Monday, June 30, 2008


Finally got back home tonight. It took 11 hours door to door, to which DH said, "Now you know how I feel when I travel." "Yes," says I. "But you are coming from Amsterdam or Hong Kong, not Comanche, Texas."

As we passed through Lampassas on our way to Austin, those blog readers who have been with me since last year will be please to know that they are still honoring some of their most important residents:

On this date: In 1936, Gone With the Wind was published.

Friday, June 27, 2008

More Texas Natives

My kids love their annual day with Cowboy Robert (so called because he is an actual cowboy that owns cows and everything - and his name is Robert).

I like him because he says things like: "He's the kind of guy where if you ask him the time, he'll show you how to build a watch." Last year they went down to the rodeo ring and rode his horse Billie. This year, he says "I know a guy that's got some buffalo." Uh, okay.

So, we went to see his friend's buffalo. First, we started from behind the gate, which I thought was smart.

But then Cowboy Robert says: "What say we go on in there? They look tame enough." And you can tell this how? Of course the kids were all over it, and the next thing I knew, we were standing in the middle of a dozen large-type buffalo.

One of them was eyeing my youngest with a look that made me a bit nervous.

Especially when all the cows from next door lined up at the fence to see what the crazy people were doing in the buffalo pen.

It all ended fine, nobody got buffaloed and we got out of there in one piece. So we headed down the road to Dublin, Texas which is the Dr. Pepper capital of the world. The kids got all hopped up on Dr. Pepper at Old Doc's Soda Shop and made the ride home something extra special.

On this date: In 1997, my friend Linzey was born. Happy Birthday Linz!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

You Can't Do That in Texas...

Can you?

On this date: In 1965, Mr. Tambourine Man by the Byrds hits number 1.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Smack In the Middle of Texas

The new chapters for the YA went out to interested parties a few days ago, so barring any ALA diversions (for both agent and editors) we'll hopefully hear something soonish.

I haven't gotten much fiction done since we've been in Texas, but I have had time to do a little reading. More and more I find my inner editor coming out whenever I read YA. The funny thing is, I never do it when I'm reading adult books. I was reading a book last night, and I found myself subconsciously changing words around. I'm irritating myself at this point.

We ventured out to Glen Rose, Texas today. We got to see some unusual residents pretty darn close up:

Sometimes, a little too close:

But the view was sure pretty:

High school rodeo is on TV right now, so I have to go.

Saying of the day: "That'll sure stick a horn in your Wranglers."

On this date: In 1945, Carly Simon was born.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Texas Travelblog

We're in Texas for our annual pilgrimage to the Grandparent's house. Here's a shout out to the folks back in the Bay Area who haven't seen $3 gas in months


On this date: In 1987, Jackie Gleason died.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Is it Wrong...

to hope that your son's baseball team loses the second playoff game, because if they win, it means that they will play in the Championship on Saturday, except you're leaving for Texas early Saturday morning and J either won't be able to play, or will have to fly out on his own?

And when they do lose (but not by much), is it wrong to feel guilty?

Go Brewers!

On this date: In 1983, Sally Ride became the first woman in space.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Only 70 More Days To Go

So I did manage to write a new first chapter for the YA (and a pretty good one I think) and it's off to Agent E and then to a couple of people who wanted a looksee. But that's not the biggest accomplishment this week. Nope. We've survived 3 days of summer vacation. Nobody has gotten injured (although I was tempted several times) and the house is still standing. I've come up with a plan: divide and conquer.

If the boys are together and there is no activity planned for the day, they will hassle each other until one starts crying or hitting depending. Many of my other mom friends understand this, so we're starting to work out a system of swapping kids - you give me one of yours and I'll give you one of mine. They're not related, so they play nicely and I might even manage to get some work done.

I try to tell them about my summer vacations where my mom worked all day as a nurse and we were left to fend for ourselves. There were no outings to play minigolf on a daily basis, no trips to the arcade. We weren't supposed to watch TV, but I do distinctly remember all of the neighborhood kids gathering at noon to watch Twilight Zone followed by Speed Racer, so I think we didn't listen to that particular rule. Anyway, this lecture seems to fall right with the one about walking two miles to school each way starting with kindergarten. They just don't care. And they want to go play minigolf.

