Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Buying light bulbs

I have a friend, and once in awhile he posts on his Facebook or Twitter that he's 'off to buy some light bulbs'.

I know he's not heading to Home Depot.

It means that he's out of inspiration and he needs to find something to kick his muse in her pretty little rear end. How often does this happen to me? All the time. Sometimes I'll be on a roll and I can just feel the words itching to break free, I'll see the scene and know what has to happen and I can just write. Which usually happens at the worst possible moments, when I have no time to write. Like now, of course, when school is back in and I have to concentrate on my research project proposal and no real writing gets done at all. Sigh.

But then there are those times when I know I need to work on a project or at least come up with a plan or a plot, and...nothing. Mind goes completely blank. It's insanely frustrating. And that's when I head out to buy light bulbs.

What do I do to get those creative juices flowing? Sometimes I can read, especially if I can find a particularly interesting book that makes me want to write. I look for books like the kind I'm writing, but not always. Right now I'm reading Maureen Johnson's THE NAME OF THE STAR, and it's got me wanting to work on the last Library of Athena book - thank goodness, because that thing is giving me fits and I haven't even started writing it. But sometimes I'll watch a movie, or some Netflix TV (Firefly is good for the creativity, as is Doctor Who), or just take a walk, away from the Facebook and computer and work. Sometimes I just take the computer and go somewhere else-- a change of venue is all a mind needs to see something in a different way.

Your mileage with these tricks may vary, of course, but once you find your light bulb store, hang on to it, because unfortunately you can't store the darn things up for a rainy day.

And now, back to special project proposal writing... *trudge*

Friday, January 27, 2012

A Thousand Words

There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. If that is the case, then over the last year I have written over 15,000 words. Not quite a novel, but respectable. You see, I started a challenge on the first day of 2011 - a picture a day. Most days I took far more than one picture, although I usually only posted up one on my own blog. (there is a link to my blog on my homepage at www.jennakayfrancis.com)

I have also joined a photo group at Live Journal and sometimes certain pictures just leap out at me. They demand a story be written. One such had a small boy, walking near a fence. There was a shadow of a huge deciduous tree on the fence, while other trees peered over the fence from an adjoining yard. It looked, to me, like the tree was reaching out to shelter and protect this wee warrior, encouraging him to begin his long journey into adulthood, but always there to protect against evil.

Another photo was of an elderly man watching a ball drop on New Years Eve. It was only a side view of the man, but so much emotion was in that view! He eyed that distant ball, somewhere off camera, his gaze holding hope, resignation, relief, disbelief...all of that. Was he happy that he had made it thus far? Was he saddened that he was alone, having lost most of friends and family to old age? Was he reflecting how much the world had changed since his youth? What were his thoughts?

There was a beautiful shot of a sunset in Hawaii. Some of the comments mentioned how lucky the person was to call Hawaii home. And then a short discussion ensued about how we sometimes overlook our own surroundings because we yearn to see what is in the distance. I was envious of a co-blogger planning her summer vacation in the south of France, while she was envious of me living in the USA. For her, France was a done deal. For me, it was exotic.

When I write, I try to transport my readers to another place, another time. I try to allow them to escape their own surroundings for a brief period of time, knowing that they can return to the safety of their own home at any given moment. Such is photography. We can experience another world through the eye of the lens, or through the pages of a book.

As I head into my second year of Photo A Day, I need to keep in mind the beauty that surrounds me right here, in my own world. I need to use my lens to create a world, just as I use my pen to do so. Either way, I hope it's exciting.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Introducing Ali

In a couple of months my second book, Reality Ali will be available. I'm in edits with it now, and I thought I'd take a couple of minutes to introduce you to Ali, the main character.

Ali Caldwell is fourteen years old and is starting boarding school. She doesn't mind going away to school at all. Her older brother, Mark, is a junior there, and her dad, who has custody of her and Mark, just left for an extended business trip in Japan. She might as well be at school instead of home with only the staff for company.

