Saturday, January 30, 2010

Back from the Big Apple!

Wow. Where to begin? First of all, let me prepare you that I took only 2 photos the ENTIRE TIME!!!!!! This was a gigantic mistake and I am thoroughly mad at myself.

Secondly, I am now fashion obsessed as I stayed with my childhood BFF who just so happens to be rather famous in NY because of her mega famous store in SOHO, called KIRNA ZABETE. Now, go get your coffee and check out this video of Sarah and her business partner Beth. It's divine.

Make sure you follow KIRNA ZABETE on facebook and Twitter to keep up with all of the latest runway trends from NY and Paris. Sarah and Beth make fashion fun and accessible. You'll see. They upload photos from all of the private showrooms in Paris so we can see what they like right along with them.

Okay. Back to my trip!

I arrived Monday night and crashed at Sarah's after a glass of vino and some catching up. Tuesday morn I went to visit my rockstar agent, Cheryl, who is even more cute and wonderful in person!!! (She's the gorgeous blonde in the photo) We chit-chatted for a while before the famous Jill Grinberg arrived who was also totally cute and fun. After that, I walked a couple of blocks over to meet SF's agent - the very awesome Joanna Stampfel Volpe (yep - the beautiful brunette) who is just as hip and cool as we all think she is! Jo showed me around her office and then took me underground to introduce me to the NYC subway! Thank Goodness! (I was way too chicken on my own)

From there it was straight over to Kirna Zabete to get Sarah for lunch at my new favorite lunch spot, Le Pain Quotidien. Dee-lish! Then back home to rest up until the uber cool hip-hop class we went to at Sarah's gym. **I know I should have gone shopping at this point but I was exhausted. Midtown wears me out. Even in NYC I'm still a small town girl. In fact, when I go back I will only stay in Tribeca or SOHO hotels. Just sayin'...

An hour or so later it was off to Odeon for drinks and dinner and then home.

Wednesday, I took a cab straight to midtown to do a little shopping before a very secret, but very cool meeting. After buying a military coat at Anthropologie and checking out some other cool shops, I had my meeting and then walked to the 911 memorial. Whoa. I started tearing up and had to leave really quick but was impressed with their plans for Ground Zero. And let me just say that Ground Zero is ginormous!
Then it was back downtown where I played in Century 21 for an hour or so and then back to the west village to meet Agent Cheryl for a drink before dinner at Cafe Cluney. (I hate that I didn't photograph my food like Steph Perk always does. durn)
Cheryl and I were joined by Sarah and another friend, Sarah Beth Turner, who is an up and coming photographer in the city. Check out her website!

then we left and went home, but not before leaving my white coat at the restaurant....

I still don't have it.

I'm hoping Sarah gets it today.


I woke up Thursday to come home and it was snowing!!!!!!!!

Bliss :-)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Superbowl of Advertising

One of the greatest things about going to writing conferences is meeting the other writers. Actually, that IS the greatest thing about conferences. How much fun is it to sit around and dish with people who share your interests, speak your language, and have a GIFT for language? My poor husband would be a lunatic if I didn't have my writer friends to talk with about submissions, rejections, queries, plot diagrams, voice . . . it's a completely different language that we share with our subculture of writers.

Katie and I have been lucky enough to attend the L.A. SCBWI Conference for the past three years, and we've met the greatest people. For example . . . .

I'd like to introduce you to "The Bill Cochran".

Go look at the homepage of his website and look at the quote about him (the one about him being a "tall, goofy, flip-flop wearing guy who does everything from the bottom of his big heart) . . . I'll wait. Oh, and he also has a blog.

Plus, he's written two wonderful picture books:

The Forever Dog (helped us get through the loss of our own beloved "Binx")

My Parents Are Divorced, My Elbows Have Nicknames, and Other Facts About Me

But, the reason that I'm introducing Bill to you now is because he wrote one of the commercials that is going to appear during the Superbowl next weekend!!!! Holy Cow!!! That is, you know, like the SUPER BOWL of commercials. Here's a teaser for his ad for Bridgestone Tires:

“To have a spot run on the Super Bowl is pretty much what we all hope for when you get into the advertising business. The shoot took place over 4 days in October and was followed by countless hours of visual FX wizardry. It was an 8 month journey that will be over in 30 seconds. Yes, that’s right 30 seconds! I hope everyone likes it because I’m very proud of it. The teaser gives a little bit of the story away but not everything, so if you don’t like Spoilers don’t watch. And to all my close friends and supporters in SCBWI all I have to say is “KEYNOTE!”

