Archive for March, 2009

Random thoughts

Random Huh’s?

1. Miley Cyrus has a book deal?


2. Why do they use the word ‘eye’ for the letter e in the first grade reading workbook? I mean, yeah, it has two of them, but really?


3. Yo Gabba Gabba, if you’ve seen the show, I don’t have to say anything else. If you haven’t let me  tell you about a recent skit with anthropomorphic vegetables crying because they want to go to the ‘party in your stomach’ . Cut to carrots and green beans singing in a pool of stomach acid. “There’s a party in your stomach, so yummy.” I’m sorry, there is just something wrong with that.


4. Why is the log off button on my keyboard so close to my calculator button? Disaster waiting to happen, I tell you.


5. I keep forgetting to take my Ginko. It’s even sitting next to my computer… Yeah, no hope.

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J Jelly, preferably home-made jelly, when it’s fresh — fresh as in barely cool enough to taste, in particular that last bit left in the pan after you’ve filled up the jars. Heaven. But then my mind is on jellies and jams today as I noticed my apricot tree already needs thinning and the peach is following close behind.


K Kati, my daughter (also known as D3) who just came up to me and asked: “Mom, if we were rich, could I do anything I wanted?” I said no. She said. “Would I still have to live by the rules?” Without a pause, I said yes. But as she walked out of the room, I was smiling.


L Laughter. Okay I could bore you with how good laughing is for you but, really, do you want to hear it? Didn’t think so. Almost as much fun as laughing myself, I love to hear my kids laugh. Oh, a baby’s laughter is something else, isn’t it? Kids laugh a lot, I think that’s cool. You can learn a lot from your kids if you keep your eyes open.

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No weekend gardener, not because I didn’t garden, I did, but I didn’t take pictures. : )

It’s been a busy weekend around here. Lots of errands, LOTS of editing– including a synopsis for a short I just finished. *shudder* Why is it that writing a synopsis is such a challenge?  I thought writing one for a 8,000 word short would be easier than writing one for a full length MS. I was wrong.

On Saturday night, my sister took me to an arena football game. She has this idea I don’t get out the house enough. I don’t know why. I mean I go to the grocery, the plant store, the pet store. ; ) My mom watched the kids (and their friends.)

I had a blast. There’s something about boys in tights. No, just kidding, really. I love football and arena football is like football at 2X speed. (the boys in tights are extra) The field is half as long and the goal posts half as wide as ‘regular’ football so the action is non-stop. We lost but it was a good game. Would have been a better game had we won.


I still have a lot to do on the home front. I have a feeling I’m going to have to declare one day next week a ‘clean house’ day before I lose one of my kids in his or her room and I want to get all my laundry done before they put in the water meters next week. Do you have any idea how much laundry four kids generate?

I hope all of you had a wonderful weekend!

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Friday Funnies

Proof positive that word order is important.  Real advertisements 01 Supposedly, these are actual advertisements that have appeared in papers across the country.


Lost: small apricot poodle. Reward. Neutered. Like one of the family.

A superb and inexpensive restaurant. Fine food expertly served by waitresses in appetizing forms.

Dinner Special — Turkey $2.35; Chicken or Beef $2.25; Children $2.00.

For sale: an antique desk suitable for lady with thick legs and large drawers.

Four-poster bed, 101 years old. Perfect for antique lover.

Now is your chance to have your ears pierced and get an extra pair to take home, too.

Wanted: 50 girls for stripping machine operators in factory.

Wanted: Unmarried girls to pick fresh fruit and produce at night.

We do not tear your clothing with machinery. We do it carefully by hand.

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After I posted the interview with my daughters, my oldest wanted to get in on the act. She’s 21 and I thought why not. She’s known me the longest. My comments are in parentheses.

1. What does your mom always say to you? hello

2. What makes Mom happy? Quiet, a clean house an excellent cup of coffee and chocolate (she nailed it!)

3. What makes Mom sad? When any of the above mentioned is missing.

4. What does your mom do that makes you laugh? She’s just as neurotic as I am.

5. What was your mom like as a child? Older than her years.

6. How old is your mom? 36  (she lies well. No, I was not 15 when I gave birth to her.)

7. How tall is your mom? laughs 5’2”. (she is either still laughing because of question four or because she’s three inches taller than me.)

 8. What is her favorite thing to do? Garden. Write or read.

9. What does your mom do when you’re not around? I don’t know, I’m not around. (logical)

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for? Writing.

11. What is your mom really good at? Writing.

12. What is your mom NOT very good at? Huh… Holding her alcohol. (alas, it’s now true. This is because and why I don’t often drink.)

13. What does your mom do for her job? She’s a mom and she writes and edits.

14. What is your mom’s favorite food? Don’t know… mmm something with turkey or chicken.  

15. What makes you proud of your mom? She’s my mommy. (ahhh) 

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be? Elastic girl (the mom on the Incredibles)

17. What do you and your mom like to do together? Football!

18. How are you and your mom the same? We are both intelligent.

19. How are you and your mom different? Politics, I’m way more liberal than she is. (but way less liberal than she used to be)

20. How do you know your mom loves you? She helps write my school papers. (shhh, that’s supposed to be a secret.)

21. Where is your mom’s favorite place to go? The beach.

22. Where is your mom’s LEAST favorite place to go? Laughs again. Eastern Oregon. ( Have you ever driven through eastern Oregon?)

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I admit to a colossal mistake.

Okay, a potential colossal mistake, narrowly avoided only because my five initial queries were shot down before even the partial stage. So yeah, that means I was saved by rejection.