But Ali has dreams. Don't most people? And Ali's dreams involve her mother-her movie-star mother, who left when Ali was two to pursue her acting career. Now Margo Schaefer is a household name, starring in a reality show with the precocious triplets from her second marriage. What Ali wants is to be on that show. She wants people to know that Margo Schaefer is her mother. She wants the fame and recognition the triplets get.

That's what Ali wants.

Getting what you want isn't always a good thing.

This spring you'll be able to read Ali's story. I can't wait to share her with the world.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Motivation Time

I admit I've been kind of down on my writing these past few weeks.  It's been hard to motivate myself to sit down and write.  I've been at this for almost a decade and so far I still haven't received that call from an agent(though to be fair I've been very close more than a few times to signing) or received an offer to be with traditional publisher.  I know, it's always easy to look at others and feel they are doing better.  It has seemed like almost everyone has either signed with an agent or got that book deal.

Apparently I haven't been the only one with the writer blues.  Must be in the air.  One great thing about this social community is blogging.  I thought I'd share some posts that helped give me a kick in the pants:

Saundra Mitchell posted a great post on walking away:


Dawn Metcalf, author of LUMINOUS shared her revisions and shows it's not all easy:


Love this vlog:


Music helps too.  Skip the ad on this video that says it all:

If all else fails, I've been immersing self in another older YA TV series ROSWELL.

Yes, some of the dialogue is cheesy but I love the forbidden love between a human and alien.  I know I need to dig deeper in my own writing and the romance between Liz and Max is right on.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Writers and Writing

Writing a story or book sounds easy. Something you can do without a lot of effort, like walking or sitting. It's just a bunch of words strung one after the other, right? Yet the longer I write and the more I learn about writing (we never stop, not really), the more I've come to realize how HARD (yet fun!) it really is and how difficult it is for new writers to become conscious of that fact. 

(image from Salon.com)

I've been doing this gig for a long time and I still turn in the occasional story to my critique group which then gets slashed to pieces. Usually happens to those I feel the most confident about too! I've also helped them with theirs and done some judging and am at times astounded at the mistakes I see. Yet the person who wrote it probably never saw them.

And it is a big stumbling block - being able to see what is wrong with our own work. It's one of the hardest parts of this gig, in my opinion. Worse though is our own lack of knowledge, especially at the beginning. If we don't understand how something works, how can we know it's wrong in the first place? But it's gotten any number of people into trouble and they never had a clue.

Easy stuff are grammar and spelling (easy as in knowing we need it, not necessarily in the doing of it. Just saying! :P). Most people know these things are somehow involved in the process. But there is so much MORE that is a part of writing. Some tangible, some intangible. All of it making for hard work.

What am I talking about? Here's a list:
(This list is not comprehensive by any means - so feel free to add some in the comments!)

1) Flow - What this is (and it may have a better technical term out there), is the ease, or flow of words as written on the page. When read out loud do the sentences move smoothly or do they sound choppy or make you feel like you've tripped over something? This one took me a long time to realize. When I did, it was an epiphany! I equate this to music, how the notes flows and merge into a cohesive whole.

2) Hook - a sentence or paragraph (which can be a little longer for novels - though that's changing too!) to grab the reader by the throat and make them read. Some say to start in the middle of action for your hook but this can be a pitfall if you push the beginning of the story too far in.

3) Speech Tags - the proper ways to set up dialogue and the tags that go with them. 'Said' is the auto default; most others are frowned upon. But even 'said' can be used too much (I know some say 'said' is invisible to readers, but I disagree with that. Bugs the heck out of me when I see it too often). There are other ways to let the reader know who is talking - by movements, expressions, and action.

4) Who? - a lot of beginners clump actions or speech together without letting the reader know who is actually doing these things or mix several people in the same paragraph. On the same vein though, you can tell us who too often, which will also disrupt the flow. 'He' and 'she' are great ways to not use the characters' names too much, but if used too liberally (especially when more than two people are involved) can be just as confusing to the reader. So you have to have balance. See how this is work? lol.

