Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Oooh, it's getting exciting around here. I've had some great feedback from some fabulous editors in the past week and it's so cool to see the different visions for the book. A lot of the comments are things that I want to broaden in the book and it's great to see when editors make comments and you say, "Oh, yeah - that is exactly what I wanted to get across." I'm getting itchy to start revising based on editor's comments, but until I figure out who I'm going to work with, I'm contenting myself with making furious notes in the margins. Hopefully I'll be able to focus my revisions within the next week or so.

The best thing about having Agent E drive this bus is that we get replies back really quickly. Publisher time moves at a notoriously glacial pace, and she was able to get feedback in a matter of days rather than the usual months. I feel spoiled by having comments on my manuscript so fast.

On another front, the granite counters go in tomorrow, and the rest of it should be finished up on Thursday. One of the things I'm most proud of in the remodel is this:

and not just because my beloved washer and dryer are lurking behind it. This was the original back door when our house was built in 1916 and we stripped it bare (yes, we were careful) and repainted it. It still has the original wavy glass and I bought a wonderful new porcelean doorknob set for it. I love it.

On this date: In 1992, riots erupt in LA.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


The SF Chronicle had a big front page story on the "new frugality" this morning. There I was reading their list of what is "IN" and what is "OUT":

IN: Saving
OUT: Borrowing
Check. Makes sense.

IN: Fixing the old car.
OUT: New car.
Speaking as one who is still driving around the '96 VW Golf, check.

IN: Tap water.
OUT: Bottled water.
The waste of the plastic bottles alone makes me cringe. No problem.

IN: Patching.
OUT: Remodeling.
Okay, we're in the middle of a big remodel, but I can go along with this. For other people.

IN: Staying at home.
OUT: Foreign vacations.
Yup. We put our big UK trip on hold for a year or two.

IN: Libraries.
OUT: Bookstores.
WHAT? (She says, spitting her tea all over the morning paper.) I'm all for libraries - I visit mine all the time. But at the same time, I buy lots and lots of books for all of us. I don't see cell phones on the list. Or all of those downloaded songs from Itunes. What about the daily Starbucks visits? And the endless cable options?

The editors of the Chron should be ashamed of themselves. For just a few dollars, you can buy a trip into the mind of another person, walk a mile in their shoes, visit other countries. Bookstores - OUT?!?!?!

For the price of two or three Frappaccinos, you can get a book that you can return to again and again - like visiting an old friend. A book a week, that's all we ask. They should be ashamed.

On this date: In 4977 B.C. , the universe was created (according to Kepler, but I don't think he was there).

Thursday, April 24, 2008


The caption in the catalog reads:
These stuffed toys absolutely reek of fun. Yes, they are exactly what you think: cuddly representations of pee and poo. But potty humor aside, these cute Pee and Poo dolls can be used for educating your child about the body.

I have nothing to add.

On this date: In 1953 Winston Churchill was knighted.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


I have a blogroll that I visit pretty much every day. One of my very favorite author blogs is Lisa Yee's . She wrote:

that I read and loved. And this:

that I'm reading and loving, as well as several other books that I haven't gotten around to yet. Her blog has a great balance of a little bit of personal with a great inside peek at the life of a writer that is interesting to other writers as well as readers. When I finally have more writer stuff to talk about, I'll take a few pages from Lisa's blog and try to achieve the same balance. I've never met her, but I know Jay Asher who knows her, so we're like writer buddies once removed. I imagine she's cool.

One of the best things about having an agent (or at least having Agent E as an agent) is that she always believes in what I'm doing. We were talking yesterday and I made a comment about a topic that I wanted to speak about at a writer's conference someday. I said that I was going to talk about possibilities and the big "What If" in writing if I ever got to speak somewhere. She interrupted me and said, "Not if. When." And that's why she gets the big money.

It's still a little too early to start revising yet, but the characters are already coming up with their own ideas. I sat up in bed late last night scribbling away in my notebook because Lucy had some ideas about the ending and a few scenes with her big love interest. I like it when they throw stuff at me so that I don't have to do all the work.

On this date: In 1956, Elvis debuted in Vegas. Viva.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Big Buts

It's looking like we are going to go into revisions with the book, which although it isn't really what we'd hoped for, isn't so bad. We had several editors who liked the book a lot, but who also had a few "buts" about certain parts of the story. I don't really see editorial changes as a problem - it is after all what I need a good editor for, but I think we are going to do some revisions before making a descision. Now the only question is - which editor are we going to work with? Stay tuned...

The baby kitties are about two weeks old now and are getting round of tummy and squawky of mouth. They are thriving on my special kitten glop and are starting to walk across the room without falling over. Anyone who thinks that cats always land on their feet should watch a 1o day old kitten trying to cross a room. It's pretty hilarious.

