Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Nightmare

So I had this nightmare last night. Seriously. I began recieving rejections from editors we didn't even sub to. My agent and I were standing in front of the computer wondering what the heck was going on and then suddenly we were in a group of editors who were all laughing and pointing. It was like one of those dreams when you're caught naked in school. Totally humiliating.

Someone needs a spa day. Unfortunately, spa days have never been in the budget and with the current turn of economic events, I can't afford to mulch my garden, let alone get a facial.

I knew waiting wasn't good for the writer. Soon, I'll be completely batshit crazy. I have a vision of myself wrapped in mismatched shawls, walking through the streets of Portland, muttering to myself... "Goals, motivation, conflict, goals, motivation conflict..."

Writing careers should should come with a warning label: Caution: Writing novels can cause paranoia, depression and anxiety.

This explains the high percentage of alcoholism in famous writers.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Random Friday

Bits o randomness that don't make a full blog:

1. I want to be stranded on a deserted island with all the members of The Ace of Cakes. With ovens. And endless ingredients. I'm just saying.

2. Son's laptop took a major dump while I was at sbux. Thankfully, I sent my wip to my desktop yesterday. How fortuitous.

3. I hate grocery shopping. I have to go grocery shopping today.

4. I hate waiting.

5. I have to wait a lot. In fact, anyone who hates waiting shouldn't be an author. The entire industry is built on it.

6. My skinny pants are getting tight on me. Have to start running again, no matter what foot feels like. Yet, I still feel like cake.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

In Defense of Agents

Been reading all the blogs popping up for and against literary agents. I'm not posting the blogs here because I'm reluctant to fan the flames, but boy howdy, some people sure have a lot of bitterness locked inside them. Against agents who, as I've learned, hold the keys to the promised land. And, unknown to me, these very same agents are both killing publishing and crushing the hopes and dreams of writers.

Say it isn't true!

I have a couple things to say on the subject. (You knew I did, didn't you?) One, I have never been so happy to have an agent as when I received my contract for Read My Lips. After perusing that monstrosity a couple of times, I was overjoyed to know that my agency's contract lawyer was going over it line by line and was on my side because I couldn't make head nor tails of it. And I consider myself a pretty smart person. In fact, I read it to the eighth graders last week as an example of why I NEED an agent.

Two, having a top notch agent doesn't necessarily mean that your career is going to be peachy. My agent couldn't even sell my first submission and she loved it. My second sub sold, but the third one didn't. So having one, or in my case, two, fabulous agents, doesn't mean I'm suddenly in publishing nirvana. But I certainly don't blame my agents for that.

The query system is what it is. I don't mind a well-trained intern reading my queries because I always do my research before sending them. It's the intern's job to separate the wheat from the chafe and trust me, agents get a lot of chafe. Thousands a year in fact.

I loved my first agent. I love my second agent. They are there to help me. They love books and love to read. It's a tough job--If they didn't love it, they wouldn't be doing it.

Yes, some worthy books will never see the light of day, but whoever said life was fair? Blockbuster books, some good, some not so much, keep the wheels turning for the rest of us. It seems to me that this is just more of the "man be keeping me down" mentality that really never got anyone anywhere.

Write a good book. Write a good query. Pray a lot. Rinse. Repeat.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sign Me Up!

The kids at Walt Morey Middle school were awesomeness personified. They made welcome signs, wrote great reviews of LIPS on the whiteboard and asked fabulous questions. Of course, hucking chocolate at them everytime they asked one helped.

Crazy, crazy fun and so much energy! I felt almost high when I finished and didn't want to go.

I wanna do this for a living. Where do I sign up? I'm actually working on a brochure to send out later in the year, so maybe I'll get some more gigs next year. Loved it!

In other news, my baby is engaged! They went to macaroni grill and her boyfriend drew a ring on the table... Megan started coloring it and he said, "Do you like that ring, or do you like this one?" Then he pulled out the ring from his pocket and opened the box. How sweet!

It's perfect for her:white gold with a diamond... simple, modern and completely Megan. Kid has good taste:)

Since they won't be married for years, I'm not too worried about their age. But we can look at wedding stuff now!

Now if I would just hear good news on some submissions, the day would be perfect!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Scrappy and Me

So last night must have been raccoon smackdown in my neighborhood, because the dog would not shut up. I wanted to strangle him. Now, don't get me wrong. I love me some Scrappy Doo. God knows I put up with a lot from that dog. I have loved him through all of it--from "accidents" on the floor to tearing up the garbage all over the house some kind of trash frenzy, so no notes on how politically incorrect it is for me to say I want to kill me some wiener dog, because if I were really gonna kill him, I would have done so LONG before now.

And I can also hear people clucking, saying I should have trained the dog. Trust me, we tried. Hims is a dachshund. A stubborn, underground, pissing, crapping, sleeping hound in miniature. A hound that resisted training. We put him in the kennel at night now so we don't have to worry about his strageically-placed-right-where-we step-on-our-way-to-the-bathroom-accidents. So he barked batshit crazy at the coons from his kennel.

