Back to School

Tomorrow is our first official day back for the year. I know it’s late. We homeschool.

So we have had school already, but it’s been around our dining room table. Or lounging on the couch. Tomorrow is our first day back to co-op.

This means that today I’m sitting at my desk, trying to work on my extensive to-do list and write this blog, but there’s two smallish people in here as well (one is actually larger than me, but whatever) and I’m trying to force them to read what they need to have done for tomorrow morning. One has to read the first four chapters of THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE and the other has to read “at least some” of THE BRONZE BOW. I have threatened that I will not be buying their school supplies for tomorrow if they do not accomplish this. This is an empty threat. Of course I am not sending them to class tomorrow without pencils or paper or binders. But so far I have them somewhat fooled. The older one continues to talk about everything and nothing, and the smaller cannot keep her hands off the cat and the dog (and she’s distracted by the fact that she is getting a guinea pig today, so help us all) but occasionally I hear a paperback page turning and so it’s fine. For now.

In the adult front, the man of the place and I are still sleeping on the hide-a-bed (don’t know if I mentioned that before) because the window air conditioning unit in our bedroom is throwing the breaker whenever it runs. I am sick of sleeping on the hide-a-bed and rolling into the center as I sleep. I am a person who prefers to not touch others as I sleep, so there’s a body pillow tucked between us. But I am still tired of battling the hill every night.

The man of the place is going back to work on Monday. I think this will help the rest of us to get back to our regular routines. He is going to have a heart procedure soon that troubles me, but I am just focusing on taking a deep breath and trusting in God no matter what the future brings. It will all be okay.

This was a weird blog post, and I apologize for that. But it felt kind of good to write and get it all out there.

So that’s that.

Sending it off

I just got finished sending off a rewrite of my YA novel, THE RAT QUEEN, to my agent. It’s always a little shocking finishing a novel, whether the entire draft or an intense rewrite. This one added more than 10,000 words to the novel and completely changed the ending, so it was a big deal, at least to me. I’m happy with the way it has turned out. It’ll be interesting to see what else will change.

Once my agent decides it’s ready, this will be my third novel to go on submission. I hope this is the one that sticks.

I have gotten behind on a lot of things, so I’m hoping to get caught up on the rest of life, then get back to my new YA manuscript. I’m about 18,000 into that one.

I don’t really know what else to say. Like I mentioned above, I’m always a little shocked (and shell-shocked) when I finish something big like this.

Anyway.

A hot commodity

A hot commodity. That’s me.

For more than a month, I’ve told myself that today is the day I get back to writing regularly, and seriously. For a long time, I didn’t have my office and it was hard to focus with the family all around me. Then summer came, and with it, a busy summer at the local theater. But the final production of LOST IN MY WONDERLAND was last night and now it’s time to write.

But I’m a hot commodity because I try to help my family with things. I enjoy it. And they know that the show ended too. And so I’ve gotten requests to work on things for them today. And I had to explain that I have been planning to write more starting today. So that was a thing.

Anyway, between the kids’ chores and stuff and balancing things with the husband at home (probably haven’t written on here that he’s here for two weeks because of heart issues), plus helping my mom with some financial stuff and helping to get ready for the next show, and taking over our family finances, I’m stretched kind of thin. But I have two hours. I’m actually thirteen minutes in right now.

So probably my warm up time is over and it’s time to get crackin’.

<3

Lost in My Wonderland

My three awesome kids were in a cool show this past weekend and it’s going on this weekend too. Lost in My Wonderland is an original musical that was written by some friends of mine and has played already in New York and other states, but this is the Oklahoma premiere. So that’s cool.

Less cool is that my husband is currently in the hospital. I’m sitting next to him in one of those hospital recliners. He’s having heart problems and is getting an angiogram today. He’s 43. So that’s crazypants.

These another other amazing things keep getting in the way of my writing. I’m trying to focus better on getting the writing done first and the rest done later, and hopefully I will improve. I have a lit new planner so I’m expecting good things.

Anyway. Later, gators.

Photography

I’ve always enjoyed taking pictures and have taken thousands over the years. After I took a record setting number at my daughters’ annual dance recital, I decided to share them online in a more professional way.

The site I selected carries a yearly cost, so I am attempting to sell photos to recoup some of that cost. If you’d like to see the photos, they’re at garvie.smugmug.com.

I’m still uploading photos. (And some of the older ones aren’t that great or are mostly my children and those around them but I uploaded them anyway, just in case someone wants them.

Revisions and dance

I’m at my daughters’ dance competition, listening to music in my earbuds and also super loud dance music while I sit in the back row with my laptop. I am looking at my new revisions and thinking about them.

I sound so boring today, but I kind of feel that way. I’m only blogging because I thought that would be a good thing to do today, since I’m not actually writing new words. And I’m only planning to read all my agent’s revision notes, not actually begin revising. But reading all the notes and thinking about them is still progress.

I’m doing well with the instagram writers’ thing. I’m on day 13 and I actually haven’t missed a day yet. It’s basically a miracle.

I’m also just too darn busy with all the other things I do. My eldest is graduating next month and there is an awful lot to do. There’s only ten graduates, since it’s for our homeschool group, and they all get a lot of special things…but Mom gets to do all the work! I’m also swamped with stuff for the dance studio, the local theatre, and my scbwi group. And I love all those things, I really do, but I’m not quite as good at balancing everything as I’d like to be.