So, next Sunday don't refill your beer, heat up your queso, or take a bathroom break during the commercials. This one is a must see!!

Way to go Bill!!


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Playing with Dolls

While Katie's hobnobbing in NY, I'm here in Mississippi . . . where it's getting cold again with threats of more "snow" (i.e. a light dusting of frost on the ground which necessitates the closing of all schools and office buildings--but NOT bars or clothing stores, go figure!). Katie--you just might get stuck in NYC because planes can't land in the "snow" . . . bless your heart.

I've heard great reports from Katie. She's met her incredible agent (as well as mine!) and has lots of super-cool things scheduled. I'll wait and let her tell you everything when she gets back.
Meanwhile, I have discovered these lovely ladies which my favorite website, Go Fug Yourself, brought to my attention. View more of them here.

I'm now dying to go sew a bunch of dolls, paint their faces, do their hair, and dress them. We could have a mini Project Runway on my dining room table. I've already got the Tim Gunn bobblehead to offer words of encouragement during the design process.

What do you think, Katie? Are you and your girls in?? Or should we just throw a bunch of naked barbies out on the table and dress them? That would probably be easier . . .


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Katie takes Manhattan

Guess what I'm doing tomorrow?

Hopping a jet to NYC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yep. I'll be there most of the week. Stay tuned for photos :-)


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Dual Twitter Fail.

Sooo last night I decided to "participate" in the #YALITCHAT on Twitter. I write YA, right? All the cool kids are doing it, right? I'm cool, right?


For the purpose of explaining my experience, I shall create a fake feed. I will call myself @moron when tweeting.

Katie: (watches feed with intense concentration)

@coolkid Hello everyone! I am so excited about tonight! Great topic!

Katie: Hmm... where do I find the topic? (leans in and scans entire screen)

@fungirl Look! @coolkid is here! let's get this party started.

@agent Hey @coolkid. I agree. That YA book should be shelved separately.

Katie: What the? What YA book? Where?

@readerman Y'all are having so much fun! I just had to pop in! Hey @agent!

Katie: fun? Where's the fun? Who is having fun?

@writernerd I LOVE #yalitchat!!!! YAY!

Katie: totally lost

@referree RT @agent Hey @coolkid. I agree. That YA book should be shelved separately.

Katie: huh? Who is @coolkid? (clicks on @coolkid and discovers she is an editorial assistant) cool. (clicks back to feed)

has missed 55 new tweets.

Katie: Damn!

@bookchic @agent Do you look at manuscripts from people who you have previously rejected?

INSERT 42 new tweets that make no sense.

Katie: Maybe I should ask a question? (takes two full minutes typing question, including proper #yalitchat hashtag)

@referee Please hold all questions. We are having a one-to-one right now. @moron

Katie: oops?! Where is this one-to one? At lease 70 people are tweeting?

@moron @referee. sorry :-(

@referee @moron. Now we are ready. RT question from @moron.

Katie: (sees answer and it's so vague that I might as well not have even asked it. Decides to see who @bookchic is)

has missed 277 tweets - I'm not kidding. I wrote down the number of tweets I missed.

Katie: dang! I've missed the whole conversation!


Lessons Learned:
1.To participate in any kind of lit chat, you must have fancy twitter software like tweetdeck or tweetchat.
2. @realjohngreen's wife had a baby yesterday. (I learned that during chat. Yay John!!!!!)
3. People will follow you simply because you are participating.
4. There is a referee - unless that avatar was just a girl in a striped shirt?
5. People love these chats and claim to "learn a lot." I haven't figured that one out yet.

P.S. I've asked SF to post about her experience with Twitter after me and I am predicting she won't even understand my fake feed. That's why we love each other. We are dual dorks :-)

P.P.S. I'll tweet about this post. Feel free to follow us and retweet :-)

SF: Okay, so none of that made sense to me at all. I can't even follow Katie's rundown--and who knew there was actually software called tweetdeck or tweet chat?? The only time I've ever appeared on Twitter (yep--all of the brilliant PlotThis tweets are from Katie) was when Katie and I sat and IM'd each other on Twitter while we were watching Project Runway about six months ago.

I just got on Twitter this morning (after searching through my email account for that ever elusive password and username), and I can't even figure out how to give my status update.