5) Talking Heads - Dialogue followed by more dialogue and even more dialogue. Action will break these up and not necessarily action as in fighting. Hand gestures, facial expressions, feelings, all these can break apart chunks of dialogue into easier, more digestible bits. It will also help with not making too many speech tags and even give insights into the characters' habits and quirks.

6) Location (of people and things) - If Mary is at the front door, but she's suddenly seeing something that's happening in the bathroom that's in the back of the house, this is a problem with location. Or reaching for a cup in the cupboard when you're in the living room. (Yes, these are exaggerated examples, but you get what I mean.) Kate slapping Mary though earlier it was mentioned that John was between Mary and Kate. If you're in a small wooden ship's cabin, five or six people and their luggage and pets won't all actually fit in and be able to move around comfortably in there. Ways around this are to make a map in your mind or even on paper. See where people are and where things are in relation to them to get the actions to make sense. But don't fall into the trap of explaining every little movement or placement either. Authors must often walk a fine line between too much and too little!

7) Info Dump - Giant blocks of information all dumped at once on the reader. Whether the information is needed or not isn't normally the trouble. The problem stems on how it's dumped out in giant buckets disrupting flow and pacing. Info should be seeded in small doses. Broken up by other things so it is integrated with the whole without seemingly being there. Dialogue can help here too, but beware of 'As You Know, Bob' syndrome, where you regurgitate info for the reader in a conversation when it is actually something already known to the other party and would never actually need to be said - not good.

8) Beginning/Middle/End - The most basic of rules for a story or novel, yet you'd be surprised how many miss the mark on this one. One main road for the story. In novels you can have some side roads tie to the whole, but the final structure must still have the three stages to make sense.

9) Conflict - Conflict is tenuous and can take many forms, but it is an integral part of any tale. Without conflict (internal, external, or both) there's no room for the characters to grow or change. There must be stakes, things which can be lost or goals that won't be achieved if conflict is not overcome.

10) Theme - This one is hard to explain. It's like a uniting thread or melody within the novel or story. A message behind the words. Sometimes we know what we want it to be before we ever start the work, at others we discover it during the writing itself then make sure to weave it throughout. Themes can give extra depth to the work, even a unique flavor. Not good to force it, but good to have.

Hopefully this illustrates what I am talking about. Never underestimate the work that goes into writing! lol. This stuff is hard! (One of the main reasons I am a BIG backer of beta readers, critique groups, edits, and editors!)

Any other bits on what makes writing hard that you've come across or wondered about? Do you think I'm full of it? What mistakes do you see being made out there? Would love to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Ghosts and New Adult Fiction: A Match Made in Ectoplasm

Recently, I was quoted in Barbara Binn's blog about YA and New Adult fiction. (Here's the link if you're curious http://romancingthegenres.blogspot.com/2012/01/new-year-new-adult.html ) The article was fascinating to me, and not just because she used my name! It was because she raised the idea of a "New Adult" sub-genre within the YA genre. I'd never heard of the category before, although I sure know about the stories. New Adult, as defined in her article, features young people who are older than the traditional YA protagonists: NA stories are concerned with kids in college or even just after college, and their transition into adult society. I had no idea I was writing New Adult: I thought I was just writing stories of the paranormal.

But it made me stop and think. Yes, my stories tend to involve ghosts and other unexplained phenomena. And yes, my characters tend to be older than the high-school ages of most YA books. And wow, suddenly I find that I am not alone.

I thought about the sort of television show I am likely to watch on TV: Celebrity Ghost Stories, Paranormal Kids, My Ghostly Encounter, and when I can, Ghost Hunters International. And I wondered who their target audience is. People like me, who can't get enough ghosts into their lives? Or kids? From listing what I like to watch, I then went to listing what's being offered out there for the YA audience. Sure, there are things like Gossip Girl, but there are also The Vampire Diaries, Being Human, Lost Girl (new), Supernatural (my fave!), and Fringe. In almost all of these shows, the characters are in college, or just graduated. Aha! New Adult.

