Friday, May 30, 2008

Ch ch ch changes

I'm not good with change. Okay, that's not exactly true. I LIKE change. But it scares the pee out of me. Always so hard to let go... except when it isn't. But I'm embracing it with a full heart right now because my life really is different. And I've needed to make some changes to keep it that way.

To be specific - It has finally and truly dawned on me that SPARK really is coming out next year and that my work in progress, currently titled CUT BACK, is getting through its 2nd draft and I'll be polishing it up for submission some time this summer or early fall. SPARK's designed as a trilogy, so those are in progress in various stages in hopes that that will actually come to be. And another novel, my frothy Sweet Dreams, is poking around as well. In short, a full time job worth of stuff. Now of course, I have a full time job, which is about to go on hiatus for the summer. But come mid August, I'll be back at it. And will most likely stay at it for some more years. But honestly, something had to give. I was teaching three separate preps - and something had to go. My brain could only continue to divide itself so many ways without just imploding.

And so.... I requested something of my principal that surprised me. And he (or rather, the AP delegated to this task) said yes. I have given up the honors classes and will teach only 12th grade level English and a section of Creative Writing, both of which are more than enough.And you know - I thought my ego was going to have a hard time with this. But surprise... it didn't. I'm totally okay with giving up something that I know a few years back I'd have never let go. Which tells me something else kind of exciting and new - I've changed. Didn't see it coming. But it did. I can't do it all, so I'm not even going to try. Writing is where my heart is these days and I've embraced that. I've watched the sharks circle to snap up my honors classes. Nodded when they went to the right person. Embarked on a process of cleaning out files (when you've been at this awhile, your files can be sort of a world of their own, esp. if you started prior to everything being kept electronically. Yes, there was such a time and it wasn't that long ago honestly, at least within the school building. Most of us kept to the manilla folder route for a long while if only to reuse certain quizzes and handouts and not run off new every single time).

And moved on.

Sometimes, you just surprise yourself.

Til next time...

Monday, May 26, 2008

Still revising

  • Still revising/re-writing.
  • In awe of agent Michelle, who swore to me that there was more between MC and his former girlfriend than I had suspected. She was right. Crazy amazing how she can do that. And then I have to lie and say I knew it all the time.
  • Have been to a baby shower, a birthday happy hour, a quick drink with friends who were in the area for a graduation, a Memorial Day Sunday cook out, an impromptu drinks and dinner with neighbors and their visiting grandson, the very handsome and dapper Nathan Paul, and a birthday dinner for a dear friend.
  • Have gift shopped and groceried and even vacuumed and laundried. (I'm making up those verbs as I go along people. Just accept it and move on.)
  • Almost through a set of Ender's Game essays. Have one more set to go and then that IS IT for the year. Wahooooooo!!!! As usual, it's a mixed bag. Some killer analysis. Some boring plot summary. Some confused rambling. Get it together folks.
  • Defrosting chicken and burgers for tonights cookout a duex. (meaning, just husband and me and then cooked food for freezing so we can make it through the next two weeks til I'm done with school and am only working one job and not two)
  • Bought a plane ticket to visit high school best friend I haven't seen in over 10 years who now lives in Portland, OR. I am very excited.

Okay, back to plowing through the grading. It is always sooooo hard to focus this time of the year. Especially this year.

Til next time...

Saturday, May 24, 2008

When ideas come

Lately, it seems my best writing ideas pop into my brain when I am least able to take the time to flesh them out. I'm in the middle of getting ready to go somewhere, or I'm in class, or for whatever reason otherwise occupied. (as opposed to those moments where I sit down at the computer and then - nothing. Birds chirping) But anyway, the result is a trail of paper scraps all over my house so that eventually, when I get the time, I've at least jotted down the opening phrase or the basic idea, or something that will clue me in later when the muse is no longer striking but I finally have time to actually work. Only here's the thing - I have simply got to force myself to write legibly. I still can't figure out one word I scrawled on the back of something this morning. I get this gist of what I was going for, but it looks like a great word, only I've nary a clue what it is. Possibly witless. Maybe ruthless. Maybe it's butless, which isn't even a word but is as good a guess as the others. Useless? Sigh... I truly cannot read what I've written on the back of some tiny memo pad from Hyatt Place, wherever that was/is but I'm thinking is somewhere husband stayed in Dallas during a recent business trip.

