Thursday, October 29, 2009

Random Friday

My mind is a little scattered as I write this. The week has been busy with working, soccer games, basketball practices, football games, dentist appointments and a sick husband.

So this post will probably be a little random.

Update: I'm going through my book one more time to tighten it up before I start querying. I hoping for second week in November.

Funny moment of the week: 14 year old son says: "Apparently the girl who we thought liked my friend likes me and now our friendship is going to turn into an awkward sitcom series."

This is the ultimate in trying to protect the environment. A guy at work told me that in Brazil this summer the government launched a campaign to encourage people to pee in the shower, so they would save water. Apparently they shower 3 times a day, because it's so humid.

Bought the book Leviathan, by Scott Westerfeld, but my son stole it from my bookshelf before I could crack it open. Also bought the Uglies series by the same author, because my sister-in-law said they were awesome. Hoping to read more at the end of November.

Finally good luck to all of those who are participating in NaNoWriMe in November. I wish I could do it, but I need to get this book done. Maybe I'll have a week in December where I'll write non stop. Anybody else want to join me?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Well I tried to keep my pessimistic side at bay and hoped for the best at my soccer game last night, but we lost 4-0. We commiserated afterwards with cake and pizza, and tried to figure out what went wrong. After a few hours, more than was actually spent playing the game, we decided we needed more game play practice, among other things.

Now after having four hours of sleep last night, I've put the game behind me and have moved on to focusing on next weeks challenge.

I guess this is what we have to do when we receive a rejection. Take a moment to be sad, angry, and disappointed, or just have a good cry in the bathroom, but then move on. Put that letter behind us and keep trying.

Maye it's not about being pessimistic or optimistic, but being resilient. Having the perseverance to keep going and not give up.

Hopefully I can maintain that attitude as I begin quering and try to make it through this incredibly hard soccer season.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Expect the worst or Hope for the Best

My soccer team pretty much rocks. In fact we are so awesome we have been promoted to the highest division in over 35 women's soccer. Now as good as that sounds it does come with a few minor issues.

1) Most of the ladies who play in this division have been playing since they were kids and a few even played university level soccer.
2) Most of the ladies on my team started playing 8-10 years ago.
3) We will be playing against a national winning team.
4) We will be playing against another team from our small town. (That's right our soccer program is so awesome we have two over 35 women's team in the top division)
5) We are probably going to get our butt's kicked.

I say probably because I don't know for sure. We might be okay, we might even win a few games. We just don't know. So do you go into the games expecting nothing (to lose) or hope for the best.

I'm hoping to start querying agents within the next two weeks. Now as most of you know querying is stressful, difficult, and did I say stressful. You have to get your query letter just right for each agent you query. You need to research which agents represent what you write and decide whether or not you think you could work with them.

So here's the question of the day. Do you think when you query you should expect nothing that way you won't be disappointed, or should you hope for the best.

By the way I play my first soccer game tomorrow against the other team from my town.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Another Contest & Award

This time its a query letter contest over at Kid Lit, Mary Kole, associate agent at Andrea Brown Literary Agency!

In other news I want to thank Melane for the Kreativ Blogger Award.

7 things about me, you might not know

1. I hate wearing socks and would live in sandals all year long if I could.
2. I hate folding socks, it's the household chore I hate the most.
3. I have a drawer in my room strictly for socks that I can't find the mate to.
4. I don't like hot drinks, they make me sick to my stomach.
5. People sniffing is my of my biggest pet peeves.
6. My favorite show of all time is probably Firefly, too bad it got canceled.
7. I absolutely love the show Glee and would love to be able to sing, but can't. In fact my husband cringes when I try.

That's a little more about me. Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

How to Choose?

Now that I'm getting close to actually pushing that send button I've been contemplating my plan of attack, so to speak.

A few years ago when I researched querying I read a lot of advice about only querying a few agents at once, some even suggested one at a time. Back then I thought that was ridiculous why wouldn't I want to query as many as possible at once. As with everything, time and experience has made me wiser. Now I see the wisdom in those words.

If you send out 20 queries and they are all rejected you don't have a chance to revise your query or revisit your submission before trying another agent. And although you can submit again you probably shouldn't unless you're completely changing your manuscript, so I'm starting to feel a little stressed about who to send it to, because once it's sent there's no redo.

So here's my question, there are so many great agents out there. How do you decide who to query first? What has been your criteria for choosing? Do you start with the bigger profile agents, the ones who have blogs with tons of followers or do you look beyond that and research what they represent and how well they've done with selling the authors they represent.

If you have an agent how why did you pick them to query, if you don't do you know how you'll choose?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Over use

She turned around and looked down the path she had just walked.

I've been going through each chapter and highlighting words I over use. Four of the worst offenders are in the sentence above.