Remember back in the '80's when stories about that age group were things like Less Than Zero, St. Elmo's Fire, and Bright Lights, Big City? Lots of older young adult angst, very little paranormal. Apparently, the target audience in this day and age cut their teeth on Harry Potter, was offered Twilight, and we've all progressed from there. Paranormal is on the collective brain.

And the kid in me says, AWESOME! All of my life I've looked for the paranormal in fiction. A true ghost story aficionado, I went through some hard times as a writer trying to get published when ghost stories went slasher (i.e., Freddie Kruger) and every possible spirit was not only malevolent, but violently murderous. I blessed the day M. Night Shyamalan's Sixth Sense started breaking box office records because his was a true ghost story and a good one. After that, I found people (read: editors) were more open to ghost stories that did not involve severing someone's carotid artery or ripping out another's intestines.

I guess the bottom line in this is a celebration, on my part, of all this fun ghostly material available across the board. I love a good ghost story, and the current popularity of the ghost story as New Adult fiction is like frosting on my supernatural cake.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Making decisions about what to write

Every time I sit down to write A YA Story, I usually have some kind of an idea about what I'd like to write. Years and I do mean years ago, I wrote several stories for young children. One of these was nearly published. After working iwth an editor for nearly a year, she was leaving the company and asked to take my book with her. I made that decision and the book was almost instantly rejected. I can still remember that story and I still wonder if I made the right decision. Maybe someday I'll go back and try to recreat that story called Waiting For The Wind and another about a rooster who had laryingitis.

Writers often have to make decisions when they're immersed in a story. But one thing I've figured is that when writing YA stories I tend to write ones for the ages of my grandchildren. When the oldest was in her late teens I wrote the Jewels of Earda series where there were love interests. Intereste were there and maybe a kiss or two. Then my younger grandchildren started to head for becoming teenagers and I wrote about them and their struggles in the Henge Betrayed stories.

One reason I think I may be able to go back to the picture book stories is that now I've been given two new grandchildren ages 3 and 5. Perfect ages for picture books. So I'll sit down and attempt to recreate those stories. Why recreate is that the carbons I have of them are so old the words have nearly vanished from the pages.

Decisions about what to write. How about you do you write with specific young people in mind? How do you determine what kind of story you want to write.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The XYZ Files. UFOS.

The brilliant Terrence Mckenna once said "It's great to have an open mind but not so open that the wind whistles through your ears."

I like to live by a variation of this philosophy. You see, I do enjoy the feel of the wind tickling my brain. It is one of the ways I get great ideas. Ever since I was a kid (and probably before that) I have been made joyful by UFOs, ghosts, Atlantis, ancient astronauts,  fairies, cryptozoology, spirits, ESP, aliens, conspiracies, and anything that the "boring beige materialist" label trippy, out there or wackadoo.  I love Coast to Coast - THE most listened to overnight radio show in the world where the above mentioned topics are fodder for speculation (which is the long forgotten basis of science- NOT logic).  I do have to laugh, however, when some very very wild statements are made ("I channeled the leadership of the Riva Duga Kanesh star system and they gave me a holographic blueprint to peace on earth but I forgot where I put it") with little or no subsequent questioning by some of the hosts (some are better than others. Ian Punnet and George Knapp are great and do ask deep and thoughtful questions).

I eat this stuff up and it fuels my writing. So I thought it would be fun to examine some of the topics to see where I stand on them- based on my own ACUAL experience. This week I will tackle UFOs.


I think 85% of UFOs are easily explainable. Planes, clouds, blimps, satellites,  birds, etc. 10% are  secret government craft that are being tested (such as the Stealth Bomber. A few years before it was revealed many many people saw triangular craft that looked strikingly familiar to the obscenely priced explosive delivery system). The rest? Maybe, like Carl Yung wrote, they are projections of our minds- a mass need for the mysterious that is being robbed by the waves of "rational" thinkers that are dominating research of late (see his book "Flying Saucers : A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Skies").  

I have seen a legit UFO (it was unidentified, it was flying and it was an object). It happened on a camping trip and my buddy Russell and I sat there and went through a checklist of possibilities. It looked like a bright star as it slowly and silently crossed the sky than suddenly shot upward and out into space where it vanished. Plane? No. Helicopter. No. Satellite? No. Meteor? No. None fit so it remains a UFO. 

