Monday, November 30, 2009

Random Honesty, volume 1

We have been awarded the "Honest Scrap" award by the two lovely bloggers, Ms. J and Shannon O'Donnell!!! Thanks, Girls! We love us some awards :-)

So now we have to tell you ten honest things about ourselves.


1. I have serious comma issues. I have no idea, where to put them. See?
2. I rarely watch TV and am jealous of Lila's knowledge of all things Bravo. But, I do watch movies. And it is truly a sickness. Anytime I even have a glitch of writer's block, I instant download a movie. And not a scary, or faced paced, or even popular one, usually. Yesterday, it was Kate and Leopold. You remember that one? It probably got crummy reviews, but I will happily watch it again and again and again. I adore it.
3. I know SF and I talk about southern food a lot, but I seriously love it. When we lived in Orange County, we almost went buck wild trying to find mashed potatoes and BBQ. It was impossible to find.
4. I love public speaking. I sometimes day dream about it. But it also makes me nervous, and I sometimes cry mid speech.
5. Just like my character, I am a makeup fanatic. I don't wear a ton but I have always owned a bunch and used to think Sephora was as good as Disney World.
6. SF will be funnier on these and make me second guess all of my answers :-(


Ooooo! The pressure . . .

1. I hate confrontations (sad that I used to be a lawyer). I hate them to the point that I nearly have a panic attack complete with nausea, heart-racing, and crazy convulsions. It's embarrassing.
2. I also hate public speaking--Katie, I'll tag you for help with my, ahem, KEYNOTE! (sorry about the private joke shared by our LA SCBWI crew--I'd try to explain it, but like most private jokes . . . ya had to be there, and it just wouldn't be funny).
3. I am currently addicted to Weeds which stars Mary Louise Parker as a pot-dealing soccer mom. I'm way behind the curve and still on Season One, but it is my favorite guilty pleasure.
4. I have a gigantic crush on Jack Nicholson. Huge.
5. I'm buying lavender bath salts at the Walmart (Dr. Teal's), repackaging it with raffia and cute bags . . . maybe a seashell as a scoop. And, I'm going to give these to all of my friends for Christmas, swearing that I got them at some fabulous spa in Chicago when I was there last month.
6. Uh. Maybe I shouldn't have spilled that last one? If any of our readers are also on my Christmas list, just know that your gift was packed with LOVE. Besides, if you've never tried Dr. Teal's lavender bath soak, you should. His eucalyptus one is dreamy, too.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

My Secret Weapon

I firmly believe that you can't write a book without a highly qualified support team. I have blogged about KISS, Inc. before, but it's true - without the support of a large group of friends, family and other authors, I feel that no one can write a good book. Keep in mind, within this group, I also count those supportive peeps who give kind and helpful rejections. Yep, I am more thankful for these people than almost any. Any, that is, except for one...

... My Secret Weapon.

The main weapon in my arsenal of tricks, is none other than my mother.

Having just finished reading my book for the umpteenth time, she is not only encouraging and persistant in her good advice, but, she's a grammatical genius, helping me locate rogue commas and overused words that pop up like evil terrorists. Her background in poetry and English makes her an indispensable tool for getting my manuscript in tip top shape before it ever even crosses my agent's desk. Mom has single handedly made me a Revision Goddess, a title I flaunt proudly.

Dear Mom,

I could never have done this without you. And for this reason, when I DO sell this sucker, it will be dedicated whole heartedly to you. Thank you so much! I love you :-)


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Speaking of good food...

I took the chickens to my beloved Chevron for lunch today. That's right, you heard me - the Chevron gas station has some killer food - old country kind of food.

Occasionally, when I tell my yankee friends (which my husband thinks is anywhere outside of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and Louisiana) that we're lunching at the gas station, they laugh at me. But today, while paying the lady for my gas/food, I noticed the cover of Bon Appetit magazine, sitting up in a frame on the counter, in which my dear Chevron was written up as a hot spot for food :-)

I said to the lady, "Well isn't that cool!"

And she said, "We were in that Gentleman's magazine a couple of months ago."

"GQ?" I asked.

