Monday, July 31, 2006

Holy Snappin', It's Done!!!!!

Novel push 2006 is complete. I'm jumping up and down. I'll be shaping my new novel for a couple of more months and then out it goes!!!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

How many eggs do I lay?

Poster Joy asked a question: At the risk of getting too personal, can you tell me - how many eggs do you lay?

I’m not exactly laying eggs. I usually lob my eggs over the fence. Don't worry my eggs are sturdy. I hope my readers find the following information helpful, insightful, uh, interesting, ok, worth one or two minutes of procrastination.

I've found goal setting very important. I formulate a business plan every year. There are many facets to this plan. I try to lob an egg a week over the fence into some waiting editor's slush pile. I don't always reach this goal, but I do try. This year I've sent out or have been sent (this means an editor contacted me about a project) 27 eggs. Currently, I've had 8 eggs hatch. I have three wobbling, but to put this into perspective, in 2003, I sent out 52 eggs, had four major wobbles and then one editor turned me down and the other three quit their jobs (not kidding) to go somewhere else (to make money, I presume). In 2004, I sent out 52 eggs, and 2 hatched. In 2005, I sent out 45 eggs and 11 hatched. Please note that I'm counting all hatched eggs regardless of size -- some eggs hatched were very small projects and some eggs hatched were much bigger ones. I can imagine that some years one egg will be all I am able to handle, but that would be a very big egg.

I did work for many years on my perfecting my craft. I made my first submission in 1995 and sent out a couple hundred rotten eggs from 1995-2003. In those years I was too lofty to have an egg goal; I couldn’t be bothered with details like grammar; I certainly didn’t have to research any houses; I was so brilliant – who could turn down brilliant work like mine. I garnered very few personal rejections with this stellar strategy. I remember crying when an editor wrote “nice” in ink on a photocopy of a photocopy rejection form.

Now I never send out a submission that is not targeting a specific house and editor. (Shh, listen, all over the country, trees are rejoicing at my choice to spare their lives. Editors are also rejoicing.) If I'm sending something out now, I've done my research. I've looked at the publishing house's list of books. I know some books the editor has edited. I've read these books.

I'm also very serious about the craft side of my work. I’ve got oodles of creative talent. I’ve decided talent is about 2 % of what you need. 98 % comes from reading and studying and writing and rewriting. I've taken lots of classes. I've attended many children's writing conferences and done major volunteering for SCBWI (btw, a great way to network.) The good news is I have always loved to read, so that part of the process has always been getting done. I've written enough words that an estimate of the number of words I've written would be painful; suffice to say, the number is way over a million.

My business plan includes professional development and networking. I also attend critique groups and read a novel or 5 picture books a week. On top of that, I devote an hour to marketing every week and write at least 5 days a week. I also have to spend time with other business – submission records, blogging, answering email, etc. These activities are all a part of my business plan. In the beginning, my goals were much more modest.

I continue to procrastinate every day, but I try to limit that to 15 minutes. Some people call this 'staring out the window time' an important part of professional development.

Note: I'm starting to call an egg where the editor calls a blue bird of happiness.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Might be getting a paying gig. This is a blue bird of happiness opportunity. I'm a former Blue Bird. I had a troop and we did cool stuff like tour Burger King and get our hair cut at a hair cutting school. The blue bird is in your backyard even though you are searching the world to find it.

I'm reading a slew of books right now. That's what summer is for, right. I've finished The Fires of Merlin by T.A. Barron. I really like this. It has interesting pacing. Merlin is also a strong charater and I so glad he saved that baby dragon. I'm also reading Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins. I like it because I'm laughing and snorting a lot. I've got the Beast of Noor going. The book has a brooding energy underneath the surface and a storyline that begs you to turn the page. I'm in the middle of one more more book -- If I Should Die Before I Wake by Han Nolan. I love her storytelling; her books say things that provoke me.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Creeping Forward

My novel project has slowed down for the dog days of summer (100 degrees F yesterday). I'm still getting few hundred words a day, so I'm creeping forward. I can see the end over the hill.

