Friday, August 31, 2007

Blog Party!

Go immediately to this link.

My good friend Sara Hantz is having a blog party to celebrate the launch of her debut novel, The Second Virginity of Suzy Green. At the party you'll find interesting and fun blogs by a variety of writers and lots of prizes.

See you there!

My biggest, hugest pet peeve

The American health care system. It totally sucks.

Listen to this. Last Saturday, child#3 was off camping with another family. He gets stung by a bee on his finger. His finger swells. The mother calls me. I'm at a local Japanese restaurant with dh and Child #4. We discuss giving him some Benadryl. The mother calls again. Now Child #3's hand is swollen AND the swelling is moving up his arm AND he's starting to have trouble breathing. She's taking him to the closest ER. The retaurant hands us our sushi in a to-go box. We jump in the car and head an hour up the highway to the hospital. By the time we arrive, child#3 is hooked up to an IV and a variety of monitors. Plus he's sound asleep thanks to the medications. His breathing is now okay. Phew.

On Monday, I follow the instructions on the back of my plastic health care card and call our health insurance company, BLUE CROSS. I report Saturday night's events.
"What is the zip code of the hospital?" Mr. Blue Cross asks.
I tell him.
There's silence whle he looks it up on his super-duper Blue Cross computer. "That hospital isn't a preferred provider," Mr. Blue Cross says.
"But he was having trouble breathing," I say.
"It definitely sounds like it was an emegency situation," Mr. Blue Cross agrees. "But our preferred provider in that area is hopsital X."
"But hospital X is further away," I say. "You heard me say child#3 was having trouble breathing, right?"
"I did," Mr. Blue Cross says. "You absolutely did the right thing....but we won't pay."

Arrgh. I'm so annoyed I can't even think of a decent end to this post.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Huge, huge sigh of relief...

The 2nd set of revisions are done and in. Even better, Editor Wendy is very, very happy. Which means I'm very, very happy too. And relieved.

Yesterday, I wrote my Dedication Page and my Acknowledgment Page. If you think you should be on one of these, but are worried you're not, just send money. Even a Starbucks card. I'm easily bought. (This is supposed to be tongue-in-cheek.)

Next on the list for I So Don't Do Mysteries is my author photo. But I'm not getting that done until after I've had my hair highlighted. Which is in two weeks. I'm going for a casual photo, but don't have any definite ideas. So, feel free to pipe up if you have any. DH (which stands for Darling Husband--on a good day anyway!) suggested a shot with a rhino! Hello! They have horns. And they're wild animals. Maybe a photoshopped pic of me and a rhino. Nah. The rhino thing just isn't grabbing me.

Next post will be about one of my pet peeves.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Interview with Judi Moreo

Judy Moreo is a motivational speaker who has written a self-help/motivational book, YOU ARE MORE THAN ENOUGH: EVERY WOMEN'S GUIDE TO PURPOSE, PASSION, AND POWER.
Below are the questions Judi answered for this blog.

Me: How did you get involved in motivational speaking?

Judi: I got involved in motivational speaking when I was a fashion and events coordinator for a department store and schools began calling me and asking for me to come speak to students about grooming and building confidence. I would go to the junior high and high schools and speak to 6 classes a day. When I opened my own business, Universal Models Finishing School and Model Agency, the schools continued to call me. Then the Girl Scout troops asked me to speak so that the scouts could get their good grooming badges. Various organizations continued to call and one day someone asked what I would charge. That opened a whole new world to me! Then I met some other speakers and they told me about the National Speakers Association, so I joined. I’ve been speaking ever since!

Me: Do you have any techniques to motivate writers specifically?

Judi: Motivation is an inside job. Writers must write to stay motivated. Write every day whether you feel like it or not.

Me: Do you have different motivational strategies for men vs. women? Different strategies for different age groups? For those of us writing Young Adult, do you have any suggestions for what realistically motivates our teen characters?