Any guesses?

It's been an interesting exercise in trying to figure out different ways to say the same thing. I'm always amazed at how I can miss using the same word within one paragraph. Anyone else feel that way?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Long Lost Book

Years ago I fell in love a series called "The Keeping Days" by Norma Johnston. It's about a young girl at the turn of the 1900th century trying to deal with family crisis, a test of faith, and new love.

There was six books in the series, but I only ever read and was able to find the first three and the last two. I've searched for the book called "A Mustard Seed of Magic" for years and years. I even wrote the publisher asking for the book. My local library never carried it, so I went for a lot of years without the one book to complete the series. (I was going to put a number, but it made me feel too old).

A month ago our local library joined this system where they can get books from other libraries, I can't remember what it's called. So one day I went on line and guess what, they had the book. I have never been more excited.

I finished reading A Mustard Seed of Magic this weekend and it was wonderful. In it the main character wants to be a writer, this is probably why I was inspired by this series. There was so much great advice that I actually took notes.

This quote from the main character hit me and I think it's how a lot of us feel.

"A writer wasn't a real writer until his work was read, not just by himself and his near and dear, but by the world to whom he had things that he must say."

For many years the main character wrote only for herself, but it had to come to a point where she wanted others to read her work. I'm at that point now. I'm no longer hiding it in a shelf, I'm ready to try and share with the world. At least in two weeks I am, that's how much editing time I have left.

It's amazing to me how this main character's story can still motivate me even after 20 plus years. Now I have the pain of giving the book that I've tried so hard to find back to the library. Part of me just wants to tell them I lost it and pay for the book, but that wouldn't be honest even though it's extremely tempting.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Awesome contest

Jenn is having a contest on her blog to win the book The Maze Runner by James Dashner. It sounds like a great book. Go check it out.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Will I ever get better...

I've been sick this week. Really sick. Chills, fever, coughing, sore throat, achy body, and a headache. I stayed home from work and have laid on the couch feeling like I wanted to die. Every morning and every night I've thought am I ever going to get better.

Even this morning as my boss rattled off all of the H1N1 symptoms to me on the phone when I called in sick had me worried. I had all of them. I went to the doctor and waited an hour for him to tell me I had a viral infection, the flu and there was really nothing for me to do, but rest and drink lots of fluids.

Funny thing happened when I got home I started to feel a lot better, not 100%. My head still feels like it could explode at any moment and it hurts to swallow, but I'm definitely better.

Sometimes I feel like this with writing. I'll look at a sentence, paragraph, or chapter and think will I ever be able to make it better. And just like being sick, if you drink fluids and get some rest you get better. If you keep trying your writing will get better.

I'd write more, but I losing energy and my daughter is pestering me to get onto the computer.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Is it wrong...

Is it wrong to hope that football conflicts with my boys basketball, because I hate that sport so much. Had to change this around. I love basketball, hate football.

Is it wrong to feel old, because I want to put a jacket and boots on when I go outside in the cold.

Is it wrong that when the subject of the end of the world comes up all I can think is; I hope I get my book published before that happens.

Is it wrong to change my word choice instead of figuring out how to spell a different word.

Is it wrong to eat a lot of chocolate, because I can't get past chapter eight.

Is it wrong to change an element of your book, because you heard that some publishing people in the industry consider it be one of their pet peeves. (Actually I really could use an opinion on this one)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Finding the Cheese Grater

The other day when I was making pizza, I went to the cupboard to find the cheese grater, but it wasn't there. Usually it's in a bowl lying down beside my braun mixer. I looked in the sink, the dishwasher, and all of the other cupboards. After five minutes of searching I asked my son to come in and see if he could find it. He opened the cupboard and there it was standing beside the bowl, but since it wasn't lying down I had failed to notice it.

As I go through the edits that my beta readers have given me, I've noticed a few things. I use the phrase turned around and walked over a lot. Apparently I need to document their every move. It's funny how I couldn't see it before, even though I've read through my book numerous times. All it took was a fresh pair of eyes to notice it and point me in the right direction.

I often find it amazing how every time I read my book I can come up with better ways to say something. It makes me wonder why I didn't come up with that word the first time when it came so easily to me the second time.

Writing is a funny business, all I can hope for is to learn from my mistakes so eventually I won't make so many.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Being Thankful

It's Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend. A time that we spend with our families, eat, visit, eat more, and most importantly remember what we're thankful for.

This year I'm especially thankful for all the regular things:
- A husband whose honest, loving and a great father.
- Wonderful kids who make me laugh and proud.
- The best extended family ever. It's great to live close to people who supportsand care for you.
- I'm grateful for my health, it was a hard summer, but we're slowly getting back to normal.
- Friends who make me laugh and give a shoulder to cry on whenever I need it.
- The fact that both me and my husband have jobs that pay for our house, clothes and food.

