Sunday, August 30, 2009


Okay, so It's Monday. Let's have a laugh, shall we?

The Washington Post has published the winning submissions to its yearly

neologism contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternative meanings

for common words.

The winners are:

1. Coffee (n.), the person upon whom one coughs.

2. Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much

weight you have gained.

3. Abdicate (v.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

4. Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.

5. Willy-nilly (adj.), impotent.

6. Negligent (adj.), describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightgown.

7. Lymph (v.), to walk with a lisp.

8. Gargoyle (n), olive-flavored mouthwash.

9. Flatulence (n.) emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.

10. Balderdash (n.), a rapidly receding hairline.

11. Testicle (n.), a humorous question on an exam.

12. Rectitude (n.), the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.

13. Pokemon (n), a Rastafarian proctologist.

14. Oyster (n.), a person who sprinkles his conversation

with Yiddishisms.

15. Frisbeetarianism (n.), (back by popular demand): The

belief that, when you die, your soul flies up onto the roof

and gets stuck there.

16. Circumvent (n.), an opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.

The Washington Post's Style Invitational also asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition. Here are this year's winners:

1. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

2. Foreploy (v): Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

3. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.

4. Giraffiti (n): Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

5. Sarchasm (n): The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

6. Inoculatte (v): To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

7. Hipatitis (n): Terminal coolness.

8. Osteopornosis (n): A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

9. Karmageddon (n): it’s like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.

10. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

11. Glibido (v): All talk and no action.

12. Dopeler effect (n): The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

13. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

14. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

15. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a grub in the fruit you're eating.

And the pick of the literature:

16. Ignoranus (n): A person who's both stupid and an asshole.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My new crush

I'm in the throes of love. New, sparkly, tickle your toes kind of love.

I've got a new novel spewing out. And, I'm kind of excited about it. Can you tell?

It's like nothing I've ever written. It's for a youngish middle-grade reader, and so far, it isn't headed toward the dark side (which I've discovered is an unsettling tendency that I have as a writer--death, poison, danger . . .). It feels cute, fresh and fun--and it's flowing. All I really have right now are a few characters with whom I am fascinated. A general idea of how to solve the main conflict--whatever that conflict is going to end up being . . . who knows?

But, right now, I'm in the stage of letting these weird little characters take me wherever they want, and I'm not letting that critic's voice in at all. Not yet.

I love this phase of the whole process. I'm scribbling down notes in the carpool line--man, I've got to get an actual notebook to carry around with me because I'm running out of gas station receipts.

I've still got major revisions and brainstorming to do on some of my other works. But, right now, I'll just see where this goes (if anywhere). Anybody else out there in a new relationship?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Finish Strong!

Hello Dear Readers :)

Welcome to TTTT (Tell the Truth Tuesday). Today I want to start by telling you that I was a mediocre high school student. That means I didn't have the grades to go to Harvard or Princeton. Which meant that I had to go to a mediocre college, where once again, I got mediocre grades. This tragedy occured due to my obsession with one thing...


Sure, blame it on the boys. I know. I know. No, the truth is that I skipped intensive book studying in favor of studying them. That being said, I now tell my girls (and any college friends I know) to "finish strong!" Now that I've experienced the results of screwing around when it counted, I firmly believe in a strong work ethic. So, whether or not you get good grades isn't the issue with me, it's the working hard part. I want my girls to do their best right up to the wire. And as far as the boys go... They'll always be around. I promise.

This week I had to swallow my own pill. You see, I have this little novel - you may have heard me talk about it. It's the one I say is wicked cool (which it is). Well, WC novel has an issue that needs fixin' and I haven't really wanted to think about it.

But last week, while whippin' up some grits, I was struck by the mother of all ideas. An idea so friggin' cool that it will make the wicked cool novel, epic. But an idea that means that I will have to get inside the book and work like a dog for weeks on end - something I don't really wanna do. I want to work on the glossy, new, second novel that makes me feel like racing Ferrari's. But then I remembered that I need to Finish Strong, even if it breaks my back and hurts my head. So, unlike Little Katie from the 80's, I decided to take Wise Katie from 2000's advice and finish strong.

I have decided that whether or not my novel ends up in a drawer or on the bestseller list, it's going to be the best friggin' novel I can write. And if I don't sell the sucker before I die, surely my children will find a way to, and retire millionaires. That's how good I'm gonna make this damn thing before I allow myself to move on to the next one. I'm scared of the mountain I'm about to climb, but I'm lacing up my boots. If you wanna climb with me, feel free to copy the FS logo that I stole online and post it on the side of your blog too. We can do it together.

Okay, enough of that. Now, for our new Plot This Food Feature (which will end all of our posts, much like the typical inspirational quote). SF and I will share with you our current favorite craving. A craving du jour, if you will. The only requirement is that the item must be available for purchase within the Oxford city limits.

Drum roll please.... My craving of the day is from Leonore's. Artichoke bottoms sauteed in garlic butter, topped with jumbo lump crabmeat and sauce bearnaise.

