologically torture me.  My brother had GI Joes complete with jeeps, guns, and a giant orange surveillance tower. Whenever I would be happily playing with my Barbie Star Stage and Galleria, my brother and his friends would carefully plan a strategic ambush of my hot pink world.  They would storm in and kidnap as many Barbies as they could fit into the jeep.  Then they would strip them down, cut their hair and hang them naked from the top of the GI Joe tower.

Here, you see the sole survivor of these torturous raids on Barbie-land.  I'm not sure what has happened to her body.  The last time I saw it, it was covered in teeth marks and planted by our swing set.  

So, I ask you, is it any wonder I have written and illustrated a creepy picture book full of spiders and headless dolls?  And, should I be worried that my five-year-old actually enjoys playing with the severed doll head??


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Katie's Ski Trip

Hey there! I am back. We had a spectacular ski vacation but sadly, I can't get any pictures to upload? You can see them all on Facebook.

I can't think yet about writing except that I was STOKED about my killer new book idea that involves snowboarders. So I read snowboarding magazines all the way home to get cool with their lingo. And it cracked me up! I can't wait to write about it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

Aahhh Revision...

I recently finished my third serious set of revisions and guess what? I LOVED it! And here I was believing revision sucked.

I think I was in such a rush to write the book, that it always felt like an ADD supersonic tangle of ideas and emotions. And although I got everything down, there were scenes that didn't fully capture what I wanted to say. But SF found those areas in her critique and left me notes that said things like, "Kick this up a notch!" or "I need to feel her pain more!" Interestingly, after talking to some other writers about this, I've discovered that most people hate these kinds of requests. But for me, revision allowed me to be still and really enjoy my book in a way that I had not experienced while writing it.

It felt like slowly savoring a delicious chocolate torte. The process was relaxing, thoughtful and yummy. Honestly, I adored getting into some large mess of dialogue and smushing it all around until it was perfect. In fact, I had a cool idea yesterday and may revise a little more.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Today, I got to participate in a real live book signing with the "Red Dog Writer's Group".  They are a group of talented, award-winning Mississippi writers who have published short story anthologies for the last couple of years. They were kind enough to ask me to submit something for their latest book Mad Dogs and Moonshine.  

While I don't usually write for the adult market, I do have a few short stories lurking around in the files of my computer.  So, I sent one to the editors (full disclosure here--one of the editors is my aunt :-)) and it was included in the anthology.

I really, really appreciate this group for allowing me to be included in their latest publication. They have been writing together and going to conferences for years, and a few years ago, they decided that they wanted to get some of their work in front of the public.  Their short stories are as diverse as the group, and they give all of their profits to the Humane Society.

It was fun to get a glimpse of what a book signing will be like . . . someday  . . . when one of my children's books gets published . .

A HUGE thank you to everyone who came out.  Thanks for being such supportive friends!!!


Friday, December 12, 2008

One Step Closer...

So today I met SF at my office (ie: the coffee shop. Yes - it has a fireplace and leather club chairs!) in order to hear her critique of my wicked cool manuscript. (I'm still calling it that even though it has suffered a beating and is slightly less cool than previously thought.) The critique was wonderful, and hysterical, and thoughtful, and challenging. I have much to do.

We are laughing in our picture not only because my favorite coffee guy Tim was forced to photograph us (Thanks Tim! He swore he'd read our blog now.) But also because SF found SO many problems in my manuscript that I couldn't help but laugh at times. And I think I could laugh some more at the idea that I almost sent this gem out before it was ready! WHOA NELLIE! Patience Katie, Patience...

Anyway, after it was all over, I was unexpectedly fired up to get back to work. In fact, I was secretly sad that the kids get out in one week (I'll take that back if you tell anyone), because I truly want to just sink into that leather chair and disappear into my computer for a few weeks.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Critical Eyes

First of all, I want to say that the picture to your left has absolutely NOTHING to do with this post.  I'm just a little jealous of all of Katie's cool pictures . . . except maybe I'm trying to look "critical".

I've been reading manuscripts over the last week for some of my writer friends.  First, I read a very cool YA thriller by Shelli Johannes Wells which is full of amazing, page-turning suspense.  Great characters . . . great book.  I can't wait to see it on the shelves.

Right now, I'm in the middle of Katie's very sexy, very intriguing YA novel.  I don't want to give anything away, but she's right--it's wicked cool.

Critiquing manuscripts is tricky business.  I tend to be overly heavy-handed with my comments, and I always try to remind my writer friends how subjective critiques are.  My new favorite website is Shannon Hale's.  In the section of her site called "Mincemeat",  she gives some really juicy advice for writers.  She also addresses how to take (and dish out) critique suggestions. She says, ". . .remember--others can identify the things that aren't working, but no one can tell you how to fix them.  Unfortunately, that's the sole burden of the author."  She also talks about the importance of recognizing when someone understands what it is you are trying to do as a writer.  If you feel like someone doesn't "get" you, you should not give a whole lot of weight to that person's comments.

So . . . I'm trying hard to write notes suggesting problems without suggesting how to fix them.  And, I completely expect my writer friends to ignore any comments that they think are completely off-base.  That said, I'm loving doing this, and I'm learning so much about the craft and structure of writing novels.   I've had a bit of a break from my own WIP, and I'm ready to get back to it with fresh, critical eyes.

Friday, December 5, 2008

I've Kissed and Told.

I am FINISHED! Woo Hoo!

word count : 56,726

pages: 240ish

Title: Kiss and Tell

Genre: YA Suspense

Premise: Top Secret and Wicked Cool

Now what? Submit and wait... and wait....

Mental State: Half excited, half terrified!

I think I wasn't prepared for the anxious fear I would have at the thought of people reading it. Not other writers so much (except I really hope they like it), but more like my parents, and my non-writer friends.

Also, I have found that since I'm not yet published, when I talk about "my book" to most people, they are like, "uh huh... So when is soccer practice?" Or they say, "You're finished with your book? What did you read?" So, I've realized that to discuss trying to get a book deal is almost as strange sounding as if I was casually talking about the lottery that I was waiting to win.

Anyway, all of that aside, having just finished writing my first ever novel, I feel like a large and wonderful weight has been lifted. I didn't expect this feeling either, because I literally LOVED the process of writing it. And while I am looking forward to thinking of another one, at least I can leave my laptop at home now, and enjoy skiing with the family over Christmas.

Wish me Luck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(P.S.This weird photo is how I've always envisioned the cover - except with my young teenage main character, instead of moi. And a very wise little bird told me that a boy's face should be coming in from the side all puckered up to kiss her. What? I don't have a say in the cover? ...of the book that hasn't yet sold? Sheesh! Can't a girl dream?


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

'Tis the Season

As I type this post, I'm licking the last few luscious drops of peppermint ice cream from my chin.  I love all things Christmas--the chaos as well as the quiet moments by the fire (who am I kidding?  what quiet moments??).  I tackled the snarls of twisted lights, garland and ribbon over the weekend as I began my haphazard method for decorating my house.  I'll let you know when I get it all thrown together . . .  

During this season, I also feel like I can take bit of a break from the publishing quest--not the writing, just the letters to agents and editors and the mailbox stalking.  I doubt anyone in the publishing industry is reading queries and manuscripts with fervor right now, and I have plenty to work on until January when I feel like it will be safe to send things out (i.e. when my manuscript won't be in danger of being stuffed under a fruitcake on someone's desk . . . . only to be forgotten for years and years).

So enjoy the madness everyone and get your peppermint ice cream while you can!


Our Motto

Our Motto