Archive for July, 2010

Friday night I had the privilege of going out to dinner with two of the most wonderful women you will ever meet.

Jennifer Leeland has been a constant support, sometimes cheerleader and always a friendly voice, sometimes when I needed it the most for the last four years or so, but this is the first time we met face to face.  I only met Melissa Blue that night… but where has she been all of my life? LOL We even live in the same town. She’s witty, clever, says it like it is and is my kinda gal. I think only the fact that we’re both very busy and quite reclusive has kept us apart.

I haven’t laughed so much… in longer than I can remember. We went to the Cheesecake Factory and stayed until the wait staff stood in a cluster, shooting furtive glances in our direction… around midnight or so.

And though I planned to order a drink, I never got around to it and, quite frankly, we didn’t need it.

We spoke about writing, publishing, characters, life, marriage, children, and I even learned some valuable things about myself–free counseling, can’t beat it.

 All in all, it was a necessary, and enjoyable evening. Here’s a link the talented Jennifer Leeland’s blog for more pictures and because she says such nice things about me. : )

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This post was inspired by an incident involving sugar, milk, coffee and what happens to the best of us over at Ms Posey’s blog. If you haven’t visited her there, I suggest you do. She has a delightful sense of humor, a keen eye and witty mind…. you have to have those things with 6 children– 4 of which are under 7. That or they dress you in white form-fitting clothing lacking arms.

I haven’t spilled milk lately… I put the milk in my cup first, then the coffee, mixes itself ( try that Crys). But I do have a pet peeve about my kids using way too much milk in their cereal and then dumping it in the sink. I don’t cry. I remind them what mommy is like with no milk for her coffee. It works.

My kids have recently ventured into the Kool-aid making realm. After much pleading, I caved and bought a few packets of Kool-aid, thinking that at least I could control the sugar content, unlike in juice.  In case you’re not familiar with the Kool-aid realm, it involves copious amounts of sugar, bright powder with enough food coloring in it to dye hair (no kidding) and water.

It’s a chemistry experiment where the result is an insane mother stuck to the floor by a bright orange sucrose solution and brightly colored stained grout that doesn’t quite match the dish towels.

Cry? No. It really doesn’t work. Crystal’s right. You need to learn to take a deep breath and let the little things in life slide. That and break out the old toothbrushes, hand one to each child and take advantage of youthful enthusiasm.

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Weekend Gardener

It’s that time again: Harvest!

This is some of my apricot crop, which is now NOT on my tree. My plum tree is two-thirds harvested and jam making will commence as soon as humanly possible. A friend is coming over so I can teach her how to make jam. Between you and me, it’s really easy but jam making by yourself… well, lets just say it’s one of those activities made better when shared.

So apricot jam, plum jam and apricot/plum jam, YUM!

The peaches are still hard and green. I blame it on the cool spring. They should be ready in a few weeks and then peach cobbler for everyone!

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Fifth birthday party

Claire and her birthday cake.

Birthday party with friends.

Birthday presents!

Chilling with the big cheese and friends!

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Earlier this year, I went to Norwescon and found myself at a Tor party. Now in a party situation like this, where I don’t know another living soul, me and that trout on the counter gasping for air have a lot in common. But this was a TOR party, with TOR people. I realize that people out there, namely all of you, may not know that I have no idea what I’m doing. On the outside, I probably appear perfectly calm and even a little collected. So I reminded myself of that and decided to mingle. My stomach lurches even at the mention of that word. But how often do you get invited to a Tor party?

Yeah, my point exactly.

I started talking to a friendly-looking woman whose name I have completely forgotten. Friendly Lady was a writer who has written many, many books that I’m sure are wonderful, but which I have never read. Still, Friendly Lady was, well, friendly. I told her I was an unpublished fantasy writer. I imagine an unpublished fantasy writer at a Tor party is very similar to a starving man at a banquet when the guests have just taken the last morsel of food.
Friendly Lady told me I shouldn’t even bother with an agent, that I should skip right to acquiring editors and guess what? There’s more than one at this party. Oh, yeah, my ears picked up as my stomach sunk to the floor. She might have told me Jared Leto was there and I should just go talk to him and I would have had a similar reaction.

