Saturday, August 30, 2008

Just sayin'

Now Michael Palin - that would be a creative Palin choice I might be able to enjoy. Cause couldn't ya see it? McC and MP clapping coconuts together as they walked through the White House? Instead of shooting a moose, they could toss one off the roof?? Just sayin'

Til next time...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

What's inside

So here's the thing. When I was little, I was an unfailing optimist. I was a dreamy little girl who told herself stories and talked to everyone and never met a stranger. I had older parents who were lucky I was basically a good kid because they left me to my own devices and I guess I managed just fine. I walked around under the assumption that things would turn out okay and honestly, more times than not, they did. And then somewhere along the way, the world kind of got in the way. I wasn't quite the optimist any more. I knew stuff didn't always turn out as planned. The good guys didn't always win. Idiots sometimes prevailed. And even if none of that was true, I got busy with trying to get by. And then I got busy paying bills. And then I got busy being a mom...

And then - about five years ago - I figured it was now or never. I was still trying to get by, still paying the bills, still being a mom... but - I was going to write or I wasn't. So I did. And I did some more. And some more after that. And if you read this blog you know the rest. I kept writing. I got lucky. And here I am.

So here's the thing. It makes me so happy I'm bursting with it. It's the hardest I've ever worked - and I thought I worked hard. It's scary and it's risky and it's all on me to turn a blank piece of paper into a story. And I love it. I get to talk every day to people who love it as much as I do. I've got a book coming out and a couple more for which I have high hopes. I'm doing what I love and it's loving me right back.

And I guess the bottom line is, it's finally occurred to me that it's okay to want that. That dreams don't get met if you don't dream them.

Til next time...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

back to block

Ah the luxury of the block schedule. Okay, it's not so luxurious. But compared to the Bataan Death march of a seven period day with me teaching six packed classes back to back to back and having to leave my room during my conference period because someone else was using it for a freshman communication class and leaving it hot and smelly and dirty each and every day, it is heaven. Heaven I'm telling you. Okay, the part where too many of us have 32-36 kids in each class (remember we each teach 6 classes... of English...) is a bit much. But the logistics of the rest of it - not bad. As I've posted previously, agent and editor seem to feel I'm a quick, tireless worker. But that's because I'm used to a work schedule that doesn't usually even give me time to pee and where if I do, I'm already behind on grading. So yeah, I'm deadline girl. Of course.

Speaking of agent - she's right. She's always right. Told me that the beginning of Sweet Dreams, my WIP needed a little something. Well, I found it. Shoved that conflict up front and center into sentence one and there ya go. Makes all the difference in the world. Wish I could show you. But unlike all my Teaser Tuesday pals, I just like to keep things to myself - and my critique group - until there's really something to tell. As in a finished book that's sold. Guess I'm just superstitious that way. Anyone else feel like that? Or do you just tell all and not worry? To create a Carrie Bradshaw moment - In the world of blogging, how much is too much?

Til next time...

Saturday, August 23, 2008


As in The Amazing Race. As in - tune in starting on Sundays some time in September because my son's two fraternity brothers and good pals from ASU, Andrew and Dan, are on it this season! This is totally cool. Of course we don't know if they won or not. Have no idea how they did. Personally, I'm quite curious! So help us cheer them on. (Okay, yeah, I know it's over already, but I'm going to pretend it isn't!)

Til next time...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Either you do or you don't

Still trying to get my brain around Misty May winning beach volleyball gold and then sprinkling her mom's ashes on the sand to celebrate. I think it's one of those things that either you think is the greatest idea since sliced bread or - you don't. And I'm thinking I'm in category two. I fully and wholeheartedly believe that when SPARK debuts next year, my parents -both deceased far too early -will be with me in spirit. Whether they'd hope I sprinkled their ashes around the YA section of Barnes and Noble is quite another story.

Til next time...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Back in the saddle

Going back to school tomorrow for a week of inservice and possibly the equivalent of a work day in my classroom. So the truth is, I've been up there already, pushing desks around, re-arranging, sprucing the place up. And I spent a couple of hours pounding out some lesson plans on my laptop at Starbucks one morning. (Some things just go better with a cup of coffee. Okay most things. And to think that I actually gave up caffeine for a year at one point. What the heck was I thinking?) So here I am, sucking in a big breath and getting ready to balance the writing world with the school world, a task that gets harder and harder sometimes. But I do have to say that the energy was, well, energizing. ROTC kids already back and drilling or whatever it is they do. Cheerleaders and flag girls practicing their routines. Band kids walking sideways in the heat spelling out whatever it is they're spelling out. Ginormous line of seniors waiting for their schedules and parking tags. And even though the cleaning crew had left my file cabinet in very different place than I had left it in June, and even though all the adult politics seem exactly the same level of crazy as I'd left them, I actually (shhhh - don't tell anyone) found myself looking forward...

Til next time...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

And because I'm always listening for dialogue-

I have been "collecting" favorite Olympic commentary lines. Two I've adored so far, both about gymnastics and both by whoever's doing the color commentary during prime time coverage:

1. Re: the American girls team getting ready to perform: "They must feel like they're waiting for Godot." Really? Seriously? Cause that would mean, uh, they're never going to compete, wouldn't it? Plus, isn't this a sort of rareified reference for broadcast television?

2. Re: One of the Chinese gymnasts - the 20 year old, I think: "She's another one who was taken from her home and family.... Not kicking or screaming or anything." Heh!