Ahhhh I love the south.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Feelin' Savvy

I am sick, sick, sick that I missed Ingrid Law's breakout sessions in L.A. I knew she was giving one of the keynotes so I'd get to hear her speak anyway, and there were some illustration talks that I wanted to hit instead. Big mistake!

I have just finished reading Savvy, and I have to say, it is a wonderful book. I love Ingrid's use of strange, wackadoodle words like fizgiggly, hobbledehoy, and shilly-shally. It is such a tricky thing to write for this age (middle grade)--especially in first person and especially using such rich poetic language. Ingrid walks a thin line, never falling off into wordy, overwritten prose, and she stays clear of sappy forced writing. How does she do that???

And, it's not just the writing that is beautiful in Savvy. Her plot is peppered with pink buses, talking tattoos, and a stuttering Bible salesman. Her characters are both silly and deep and full of secrets and wonderful magic. This is one of those books that I can't wait to pass down to my ten-year-old.

But, here is the best news. Ingrid Law will be HERE. In Oxford, Mississippi. This spring. She is our 2010 Young Author's Fair author, and she'll be speaking to our entire fifth grade (and each fifth grader in Oxford--over 500 kids--will get a free copy of her book). I am beyond excited!


Friday, August 21, 2009

Speeding Cars and Second Novels.

While KISS is still under consideration, I recently started my second novel and I have to say, I have never enjoyed writing as much. Maybe this is the norm when you start a new book, but I feel like this is the book I was born to write.

I'm not kidding. This book is my destiny...

I am so revved up by 4:00 p.m, after a day of writing, that I have the new urge to get in a fast car and blast down some German highway.

Just sayin'

PS. Since I am being honest these days, I must confess...Starting this novel caused a few weeks of severe anxiety. Which was weird and scary. I was nervous that I couldn't get what was in my head transferred properly. Thank God it only lasted a few weeks... And you know what changed? When I got stuck, I pretended it was a movie. I sat back and tried to think about how what I was writing might look on screen. What would be the funnest movie version of my concept? And that did it!

Write on people!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I have disappointed . . .

our readers who have heard of my great note-taking skills. I know there are people out there panting and salivating, waiting for my legendary notes from the L.A. SCBWI.

Here's the deal.

I did take some great notes, but there were people there taking better notes. Yes. I'm talking about Team Blog. They went to every single keynote and, since there were several of them, they went to every single breakout session as well. And, they blogged their tails off. I bow down to Team Blog.

Instead of my usual court reporter transcription of my notes, I thought I'd just hit some highlights and share some quotes that really hit home with me.

Sherman Alexie: After he was published he began to hear from teens from all socio-economic groups with the same theme: that of feeling trapped--i.e. "my choices are being made for me."

"Things change when you can get a kid to identify with someone unlike himself."

David Weisner: Worlds within worlds.

Steven Malk: Don't dibble dabble--you must go in all the way.

Courtney Bongiolatti: You need a very obvious climax in a picture book (subtle is not the way to go).

Jordon Brown: The first book you acquire is like your first sexual experience.

Marietta Zacker: Resident "passionista".

Kadir Nelson: Both the art and the text have to speak to both a personal truth and a universal truth.

Eve Bunting: Asks herself "is this worth saying" after she finishes a manuscript.

Melinda Long: Picture book must appeal to both children and adults--adults should be able to say "I remember when I felt this way."

Karen Cushman: How to live a successful life--show up, pay attention, tell the truth, and let go of the outcome.

Ellen Hopkins: Expect to work hard, and don't make Everest your first climb. Expect switchbacks.

Jordon Brown: Great voice and great character are what create a great plot.

Dan Yaccarino: Always do your personal work, it will feed your professional work. And, try to create as many opportunities as you can.

Holly Black: Fantasy must have elements of fear and awe (with just fear, it's horror) as well as a human subplot that starts earlier and ends later than the fantasy plot.

Richard Peck: "You can teach children or you can fear their parents, but you cannot do both."

"We can't be fired, we're unemployed" [writers].

"Story is always a question, never an answer."

"We need literature that celebrates the individual in the most conformist generation in history."

Elizabeth Law: "If I can go on a blind date in New York, then you can submit your manuscript."

Kathleen Duey: Story is connective tissue.

Now, go forth and create.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Brace Yourselves...

Okay world. I'm about to get honest. Before I started the search for an agent, I felt like I could be honest here. Like I could discuss the pains of plot, the struggle with character, and my inability to outline. It's okay to write about writing, apparently, just not about the struggle of actually selling your book.

OF COURSE, I have received some rejections -We all have. But whenever I wanted to post about it, one of my friends would say, "You better not say you've been rejected... an agent might be reading." Ooo scary. So, slowly but surely, I began to blog about sometimes boring topics, just in case "an agent" was reading. But who really cares that I saw a good movie? Seriously, who wants to read about that?

Here's the deal. Even agents know that this biz is hard! Make that effing hard! And I'd rather be honest, than tell about my daughter's dance recital or my husband's deep sea fishing trip. It seems like my friends (who are all in the process of subbing to either agents or editors) have quit blogging about it. We email each other with The Truth... But here, not so much. And now I look forward to my email, but have all but stopped reading blogs. (well, at least not like I used to.)

