Monday, October 30, 2006

Forced time off

I'm forcing myself to take time off from writing or editing for a few days -- I started this break on Friday. Do you ever do this? It's sort of killing me to do it, but I've written like a mad woman for six months with few breaks, and I'm at a point where I think that if I don't take a break, I'll get sick of it, or my stories will suffer.

So what do normal people do when they take a break? I have no idea. But here's what I'll be doing today:

1. VOTE and mail in my ballot

2. Wrap birthday presents

3. Read a book

4. Take out the recycling


Is there something else I should be doing? I mean, besides housework. I'm sitting here, out of sorts, and salivating when I think of opening up my latest rough draft and start editing.

But I guess that's the purpose. I need to get to the point where I can't go another minute without getting back to work. Maybe tomorrow.

Now you -- tell me what you do.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Ruh Roh - I've been tagged.

The most adorably creepy author of The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, (Eighth Grade Bites is book 1, due in summer 2007) Heather Brewer , has tagged me. And now I must tell you five interesting or unique things about me.

1. Homegirl don't play tag.

2. I'm left-handed and have an extra vertabra and extra set of ribs. I also majorly tore the cartilege in my knee as a kid, but my mother didn't believe me because I faked broken legs and illnesses a lot. I was one of those kids who wanted crutches and braces and glasses. Anyway, three weeks after limping and whining, mom finally took me to the doc. Ha! Serious injury. He wondered how I'd walked on it for all that time. (Sorry, mom)

3. When I'm stressed out, unlike most people, I DON'T eat. I cook. And then I can't eat it. So today, I'm spending 12 hours smoking a pork butt on the grill (indirect heat! Never put a pork butt over flame! Even if you're thirteen, like my son, and you wonder if a pork butt can shoot a blue flame). Of course, we are always polite and call it 'pulled pork' or a 'pork shoulder' in fine company. Even though the tag says Boston butt. Because really, it does come from the shoulder. (Wait, how did this turn into interesting things about pigs? Doh! Don't answer that.)

4. When I was doing research for my book about the Holocaust and the Kindertransport system, my mother casually mentioned that I had two second-cousins that were Nazi soldiers. They both died in POW camps in Russia.
GAH! That put me in a tailspin for several days.

5. Confession time. When I was in first grade, I stole stuff from my classroom. Like one of those smiley face ink things that the teacher used to stamp our papers. And? A cross-stitch needle. Because it was 1976, and the entire grade school was making this giant cross-stitched American flag/eagle thing as a project. And that needle was way cool and shiny. In fact, I'm wondering if it's still where I hid it, down in the basement in my parents house (they still live there). Also, my teacher gave out a handful of cereal as a treat if we kids did a good job with reading (I was a very good reader). And at home, we couldn't afford cool cereal. I'm talking really cool cereal, like Cap'n Crunch's Peanut Butter cereal and Lucky Charms. So I would get my mom to write me a 'stay in at recess' note (because I faked sick a LOT), and then I'd steal cereal and keep it in my desk.

I feel sorta bad about that, now.


I should tag some people. So...I tag Ellen Meister, Supes, Katrina, and Katie.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Monday, October 23, 2006

Why do my characters do what they do?

Sometimes they make me so angry.

I mean, who do they think they are, that they can just go quitting a job that took me forever to set up? Now what am I going to do? That job was crucial to the plot.

Ungrateful wretches, that's what they are.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I met Stephenie Meyer

And dang, she's adorable. She looks like Anne Hathaway.

Stephenie spoke at the Southwest Regional Library in Gilbert, AZ yesterday, about 10 miles from my house. When I got to the library fifteen minutes early, there was a line, and the cute teenage girl in front of me was wearing "I love Edward Cullen" jeans that she designed herself. Several of the teenage girls I spoke to (or overheard) while waiting to get in had gotten out of school early to attend this, though I believe the Gilbert schools were on fall break.

She read to us and answered questions, showed us some of the other countries' book covers, and then signed books. When I got to the table, I admit it. I gushed like I was 13 or something. We chatted briefly, I mentioned my book, and she was so enthusiastic about it! She asked me all about it. We also talked about all the authors who call AZ their home and decided we should all get together sometime (hello, Barbara Kingsolver!). Heh. I'm hoping that once Stephenie's life settles down (she's just done with her tour) she'll have a chance to drop me an email -- I gave her my name and info and stuff. She was just delightful, and I'm so glad I got the chance to meet her.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Janie is ready!

After adding roughly 4000 words and making a handful of changes to the manuscript, Janie Hannagan: Dream Catcher is ready! My agent will begin submitting the manuscript to editors sometime this week.

A few weeks ago, at my agent's suggestion, I picked up Stephenie Meyer's first book, Twilight. Though my book has nothing to do with vampires, my agent said my writing style was similar to Stephenie's and he thought Janie would appeal to the same audience as Twilight.

I've never enjoyed, cared about, or read a vampire book in my life, but I'm always looking for interesting YA books. And once I started reading, I couldn't put this book down. I had no idea vampires could be designed to be so intriguing as what Stephenie has done with the Cullens. Wow! I had to read more, so I picked up her second book, New Moon, which is the sequel to Twilight.

Meanwhile, I made my husband Matt read Twilight. I didn't mention to him what agent Michael had said about my writing style being similar to Stephenie's. After the first few chapters of Twilight, Matt said "This sounds like your writing." Interrrresting.

I found Stephenie's website and discovered that not only is she a wildly successful and popular author, she is also practically my neighbor. (Okay, okay, she lives an hour away, but here in the southwest, that's not much). She's doing a booksigning at my local library tomorrow so I think I'll go say hello and get my books signed.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Research

I might be unusual, but one of the things I just love about writing a novel is the research.

I feel like I'm taking a class. And it's always a class I'm terribly interested in. So far, I've researched WW2, several parts of England, Judaism, the Holocaust, Bucharest and other parts of Romania, street children, food, dreams, dresses, causes of blindness, welfare, psycho- and telekenisis, and more.

I love when I'm writing about something I think I know a lot about, and then something happens in the story that is out of my area of expertise. Actually no, I take it back. I hate that. But then, after starting research, I love it again, because I learn so much.

My novel, Janie Hannagan: Dream Catcher, has been edited and needs just a few more changes before my agent is ready to submit it. How exciting!