Anyhoo. THAT is why I am blogging at 3:30 am when I should be ASLEEP.

The dog didn't care that I have to finish up a presentation today. The dog didn't care that I have to make a cake for book club this evening, or that I have to go to work, write a chapter or put a roast on. All he knew was there was a RUCKUS out front and, dammit, someone should let him out so he could TAKE CARE OF IT!

Stoopid dog.

Starbucks doesn't open until 5:30 so I can't even go and work. Someone is going to be Grumpy McGrump today.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Economy of Moi

As I was heading to Starbucks this morning, I noticed that another one of my favorite stores had closed it's doors forever. Empty storefronts are becoming more and more common. The beauty shop where both my children got their first haircut, gone. The pet store where we bought our first dog, gone. The ice cream store we used to go to after getting our hair cuts and looking at the puppies in the window... gone.

You get the idea.

I suppose I'm as guilty as anyone in their demise... my children got older and started frequenting salons, we get our dog food at our local grocery store and began buying the cheapest ice cream available instead of splurging on a cone. My family is running scared people. We are watching how and where we spend our money. for us, that means hitting the best sales rather than store loyalty.

The publishing industry has had it's share of ups and downs. Right now, it's in a down. Way, way down. How does this affect me? As my agent goes out with my latest WIP, I hope for the best--editor excitement and an advance that will keep the debts away for another year--but I also prepare for the worst--mass of rejections and the sound of crickets along the information super highway.

But I keep at it. It's what I do.

A great piece on advances can be found in the NY times here.

But no matter how many storefronts are empty in once thriving neighborhoods, I sip my Starbucks, (A business I am personally keeping fiscally solvent) and get ready to open chapter two and write. No matter what the economy or the publishing industry does.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


If Homer wrote the Odessy via twitter: Check it out here.

I laughed out loud over this one!

I'm still struggling with the first chapter of my new WIP. It's really high concept and I want to do it justice which means more than one POV. So I am struggling along with third person, trying to get deep, deeper, deepest. I have some really good stuff, it's just a matter of hitting the right note right off the bat and getting the right POV for the beginning. Fun stuff. I love beginnings, even when I struggle. The possibilities are endless:)

Also looking for used copies of Elizabeth Bunce's A Curse Dark as Gold for the last book of book club for the year. The kids have done so well... I can't wait until next year!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Little Suzy's on the Up

So dh and I rode the max train downtown last night. After getting off at Skidmore and rubbing elbows with a large contingent of street people, we found ourselves in front of Kells Irish Pub. Guinness, Lager, Shepard's Pie and an Irish jam session ensured the night started on the right foot. Met our friends in front of The Roseland Theater and much fun was had watching forty year old women manage their eighties finery.

The first band was good, the second band, The Leo Project , was fantastic and Tesla, as always, was phenomenal.

Too many beers, though. Me. Not Tesla.

Last night was a great way to start the week. This morning, not so much.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

April Henry!

I know it seems like I have done nothing but post fabulous interviews on the blog lately, but how can I resist the next author? Her book not only looks amazing, but she's a hometown author! I can't wait to read this for book club and have her come visit us! This is why-

About the book
When Ellie’s parents are busted for growing marijuana, the FBI gives her a choice: infiltrate the Mother Earth Defenders (MED), a radical environmental group, or her parents will go to jail. At first Ellie is more than willing to entrap the MEDics, but the more time she spends undercover—particularly with Coyote, the green-eyed MEDic that she can’t stop thinking about—the more she starts to believe in their cause. When talk turns to murder, Coyote backs out, but Ellie is willing to risk everything to save her family—even if it means losing Coyote and putting her own life on the line.

About the author
April Henry knows how to kill you in a two-dozen different ways. She makes up for a peaceful childhood in an intact home by killing off fictional characters. April had one detour on her path to destruction: when she was 12 she sent a short story about a six-foot tall frog who loved peanut butter to noted children's author Roald Dahl. He liked it so much he arranged to have it published in an international children's magazine.

By the time she was in her 30s, April had come to terms with her childhood and started writing about hit men, drug dealers, and serial killers. She has published six mysteries and thrillers, with five more under contract. Her books have gotten starred
reviews, been on Booksense (twice!), translated into four languages, short-listed for the Oregon Book Award, and chosen as a Quick Pick by the American Library Association.

April writes for both teens and adults. This month Face of Betrayal will be published. It’s the first in a new series for adult mystery series co-written with FOX legal anaylst Lis Wiehl.

What others are saying
Kirkus: "Romance and big explosions … the thrills and action will keep readers interested as she navigates her way between terrorists and self-centered Feds."

Booklist: "The contemporary mix of politics and thrilling action will grab teens, not just environmentalists, as Ellie must decide how to save her parents and save the earth. Romance adds to the conflict as she falls in love with gorgeous MED member Coyote, who is both an activist and an ardent pacifist. Both the MEDs and the FBI have good guys and bad guys, and this suspenseful story will spark discussion about what it means to fight for right “by any means necessary."