It's official. I am old. Technology has left me in the dust. I guess I'll just stay on Facebook with the rest of the grannies . . . unless someone wants to give me a tutorial--who's that avatar person? Think she's available for a quick online tutorial? Gawd . . . I sound like my mother.

Dual dorks,
sf and katie

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Wasting Time

My priest Taylor received a grant for an incredible sabbatical last summer. He was able to spend four months hiking through Europe and studying poetry, spending time in monastaries as well as classrooms while he studied under several different world famous poets.

Taylor taught our Sunday school this week and showed us some of his incredible pictures from his journey as well as sharing some of his own writing (great stuff). He also told us about working with one of his poetry teachers (I've forgotten which one--sorry!!) who told Taylor that if he wanted to be a poet that he was going to have to learn how to "waste time." Then he clarified saying that poets must learn how to do things that the rest of the world consider to be "wasting time"--i.e. staring out the window, having tea, taking long walks . . . to not be so task oriented. In other words, he was telling poets (and I'm including artists and writers here) to learn to be still sometimes.

We all need to refill that cup that can
become dry and empty without some delicious

So, today I'm going to spend a little time staring out the window--that is if I can ignore the buzzer on my washing machine , the unmade beds, the internet . . . .


Friday, January 15, 2010

Writing, Miyagi-style.

Ummm... Is it weird that I'm dying to see this? Is it because I remember the original movie? Or, is it because succeeding as a writer feels like this trailer sometimes?

I think it's the latter.

I have always equated pursuing publication to being an athlete because that's what it feels like. It's mentally grueling and requires so much work, but it's so rewarding at the same time. This trailer reminded me again that writing, like sports, takes HONOR, and COURAGE, and STRENGTH to succeed.

We have to believe.

We have to work hard.

And, we have to never give up.

And all those times little Jaden (Will Smith's son) has to take his coat off and put it back on is like when we have to revise.

And revise.

And revise.

And revise.

Because one day...

We'll be ready.

To take the publishing world by storm.

*bows down Karate-style*

Thanks Mr. Miyagi!!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

We interrupt our regularly scheduled program . . .

Ahhhh. Bliss. The children are all finally back in school after Christmas break which was immediately followed by "snow" days. Don't get me wrong, I love my girls and love being with them--but we've had a whole lotta together time, and what I really want to do is work on my books. Specifically: my sketches for my picture book.

You can imagine my surprise when I settled into my chair on Monday morning with my pencils sharpened and latte warmed to read an email that went something like this . . . "what time can I come by today to pick up your donation for the Art for Heart charity art auction?" Whaaaaa??

I searched back through my emails, and not only had I committed to donate a painting to the auction but I had titled and stated the size of this non-existant phantom painting (which precluded me from doing what I normally do in situations like this--pull something off of my wall to donate).

I briefly had a flashback. Way back in the fall, I remembered thinking "Oh, I've got months to do something. And, it would be fun to do a painting from one of our Colorado photographs." So, I titled the painting something mountainy and said I'd have something ready the first week in January. This is a problem that I have. I commit to things that are distant in the future. The problem is that the future always seems to turn into the present.

I responded to the email with a plea for a couple of more days because of snow and "coldness" which seems to be THE excuse to use in Mississippi.

This is why today I went from this:

To this:
And, while it's definitely not one of the greatest things I've ever done, it was fun to get all loosey goosey with the paint for a while. Tomorrow, I'll go find a frame . . .


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Seventeen Again

Whew! I was beginning to think something was wrong with me. I have been reading (or trying to read) several adult novels over the last couple of weeks and I kept quitting.

I just couldn't concentrate.

I'd lose my place.

I wondered how I could call myself a writer.

But then, I picked up PERFECT CHEMISTRY.

And remembered.

I write YA.

I'm a seventeen year old trapped in the body of a 39 year old.

It's good to be home :-)

Friday, January 8, 2010

"Snow Day" in Mississippi

So, it's snowing here in Mississippi. The schools (that just reopened after the holidays on Tuesday of this week) have been closed for two days. My plans for the week have been shattered like a Mississippi icicle as we have shifted down into snow mode.

Here is what "snow" looks like down here in the South (I put "snow" in quotes because I can hear you folks up North laughing at us):

And, yep. The roads look perfectly fine to me.

Here are my girls sledding.

