Friday, September 29, 2006

Happy Dance, Writing and Bread Dough

Woohoo. I'm doing the happy dance here in my little corner of cyberspace. Why? The essay I submitted for Special Gifts: Women Writers on the Heartache, the Happiness and the Hope of Raising a Special Needs Child was accepted. According to the editor, only 35 stories were chosen.

The book will be published by Wyatt-MacKenzie, and sold in bookstores such as Barnes and Noble. The release date is May 2007.

The proposed cover looks fantastic. I'll post it here as soon as it's finalized. And, how's this for the benefits of working with a small press? I should have an ARC in hand by Christmas.

Next in line: My ghost story. I really need to put this one to bed soon. If not, I'll have to put it aside for the month of October. Why? Lauren Barnholdt's online writing the YA novel class starts Sunday, which means I'll have little or no time left to work on other projects.

Don't get me wrong. Allowing a story to percolate has its benefits. Writing, like bread dough, almost always seems to benefit from being allowed to rest during the process.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Homework, Bras and Broomsticks

Next week I start my online YA novel class with author Lauren Barnholdt. Required reading includes: Gossip Girl #1 by Cecily Von Zeigesar (a book my 18 year old has reread so often it's dog eared), and Bras and Broomsticks by Sara Mlynowski.

Why take this class now?

1. Enrolling in a writing class has languished near the top of my 2006 Writer's Resolutions list since creating it New Year's Eve. Now that E's finally on the mend, the Jewel-at-School saga is behind us (knocks on wood), and the fourth quarter is nearly upon us, it's time I make it so.

2. I work best with built-in deadlines (especially the kind I've purchased).

3. Writing-for-children classes are plentiful. Advanced writing-the-YA-novel classes are rare, and almost always an impossible drive away given my hectic schedule.

4. The class comes highly recommended, and it's online (which means I can access it in my pjs if necessary.)

5. The class features a query letter clinic, the first I've ever seen in an advanced class of this caliber.

6. According to her website, Lauren sold three books in 2005, two of them in an unprecedented two-book deal to Simon and Schuster based on just three chapters and a synopsis. Add this point to the rest of the reasons, and the class is bound to be a winner.

Now, if just a pinch of Lauren's luck (and wisdom) rubs off...

Monday, September 25, 2006

Enter the Forest

The new issue of Edge of the Forest online children's literature monthly is now available on cyber newsstands.

The lead article features an interview with Rick Riordan author of the highly aclaimed Percy Jackson series, about his newest book, The Sea of Monsters.

Articles submitted this month by yours truly include:

1. "A Day in the Life" with children's book author Carmela Martino.

2. "What's in Their Backpack?" -- a look at what's hot with young adult readers in Cynthia Vaughn Grandberg's classroom in Grand Canyon High School, Grand Canyon, Arizona.

Current read: Bridal Jitters by Jayne Ann Krentz writing as Jayne Castle. Yes, I know. Not literary. Total escapism. Yet, this book has its pluses. Krentz is a master of tension and pacing. She writes in two points of view (which is fresh in this genre of bodice ripper.) Her concept of psychic archaeology is imaginative, and well conceived. And the ghost-hunting plot is fascinating.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

History in the Making: Free Online Writer's Conference

Be a part of history in the making. The Muse Online is offering what might very well be the first ever online writer's conference the week of October 9th.

Registration is free. Attendance is free. Topics appear to target all levels of writers. A large number of sessions look well worth the time to "attend." Some are in real time. Others will take place in cyberspace for a week with free downloads to any registered attendees. Opportunities include virtual meet and greets with acquiring editors.

The only downside I've found: So many of the sessions look great, I need a clone in order to attend them all.

See you there.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Arrr! Talk Like a Pirate Day Tomorrow

Avast, me hearties, sharpen your sabers and synchronize your sun dials. Tomorrow is International Talk Like a Pirate Day, and since my ghost story-in-progress is about pirates and treasure, the day must be given it's proper due.