"That's the one," she said with a smile.

So there, distant friends, I'm not crazy :-)

OH!!!!!! I forgot to mention the fact that Coach O mentions my Chevy in the new movie The Blind Side too!!! Which, by the way, is utterly fantastic! And great for the entire family. RUN, don't walk to see it! It's incredible!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009



See you next week!
SF and Katie

Friday, November 20, 2009

Competitive Yoga??

In yesterday's New York Times, there was an article called "Is the Spirit of Competition in the Soul of Yoga?" It seems that the Choudhurys, the couple most famous for creating Bikram style yoga, are trying to promote yoga as a competitive sport here in the U.S.--with hopes that it will be included in the Olympics someday. Whhhhaaaaaaaaaat??

My favorite quote from the article is this:

“We are not trying to judge any kind of spirituality when they are out there,” Mrs. Choudhury said.

Well Mrs. Choudhury, that's good news. Could you imagine? Ten points for the perfect downward dog. Ten points for an excellently executed side crow. Five point deduction for the slightly spotted aura. Sorry, hon. You must work on your karma if you want to make the 2020 Olympic team.

This whole idea of yoga as a competive sport sends me spinning. Isn't yoga about INNER peace? Isn't the focus on what your body can do--not on what your body can do as compared to everyone else in the room? Doesn't this notion run counter to the entire premise of yogic practice?

As I sat in my kitchen enraged by this article, I realized that by taking this very deliberate step with my writing--the step towards becoming a published writer--I am treating my art the same way. Haven't I introduced competition and the marketplace into my world of quiet introspection and self exploration?

Most of you who are reading this blog are either seeking publication or are already published. So, how do you keep your zen and stay true to your art in the face of the realities of competition and the cut-throat realities of the marketplace?

I guess it's all just a matter of focus and intention--cultivating an ability to keep the art and the marketing separate. Thoughts?


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Passing Time

Well, as today is my birthday *happy giggles* I am torn between wanting time to stop, and time to fly by. Why? Because I, of course, don't wanna be 39 (Great Balls of Fire!!!) But I also REALLY want to see this - which means hurry up Friday! Bring on New Moon!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

So at least that's done . . .

So, I spent Sunday decorating for Christmas.

No. I'm not one of "those" people--you know the ones who send out their Christmas cards the day after Thanksgiving and have their shopping finished in June. I am the crazy person who has agreed to let her house be on tour for the Jr. Auxiliary's Christmas Tour of Homes. And, today a local magazine came over to take some photographs of our dining room mantle.

As I was climbing down from the attic with an armload of whatever was on top of my rubbermaid bins marked "Christmas", I looked by our back door. This is what I saw:

Yes. It is leftover from last year. I never put it up.

So, at least that's done. The mantle has to be reworked when I get all of my stuff out--I just stood in the dark attic and grabbed at random and (in the words of Tim Gunn) "made it work." But the doormat can stay. Maybe even for another year.

And, surely I'm setting myself up for some good karma in the world of children's books. All of the proceeds from the tour go to projects that help children. It's all for a good cause. Keep repeating that to yourself, sf. It's all for a good cause . . .


Saturday, November 14, 2009


If you're looking for keynote speakers on revision...

We're your girls.

Friday, November 13, 2009

It's all good.

At Bible study today we learned that God never wastes our pain. That in his infinite and loving wisdom, He is able to use our suffering for our own good. What a fantastic reminder - and oh, how I thought of my writing journey.

Today, a week or so before Thanksgiving, I am taking this opportunity to remind you (and me) to USE those rejections and disappointments for your benefit! Learn from them! Try to use the comments and the feedback you receive to make your book better! And if not your book, yourself!

And, if you come across a really hard to handle person, use that experience too! Remember that God never wastes these challenges. You are growing in character, and wisdom, and grace and you will be all the better for it!

Relax. It's all good.


P.S. My first comment, Tamika, won the Karmic Kindle!!! Coincidence? I think not! Yay Tamika!!!!!!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Free Books!!

Did the title get your attention?