Why can't we be honest on our blogs? Are agents and editors really more interested in someone that has never had rejection in their life? Or someone that works their ass off and with the help of a posse of uber supportive friends, makes it? Shouldn't we have Honesty Monday, instead of Wordless Wednesday? Or Poetry Friday? Are those topics just fillers for what we really wanna talk about?

I, for one, am thinking about breaking free and letting the chips fall where they may. I have a feeling The Boss Man is gonna be proud. He calls the shots anyway, so what's the big deal?

PS. Since we're being honest and open, I wanted to post a pic of myself fresh out of the shower, makeup free, and in my robe. But it was far too hideous to even consider! Even I have my limits :-)

PLOT THIS!!!! (said with rock star hands thrown down in true Take That! style)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Perfect Ending

So the last night of the conference SF and I decided to go see Julie and Julia. And let me tell you, it was the PERFECT way to end the weekend. What an adorable movie! And who knew it had so much to do with publishing?! Bring tissues.

Afterwards, we decided we needed a hunk o' butter, or bread and cheese, but since we are lazy, we just slipped into Houstons for some spinach dip and a beer.

Now back at home, I am taking the week off and doing things like cooking and cleaning and reading Graeme's query. I also need to join Skype because my peeps out there want to see me in person when we chat :-) Fun, huh? Okay, how about everyone join and we can have a fun teleconference.

That's it!


Monday, August 10, 2009

We miss you already!

Great times. Great friends.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Hello from SCBWI L.A.

We're having a blast out here! We're brain-frazzled and can't post, but here we are at breakfast this morning with Shelli Wells and Sherrie Peterson (aka Solvang Sherrie).

Stay tuned for great conference "one liner inspirations" . . .

sf and katie

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Let me Count the Ways

How do I love my Bloggy Friends...

Ahhh - Let me count the ways.

Just kidding. There are too many of you to list. But I swear, I am overflowing with writerly luv for all my peeps!!!!!!

SO, puh-leese make sure you stop and chat with me in LA if you recognize me. And SF too!!! Like I told Jess, "We're nice - we're southern for Pete's sake!" And we'll do the same.

And Lila, Ms. J, and Elana, you're on my bad list for not coming. Probation sisters, Probation!

Hearts and Rainbows,

P.S. Ms J. You can be off probation because you don't really write for the little chickens. Hold that - nope. You're back on. Vegas is just too close.

P.P.S. Shelli just wrote the greatest post about conference going and meeting her bloggy friends. Check it!

Monday, August 3, 2009

L.A. Countdown

The Countdown begins! Only four more days until we leave for the L.A. SCBWI Conference. And, oh my goodness, I'm not ready. Does anyone else out there wish that this conference was one month later? It would be great if it were AFTER the kids were settled into school. And, AFTER I've had a block of time. Alone. To work.

I'm looking forward to this year's conference more than ever--great friends, great speakers . . . I'm looking for some great inspiration and help with my work. My big plan is to come home from the conference ON FIRE and ready to tackle my wip (a middle grade Southern mystery).

Plus, I've signed up for the portfolio showcase (as of this morning). I'm nervous about it because my portfolio isn't slick, but I hated not to do it. Maybe I'll get some good feedback--or maybe I'll just be embarrassed--but I didn't want to miss such a great opportunity. And, I've got my notebook ready for my crazy note-taking! Law school was a waste. I should have been a court reporter.

Ugh. I haven't even thought about packing. That may have to wait until Thursday morning.

Man, I can't wait to settle into that crunchy polyester seat on the plane. L.A. bound, baby!!


Saturday, August 1, 2009

Tweaking and Tomatoes

I have spent the last three weeks madly tweaking and perfecting KISS & TELL. And I must say, it is a thing of beauty. (literally, it's chock full o' makeup)

I was planning on going to the fair this week as a reward for all of my work but it was rained out, darnit! So, what did I do? What any good southern gal does of course, I baked! And the object of my affection was none other than a Tomato Pie.

A tomato pie can only be made in the summer and requires few ingredients, so I suggest you try one of your own. I don't like to use a recipe but you can google and find loads. Here is what I do.

First, I slice about 4 tomatoes and let 'em drain in a colander in the sink. You can salt them at this point which helps with the draining. While that's happening, I pre-bake a deep dish crust at 400 for 10 minutes. I stab it with a fork a few times first.

Then I go tweak my book or email or something.

After a few hours, when the maters are all dry, I sprinkle some parmesan cheese in the bottom of the cooled crust and layer them suckers in there. Be sure to toss in some fresh basil. The kind in the jar will NOT do. It must be fresh. And then, for the top, I just combine some shredded sharp cheese (about 2 cups) and a half a cup of mayo and spread it around.

I also shake some pepper in somewhere, and green onions if I feel like it (which is not often).

That's it! Then, I bake that baby for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees and try not to inhale it :-) Maybe you can try one too :-)

P.S. Guess which ARC I'm reading on the plane to LA??

Lindsey's Leavitt's Princess For Hire!!! I can't wait!

Our Motto

Our Motto