BTW, I know full-well that my daughter is outside in twelve degree weather in capri pants and her Sunday school shoes, but she dresses herself. She came in for more clothes and boots after she was out there for about fifteen minutes and freezing. The second outfit didn't match any better, but at least she is warm and expressing herself.

So cheers to unexpected holidays and cheers to Monday when (surely!!) school reopens.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Dreaming Big with Lisa Schroeder

Before I start, check out this kiss a$$ trailer!!! It is my new fave!

I met Lisa for the first time this past summer at the SCBWI-LA conference. She was rooming with our buddy Lindsey Leavitt which automatically meant she was a doll, and boy, was she!!!! Er... IS she!!!

I can't remember how I first read Lisa's first book but I think I just picked it up at the bookstore. I had never read a book in verse before but I was hooked. It was a beautiful and easy book to read and for the first time in a long time, I cried at the end. I think I identified with the MC in some way and was touched by the way Lisa wrote about her emotions.

Needless to say I bought Lisa's second book the day it came out and once again found myself in tears at the end. How does she do that?

Yesterday, Lisa's third book hit the shelves and I can't wait to read it!

HERE is the story of her journey. Go read it! It will probably make you cry. JUST KIDDING!!!! It's awesome!

*** And, all month long Lisa's blog will be hopping with stories of people who dreamed BIG, just like she did. It's my must read site of the month.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Research for Katie

Good Morning!

Since SF is regrouping after another vacation, I thought I’d hijack the blog and post a bunch. This is working out well since being on vacation myself is driving me batty, and I am in one of those “waiting” phases.

Here is my dilemma of the day:

My first book detailed crushing on boys, kissing on boys, adoring lipgloss, selling makeup, and thinking about food. And therefore, required no research :-) (except a teensy bit of chemistry research as it applies to the properties in lipgloss)

My second book, however, is making me have to do some. I am finding this both interesting - in the looking for source books, and horrible - in having to actually read them.

In this second book (with a killer premise and a sucky title) my MC is Latino. And, since I am not, I am concerned about her voice. I have started to read anything and everything Latino I can find. But, I am still not sure if I should attempt this.

Of course I probably will, because that's just how I roll - daredevil writing and all.

So, If you know of any really good books about Latino characters OR written by Latino authors, please recommend them in the comments. Oh! And don’t forget I like to read (and write) cute and funny. Or, creative and artsy. No depressing historical books, please. AND, if you want to tell me about your own research tactics, bring it!!!! I'd love to hear some stories :-)

Alrighty then. See ya soon!


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Literary Athletes

In honor of this day of all things "football," I give you Tim Tebow and his eyes of inspiration.

Philippians 4:13
I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.

My daughter came home yesterday, having watched the Ole Miss game, and said, "they sure showed Phil alot!"

My husband and I looked at her wondering who she was talking about. "Who?" we asked.

"That guy with Phil under his eyes. He played the whole time!"

But in all seriousness, I love that verse. It makes me know that:

I can write.

I can revise.

I can wait.

I can revise again.

And again.

And again.

I will trust.

I will endure.

I will succeed.

Because He is my rock and my strength. And I am a literary athlete, working day in and day out, giving this career 110%. And so are you!

Rock on writer people! This is our year!

Friday, January 1, 2010

The Start of Something New!

I love the start of new things and today is no different. Isn't it fun to think about what you hope to achieve in a new year? There is so much possibility. So much hope.

I have big plans for 2010. I am starting a new novel this week which excites me tremendously. It will be my second, and just like my first, the premise is bad to the bone! But rather than get caught up in the mad dash to publication, I have decided to really work on my craft as an art. I want to write a book like Lips Touch, that is so creative and out of the box that it gets people talking.

And of course, I always plan to eat healthier, cook more for my family, and do more yoga. And I also want to sleep LESS. I heard on the news that sleeping less is a rare desire. In fact most people wish they could sleep more, but sleep isn't one of my problems. In 2010, I intend to wake up early, have my quiet time, tend to the kids and the laundry and then artfully craft my killer second novel until about 1-ish when I intend to quit writing and do everything else. Ya think it will work? I do!

May you all have a blessed fresh start this year!!!!!

Katie and Sarah Frances

P.S. Don't forget to eat your black eyed peas today!!!!! I think I might make mine into a sausage cheese dip with tortilla chips :-) Yummm

Our Motto

Our Motto