Anyone have any better plan for how you jot down ideas when you're on the run?

Til next time...

Saturday, May 17, 2008


(Cross posted on LiveJournal)

Okay, so it's been years since I treated myself to a manicure. Pedis I do regularly because I obviously walk like a truck driver or something and my feet are always cranky and cracked and anyway, once you start having them, you realize how incapable you really are of getting your toenails to look like that and then you're simply hooked. But manicures? Haven't had one in years and honestly I think that one was the only one. For all intents and purposes (and a little bit of revisionist history), I was a manicure virgin. And spa manicure? Never. I either did it myself (okay, I'm feeling bad about the virgin analogy now but seriously, get your minds out of the gutter) or went without because I'm a nail picker and they never get too long.

But son - dear boy - decided I needed one for Mother's Day. Popped for an eyebrow waxing, too, something else I haven't done since, well, I think since before the kid who just gifted me with all this was born. And let me say - an hour and half of heaven. Mani included an arm and hand massage. Kim of Dionysys Spa has one strong pair of hands. The blood is now flowing again! My nails look healthy. My hands feeling happy. And I think I'll be going again. Ditto with the eyebrow grooming. I'd been hiding them behind bangs. Hoping no one looked. But yikes this is awesome! And really not that painful.

Guess when I read the part of my Sourcebooks contract that told me I had to get head shots for publicity, I decided I better shape up. Soon. So when SPARK is on the shelves in '09, please look at the picture on the jacket and tell me how fab my eyebrows look.

Til next time...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

May madness

If you're a parent or a teacher or both, you always know it's May. May fills up. Every day there's something - final tests, final papers, banquets, graduations, something. I always joke that I'm really not that nice of a person to have this many committments lined up like little soldiers on my calendar. But still they keep on comin'.

On the revision front, I'm doing the dance of joy! (personalized reference and also ancient Angel reference all rolled into one!) The edgy new opening has passed approval. Life is good. Rest of draft two of WIP can forge on.

Started into Melissa Marr's Ink Exchange which I have absolutely no time to read but will probably finish in the next couple of days because Leslie's story is haunting and compelling and I cannot wait to get back to it.

Likewise with my wonderful Mother's Day gift from husband - Season 2 of Friday Night Lights. I had (as I've mentioned here before) cut myself off from watching when it was actually on because the WIP (the one revised above) is in part a football story and I didn't need someone else's plot lines to leech into my brain. And then of course, when I could watch, the season was basically over and I had to wait for the release to catch up. And let me say, just as amazingly compelling. Truly the best show not nearly enough people were watching. Go out. Buy those DVD's or rent them. You will not be sorry.

Til next time...

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Sometimes it just doesn't matter

That's what was happening in this week's ep of Grey's Anatomy - sometimes, regardless of your intentions or abilities you just get screwed. Been there on that, I can tell you. Too many times to count.

George has a heart the size of the Grand Canyon, but he spent the hour in the fake position of Chief's intern, primarily so the Chief could get back with his wife. Mer and Der want to save lives. So far, this new experimental, inject a virus into people's inoperable brain tumors surgery has been a dismal failure. They haven't saved anyone. In fact, two people have died. Christina Yang wants to be the best. She's the smartest. She works the hardest. She knows freakin' everything. (okay, her people skills suck, but isn't this a meritocracy?) But she can't get the surgeon she wants to mentor her to give her the time of day most of the time. And the specter of Dr. Preston Burke returns to stick her in the ass with his wonderful award that he doesn't even deserve.