Another time on a cruise ship, late at night while sitting on our veranda (my wife was asleep beside me) the ship past a weird, dark craft that seemed to be floating over the water. I did not get a great look at it but I was left with an odd feeling.  A UWO? Yes- it was an Unidentified Water Object.

I find it interesting that mass UFO sightings began after the detonation of the first atomic bomb. Carl Sagan felt that if we are to find alien artifacts in Earth's neighborhood we need to explore the Moon. So perhaps, ages ago there were ET visitors (a future topic) who saw the early Earthlings and decided to monitor us with equipment left on the moon. A sure sign of an emerging intelligence would be the splitting of the atom. So when that first mushroom cloud poisoned the skies on Earth the monitors noticed and sent waves of bio-engineered creatures in flying craft to take a closer look at us. To take notes. To drive farmers and small town folk nuts. 

I, do, however, remain skeptical on this subject. I ABSOLUTELY believe the Universe is teeming with intelligent life - but I think the form of travel will be via consciousness when it comes to long journeys. I suggest reading Rick Strassman's DMT: The Spirit Molecule for a fascinating look at how a naturally occurring psychedelic substance can trigger abduction experiences in humans. REAL ET contact. I actually made a feature film that dealt with this called TRIPTOSANE. 

Are any of the things seen in the skies actual craft being piloted by alien life forms? Who am I to say? If my moon theory is correct then we are still being watched. If so, I can only imagine the notes and sarcastic comments being recorded as they watch the leadership being chosen on this planet!  It must be like a big cosmic Mystery Science Theatre 3000 as they can chuckle at our sometimes ridiculous behavior. Yet- they must also be impressed with us for humans are capable of some damned amazing things. 

They say we are either alone in the Universe or part of a HUGE family. In either case - it is incredibly fascinating.  

Up next: Ghosts.

Mike DiCerto is a filmmaker and author of books including his latest: THE DOOR TO FAR-MYST: The Adventures of Rupert Starbright. www.mikedicerto.com

Monday, January 9, 2012

New book trailer!

Happy Twenty Twelve!

It’s a brand new year, and for me another book release. My next book, PFC Liberty Stryker is coming soon from Sisterhood Publications. I can hardly wait.

Read more about PFC Liberty Stryker

Check out the book trailer –

An amazing amount of time and effort goes into the making of a book trailer. My thanks to Brian Thornton and Ema Tibbetts for doing a brilliant job of bringing my vision to life.

Peggy Tibbetts

Letters to Juniper now available in ebook & paperback at Amazon.com

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Friday, January 6, 2012

Young Writers Conferences

I've mentioned the sessions on writing nonhumans and aliens I present at young writers conferences before (here), but, since I'm writing this while preparing for one on Thursday, I thought I'd blog about this kind of conference.

I would have loved to have had access to something like this when I was young. I was fourteen when I started writing and, to a young girl living in the Chicago suburbs, writers lived in far-off places like New York City. My schools didn't even have author visits.

The young writers conferences I'm familiar with are organized by school districts and are available for homeschooled students as well as those attending public or private schools. I'm presenting at three this year in Minnesota: SW/WC Conference for Young Writers, SCSC Young Writers & Artists Conference, and SSC Young Authors, Young Artists Conference.

The best thing about these conferences for the young writers is that they get to meet many different kinds of writers. Journalists and sports writers, picture book authors, storytellers, writers of historical fiction, cook books, comics, mysteries, fantasy and science fiction - and with three sessions offered during the day, students can pick and chose. Also, the sessions usually give the students a chance to do their own writing. In my session, they design their own character - human, nonhuman or monster. In other sessions, they write sports stories, a humor column, a scary story, or the start of a daily journal. Or they can do some world-building as well as create believable villains.