On the egg front, there was some wobble action last Friday.

Writing itself is an act of faith, and nothing else. - E. B. White

Friday, July 21, 2006

The Poetry of the Earth

Here are some images from my Lake Mowich day.

"The poetry of the earth runs through this day.
Like green-gold ribbon and like scarlet flame."
Grace Noll Crowell

Here's some images from my Lake Mowich day.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


I'm being haunted by play. It all started at The Beast of the Noor party. I was munching tasty fairy cakes and a friendly fairy came up to me and threw petals over my head and spoke a book blessing. After that I pulled a petal out of a bag and a word was written on it in a lost language that could only be translated by the fairy. The word was play. I was charged by awesome Janet Lee Carey to go forth and play. After that I went to church and instead of a regular sort of preacher there was a football player -- Ronnie Harris. And what did he say? You need to get out and play more. So I went for a quick trip to Mount Rainer and Lake Mowich and I took pictures of flowers. But I hadn't played enough. No, not yet.

After that I read from a book of essays because I was shanghaied by a bunch of teenagers, forced to drive them to the marina so they could watch the sun set and then wait as they watched. I opened to a random essay in Writers on Writing, Volume II, a collection of essays from the New York Times. I began to read "A Retreat from the World Can Be a Perilous Journey" by Johnathan Rosen. What did I find?

"Keats referred to the poet's 'diligent Indolence,' a state of suspended activity necessary for creativity. . . Play, after all, is hard work; Anna Freud called play the work of children. And perhaps of writers, too.

Play is work; inside is outside; indolence is activity. One might add that the imaginary is real, and introspection is actually a form of social research. No wonder I have to take a nap from time to time. Eventually one must put aside the paradoxes and the explanations and simply write."

I'm going to watch Star Trek: TNG. All this knocking on my noggin by the Universe is wearing me out. After my Star Trek fix, I'm going play AsoBrain at and then I'm going to read more of Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins. Perhaps I'm moving toward 'a satori, a mystical, wordless moment of understanding about Music and life'. I feel unfinished like Hector, still in process. I think I still have time.

After all this play, I'm going to snooze. After that, I will drag my bones to yoga, and then I will stare out the window.

Play really is hard work and writers have to play a lot.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Egg Primer

What the heck is a wobbling egg? This question was recently posed to me by local author Holly Cupala of Brimstone Soup. We chatted at the book launch of Janet Lee Carey's new book, The Beast of Noor. Btw, what a lovely evening! I was thrilled to be there! Anywhoo, here is the egg primer.

An Egg is any book project that I'm working on.

I send out eggs in the mail and then they sit in slush piles.

If an egg wobbles, inflamatory rhetoric has been sent to the author of the egg. This rhetoric includes but is not limited to the following phrases.

We have read your book and are pondering.

We have read your book and you made it to the next round.

I have read your book; I am sending it around for editorial review.

If an egg rocks, incinderary rhetroic has been sent to the author of the egg. This rhetoric includes but is not limited to the following phrases.

We have two projects to choose from and yours is one of them.


Girl, you moved me with that writing.

I can't get your story out of my head!

I will be contacting you in two weeks and will give you decision.

Up to this point there have been WFH hatching eggs, but no trade hatching eggs.

Any hatching egg would be defined as moving beyond the rhetoric and into reality -- i.e. an offer for the egg.

WFH - It's like what happened to Batman and Superman on TV, but this is the writer version.

Trade -- In regency England this was bad, but to writers this is R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

Monday, July 03, 2006


I'm really fuzzy today, muddled really. I upgraded computers this weekend. Upgrades are a fortutious advantage of scoring "the not to be named" test. I'm going to give Plumber Girl the last push this month. The predicted six more chapters should be easy, but I have run into a pretty serious timeline problem that I have to decide to ignore in this draft or spend the hours resolving the problem. NOT my favorite part of the process.

Well, I've got to get some holy snappin' going. Write your heart out this week.

I've been thinking about E.E. Cummings for the past couple of days. He's one of the voices in my head.

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best day and night to make you like everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight and never stop fighting.
e e cummings