Like I say, been there, done that. (okay, not exactly those things) But I've watched men get away with laxness that women never could. Watched some of the greatest teachers I know get ignored because the next best thing looked shinier. Watched "teachers pets" (the adult variety) get kudos for smoke and mirrors. Been snubbed cause I had a brain.

So what do you do? Well, if you're Mer and Der, you buy a bottle of bubbly and put it away for the day when you get it right. (okay, I'm hoping they open it anyway, get tipsy and get busy with one another, but whatever) If you're Yang or George, hopefully you lick your wounds and keep on trucking. And just swallow down the pain of being the one who held Preston Burke's scalpel (that's literal, not some skanky metaphor... although...) when he couldn't and then got nary a thank you.

And if you're me, you thank the powers that be for the world of publishing, which, while glacially slow some days, and certainly not perfect (see: James Frey) has given me my first delicious taste of being appreciated for my brain and abilities and not for coming up with a really pretty power point that actually has the intellectual depth of a blueberry muffin. Maybe less.

I'm lucky and thankful and crazy in love with the craft and all the truly clever people I'm getting to meet and work with.

Til next time...

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

That's how bread goes stale

Poor Spencer Pratt. Even his sister is telling him to put the baggie tie back on the bread bag so it won't go stale, just like my patience with him and the whole on again off again Heidi thing. "That's how bread goes stale, Spencer."

Didn't think the Hills gang really cared about the freshness of their bakery goods, but obviously I was wrong.

And then there's LC and Lo, ditching Audrina at the recording studio so they can go watch sushi wander its way around on a track and then go buy a really cute puppy with blue eyes. "Just like us!"

To steal a phrase: I think I just threw up a little in my mouth.

Til next time...

Monday, May 5, 2008

book talk

Finished A Curse as Dark as Gold by the incredibly talented Elizabeth Bunce. What an amazing book. Bunce retells Rumplestiltskin here, but she makes the tale her own. Charlotte Miller loves her wool mill with a great and all consuming passion. But there's a curse. And bad luck has tampered with generations of Millers. Her father has died with some important secrets. Her mother's death holds mystery as well. Uncle Wheeler appears with some dark ulterior motives. Creditors want the mill gone from Miller hands. Sister Rosie is desperate enough to call forth some mystical forces. And then two other gentlemen appear. Well, ultimately three gentlemen appear. The handsome and kind and more powerful than he looks banker Randall Woodstone is one. The mysterious and magic and malevolent Jack Spinner is the other. And eventually, Charlotte's newborn baby son is another. All these people and forces collide into one brilliantly written novel that brings the wool industry and rural England in times gone by to life fully and lushly. I'm in awe, Elizabeth Bunce! Truly and utterly.

Four out of four stars.

Til next time...

Friday, May 2, 2008

So here's the thing about horses...

More TAKS test proctoring today. Last day of it, actually Couldn't come a moment too soon for me. As I've said, watching kids take a test definitely qualifies as a mind numbing activity even if someone gives you a doughnut and a cup of coffee. Cause honestly, all I'm thinking is, gee this doughnut tastes good but good God I'm bored out of my skull.

But anyway, the horses. Was partenered up with the ag teacher the past two days. (ag as in agriculture if you're city person and don't know of such things) And for whatever reason ( I try not to think of this too deeply) he launched into a lengthy discussion of why horses get colic which is because they can't throw up because their throat muscles go only one way so if they eat too much hay and drink a bunch of water and eat a bunch of oats, it all sort of turns to sludge in their intestines and they can't poop basically and they blow up with gas and could die. (he didn't use the word poop, by the way, but a more colorful term and you can feel free to insert your own)

So let it not be said that I did not learn something today. And during my enforced silent time while doing the aforementioned watching the kids bubble in their scantrons, I also finally came up with a new idea for how I should really begin the current WIP so perhaps 2nd draft will get finished now and my brain can stop feeling like the mental equivalent of the horse who can't, well, you know.

Til next time...