Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Why Behind The Wait (or Where's My Manuscript?)

The Winter 2007 issue of Once Upon a Time justifies the magazine's existence for the entire year with its article by Senior Executive Editor Joan Slattery of Alfred A. Knopf and Crown Books for Young Readers. In the magazine's Tag! You're It! centerspread, Slatterry chronicles one day in her editor's life, from morning drive time to the rush home to tag team the babysitter. Fascinating, telling and insightful. Kudos to Slattery for taking time from her frenetic schedule to explain the why behind the wait. If you can get your hands on a copy, do so. It's worth every penny and then some.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Current Read a Strange and Wonderul One

Assuming my headache goes away, looking forward to curling up with Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. Marvelous read that's taken me several months to get through because I've read a number of other books inbetween, and the book is huge, and the print miniscule, and by the time I crawl under the covers to read at night, I often progress only a few pages before falling asleep (often with the book beside me). But all these things havn't stopped me from returning to Clarke's fantastical tale of the adventures of two gentleman magicians in 1806 England.

Colds, Peppermint Oil, and the Writer's Life

E's illness was followed closely on the heels by P who nursed a mug 'o tea most of Thanksgiving Day with my family. Now that they're both on the mend (P went to the doctor on Sunday and the antibiotics are finally kicking in), I've a snuffy nose and sinus pressure. Yeah me. Splashed a few drops of essential peppermint oil on a square of cloth last night and tacked it near my head. Amazed at how well the vapors worked at keeping my nose clear so I could breath. Unfortunately, the snuffy nose now includes a headache. Fingers are crossed that this bug packs its bags rather than taking up residence. Critique group is tomorrow and teen writer's group is Friday, and, quite frankly, I'd rather not miss either of them.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Kicking Butt, Butt in Chair, and Better Living Through Chemistry

Thanks to the medicinal effects of a kick-butt cough suppressant (one I was too sleep deprived to remember was an option for E the night before last), I slept long enough to dream last night, which means E slept long enough to dream, which means everyone is a lot less crabby today. E's fever broke, too--a sign the antibiotics are already beginning to take effect. Huzzah! This means I might actually have enough gray cells left to string together a paragraph or twenty when I sit down with KM today. Toes and fingers crossed that the trend continues. Critique group deadline looms. *Raises glass* Here's to better living through chemistry.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Congratulations! It's a Sinus Infection

The good news is we can treat E's bug with chemistry. The bad news is that I have at least one more night of sleep deprivation ahead of me.

Current read: Afternoon of the Elves by Janet Taylor Lisle.

Illnesses-What a Turkey

Did I mention E is sick? She was punky last week, but managed to stay in school. Over the weekend was another story. The congestion hit Saturday. The sore throat, hacking cough and fever arrived yesterday. We head to the doctor after I finish this post.

Shriner's Update

E left Shriner's Hospital with a walking cast on Friday. She exchanges it for a new brace on November 30th. During the interim the cast will keep E's foot in neutral (imagine the 90 degree angle your foot makes when standing), promoting her tight heel cord and hamstring to stretch. In an ideal world, the callous on E's toe will dissolve during that time as well. I was going to complain about how little butt in chair time I've had the last couple of weeks, but in comparison to what E has had to put up with lately, it's hard to gripe about any aspect of my writer's life.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Writer Mom Itinerary: Shriner's Tomorrow

Tomorrow E and I head to Shriner's Hospital for a look-see at her brace, foot and ankle. Why? Every since her aneurysm rupture in 2001, E has worn a brace on her left leg to support her ankle and assist with walking.

Two months ago she complained enough about a callous on the big toe on her brace side that I took her to the podiatrist. After doing a quick fix, the podiatrist strongly suggested we have E's brace evaluated because a callous usually doesn't form unless something's rubbing where it shouldn't rub. Made sense. A couple weeks later, we met with Bob, the brace guy, who confirmed that E needs a new brace, but that making one didn't make sense until someone--an orthopedic doc--looked at E's ankle.

E often complains after walking long distances. But I'd only every connected her complaints to her size and the amount of time and energy required to get somewhere, not to her foot and ankle.

Turns out that the muscles in and around her ankle have tightened to the point that her foot hasn't been sitting well in her brace. This has contributed to the formation of callouses (another one has formed since our list visit to the podiatrist), and has put the bones in her foot at risk of breaking down and calcifying because of the improper positioning of the foot in the brace.

Add an extra helping of mom guilt for missing this one.

Bob, the brace guy, says the solution could be as easy as setting E up with a physical therapy tune-up, or as involved as surgery.

Praying the solution will be an easy one.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

How do you create a space for your writing?

Ever wonder how other writers create a space for their writing? Not a physical space, an emotional one. A space sacred enough to permit you/urge you/inspire you to write every day no matter what. Kelly Herold of Big A little a asked the question of her readers not too long ago. The answers she received were inspiring. Want to see for yourself? Check out her October 29th and November 7th posts. Follow the links from there.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Explore the Forest

The new Edge of the Forest is ready to explore. Enter the woods, stay a while, leave inspired. The current issue pays homage to all things YA.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Prairie Writer's Day Report--Insights from the Editors/Agents

Wowza. Prairie Writer's Day was exciting/exhausting/informative and just plain fun.

Editors in attendance:
Susan Van Metre of Abrams.
Karen Wojtyla of Margaret McElderry.
Louise May of Lee & Low.

Agents in attendance:
Rosemary Stimola of Stimola Literary Studio.
Sara Crowe of Harvey Klinger, Inc.

Fly on the Wall session featuring the agents and editors revealed some intriguing insights about the industry:

*Expect the pendulum to swing back in favor of picture books.
*The eyes of management are on the children's divisions, much of this thanks to the success of the Harry Potter books.
*Time was editors had the time to groom and nuture children's book authors into best-selling novelists; now many editors read submissions with a blockbuster mentality.
*The children's book industry is more like the adult book world every day--more competitive, the place to be.
*Also means everybody wants to "try" writing for children.
*Many children's book manuscripts are being reviewed for 100,000 first-run potential, not 10,000--this mentality tends to put more pressure on the editorial side as well.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Countdown to Prairie Writer's Day...and E is Sick

Lovely. The final countdown to SCBWI-Illinois' Prairie Writer's Day is upon us, and E decides to get sick. I know, I know, it's not her fault the bugs decided to party down today of all days. Sigh. Thank goodness, I tied up all the major loose ends before midnight. (At least I think I did.) *knocks on wood* Hear that loose ends? You're tied. Now stay that way.

On tap for the rest of the day:

1. Ministering to E.
2. Butt in chair time with the goal of writing two more pages of KM. (Two pages a day is all I ever ask of my muse. It's doable and realistic, and given the state of the household today I'll be thrilled to make the minimum.)
3. Fact sheet prep for tomorrow's conference. (An easy one.)
4. Packing. Laundry's done, so that's a plus, but I haven't yet located my suitcase. Looking forward to an overnight. I'll be staying at a hotel near Dominican University tonight so I don't need to get up at o'dark-thirty to be fresh enough to drive a group of agents/editors there in the morning. Wish me luck.