Wednesday, May 4, 2011

New blog! I've moved to Wordpress

Come visit me there:

Friday, March 4, 2011

Scary leaps and safe landings

I've gotten underway with a new website, built on a Wordpress skeleton. I've given this project a lot of thought, so it should move quickly now that I've actually given my great designer the go-ahead. I think the site looks a little worn, and I've grown accustomed to changing this on the fly on the site I manage at my day job, and wanted the same kind of quick response with my writing site. It's not a risky step, since I know I'll be able to manage the site myself and change content frequently - but will I?

I recall a craft fair I went to once, where a woman had made charming wall decorations. I thought, gee, I could do that, then laughed when I noticed that she'd posted a sign: "You can make this, sure. But will you?" Point taken. I bought two.

Here's hoping I keep my website up, and this blog, which will become a Wordpress blog and attached to the site, will be updated more often than every few months.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Heading home after a perfect week

I've spent the week on St. Simon's Island off the Georgia coast, teaching Beginning Novel-writing at the Southeastern Writers Association annual conference. My husband came along and we'd get up early, eat breakfast with the other authors, then ride bikes for forty minutes. After a shower, I'd join the other instructors and authors, evaluating manuscripts, listening in on other classes, and then it was lunchtime. After lunch I taught my class. As the sun set, I'd walk on the beach for miles with my honey, watching folks skip balls into the surf for their dogs as kids ran back and forth and some seriously intense kite flyers tried to get expensive-looking kits aloft.

Today we visited the bell chapel on site. You walk through a small door and find yourself in a tiny vestibule. A ceramic basket holds prayer requests. I read them, and most prayed for jobs and deliverance from hard economic times. I pushed through the next door and found myself in the miniscule chapel. six pews, three to a side, plus three stained glass windows. You can't stare at Christ on Gethsemene and not think of the prayer requests you just read. I prayed for those folks, whoever they were, as well as for the kids that my dynamic new friend Frances told me about. Her visit to the chapel revealed prayer requests from a kids' group that cried out for reconciliation with estranged famly, or just the return of a missing parent. Heartbreaking.

The conference is held at the beautiful and incredibly historic Epworth by the Sea. Gary and I visited the Methodist museum on site the other day. Really interesting,

I can't believe it's time to go home. I read some fabulous manuscripts, some that truly deserve to be published - now!

Tomorrow we'll drive to Savannah for lunch with our nephew, a grad student at SCAD. Maybe we'll be able to squeeze one more bike ride in before we check out.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Blogging at Petit Fours and Hot Tamales on Wednesday

I'm coming back to life! Been busy with my YA novels, and a new one is out this month - Shadows of the Redwood, the first in the second trilogy of the Faire Folk saga. Check out my blog at on Wednesday the 16th! You could win a little prize. We have one of the discontinued collectible smiley face jester antenna toppers to give away!

See you there,


Sunday, February 28, 2010

The sweet joy of a finished project!

The book is done! Now I'm going to take some aspirin and hit the sack, because I think the long hours have done me in. Or it could be the rich variety of germs that the kids share with me with every kiss and hug. Either way, I'm not doing well. Maybe a hot bath first to ease the chills.

Good night!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Extreme editing techniques

Facing a deadline on Monday, and I'm working hard on my latest. The book is done, but it reads like a road full of potholes (or plotholes) and I'm filling them in as fast as I can. Actually, the plot has no holes, but I do repeat myself, and I've got some serious cutting to do.

Here's how I edit the final draft:

I print out a copy, and sit down with a pen and a glass of water. The pen is for notes. The water is for soothing my throat. I read the whole book out loud, which points out everything that needs repair, since after a few drafts I'm too close to the text. Reading it aloud helps me get a fresh perspective.

I then make all the edits I've noted. The it's time for a final spellcheck, after which I do a chapter check, searching for the word "chapter" - which is usually just my chapter headings - and going through to make sure they are all sequential. You'd be surprised how often Chapter Sixteen ia followed by Chapter Eighteen! Here's where I change all the Chapter Four A and Chapter Whatever headings, too, from where I knew I needed a chapter break but didn't want to stop to figure out what to call it.

The last thing I do is change the view, zooming out to 10%, which shows the entire book as little icon-like chips on the screen. This way, I can sweep through and find any blank pages, weird text, and chapter headings that are too high or low on a page (rather than my preferred line 11). Then that's it! All done.

For this editor, I email the manuscript. I hit send, and that's it!

Others, more old style, want it printed and mailed. Ick. That requires a trip to Kinkos, because I don't own a laser printer and I don't want a copy editor's coffee cup ring to obliterate a paragraph from my inkjet-printed page. I print the whole book, single side, then put two rubber bands around it, one in each direction, so it doesn't slip. I type up a quick cover letter (that one I do on my ink squirtin' printer), slip it into a Tyvek or padded envelope which then goes into a Fed Ex box. I always send Fed Ex. When I mail the beast, I do it a few days before the deadline so that it gets there on time no matter what. I write "contracted material" on the box, in case Joann or Mike in shipping doesn't recognize my name and I end up in the slush pile. Paranoid much? You can see why I prefer to email. Straight to editor's in box. No hassle, no questions, no trees have to die.

I'm always interested in how others edit, so if you stumble across this post, let me know how you do it.

Off to read aloud some more, but first some hot tea. I'll have to pick my way over all the snoozing pets.

Monday, June 29, 2009

What will your neighborhood look like in 100 years?

It sounds like a new meme, but it's the question I'm asking myself as I plot my new post apocalyptic YA book. It's grim fun to decide what's fallen apart and what's survived. I also find myself looking at my own world with new eyes. I have a lot of stuff, and if I lost most of it, I'd still be okay. Lamps, sofas, garden tools, that concrete gargoyle that lives under the blueberry bushes - all if it could vanish (okay, not Phred the Gargoyle, but everything else) and I'd be fine.

Here's another question that I've asked myself for this book: If I had to flee tomorrow with just a backpack, what would be in it? And given that the backpack now represents everything I have in the world, what would I do to keep it?