shabby blogs

Friday, November 20, 2015

Domain Name

I made a website. I bought my domain name.

Sometimes, when I get something new, I like to pretend I won a big award and that's why I have a domain name or a shiny red purse or a new set of snowman bowls.

Don't tell anyone but I practice my acceptance speech in the car. 
I'd like to thank my mother (even though she was never a huge fan of me being a writer...maybe I should win this award for something else? What, though? Imitating accents? meh. Running? lol. Cooking? hahahahahha....)
I always get off track on the acceptance speech...and then I realize I'm being full-of-myself, and the next thing I know I'm thinking about that Emily Dickinson poem about the frog.

I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there’s a pair of us!
Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!

How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog –  
To tell one’s name – the livelong June –  
To an admiring Bog!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

How to Make Broken Bones Heal Faster

We always have lots of bones in our garden at Halloween. My husband is an orthopedic surgeon and he gets them free at work.

...Wow. That was a creepy sentence. PLASTIC bones. Free plastic bones. They practice with them or something. I don't know. Surgery is bloody and yucky. #squeamish

Anyway, since he's an orthopedist and I’m a writer, our professional paths don’t often cross. He has helped me a few times with medical conditions of my characters—why one might have a limp or something. But usually he’s just my cheerleader.

Last weekend in the car, he was telling our kids about some medical research he’d read from the UK. The results of the research demonstrated very clearly, he said, that in a group of 500 patients with injured shoulders, it was not type of treatment, nor the quality of facility, nor even level of the surgeon’s expertise that was the most reliable indicator of a successful vs. a bad recovery. The thing that mattered the most, said the researchers, was self-efficacy. That means whether or not the patient believed that he/she would get better.

Even when you have a broken bone? Shouldn’t that be physiological? Shouldn’t bone healing, which is something your body does on its own, not have much to do with your head?
But your head is the biggest factor in that broken humerus/tibia/femur, etc. (Go ahead. Quiz me. I know the names of more bones than any other MG/YA writer I bet. Calcaneus? Know it. Acetabulum? Yep.)

We were surprised, sitting there in the car. Evidently, my husband says, it’s well-known among medical professionals that people with good attitudes get better faster, but it’s good to have new data on it. Proof.

Optimism, knowing you can do it. GRIT.

Speaking of which…I’m querying again. After what happened with my last agent, I needed a mental break. But now I'm in. I have had some interest and a small handful of no thank-you’s. Some people are reading. Some people aren’t answering.

I’m practicing my self-efficacy.

If you’re querying, I hope you are too.
Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Second Samovar

I haven't written in a while.
Okay a year.
I got a second samovar (see above) and it kinda threw me off my game. 
What do I do--change the blog's name? Don't Forget the Samovars? That's just weird. Nobody brings more than one samovar on vacation.
Besides, the second samovar can keep the first one company while we're gone. Samovars are more like cats than dogs. You can totally leave them alone for a few days and they're fine.

I have a few (okay one) blog posts cued up and ready to go. I also have a million excuses why I haven't blogged, and I seriously considered unplugging the Samovar, but I do have some things to share and The Writers' Loft is a good environment keeping me on my writing game despite the number of samovars in my house.

In the infamous words of a certain former governor, I'll be back.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Writing Every Day

Since the start of school I've worked on my middle grade WIP every day.
I told my critique group I would get two chapters written before our last meeting. I wrote eight.


I have hunkered down and got myself in the chair. My writing place is cozy, like this fairy house in my garden, only much bigger.

I have said "No, I can't," to many invitations to volunteer/be social/go boating/audition for plays. I'd been saying yes for so long I had got out of practice, but it gave me time to realize what my priorities are. 
If it messes up too much writing time, no thanks. At least, not when I've got a great WIP going.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Edinburgh Writers' Museum

Every city should have one of these:

This is Edinburgh, Scotland (which you should pronounce "Edin-burrow" or Scottish people will heave loud sighs at you). Outside, on the ground, there are these:

 There were others but my family was looking at me like, "Why are you taking pictures of the ground?" 

After the interminable car ride we'd had on the way there (from Loch Ness, obviously), we needed some of Sir David Lyndsay's "bukis" necessary to  get along*. 

BTW yes, we saw the monster. 
Proof: we caught one of her babies and made it into a fridge magnet.

Hope everyone else has had a wonderful summer!

* "bukis" actually translates as "books," but I liked the long car ride application of the quote.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Frodo Goes out the Door (and So Do We)

I was on Facebook recently and came across this link to a blog post called The 17 Things that Change Forever when you Live Abroad.

I did live abroad for a year, maybe that's why I connect to  Number Four

4. You come to understand that courage is overrated.
Lots of people will tell you how brave you are – they too would move abroad if they weren’t so scared. And you, even though you’ve been scared, too, know that courage makes up about 10% of life-changing decisions. The other 90% is purely about wanting it with all your heart. Do you want to do it, do you really feel like doing it? Then do it. From the moment we decide to jump, we’re no longer cowards nor courageous – whatever comes our way, we deal with it.
«It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.»
This struck me as something writers have to do when the time comes to share what you've written. If you're querying or your MS is out on submission, you're scared of being rejected. It's like a punch in the stomach, or a bad hangover. It's like eating ice cream with cockroach legs where the sprinkles should be.
So why do you subject yourself to this possibility? Is it because you are brave?

Do you write because you have courage? No. You write because you want to do it. You have no control over those rejections.

Maybe at some point all that matters is what you put into this world. Leave it better than you found it. And maybe writing stories is one of the ways you can do this.

Does that make you brave? In my opinion, not really. You're just following the directions that were planted in your heart.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Writing with Pictures

When I'm working on a story idea, I usually draw a lot of pictures (especially if it's a lower MG or chapter book) to give myself ideas how the manuscript might look on a page, and how to make it fun. 

These are drawings I've sketched for a MS called 

Lower MG and chapter books need lots of fun sprinkled everywhere. For THE DEAD THINGS COLLECTION, I gave the MC's pets each a POV in the drawings, which they do not have in the text (the text is in the MC's pov).

This makes me feel very clever. When I submit the MS to agents, I don't include the drawings. But if anyone is interested in them, I'll be able to say, "Look at this trick I've come up with! The animals have their own story in the margin!"

Hope everyone is having a happy summer!