As always, BHD is right in the middle of it all, playing Mama cat and generally licking them all over the place. It's still cute.

On this date: In 1970, the first Earth Day was celebrated.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Notes From the Backseat

T (to BFF JLR): "Ya know, if your tongue was attached to the roof of your mouth, you'd be able to touch your nose with it."

On this date: In 1841, the first detective story is published.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

One &*%$(& Crazy Week

It has been quite a week and it's not over yet.

No real news on the book - we still have interest and a few publishers are taking it to the next level which is exciting, but a little more hurry up and wait. I'm finding it hard to focus on any other writing right now because I'm not sure when this book is going to come back and need some more loving attention. The subject matter is so difficult that I'm sure whoever gets it is going to have their own take on the whole thing and I don't want to be in the middle of something new while I'm revising this one. At least, that's my excuse.

On top of all the book emails flying back and forth, the Big Hairy Dog decided to eat garbage and get peritonitis. On Sunday. I don't know how many of you are familiar with overnight vet bills that happen on a weekend but cha-ching.

Then yesterday, J tries to catch a fast pitch with his face at his baseball game, so today we spent the entire morning at the dentist and orthodontist x-raying the place where his tooth used to be and putting his braces back together. It was a baby tooth, but it came out with all of the roots attached so it had extra eeewww factor. That plus the swelling and huge bruise on his lip played on my sympathy so I let him stay home for the rest of the day. And he is now the proud owner of a new mouthguard.

While we were at the vet on Sunday, someone dropped off a couple of teeny kittens - it must have had something to do with last week's post about kitten glop. The vet knew that we fostered babies, and asked if I wanted to take them. The alternative for the little guys wasn't pleasant, so of course we came home with them. Their eyes opened yesterday and they are eating like little piggies. Anyone want two grey tabbys in about a month? Don't tell DH because I haven't told him yet. Did I mention that he has been gone all week? Yep, hol'd up back east on a business trip during all the crazy shinanagins. I need my own business trip. I think there is a spa involved.

On this date: In 1937, Daffy Duck debuted.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Very Big Day

Today was a big day for me - I got to do five loads of laundry in my very own washing machine! Oh yeah, and it was a big day for the book too...

It looks like several publishers are interested in the YA so we are moving on from here. The funny thing is that the book is actually about hoarding and what it does to the family who lives with it and I spent the entire day doing what I do when I get stressed - cleaning. Both bathrooms are spotless and it's not over yet. There is a touch of hoarding in one branch of the family, but many of us are afflicted with OCD - some of us worse than others (ahem). I can deal with a mess, which is lucky because with the remodeling, parts of this place are a disaster. But parts of it are now really, really clean.

On this date: In 1947, Jackie Robinson breaks the color barrier.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Teeny Tiny Kitten Revisited

It has come to my attention that many people find this blog by searching for "teeny tiny kitten image". I wondered why, so I searched myself and lo and behold, found this photo of Peanut, our first newborn as the first thing Google finds:

Here he is with the Big Hairy Dog who actually found him on our walk in October of 2006:

So I thought I'd go next door and take a picture of him now, which I just did a few minutes ago:

(He's a little camera-shy.)

Peanut lived with us until he was about six weeks old, and now lives next door with Amy, Steve and Maddie (who will join us sometime in May!). He is now a happy, healthy (and fixed) adult cat. It is very hard to raise a newborn kitten (I've done it successfully twice - see the post of March 13, 2007 for our other success story who now lives happily in Southern California), so if you are faced with this situation, get as much info as you can. I've posted my winning recipe for kitten glop on the left hand side of this page in case anyone needs it.

Most of you know that we foster kittens for the animal shelter during the summer. Kitten season will be in full swing in just a few weeks, and I'm dreading it as much as I look forward to it. Things have been crazy here lately, but rest assured that I made sure that there was a space for the kitten cage in the new mud room.

Fix your ferals! I'd love it if the animal shelter never needed us again.

On this date: In 1970, Apollo 13 was launched.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Cell Phone Challenged

Under duress, I got a cell phone about a year ago, and I've actually carried it half a dozen times since then. I don't really like talking on the phone anyway, and I really hate doing it out in public. The last time I had my cell phone on me, it rang right at the beginning of a talk by Patricia Polacco and everyone stared at the idiot who forgot to turn off her phone. Turn off the phone, turn on the phone, - way too much to remember. One time I was in the bathroom at Target and this woman was in the stall next to me talking loudly on the phone about her plans for the evening. Do I have to mention that it is very echoey in bathrooms? I wondered for the rest of the day if the person on the other end of the phone knew where that lady was.

Agent E actually called me today and left a message on my home machine and then said she was going to try my cell phone. Now, smart gal that she is, she actually said on her message that she was pretty sure I didn't have it on me and that it would be weeks until I got the message. She was wrong, I picked the message up today (after I found the phone and plugged it into the charger because it was dead as dead gets). And it's a good thing I did too, because there was a message on there from March 31st that I hadn't gotten. Sorry Sheila.

