Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Dojo and Mojo

“I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired to write at 9 o’clock every morning.” ~Peter De Vries

      01/10 marked the year since I started my writing support group Write On to Build On. We keep a daily tab of how much we write and how often we write. Since I began writing in 2006 (Yes, I’ve been writing seriously this long with this little to show for it), this has been my most productive year ever. I don’t know if my word count is higher, but I’ve been drought-free. For 365 days, I wrote, revised, edited, or critiqued all but 26 days.

      This consistent writing has paid off. I’m juggling all 3 contemporary fantasy projects, each for different age groups.

      I spent last year writing something new. I got the seed in 2009, but didn’t write anything else on it until 2011. By 2012, the word count was still low. I started the Write On to Build On group in part to push myself to finish the YA. I finished it in June and revised it for the next few months. It’s been through 2 readers and has been revised again. Now it’s off to 2 more readers.

      The 2nd  manuscript I ever wrote has been hidden away for years.  My husband asked what happened to it. Back then the protagonist was too young for a MG, it was all show and no tell, and the. plot. lagged.

      I looked at the 1st 4 chapters a couple of years ago and got some feedback. Then I overhauled the entire thing this summer. It went through more readers. Now I’m at the hell—please kill me now querying stage. I’ve received rejections and a glimmer of promise. Unlike many of my previous querying periods, I’m not going to give up too early. I believe in this story.

      My most recent work in progress got its inspiration when I visited my dad in Maine this past August. I took some notes and sat on it for a few months before starting a draft. Now I’m just over 20k into it. But I between critiquing other manuscripts and working on revisions for the YA, it has stalled. I want to give myself a push to finish this upper-middle grade.

So I’ve joined the The Writer's Dojo to keep up my mojo.

For February, there are 3 categories: writing, revising, and querying. I’ve signed up for the writing one. I choose my own goal (500 words per day) and I’ll check in once per week.

      My son got his black belt in taekwondo this December. My daughter is testing for her black belt in March. My YA black belt training in it. Now I’ll be working on mine too. (Too bad I’m not getting the fitness benefits.)

      Often I fail to see the progress I’m making. While I’ve had some small works published, I’m not as successful as I want to be. Besides writing fiction, I’ve also started building an editing business. I’ve edited the content of 2 websites and am about to do a 3rd through the same person. Someone else has approached me to edit the content of his web design site. This may lead to other jobs through his site.

      All I can do is keeping writing, learning, revising, submitting. Giving up is not an option. It’s who I am. If all my stories have magical elements in them, I have to believe in a little magic in my own life.

Writers, how are you feeling about your writing journey?

Friday, January 18, 2013


I have 3 links to share and they’re all related in some way.

My poem “All Set” appears on Leaves of Ink today. 
It’s a good way for me to start the new year. 

Sheri Larsen has decided to start her 
new year with a  Writer's Creed
I’m taking the creed too. Want to join with me?

For my last link, I turn back to my poem, which is all about a girl’s perception of how she’s supposed to look, what’s beautiful. This video from Dove shows an "Onslaught' of images a girl would receive today. I hope my ten-year-old daughter never has to compare herself to this narrow definition of “beauty.”

Write, live, love beautifully. xo

Sunday, January 13, 2013


I was told I needed a Thneed.
They said a Thneed is what everyone needs.

I knew my things had become old.
Miss a trend, and I'd be left in the cold.

I sold all my most cherished stuff
To pay for the transformed truffula fluff.

I can’t afford to pay my bills.
Good thing this cozy Thneed keeps out the chills.

“Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it.” 
― Edmund Burke

“Those unable to catalog the past are doomed to repeat it.” 
― Lemony SnicketThe End

Monday, January 7, 2013

Chuffed, Not Chum

Found on this Facebook page: 

I planned to write another MagPie prompt post, but the picture wasn't speaking to me. I've been steeped in so much kid's lit, the nakedness on the cover clashed with my writing brain. I did recently read The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling, so it's not like I don't read books for adults. But my writing head is in a children's mindset.