3. Re: gymnastics scores: "9.5 isn't what it used to be." Oh? Did it like used to be 9.8 but inflation got to it?

Til next time...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

going for the gold

I'm not an obsessive Olympic watcher - especially not when I live thirteen hours behind the events and you can check the scores long before you watch if you so desire. But still... I get sucked in anyway. And even if it's clear that some of the Chinese female gymnasts are closer to to playground age than sixteen. Or if because of the long delay between actual event and US evening broadcast they can follow up someone's win with a commercial featuring him. Or if I know I'm waiting fruitlessly for any real discussion of those pesky human rights violations...

It's great to watch Michael Phelps win. Okay, it's even greater to watch him in that half pulled down onesy thing they wear to swim in. (husband ruins my moment by referring to it as tight capri pants, but whatever) And it's great to watch the phenomenal Dara (sp?) Torres in her 41 year old totally ripped and absolutely awesome glory!

And it's great to have a couple of weeks where winning is the objective. Get out of our "well, as long as you tried" mentality that I have less and less patience for these days because the world seems to use it as an excuse as to why it's someone else's fault if things don't get done or work is shoddy or Johnny is failing. Doping and cheating birth certificates aside, either Johnny won the race or he didn't. There is no middle ground.

On another note - finally got myself to Dark Knight. Oh Heath Ledger. You died far too soon. Sometimes I had to cover my eyes because I really believed he might just cut someone's face to ribbons just for grins. And yeah, the movie was too long. And a few plot threads got ignored. But that performance was worth the ticket price.

Til next time...

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Reading the current issue of Time, and I just learned the following (besides the fact that James Poznewiak (sp?) spent a page justifying his love of The Hills with intellectual hoo ha - just say it's a guilty pleasure James. Seriously. No need to refer to Spencer Pratt as Laddie Macbeth, although it was cunningly clever of you): Robert Frost was never our Poet Laureate. Seriously? Color me surprised. This was one of those things I always - until yesterday - believed was absolutely true. And now - well - it's not. Like when I found out I'd spent years pronouncing forte wrong. I was saying fortay - as in - Math is just not my forte. But no, no. It's just forte as in fort. As in I built one. Or oops it's being attacked. Which has never - even though I've made a personal effort to be correct - sounded as good so often I just slip back into my bad old ways just to be perverse.

Throwing it out to my dear readers. What have you learned that completely turns upside down knowledge you've held dear and now discover is just a bunch of hooey?

Til next time...

Friday, August 8, 2008

How did it get to be Friday?

Catching up from my two West Coast jaunts in a row. I think that would take some getting used to if I commuted like that regularly... Plus when you fly west so close together, they don't even change the movie! I have now seen Be Kind Rewind twice. A fitting irony in there somewhere, particularly because on my way to Portland, the movie actually messed up and they had to, uh, rewind it! It played through all the way on way to LA.

And now, as I sent (fingers crossed) my first round of editorial revisions off yesterday afternoon and can actually breathe again, I present my belated LA highlights!

  • Managing to find people and have a blast even though I came alone and conferences in general make me a tad neurotic because it's like getting to the first day of a new school and realizing (not that you didn't already know) that the popular kids already all know each other, have their own lunch table and while they smile at you and possibly even speak, you are definitely not going to be drinking your pomegranate martini with them nor will they be laughing at your jokes. (okay, I didn't drink martinis at lunch during high school. Cut me some slack here, people. The metaphor still works. Really. Read it over and think about it) So you occasionally stumble into some awkward conversations. But you still have a great time on the whole and meet your own groups of people and get over your shy, introverted self.
  • Lisa Yee's revision advice. I'd always pasted sections and/or printed out sections to revise away from the manuscript as a whole. You know - separate the bad cow from the herd or whatever. But it had never occurred to me to shift the chapter or scene into another font when I worked. She's right. It just looks so fresh and new that your brain kicks into higher gear.
  • Getting to be around so many author/editor idols for four days. Seriously, if you've never been to a national convention (I hadn't) or if you've never been at all - you can't take a deep breath without stumbling over someone who's written or edited or won a prize for a book you love. Which for us writer geeks is like rubbing elbows with rock stars. ( "OMG - I just rode in the elevator with ________. He talked to me!!")
  • Meeting some of my Verla and LJ friends face to face. And Verla herself! Meeting some of my 2k9 pals and having our lunch together which was ver, very cool. (Until the moment I turned my head while waiting for my fish sandwich at Breezes and got all fan geeky again because it was Ellen Hopkins eating a few tables over. Ellen - I love your books. My students love your books. )
  • Realizing while with some of you wonderful 2k9ers that they feel the same way I do about all this - it's a darn miracle! We're going to have a book on a shelf. It's really happening. How the heck did this occur?
  • Getting to arrive right after the earthquake and return to Houston during a Tropical Storm/possible hurricane. (It fizzled out but you never know)
  • Everything else, including: Pinkberries green tea yogurt with strawberries and blueberries; getting invited to a tour of FOX studios and getting to eat lunch there and see the street set for the Royal Diner on Bones. Yes, I stood next to something that David Boreanaz stands next to. Feel free to touch me anytime. (thanks to the person who included me!! You know who you are! ); seeing some relatives I hadn't seen in awhile ("Please come get me. I'm begging you. It's Sunday night and I'm burned out." And so they did and took me on the fastest tour ever of LA. "Look quick. It's Rodeo Drive." "Crane your neck. There's the Hollywood Sign.")

Til next time...