Thursday, November 27, 2014

PiBoIdMo 2014

I'm participating in PiBoIdMo this month. (I bow to all who are doing NaNo, and especially--those who actually succeed!) I love picture books. I've written a few books and queried a couple and read a million. I find that my main source of inspiration for picture books comes from my children. They are my muses in so many ways.

Back at the beginning of my son's first grade year, he was dreading going to school each day. I'd drop him off in the morning and promise him a poem in the afternoon. During the day I'd write some quirky, nonsensical thing to read to him after the school day. I know he appreciated it, but I think I got more out of that experience than he did! To this day, I sometimes run across a random piece of ledger paper with a end-of-school-day poem scribbled on it.

Just listening to and watching my children gives me too many ideas to keep up with. My little girl twirling around inspires thoughts of a girl who dances everywhere she goes. My messy house strewn with toys gives me ideas of trees sprouting from the toys of messy children, turning their rooms into jungles. My daughter talking to her toys...what if the toys talked back? (I admit, that last idea could either be cute or creepy.)

Today there was a post over at Tara Lazar's blog which reminded me that I may be behind, and NOW is the time to panic (in a good way). So off to be inspired by my naughty children...and to eat turkey, of course. Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Let's Try this Bloggy Thing Again! Putting Yourself in Your Books

It's funny--at first glance it may look as though my first post was a week ago. But it was over a year ago. A lot happened in that year. I queried. I queried some more. I went to Mexico with my husband to celebrate our 10 year anniversary. I queried some more. Then I revised. I spent two months through a grueling sale process selling a house we lived in many moons ago (when we were young and naive and thought it was a good idea to buy a 100 year old house in law school). (Bad idea.) Then I worked on a couple new books and queried some more. Now here I am. But I haven't disappeared entirely. I've been on Twitter making a little bit of noise. It saddens me to think about my blog disappearing into oblivion like blogs sometimes do. Now I want to wake it up.

And speaking of waking up (and trying not to awkwardly transition to new subject matter)...when I was young, my mom used to barge into my room in the morning singing Cat Stevens' Morning Has Broken. It was her zany, yet gentle way of getting me up for school. It was much better than an alarm clock, and to this day I have fond memories every time I hear that song. My MC, Liza, mentions using the same tactic when waking her aunt. I find myself slipping little pieces of myself into my books--and not on purpose. Little clues of Me just kind of slip into my writing. Is it because writing is easier if we let ourselves into our writing? Is it because it's easier to relate to my MC by endowing her with similar thoughts or memories? Does asking rhetorical questions in my first-blog-post-in-forever (cue Frozen music) okay?

Oooh, I can feel my blog taking a long, deep, two-arm stretch. Its legs were asleep, but now they are all tingly as it starts to move. And ha! My blog has bed head. How embarrassing.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Halloweensie Contest

Some of you may know I'm a closet PB writer. There is a contest running this week on Susanna Hill's blog for a PB crit, and here is my 100 word entry using the words black cat, spooky, and cackle. Boo!

Scared of Nothin'

“There’s nothin’ scary about Halloween,” Calvin said. He was dressed as a black cat. “It’s just a bunch of monsters and goblins and stuff.”

“I like the parts with candy corn,” said Lily, a princess with wings.

“I like the candy parts, too,” said Michael. He wore a cowboy hat and boots. “The rest is spooky.”

“Nothin’ scares me,” Calvin said. “Watch this.” He lifted his claws and hissed. Michael and Lily screamed.

A witch walked over and cackled. Calvin jumped, and his cat ears fell off. It was Calvin’s mom. Calvin looked down and smiled. “Almost nothin’ scares me.”

The End of Spookiness


AND, I'm participating in PiBoIdMo, which is a little less daunting than NaNoWriMo (which I'm unofficially participating in)(maybe)(we'll see). So here it goes...

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Don't Say F@rt, and Other Things to Teach Your Son

Okay, so I think the word "f@rt" is funny. In fact, I grew up in a family where we used the word often, and it was followed by much laughter and merriment and smelliness. However, my son takes the potty talk to a whole new level (as seven year-old boys are wont to do). He doesn't just say the word. He says it repeatedly with exclamation! points! while wiggling his bottom which is aimed at his sister's face.

So, naturally, I try to curb the potty talk. Don't Say Po0p. Go To Your Room. Look at What You Are Teaching Your Sister! Then, why, the other day, did I check out Captain Underpants and Professor Po0pypants? Well, because I thought it was funny. I quickly found, as I was reading it to him, that I had to edit a lot of the potty talk because we'd never get through it and (oops!) what about all the times I tell him to Cease With the Toilet Words!

Because I suppose, deep down, I'm just as immature as a seven year-old boy.

But come on...Professor Po0pypants?! That's FUNNY. Yesterday I went to the store and bought pork but* for tacos. I couldn't help myself--when I picked my son up from school I told him we were going to have Pig But Tacos. I expected much laughter (which would bring me joy for a minute until it quickly got out of hand and I had to tell him if he said Pig But one more time....!)But instead he said..."GROSS! I'm not eating Pig But! That's disgusting!" I didn't hear the end of it for a long time, and finally told him he could just have Beans (which aren't nearly as funny).

So, in the end, even my son has limits. Which is good to know...says my thirty-three year-old self (while my inner child just snickers and says pig but tacos, heh).

*(I know how to spell the word, but didn't exactly want it searchable in my blog.)(Which is why I edited other scatological terms as well.)(End parentheses.) (And paranoia.)