How's your writing going?

I'm currently querying an old middle grade I spent the summer of 2012 revising.  I started in December, but it wasn't going anywhere.  Thanks to  Susan FieldsSharon Mayhewand especially,  Robyn Campbell, I revised my query and sent it again.

I finished a rough draft of a YA in the late spring and revised it in the fall of 2012. It's with a second reader now.

I'm 17k into a rough draft.  I think it's going to be upper middle grade. The inspiration hit me in August when I visited my dad in Maine. I wrote several thousand words down, and then put it aside.  I've picked it up again in December 2012.

Do you guys know  Query Shark? I'm a big fan. Although I read a lot about querying, I'm never very confident about writing queries. I comment on nearly all of Query Shark's queries and revisions. I guess I had a moment of clarity because Janet Reid liked my comment and quoted me on her agent blog HERE!

Nice to be chuffed instead of chum!  

Happy writing!  

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


She smoked the long and thin ones—
The brands with smiling women
Living carefree lifestyles
In women’s magazines. 

When I picture her,
It’s always with a cigarette in one hand. 
Mornings, the other hand cradled coffee. 
Evenings, the other hand caressed a cocktail.

Her voice, low and raspy from decades of tobacco,
Didn’t stop her from slurring, screaming,
“Happy New Year!”
And crashing silver pots against lids
Out the window at midnight.  

I sunk into the couch cushions,
Wondering what the neighbors thought,  
As I stared at the ashtray graveyard
Of discarded cigarettes
And wished I could fix her.  

Try to write a picture-prompt tale: http://magpietales.blogspot.com/

I wish you all a wonderful 2013.  
For some of my writer-friends, 
2012 was a difficult year filled with sorrow and loss.  
I hope they find peace.  
May we all write more, love more, live more.  xo

I read 70 books this year.  My list is  HERE.
I'll keep track of my 2013 books on this post.

Books Read in 2013:

1. Seven Sorcerers, Caro King
2. When You Reach Me, Rebecca Stead
3. Chocolate Fever, Robert Kimmel Smith
4. Son, Lois Lowry
5. From Stage Door Shadows, ed. Jodi Cleghorn
6. Splurch Academy: The Rat Brain Fiasco, Julie Berry
7. The Garden of Eve, K.L. Going
8. The Robe of Skulls, Vivian French
9. Dead End in Norvelt, Jack Gantos
10. Once Upon a Marigold, Jean Ferris
11. How to Eat Fried Worms, Thomas Rockwell
12. Liar and Spy, Rebecca Stead
13. Ordinary People, Judith Guest
14. The Underneath, Kathi Appelt
15. Archers's Quest, Linda Sue Park
16. Kira-Kira, Cynthia Kadohata 
17. The Chronicles of Harris Burdick, Chris Van Allsburg
18. A Single Shard, Linda Sue Park
19. Angel Burn. L.A. Weatherly
20. The Herbalist, Niamh Boyce
21. From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun, Jacqueline Woodson
22. Dave at Night, Gail Carson Levine
23. Wonder, R.J. Palacio
24. Ghost Knight, Cornelia Funke
25. Good Omens, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
26. The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman
27. Thanks, But This Isn't For Us, Jessica Page Morrell
28. Unnatural Creatures, Stories Selected by Neil Gaiman
29. Juniper Berry, M.P. Kozlowsky
30. Missed Periods and Other Grammar Scares, Jenny Baranick
31. The Center of Everything, Linda Urban
32. Freckle Juice, Judy Blume
33. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, Mark Haddon
34. Fortunately, the Milk, Neil Gaiman
35. Hercules: The Twelve Labors, Paul Storrie and Steve Kurth
36. The Capture, Kathryn Lasky
37. Storybound, Melissa Burt
38. Hold Fast, Blue Balliett
39. Zorgamazoo, Robert Paul Weston