My newest manuscript, the one I was so excited about a month ago, was not ready. Don’t get me wrong, it was complete and edited, but it wasn’t ready. I confess, I was in a hurry… and a little prideful. I started the MS in December, to be finished by February, that’s down right impossible, isn’t it? Yes. It is, at least for me.

Which brings me to what I want to share: the subject of time. Sometimes it feels like time is the arch-enemy of the writer. It takes time to write, weeks to hear back from queries, partials, fulls, then more time until publication. (if we ever get that lucky, and I do believe there is some luck involved).

You can’t hurry the creation of a good book like you can’t hurry a good friendship. Some form quicker than others but they all need time. I finished the rough draft of The Devil You Know, and the next day started the first edit, send it to C, who sent it to me, edited again, read the first four chapters aloud and called it done.

By the time I finished the query, synopsis, formatted the manuscript and sent out the queries, enough time had passed that when I looked at the first chapter, warning bells went off. Something wasn’t quite right. So I sat down to edit the first chapter again and you know what? I was still too close.

I had a choice, force the edit or wait. I waited. I do learn from my mistakes. I worked on something else in an entirely different genre which, by the way, was like exercising muscles I’ve never used. I reviewed and critiqued a lot of other people’s work. I studied a little more my art to see where I could improve and what I’ve done well. And this week, I went back to the novel with fresher eyes.

I’ve deleted almost 300 words of exposition from a 3000 word first chapter. That’s 10% (easy math even for me) Yeah, well, it sounded good when I wrote it! And that is another point. It did sound and read wonderful right after I wrote it. I was too close, too caught up in the joy of completion. Now that I’ve had time, I can see how to create more depth in the world and the characters. There is a distance, an impartiality that wasn’t there before.

So it’s back to the beginning, but not really, because I’m armed with more tools, with more knowledge and even more experience.

My question for you: How do you decide your MS is ready for agents? Have you ever jumped the gun? Over-edited? Please share. It will help us all : )

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Okay, I couldn’t decide which child to ask so I asked the three who were closest. I asked them separately so they couldn’t see the prior answers or confer. The answers are from youngest to oldest D4-3; D3-8; D2-14 (My comments in parentheses.)

1. What does your mom always say to you?

Do my chores—clean your room—clean your room (do you see a theme here?)

2. What makes Mom happy?

Hugging her — doing your chores—clean house (yes, yes and yes)

3. What makes Mom sad?

 When you don’t do your stuff—when we do something bad—naughty children

4. What does your mom do that makes you laugh?

um..tickle me—a funny joke–jokes

5. What was your mom like as a child?

Grown up—she did lots of chores—an adult (another theme here. Do you wonder what I tell them? “When I was a kid…” 🙂 )

6. How old is your mom? 3—38—36 or 37 (close enough)

7. How tall is your mom?

stretches her hands up as high as they will go—I don’t know–5’ (If you’re interested. I’m 5’2”)

8. What is her favorite thing to do?

color—clean the house–read

9. What does your mom do when you’re not around?

sleep—clean(pretty much)–I don’t want to know

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?

I don’t know—writing—her books (Gotta love them)

11. What is your mom really good at?

pumping up a ball (I’d just done this for her) –writing—writing (my cheerleaders)

12. What is your mom NOT very good at?

reaching (she’s right, see ‘how tall?’ answers)—she not very good at nothing, I mean she’s good at everything (ahhh)—understanding (is she a teenager or what?)

13. What does your mom do for her job?

Get people their food(LOL)—write–write

14. What is your mom’s favorite food?


15. What makes you proud of your mom?

I don’t know—she makes good snacks on Friday—that she takes care of five kids all by herself

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?

I don’t know– Minnie Mouse—I don’t know (What? A little imagination, please?)

17. What do you and your mom like to do together?

color—go shopping—watch Heroes

18. How are you and your mom the same?

 because….—we both like to cook—we both like good books

19. How are you and your mom different?

*Blank stare*– She’s taller—our idea of fun is way different

20. How do you know your mom loves you?

Because you’re my best mommy (ahhh)–She makes us snacks and dinner–She cares too much. (another teen response.)

21. Where is your mom’s favorite place to go?

visit grandma—flower shop—out with friends, people her age (?)

22. Where is your mom’s LEAST favorite place to go?

sales calls—the bar(?)—downtown

Like, Becky,  who I stole this from, I tag anyone who thinks doing this meme would be fun (if in a potentially dangerous way!). If you go for it, put a link in the comments, so we can all check it out.

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Act one: (Agent): Good manuscript, but the (redacted) chapters must go.


Act two: (Acquisition editor): Good first half but the second part is overly complex. Rewrite the second part and I’ll think about it.


Act three: (Editor): Good, but sorry, the second part lacks meat. Perhaps expand the *(redacted) chapters.


Act four: (writer) copy-pastes the chapters deleted in act one.


Act five: (Editor) Now you’re talking!


·         Same ‘redacted’ as the first.

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ABC’s of Happiness.


G – Grandma. My grandma in particular. Every child should have an Irish grandma. If you ask her what’s she’s doing, she’ll answer, “Everyone I can and the dumb ones twice.” It’s from her I learned the phrase: “It’s colder than a witch’s tits in a brass bra.” My grandma is such a force of nature that even after breast cancer and an aneurysm, she still manages to keep the family together. Oh, and if you ever need help at a crossword puzzle or jumble… she’s the one to ask.




H – Heroes (the television show) This from D2 and I share it namely because even though I love the show, I love more spending time with her while watching it. So my H would be having something in common with my 14 year old daughter.



I – Ice Cream. I love ice cream. Every flavor, any time. Unfortunately, it doesn’t love me as much any more so I also love Lactaid!



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Weekend Gardener


One more thing off my to-do list! D3 and I cleaned out the fishpond. Can you see the little guys in there?

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