Monday, June 27, 2011


I get stressed out easily. No, really. I'm kind of like one of those little teacup poodles that could die from an aneurysm if I get too anxious. So, it probably will come as no surprise that change usually doesn't go over too well with me.

As a little girl I used to love to rearrange my room. That is, until night came, when I was then faced with the consequences of my daytime jaunts and I'd get so sad longing for the way things USED to be (which is kind of silly because I could always put things back to how they were the day before just by moving around some furniture). Yes, at ten I was already a nostalgic.

I can still get overly nostalgic today, although I've learned how to cope with a healthy (or maybe not) dose of denial. That is to say, I like to ignore change as much as I can. If I start thinking about the fact that my kids no longer want me to read picture books to them, don't fit in my lap any longer, and will some day move out of my house, I go into full on panic attack mode (including but not limited to: chest pain, blurred vision, dizziness, and the feeling that I'm being sucked down a very dark and endless tunnel). It's so much easier just to turn my brain off and not think about it.

I get this way when I think about my childhood home, which was torn down a couple of years ago. It's so scary to me to think that I can't go back. I'll never be able to go there again and see things the way they used to be. Although most of you would probably tell me that you can never really go back, even if the house still stands. But still I'd like a chance to walk through the yard, stand by the creek, look out the window of my old bedroom.

Maybe I'm so scared of losing the past because I have such a terrible memory. If things could live on in my brain, maybe I wouldn't be so scared of losing them in real life. But until science finds a way to tap into my mind's lost reservoirs I'll have to learn to deal with it. You'd think I'd write in a journal, but I guess my laziness outweighs even my fears.

So I was so proud of myself recently when the neighbors tore down the garage that separated their yard from mine and I didn't have a panic attack. I didn't mourn the pealing paint or the way our yard USED to look. I'm plowing head long into the aesthetically pleasing future, enjoying the way I can now see the light dance through the leaves of their walnut tree in the morning. It's all about the outlook, isn't it?

If only all change could always look so good.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Ten Signs You're Out On Submission

It’s official! My little, baby manuscript has left the nest and is out on submission. In honor of my first experience of being out on sub, I decided to (you guessed it) write a list of ten signs that you just went out on submission.

1-    You open your email every ten minutes or so (okay, maybe it’s every three minutes) to see if your agent has contacted to tell you that there’s already a bidding war for your manuscript. Who cares that the editors haven’t even had time to read the submission’s cover letter yet. (It’s already been like an hour, why hasn’t anyone responded?)

2-    You buy lots of chocolate to get you through this stressful time. Upon snarfing down the first Costco sized bag of m&ms you realize that you really shouldn’t be packing away all this chocolate. What you should be doing is going on that new no-cal-no-carbs-no-fat-eat-only-green-things diet so that you can look stunning when you meet your publishers to sign your book deal.

3-    You give away all that chocolate, which is sad, but at least all the neighbors love you now.

4-    You take a quick peek at your email, just to be sure that nothing new has shown up.

5-    You cyber stalk all the editors and publishing houses that your agent submitted to and make a secret top ten list of the houses you really, really want to buy your book.

6-    You decide you should start writing a new project. You already have like a bazillion really awesome ideas that you’ve been dying to tackle and now’s the time. What better way to distract yourself than to create a new world? This next book is going to be EVEN better than the last one. It’ll be brilliant.

7-    You stare at the blank screen.

8-    You decide that maybe you should just check in on twitter and see what’s happening in the blogosphere and THEN you’ll start writing.

9-    You marvel over all those writers who actually sold their books. Maybe a little of their luck will rub off on you. You look up EVERY blog post that was ever posted about authors who went on submission and finally sold their books. You compare every detail of their story to yours. Now you’ll be prepared when it happens to you, right? Right?

10-   You check your email. What it’s only been two hours?!? Oh well. Maybe it’s time to go out and buy some more chocolate.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Summer Writing Journal

Yesterday, in preparation for the first day of summer vacation, my eldest daughter and I went to the bookstore and bought new notebooks for all of us. Of course I'll use any excuse to buy a new notebook (I've got a notebook fetish that could outshine a lot of shoe fetishes). But I also wanted my kids to keep using pens and paper this summer, lest they forget the importance of the written word.

So today we set out to fill the first page of our notebooks with our "Summer Goal List". The kids have some pretty lofty goals, like: have a lemonade stand once a week and draw 12 coloring books (why fill their lists with things that they don't want to do, right?). I however, conjoled them into adding a few things like: chores, and daily family walks.

Here's my Summer Goal list:

  • Write a new book (or 2) 1500 words a day.
  • Daily walks with the kids.
  • Daily chore chart (I'm not too big a meanie. Each kid only has to do two little chores a day.)
  • TV tickets (The kids only get to watch one hour of TV a day, which for them is torture.) 
  • Write in my writing notebook every day, including one new idea for a book each day. (Even if it's a stupid idea.)
  • Write one paragraph in my journal every day.
  • Do a chalkboard animation (I'm excited about this one. I want to do an artsy book trailer.)
  • Limit my internet time. (Yep, this one's going to be hard. This addict's going to go through some withdrawals.)
  • Read 10 books (or more. I can always read more.)
  • Finish revising the play with my mom. (Now's a good time to mention that SLAC decided to use our play to open their season!!!!!)
  • Start a new series of paintings.
  • Learn new vocabulary words (Isn't dinner a good time to learn new words? It's automatic dinner conversation.)
  • Only drink soda one time per week.
My list could go on and on, and knowing me I'll only do a few of the things on my list for the whole summer. Let's face it, most of the things on my list will only last a week, but I do love to dream.

What's on your Summer List???

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

$20 Amazon Card Winner

I hope everyone's summer reading has kicked off with a big bang. I'm happily reading BEAUTY QUEENS and I'm loving it. If your looking for a book that will make you snort, guffaw, giggle, titter and hold your breath in awe of amazing writing, this one's for you!

I'm excited to announce the winner of my Summer Reading Contest. The lucky recipient of a $20 gift card to Amazon is...


Barb, send me your email address and I'll shoot that gift card over your way.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Winner of the Knock-Your-Socks-Off Contest...

Not only is it an amazingly beautiful summer day here in Salt Lake (one of the first we've had all year I might add), but it's my birthday too. And to celebrate I'm excited to announce that the winner of an original painting is....

Gennifer Albin

Thank you Gennifer for entering. I have a number of paintings for you to choose from. If you send me your email address (and home address)  I'll send images for you to choose from and soon you'll have a new painting hanging on your wall.

Thank you to everyone for entering. I'll be having another contest for artwork again really soon.