I am a HUGE Gregory Maguire fan (he's most famous for writing Wicked), and I have just discovered that a friend of mine from college lives down the street from him. They have children the same age and talk about catching the school bus and ballet lessons and birthday parties . . . Can you imagine having conversations like this with Gregory Maguire--I mean, talking to him as if he were a mere mortal???

My friend has hooked me onto a really cool publisher called Concord Free Press, and you can have a Gregory Maguire book for free. You just pledge to donate any amount to charity.

Now, I know most of us are not in a position (YET) to give away our books, but I love this whole concept. And, we can all participate by donating what we would have spent on a book to charity. I'm going to give to our literacy council here in Oxford.
My copy of The Next Queen of Heaven is on its way.

And . . . stay tuned. I've had a crazy week--one that ended in snoopy dancing and champagne sipping!!


Friday, November 6, 2009

Win a Kindle?!

Leave it to Lisa and Laura to come up with the hottest new contest on the block. They are giving away a KINDLE next week to one of their followers!!! (and don't worry, it's not too late to become one. Go! Join the fun!)

Check it out here!

And save the date for their new book!!!!!!!!
From Publisher's Marketplace: Lisa Roecker and Laura Roecker's A Kate Lowry Mystery: THE HAUNTING OF PEMBERLY BROWN, a quick-witted mystery starring a private-school sleuth with attitude and pearls, who receives an email from her dead best friend, to Daniel Ehrenhaft at Sourcebooks, for publication in Spring 2011, by Catherine Drayton at Inkwell Management (NA).

May the best man win! (And by that, I mean me :-)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Some books to consider

I just watched this video because of our friend Kathryn Stockett's book, The Help - and because, according to Ms. J, "John Searles is a wonderful man who knows his stuff." As it turns out, he does. I was interested in several of these titles and may pick them up over the holidays. (I realize it's an older video but I had never seen it.) Check it out. Good stuff :-)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Katie's gone Extreme.

I have fully applied to be on Extreme Home Makeover! Wait. Not to receive a home (My house is more wonderful than I could ever imagine.) I want to be on the show to help build a house for someone else - someone who really does need a new house.

It all happened Sunday night as the chickens and I were eating grilled cheeses and watching the show. Right before our eyes they announced a contest to "get on the bus". Well, faster than you can say turnip greens, we made a b-line for my computer and wrote ourselves a doozy of an application.

Now, do us a favor and cross your fingers so we can say -

Move. That. Bus!


P.S. Those are gonna be my new buddies. We'll be hammerin' together if I get on the show.

And finally for the FAB NEWS OF THE WEEK, Lisa and Laura Roecker just sold their first book!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love them so much I have literally cried over their news thrice! (is that even a word? If not, it should be!) Go Lila! We are so excited for you!!!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Revising, too . . .

Okay, so it's another post about revisions, but Katie and I are both knee deep into them. Since it's November and NaNoWriMo, I have decided to follow The Intern's lead and commit to NaNoReVisMo. The last thing I need to do is start another novel when I've got three of them sitting here begging me for heavy duty revisions . . . not to mention my picture book.

Anyone else in??

Katie's last post referenced a great revision post by Stephanie Perkins. I just read one by Elana Johnson on querytracker that is every bit as helpful. My favorite thing she says to do is "chunk" your manuscript. By this, she does not mean for us to "chunk" our babies into the recycle bin to be turned into newsprint and cereal boxes. No, she suggests that we divide our manuscript up into "chunks" and work on them that way. Great stuff--be sure to read her entire post here!

So here's where I've been all week.

Working on my picture book revisions. Again. Yes. Again. I've changed the ending and a few things at the beginning of the story. This, of course, means that my sketches have to be redone. Again.

I'm not complaining. It keeps getting better with each revision.

I've got my thumbnails on index cards so that I can look at the entire book in one glance and see where pictures need to be changed for variety in pacing or general flow of the story.

And, yes. That is my Tim Gunn bobblehead lording over my revisions. He says things like "Make it work" and "I can't want you to succeed more than you do". He just may be the force to push me through this.

A few more days of sketches and then it's off to novel revisions. See you on the other side.


Our Motto

Our Motto