Update: Well, I just found out that pork but is, in fact, not the pig's bottom. It's the shoulder. And I call myself a homemaker. My tacos are MUCH less amusing now.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

This Querying Thing

I've been at writing novels for a few years, but I finally had a book worth querying only two months ago. (This is not including a small flirtation with querying a picture book a couple years back.) And what may be surprising to you (but not really surprising at all) is...it isn't as fun as I thought it would be! Having a book in the querying stages was a Great Milestone for me, and I thought once I was there it would be like a fun game. But I find it really tests my patience and humility.

However, I have a plan--a targeted number of agents to query before I shelve A PRETTY PIRATE PICKLE, and even an idea for some modifications. But best of all, I am in love in my new book...which isn't so "new" to me. It has been in my head and heart and partially written for several months now. I'm so excited for this project, so that IF it comes time to shelve my first baby...I think I'll be okay. Because my new book is about a small town girl's view of the Space Race with just a twist of science-fiction. Because it's also about loss, family, and miracles. And this time I have the whole book outlined, which is a first for me.

I'd heard a lot about working on your next project to bide your time when querying (and subbing), and there is definitely truth to that. Now off to check my emails! Which I only do once a day. (Okay, I lied. I might check more than once.)

Monday, May 20, 2013

LDS Writer's Blogfest

Thirty-five years ago two young missionaries knocked on the door of a white trailer with black shutters. A young girl, barely twenty, answered. She had a one year-old and a husband who was not yet twenty. This girl and her husband had very different upbringings. He grew up in a strict Catholic home. She grew up as a child of alcoholics. But they wanted the same thing, which was something more for the family they were creating together. And so the missionaries taught them the gospel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and they found that something more. They joined the church within the year, and after I was born we visited the Salt Lake Temple where we were sealed as a forever family.


If this wasn't a blog post of a more spiritual nature, I might make fun of my mom's hair and my dad's mustache.

I had a beautiful upbringing. It wasn't perfect as life goes, but I remember it as pretty near perfect.


Ha! Not that perfect, but I love this picture. (Still holding back on comments about the hair.) 

We loved each other. We always laughed. Every day we laughed. My four siblings and I were close. We did a lot together as a family, and those are my best memories. Not with friends. But with family.

My LDS faith was intertwined with my happiness growing up. I can't really separate one from the other. I'm happy because of my faith, because of my relationship with my family, because of my relationship with God.

What my parents built from that fragile little beginning is so powerful. A few years ago, our family experienced a difficult trial, one which brought us to tears, to our knees. But the way all of us, including our spouses, came together confirmed to me the eternal and ethereal nature of family. Heavenly Father blessed us. He still blesses us.

Now I have the chance to build something amazing with my little family, my husband and three babies. My whole life is them. I see my Heavenly Father's hand in our lives every day. I see Him when they wake up in the morning and rub the sleep from their eyes. I see the divinity of His creation when she nibbles on my face because she's cutting four teeth at the same time. I see the blessings of eternity when we stay at the table even after dinner is over so we can talk and laugh.

I see the face of God in them.


I bear my testimony of the eternal nature of families. And I bear my testimony that Heavenly Father is real, that he is there and cares about you. Whether you had the "perfect" upbringing or your parents were alcoholics, He knows you. He wants you to be happy.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

My Writer's Voice Entry

I have the chance to participate in the Writer's Voice Contest this year! Here is my entry for the contest judges.
QUERY:
               Please consider my middle-grade novel, A PRETTY PIRATE PICKLE, which is a coming-of-age Eloise set on a cruise ship instead of the Plaza Hotel.
The luxury cruise ship, Scandinavian Sapphire, only survives the high seas because eleven year-old Liza, daughter of Captain Owen, checks for icebergs every sunrise, sends POGs (pukey old guys) to the ship’s infirmary, and rids the ship of any and all vermin—particularly the peg-legged, eye-patch-wearing type of vermin.
Her mild obsession with the bestselling Pirates and Princesses series has no connection to her suspicions that Henry Weston, the “resident guitarist,” is a bona fide scallywag schooled by Blackbeard himself. And he’s in love with Liza’s aunt Mel, who looks past Henry’s Jack-Sparrow-like qualities and sees only roguish handsomeness, a rawther lovely British accent, and charm more sparkly than the ship’s million-dollar jewel exhibition which Liza is sure Henry’s after—because nothing says “pirate booty” like crown jewels from every country in the Baltic.
Mysterious meetings in Denmark, too many “band practices,” and alleged tampering with the security cameras has Liza convinced her suspicions are correct, and there is nobody to help stop the heist except Tilly, her friend-of-the-week, and Liza’s iguana, Iggy—who, face it, can’t help her because he’s a lizard. But Liza is determined to save the ship, her daddy’s hat, and Mel from the evil clutches of dread pirate Henry.

FIRST 250:
Only one obstacle lies between me and the front-most tip of the ship. My fingers wrap around the handle of the wooden sword hanging from my belt. A brigade of blood-thirsty pirates I can manage. Even an ultra-sonic super villain with x-ray vision. But these two gangly man-boys from the theater playing basketball on the sports deck? My dad would ground me for a week if I maimed a member of his crew.
I take a deep breath of the briny sea air gusting by me and whipping at the rolled-up maps under my arm. Having just raced through the ship—using only practical short cuts such as the grand staircase banister—these guys could have an edge. I nod to the neon-suited ladies from Kids Club circling the jogging path. I may need witnesses if this ends ugly.
I unsheathe my sword just barely—ready for the draw should they dare strike first—and walk through the game. One of the players stops the ball with two hands then cradles it under his arm. The other looks at me with raised eyebrows and a half-smile. “Oh. Are we in your way?” he asks.
With the quickness of the finest swordsgirl on the seven seas, I withdraw my weapon. Its blunt but intimidating wooden tip hovers between them and me. And they have the nerve to laugh.
“I’ll have you know,” I say in my deepest and fiercest belly voice. “I have a ship to save today. And no swashbuckling scallywags are going to stop me.”