For the presenters, it's a chance to talk with authors in other fields. I meet many other science fiction and fantasy authors at science fiction conventions. But I don't often run into a storyteller or a sports writer except here. But best of all is the chance to meet young people enthusiastic about writing. I've been impressed with the amount of talent I've seen in my sessions. I'm hoping that many will continue to write and that I'll see their work published in the future.

If you are a student attending such a conference/workshop, don't forget to ASK QUESTIONS. Here is your chance to hear actual experiences from published authors and to compare tips and techniques from many areas.

If this sounds like something that might be of interest, check with your school district and see if they offer one.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

2012 Writing and Marketing eBook Extravaganza

2012 Writing and Marketing eBook Extravaganza

To start the New Year with a BANG, from January 1st through February 28, 2012, Karen Cioffi is offering all her writing and marketing e-books (purchased directly from her site/s using the Paypal SHOPPING CART) for a $1.19 each. And, this will include new titles added within that time period.

Yep, that’s right, only $1.19 for each of these titles:

How to Write Books for Children: Writing, Publishing, and Marketing Children’s Books (nominated in the 2011 Global eBooks Awards – over 100 pages)

Editing Books Like a Pro: Self-Editing for Books and Articles

How to Create an eBook and Its Many Uses

Writing, Publishing, and Marketing – You Can Do It!

How to Start a Freelance Writing Business

How to Attract Customers With Informational Marketing

Learn How to Create and Sell Information Products From Your Own Site

New titles to be coming some time in 2012 include:
Webinar Marketing: Create and Present Your Own Webinars
Book Marketing: DIY Virtual Book Tours From Start to Finish
Book Marketing: Soup to Nuts
Marketing Information Products

If you’re reading this you’re probably an author or writer, and it’s no doubt you how important it is to stay on top of your writing and marketing game, the above e-books will help you do just that.

For only a $1.19 each, get all seven titles for under $10.

Click on the links above to review what each book has to offer – each landing page will have a shopping cart on January 1st, for your convenience. Be sure to use the Shopping Cart Paypal Buy Button, otherwise you’ll pay full price.

For a complete list (with brief descriptions of each ebook) go to:


Want to create your own press releases? Join us for a Free webinar Jan18

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Lost in Technology

You’ve heard the saying “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” right? Well, I’m beginning to think it’s true. Young people today, from the time they can walk and talk, are masters of computers, cell phones, and so many inventions that I don’t even know what seventy-five percent of them are. As for me, this mema is lost in a world of technology.

Take the phone, for instance. Going back to my childhood, and that’s quite a ways back mind you, our first phone was this black thing that sometimes when you picked up the receiver, another person would be talking and you had to wait your turn, if you were polite. Or if you were in a hurry, you might ask them to hang up. Hahahaha. Good luck with that. I’m not positive, but I believe we had three families on our “party” line. Of course, if you were sneaky, you might listen in to their conversation and learn some juicy gossip. I’m still undecided about cell phones. Mine’s always signing me up for something I don’t even know what it is simply because I touch the wrong thing on the screen and before I know it I have all the apps I’ll never use. A call to the company fixed that I hope. Now I’m blocked from signing up to anything. Is that good?

Then there was the wringer washing machine. Mom’s had two tubs, the best I remember. One was for the soapy wash water, the other the rinse water. The dryer was the clothesline. Now I prefer the modern day version of washer and dryer and have even managed to learn how to use them. But oh the towels and sheets hanging on the line were soft and fluffy, when there was a breeze, and smelled so fresh. Of course it wasn’t fun when the dog pulled the clothes off the line and it had rained the day before. Muddy mess. Yep.

When I was in high school, I learned to type on a manual typewriter. The best thing about the typewriter was it made your fingers strong because sometimes the keys were hard to press and you had to really push. When I got my first electric typewriter, I thought it couldn’t be any better. So easy to use. Then along came the computer. No more carbon paper turning my fingers purple. No more Wite Out to correct misspelled words. Most of the time I love mine. Sometimes it gets contrary and does its own thing; then we have a few words. I’d hate to have to go back to typewriters, however.