Good news is starting to roll in on the book front, so I'm going to make a real effort to remember to keep it charged, keep it with me and keep it on - except when Patricia Polacco is speaking.

On this date: In 1970, Paul McCartney announced that the Beatles were breaking up.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Visual Musak

So hard to work today for so many reasons. It's finally spring here so I'm sharing it with all of you. Enjoy!

On this date: In 1939, Marian Anderson sang at the Lincoln Memorial (I love the book When Marian Sang by Pam Munoz Ryan)

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Now What?

The past two mornings a couple of guys have come to put really stinky stuff on the hardwood floors in the new kitchen. Even with all of the windows open, the house still smells of chemicals. I was sitting in the middle of it when I came up with some great title ideas, so it can't be all bad, although my contractor says he can't recommend it. Only 71 more hours until I get my washer and dryer back.

One of the best parts of writing is thinking up the next project. Things just sort of float around in the air so that you can grab them, turn them over, and see if there is any there there. The past few days I've been thinking up angles for the new book which may or may not be the mid grade I've been toying with. I still like the concept of the YA Triplets that I wrote a few months ago, but I think the focus needs to change a bit. Agent E came up with some juicy suggestions that I'm mulling over. Apparently, even in the midst of writing about a rampant psychological disorder I can come up with a good romance, so I may head more in that direction next. I have to say, I got all squeee writing this one (and it was a blast), so I might not be able to say no to some more manufactured teenage love angst.

It's a lot more fun write about it than it was actually experiencing it - this time around I can make things come out how I want them to. Not so for a few boys who shall remain nameless in the little beach town where I went to high school. I was 5'10" at the age of 12, so you tell me what my adolescence was like. And people wonder why I became a writer...

On this date: In 1994, Nirvana's Kurt Cobain is found dead.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Into the World...

The new YA is taking its first steps out into the world tomorrow and I'm so excited I can barely sit still. It's like taking your baby out for the first time and have total strangers tell you if it is a thing of beauty or hideously ugly. Making it real hard to concentrate on my web writing, and I have to write articles on the 4th of July and Maypoles before the end of the week. I suppose I could start on the next book, which is a boycentric mid grade, but I'm not sure I can focus until this baby is put to bed.

T and I were sitting here after school and he started singing "We the people...in order to form a more perfect union..." a la Schoolhouse Rock. He told me that they'd been watching episodes in school, so we launched into choruses of "Conjunction Junction" and of course the perennial favorite, "I'm Just a Bill". Good to know they're teaching quality stuff in second grade these days. And that my brain cells still remember the words.

On this date: In 1770, William Wordsworth is born.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Fast Forward Two Weeks


It is sooooo loud here the past two days I can barely hear myself think. The floor is going in as we speak and then it's just a matter of putting everything back together starting Thursday of next week. See:

I sent the revisions for the YA off to Agent E this afternoon, so now I just sit and wait with fingers crossed. It was actually not very hard to revise - the whole thing really seemed to write itself - and I got done even more quickly than I'd said. Hopefully, things will move on it pretty quickly and I'll know soon what's going to happen. DH was saying last night that he just wants to fast-forward a couple of weeks so that the kitchen will be done and the book will be on its way.

I was thinking the other day that one of the best things about writing is that every day brings a new opportunity for a surprise. You never know when you get up if this is the day that you will get a phone call from your agent saying that the book has sold, or from your editor saying that the picture book is finally going to be on next spring's list. I don't think I can ever quit writing or submitting, because then I'd miss the excitement. Granted, most days don't bring a surprise like that, but it only takes one to change everything.

On this date: In 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Lousy Excuses

Someone in my real life (hi Dad) mentioned that I haven't been blogging as much lately. I'm sure you're all disappointed ;) Truth is, I'm just trying to get through the remodel (which is going very well thank you - photos to come), recover from a Spring Break spent at home and work on my revisions for the YA. I'm having to really focus on them to the exclusion of everything because some fun things are happening behind the scenes.

The funny thing is, I have such a narrow focus that I didn't even realize that one of my favorite things is this Saturday - a writer's conference! Yay! Not only do I get to leave the kids with DH and spend the entire day by my lonesome (and this conference is in Davis - over an hour away), but I get to soak up the writerly atmosphere and hook up with some friends. Just don't eat the tuna salad - they put grapes in it. Yech.

I also just got an email about another writer's conference in Berkeley in October - the best thing is that Agent E is going to be there! She's speaking at our local conference, which means we get some face time to talk about husbands, families, vacations and stuff. Oh yeah, books too maybe.

On this date: In 1902, the first American movie theater opened in LA.