Judi: Motivation is a very personal thing. I wouldn’t dare to put people into categories and say “This is what motivates this category of people.” Each of us…man, woman, mature individuals or teens…is motivated for a different reason. The best way to motivate someone is to find out what that individual wants to do, have, or be. Also, find out what hurts that person and how you can help to alleviate that hurt. We can only create an environment in which individuals feel valued and they will motivate themselves.

Me: In your book excerpt, you talk about how our childhood influences our attitudes. I'm thinking of a character I've written who's dealing with a difficult childhood. How successful are you at helping someone overcome a tough childhood?

Judi: I don’t know that we ever “overcome” a difficult childhood. What we must do is focus on the future and quit dwelling on the past. The things that have happened to us in life are experiences that should not be wasted. You have gained knowledge from them. You have learned what to do and what not to do. You can use all of this knowledge to carve out a new future. As my brother, Wayne, said after having lost his legs in a major motorcycle accident, “It’s not what happens to you, but what you do about it that will make the difference in your life.”

Judi, thank you for such insightful answers. And thank you for stopping by on your blog tour.

Click HERE for Judi's website.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

I just discovered Gordon Korman

On a whim, I picked up Schooled by Gordon Korman. Here's the blurb from Gordon's website: "Schooled is about a home-schooled kid raised in isolation by his grandmother, an ex-hippie from the sixties. It's the story of what happens when he's suddenly thrust into a large middle school."

I read it in two days. It's fantastic. It's funny and poignant. The characters are great. The story is told from several perspectives: the protagonist, Capricorn Anderson; the school bully; the school loser; a popular girl; Cap's social worker; Cap's social worker's daughter; the school guidance counsellor. And it works. Also, every, single thread is tied up beautifully. Gordon Korman has written about 50 middle grade and young adult books.

Hello! Where have I been that I'm only now stumbling upon him? Interestingly enough, I noticed that we have several things in common.

Gordon is Canadian. So am I. He now lives in the United States. So do I. He has written over 50 middle grade/young adult books. I'd like to write over 50 MG/YA books. He visits tons of schools. I think I might like that. We both wear glasses.

Okay. I'm not supposed to be reading right now. I haven't finished the revisions due Aug. 27. On Aug. 28, I will begin reading the remaining 49 Gordon Korman books.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Heard back from Editor Wendy

And she loves the revisions! Hurray. Yay. Phew.

Also, there's now an illustrator on board for I So Don't Do Mysteries! I'm not sure if I'm allowed to give out her name (sorry), but I looked at some of her sample drawings for other books. Wow! She is a seriously talented artist.

Even as I type all this, I really can't believe it's happening.

So, I thought I'd get a decent night's sleep because the edits passed with flying colours. But now, with the news of the illustrator extraordinaire, I'm too excited too sleep. :)

Monday, August 6, 2007

I've been assigned a cover designer!!

Got an email today from Editor Wendy to say I SO DON'T DO MYSTERIES has been assigned a cover deisgner. It's an artist who has designed many great covers. Including THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS!!!

Her name is Marci Senders. Editor Wendy also wrote that Marci "can't stop raving" about I SO DON'T DO MYSTERIES.

I <3 Marci Senders!

I am now officially on pins and needles while I wait to hear back about the revisions.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

And the edits are done...

...ahead of schedule. It took me several hours to push the "send" key. I'm wondering if this is normal behaviour.

In fact, the only thing that convinced my index finger to connect was knowing I'll see the manuscript back again next week. The thing is there's always a little something more to tweak. Because I'm a perfectionist I'm never done. With anything. I can tell you my dh was done with these revisions. As were my children. As were my in-laws who are travelling with us.

So, here's hoping the editor likes the edits. I do. At least, I think I do. Of course, I could've read the chef scene through one more time. No, no, it was time to let go. But did I get the roller coaster scene perfect? Ack. It's gone.

I'm off to pack so we can check out of this hotel. We're hiking in Yosemite today. No middle-grade mysteries.