Monday, January 26, 2015

Things That Make Me Go...Uh, What?



There are some things I will never understand.

Quantum physics.

How pop ups keep appearing on my laptop.

Why my cat feels the need to unroll the toilet paper.

Why people criticize my writing when clearly they can't even construct a grammatically correct sentence.

How come people feel the need to bash people who don't believe the same things or way they do.

Why when there is one snowflake, people panic and drive 5 mph on the road.

Why people look at you, confused or angry, when you say you didn't like a book they loved.

How does the letter carrier get mail delivered in a snow storm but drivers on main roads get stuck.

Why too much attention is spent on a few books, and not more on a wider range.

Men thinking it's no big deal to scratch or 'adjust' in public view.

If I believe that no two snowflakes -ever- are identical.

Why anyone would want to live in Alaska with all that cold and snow.

Why people hate the New England Patriots with such a vicious glee.

How anyone could be a serial killer/rapist/animal or child abuser.

Why my son makes such a big deal about doing homework.

Does anyone really like those teeny Smart Cars?

Why we can put man on the moon and soon on Mars, but we can't find alternate energy sources.

Why I can't stop writing, no matter how frustrated I get with the publishing industry.

The list goes on, and the more I question why? or how come? the more I feel how little I know.

I wonder, does anyone else think like this?


Char

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Word is the Word...



I'm going to give you a word. Just one. And with it, I will convey so much that I don't need other words to clarify or enhance it. Once you see this word, you will say, "Ahhhh!" and you will understand.

TEENAGERS

I know there are light bulbs going off. Comprehension and a wealth of emotions are zipping through your brain. You get me.

Now I want you to think of a word that conveys so much more than its dictionary or thesaurus label. Be fair, no famous people or other proper nouns. Let's see what you come up with...

Char

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

GO Team!


Most of you probably know I'm a New England Patriots fan. (Stop groaning, okay, you're not a fan--that's not the point).  I've discovered that writing is very similar to football.

1. There's a game plan. In football, it's the how the offense and defense will run plays and blocks. In writing, it's plotting out your article or novel.

2. There's a goal in mind. For players, it's winning the game. For writers, it's finishing the manuscript and getting a contract.

3. The coach is your best friend. Bill Belichick guides and advises the Patriots. Your editor coaches you, advises you how to polish your writing.

4. There are awards. In football, there's Most Valuable Player, nomination to the Pro Bowl, and the biggie, the Superbowl Championship. For writers there is the Crystal Kite from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, the Pushcart and Faulkner awards, and our biggie, the Pulitzer.

5. There are fans. In football, we wear the jerseys and cheer on our teams. In writing, we buy the books and talk about our fave authors. There are crazies on both sides.

6. There is a rule book. In football, it's the NFL that decides what a team can/can't do. In writing there are hundreds of  'rules of writing' books, plus so many unspoken rules (i.e. don't diss editors and other writers.) Some play by the rules, some don't.

7. There are sore losers. The Brady-pass-to-Edelman-for-the-winning-touchdown was perfectly legal. Some fans (and members of the losing team) are complaining it wasn't fair. It was; accept it and learn from it. In writing, some authors get big awards or contracts or make the bestselling list, and mid- and lower list authors cry "No fair!" It's one thing to say 'oh man, I wish my book was a bestseller-made-into-a-move', and another thing to waste so much time trashing another author. Sometimes a complaint is justified, i.e. penalties on the field, or, bringing attention to inaccuracies/plagiarism to correct the situation. It's not always successful, but you have to move on. Stop getting nasty, you're the one it reflects more poorly on.

8. Be kind to the fans; they love their team/author. They are the biggest supporters. My brother is a Dallas Cowboys fan, my middle son a Philadelphia Eagles fan, my youngest an Atlanta Falcons fan, and the hubs a NY Giants fan. We joke and tease and brag about our teams, but after the game, we peacefully eat dinner together. In books, my oldest son loves hardcore sci fi, the hubs loves non-fic, especially bios, the middle guy military science. (I love almost everything.) I buy them what they want/need, not what I like.

9. There are off-seasons. It's spring/early summer for football; no games, but players still practice, coaches refine plans and owners sign new players. In writing, we continue to write and revise during the doldrums of summer and in December when editors and agents are on vacation,

10. There are stars who seem to come out of nowhere- like quarterback Tom Brady. He was 6th round draft choice. That means ALL the teams chose who they wanted most six times before the Patriots picked him up. He wasn't a star, wasn't top choice. But that didn't stop him from breaking records and 3 Superbowl rings. Some writers are like that- like Stephanie Meyer and Twilight. You may not like her, but she's a star. There may be quarterbacks that are more talented than Brady yet don't achieve as much. There are definitely better writers than Meyer, and you may never hear of them. It's part fate, talent, opportunity, bad luck, and hard work.

Now I must go to my 'practice' and revise yet another manuscript.

And Go, Patriots!
Go, writers!

Char

Thursday, January 8, 2015

First Wonderful of 2015! Beware....



Leap Books is proud to present Beware the Little White Rabbit, an anthology of short stories in celebration of the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland.