Most recent reads: Mates, Dates, and Inflatable Bras by Cathy Hopkins, Short & Shivery, Thirty Chilling Tales retold by Robert D. San Souci and Half Magic by Edward Eager, on loan from and highly recommended by fellow crit group member J. Thanks J for a great read!

Current read: Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich. Even with 20-plus copies in the library system, I've been on hold for this book for what feels like forever. Enjoying this newest Stephanie Plum adventure. I want to write like Evanovich when I grow up.

On deck: Archer's Quest by Linda Sue Park, Silly Sausage and the Spooks by Micheala Morgan, and Mercy Watson Fights Crime by Kate DiCamillo.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Wandering Monsters, Migraines of Unusual Size, Vampires and Pizza

Okay, so, according to the neurologist, the wandering monster that dragged L into the Twilight Zone without warning was a migraine. And not just a classic migraine, mind you. In the spirit of all my girls, whose die rolls seem to win them the rarest types of nasties, L's migraine type is one of the rarest versions: a migraine of unusual size (M.O.U.S.), also known as BAM. No cure with this type--or any type of migraines for that matter. If you get them, you get them for life. Welcome to the club, sweet daughter o' mine.

On an up note, L's likely to grow out of her M.O.U.S.'. On a not-so-up note, she'll likely grow out of them into the more classic version yours truly suffers from--the head-banging, kill-me-now, light-sensitive kind.

Learning you're not invincible isn't the best news to hear at such a tender age, but she's dealing. In fact, P says L's so motivated to put this unscheduled trip to the Twilight Zone behind her, she turned down his offer to take her shopping for snacks and other dorm essentials in order to make her Thursday night date with friends for pizza and volleyball.

That's my girl. Stake that vampire and go get pizza.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Twilight Zone Update and Escapist Reads

FWIW, last night's MRI ruled out brain tumor and stroke. Tomorrow L meets with a neurologist. Because of schedules and proximity during the day, P will accompany L. Best guess at this point on what's causing the extreme dizziness, tunnel vision and head pain: migraines. I'll go there. Migraines are treatable. Brain tumors, not so much.

Finding my first-time read of Mates, Dates, and Inflatable Bras by Cathy Hopkins a diverting jaunt.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Trapped in the Twilight Zone--Again

We'd begun to coast. The Jewel-at-School Saga was behind us. E and S were settling into school. L, my oldest, seemed to have survived the move out of state to begin her studies at university. Even my writing was breaking loose, basking in the freedom and inspiration that comes from entire days of uninterrupted writing time.

All was well. Until L's dizzy spells started.

When they first appeared this summer, L attributed them to dehydration. Made sense. After all, working the weekend in full Renaissance garb can do that to you.

What we didn't learn until this past weekend (when L sent an email to P's Blackberry at o'dark thirty) is that the spells had progressed. They were happening every few hours or so, she wrote, and the dizziness was extreme, followed by headaches.

A Sunday visit to a urgent care labeled L's events as migraines and sent her home with orders to see a GP or neurologist in 7 to 10 days, or sooner if the symptoms got worse. A second opinion visit to the university health center this afternoon at our insistence painted a grimmer picture, and the need to rule out serious possibilities.

L is scheduled for a CAT scan and MRI early this evening. P's headed up to be with L while I stay here, keeping the girl's lives as routine as possible.

Pray for us.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Waiting Game, Ghost Stories, and Going to the Edge

Whew! Made deadline with my essay last week for Women Writers on the Heartache, the Happiness and the Hope of Raising a Special Needs Child. Many thanks to my crit group members who gently but firmly ordered me to dig deeper with each draft. The result, I hope, is a raw and heartfelt window into my emotional journey raising E. Now, the waiting game begins.

To help me from stalking my mail carrier in coming weeks, the following projects are on deck:

1. Two articles for the next issue of Edge of the Forest online children's literature monthly.

2. Continued revisions to my ghost story.

3. Follow-up on the viability of a nonfiction project I've dubbed Paul.

4. Finalization and submission of a short article to Once Upon a Time.