One thing that's different this year is the people I'm met through this blog. Ten years ago we wouldn't have had this forum to meet, commiserate and rally around each other. The information that is exchanged is wonderful and I've learned so much these last nine months. It's been great seeing how many people are sharing in my struggles and better yet seeing some of you begin to succeed.

So this year the new thing I'm grateful for is the invention of the BLOG.

I know Thanksgiving is two months away for most of you, but what are you thankful for.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

It’s Back

Almost two months ago I sent my book away to be read by a beta reader. During that time I didn’t tinker with it, read it, or even think about it. Okay maybe that last one is a lie, but I really tried hard to put it out of my mine. I highly recommend doing this. I know it’s hard, because we want to finish it, but the break has really made me look at things differently.

Anyway, today my book came back. It’s a little battered and bruised, but also much wiser.

I’ve had the great privilege of having two great beta readers who have finished reading my book and given me great advice, wisdom, and most of all hope.

I now have two weeks to tighten dialogue, add a bit more romance, make sure the ending is the way I want it, and correct a few echoes (okay maybe there’s more than a few). After that I will finish the query, it’s almost done. Update the synopsis and press the send button. I’m not sure to who and how many yet, but I have two weeks to decide.

So thank you to my beta readers, you did an awesome job and I don’t know where I’d be without you.

Feel free to leave a shout out to the people who read your work and nicely tell you how it can be better.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Nature Vs. Nurture

Last week I received a magazine in the mail called West. It's a publication about Western Canada, which focuses on little towns and the impact the people who live in them make on the country. I'm proud to say my daughter was on the cover last month, but I digress.

Anyway this month they had an interview with the author Andrew Davidson, the man who wrote The Gargoyle. It has been translated into 27 different languages and is selling well everywhere in the world - except the US, so you might not have heard of it. (Personally I haven't read it)

The Gargoyle is his first book and he received a $2,000.000 advance for it, which is like a record for a Canadian publisher. Andrew Davidson is from a small town in Manitoba, population around 1500. I like this fact because I come from a small town in Western Canada, so it gives me hope.

A little way into the article the by line reads DAVIDSON WASN'T AN OVERNIGHT SUCCESS. I liked that to because lately it seems like everyone is. They write their novel in two months, edit it in one, submit to agents and have a book deal all within six months. Davidson worked on his book for seven years.

I should clarify that I don't actually know anyone whose got a book deal that fast and it just appears that way because we don't see all the late nights and long days slaving over the computer.

He first began writing on poetry and stage plays, but "it was all bad, but it didn't matter, and it didn't stop me from writing" I loved that quote.

Later he says "I certainly wasn't born with some skill that came fully formed. Hard work and determination helped me develop the skill of writing. If there was one thing I was born with, it was the desire to write that even I don't fully understand. It just it."

Growing up I thought writing would come naturally for me and when it didn't I became frustrated and stopped doing it. I thought I wasn't smart enough to learn how to do it, that if it wasn't a natural talent then I must not be a writer. I was a little insecure in those days.

I have since changed my mind. No, my writing does not come naturally and I'm also not a size two who can eat whatever they want. I have to work at my writing, like I have to exercise and eat healthy. Yes, there are some people out there who have a natural talent and maybe they are the ones who can write a book and have it sell all within six months.

I have learned a lot over the years and will continue to learn. And although I may not be a naturally gifted writer, like Davidson says, I was born with the desire and for me that is enough.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Stuck in the past

I was tagged by Jenn to write down my top seven songs. This challenge really got me thinking. I've loved music for as long as I've loved to write. I used to sit in my basement and play my records, (that's right I said records) until I wore the album out.

In high school I used coil notebooks to write stories and on the cover I would jot down my favorite bands. I could write a journal of my high school years through the music I listened to.

So instead of telling you what my favorite songs are right now, I've decided to write down the songs that were my favorite back then and have remained on my play list.

1. I Melt With You by Modern English
(It was always a favorite at the dances)
2. It's My Life by Talk Talk
(not by No doubt)
3. Bizarre Love Triangle by New Order
(reminds me of grade 12 - for reasons I'll not say)
4. Lovesong by the Cure
(I still run to this song)
5. If You Were Here by the Thompson Twins
(it was one of the first albums I ever bought, plus it's the last song on Sixteen Candles when they're kissing over the birthday cake - who couldn't love that song)
6. All I Need is Everything - Aztec Camera
(I just loved the name of the band. I felt cool saying I listened to Aztec Camera)
7. Anything by Duran Duran - (I was a total junkie and had their pictures plastered all over my wall. My mom was totally worried)

So that's it, the story of my teenage years. Do you have any favorite songs that you still listen to long after it's been forgotten.