I am proud, thrilled, humbled, excited (see where I'm going with this?) to be a part of it, especially since I get to work not only with author friends like Christine Norris and Madeia Sharif, but with: 

Publisher/author Shannon Delany
Co-publisher Judith Graves
Marketing Director/author Jennifer Murgia
Freelance editors: Sara Biren
Kelly Hashway
and Tara Kelly\
Marketing assistant/blog tour organizer Elana Johnson
Illustrators Ashley Poston
and Gaetano Pezzillo

My story is about Alice... going through a wormhole in space, chasing that darn rabbit. And that's all I'm going to tell you! There are many varied stories from steampunk to fantasy and so much more! Look for the debut date!

Char


Should Auld Resolutions Be Forgot...



Yep, this first post of the New Year is late. Maybe I should resolve to be more timely with my posts.

Nah.

I'm not making any resolutions this year because they're wimpy. A resolution is an "I'm going to try to..." kind of promise. It kind of lets you off the hook if you fail because it's only a 'going to try.' Instead, I'm making a 2015 To Do List. And if it's one thing about me and lists, it's that if it's on The List, I have to get it done. It may as well be inscribed in blood on my arm. So here's my

2015 To Do List:

Finish my middle grade novel and send to agent.

Do the revisions to my sci fi novel by the end of January.

Get on my bike as soon as it's tolerably warm.

Get out more- movies, theater, visiting, etc.

Not worry about what other people do, even if it's a loved one and it might not be a good move.

Keep desk clear because it's new and I'm more productive that way.

Learn how to debug my computer from  all the stupid adware.

Finish the rework/revisions on my other 3 novels that have promise.

Give more time to things that are important- meals for homeless, my Phi Nu fraternity gals, etc.

Avoid toxic and/or crazy people.

That's it, nothing fancy. I'd do most of these anyway, but if it's on The List it HAS to get done.

Wishing you, your families, and the world a better 2015...

Char

Monday, December 29, 2014

My Favorite Things...

As 2014 closes (thankfully!), I'm doing a little retrospective. I'm not going to list my favorite books or best places, because those things can change day to to day, but my favorite things overall.

(In no order of preference)

1- The rescuing of a person or animal. When someone risks his or her life to save a stranger, or an animal in distress, my heart melts and I really feel hope that the human race will ascend to a higher level.



2- Good news stories. These are uplifting both spiritually and emotionally, and I think we need more of these. If news stations had a segment on good things (no, not celeb news, please!) but about and by average people, I think it would make us all more thoughtful people.



3- Music. How can anyone say that music isn't the greatest gift to humanity? It inspires, soothes, excites, incites, and one tune can forever change a life. Everyone can appreciate it in one of its many forms.



4- Language. Birds can whistle a tune, whales can sing; animals have music. Only people have written/read words. Once a bird dies, it's song will never be heard, but books and the printed word can be read over and over for centuries. And everyone has the capacity to read and write.



5- Mother Earth. This planet is a universe of wonder in itself. There are mountains, oceans, deserts, rivers, plains, farmlands, lakes, and caves. There are abundant varieties of people, animals, and plants. Sunsets and sunrises mark our days. Storms and earthquakes and upheavals constantly change our world. And it really infuriates me when companies and individuals treat the Earth as their personal property or garbage dump.



6- Family. Whether they are related by blood or connection (or both), family keeps us grounded, picks us up, works our emotions--and keeps us tied to our humanity.



7- Faith. Whether we believe in one god, many, none, the power within ourselves, or something entirely different, faith keeps us going when we're ground into the dirt, drowning in despair. From within or without, faith is something that I have and it's important and personal to me.



8- Science. What is more amazing than seeing pictures of supernovas from the Hubble Space Telescope? Or learning that some dread disease has a cure? Science is our friend and we must embrace true science, because it will be our lifesaver.



9- Art. When I see Van Gogh's Starry Night, I'm breathless. It's not the most expensive painting, some may argue not the best, nor is it an exact depiction of a starry night. It's Van Gogh's impression and it stirs something in my soul. So does a Pulitzer prize winning photo of firefighters raising the flag at Ground Zero. Life without art would leave an empty space within each of us and all the world.



10- An Unforgettable Act. One year for Christmas, my stepdad handed me an envelope. It was big enough to be a stock certificate (nope), a deed (if only), or an itinerary for a tropical vacation (hah, good one). It was a gift certificate, hand-drawn, from him to me--for 40 hours of labor. My husband and I had a lot of work that needed to be done on our first house. We both worked full time and went to school at night part-time. Weekends were spent doing laundry, food shopping, homework, mowing the lawn, etc. It would have taken us years to get everything done. But my stepdad zipped through our list. It was hard work: painting, repairing, cleaning, etc. It was the best gift I ever got because his time was more valuable than a store gift certificate.



And that's my list. What's your favorite things?

Char

Monday, December 22, 2014

Alice... Lost in Space


Early this fall, Leap Books announced a call for YA short stories about Alice from Lewis Carroll's Alice In Wonderland to celebrate the 150th anniversary of that children's classic. All stories had to feature Alice, with the White Rabbit as a protagonist in an anthology called BEWARE THE  LITTLE WHITE RABBIT.

I'm in!

My short story is called Alice Through the Wormhole and in it, a futuristic Alice speeds through the cosmos because the White Rabbit has taken something precious from her...


So imagine Alice like this- forget the pinafore, the patent leather shoes, and falling down the rabbit hole, this Alice is kickass and she'll chase that rabbit across the universe if she has to...

Stay tuned for more details!

Char
(pictures courtesy of NASA Hubble and WallpapersWA.com)