She pointed out a woman standing near the bar way across the room and said: See that blonde in the glasses? Now, here I should have ‘fessed up because, no, I didn’t see the blonde in the glasses. Or rather I saw fuzzy blonde and what might have been glasses but everything else looked like a Monet painting. Instead, I nodded my head because you see, my inner recluse had woken up with a vengeance and was informing me, quite loudly, that there was no way she was going to walk up to a total stranger with some variation of ‘Hi, how are you. Would you publish my book?” Just as I was inclined to agree, Ambition walked up to Recluse and poked her very hard in the chest, reminding her of the hours of work and painstaking editing, and hello? Publication is the goal.

Meanwhile, Friendly Lady smiled and excused herself to, no doubt, speak to someone who wasn’t already having a conversation in her head.

And now I’m alone.

Alone at a Tor party.

I went to the bar and grabbed a bottle of water from the cooler. Yeah, adding alcohol to that mess would have been a big mistake. I could almost see myself pushing aside the books and book jackets decorating the large coffee table, stepping on top of it, weaving and waving my glass of whiskey around to announce that yes, I am an unpublished writer looking to be published, who would like to bid first?

I’m holding my bottle of water like a lifeline because it’s giving me something to do and to keep Ambition happy, I’m squinting at all the blondes with glasses in the room. I really should remember to take my glasses to these things. Who knew Tor employed so many blondes with glasses?

And then I see one walking toward me. A blonde in glasses who looks very literary and oh my god, I think she might be the one Friendly Lady pointed out. Ambition shoves Recluse in a closet and leans against it. “Go for it!” she yells and I take a tentative step forward and then another, my mouth opens… and Literary Blonde walks on by without a glance in my direction. Aside from tackling her, I’m not sure exactly how I could have stopped her. But Recluse is still in the closet and damn it, I’m at a Tor party and no one yet knows how insane I truly am. So I decide to do something wild and out of character.

I see a woman all alone, leaning against the wall. Maybe she feels as much like that blasted fish as I do. Maybe she’s another unpublished writer… Damn it, maybe I’ll just go talk to her. I take a sip of water and start walking across the room: 6 feet. 4 feet.  3 feet. 1 foot and Recluse storms out of the closet. I froze in place. Fortunately there are book jackets tacked up all over the walls. So I turn and start reading the back cover copy of a book that is hanging about 6 inches away from All Alone Woman who I notice, out the corner of my eye, really looks very nice. In fact, I don’t think she’d bite. She probably won’t even run away. So this time I push Recluse in the closet and say. “This book sounds interesting.” I mean it did.

She turns to me and smiles. She asks me if I’m a writer… and I tell her yes—Don’t look now folks, but we have conversation—I tell her a little about my work. She turns to the book mentioned and says it’s one of hers. I assume she’s a writer and she says no, I’m an editor, then she looks at me again and says, did ‘friendly lady’ tell you to come see me?

This is when I realize this woman is a blonde in glasses… THE blonde in glasses. And come on, what do I say? Either way I sound like an idiot. ‘You see I thought that other blonde woman in glasses was you only I chickened out. I’m only talking to you because I thought maybe you shared the same fish affliction as I do, plus you weren’t already talking to someone else?’

That would be craziness.

Absolute craziness.

Yup. I told her the truth, well most of it. She now knows that I’m nearsighted and agrees there are quite a few blondes wearing glasses at Tor… And then she asked for my MS… just like that. I think I was stunned. I must have been stunned because when she leaves to get her card, she turns to me and assures me she’ll be back.

I spent the rest of the evening by her side soaking in the wonder that is the publishing industry, falling in love with Tor publishing–because with people like that working for them, you can’t help but put out good quality books–and enjoying myself.

So wonderful blonde editor woman in glasses did read my MS and sent me a nice email telling me she was passing it on to another editor because it had a little too much romance in it for straight fantasy. (Go figure) So now another editor at Tor has it, one I’ve never met, but hope to… someday.
Next time I’ll bring my glasses.

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My baby is five years old today… Yes, five years old.

This is Claire at a few hours old

And here she is at her preschool graduation in June:

I will be posting pictures of the party this weekend.

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Happy Fourth!

Recently, I reread the Declaration of Indepence and I was strongly moved.  It’s so easy to take things that we live with daily as a given; they aren’t.

I think we need to see the document in context. This is a letter sent to the most powerful man in the world by a little colony. The courage and determination of these men and women is amazing.

Maybe you had to memorize part of this in school and it may even have a negative feeling for it because of this. Well, I’d ask you to read it again. It just might surprise you as an adult.

Don’t take my word for it. Here are the first two paragraphs: The rest can be found here.

 IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776 The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

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