Anyway. Back to work. Wish me luck.

igwritersapril

So I’m doing this thing on Instagram this month under the hashtag #igwritersapril. It’s supposed to be fun but it is also a challenge because I am so gosh darn lazy. Anyway, I did the first two days and they weren’t super easy but today’s subject is bookshelf and that sounds very appealing. All I have to do is actually clean mine up a little so it looks presentable and then take a picture of it. Much easier than trying to describe my work in progress using photographs.

Of course I actually have like six bookshelves, so theoretically I could take pictures of all of them. But then I’d have to clean all of them. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. So maybe I will. But writing comes first. I can’t really claim to be a writer on instagram if don’t, you know, actually write and stuff.

My darling writing conference starts on Friday. I’m so happy to be going again. I really enjoy it. There’s still time to get registered over at the SCBWI Oklahoma web page, so if you are or wanna be a writer or illustrator, get thee to the site and join us!

A new twist

So I hosted a SCBWI thing at my house on Saturday. That went well. We didn’t have a lot of people but it was fun and informative. Afterward, Kim stayed and talked to me a little about a manuscript that I am working on revising. I was having issues with something, but after talking it through, I was able to recognize a problem in it I just couldn’t see, and then I had an idea how to fix it – and bonus, it gave me another interesting wrinkle to add to the manuscript, which I love. It just takes things a little bit deeper.

I have critique group tonight too, and I’ve got my pages printed out but not stapled yet. Oh, and I just remembered that I was going to print those double sided and I never turned the paper over. Maybe I should check on that, lol.

Also, here’s a picture after the thing at my house.

Critique partners and writing friends are highly recommended.

Now to check the printer.

Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators to Host Spring Conference

Spring-Conference-11x17-flyerProfessionals from established publishing companies and literary agencies will share their insights about children’s literature at the upcoming Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators conference. The Oklahoma Chapter of SCBWI, a professional organization of writers, illustrators, editors, publishers, agents, librarians, educators, booksellers and others involved with literature for young people holds an annual conference to allow aspiring writers and illustrators to meet publishing professionals in person. This year’s conference will be held on Friday, April 6 and Saturday, April 7 at the Embassy Suites in Oklahoma City.

In addition to a full day of professional speakers on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., this year’s spring conference includes an Friday night program at no additional cost to registered attendees. Two breakout sessions will be available to choose from – “How an Oklahoman Made it in Children’s Publishing, and Lightning Tips” or “Finding Your Visual Voice.” Both will be led by publishing professionals and will be followed with a time for attendees to mingle with the speakers.

The SCBWI spring conference also offers a limited number of slots for paid written critiques from editors and agents. Top manuscripts, selected by the critiquers, will have a ten-minute meeting during the conference with the editor or agent who critiqued their manuscript. Manuscript deadline is Feb. 26. To hold a place, fees must be paid before the deadline. Off-site professional critiques are also available, with a deadline of March 16.

Chad W. Beckerman, Creative Director for Amulet Books, Abrams Books for Young Readers, and ComicArts, will conduct face-to-face paid art critiques during the conference.

All illustrators are encouraged to display their portfolio for conference viewing. Illustrators do not have to pay for a critique to display their portfolios.

Attendees also have the opportunity to purchase one-on-one paid face time with a professional. There will be a limited number of discussion times available. This can be used to ask for career advice, discuss your work, ask them to do a cold read of a first page and give comments, or any topic dealing with writing or illustrating.

This year, attendees will also have the option of participating in the crowd-favorite illustration postcard contest and the crowd-favorite 40-word pitch contest. Both are free to participate and include the prize of a free one-on-one face session with an art director, editor, or agent.

All conference registrations include the Friday night sessions, lunch on Saturday, and Saturday Social with Autograph Party at the end of the conference.

Registration is $150 for SCBWI members and $180 for non-members. SCBWI Student members will receive a ten percent discount upon registering, and non-member student registration is $155.

More information and registration forms can be found at www.oklahoma.scbwi.org.

This year’s publishing professionals include:

  • Chad W. Beckerman, Creative Director for Amulet Books, Abrams Books for Young Readers, and Comic Arts
  • Andrea Hall, Associate Editor with Albert Whitman & Company
  • Hannah Mann, Junior Agent with Writers House Literary Agency
  • Daniel Nayeri, Publisher at Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group
  • Allison Remcheck, Associate Agent with Stimola Literary Group
  • Emily Heddleson, Senior Manager, Library & Educational Marketing
  • Jerry Bennett, Oklahoma Illustrator Coordinator and Professional Artist

 

About SCBWI

Founded in 1971, by authors Stephen Mooser (President) and Lin Oliver (Executive Director), The Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) is one of the largest existing writers’ and illustrators’ organizations, with over 20,000 members worldwide. It is the only professional organization for those specifically working in mediums of children’s literature, magazines, film, television, and multimedia, and makes an annual presentation of the Golden Kite Awards, the only award presented to children’s book authors and artists by their peers.

Ice

Roads are iced over and it’s a good day to stay on the computer and write. I have to keep an eye on the smol people here and make sure they do their schoolwork and do chores, but other than that, I can try to focus. The husband is here because his work is shut down, so he’s watching TV in the room I’m trying to write in, but I have headphones and I can make it work.

I’m going to apply for a work in progress grant through SCBWI. They have to be turned in during March. I that will be a good thing to work for. I’m not sure which work to use (it’s supposed to be basically finished) but I’m sure one of them will work. I guess I’ll choose whichever 10 pages I feel is strongest. Maybe, Baby is a 10 page roller coaster ride, so maybe that. Applying will at least be something writersly besides continuing to write novels that are not being read by a much larger audience than myself, lol.