Once upon a time, washing dishes was an afternoon affair. After the meal, the women would gather in the kitchen. One would wash the dishes with soapy water in the sink. One would dry with a cup towel. Another would put the dishes in the cabinet. We talked. We giggled. We caught up on the latest gossip. The men in the meantime sat in the living room and talked about whatever men talked about. The kids were shooed outside to throw China berries at each other, play baseball, and do the things that kids do. Give me my good old dishwasher, even with the broken tray that wobbles when I slide it back and forth, over dishpan hands any day.

Transportation has greatly improved. I don’t go as far back as the horse and buggy, but I do remember the 1950 something Studebaker my family had. It was green. Today, cars are smaller, and my Santa Fe is just right.

Life is easier for us today, if not simpler. Once, we had an ice box and the ice man would bring us a huge chunk of ice to keep our food cool. After I married we had a milk man that delivered milk. We stopped by the corner grocery store on the way home from school for a soda and candy bar. If we didn’t have money, the grocer would give us credit and we’d pay the next time we stopped by. Every Saturday afternoon we’d go to the picture show (what we called it then) and spend the afternoon watching Roy Rogers or Gene Autry. What? You never heard of them? So sorry. We had no TV so the Saturday movies were quite a treat. Popcorn for a dime.

I may be lost in technology, but I’m not complaining. I’ll take my central heat and air over the gas heater and fan any day. Perhaps you can teach an old dog new tricks. Thanks for traveling back in time with me. I hope you enjoyed the journey.


Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year, New You

Isn't that the most awful slogan you've ever heard? I don't know why it annoys me so much, but it just irks me. Like I need a new me? I kind of like the me I am - I've spent years cultivating it, after all. I've put a lot of work into me.

But, like most people, I guess I spend the early days of the new year contemplating what was and what could be. So I went back to my LJ and took a peek at last year's NY post, to see what I managed to accomplish.

I don't really have any resolutions this year, but a lot of hopes. I hope to find a new job (I'm still hopeful I can regain the job I almost had locked up). I hope to finish at least one new book. I hope to find an agent. I hope we remain healthy and happy and if not wealthy then comfortable.
One at a time, then:
1.I never did get that part-time job back. I still don't know what happened with that school or if they ever hired anyone for this year. Which is fine, because I found a really great FULL time job that I love. It's not my dream job, or it wasn't when I started, but it only proves that sometimes we don't really know if our dreams will really make us happy. I have taken the words of the Great Sages, The Rolling Stones, to heart, and use it as a way of life:
You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometimes you just might find, you get what you need.
2.I DID finish a new book - The Sword of Danu, which as of today I will begin editing, hopefully for a Spring release. I also rewrote the Historical Fantasy/Fairy-Tale Retelling-with bits of Steampunk novel. Twice.

3.And let's see, last on the list...oh, I finally found an agent. I love her, and she should start submitting soon. 2012 will hopefully bring a contract.

Other highlights of 2011

- I turned 40. Yeah, okay, so I'm old. But I don't FEEL old. At all. I am around little kids all day long, I read YA and write YA and I think it keeps me from feeling washed up.

-bought another new car. So we have two working vehicles and it's not breaking the bank. I like that very much.

- Overall, we're pretty happy. The health isn't as great as we'd like - I had a trip to the ER for my stomach and hubby has had a year full of not feeling well, doctors, tests, and a hospital stay. It could have been worse.

Plans for 2012:

At least two trips, one in Feb. to NYC with Hubby and one in May to Balticon. The schedule for Spring is looking pretty full later in the season, but that's okay. There's also the Maryland Faerie Festival, and the NJSCBWI conference, and maybe a professional day at the NJ Librarian's convention in AC. Busy week, that.

Hopefully Beautiful, Marvelous Agent Lady will sell Smoke & Mirrors to a great house and for a great deal. I have faith in her.

Finish the Library of Athena series. One book left.

Finish another Steampunk novel.

Write, write, write

Finish Grad School. By this time next year, I'll be done. Just two semesters to go.

Take the family camping at least once. We have a car that will make it, and Boy's never been camping. Which I find a terrible shame, since he's nine years old already.

Be happy

Happy New Year!