On this date: In 1885, the Statue of Liberty arrived in New York.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Reason #2 To Have An Agent

Agent E and I are putting the final spit and polish on a new opening chapter of the YA for a couple of editors who wanted the story to start earlier (I know, they always say jump right into the action, but what can I say). She mentioned that she had been listening to Priscilla Ahn while she was reading the pages and that the music seemed to really go with the book. I said that I hadn't heard of her, so a few minutes later, the whole album lands in my inbox via ITunes. Agent E had bought it for me so that I could get inspired as I write. And she's right - Lucy needs a soundtrack.

Is that cool or what?

On this date: In 1970, the Beatles last number one hit, The Long and Winding Road tops the charts.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Not Good With Puzzles

T: Moooommmm! Can you help me put this back together?
Me: Aw T! Why in the world did you take it apart? We'll never get it back together - I don't have the instructions anymore.
T: Geez Mom, you don't need instructions - you just need an imagination.

You know, he was right.

On this date: In 1965, the Supremes set the record for five number one singles in a row with Back in My Arms Again.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

More Backseat Confessions

T: I think in third grade I'm going to tell K that I like her.
Me: Oh yeah? So what does she do then?
T: (pause) That's probably the part where she runs away.

I worry.

On this date: In 1922, Judy Garland was born.

Saturday, June 7, 2008


We lasted through nine apartments, unnamed boyfriends, a wedding and two kids. Eighteen years is one heck of a ride - I miss you already.


Thursday, June 5, 2008


Lots of author people I know (and lots that I don't know) have been blogging about going to BEA in LA this past week (I could write this whole blog with acronyms - I brought my MG with the PC MC to the BEA in LA). BEA - or the Book Expo of America - is the book world's answer to that big RV show they have at the fairgrounds, only bigger and more fabulous. Big-time authors get to go and crash parties, sign books and get wined and dined by their agents and publishers. Free books and gift bags and temporary tattoos, oh my!

I've loved seeing all the photos and hearing about all the fun. Am I jealous? Um...yeah. But I know that these folks weren't just plucked out of nowhere and set down in front of a big blue curtain signing books. They worked darn hard to get where they are, so I just keep telling myself that these are the dues paying years. Oh yeah. When I finally get to go, I'm crashing the biggest, baddest party they've got.

On this date: In 1968, Robert F. Kennedy is shot.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Your Critique Partners Are Not Your Friends

At least they shouldn't be. Okay, they can be very nice people and folks that when you actually see them face to face you can sit down and have lunch with and swap stories. But first and foremost, they should be ruthless picker-aparters of your manuscript. People who have no problem slashing your writing with great swaths of red ink. Who can tell you when something is not working or when a paragraph just plain stinks. Folks who can tell you when your main character is unlikeable and when it would be better to just hit delete and start over.

People who read your work and gush over how lovely it all is aren't critique partners - they are friends and/or loved ones who are afraid to hurt your feelings. Don't get me wrong, good critique partners know how to sandwich critical comments in between saying that they liked this description and that this sentence was nice. People who just say nothing but mean things are just well...mean.

In truth, all of the people in both of my critique groups are nice people. Out of the eight people I swap work with, I've only met one of them, and we had a great time, which left me wishing she didn't live halfway across the country. One of my most ruthless adverb annihilators lives all the way in Italy. The advent of the Internet and the email critique group has helped in a lot of ways - mainly that it's a lot easier to be honest when you're not sitting next to the person and don't have to look them in the eyes. And I appreciate that.

On this date: In 1967, Aretha Franklin hits number one with "Respect".

Monday, June 2, 2008

Sidewalk Wisdom

T (on the way home from school): I can't wait to go to San Francisco again. The calamari there is so good it makes my head hurt.

On this date: In 1935, Babe Ruth retired.